The past couple of nights have held the same cycle for us. The kiddo gets sent to bed. He comes downstairs pretending to sleepwalk. He walks over, curls up in my lap, and pretends he's fast asleep.
If I try to move him he puts on a pretty convincing performance of being asleep and unaware.
Well, convincing if it wasn't for the grin on his face. Oh how he warms my heart!
Tonight it was different.
On his way up the stairs to go to bed he dropped his container holding a bunch of food shaped erasers. He started freaking out about it because he knew he was supposed to be upstairs and he was still in the hall scrambling to pick them up. He gets upset when things don't go according to plan because he knows it can lead to "unexpected" behavior (thanks to his bsc for that gem.... /sarcasm) which really only serves to upset him more. I hear him scrambling and ask him what's going on.
I'm met with panic, whining, and him making his usual freak out noises.
I ask him again what is going on, hoping he'll just say it (I can't see him because I'm still in the living room). Same response. So I get up and to go see. He hears me walking and starts freaking out more. I walk in, assess what's going on, I tell him it's ok and to simply finish picking them up and get his teeth brushed.
I leave the hallway, hoping he'll calm down once he realizes that he was not in trouble. I hear him go upstairs and think everything is ok. Not so much...
He's back on the steps and freaking out again. So I go investigate. By the time I get to him he's in full freak out mode. He's running to
me, then away from me. He's covering his face with his hands. He's on
the verge of simply falling to a heap on the floor. He can't find one of them.
I ask if he checked under the dresser in the hall. He's so busy freaking out that he tells me he can't look. Very typical when he's upset. He literally loses control and even if you walk him through something, he's just frozen and can't figure out how to do it. He just falls apart with any further attempt. So I look. It's not anywhere I can see. I tell him just to run upstairs and check his room where he has the others and make sure he actually dropped it.
Insert another freak out. I tell him he may have to go without for tonight as he has to get to bed for school and I can find it tomorrow.
Wrong answer mom.
This sent him totally over the edge. This is usually how he would respond if it was a Mario plush toy. He was crying, freaking out, total negative self talk, and talking about how he couldn't do without it.
I have a feeling he never lost it since I can't find it anywhere. Next task? Get him back up to his room and see.
After practically carrying him upstairs, he goes running into his room and lands on his bed. His lamp isn't even on yet. This is a sure sign that all is not right. He's petrified of the dark... So I turn on his lamp, ask him where they are, and to check.
Wrong again mom...
He's now throwing himself around on the floor crying. Ok, so I will check. Lo and behold...
Yeah, he never lost it.
He immediately freezes again, panics, starts crying all over again, and repeatedly tells me he's sorry he didn't listen and check. I keep telling him it's ok and he's just tired, he has it now, so let's go to sleep. I assure him that I love him and leave his room.
He comes down not too long later with a note and huge pout. I have him sit next to me and ask what is wrong. He's just crying. I read the note and it reads: Dear Mommy my haert (sic) is broken :( </3 :( :( from A. :( </3 </3
I give him a hug and tell him everything is ok and that I love him. He tells me he just needs some love.
Oh, this momma has lots of love to give! So we sit. Him snuggled into my side. I "give" him a piece of my "heart" (a total pantomime gesture he started long ago with me when he was sad and was missing pieces of his heart and would ask for pieces of mine to make his heart whole) to help his heart feel better.
He smiles. He feels better. He tells me he just needed a lot of love. I said, ok. Then he says: If I ever have too much love then I will always be happy.
We go back upstairs. I tuck him in again. He smiles all happy and snuggles into his blanket.
Half an hour later he is "sleepwalking" down to me and snuggles back in my lap.
I'd say all has returned to our normal.
As he lays sleeping and I sit pondering all of this I can't help but think: how true is what he said? "I just needed a lot of love." In that moment when he was upset, confused, frozen, etc, all he needed was a little bit of love for those dark skies open right back up again. And he knew it. His self awareness reappears again.
I admit, I met him with some frustration. He has school tomorrow, he's good at delays, heck I'm just tired after this long weekend... I stand corrected. He needed met with love.