Yesterday afternoon, our therapist cancelled and so Julia and I had the whole after-school until supper time to ourselves. And she needed some clothes for the fall, namely pants and socks. Also, I have not found her lunch box from last year -- Gosh, I know it is in some box somewhere, in a place where I was sure to run across it. St. Anthony was of no help, as usual as that tends to be. And I also know that right after I cut off the tags and spill grape juice on the new lunch box, the old one will appear.
We headed out to our local Landsend “inlet” to try on pants and see what was on sale. Julia found two pairs of pants -- cords and jeans. Yeah for jeans!! Sizes 8 and 10 -- why the same manufacturer sizes clothes differently depending on fabric for kids is a unfathomable question. Julia needs the length in her legs but the waist on both pairs is adjustable and we’ve done a lot of adjusting. She is still about a size 5 in the waist and she can get away with 6x’s if we pull the waist down to her hips, but for some reason she likes that waist at the waist. Landsend does make a slim size but we could not find any in the store and when I looked on line last night, there was no slim size in any of the pants we might consider. The slim size seemed to be confined to the uniform pants which look like, well, school uniforms.
With the waist cinched in -- 9 button holes on each side, for those with experience -- Julia pronounced two pairs of pants good looking and asked if she could wear one of them out of the store. I made her change into the clothes she came in with, and we bought pants! Since the summer she has done very well with the summer pants that we bought. And wearing pants for riding is such a good idea.
This morning she has on the jeans and she looks so cute. I am hoping that these jeans shrink just a bit in the wash. Maybe it is time for hot water. That, or the kid needs a belt.
We had a nice day. Very nice. Quiet and productive. During Julia’s therapy, I cooked. It is my reaction to the change of weather. The coolness of fall days. Maybe come ancestral call buried deep within my DNA. Somehow, someway, I must start making huge quantities of food. It is for the winter? Am I responding to the gods of the harvest?
Fortunately, there was reason to cook. Church pot luck, first of the season, in the evening. A strong desire for lentil soup -- and obviously this desire hits at well timed intervals, as I have three packages, two partially used, of lentils of different colors in and amongst the foodstuffs. And next week is my snack week for Julia’s class. Each family is assigned a week at a time for snack. I decided when I signed up that I would not bring five days worth of packaged snack. Previous classes have had assigned snack days -- once a month or a little more, a day’s worth of snack would need to be brought in. And for that, I almost always did store bought. At least for me, assigning an entire week makes me more aware of what Julia is eating for snack every day, and is a good way to guilt me into a more responsible snack parent. And so, the snack menu for the week will include two home baked items -- oatmeal cookies and pumpkin mini-muffins, as well as sliced apples, gold fish, and cheese strips. Had to include a day of gold fish crackers.
I was kept busy in the kitchen, until therapy was over. Then, Julia and I zipped to the farmers’ market for tomatoes and carrots, and to the supermarket for asiago cheese. While there, Julia bought a coloring book that she has been eyeing for a few weeks. This was her second purchase from her saved reward money. I was so glad I didn’t give in last week and just buy it with “my” money and make her reimbursement me from her change purse. She had her money with her and together we counted it out and she took the change. She still doesn’t understand all of the counting and values, but slowly some understanding is dawning. I bet in another year, money is a familiar as reading is now.
The rest of the day was busy and social and because of that, Julia had very little time by herself. When I finally sent her upstairs to put on pjs on, I didn’t think that whatever makes her pick at her skin and scabs would be built up and need relief.
When I came upstairs a few minutes later, she had picked all the scabs from her legs and once again she had bloody, sore marks. Right now, her legs look like they are diseased. There are small open sores from her ankles to her hips. I have tried so many things and nothing works -- cream to sooth, cream to take away any itch, bactine and neosporin to prevent infection, bandaids on a few sores at a time. Also, pleading, scolding, nagging, showing her her legs in the mirror, and trying to reason with her. Tonight, once again, I confronted Julia about what she is doing. I don’t know if this is autistic stimming or a neurotic desire for pain. I don’t know if she does it like biting her nails or if it sends her somewhere out of her here and now mind.
Julia is crying more these days. In November, I think it will be two years since she cried for the first time with me, but now tears are closer to the surface. I think, but don’t know, that crying is good for her. She says she does not understand why she picks, why she hurts herself. I am not sure whether she says this to please me or if she is really wondering.
This behavior scares me. No, it is not harmful, like say, playing with razors is harmful, but eventually, these sores will not heal and she will have scars. It is totally unfair that this child with so many challenges inside of her but with a perfect body, has to now carry the effects of what is going on inside of her head on the outside. And I am so nearly powerless to do anything about it. Can I really be with her every moment of the day, until she is asleep, to prevent her from hurting herself? I often told Cheshire as she was growing up, that it was my job to keep her body healthy and growing so that I could give her the gift of her perfect body when she became an adult. What I meant for Cheshire was to give he good food and keep her away from talking toys and video games. I’ve said the same thing to Julia, but I am afraid that I will not be able to keep this promise. It is so hard to watch my darling girl damage herself. Over and over again. It is humbling to know that I fail over and over to protect her from her own fingers.