Vital Signs (#371)
When I was a child and complained of not feeling well, my parents responded with a litany of questions: “Is it your stomach? Is it a grinding pain or some other kind of pain? Did you eat anything acidic? Did you take your asthma medicine? Are you coughing anything up?”
Now I am a mother and, while I have asked a few of those questions in passing to Charlie (not the asthma one—he does not have asthma, knock on wood!). Charlie does not exactly give me reliable answers. Charlie can talk, but describing his internal symptoms is not yet in his repertoire.
So I have to watch and look. And listen to the reports of others, of his teachers, therapists, the live-in nurse: The funny chewing thing Charlie was doing with his mouth this morning and in the car. The way he was squinting his left eye. The bump-bites on his torso and arms.
Speculations: Charlie knows a trip to The Dentist is imminent; is that why he has been poking at his mouth? Maybe he’s got something stuck in there or (argh) a cavity? A sore in his mouth? Jim pointed out that, since the bites were on Charlie’s upper body, they must have been from the pool or the pool playground, when Charlie was not wearing a shirt.
And, most of all, I have to listen to Charlie, to figure out what he meant by the way he grabbed and squeezed my arm really hard and rather fiercely, then let it go, grinning in a “hiya Mom!” kind of way. I wonder if Charlie—-who had a very good, if sleepy, first day of summer school—is trying to tell me he is annoyed at some dumb thing I just said (yet another “use the bathroom” reminder, for instance), but that he is okay with it.
Once he gets his point across.
Charlie was singing “My cunn-tree tizz oh thee, lann of sweet libbb-erteeee” in the shower: I think this could be the start of Charlie speaking up for himself in his own way—of self-advocacy, C-Fish style.