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A Beauty and the Beast Mother's Day Celebration

Mother's Day is notorious for being a REALLY HARD day in our house. Reactive Attachment Disorder, a mood disorder, and autism all contribute to this fact.

There have been many Mother's Days where I've ended up in tears, surrendering to the trauma of the day. 

Holidays, especially Mother's Day are particularly difficult for my children who have been adopted through foster care.

This year my kids were determined to make Mother's Day the best ever and decided to throw a Beauty and the Beast Mother's Day Celebration.

The kids chose the theme because they know my favorite Disney movie of all time is Beauty and the Beast.

All aspects of the Beauty and the Beast Mother's Day Celebration were planned by the kids with minimal help from Dad (and at times Mom).

A Beauty and the Beast Mother's Day Celebration

A Beauty and the Beast Mother's Day Celebration

The Real Experience with Reactive Attachment Disorder, Mood Disorder and Autism

Beauty and the Beast Mother's Day Decorations

As the kids planned for their Mother's Day celebration, they delegated responsibilities between each other, focusing on each other's strengths.

Sunshine was chosen to be in charge of decorations.

This worked out perfectly as no one cares more about decorations than Sunshine, when there's a celebration or holiday of any kind.

Beauty and the Beast Mother's Day Decorations

Sunshine worked with Jason all week to plan and prepare her decorations for the big day. The two went to the local dollar store for a bouquet of Mother's Day balloons that was hidden in Princess' closet until the big day.

The two searched Pinterest for other decorations Sunshine requested.

On the day we celebrated Mother's Day (Saturday), Sunshine woke up her Dad extra early, telling Mommy to stay in bed, while Jason and she decorated.

When I woke up, Sunshine showed me all she had done and even sang me, "Be Our Guest" as an invitation to the day's events.

The one thing Sunshine wanted me to know was that there was one other decoration she didn't have yet that she would show me later.

Mother's Day Balloons

My favorite part of the Mother's Day Decorations was a balloon the bouquet that said, "Mom, the Queen of Everything."

Sunshine and I had seen it in the dollar store the week before. Both of us had loved it. Sunshine knows Mommy loves all things royal.

She remembered this balloon and HAD to make sure Daddy and she picked it up.

Mother's Day Reactive Attachment Disorder Fit #1

After I woke up and we celebrated her decorations, Sunshine settled into watching her morning cartoons waiting for her sister to wake up and make breakfast, and for the rest of the events of the day to start.

Princess ended up waking up late, which delayed breakfast. 

Dinomite, who had been delegated to be in charge of the entertainment for the day, mapped out a visual schedule for Sunshine, so she would know what to expect when, but had not planned anything first thing in the morning, as he thought Sunshine would do her regular morning routine and rituals.

Sunshine reminded him that she doesn't do her regular routine on holidays, and was struggling waiting for her breakfast.

Sunshine did manage to patiently wait for her breakfast and enjoyed it, but then had to go to the bathroom. Dinomite was using it at the time. (Less than a month after Sunshine's return home from residential our downstairs toilet mysteriously stopped working, and has been broken ever since.)

Sunshine's frustration towards her brother about her morning routine combined with her upset about not being able to use the bathroom NOW spiraled into a Reactive Attachment Disorder fit.

4 Steps to Understanding RAD Behaviors

4 Steps to Understanding RAD Behaviors

The excitement about the day's events and her depressive episode, which had started the day before, only increased Sunshine's agitation and inability to regulate.

Had Sunshine not been in her depressive episode, with senses on fire, and her IQ operating 20 points lower than usual, with no ability to reason, the autism meltdown wouldn't have been a thing and the Reactive Attachment Disorder fit would have lasted 5 minutes tops.

Thankfully Sunshine took her PRN within five minutes of starting her fit, had her turn in the bathroom, and went to her room to be safe and regulate. 

She did not want to go to the hospital today and that showed in her words and actions.

In less than twenty minutes, Sunshine had transitioned from a safe Reactive Attachment Disorder fit to an autism meltdown, feeling horrible about her choices and worrying about her day.

8 Differences Between Reactive Attachment Disorder Fits and Autism Meltdowns

8 Differences Between RAD fits and Autism Meltdowns

One sure way to know that the Reactive Attachment Disorder fit is over and the transition to an autism meltdown has occurred, besides Sunshine not targeting other people with words and actions, is that she hangs her head over the side of her bed. This helps regulate her body.

The start of Sunshine's Reactive Attachment Disorder fit to the end of her autism meltdown lasted about 45 minutes.

A French Mother's Day Breakfast

Jason and I took turns with Sunshine while the other one ate breakfast and spent time with the other kids.

