It’s the most wonderful time of the year. (Don’t hate me for starting Christmas music already.) It’s also the sickest, and not in the good sense that the word “sick” is being used in these days.
The night before, the girl woke me up around 3AM. Not by kissing my cheek, shoving her knees in my back, or rubbing her feet on my pajamas (something she loves to do, which is so darn odd), but by puking on my back. That poor girl threw up for the following nine hours. We were worried that her reflux was flaring up again, but the vomiting shifted to diarrhea and then back to vomit later in the evening, so we felt like it was safe to assume that she had a stomach bug.
I truly learned what Clothes Mountain is when we went through most of our towels and linens. We had a trash can and vomit bag, but somehow vomit still got everywhere.
She woke up at 4:00 last night and refused to try to go back to sleep. Super cranky. We kept her home today and hopefully she’ll feel all better by tomorrow. Tomorrow will mark her tenth absence this year, so she’s missed 20 percent of the school days at this point. Plus she gets the half day for therapy every week. Ten days is the most they’re supposed to miss, so hopefully we won’t run into any issues if she misses more.
While my husband and LM were out last night, she wanted to lie down on my bed because she was tired. I laid down with her, and she didn’t go to sleep but became Chatty Cathy instead. That is one interesting child. She started talking about Teen Titans and how she noticed that each of the characters has a different way of talking. She told me facts about lions and the planets. (She seemed disappointed when I didn’t know which planets are gas giants.)
And then she abruptly shifted gears and told me she had to start liking Barbie dolls. I asked why and she said it’s what girls are supposed to like and if she likes them too, maybe people will stop staring at her all the time.
“Who’s staring at you?” I asked.
“Everybody. Everywhere I go, people stare at me. I hate it when people look at me. They all think I’m different,” she said and scowled.
I told her that I doubted anyone was staring at her because she didn’t like Barbies and it’s probably because she’s so cute.
“I know I’m cute,” she agreed. “But I have short hair like a boy and wear boy clothes and that’s why people stare at me.” (For the record, while her hair is shorter, it looks nothing like a boyish haircut, and she probably only wears her shirts from the boy’s section half of the time.)
I talked to her for a while about how everyone is different and can like whatever they want to like, as I’ve done in the past. I told BG that I’d be happy to get her a couple of Barbies for Christmas, but that she should want them because she actually wants to play with them, not because of other people.
She shifted gears again. “Sometimes the girls at school cry,” she said. I asked why, and she told me it’s when they fall down or have an accident.
“Do you ever cry?” I asked.
“Only once. On Halloween, in PE, we were playing Duck, Duck, Goose. I cried then.”
“What happened during Duck, Duck, Goose?”
“It was loud. It’s always loud in there. I had to sit in the middle and didn’t know why. Everyone was looking at me, and I started crying.”
“Poor girl. What did the teacher say?”
“She fussed and said stop, so I stopped, but I wanted to cry more. My friend Zoey patted me on the back and tried to make me feel better.” Zoey is the child who told my husband on the field trip that it was her job to protect Baby Girl.
I told BG that I was sorry that happened and that I would talk to her PE teacher about it. I’ll get a pair of noise canceling headphones for her to use in there when it gets too loud for her and let the teacher know to give BG a sensory break when she gets overwhelmed. She retired a few years ago and decided to work again part-time, so hopefully she isn’t one of those teachers who is difficult over this sort of thing. It really bothers me that she couldn’t take a few seconds to ask why she was crying.
I asked BG if any other enrichment classes were too loud for her, and she said music is, so I’ll get some headphones for that class, too. I could just ask her teacher to send around the pair she already has, but I imagine they’d get lost eventually.
“I hate when things are loud. It hurts and makes me sad and mad!” She sounded upset, so I asked BG if she wanted a hug. She hadn’t wanted to be held or cuddled all day. “No. Why do people want to hug all the time?”
“It’s a display of affection, to show someone they care about them.”
“My friends hug me a lot.” I asked if she was okay with that, and she said sometimes it makes her skin feel itchy. I told her she could ask them to give her a high five instead. I decided to take the opportunity to delve into her brain and ask about some of her other autistic traits, like why she doesn’t make eye contact sometimes. This is because it hurts her eyes and makes her feel sad. Rubbing soft things makes her feel happy, but she said she doesn’t do it at school because people will stare. She has a lot of meltdowns because she’s always cranky — everything is too loud. I knew sensory overload was the cause of that. I’m going to look into some less bulky noise canceling headphones for her to wear more frequently.
I hate the kiddo is sick, but I’m glad it gave us the opportunity to lay down and talk like that. I doubt she would’ve been still long enough to talk for so long about things like that otherwise. Hopefully she’ll bounce back today and be back to her normal wound up self.