I’ve written in the past about Jude’s funny habits and traits that certainly keep him unique to humankind but more recently I have noticed a clear definition of triggers that set him off into a melt down. His melt downs have been terrible recently and sometimes even making an appearance in the middle of the night for absolutely no reason. It’s actually quite disturbing when you are woken by the loud bang of a door being slammed shut and repeatedly kicked. I’ll go downstairs to see what is wrong and he’ll be sitting there, in the middle of his room, butt-naked having stripped off and discarded his clothes at random. He always strips when this mood hits, it’s really weird but maybe the sensation of clothing is even too much for him during these moments. Another sensory issue?
The latest and most dominating trigger we have is Emmeline crying. When she’s tired and I’m trying to get her pyjamas on she often cries and for some reason this sets Jude off throwing things around his room and subsequently screaming and crying. If I lie with him then he calms down pretty well but it can take over an hour for him to go to sleep following an episode. It’s horrendous. How can we stop a toddler crying? We can’t. So how can we stop Jude being so sensitive to Emmeline’s crying?
Well, I have had a few conversations with Jude over the past week or so and explained to him that when Emmeline cries, he doesn’t need to panic because mummy is there to look after her and I always end it with a question – “Jude, what should you do if Emmeline cries?” My specific answer is always the same “you ignore her, you carry on with what you are doing, she is fine so don’t worry.”
I think he is starting to understand this. Tonight, when I was about to put Emmeline to bed, I took her into his room to say goodnight and to show him that she is perfectly fine and happy. She was getting upset and I wanted him to see her crying so he could compute this notion in his mind and form a mental image of her being comforted by me. I don’t know if he does actually worry about her as such, but I need to start somewhere with my rationale! Anyway, I asked him what he needs to do if he hears her crying and his response really interested me. He simply said “I walk away.”
Now, is Jude actually a really deep thinker? Is he envisaging himself mentally walking away from the noise so he can calm himself down? I think it must be the noise that bothers him as he really hates confrontation and this is one of his main triggers. Perhaps he sees this upset as a form of confrontation.
This evening has worked well (so far) – no freak out when Emmeline went to bed and he’s now peaceful in his room so fingers crossed this is it for the evening. Please please please please please please please.
But yes, a new, unusual trigger for Jude in Emmeline crying. Hopefully, it’s just a momentary phase…
Do your children have unexpected triggers that set off a melt down?