Autism Watch: 2007

Field Trips and Hair Twirling

Posted on: November 5, 2008

Tomorrow I’m going on a field trip with my son’s school. I know a lot of us moms do these things because we should, but I’m really looking forward to this. Ds has had a couple of bad shakes when it comes to field trips, one being the time that his teacher told him they don’t use the restroom during the CHILDREN’S play, so he wet himself, and by the time I was notified, he was literally wet waist to toe. And embarrassed. An awful thing to do to a child, particularly without any real sympathy, and it’s stuck in his head ever since. Can’t say as I blame him. Child or not, it’s pretty embarrassing to have half of your body soaked and the smell leaves no room for error in knowing what you’re soaked with. Why it’s okay for that to happen to a child is beyond me, but I won’t go there. That wouldn’t happen this year, with or without me along.

So, tomorrow at 9am, I board the bus with my son’s class and two others. He’s so happy to have me along, although I have been instructed to sit in another seat. You know, Mom, so I can, you know, sit with my, you know, friends. Okay, I know.

This field trip is to a nature place I’ve never been. And it’s only about a 20 minute drive or so. Perfect on both counts. And I can be with ds in case he has any flashbacks or other ‘out of my comfort zone’ weirdness. I’ll update on Friday, but I think it’ll be fun. I enjoy hanging out with his classmates and helping, so it’s going to be a good day away from work.

On a not-really-related note, his hair twirling tic/stim is at an all time high. We’re talking both hands totally engaged in twirling up sections of hair onto themselves until the knot is inpenetrable by anything other than scissors. Ds, though, just pulls them out when he can’t extricate them otherwise, leaving little hairballs all over my house. It’s a really good thing I am a neat freak. A “cleany.” A spotless house person. Anal.

What to do with the hair twirling? We’re working on re-directing and giving him things to do, but he’s even stopping those activities to double-fist and twirl. The scary part, worse than it interfering with normal daily life, is that he’s pulling out so much, it’s now becoming visible that he’s missing some layers of hair. And he’s got beautiful hair down past his shoulders. (Cutting it’s not an option — when it was short, he’d just pull it out by the root easier. And his eyelashes/eyebrows. Eww.)

A praise is that drop-off this morning went good. He was quiet, but happy. I noticed his jeans were a bit too short, so I’m making a run tonight for some more, just to not give him one more reason to stand out. I didn’t realize he’d grown so much in the last few weeks. (And gained 3 pounds!) I did get a call that he’d gone to the nurse’s office with a tummy-ache, but he didn’t have it when he left, and when I ran into a friend earlier who saw him at school, ds was observed doing fine, so something must have made him anxious enough to want to leave school. I also think he can’t quite communicate his physical feelings sometimes. A conversation a couple of weeks ago in the car, on the way to Disneyland, went as follows:

“Mom, I feel carsick. Are we almost there?”

“Sorry, but we’ve got about another 20-30 minutes. Traffic. And you’re not carsick, you’re fine.”

“No, Mom <insert duh tone here> I really am carsick.”

“What’s carsick? How exactly do you feel?”

“I don’t know, I just know I’m carsick.”

Okay then.

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