As he was eating breakfast this morning, I noticed some side glances, which is an indication something is up. He was yelling in his room at 4 a.m. but I didn't intervene, because I didn't hear any specific distress calls, nor did I hear any objects hitting the wall. In light of that, I expected an awful morning, but he was happy and laughing just before he went downstairs for breakfast. The second he finished his hash browns, his favorite breakfast item, he paused, pushed away his glass of juice, then let out some supersonic screaming with his mouth as wide open as could be, using all his energy. Over and over. AAAAAAAH! AAAAAAAAH! AAAAAAAAAH! With no carpet downstairs, the echo makes it double as loud. I got so startled, I jumped and spilled water. Then, as I turned to make a mad dash toward him to stop him from throwing things, I slipped and fell. My right foot slid and smashed toes-first into the edge of the cabinet, and now I have swelling with a purple splotch on the top and bottom of my foot. He kept screaming while I was grasping my foot on the floor. He carried on, throwing remote controls in the living room.
The episode lasted about 20 minutes altogether but felt like hours, and my foot will hurt for a lot longer. He ended up sitting himself down on the couch to detox from the tantrum. After I calmed down and put a pack of frozen spinach on my foot (I don't have ice), I started trying to decipher the meltdown, as I do after every one. Sometimes I'm left totally baffled but this time, I think I know. I heard the "stuffy" sounds from his nose so I had given him medicine just after I saw he finished his food. He refused to drink the juice I had given him, which he normally guzzles down. I realized he always has chocolate milk with breakfast, so maybe the break in routine pissed him off, along with the stuffy nose and having to swallow a pill with the very juice that didn't belong there (per his logic).
Routine is everything for these kiddos. He was never that obsessive about routines, but I notice as he gets older, it's a more vital part of his existence. He's lost without direction, literally! He prefers it written, and I neglected to write it all down on the dry erase board I normally carry around all day. So, perhaps I should have forewarned him we were out of chocolate milk and that I noticed he was stuffy and would be giving him a pill. My bad. =/
One purple foot later, lesson somewhat learned.
Moral of the story: Don't spill water in the kitchen, because you could slip, fall and end up with a purple foot. Oh, and always let your autistic kiddo know way in advance if there is to be a change in routine. It may not always prevent the violent meltdown (as I've learned), but hey, it's common courtesy to these special pumpkins.