For as much progress as my 5 year old daughter has made, I wish I could say we never have problems anymore. It’s a part of her highly sensitive nature and her introverted need to have plenty of recovery time from over-stimulating events.
But the truth is every so often, we still have a string of days were things go from bad to worse. It seems like this happens following every holiday. We have smooth sailing for a while, then a holiday comes and we spend 3 days recovering from it and things get worse before they get better.
This Easter we spent time at both my husbands’ mothers house, and my mom’s house on the same day. Then on Monday, we visited my friends and their new baby, and my sister and her two sons. Tuesday we had a field trip to the environmental center for her preschool, where they learned about recycling, made crafts, looked at the fish in the indoor trout pond, and played on a treehouse/slide where she decided she didn’t want to go and I lost her for a full 5 minutes (she was squashed into a corner, stuck because there were too many kids blocking her passage back down the stairs – fortunately though she looked upset, she didn’t cry or freak out). After the field trip, we had time for a quick lunch at the local fast food joint and made it back in time for her to go to her afternoon early intervention preschool. I should have just canceled it and kept her home.
Needless to say, with all this business, three things haven’t happened consistently: routine, eating plenty of protein, and downtime. Because of this, meltdowns have been increasing again, and my patience has been wearing thin. It’s my own damn fault. I know better.
I know she’s (probably) a reactive hypoglycemic. I probably am too. I know that I get irritable if I don’t eat protein. I know she has a high metabolism – she’s my most slender one. Whether because there’s some definite link between being highly gifted and hypoglycemia as is suggested in Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children and Adults, or it’s merely a function of simply being highly sensitive and everything in general affects her more, I’m not entirely sure, though I suspect it’s a little from both.
The thing is, even when I try to feed her as soon as possible or immediately when we get home, there’s a bit of a power struggle there, as she rejects suggestions to eat from a list of choices (hard boiled egg, cheese stick, yogurt, fish sticks) or delays putting the food in her mouth that would help her calm down. It’s maddening, and my frustration doesn’t help things because I raise my voice that she has to eat something, then she wails from me being harsh, then I get angry because the high pitched sounds emanating from her are my trigger points for my extreme sensitivity to sound issue. I banish her to her room to continue wailing, at which point the wails get even louder, making me want to climb the walls.
And this emotional tide persists for a little while, until I get over myself and reduce my frustration, and try to talk with her. I hate that I fall prey to the emotions I have and let them overtake me, but I realize that a lot of it has to do with not being watchful to my own feelings and work on them before they get out of hand. I have books for that, only my application of the things I’ve learned isn’t always there when I need it. I think I need to review my copy of The Explosive Child and Kids Parents and Power Struggles for a refresher course in getting a handle on my own emotions.
This is not how I want it to be. I am an attached parent, a sensitive parent, a parent who strives to be an emotion coach to my daughter, who is just like me and needs kind and gentle guidance, not rejection and harsh words.
I’m human, at risk for the same failings as any other imperfect soul on this earth.
I keep trying though. Every day is a new chance to do it better. Right?