Don’t let the title of this post mislead you. Gracie is as sweet as they come. If she hurts you, she didn’t mean to. But she can be dangerous if you’re not careful.
When I change her diaper, I am very aware of where her feet are. I worry about her kicking me in the face, especially seeing how she flails her legs around sometimes. One time she did manage to kick me in the testicles, and I know of another incident where she kicked Kristine in the chest. At other times I have to pin her arms with my feet while I change her, to keep her from reaching for her bottom when I’m cleaning her. Fortunately, Gracie is cooperative most of the time.
Another thing you have to be cautious of is her head. When you give her a hug you’re prone to being butted in the mouth with her forehead. Both my dad and I have gotten bloody mouths for our efforts, and she’s managed to butt Kristine in the mouth too.
When Gracie decides she’s had enough, she simply sits or lays down and refuses to cooperate. This is why we transport Gracie in a wheelchair whenever we’re out in public. She’s in that wheelchair in the above picture. I can honestly say I hate that thing. But I don’t feel like carrying my 120 pound child around either. Sometimes Gracie doesn’t even make it into the wheelchair without being coerced. Getting her out of the car can be a struggle when she doesn’t want to move. It’s amazing how strong she is.
Also, note the blue plastic cord clipped to her shirt near her right shoulder. Attached to it is her chewy, to prevent her from chewing on inappropriate objects. If she does happen to put something in her mouth inappropriate, do not make the mistake of putting your fingers in her mouth. I’m here to tell you that someone biting your finger really hurts. So glad she stopped biting me when she did, as I was quickly getting worried.
Then there’s the squeezing and scratching she does, both to herself and to others. I think when she’s frustrated, she does these things as a means of coping or getting the sensory input autistic children are said to crave. She likes to squeeze our fingers while holding her hand, and has a way of working on your finger joints that is painful. For a while now we’ve walked with her by holding her wrist instead. Always feel funny about how some people might perceive that, seeing us leading her around by the wrist.
But we do feel like we have a better grip on her, holding Gracie by the wrist, as she’s prone to taking off. By taking off, I mean a full-on run through a parking lot or the middle of her sister’s soccer game. One time I watched my mother chase after her, and I have to say, it was kind of funny…
As for the scratching, that’s why we always have to make sure her nails are trimmed and kept short. She’s scratched my face several times, and Kristine too. I recall one incident where she scratched a school aide or teacher. That person wasn’t real happy about it, but what can you do?