My six year old has been lying in bed, wailing about her eye for forty-five minutes. Evidently, there is a speck (presumably the size of Noah’s Ark) in there.
When I say “lying in bed” of course what I actually mean is climbing down from her top bunk every three or four minutes to wander the upstairs hallway, one hand clasped over her eye, the other extended before her, looking for all the world like a scene straight out of The Walking Dead set to a scream track from a 1980s slasher film.
I sound unsympathetic?
Fifty minutes ago she was screaming about the OTHER eye.
Clearly, we have a rare case of jumping eye junk running rampant in the girls’ room.
This is not unusual here. Little Juliette seems to have a quota of tears/whining/disconsolation that she must meet before she can call it a day. Ordinarily, she does us the favor (?) of spreading it out evenly from morning to night, but today was just too beautiful for anyone to work up a bad mood. So we got to have it all in one shot – like a massive vaccination required for a trip we never wanted to take.
The last time I put her to bed, even her 4-year-old sister said, “Again, Juliette? Seriously?”
Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.
Now, before you think I’m harshing on my kid, let me state for the record that Juliette is AMAZING. She loves to write elaborately illustrated stories. She spends hours making furniture for the fairies in our yard. She choreographs elaborate dances to perform with her little sisters. She loves Star Wars and sticks out her tongue at the boys in Kindergarten who tell her she should like Barbie instead. When she is happy she is SUPER happy. “This is the BEST DAY EVER!” she exclaims at least three times a week.
But when she is not happy…
She cries about her socks EVERY.SINGLE.MORNING. Not just for a minute or two, oh no. She’ll take her shoes off to “fix” her socks six times before we can leave the house. I put her in her Christmas tights THREE HOURS before church just to give her a chance to calm down before we had to leave. And don’t talk to me about, “Just skip the socks.” If she’s wearing flip flops she’ll cry about her pants, or her shirt, or her panties, just to make up for it.
Yes. I know. Sensitivity disorder.
But what’s a mama to do? The girl can’t go around buck naked, and NOTHING is comfortable enough.
If, by some miracle, she’s not being plagued by her clothing, she still finds herself at the mercy of her big, big feelings.
Sometimes it’s almost funny. Driving through town, I’ll hear squabbling from the back seat.
Juliette: “Fine! I’m not playing with you anymore!”
Celia: “Fine! I’m not playing with YOU anymore!”
Juliette: (Bursting into tears) “Mama!!!! Celia says she’s not going to play with me anymore!”
Me: “Yes, but didn’t you just say that to her?”
Juliette: “Yes, but she hurt my FEELINGS and made me really SAD!!”
What do you even DO with that?
A couple days ago I went to Juliette’s school for a regularly scheduled parent-teacher conference. I’d sent a request for a consultation to the school counselor a week or so ago, and evidently, her classroom teacher had read it. In it, I’d mentioned Juliette’s teariness (I might have confessed that she cries at least 15 times a day), her clothing sensitivity, the stomachaches she complains of EVERY MORNING before school, how she says no one plays with her at recess.
Her teacher looked me dead in the eye and said, “I’ve seen NONE of that here. She’s happy, she plays with everyone, she never whines or complains, she laughs off difficulties, and she’s one of my top students.”
I felt like I’d just taken my car to the mechanic because it was shuddering like a mofo, and as soon as he got behind the wheel the damn thing drove like a dream.
I resisted the urge to shout, “I’m not crazy!”
Because, let’s face it – I might be just the tiniest bit crazy, but that’s not the issue here.
The issue is that I have pipsqueak who burns with the intensity of a supernova living right here under my roof and I’ve got ZERO idea how to deal with it.
Is she playing me?
Is she truly in distress?
I guess I’ll just keep whispering, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important,” into her ears and squirting saline solution into her eyes until I figure it out.