Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Oh Silence, Blessed Be

I don't even know how to start this so I guess I'm just going to jump in. I'll offer a warning that this is an Autism-related rant, so if you're not interested then just pass on by. I'm in no mood for criticism or unsympathetic ears.

I'm very frustrated and pouty right now. I'm feeling overwhelmed and wishing for a solid five minutes of silence. I need time alone. Time to be quiet and selfish. It has been a rough day and the breadcrumbs lead back to Princess #2 who, as I've mentioned in the past, has Asperger's Disorder which falls on the Autism Spectrum. She's been having a rough day, and by extension I am too. Her rough days affect everyone.

It's been getting gradually worse daily this week ever since Saturday when she realized that she actually was not going to get a sleep-over with her best friend. We're at the point in the week where she can get excited about going camping with friends this weekend, and yes that includes her best friend too. She wants it now. Not Friday, but now. Immediately.

Today her triggers have been plentiful, and that means that she's been very excitable and antsy. It means that her temper is short, and her ability to obey takes a nosedive. It also means that when she gets upset, she's feeling it in a very magnified fashion and it sends her into orbit. She screams and screeches and wails in this inhuman, deep throated demon scream and tears instantly pour down her face. It's hard to calm her down. She may or may not want comforting from me, and unless she flings her arms around me it's really not easy to tell when she's receptive to anything besides self-soothing.

Today there has been much arm and hand flapping. She's even plopped herself down on the floor or the couch to wave her feet as she wildly flails her arms and hands. It's sort of… hyper but not. It's hard to explain. She does it when she's angry and when she's extremely happy or excitable. If you're in her vicinity when she does this or her hopping-like-a-bunny-on-crack move, you have to back away or risk injury. Especially if the trigger sets off her temper.

There's been a lot of sensory seeking behavior today. Well, there's always a lot but on days like today there are more than usual. She decided that eating sticks of butter would be nice. She's drunk about a half cup of straight lemon juice from the bottle. She keeps trying to chew ice cubes. She pillaged Princess #1's room a couple of hours ago and found some mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. She ate probably a dozen or so, if the chocolate around her mouth was any indication. The problem is that even just one or two of them will give her what we call Lactose Tummy. She's lactose intolerant, and most chocolate has milkfat, milk, and butterfat. This means her stomach feels badly, and she feels nauseated. It also means she has painful gas, surprising and painful diarrhea, and painful cramping in her intestines. It's not pleasant for someone without sensory problems. Jack it up by about 179% for someone who is Autistic.

Yeah, it's been pleasant here for the past couple of hours. Unfortunately, she told me too late that she'd had the chocolate and I couldn't give her any of her Lactaid tablets. They wouldn't have worked.

Right before Mr. His Highness got home from work, she had a major meltdown. Huge. I took her into my room and asked her to lay down on my bed with me. She decided to snuggle, even while extremely upset, and she let me give her a gentle face massage. She was fidgety and it was hard for her to listen and obey to calm down, but she tried repeatedly. It took an hour, but I got her calm enough to hold hands and giggle. Her outbursts since then have been more low-key, but my ears feel like they're going to start bleeding from the abuse they've taken.

It's now 8:08 PM and it feels like it's 11:00. They're resisting bed time, but last night was worse. They wouldn't get to bed until almost 10:00. They're mostly up there right now, and I suspect it'll take a while to settle down. As long as they don't come back downstairs I'll be fine, but I'm a frayed nerve right now. Of course, Princess #3 came down for water a moment ago, and now Princess #2 is back as well. She's quiet, walking aimlessly, waiting for her little sister to go back up since they share a room. Some say, "Oh it's summertime! Let them stay up!" Not when they haven't been letting me sleep much this week, and I wake up in the middle of the night and early morning to find extra bodies lying in my bed, kicking and elbowing and practically tossing me from my own bed.

So all day today, even when Princess #2 was at first grade summer session, which we're still calling First Grade Day Camp just so she'll agree to go and continue her academic support and therapies, I had chatty one-sided conversations with the other two Princesses. Princess #1 runs a pretty constant commentary all day every day. Questions, statements, stories, observations, whining, complaints… everything is voiced because every thought is important to be expressed. I love her freedom, but man it's tiring. And sometimes, just sometimes, it's also hard on Princess #2. Her ears are very sensitive and nonstop talking and noise is just as upsetting and painful to her as putting your hand on a hot grill. Then, if she's in pain, so are you because she has to scream and wail and cry to cover up what she perceives as painful noises.

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