Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sometimes you just can't breathe....

Our four year old started doing this thing several months ago where he gets really upset and starts crying and then says that he can't breathe. As four year olds often are, the smallest little irritations can set him off-- perhaps one of his brothers knocks over his lego creation, or someone takes a bite out of his sandwich, or his pancakes are cut the wrong direction, or his mom tells him not to karate chop his brother, and on and on it goes. These episodes often start with hiding in a corner and crying, then escalate into  full-blown panic attacks, where he is arching his head back, stiffening his entire body, and grunting through foaming lips that he can't breathe. My husband and I are used to them by now and know how to deescalate the tantrums, or even better--nip them in the bud before they start! But today he got set off at the wrong place and time where mom and dad couldn't help him: at pre-school.

Our little buddy loves going to pre-school, and absolutely loves his teachers, Cassie and Kayla. I drop him off everyday with the ease and comfort of knowing he's going to have a wonderful time and come home happy! However, today when I walked up to the front of the school to pick him up at the normal time, he was surrounded by four paramedics. My heart dropped through my stomach. I got out of the car and ran over to him as fast as I slowly could, what with carrying a 20 pound 2 month old, sleeping in his car seat. It was all in slow motion. Even though I could see my four year old sitting up, all my worst fears started to surface-Perhaps he had a seizure and will be stricken with seizures the rest of his life! Or he was stung by a bee and went into epileptic shock! Or a psycho kid in his class stabbed him with scissors! But soon enough I found out that he simply got really upset, went into his "I can't breathe" crisis mode, then his teachers called 911.  Phew! I calmed down immediately. I looked him in his big, brown eyes, gave him a huge mommy hug, and felt so much love for my little drama boy. (Who apparently got upset because his teacher had asked him to please try pouring his own water before she could help him pour it. You just never know what will trigger a meltdown...)

Now I'm not saying his tantrums aren't important or real, because they are very important and real to him. In his little mind he probably feels so upset that he feels suffocated beyond reason. By saying "I can't breathe, I can't breathe," over and over again, he is telling us that he needs help coming out of this dark and scary place where his feelings are so vulnerable and unreasonable that he can't make sense of anything! So even though it seems funny and overly-dramatic, I understand his behavior completely. I also understand that it could be very terrifying for his teachers to not be able to help him. The paramedics checked his vitals, gave him a sticker and a pen, and made him feel all extra special.
The worst part for me was that they couldn't get ahold of me or Micah because they didn't have the correct prefixes for our phone numbers. So they sent two policemen to get my husband at his work-place high school. They interrupted his classroom to say,"Your son had an incident at school and you need to come with us." I'm sure his heart dropped, too. By the time Micah showed up, I was still sitting in the grass with a happy, talkative four year old, a sleeping baby, four paramedics, one teacher, and now two policemen. 

All for our little boy who just can't breathe sometimes. 
We love you little Jonah. 
Sometimes I can't breathe, either. 

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