Sensitive? Emotional? Hard to Calm? Our oldest daughter, Sydney, seems to be "wired" this way. Here are some examples of her super-sensitivity:
- From the day she was born, she cried whenever she saw or heard anyone else crying.
- You know how when most kids cry, they release some kind of chemical that makes them settle down and sleepy (why "Cry It Out" works so well)? Sydney is one of the 5% of kids who have the opposite reaction to crying. She gets more, and more, and more riled up until she nearly throws up. Needless to say, Cry It Out did not work for her, while it was perfect for her younger sister and brother.
- When she was eight months old, I bought her the cute book, Goodnight Gorilla. She started sobbing as soon as the zookeeper's wife took the animals back to the zoo. After that, she'd shook and cried if she even saw the cover. We hid the book on the bottom of a drawer. Six months later, she spotted it on the shelves at a bookstore. She grabbed every one off the shelf and threw them on the floor. There were several other children's books over the years that followed that made her too sad to look at.
- She was two the first time she heard the song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Giant teardrops ran down her cheeks.
- When her SIBLINGS get a shot at the doctor's office, Sydney cries longer and harder than they do. When SHE gets a shot, she's still crying an hour later.
- She came home from Kindergarten the other day and said she'd just seen the saddest movie ever. Charlotte's Web. I asked her why, and she exclaimed, "Everything in it is sad! They take the pig away from his family and he's lonely. They want to kill it. And worst of all, Charlotte dies in the end!" She was still thinking about it before bed that night, so it took her two hours to fall asleep.
- She can go from saying it is the "Best Day Ever!" to exclaiming it is the "Worst Day Ever!" in less than 30 seconds.
- When she was upset recently, she squeezed her neck so tight that there were finger marks on her skin the next day. If I hadn't been with her the whole weekend, I would have worried someone had tried to strangle her.
- Her dad made the mistake of saying he would be in heaven someday. Sydney was up until 10pm that night crying, wanting to know how she was going to be able to find him in heaven. He had to come up with a solution (a special key to help her find him) before she would settle down and go to sleep.
- It's not just her mind that's sensitive - her body appears to be super sensitive too. In the past six months, I can't recall a day without some kind of ailment - a headache, a stomach ache, her throat hurting, her tooth hurting, her ears hurting, her toe burning, etc., etc.
Sydney's life is like a roller-coaster ride. One minute she can be the happiest child on earth, the next she can spend an hour in tears over having to take a bath, or her sister being mean, or not wanting to run laps at school the next day. You never know what will set her off, but she finds a way to let something upset her at least once a day.
We've accepted that a "crisis" will happen daily, which I think is half the battle. Now we're just trying to find a way to help her out of sensitivity funk when she gets in it...