Friday, February 04, 2011

The Meaning of Hugs and Kisses

His lips brush my cheek, ever so lightly, yet with careful deliberation. The child has appeared from nowhere, materialized into my space.

"You're my sweet goo goo," he half-whispers, a sort of stage whisper he has acquired for these kinds of moments. Perhaps he means to whisper, but is instead using the tones demonstrated to encourage him to whisper in certain contexts. I could go into the origins of the odd intimate-title, but it would be pointless, the origins have no meaning into his use of the words now. He pauses for the expected and anticipated reply.

"You are my sweet Joey-Boy," I complete the exchange with a kiss on his cheek. He rubs his face on mine, nose-to-nose, cheek-to-cheek, then brushes the lips again.

"My sweet goo goo," he repeats. He leans his head against me a moment. Then he is gone, back to play his Poptropica or with his Toy Story figurines.

In the midst of anxiety and craziness, Joey has also hit a lovey-stage. He wants lots of hugs, lots of attention, lots of closeness. He is doing this to one of his teachers, too. As Andy has hit the "Mom-leave-me-alone" stage, having Joey to smooch on is lovely; but like so many other shifts in behavior and attitude, I worry. Is he feeling lonely, or left out, or needy, or somehow downtrodden? Does he need the deep pressure, or the attention, or both? Is this another sign of depression?

I try to make no snap assumptions, but try to give him what he is asking for- lots of hugs and kisses, lots of assurances that he is still a sweet, handsome, intelligent person. I take the opportunity of having him so close to my face to give him specific praise ("I was so proud of you for getting dressed so nicely this morning!", "Thank you for throwing out your chip bag, that is so helpful!", "I saw you got a 100% on your math quiz, great job!") I let him run his hands and face over mine, an exploration that he has delighted in since he was a babe. I so desperately want him to know he is so very loved, so treasured, so wonderful.

I want him to carry that understanding with him even when this lovey-dovey mood is gone. I will miss it.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Happy New Year: Year of the Tooth Fairy!

It's the Year of the Rabbit! I hope it means lots of ice cream, not lots of lost teeth.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Sensory Overload and the Red Cheek Wonder

Everyone knows Joey gets red cheeks. One of the signs of him going into sensory overload is that his cheeks flame with color. It isn't just too much of everything everywhere; there can also be an intensity of sensory input that can send him into Red Cheek Wonder. Combined with his naturally pink cheeks, he would be an excellent poster child for Campbell's Soup.

He's just like his Mom.

I have to be careful about going to movie theaters. The overload can give me a high fever, and almost always gives me the cheek flush. The other thing that drives my blood pressure to flaming? Meetings. Trying to listen to not only what is being said, but what is being said between the lines, what is not being said, what is being meant but not actually said, the implications of the ideas being said, especially in a meeting where all those things can have consequences for my Joey or my Andy?


So I sat there this evening trying to pretend my cheeks weren't burning and my temperature was not going through the roof, listening intensely to the changes being proposed for the middle school here (where Joey will have to be in two more years). Then I got in my little tweets into ears about the miscommunications about Joey's therapist coming in for observation, and that I would like to come in for observation next week. I sometimes wonder if others can tell when I am in overload, or if they just assume I have very red cheeks like Joey all the time. I bet they don't know that the red cheeks are a sign of overload. They probably think it is something else, like being nervous or not being truthful.

I wonder how often Joey goes through his days as I went through this evening, trying to function through the overload, trying to follow everything and process it without being fully overwhelmed. Only he has processing issues I don't think I have, making it that much harder for him to get through.