Wednesday, June 9, 2010

In Which Connor Breaks Down

This morning Connor was supposed to have his field day with school, but when we showed up we discovered it had been (mostly) canceled.  So we drove to Pike Place Market instead and did a little bit of shopping.  After Connor had his nap, I did a little more cleaning around the house in preparation for our friends coming in town to stay with us, which is when I made a big mistake.

See, we had this suitcase sitting in one of our closets that didn't really need to be in there.  And so I decided to move it to another part of the house, and not thinking about it at all I rolled it past Connor. 

He went ballistic.

He must have cried for about three hours.  And we're talking full-on, screaming melt-down here; he hit notes I wasn't even aware were in his range.  "No bye bye NO BYE BYE" he signed frantically over and over.  And then he demanded Jeremy, who was unfortunately in class, and when Jeremy didn't immediately appear he would break down again and sob like his little heart was breaking.

Sometimes I forget just how traumatic the events of the last year have probably been for Connor.  He's so laid-back and happy most of the time that it's easy to downplay how unhappy and scared all of the changes made him.  It's also easy to think that he doesn't really understand what happened, so it shouldn't have affected him as much.

But that suitcase triggered something-- I'm not sure if it was a fear that Daddy was leaving again or maybe that we were moving again-- and he absolutely lost it.  I held him in my lap and rocked him and sang to him, and I finally got him relatively calmed down, and then of course I had to strap him in his wheelchair because it was time to drive to the airport to pick our friends up and he completely broke down again.  He finally calmed down in the car, when it was evident that I was not, in fact, leaving him and by the time we got there he was almost cheery. 

But it's a wake up call to me that even though Connor seems to be pretty even-keeled, he was obviously deeply affected by the events of the past year and I need to be more sensitive to that.  Just because he doesn't always have the language to tell me what he's feeling, it doesn't necessarily mean that he isn't thinking about what happened and processing it in his own way. 

I'll know better next time.



Mary said...

:( Poor Connorkin. Sorry I couldn't chat today; I'll do my best to call you between school & work tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

Oh,that photograph is heartbreaking! Poor little guy!

-j o'c

leah said...

Oh, his little face is heart wrenching! This post makes me want to just scoop him up and give him a hug- hopefully as time passes and fewer changes are experienced, he will be less upset when a suitcase is rolled by.

This is a good reminder to never underestimate the effects of life on our little ones- they understand and feel a great deal more than we give them credit for sometimes!

Niksmom said...

Oh, Jess, this just broke my heart! Poor Connor. :-( Glad he's recovered (at least, it sounded like he had?). It's such a learning curve, isn't it, when our children don't have the language to tell us what's going on for them.

Sending hugs...and invisible suitcases!

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

Just reading this breaks my heart. The poor kid! The photo is too much for me to handle. He is so cute and it makes me so sad that he got so upset. Amazing how such a simple thing can bring about such a strong reaction - there is definitely some trauma from the past year and I hope that time will make that less and less for him.

Julia said...

Oh, poor upset kid! But you know, even though it's wrenching to see him so sad, it's actually really inspiring to think how much he is understanding (or trying to understand) about his environment. The wheels are turning in there. He's learning how to communicate about it (which helps him process it), and he's just going to keep getting better at that. So is it cruel of me to think, in the end, that it's all good? Okay, a little bit cruel -- that picture is hard to forget!

gloria said...

Oh Connor. I cry when I see a suitcase too. Really, when I think about all the packing it entails. But I'm just saying, it'll be okay little man.

xraevision said...

Aw, poor sweet Connor! This story was heart wrenching and provoked tears. It is amazing how much children absorb and how they will find a way to communicate with us, even without speaking. Bad, scary suitcase! Hope he has a good day!

One Mom said...

Oh, the poor little guy! It had to be a tough afternoon on you, too. Glad to hear it all got straightened out in the end...but my heart broke just a bit for you and your little man. XOXO

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Oh, poor baby! That breaks my heart. I confess that I tend to underestimate what he can understand. But Jess, you're so good to him. He loves you and he trusts you (both!) and I'm hoping/praying he's over the upset.


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