Mickey woke up in a mood. Nothing that I can define, but it was just an off day. Perhaps he didn’t sleep as well last night? Possibly he just woke up cranky? It is impossible to say. These days I usually just do my best to minimize plans and stick close to home. Days like this are difficult for Mickey to regulate himself and he is prone to losing his cool over even tiny things. They aren’t terribly frequent, but they do come up from time to time.
So, normally I would cancel most of our plans and we would stay home, but today that wasn’t possible. We had ballet at 10, a visit to my mom in the hospital after that, with a quick lunch thrown in between, then we had our first Nutcracker rehearsal and a birthday party to attend before 4 p.m. That is asking a lot of Mickey on an off day, but I figured we had to try. The day was tough.
Mickey lost it on the way to ballet and had a fit in the car. Minnie went on in to class and Mickey and I had to work on cooling down before he could join the class. It only took about 10 minutes and then he was able to join and did quite well. We grabbed lunch and went to visit Grandma – Mickey adores his Grandma and he was fine there. When we left the hospital we had to pick up a birthday present and the store was crowded and he was heightened, but he did okay. He did fine during Nutcracker as I think his excitement of finally being part of it, rather than watching the rehearsal was quite interesting to him. Plus he will be a cannon soldier, so he got to put the fake gun powder in and he thought that was cool.
Te birthday party was another story. It was crowded, we were late because of Nutcracker, so the party was in full swing when we got there – just in time for cake and presents. Mickey partook of the cake and then he was done. But, we couldn’t leave as Minnie would have been heartbroken. He cried, we tried deep pressure and his other coping skills, but nothing was working. He asked to go sit outside and spent the rest of the party sitting outside under a tent by himself. He was happier and Minnie was thrilled to be able to stay. After the presents there was about 15 minutes of water sliding with the other kids. Mickey joined but came crying twice because other kids were bumping him – normally that wouldn’t be an issue, but on an off day….
When it was time to leave he lost it again. This is how these days go and transitions are rough for him, even more so on a day when he isn’t at his best. He did survive the day. The mini meltdowns bother me more than him, as I find them embarrassing in a situation where I don’t know most people and they don’t know about Mickey’s challenges. Mickey looks “normal” and is tall for his age, so we get looks when he comes up crying looking like your average 12 year old or when he covers his ears because the squealing kids send him over the edge or he spends a party sitting outside. Sometimes I want to explain his Autism, but it really isn’t most people’s business and his Autism doesn’t define him, but it is indeed part of him and it is harder for him on days when the stars aren’t aligning quite right.
The good news is that an off day used to necessitate that we not leave the house. The meltdown in the car this morning would have lasted hours instead of the minutes that it did and it would have been violent. I couldn’t trust him around other people on days like this because he would attack anyone around. I will take random bursts of tears over kicking and clawing any day of the week. So, a tough day but still progress. Every single time today, he was able to cope – not as quickly as he usually can, but he did cope and get himself back together. As is often the case, I have to acknowledge the little things because it has been a million little things that have gotten us to the place we are today. Today was a day of celebrating the little things and being grateful for the progress.