We’ve returned home from another weekend trip that’s left us all pretty much exhausted. It was an action-packed weekend, and we don’t really do ‘action-packed’ very well.
No point going into all those details, but I was impressed with the J-Man on several levels this weekend. One thing in particular was how he’s learned more complex strategies for successfully coping and finding calm when he gets really stressed out. The cousins were so excited to see him, and we had family Christmas early to save us a trip back down for a third time in less than a month at Christmas time.
‘Excited to see him’ usually comes with a lot of understandable volume and activity. At one point while all the cousins were over, the J-Man came over to me, took my hand, led me into Mary’s parents’ bedroom, closed the door behind us, went over to the far side of the bed, and indicated (non-verbally) that he wanted me to sit on the bed and hold him. I was impressed that he came up with this rather complex strategy and set of steps for leading me to a place where he could get the calm he needed. He never had a meltdown or anything. He knew when and where to go to keep his stress from escalating any more.
Later he took me into the kitchen and we had a similar calming session. I took that to mean he didn’t feel like he needed as much separation from the action at that moment, but he knew he needed to be in the other room for a few minutes.
It’s hard to overemphasize how impressed I am that he figured all this out. Ideally, we’d develop some sort of verbal or sign language-based way to communicate how he’s feeling before it gets to this stage, but regardless it really does seem like he knows how to go get what he needs to regroup before it gets unbearable for him. He’s showing he knows how to stay ahead of it, which is a darn impressive and valuable skill to develop.
Now if only some of the adults I know could learn to do the same for themselves!