I posted this on September 25, 2010 at another one of my blogs. You can see a little bit of how life was like for us as a family. My middle daughter was once selectively mute, which is a social anxiety disorder that prevented her from speaking in certain social situations, like school, and with strangers. At this point in time, she was recovered enough (without resorting to antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications) to talk to her teachers and classmates, but she still couldn’t speak to strangers.
This is one of my favorite stories to tell.
Life is H-A-R-D with highly sensitive kids. Especially if you are a highly sensitive parent. Doubly especially if you are the type of parent that doesn’t drink alcohol to soothe jangled nerves from parenting sensitive kids who melt down frequently.
Middle daughter’s behavior has taken a turn for the worse since school began. She’s more prone to meltdowns again. Come to think of it, youngest daughter, too, has had an increase in tearful upsets since school began. And she hardly eats at school because their never seems to be enough time to eat without major dawdling/talking with friends, which contributes to her upsets (because she’s always tired and hungry but refuses to eat making her more tired and hungry – hypoglycemia sets in and makes her cranky and stubborn).
We went on a family outing today at a beautiful forest preserve near a local lake to meet for a church group fall festival/picnic. We planned ahead since we knew it was going to be a cool day. The girls wore long pants, t-shirts, socks, gym shoes and sweaters. Last Tuesday it was in the 80s, and the girls were wearing shorts. Today, merely 4 days later, it turned out to be only in the upper 50s. Despite what we thought was good enough advanced planning, we didn’t account for super-sensitive-to-cold-weather kids and how quick these drastic changes in weather happen. Actually, we simply forgot. We always forget our kids’ thresholds for tolerating cold and pain are nearly zilch. Usually we don’t remember until the first brisk day of fall, which ended up being today.
dummies good parents…we tried to make the best of it. Amidst the whining and the crying and the “I want to go home mommy”, we stayed at the outing – a function my new friend the dental hygienist invited us to. Some young male church member tried to engage middle daughter by talking to her while she was sitting next to dad, all cuddled up next to him because she was cold and sad, asking her questions. And then she turned and buried her face in dad’s side. I knew that could only mean one thing. I got between them and the young man, and gently turned her chin towards me. I saw her tear-stained face and asked her if she was scared of the young man who talked to her and she nodded.
I forget, when she is cold and hungry and in a new social environment, there’s bound to be difficulties. I forget, that even though she’s ‘over’ being selectively mute, new social settings are still challenging. I forget, that even though I treat her as if she is a typical child, she’s still not quite typical.
It’s hard to remember these things when I’m in a new social setting with my highly sensitive children. There’s so much activity going on that I myself get a little overwhelmed. I go on hyper-alert too, waiting for the next upset. I’m a highly sensitive person just like they are.
It’s not always a bad thing.
Today the hyper-alert state paid off (again*).
After I calmed my middle child, I sat down next to her and scooted her close to me. I hugged her and then lean forward to ask my husband if he wanted a soda. And as I was looking at him, the BIGGEST Daddy Long Legs Spider ever was crawling on his jacket collar and ambling its way up to his hair. YIKES!!!!
Yep. It was a big-’un.
In what I’m told was an awesome Ninja move on my part, I shrieked (like a ninja warrior, not like a girl), jumped up and took the water bottle I’d been holding in my hand and swiped the large spider off his neck and it flew onto the picnic table top behind him. Simultaneously, I clambered up on top of the table and took my shoe and squashed the Daddy Long Legs. It was nothing but a smear on the table when I got done with him (I kind of felt bad about that).
When it was all over, I answered the questions about what happened because all most people saw (including the church pastor I’d met just a half an hour before) was some crazy lady jumping up and stomping on a picnic table.
Most people agreed that was an awesome ninja move and were highly impressed when they found out I saved my husband from such a terrible spider. And I admit, I was pretty darn proud of my quick thinking and even quicker moves, and sparing my husband a major ick experience (because I don’t know about you…if I were to see a huge spider crawling on me out of the corner of MY eye, I’d be flipping out).
I guess this should be one for the record. Most times I really can’t stand my high sensitivities, but I have to say at times, they have been a blessing waiting to happen.
* in Super-Mom/Ninja Warrior fashion, I saved two of my daughters from falls off high places when they were younger. I caught my oldest daughter when she went tumbling down the stairs of the second story deck off the back of our home while I was talking to someone about putting new siding on our house. I caught her the second she stepped off the deck even though I had to run up 10 stairs first and lunged for her to do it, and I caught youngest daughter when she fell off a tall metal slide at the park and she landed in my arms.
Do you think I could put Awesome Ninja Warrior as a job entry on my resume?