Meanwhile, #2 had a bad day. He, like most of our family, has Aspergers and today was a meltdown day. He's been pretty good about keeping his outbursts in check lately, but for whatever reason, today he was grumpy and irritable. For those who may not know, having a bad day is often the precursor to meltdowns. Today he broke #3's little blue/purple saucer she'd picked up at a thrift shop last summer (she loved that little plate) when he intentionally knocked it off the table. He turned off the television while his sister was watching Netflix, took the dinner dishes and locked himself in the bathroom so we couldn't eat dinner when it was done cooking, and hid the Roku so nobody could use it. We are trying to make him realize that just because you're having a meltdown does not make you immune to the repercussions and responsibilities for what you do during that meltdown. Today he did wash the dishes, set the table, and even brought the chicken pot pie out of the oven and got me a serving spoon for us to have dinner (eventually). That said, he has been known to hide remote controls, keyboards, speakers, mess with computer settings, and occasionally break things to "retaliate" against something he deems to be a personal slight, even if it's something as mundane as being told that he cannot use the computer for a day when he's been especially naughty (like breaking #3's plate today). He is by far our most difficult Aspergers child just because he gets aggressive when he has a meltdown, often yelling, name calling, bossing people around, occasionally breaking things, and sometimes pushing siblings out of his way. Thankfully he's never gotten aggressive to the point that I fear for his or our safety, but we are working hard to teach him how to cope in more productive ways so that he can be a functioning member of society. Fortunately within the last year or so these outbursts are becoming less and less common. Today was just a rough day.
And of course with multiple Aspergians in the household, one meltdown often leads to the domino effect. So following #2's big meltdown, we had a couple smaller meltdowns from the girls, but they don't get aggressive, they just get upset and are often able to "reset" by spending some time in their bedroom reading a book or listening to music. Unfortunately, #2 doesn't reset until he's had a full night sleep which makes his meltdowns all that much harder to deal with as they can stretch on for many hours with no way to completely reset him (other than to let him play video games uninterrupted for a couple of hours, which really just reinforces the bad behavior, so we avoid doing it). I'm certain I'm not the only parent raising Aspergian children, so I know there's someone out there possibly reading this right now going "I know exactly what you mean!" And if you are an Aspie's parent reading this - You are not alone! It's not an easy road all the time, but it's worth it when we find new coping mechanisms, new "reset" options, and when they start to be able to realize when they're getting to meltdown mode and take the opportunity to correct the issue and reset themselves without being reminded, asked, told, or directed. It's much easier in the summer months when they can go outside for a while, get some fresh air, play on the swing set, go for a bike ride, take a walk, or do something (play a game outside, run around, climb a tree, etc.). When it's cold out and they're cooped up in the house together, it tends to lead to more meltdowns.
With any luck, if we were to get this house we're looking at, we could make a fourth bedroom to be able to better separate the kids up, making it easier for them to cope with their meltdowns based on what they need. The two girls who need quiet time to read or listen to music (on headphones) would be in one room, and the girl who prefers to be more vocal during her meltdowns can have her own space. And of course with an outbuilding and lots of land, they could always bundle up in their snow gear and go outside. Something we don't have a lot of space to afford them currently.
I'm still struggling with the loss of an old classmate. I can't quite wrap my brain around it yet. His obituary hasn't hit the paper yet, so I don't know about any funeral arrangements. It just doesn't feel real right now. As much as I would like to attend his funeral, he was never especially fond of me, and I hadn't really spoken to him outside of inviting him to my birthday party in 4th grade, and him giving me a gift the following school day when he hadn't come to my party. He was the popular guy that everyone loved to be around, and I was a wallflower that rarely looked up from the ground in front of my feet. I have always been one to admire people from afar. I can adore an actor, but I'd never be able to go to Comic-Con or a meet and greet to actually say hello to one. I pulled out my old high school yearbooks just to see his face again. I'm still not sure why this one is hitting me so hard. Probably because I adored this guy and always thought he was going to be one of those people that in twenty years people don't believe you when you say "I went to school with that guy!" He was going to be an important someone someday. He was an important someone to a lot of people already, but I don't think he realized it. If nothing else, the kids got a kick out of seeing their dad in yearbook photos from way back then (we were high-school sweethearts).
If you are struggling with depression or stress or money issues, or anything else... and you are even considering suicide, please reach out to someone. Call your parents, your siblings, your aunts and uncles, your cousins, your grandparents, your children or grandchildren, your neighbor, your religious official, your coworkers, your boss, your friends, your old classmates, people you knew when you were younger, your teachers, your coaches, or even your friend's parents if you feel more comfortable talking to them. If you want to talk to someone on the phone you can call the Suicide Prevention Services of America at 800-273-8255. If you would rather text someone, text "CONNECT" to 741741 which will get your message to the Crisis Text Line (http://www.crisistextline.org/textline/). Reach out and talk to someone! You don't have to suffer alone. No matter how alone and down you feel, there is someone out there who would be crushed to lose you. Please, speak up! Suicide is never your only option!