All the lunch-goers at Faneuil Hall in Boston probably expected a peaceful lunch while people watching from their cafe tables. Instead they got Liam in total melt-down mode for about as long as it takes to order drinks and your meal, then to have the chef prepare your burger and fries and for you to consume all of it. I should have seen the melt-down coming, Liam had the right forecast-- barely any sleep the night before, it was lunch time, and we were in Boston, three hours from our house. But the sunshine and seventy degree weather blinded my perspective.
For 45 minutes I sat with Liam on a bench while he tried to stop screaming, "I want new, green Crocs." I wished he would stop screaming, kicking, and hitting, but hoping and crossing all my toes and fingers did not seem to help. So, I pulled-out my parenting toolbox right-on one of the busiest spots in Boston and went to work.
Even though I am writing about Liam, who is typically developing, kids are kids first before any diagnosis (like autism) and all kids have tantrums and sometimes they have meltdowns. Tantrum vs. meltdown: I think of tantrums as a power struggle (I want this toy and you will buy it or I will scream) and meltdowns are a complete loss of control. There is no reasoning or distracting, the meltdown just has to run its course. I bet most of these melt-downs happen in the public eye.
As a parent you probably know what triggered the meltdown-- a sound, plummeting blood sugar levels, lack of sleep, a sensory overload, or all of the above. So, what do you do in the middle of a busy tourist destination with a screaming, kicking kid?