The Intensity Rollercoaster

I hesitated writing this post because the last time I celebrated a few good days… it didn’t go well!  I am cautiously optimistic that we might be over the “drop off dilemma”!  We had 4 great days in a row and I think (knock on wood) that is enough to call it a pattern.

In addition to the great morning drop offs, my son requested that I pick him up from school at a later time.  Instead of meeting 25 minutes before the end of the day, he has requested that I meet him later so that he only misses 15 minutes of class.  I asked him several times before I knew that he was serious about his decision and wouldn’t change his mind right after I emailed his teacher.  The best part, was when he shared why he wanted to stay longer…”I miss too much of what my teacher is saying.”

This is huge, right?!

Here’s the problem with this upward trend…it will come back down.  I don’t want to seem like “Negative Nelly” but these celebrations are often followed by surprising lows.  I shouldn’t call them “surprising” because we know they will appear.  It’s just that the “lows” are a bit like being in a haunted house…you know they are lurking around the corner, but you don’t know when they are going to jump out and scream.  This tends to leave me holding my breath…waiting for the “jump out and scream” part.

Take our recent trip to the ocean.  My TBP walked the dog on the beach, dug in the sand, went swimming, and had plenty of access to favorite video games.  Even though there were a few bumps (not wanting to stop video games), we thought is was a great weekend; however,  all of this joy came to a screeching halt once we arrived home.  As we unpacked in the security of his own home, the tantrum began.  The good news was that this outburst was a short one.  We were all feeling tired and had loads of laundry and unpacking to do so a big eruption would have been poorly timed.  My thinking is that it was a small tantrum because it was a shorter trip.  A longer trip tends to get a longer tantrum.  It’s a bit like “the bigger they are, the harder they fall.”

The “intensity rollercoaster” continues to be challenging.  While looking on the internet, I found an article written by someone annoyed that twice-exceptional (2e) children are often described as “intense.”  My experience has been very different from this other writer, because I find “intense” to be a perfect description!  Unpredictable, emotional and challenging are all words that could be exchanged with “intense” on most given days.  This is not to say that laughter, happiness and love are absent from our home.  It just means that there might be happiness one hour and the next hour, the warm, fuzzies have transformed into crying, complaining and a whole lot of “not fair.”

Personally, I think “intense” is one of the kinder adjectives that I have heard used for 2e kids.  During our roughest days last year and at IEP meetings, I would have been thrilled to hear school staff describe him as “intense.”  As I think about the word, I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t be used for a 2e child.  Afterall, isn’t a 2e defined really by extremes? The far extreme to one side showed his intelligence and the other extreme of the bell curve was his social skills.  This creates extremes and intensities that impact him socially, emotionally, and educationally.

Today, I was thinking about the uncertainty and intensity that comes with parenting my son.  I think that I add to the intensity because of my own responses to events.  For example, if there is a good day…I get super excited and happy.  I start to get ahead of myself… thinking about the hurdle that we just jumped.  On tough days, I have an equally intense reaction but instead of happiness, I am flooded with doubt.  When talking on the phone with a friend today, I said that I have to work on learning to be more leveled and balanced with my own reactions.  For those of you that know me well…you know what a challenge this will be for me!  I will keep you updated 🙂

2 thoughts on “The Intensity Rollercoaster

  1. “Intense” is a very perfect word to describe 2E kids. People think I’m crazy when I am so hesitant to celebrate our good days. I always feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop and know it’s going to drop HARD. (((hugs to you)))

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