Princess continued to make breakfast for everyone. 

She had decided on French cuisine for the day, and made omelets for everyone according to their sensory and special dietary needs.

Part of planning for Mother's Day with the kids was making sure that the three older kids chose responsibilities they could carry out on their own, without help from an adult, in case Sunshine wasn't okay throughout the day.

A Vegetable Egg White Omelet for Breakfast

Princess made me a fresh and delicious white omelet filled with vegetables and topped with salsa and avocado, with an orange on the side for me.

Originally, Dinomite had planned in his visual schedule for the family to do a craft after breakfast, before the next event on his schedule, but that wasn't possible during Sunshine's struggles.

Once Sunshine was calm, we assured her that she would have a chance to do the craft after lunch, and that she wouldn't miss out.

Next on the Beauty and the Beast Mother's Day celebration schedule was pictures and a trip to the library, also part of Dinomite's visual schedule. This was on the only event that needed to occur at a specific time.

Beauty and the Beast Mother's Day Celebration Attire

Beauty and the Beast Mother's Day Attire

The kids were fabulous about pictures, knowing that more than anything Mom loves getting pictures on special occasions.

What made these pictures so special, is that everyone had their own Beauty and the Beast t-shirts.

Bulldozer had been delegated to be in charge of attire during our Beauty and the Beast Mother's Day Celebration.

At first he was considering going all out with suits and dresses, but then decided he didn't want to wear his suit all day or get anything on it. 

Instead he thought t-shirts would be perfect, especially since we could use them again, as we're planning a trip to Disney World in December.

My role was to support and encourage the kids in their planning and preparations. Despite the cost that I wasn't prepared for, I supported Bulldozer's choice to go with t-shirts.

He had everyone pick out a t-shirt they wanted and then had everyone vote on a t-shirt for me. Once the Amazon cart was ready to go, I clicked the order button to ensure Prime delivery and to know how much was actually coming out of the checking account.

Beauty and the Beast Mother's Day Attire for Mom and Dad

I must say the kids and Jason picked out a super cute and fun shirt for me that says, "Best Mom Ever!" I've never received a gift that has the word, "Mom" on it before, so this was a first for me. I loved it.

A Visit to the Local Library inspired by Beauty and the Beast

After pictures, we headed to one of the local libraries. 

It had been our hope that our favorite library would finally be fully open after repairs, so we could all be in one place together but it wasn't.

We dropped the older kids off at location one of our local library, where I grabbed a quick picture to celebrate the event of the day.

I loved that Dinomite had the idea to go to the library as part of our Beauty and the Beast Mother's Day celebration. It was so clever and something everyone could enjoy.

Beauty and the Beast Mother's Day: Trip to the Library

Once the older kids were dropped off at their location, Jason and I took Sunshine to the second location where the children's books were located. 

When the older kids were finished, they walked to the second location, where Sunshine was. We all left from there.

Beauty and the Beast Mother's Day: A Trip to the Library

After the library, the plan was to make a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for Princess' French dinner recipe AND to pick up the one item Sunshine didn't have yet to complete her decorations.

Dinomite, Princess and I stayed in the van while Jason and Sunshine went into the store. Bulldozer went in also to use the bathroom.

I don't know how much time had passed, but all of a sudden I hear the van door open and Jason telling Sunshine firmly to get into the van. 

Sunshine was not okay.

Seeing Jason was very upset and rattled, I stepped in to help Sunshine deescalate and get into the van. She was still not okay, but at least she was following my directions. She refused to listen to or do anything Jason told her.

All of her unkind actions and words were directed towards Jason.

We were now starting Reactive Attachment Disorder Fit #2 of the day.

Mother's Day Reactive Attachment Disorder Fit #2 & #3

The minute I saw how agitated Sunshine was, I sent the other kids into the store to find Bulldozer, while I worked to deescalate Sunshine. The PRN was still working thank goodness.

No groceries were purchased and Sunshine didn't have her item.

It turns out, the object Sunshine was looking for was a single red rose, which the grocery store didn't have today. 

Jason and she hadn't wanted to purchase one too early because it might die before Mother's Day.

Sunshine's escalation in the store started before shopping for the rose commenced, but the rose situation sent her over the edge.

Jason did all he could to deescalate her before and after the rose wasn't found, but again, because of the depressive episode there was no reasoning. Sunshine's senses were on fire. She could not cognitively work through the situation safely.

An autism moment driven by a depressive episode ignited a Reactive Attachment Disorder fit. Sigh.

I'm not going to go into all of the details of what happened in the store or parking lot for privacy reasons, but I will say Jason had every right to be as rattled as he was. 

