I have a song I sing to T. sometimes; I sing it to her when things just aren't going her way and she collapses, in a fit of anger and frustration--you know the kind that just makes a child cry and cry, because, as a little kid, there's often not much else they can do. I used to sing it to L. when he was small, but now that he's seven, he wants nothing to do with it.
It's so hard to be little,
It's so hard to be small
When you're tired and sad,
And things aren't going your way at all
I always sing it to T. when I'm holding her frustrated little body in my arms, and her hair is pressed against my face. She might wiggle and protest a bit, but the song is magic and soon she gives up the frustration and smiles, the tears glistening wetly in her eyes.
I don't have to sing the song too often to T. She's an incredibly easy-going and positive girl, she carries sunshine wherever she goes. I can tell already that she's going to be a steadfast and fun friend to have, and that no doubt as a teenager she'll spend lots of time on the telephone listening to her friends' problems and helping them out; people will go to her when they need a smile. But every now and then T.'s world gets unmanageable for her. It comes and goes in cycles, and there's often a physical reason for T.'s inability to cope: my T., at the tender age of four, suffers from chronic migraines.
When she was six months old T. had extensive cranio-facial surgery to correct her metopic craniosynostosis--a birth defect she was born with. When she was eight months old she began having strange episodes that were almost like seizures. That was a frightening, horrible time for us. Numerous MRI tests and CT scans and specialists visits later (and thousands of dollars later), a neurologist was able to diagnose her with a particular form of migraines--a type that resembles seizures in small children. We don't know if the surgery caused her migraines--her surgeons insist it didn't (really, what would they say, though?--but that's a post for another time), and it doesn't really matter in the end. T. takes 30 mg of Topamax, a strong migraine medicine, daily, and most of the time the headaches are under control.
But about once a month or so the world gets too difficult for T. The sunlight is too strong, sounds too loud and piercing, smells too strong, and people too oppressive. Small tasks frustrate her, and her brother will drive her into screams of anger with his loud, constantly-in-motion behavior. We can see a migraine coming, like a distant train swooping through a long, dark tunnel. I'll scoop T. up from the floor, where she has dissolved in a puddle of tears and flailing limbs and hold her close, smoothing her hair. Then I might sing, hoping to ward off the pain, which I know is just around the corner.
It's so hard to be little,
It's so hard to be small...