The Unexpected Meltdown at the Library

Inspired by Books

Awww the lazy days of summer where you relax with your children by the pool. Each day is filled with fun and silliness. Your family collapses into a delightful slumber at the end of a memorable and exhilarating day.

Unless……you have the day that I had.

Library Meltdown


My week started out unexpectedly when I found out Monday morning around 7:30 a.m. that there was no room for A.J. at summer camp THAT DAY. Granted I’d just signed up online Sunday afternoon. BUT STILL. The phone call from the camp administrator that camp was indeed at capacity, shook me to my core. I had a to-do list that was a mile long. Now I’d found out we were going to be together all day and I was going to be his sole play mate.

Meltdown at the Library

Thank goodness for the Dekalb Public Library book of summer activities another mommy friend had passed along.

I flipped a few pages and found out there was a physics show that afternoon we could attend at the Chamblee library, as long as we got there on time.

SIDE NOTE: Summer story times at the public library is like trying to get into a hip hop club on All-Star Weekend. It.Is.Packed.

Related Post: See why we chose African and Caribbean themed books for our summer reading list

I had a feeling that since this was a science demonstration, that children would be selected to come up to the front of the room to join in the fun. I’d started to see a trend with A.J. where he becomes incredibly agitated if he’s NOT PICKED. I gave him a gentle warning that he may not be picked. He seemed to understand. I thought.

My highly verbal child who you’ve seen help me review cars and review toys had no words. Just tears and gasps – all the indicators of a meltdown.

He wasn’t picked. He couldn’t take it. His world was crashing around him.

I had to carry him out of the library meeting room, go to the bathroom to wash his face, then hold him for about 20 minutes in the hallway until he had fully regained control of himself.

Comment below: How do you handle your children’s public meltdowns? At what age do they tend to taper off or stop completely?

It made me think about how to explain even more hurtful life events to him.
I’ve explained to him a few times when there’s a newsworthy story where someone was victimized because they were Black. He says, “That’s not fair” and doesn’t dwell on it too much.

How will I explain racial profiling once he’s old enough to start driving and may get pulled over just for being in the “wrong” neighborhood?


He's Cute at 4, But Will You Call Him a Criminal When He's 14? ~

About Joyce Brewer

Creator & Host of Mommy Talk Show. Emmy award-winning TV journalist.Wife & Mommy; Mom Blogger; Social Media Coach; Long Island, New York transplant living in Atlanta, GA. Follow Joyce on Twitter @MommyTalkShow Author of Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms featuring interviews with mompreneurs who created businesses using their skills & backgrounds.

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  1. Currently don’t have kids yet so I can’t quite answer that, but it is similarly embarrassing when people pull their dogs away from ours because of the barking. I’ve learnt that consistency is key when teaching.

  2. Not getting picked can be hard on kids. My daughter used to get really upset about it, too.

  3. Sabrina @ Dinner, then Dessert

    I think meltdowns are just a part of parenting. You just have to keep consistent in how you deal with them!

    • I’m trying to be consistent. He realizes now that he loses out of fun when he has a meltdown. We leave early because I don’t want to spoil the experience for other families.

  4. I used to love going to the library as a child. I could get lost in a book for hours.

  5. My son who is not prone to meltdowns at all, has had three in two weeks. He’s going through a lot of changes though, and my heart just goes out to him. It’s hard when your kids are learning to deal with things. I feel for ya on this one!

    • Same here. He’s usually pretty put together and doesn’t act out in public. I wonder if he’d do this if he was with my husband.

  6. I have dealt with many meltdowns, just recently my middle child who is on the spectrum, melted down because his dinner at the hotel restaurant was not what he expected it to be. His meltdown was just major tears and LOUD crying. I felt horrible, because everyone was staring and wondering what was wrong with him. He is a tall and big boy, so he doesn’t look 8 years old, he looks older in some ways and I am sure people were all like what in the world. But we handled it, and calmed him. The staff was super helpful, that is always good when the environment is supportive for your child who is having a meltdown, they are kids and until they learn to express themselves fully, it is hard for them to not have meltdowns.

    • I’m glad the staff helped. I think a lot of times they don’t know how parents or the children will react in public situations – to getting assistance.

  7. Lawd, yes. We had a meltdown everytime she didn’t win at a game, including a game at her own 6th birthday party. We used our favorite motorcycle racer as an example to lead by. When he wins, he pulls a fun little prank and has a blast. When he doesn’t win? He still pulls the prank and has a blast.
    She eventually outgrew it by 8. I do NOT miss that age.