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Saturday, March 2, 2013

The stunned look

When I picked up Janey on Thursday from afterschool, as soon as I walked in the door, I saw a look on many faces that I was very familiar with.  It's a look I've seen on my own face, on Tony's face, on almost anyone's face that has been around Janey during one of her extremely tough spells.  It's the stunned look.

Janey had had a terrible day at school and afterschool.  From the various reports, she scratched her neck in anger until it was all scratched up, she screamed her blood-curdling scream off and on for hours, she flung back her head while riding the bike she loves to ride usually, making riding it unsafe---she just plain melted down all day long.

When these storms come with Janey, there is nothing anyone can do but keep her safe, as the afterschool director said.  After all these years, they are still stunning for me to watch, and so I understood those looks.  They aren't the regular Janey---thank God.  Even though the people at school are all with Janey a great deal, they haven't all seen many of these spells, and some probably not at all.  And so they get the look---I would say it's close to the look you get after witnesses some scene of horror, almost.

The amazing people at school dealt well with Janey during this spell.  I wish I had more to offer them for ideas.  There really aren't any ideas or helpful things.  You just have to ride it out.  I have no idea what was up with her.  We all worry she's sick, or something is hurting her.  She screamed a huge part of the ride home, a large part of the evening, and then slept well and got up fairly cheerful, or I would have considered keeping her home, just to give everyone at school a break, although people always tell me I don't need to do that (thanks, Amy!)   But she was mostly recovered.  She was off and on at school, from reports, but nothing like Thursday.  She has a few screaming times last night, but actually ended the night snuggling in my lap, which is pretty rare and was wonderful, and she woke up early this morning as cheery as a girl can be.

It's hard on everyone when Janey gets a spell.  That's why the look comes up.  You think you're getting her, you are understanding her, she's developing a routine, things are going well.  And then out of the blue---she's screaming, she's scratching herself, she's banging her head, she's turning red with fury and frustration, and absolutely nothing you say or do can help.  It defies the logic we like to think we have as parents and caregivers.  It's like witnessing a bad storm.  You just get stunned.  And it passes, and you relax, and think again you've got a handle on it, and then it stuns you all over again.  If only I could understand you better, Janey, and help you avoid those storms.

1 comment:

audball said...

Suzanne, many hugs to you….this is hard for everyone in the family and at school. Sometimes we have the reserves to deal with things, and sometimes not…sounds like you were okay and the staff managed to navigate Janey's episodes okay as well.

I was wondering if she may be experiencing growing pains? My kids have been pretty okay with the occasional body ache or headache, but I have a friend whose daughter was in such pain from growth spurts that she was regularly taking OTC pain-relievers. She missed some days of school and had difficulty walking even. Is it possible Janey may be going through a (painful) growth spurt?