Some aspects of life with Joy lately have felt rather like what happens when you squeeze a balloon. If you put your hands around the most bulging part of the balloon and squeeze, the air will move over and make another part of the balloon bulge instead...
Or that classic bedbug baby-toy, where there are four bedbugs and two are always "up." Hit one with the little plastic hammer, and it pops down but another pops up.
Take, for example, Joy's stims. She's not pulling down Christmas cards or plants (yay!) But she is getting so insistent on snow-stimming that it's harder and harder to make even a short walk between car and school, even if the sidewalks are clear -- she dives and kicks into the snowbanks on either side, and then goes limp when you try to get her to stand and walk. And she's getting terribly insistent on "making friends with the pillow" if left to her own devices for any length of time at all. That lovely fleece boa I made her for Christmas, that I was hoping would be a socially-acceptable twiddle-stim? She lo-o-o-o-o-oves that boa, and not in a way we can take out in public. And if we take the boa away, the house is full of usable substitutes.
Then there's the "acts of ow." She's hardly pulling out her own hair any more, and the self-injurious stuff has dropped to near zero (yay!) But guess what has gone way up instead? Outbursts directed at other people. Hitting, kicking, hair-pulling, as a very touchy and very immediate frustration response.
I don't like the balloon/bedbug-toy analogy nearly as well as I like comparing Joy's development and behavior to a mixer board (with sliders that go both up and down but don't necessarily have to be zero-sum.)
I'm pretty sure that the stimming does have to happen in one form or another, though I wish we would be able to have more influence as far as what the range of preferred stim would be. [Update: TherExtras reminds me to link to our joint-post from a year ago, Stim-Sense, that explored stimming issues.] Even more so, I wish the acts-of-ow weren't acting like a squeezed balloon. Because as far as I'm concerned, I'd rather have that acts-of-ow-balloon just pop and disappear altogether.