I had a boss from a former job one time tell me, "Cathy, you are too sensitive!" I can recall being more than a little taken aback. Both Lauren and Dominic have inherited the "sensitivity" gene from me, that's for sure. When Lauren was younger and I got upset with her, I would raise my voice just a little to get my point across. I guess to her it sounded like I was "barking" at her. She would say, "get rid of those barks!" One day last week, Dominic was doing something that I didn't want him to do, I gave him a few warnings and he still didn't stop. He instead was laughing at me, so I "barked" at him! His face went from laughing to his bottom lip quivering and his eyes welling up with tears within about five seconds. The next day, I said something like, 'was mommy happy or mad at you last night?" He said, "mad." Yep, I think he got the message. I try not to trot out my "barks" unless I have a good reason to. Last night we were watching television and a local commercial came on. There is something about the music that plays in the background that really seems to bother him. He was on the verge of tears by the time the commercial was over. He then said to us, "commercial makes you sad." He still is having issues with the pronouns, so I think he was trying to tell us the commercial was making HIM sad. Poor guy, we were all trying to comfort him and he did eventually calm down. Many children with Autism have a really hard time communicating their feelings to others, so this was HUGE for Dominic to be able to verbalize how he felt. From time to time Dominic will pull out Lauren's old dolls and play with them. He'll sometimes pretend to give a doll a bottle.
He'll even put a few dollies down on the floor with a blanket, so they can all take a "nap." We like to tell him he is being a "good poppa." If Dominic sees Lauren or I getting upset or even cry, he will come over and try to comfort us. I asked him this afternoon about an incident that happened back in April when he accidentally slammed my hand in the car door. I said to him, "do you remember when that happened?" He looked at me solemnly and said, "hurt, cry, sad." If we are somewhere and he hears a baby cry, he will say, "baby is sad." I think it is very cool that he is so sensitive to others feelings, since lacking empathy is such a common characteristic of children with Autism. When I was a teenager, I worked a couple summers as a Red Cross volunteer in a nursing home because I thought at the time I might want to be a nurse. At the end of my second and final summer before I started college, I told some of the residents that I was leaving and probably wouldn't ever see them again. They were crying and I was crying! I came to the conclusion that I am way too sensitive (and emotional) to ever be a nurse! I have a handful of friends who are nurses and I totally 100% admire them for what they do, because I know I couldn't do it :) I'm so glad I didn't change way back when my old boss told me that I was too "sensitive." I like myself just the way I am!