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Language Log

Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017 - 2:10 p.m.

Christmas was good. I had expected meltdowns, but there weren't any. Got almost all the books I wanted, plus an amazing linocut by one of my linocut idols, and a ridiculously large Xmas check from the inlaws which I bought some shiny paints with. Those should arrive tomorrow, and I'm very excited because SHINY ART SUPPLIES. U has had a couple episodes lately where he wants a thing, but needs a diaper change badly, and I haul him off to change his diaper, but then he has some sort of panic-related meltdown. He declares he can't have diaper changed until he gets the thing, and when I take diaper off anyway because it is seriously non-optional at that point, he spends the next half hour or so violently demanding I put the dirty diaper back on him. This progresses to him threatening me and my belongings. I ask him, "Will that make you feel better? It won't make me do what you want me to do." He tries to hit me and pull my hair, but doesn't actually break my things. I don't challenge him to do so, and I don't act dramatic about it. I tell him gently that I won't let him, because it won't make him feel better, and he will just feel sad later. Eventually he works it all out and is back to normal and I can diaper him. If I offer any emotional response other than patient compassion, it prolongs and exacerbates the whole thing.

His other thing is that he won't ask nicely for things. I am a little frustrated with this because he used to do so just fine. But if he missed doing so once in a while, someone was always there to prompt him and direct him, and so it became a site of opposition. Which it didn't need to. But now, he doubles down by intentionally asking more and more rudely and steadfastly refusing to dial it back a notch. He never gives in, and so we have a meltdown. Nothing has worked to change his behavior. No matter how many times we do the "yelling and ordering won't get you what you want. Just ask nicer and I'll get it for you" limit-holding thing, nothing changes. It gets worse. Personally, I would like to do an experiment where we ignore his tone completely for a few weeks, just get him what he wants if it is reasonable, as if he had asked nicely. And just see what happens. I don't think I'll be able to get anyone to participate in this experiment with me. The other approaches haven't worked, though, and what do we call it when we keep trying the same thing over and over when it doesn't work?

"When he is hardest to love is when we love him hardest."

5 was really hard for Q, too. We just need to get him through this undamaged, still feeling loved and valued.

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