There are four of them living in my house. Four beautiful, creative, curious, and extremely sensitive children who live under our roof. It really is a blessing, most of the time.
Most of the time, I love that they are able to empathize with others. Most of the time, I love how sweet they are to each other. Most of the time… But then there are the other times, times when their sensitivities are just too much for my sensitivities and we have a clash of sensitivities.
I am sensitive to loud noises, so are Little Man, Curly Que and Itty Bitty. Curly Que and Itty Bitty are also sensitive to touch. All four of them are emotionally sensitive…like a trigger that is bound to go off at any moment.
Here is how the three clash:
“Itty Bitty, why are you wearing that swimsuit? You can’t wear a swimsuit to the grocery store, lets put on pants”
-I apparently grabbed the wrong pair of pants because Itty Bitty is now howling.
Curly Que enters the room, “Why is she screaming? It hurts my ears”
Me, “Because the pants are the wrong ones…”
Curly Que is now also screaming because Itty Bitty’s screaming hurts her ears which in turn hurts my ears and so I loose it and yell at the both of them to go to their rooms to quiet down while I head to the floor farthest away.
Meanwhile, Little Miss and Little Man are fighting over who gets to comfort mommy, who is obviously upset, and are now both crying and hitting each other because the other one is hurting their feelings by trying to help me with mine. I yell at them to go to their room too and I hide in the basement and unpack boxes for a while.
Eventually we all calm down and talk it out but that’s just one of the many occasions that could occur on any given day.
Here is another, more emotionally based, example:
“Mommy, can we watch a movie about France?”Little Miss asks politely.
“Ok, which one do you want to watch?”
Little Man joins the conversation, “We’ve never seen The Hunchback of Notre Dame!”
Me, “I’m not too sure about that one, it might be too scary for you guys, there are bad guys who try to act like good guys and lots of hurting of other people just because they are different.”
“Mom! We can handle it, we are not babies.” The two cry in unison.
Me, “oh alright but if it starts to get too scary we can turn it off and watch The Aristocats instead.”
Now all four are on the couch, comfortably smothered with giant, soft blankets as we search through Netflix to find the requested movie.
We find it, we start it, and they ooh and ahhh over the opening music. Then enters Quasimodo’s parents and all of a sudden they leap forward. The blankets are tossed to the floor as all three lean into each other for support…and the questions start.
“Why is she running? She didn’t do anything wrong?”
“What’s sanctuary? Why does he want to hurt her?
“That’s just a baby, why is he calling it a monster?”
Then they all stop breathing for a moment and stare at me, even Itty Bitty is in shock.
“Why would anyone want to kill a baby?”
The movie continues but they are still stuck on that last question, until Quasimodo goes through the alphabet.
“Why is he treating him so badly?”
“Why can’t he go to the festival too”
This continues with me trying to answer each question along the way, until we get to the festival. By the time Quasimodo meets Esmerelda, they are done.
They can’t handle the idea that the bad guy is also supposed to be in charge of Justice. They can’t handle the way Quasimodo is treated. They can’t handle the way Esmerelda is treated by the guards, the very people who are supposed to protect others. They still can’t get over the concept that anyone would hurt a baby just because of how he looks. It’s all just too much for them so we switch movies and watch The Aristocats. Everything is better, for now, but those questions will keep popping up over the next week.
What always confuses others, is that these same children will watch Avengers three times in a row, that is not scary to them, its entertaining. The concepts are great but good clearly has an advantage the whole time…The Hulk is good, the Captain is good, Iron Man is good – arrogant and self centered but still good and that is the difference for them. Corruption, injustice, Racism…evil that hides under the guise of good gets them every, single, time. They already know that stuff is real but they don’t want to, they reacted to The Hunchback in the same way that they respond to the news, so much so that we have stopped watching the news when they are awake. We only listen to NPR in the car when its a show, we switch stations during the news, because the news is too much for them at this age…they just understand too much.
My kids are just sensitive, beautifully and annoyingly sensitive. They know it too. They know that not everyone sees and feels the world the way they do, but they know that they are not alone in it either, mostly because everyone in our house is like that. They may need extra blankets at night, they may refuse to wear socks unless there is snow on the ground… they may refuse to use automatic toilets in public and cry when there are no paper towels. The may come crying to me because a sister said they don’t care about me anymore… but they will also spend an hour giggling and kissing each others arm “just in case there is a booboo” and that is when its beautiful. They care deeply about other people. They care deeply about each other. They want to save the world and cure all the sicknesses. They want to save all the animals, even the poisonous ones.
It may drive others nuts, it may confuse them… but to me they are like flowers, beautifully sensitive flowers.
This post is a part of the GHF May Blog Hop about Perfectionism and other Gifted/2E Quirks.