When I picked Janey up yesterday, she was in a quiet mood. I didn't put music on in the car and I didn't try to talk to her, as she seemed to just need some down time. That lasted about half the car ride home, and then she started to laugh. And within moments, it turned from laughing to THAT laughing. The manic laughing. The laughing that I will go out on a limb and call the insane laughing, although that will forever brand me as a Bad Autism Mother.
One of Janey's teachers once told me she found the endless laughing tougher to take than the endless crying, and I loved hearing that. It validated a feeling I've often had. I don't know if I find the laughing tougher to take, as I am particularly sensitive to crying, but the laughing is in a lot of ways more unsettling. Crying, although it's horrible to witness and heartbreaking, is understandable in a way. We all have sad feelings, and Janey doesn't have a lot of ways to express those feelings, and she gets very frustrated, I am sure, and she cries. But the laughing? It seems to come from no-where. It isn't in response to something funny, or anything funny I can see. It just seems like some brain artifact, something organic and something scarily wrong. I'm being very, very frank here. It's endless, like a hearty laugh over a funny TV scene, but extended for hours and hours and hours.
Last night, it lasted until Janey went to sleep, from about 5 to 8. Whenever she wasn't actively laughing, she was making her AHHHahhhAHHHahhh sound. We were having a tense night, trying to get things completed we needed to finish for William's financial aide applications, and it was very, very hard to concentrate on anything with the laughing and sounds. You can at least try to comfort someone that is crying, but when they are laughing endlessly, what do you do? I helplessly ask "What is funny, Janey?" but of course she doesn't answer. I ask her if she can be a little quieter. Again, just asked for something to say, as Janey in no way gets that or responds. Freddy finally can't take it any more and tells her to shut up. That is the kind of thing a sibling can say, but a parent can't. She ignores him too, of course.
And I feel ridden with guilt writing about this. How can I be so cruel as to be annoyed with Janey for LAUGHING? And I respond to myself---let anyone try it. After a while, they will lose all their understanding, their acceptance, their noble determination to be the right kind of autism mother, the kind that only celebrates the differences, that doesn't judge, that is endlessly understanding and calm and perfect, and they will just feel like screaming. I challenge them not to. God durn it, I accept Janey, I love her, I do my best, but I am not perfect. And the laughing, oh, the laughing....