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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Storms and the Calm

Janey is having a rough night tonight.  Every half hour or so, she is screaming, that deafening scream that is fairly new, that is the alternative to the daylong crying it seems to have mostly replaced.  The crying was sad, but the screaming is angry, furious, and we are never sure why.

Much of the summer has been terrific so far.  Janey is talking better than ever, although we hold our breath about that, because her talking ebbs and flows.  But she is saying many more complete sentences---where she used to say something like "purple!" now she'll say "I want some purple ice cream, please!" or if I say "Maybe we'll go to the grocery store after school" she'll say "After school we might go to the store!" turning what I said around a little.  These kinds of sentences are still rare, but not shockingly rare any more, at least over the last month.  The other day, Tony said "We'll have to try to find Uncle Pino at the store" and Janey said "I know where she is!"  mixing up the pronoun, but delightfully responsive!  This morning, she looked around for William, who is in Maine for a few days, and said "Worms!  Where are you?" (Worms being a nickname I sometimes call William)  It was great, both that she noticed he was gone and that she verbally expressed that.

However, the storms come on suddenly and severely.  We can be having a perfectly good day, and suddenly, Janey screams, bites her arm and gets hysterical.  It's scary.  It was like what Mother Nature did yesterday as I was driving to pick up Janey at school---an amazing heavy rain came on and within minutes, the streets were flooded and I was fearing for my life.  An hour later, there was barely evidence anything had happened.  That's Janey.

I am working on figuring out a cause for these storms.  Sometimes, I have a good idea.  After school today, I took Janey into the library.  We have a usual routine there---we pick up the books I have held at the desk.  I order books online to come to my branch library, and Janey knows that routine.  This time, however, there was a book I wanted that I knew was in the stack there, so Janey and I walked into the dark and a tiny bit creepy stacks to get it.  She was okay at first, but when we got back to the desk to then get the held books, she lost it.  I had messed everything up.  She screamed her piercing scream, and I was glad that we were in a place we've been often before, so at least the workers, if not particularly sympathetic, at least knew Janey and had seen her in such action a few times before.  I did my patter, saying to Janey "We did something different, didn't we?  Mama should have told you ahead of time we were going to do that" and Janey screamed "Mama SHOULD HAVE TOLD YOU!"  I am not sure if that was echolalia or her true feelings, but I should have.  Other times, though, I have no idea what caused the storm.  I try to work like a detective, and sometimes do come up with a theory.  I've figured out any mention of dogs, even if the dogs aren't shown, sets her off.  She is truly terrified of them, and hearing a distant bark, one I might not even much notice, can be a problem.  Sometimes, though, even my best guesses and detection come up with nothing.  I figure Janey is thinking about or remembering something upsetting at those times, or has something stuck in her head, or has a pain someplace, or who knows what.

I feel like we are in a transitional period with Janey.  I am seeing her mature a lot this summer, but maturing doesn't necessarily being getting more mainstream.  It means she is becoming more aware of the world, and that might be a very tough thing for a girl that sees she doesn't quite fit in it, a girl with fears and thoughts and routines and ideas that are hard for her to express.  I think we are in for a lot of flash floods, hopefully often followed by the brightness of a world after the storm.

1 comment:

Sophie's Trains said...

I think greater self-awareness always brings some negative feelings, even neurotypical teenagers get moody and weepy as their perceptions change from those of a child to that of a young adult. While it is more convenient to have a passive child, it is not a good thing, long term wise.
While Sophie could always be described as passive, after her regression she became downright apathetic. When she started to assert herself with little displays of fussing and tantruming we celebrated, as in "there's life in there!"
Janey sounds as if she's on the cusp of great growth. She's more perceptive and self-aware, she's able to name feelings. She might have some hormones starting their work too. Our girls are mysteries, but I think they hold beautiful secrets in them too.