In The Care Bears Big Wish Movie, Wish Bear wishes for some new bears to move to Care-a-lot. Of course her wish comes true, but with unexpected results. The new bears are Too Loud Bear, Me Bear, and Messy Bear. They aren’t very caring and Care-a-lot suffers for their lack of care. At the height of the movie’s excitement, Too Loud Bear is revving his loud motorcycle and the noise starts to blow the color out of Care-a-lot. While in black and white, all the bears have a serious discussion about caring. Then the color returns, there’s a big song and dance number, and then the credits roll.
I get overstimulated easily. It sucks, but it’s not the worst thing in the world. Usually I just need to take breaks from whatever we’re doing and have some quiet time, then I can return refreshed and ready to tolerate some more chaos. Sometime though, I get stimulated past my breaking point and I freak out. The big freakouts luckily only happen a few times a year, but I had one recently.
We had just gotten home from a road trip, suitcases were all over, nothing was where it belongs, my children and dogs were loudly enjoying being home, and I could feel the pressure rising quickly.
Then… ugh. Then my husband thought it would be funny to play Tubthumping by Chumbawamba. In retrospect, I can see the joke — but the timing couldn’t have been worse. I covered my ears, yelled “WHY??!!” and ran upstairs, bawling. (I’ve read that tears help get stress hormones out, so I guess I was getting rid of a lot of stress. Let’s go with that).
My two-year-old daughter followed me onto the bed and put her arm around me.
“Mommy sad?” she asked.
How do I explain this to a toddler? I thought. And why does she have to ask me right now?
“Mommy gets overstimulated.” As if that’s a concept she’ll understand.
“Medicine, make feel bettoh” she suggested.
I appreciated her effort but wished she’d just leave me alone. “My medicine is having everyone be quiet for a little while. When it’s too loud, Mommy kind of freaks out.”
Suddenly she lit up. “Too loud! Mommy color all gone!”
I was surprised. What a perfect explanation! “Yes, it was too loud, and my color is all gone. If everyone is quiet for a little while my color will come back.” I was so proud of my little girl’s understanding of my freak out. She took this overwhelming crazy feeling and put it so simply. My color was all gone.
Soon I was back enough to return downstairs. I explained that I wasn’t all better yet and that my color was coming back slowly. My daughter played quietly with her little brother, and checked on me a few times, asking if my color was back yet. When I was back to normal I joined my children on the floor to play. Since then there have been a few days where I have gotten a bit overloaded. I just explain that I’m losing some of my color and I need a few calm moments. She understands and plays quietly until I’m colorful again.