The giggling is incessant. For Noah, it blocks everything else out. He can’t hear us. It’s not a giggle of joy or amusement, at least not at anything that is tangible to us. It’s a manicy type of laugh that comes on for no apparent reason and lasts for about thirty minutes. Soon the behaviors begin: flinging himself backwards into us, failing his arms and legs, running around and bumping into things. I know the routine well. The first sound of it makes me cringe. Then comes the familiar twinge of guilt that I feel for cringing. What kind of mother cringes at the sound of her child’s laughter? I know I’m not the only one.
Shortly after the laughter starts comes the accident. He’s just not tracking. Not paying attention to what’s going on around him or inside of his own body. It takes Larry and I several times directing him to the bathroom to get cleaned up. Both of us are getting short with him. Rationally, I know it’s not his fault, but it’s just so frustrating to not be able to reach him and to see him so out of control. I just wish that I knew what was going on inside of his head.
I put him in the bath after he throws his dirty clothes down the laundry chute. As a last ditch effort to try to help him calm down, I pour lavender bubble bath in the warm water. He laughs manically. He scoops up the bubbles into his mouth. They must taste horrible, but that doesn’t stop him. I brush the bubbles off of his face and he immediately stoops down for another scoop, laughing the whole time. Larry comes to take over the bath. In between untranslatable loud exclamations by Noah, along with the uncontrolable giggles, I can hear Larry’s voice begin to sound exasperated. Episodes like these make everything difficult. Bathing him and drying him off is no small feat when he’s like this.
My nightly task when Larry is done giving the bath is lotioning (Noah has very dry skin) and getting him dressed. I take extra time with this in hopes that the process will calm him. He throws himself on the bed and flails his legs up and down. I begin to lotion his back very slowly and quietly sing one of his favorite bedtime songs. This seems to be helping. By the time he has his pajamas on he’s ready snuggle up with us on the couch. Without warning, the episode is over. Peace has been restored.