This is a picture of SuperBoy last Monday in Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort.
No, he didn’t fall and hurt himself.
Amidst screaming, ranting and yelling while I directed him to a less people laden location, SuperBoy threw himself on the ground in one grand finale meltdown.
I struggled with posting this picture, which I snapped to show him in our post-meltdown breakdown. I don’t ever want to embarrass my child, but a picture is worth a thousand words, right?
Tired, hot and dealing with a dad who was also tired and hot…. I had been waiting for this meltdown to occur. I was prepared. I had a plan of action. I knew I would carry out our normal melt down protocol right there in the middle of Disney …. so that SuperBoy would continue to learn how to bring himself out of these situations…and so that he would know that even in the most magical of places…. I will not tolerate that behavior.
It was harder than I thought.
I felt sorry for him. The kids really had been holding up amazingly well. This was day SIX …and the first sign of major meltdown. I thought we would see it by day TWO. This was not a melt down brought on by selfish desires, it was pure over stimulation on ten different levels.
I was embarrassed. Horrified, actually. Part of his melt down routine is to yell and scream about how I’m hurting him when I place my hand on his arm to remove him from a situation. He stayed true to form and screamed and yelled, loudly, in Hollywood Studios, that I was hurting him and to “Please just LET. ME. GO!”
The most awful part of this whole situation?
The judgmental looks and scoffs I got from the parents around me. Parents who apparently have angels for children, or are only on day ONE of their trip. When I removed SuperBoy from the Muppet 3-D attraction I took him to what was the most remote area I could find in the immediate vicinity. One mother sitting across the street from us (reading a book while her baby apparently slept in the stroller) shot me a dirty look, huffed and puffed and then moved up the street and complained to the strangers around her about “some parents”.
The older couple that had been sitting next to her did not move, watching us without even pretending to look away, shook their heads and whispered to each other.
When I see other parents suffering the trials of a child melting down I either give them the silent, knowing and supportive nod … or I inwardly smile and breathe a sigh of relief because it was them….and not me. Most of the time I do both.
Part of my strategy for addressing these melt downs is to simply be in his space, but to be silent. I let him scream and yell and fuss….until he can pull himself together. We’ve tried talking, we’ve tried rationalizing. He’s old enough to know those words by heart … he needs to be able to soothe himself. When he is ready I will hold, rock, hug and kiss the daylights out of him …but not until he has calmed himself down.
As I sat on the curb waiting for him to pull it together a mom walked up and looked at me with disdain (I really don’t think I’m exaggerating)…then went to SuperBoy and asked him if everything was okay…if he needed help. (?!) He looked at her, very confused, then continued on his tirade. I looked her squarely in the face and said “He is over stimulated, overly tired and having a temper tantrum. He’s six, he’ll get over it.”
I half expected someone to call the authorities on me.
After half an hour (yes, half an hour) SuperBoy pulled himself together. We went on with our day and enjoyed the rest of Hollywood Studios.
During his meltdown I was encouraged greatly by the support I received on Twitter from my fellow Disney Social Media Moms parents…. reminding me that Disney World is the meltdown capital of the world (for kids AND grownups!). It also served to remind me, yet again what a great group of people I had the opportunity to meet and spend time with during this phenomenal event.