A conversation at Target.
Setting: My three kids and I are at Target for the ritual roadtrip snack buying before we head out on our long road trip. They each pick two things they want in the snack bin. We’re walking down the pertinent aisles, perusing the options when Pieces declares that he wants a certain colorful cereal.
Me: “No. I’m not even sure there is any actual food in that cereal.”
Chi: “How can there not be food in food?”
Me: “It’s so highly processed as to cease being food becoming, instead. a food-like product.”
Chi: **looks thoughtful**
Me, probably giving entirely too much information to little kids as usual: “I read an article recently about how all the food dyes in that food have been banned in most other nations since they have been linked to cancer, ADHD, autism…”
Chi: “OH, I already have autism.” His tone suggesting that it was safe for him to eat such things.
Chi was totally unable to self regulate and had regular meltdowns and constant stimming when he was at public school, but since we started homeschooling, not only has the stimming diminished, but the melt downs are almost COMPLETELY nonexistent.
And he has started self regulating.
I took him to Target (which has always been a top way to bring on the meltdowns (the lights are so bright AND LOUD, there are some many people and things AND THEY ARE LOUD, AHHHHHHH!) and events transpired in such a way that the kids were unable to get the items we had gone to the store to get (read: earned prizes for excellent, consistent behavior). Instead of melting down, as he would normally do, over unexpected happenings, I watched him walk very stiffly with a look of intense concentration on his face. When I asked what was going on, he said, “I can feel my body want to stop and my mouth want to squeak, but I’m making it not do that.” I was amazed.
When he meltsdown? My Chi isn’t there anymore. The Monster has taken his place and the Monster does not communicate or hear me or anything. Chi was beating that Monster. Now, MAYBE this is because he’s getting older (almost 11) but I really think the difference is that at homeschool, he isn’t staying overstimulated a majority of his time awake. As such, he is better able to read what his body is doing and learn to stop or cope with what ever reaction he is having.
See? I CAN enjoy the unexpected, and this is one of my favorites.