I know I shouldn’t let my feelings be hurt by this, but my middle daughter has been nonverbal today. I should probably clarify that. She’s been mostly nonverbal today. The few times Gracie‘s been verbal have been to speak with Anna. That’s it. She’s not even really talking into the air like she sometimes does, making her occasional observations or statements and hoping or expecting someone to hear her and respond. She’s just in her own little world. When I’ve tried to speak to her today she gets agitated and annoyed with me. She’s pleasant with her little sister.
I can’t help but take that a little bit personally. Today I’m just the one that provides the food (chocolate peanut butter on honey wheat bread and peach crisp). She won’t answer direct questions. She won’t look me in the eye. She won’t even sit next to me on the couch. I have to communicate with her through her sister. “Anna, please ask Gracie if …” “Anna, what would Gracie like for …”
This is really typical behavior. Maybe I’m more sensitive to it today because I’m feeling more like I want to be closer to her today. I had a rough migraine weekend and two of my girls aren’t feeling well today. In fact we had to make a trip to the pediatrician this morning. She’s the only one who seems to be feeling well, but if I’m having another migraine (thank you, weather-that-can’t-decide-if-it-wants-to-rain-so-barometric-pressure-sucks-hard) chances are she may be having one too. She woke up two nights in a row asking for Advil for a headache. The entire weekend she was extra sensitive and moody and I had to make sure that she had plenty of sensory stimulation with her body brushing. I even took her body brush out with us and had to use it. She held my hand everywhere and stayed close by me without reminders, although in parking lots she decided she had to have Big Sister be her buddy. We use the Buddy System, mainly so I don’t have to count heads, but also because Gracie tends to be a wanderer.
Amazingly, when we went peach and apple picking she was a bit too nervous to wander. She became anxious if I moved out of her line of sight even if The Mister was in her sights and she could hear my voice. She had to be close by and hear me even while she was obsessed with finding “perfect fruit.”
Maybe that’s why I’m feeling a little hurt today. She was so… close to me this weekend. It’s not often that she lets me be physically close and hug her and hold her hand if it’s not for her sensory diet or therapeutic purposes so over the weekend, she really needed the contact and attention but now she’s pushing away for the same reasons. She needs distance for the same exact reasons she was needing me to stimulate her and soothe her. It’s hard to be pushed away when you instinctively know that your child needs to mothered yet she’s instinctively showing that she can’t handle it.
Honestly the hardest part about Autism sometimes is the communication barrier. I know my child better than anyone else in the world, sometimes better than she knows herself, and she’s still a mystery. Some days she can be a chatter box (comparatively speaking) while others she’s explosive and mouthy. She’s opened up a little bit while I’ve been writing this and she’s chattering away in the sun room with Anna while they play, being silly and loud. She won’t answer me when I talk to her, so hearing her interact with her sister will have to do.
I won’t take it personally. That would be like taking Autism and Sensory Integration Disorder personally, right?