It’s expected. It happens every break we have. It doesn’t ever surprise me. It does break me every single time.
Yesterday, the very first real day of Winter Break, Little Man lost it completely. His frustration mounted as an app on his phone wasn’t connecting to his computer the way it was supposed to. I tried to head the imminent breakdown off at the pass. I told him to walk away from his computer for a bit. He did, after my prodding a few times. The tears followed. He cried for a good half an hour. He seemed to settle. We talked about my response not being directed towards him, but towards the behavior. I don’t think he’s a bad person or a bad boy, but it’s my job to help him in the moment. He seemed to understand that. And he seemed okay when I told him I wanted him to be off screens the rest of the day. Ten minutes later, we entered phase two.
He had not one nice word for anyone. Everything that came out of his mouth after that was rude, angry, and mean. We corrected. We removed him from the situation. We sent him to his room when he wouldn’t stop. We used every tool in our toolbox. Nothing worked. Nada. Zip. He was in it completely. We had to ride it out with him, although we didn’t give up, wouldn’t let him just do whatever he wanted to do, yelling at everyone, and stomping around.
His anxiety is already ramping up. He gets so excited for Christmas, but as with his birthday, Easter, the first and last days of school, super fun, really exciting things are a double-edged sword. He can’t wait for them to happen. That waiting brings his anxiety level up ten-thousand-fold, which results in meltdowns, major sleep disruptions, extreme highs, and extreme lows. It hurts to have little to do to help him through this.
I’ll spend the next three days managing him as best I can, trying to keep him busy and reassured, attempting to maintain as much routine as possible. And I will spend a lot of time just holding him, literally and figuratively, through the storm.