(2016) It’s the morning of the Valentine’s day party. My 7-year-old 2e daughter is getting ready for school. She wakes up “flappy” and crabby and starts right in with yelling at me and vocalizing and screeching. She needs constant directives and still fights every step of the way. She refuses to go to school. She flails and fights and scratches. I somehow manage to get her to school, but we’re both crying and then have a day apart filled with regret and anger and disconnection.
(2018) It’s the morning of the Valentine’s day party. My 9-year-old 2e daughter is getting ready for school. She’s beginning to feel a little “flappy” and I’m beginning to brace myself for a rocky morning. Suddenly, I hear a “wah!”, feel a little head crash into my chest, and hear my daughter say, “Mom, I hate holidays. Everything at school is different and I feel so icky on these days.” We hug and regulate and plan and carry on.
(2015) It’s a summer day. My 7-year-old 2e daughter plays in the sprinklers. After 10 minutes she is overstimulated and starts attacking her younger brother. Her arms are around his neck and she’s not letting go and his skin is turning a shade of red then purple that is terrifying. I manage to get him free and spend the next many hours trying to maintain safety.
(2017) It’s a summer day. My 9-year-old 2e daughter plays in the sprinklers. After 10 minutes she starts to get bossier and yells more at her younger brother. With a suggestion, she puts in earplugs and sits on my lap for just a few minutes while I give her pressure and shoulder rubs. She goes back to play.
(2015) It’s my 2e daughter’s 7 year old birthday party. She is excited and then angry and then happy and then raging and then bored and then out of control. We threaten to cancel the party numerous times. She screeches and screams. She pulls it together for the party. She meltsdown after an hour and a half and all family slowly make a quiet and uncomfortable exit and we’re left to try to pick up the pieces.
(2017) It’s my 2e daughter’s 9 year old birthday party. She is excited. She says she’s excited. She decides to watch something alone in her room to have some quiet and be fully charged so she can tolerate all the activity of her party. She is pleasant and hospitable to her guests for the whole party. 15 minutes after her last guest leaves, she has a mini-melt-down, is escorted to her room and calms after 15 minutes.
(2016) It’s a Sunday. We’ve been to church and my 2e 7 year old daughter leaves the church service by bolting out into the street, pulling at us and yanking us and refusing to listen to us. We drive home with her screeching and unbuckling and hitting the entire 15 minute drive. We get home and attempt to help her regulate, but we have 4 hours of non-stop meltdown and holds and being called horrible names and tears and I find myself collapsed on my knees in another room screaming out to any God or anyone who will listen that I just can’t do this anymore.
(2018) It’s a Sunday. We’ve been to church and my 2e 9 year old daughter leaves with her ear defenders and weighted vest securely on her body. She is flappy and overstimulated. We get home and she immediately rests alone in her room. We eat. She melts down. We get her to her room. She spends 15 minutes screaming and throwing things in her room and then it is quiet. A few minutes later a piece of paper is slid under her doorway to me. It is an apology and a love letter written in my child’s scribbly handwriting. In it she asks for snuggles. I go in and we snuggle and hug it out. Actually hug it out and actually snuggle.
I don’t know what your 2e journey, or the rest of ours, will look like, but I know there’s hope. It doesn’t feel like it in the midst of the overwhelm somedays, but there’s hope. It took therapy and learning about our daughter’s wiring and us parents getting on the same page and grieving and bandaids and explaining to our sons and explaining to our daughter and tears and blood and sweat and arguments and love and compassion and new parenting styles, but there’s hope.
Need more hope & light? Check out the other inspiring posts in this month's GHF bloghop.