The meltdown had been brewing for weeks, I could see it coming. The last straw was yesterday's IEP meeting. FS#2 mood mimicked the approach major thunderstorm. Everything started off nice and blue and sunny. Then slowly both his face and the sky got darker as the clouds rolled in. Then BOOM, rumbling, thunder, lightening, rain, chaos, shouting, dramatics, tears, running for the hills (oh wait, that was me!). Oh and why am I worried about the police showing up? The thunderstorm hit on the drive home from school. As FS#2 escalated his fight or flight response kicked in. Car, not a good place for this to happen. He twice (three times?) tried to jump out of the car while it was moving! At that time on a country road with no shoulders so no good place to stop. As I was passing roadside memorials to two high school kids who died in fatal crashes on this road, I thought that there would be one more. It would not surprise me if the folks in the cars behind be called 911. I mean I would if I saw a car door open repeatedly and a leg pop out as if someone was going to leap from the moving car! Finally got to a place on the road where could pull over and get the situation de-escalated enough so that could drive home safely.
And what caused this meltdown? In this case the meltdown was not because he is not attached, but because he IS attached and he is feeling abandoned. Add that abandonment issue to being made to feel inadequate and inferior at the IEP meeting and you have a recipe for disaster. First of all, FS#1 is home from college. FS#1 came home 3 weeks ago. FS#1 bought me a big ass TV for Mother's day and big fuss was made over FS#1 by myself and the village. My first sign things were not right in river city, FS#2 started spending his evenings downstairs with me instead of up in his room. At first, I thought it was the novelty of the big-ass TV but after a week or so I realized it wasn't the TV is wanted to spend time with, it be me. FS#2 and I went shopping for summer clothes, he let me pick out many of the outfits. Which was a new and unexpected event. In the past, he picked out all of his clothes, my job was to be ready with the credit card and sometimes comment on clothes he was unsure about (rare!). I was so pleased with this unexpected shopping pleasure I shared it with the village. As I was sharing the story, I could see FS#2 not happy, but me in my clueless bliss, did not know why. Later, after the storm passed, I found out why. He felt that I was excluding him from the process. That it was all about me and he played no role in the shopping trip. Then he got an unfortunate life lesson in that there are cruel and mean people in the world. And the last straw, the IEP meeting. FS#2 has made amazing strides academically this year, he passed two state standardized tests that he had been struggling with, he has maintained a B average and his disciplinary incidents have gone way down. He had been told that he would be able to graduate with a standard diploma, instead of a modified standard diploma, which thrilled him to no end. He does not like to think of himself as different from anyone else. Then the IEP meeting, where labels were throw around like water. Labels such as emotionally disturbed, and the one that broke the camel's back, disability. As in learning disability, emotional disability, special accommodations that need to made in the classroom for his disability, that he was on track to graduate with modified standard diploma because of his disability and on and on and on. The word disability was mentioned one time to many and the storm clouds started forming. First, he objected to his goal being modified standard diploma when he is catching up on his state standardized tests and someone (in administration) told him he now can pursue the standard diploma. He didn't think they were giving him appropriate credit for all the changes he has made behaviorally and academically. That they did not take his life goals of nursing seriously and furthermore had no faith that he could achieve them. All of these things and a few other came together to create the perfect storm last night.
Now the upside of this story is that once we got home from the car trip from hell, he could process what happen with me within 10 minutes of getting home. Of course it help when in the middle of his raging I realized that he misunderstood my version of the shopping trip and I apologized to him. The way I told the story was not intended to EXclude him, but actually was my way of INcluding him. I think my apology made it easier for him to come back and process the rage. The upshot of most of his rage was that he feels very attached to me and because of certain incidents he felt as if I wasn't attached to him. Once again, he thinks of us as a team and lately, he has been feeling as if not only have I benched him, but he is at the very end of the bench.
Once again my child has taught me that attachment is a fragile beast. The work does not stop just because my child is attached, it has just progressed to a different stage, but the work still needs to continue and it is just as hard.
Now to make those phone calls...