I went to IKEA yesterday early evening having arranged to meet someone (who incidentally doesn't have kids) to buy a binding machine from them for the 'How to Talk So Kids Will Listen' course materials. After putting the machine into the car, I invited her up for a coffee while Adrian had a ice-cream.
As we got to the lift, the doors were closing so we nipped inside where someone else had already pressed THE BUTTON. Adrian looked panicked. He had wanted to press the button. As we got out of the lift he started having a meltdown. I explained to him that we were going to get ice-cream and that we'd come back later and play with the lift. Conscious that we were with a stranger (to whom I had stupidly just divulged what I do for a living!), I lifted him up and tried to get him into the building so we could get the coffee and ice-cream and hopefully moved on!
By the counter, Adrian was rolling around the floor trying to bite my ankles. Fabulous! Finally, having met my own needs (to buy someone else a coffee!) I bent down and said,
"You wanted to press the buttons in the lift."
Adrian nodded, sniffed.
"You also wanted to press the button to get into the lift"
Adrian nodded again.
"That was so annoying that someone else did it so you couldn't".
"Yes", he said.
"You wish you could go back and press the buttons to get into the lift, go down, get out, press the buttons again, and come back up." (This felt risky because I didn't want to go back to the sodding lift, and nor did I want him to be able to dictate what we all did!)
"Yes", he said.
And then he just stopped being upset. He didn't even want to go back to the lift anymore.
To be honest, I was surprised how quickly he stopped being upset. He used to have these sorts of meltdowns a lot as a preschooler and I'm used to them lasting a painfully long time. Fortunately he's getting much better at self-control but he has had a lot of disruption to his normal routines this week and not enough sleep so it was almost inevitable that he'd loose it at some point yesterday. But with the How to Talk course materials so fresh in my mind, I followed them to the letter, and they worked like magic.