Sunshine was willing to be safe in the van, knowing at any moment I could pull into the two law enforcement offices on the way home. 

She knew if she became aggressive in any way or destroyed property, she would go to the hospital, so she didn't.

Once home, I let her know she was not entering the house with her siblings until I knew she was okay. We would process through feelings in the van. 

Her siblings went into the house.

I came and sat by her while my husband sat in the front, after going to get Sunshine's noon meds.

A third Reactive Attachment Disorder Fit started in the van once siblings left. 

Reactive Attachment Disorder Fit: Did I Do Something Wrong?

Reactive Attachment Disorder Fits: Did I Do Something Wrong?

Within 20 minutes of Sunshine taking her noon meds and a second PRN (given the appropriate amount of time apart from the first), Sunshine transitioned into an autism meltdown.

She expressed how tired and hungry she was, so we focused on meeting those needs to regulate her and help her get to the point where she could work through her strong emotions safely.

I was so thankful for a pillow and blanket in the van. 

Sunshine wrapped herself up, closed her eyes and just practiced breathing, trying to calm herself. (She did not sleep.)

When she was ready to accept that she was eating in the van for safety reasons (at first she wasn't too happy about this), she accepted her plate of food from Jason and ate well.

After all of that, she was finally able to work through feelings and all that happened at the store. 

Sunshine took full responsibility for all of her actions, telling me about them before I even heard Jason's side of the story.

Sunshine accepted her consequences graciously, and was very thankful to still be home with her family. 

Technically she had followed her safety plan. 

Unfortunately, we now need to add more to the safety plan for the future.

In total, working through the back-to-back Reactive Attachment Disorder fits and autism meltdown, all worsened by the depressive episode, starting from the moment she entered the van at the store, to when she was able to go inside and be safe with her family took almost two hours.

Everyone laid low for the afternoon.

Sunshine napped. All of the kids received their Xbox or Nintendo Switch time. 

I had a chance to get some work done.

During Sunshine's nap, I processed the store events with the other kids. 

There were no ingredients for the planned dinner. 

I told Princess I was willing to take her back to the store, if she still wanted the ingredients.

Princess decided she'd focus on desserts instead of returning to the store. She was making madeleines and strawberry shortcake.

I let Princess know how appreciative I was for her preparing the meals she was able to for the day. Jason pulled a dinner together with items we already had in the kitchen.

I thanked Bulldozer and Dinomite for all they'd done so far to celebrate Mother's Day today. The t-shirts were great and I had loved the trip to the library. 

Sunshine had not been able to participate in the craft Dinomite had planned (specifically for her), but she would at a later time.

All of the other kids knew ahead of time Sunshine's depressive episode would be occurring on Mother's Day weekend. They knew what to expect. 

It was everyone's goal not to let bi-polar hijack the celebration.

And that's what the kids did. 

I was so thankful they had each chosen something to do, that they could be proud of, no matter how Sunshine was throughout the day.

Dinomite knew he had one more event on his schedule for the day, and was most excited about it.

After dinner, he wanted all of us to watch the Disney Live Action Beauty and the Beast movie. Sunshine had never seen it.

The rest of us had seen it once, but a very long time ago.

Our evening movie entertainment went fabulously well.

It's rare for Sunshine to be quiet during a movie, but she didn't say a word, unless she was giggling.

The other kids laughed and were so entertained.

Sunshine asked to go to bed early, halfway through the movie.

Dinomite, Bulldozer, Princess, and I finished preparing the desserts while Jason put Sunshine to bed.

We then finished the movie together.

Beauty and the Beast Mother's Day: A Two Day Event

Sunday, on actual Mother's Day, Sunshine was a bit more calm and relaxed.

Bulldozer, Princess, and Dinomite had all come down with a bad cold. We stayed home from church and just relaxed.

Sunshine was able to do her Beauty and the Beast craft that Dinomite had planned.

Mother's Day Beauty and the Beast Magic Mirror Craft

For dessert in the evening, Sunshine enjoyed her diet-friendly strawberry shortcake.

Mother's Day Strawberry Shortcake

On the actual Mother's Day, I was able to take a nap!

Jason prepared a simple date night for us at home, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Though Reactive Attachment Disorder, a mood disorder, and autism will always be a part of Mother's Day, I'm excited that this year there were so many positives that outweighed the hard parts of the day.

I consider it a win!

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.

A Star Wars Day Celebration FREE Disney Princess Inspired Learning Activities  Disney Villians Halloween Party Disney Princess Activities Disney-inspired Royal Self-Affirmation Resources and Ideas for KidsFree Disney Inspired Printables
A Beauty and the Beast Mother's Day Celebration

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