Something is going on with Oldest. Since Thursday last she has had four episodes, for lack of a better term, the fourth occurring today at school.
Last Thursday it happened while at the doctor's office. She asked me what a picture was on the wall. After I examined the picture and turned back to explain to her that it was a cartoon of a germ, she was face down on the exam table with her face buried in her hands. She was hysterical and refused to open her eyes or let me put her down. She claimed to be tired. I had to lift her face so the doctor could examine her. I had to carry her out of the building. When I inquired what happened she again said, "I am tired."
Sunday while we were at church waiting for our turn to process to the altar to receive communion she buried her face in my lap, refusing to par take in communion. When I asked her what was wrong her response was, "I am tired. Are we going home now?" There was another parishioner two rows ahead of us with a large port wine stain on her face. Did this cause her discomfort? She wouldn't acknowledge me when I inquired, "I'm tired," she said again.
Last night she told me that she was going upstairs to go potty. Not her usual practice. I scanned the downstairs bathroom looking for offending items and didn't find any. Upon her return downstairs I said, "I know why you like to use the bathroom upstairs, you like the smell of the soap!" When I began my declaration her hands flew up and she stuck her fingers in her ears. When it was time to brush teeth she stood in the doorway of the bathroom. Wanting to see if she would step in further I held her toothbrush so that she would have to come into the bathroom to retrieve it. She retreated to just outside the bathroom and covered her head with her blankie. I scanned the bathroom again and noticed a magazine open to a page with a picture of a dragon fly. I closed the magazine and told her it was all gone. She was happy as a lark.
I picked her up from school today. Usually her teacher stands at the door and lets the kids come out when she sees the parent. Today, however, I noticed she was wearing shorts that she didn't wear to school and her teacher kept on walking. Hmmm. Ms. J reported to me that she had an accident in the bathroom. AND that she really really missed me today. She was hysterical at school tears and all. When asked what was wrong she told her teachers, "I'm tired. I didn't get enough sleep last night. I miss mom." I shared all that I am sharing here with Ms. J. It provided her with some insight but she doesn't know what, if anything, precipitated this episode. She was her usual chatter box on the way to her friends house.
We spent the evening together and she was her usual loving, curious, funny, articulate self. What lies beneath that she can't tell me, I don't know. What does she fear? Can she not express what she fears? Is she afraid that I will belittle her fear? Is she embarrassed of her feelings?
For now we will just watch and wait. We will continue to provide her a safe place for her to share when she is ready and we will comfort her when she is scared.