Strange Brouhaha

Sunday, February 06, 2005

another event

Lani had another party at her Sunday school. I was sick last time, but had no excuse this time. Off we went. Fortunately, my friend Kate came too, so we were able to sit and chat while our kids played games (from balloon popping to hula-hoop relay races to something where you had to pretend to be an animal and find another person pretending to be the same one), did activities (the giant inflatable "room" where they all got to bounce around was neat), and just generally ran around hooting and hollering in between eating cookies and brownies.

I remember watching Lani and her friend Katherine waiting their turn for the "bouncer." Lani looked back at Katherine and grinned, "Isn't it fun here?" Katherine enthusiastically agreed. I was happy for the kids that they were having a great time. But it was also One Of Those Moments, in this case, "What kind of alien has come from my body?" The running around, the noise, the exuberance--all of this would have been UNENDURABLE to me when I was Lani's age. (It's practically unendurable to me right now!) And I do mean unendurable. I don't just mean I would have "disliked" it or something manageable like that. I mean it would have terrified me. I did not, at that time, interpret the running around and screeching of my peers as "fun" or "happiness." I'm not sure what I thought it was. I think I thought it was aggressive, but mostly I wasn't thinking at all. I was too busy clapping my hands over my ears trying to cut down the acute sensory overload. If either of my parents had been dumb enough to try and bring me to an event like this, I would have cried until they Made It Stop. Running around in wild abandon only worked for me in groups of two, maybe three kids that I saw every day and had known since toddlerhood. Anything else was too much.

(It just now occurs to me that THAT is probably why I never ate my lunch in school: the single scream from many voices that was, to me, the lunch room. I can still feel how the noise felt to me back then.)

Anyhow. I guess that today, you'd call me "sensory defensive" or "highly sensitive" (well, they called me that back then too) or whatever. Lani obviously is not nearly so vulnerable, and I'm glad. It was great watching her tear around the activity hall, picking up impromptu games of catch and balloon-volleyball. But what's weird is watching your child have a totally different experience of life than you did. I will never be biologically or emotionally closer to anyone than Lani, yet I see that life feels utterly different to her.



  • (Michelle) I have the same "where the heck did you come from?" reaction every time Alex has to get a shot at the doctor's office. She doesn't even flinch anymore and just observes the whole process with great interest. Keep in mind she's only 28 months old. After the last shot, we went home and she started using the cold medicine syringe to pretend to give shots to me and to herself. On the other hand, I am horrified about needles, and my biggest fear about giving birth was the IV.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:44 PM  

  • I've always felt bad for people with needle fears. Almost every other type of fear, you can negotiate. You can almost always take the stairs instead of an elevator, drive or take the train instead of fly, etcetera. But when you have to get a shot, you have to get a shot. There is no "Just pour the tetanus vaccine in a glass."

    By Blogger Savannah, at 7:43 AM  

  • I am completely unwilling and unable to negotiate my fear of spiders.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:42 AM  

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