There are times when I realize that my oldest knows too much.
Like the other day when Howie was bouncing off the walls after school and Gerry asked me if he had had a good day at school. When I answered “Yes” he replied with “I could tell. He held it together all day at school and is letting it go now at home where it’s safe.”
And then there was tonight.
I was working on dinner. We had just received the call that school was cancelled for tomorrow due to the hurricane.
Gerry was on the couch about to start a game on the Playstation. Howie was rocking back and forth in his beloved green chair right next to the TV.
The verbal stimming had started. For Howie, this is his “silly words”. He yells out a string of nonsense words while he sits in the chair.
For the sensory avoiders in our house (my husband, Gerry and myself), the sounds are our trigger.
I’ve worked hard with Howie to remind him that he can make his silly words but he needs to either do it quietly or in another room if someone is trying to watch a show or play a game.
Many times, this scene ends with Gerry yelling at Howie to stop. Conflicting sensory overloads.
Gerry started. “Hey Howie!”
I braced myself.
“Hey Howie. I’m about to start my game. If you have silly words, can you let them all out now before I start a new level?”
“Okay,” came the answer. Followed by a thirty second long string of loud sounds and words.
“Thank you.” And Gerry started his game.
I still didn’t move.
About five minutes in, Howie looked at Gerry and said “Wait! I have more.”
Gerry paused his game. Howie let another string of sounds and words out. Then stopped.
Gerry turned to Howie. “Thank you for warning me. I appreciate it.”
He glanced over at me.
I mouthed “Thank you.”
And game playing started again.
I know I ask a lot of Gerry. And a lot of what I ask is conflicting and confusing. I ask him to understand his brother and tolerate his behaviors, yet I reprimand him when he steps into the role of parent. I want him to know why his brothers do what they do, but then ask him to do things that go against his own sensory sensitivities.
My kid takes on more than he should and yet I need him to.
Tonight, he showed acceptance and understanding. And in the most loving way possible.
“Not enough love and understanding
We could use some love to ease these troubled times
Not enough love and understanding
Why, oh why?
We need some understandin’
We need a little more love
Some love and understandin‘” – Love and Understanding by Cher