Ever since we started therapy your meltdowns have gotten longer and more intense. Ms. Kelley warned me that you would become more aggravated and overwhelmed because you are driven by routine and when we change what you are used to you become anxious. I have learned to stop and take in our environment using all of my senses. When you are sleeping I try to enter your world. I sit in the middle of the living room and I look around making sure that my surroundings aren’t distracting. I make sure that there aren’t too many toys out because that overwhelms you. You feel more comfortable when you have one or two choices instead of a gazillion ones. I look at the walls and the colors in the poppy’s that are painted and framed. They are a gorgeous red and my eyes are drawn to them. There is a bookshelf with all of my books that I have left lined up, staggering. The sun shines in the window and it is bright and hot.
I sit in silence listening. I notice sounds that I never realized were there. The quiet hum of the refrigerator, the woosh of the air conditioning, the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse playing one of your favorite episodes, noises from Zachary and Gwens room, the washing machine running…. All at once. I am so amazed at how well you handle all of these sounds being processed in your amazing brain at once. I imagine it is loud and jumbled and irritating. No wonder you have to have white noise when you sleep. The silence must be literally deafening to your tiny ears.
I close my eyes and breathe in through my nose smelling all of the smells that are so familiar to me that I hardly notice them. I smell the cinnamon candle that is lit, the lotion that I put on earlier, remnants of breakfast made earlier, Gwen’s shampoo… So many smells that I just didn’t realize were present in our everyday lives. Is it too much for you? Does it give you a headache?
I sit and focus on how my body feels in this space. Is it too hot or too cold? Do I feel a draft from the vents? Is the carpet comfortable or do the fibers irritate your skin?
Oliver today when I was pulling you in your wagon around the neighborhood the wind was just enough to make you smile, but when three cars drove by us, two going one way and one going the other, I saw something in your eyes that I have not seen before. I saw your thought processes. I saw anxiety and I could tell the moment overwhelmed you. You quickly recovered and didn’t make a peep but the look on your face an in your eyes will haunt me. I will do whatever I have to do to make sure that I never see that look on your face ever again. I will work as hard as I have to. I promise to do everything I can to make sure that your world isn’t so overwhelming. I will work to find ways to help you cope. I will teach you over and over and over until I am sure that you understand and I will be your advocate. You are amazing. I am not sure that I could handle your world on a daily basis. Now I understand that when you are in a meltdown you just cannot function and you are shutting down and you don’t know how to express your needs and you are frustrated and I am SO sorry. I will hug you tight as long as you will let me. I will be there even when you don’t want me to be. Oh my God how I love you.