Early years

This evening, following dinner, I’ve been sitting watching tv but unusually I wasn’t working on anything. If my hands are idle they have to do something so they scratch and pick at my skin. Another thing I do is to fold my arms with my hands tucked under. Sounds normal enough but what I do is to press my arms tight down on my hands and I’ll maintain that pressure. It’s the same when I’m traveling as a passenger in the car; my hands sit just above and between my knees and I’ll apply constant pressure for miles. As far as I know I’ve always done this. It got me thinking about my early years.

Mum told me that I had a very worrying habit when I was a toddler. I would sit under the table and repeatedly and consistently bash the back of my head against the wall. It worried her so much that she took me to the Dr who in turn sent me for x-rays. Nothing untoward was found.

Another time I disappeared and Mum found me under the caravan eating the tea leaves she always chucked under there…maggots and all. It frightened her so much she washed my mouth out with some kind of disinfectant solution.

My poor mum!

My earliest memory is from when I was two years old. We were staying at my grandparents. I was in the bath having my hair washed and I was screaming my head off. My grandmother came in to offer me a coin, one off those old large pennies, if only I would be a good girl and be quiet. It had no effect. I carried on screaming. My grandfather was a baker and they lived over the shop. My grandmother was probably concerned because my screams could be heard downstairs. You can just imagine them trying to reassure customers that I wasn’t being murdered!

Mum says over the years she tried every possible different way she could think of when it was hair washing time. Nothing worked, I always screamed the house down. I can remember when I was five lying on my back along the kitchen counter top with my head tilted back in the sink, holding a face cloth over my eyes. I was crying.

I don’t remember why I hated it so much. I was never able to explain to mum so she cannot enlighten me. I still can’t explain myself. Something’s been wrong today but I can’t explain it. Maybe next week. Next year.

I think I was about six or seven when I stopped crying when having my hair washed. I still didn’t like it though.

I presume these were autistic traits rather than me just being a temperamental child.

Author: yarnandpencil

I'm a Christian on the autistic spectrum blogging about life and my art/craft practice.

16 thoughts on “Early years”

  1. When my (autistic -dx at 19) son was young we lived in a big city and always in apartment buildings. Every single time he had a bath until he was about 7 he screamed as if he was being tortured. I tried everything, too. I was always worried that someone would call child protection on us – and a couple of times heard them in the hall asking each other if they should. I wasn’t doing anything but giving him a bath. At 7 I bought him goggles designed to look like a shark (I had tried other things to keep the water off his face before that, but nothing worked.) He did stop screaming, but was nearly 20 before he would willingly or regularly bathe. He hated it.

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  2. The hair washing thing seems to be really common for autistics , my son has been like this too – it sounds like we’re torturing him. Well it did, we actually don’t wash his hair at the moment (it is actually true hair washes itself after a while, he has beautifully shiny hair!) Although I’m planning to try and reintroduce it as I worry about it smelling when he hits his teens. So it’s reassuring to know you grew out of it!
    Great post by the way 😊 xx

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  3. I think that the hair washing drama is common with a lot of small children, especially sensitive girls with long hair! As a child I hated having my long hair washed with the soap getting in my eyes and the painful combing out of tangles. To avoid tantrums our mother also washed my hair and my sister’s while we lay on the kitchen bench with our heads over the sink so the soap would not get in our eyes. Life became easier when we were old enough to take showers.

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  4. Lovely post πŸ™‚ I used to hate having my hair washed too. It was always over the kitchen sink and I remember the feeling of the warm water running down my face. It felt tickley and horrible and made my skin crawl. I still don’t like water on my face to this day. That’s why I’ll never be a brilliant swimmer!

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    1. Yes, that is so similar to me. I use to swim but only back stroke and only if there was no-one else in my lane. When I came to England I stopped swimming because of lane sharing. I didn’t learn to swim until I was in my early thirties. There were only two of us learning and our tutor was so gentle in her teaching manner.

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