Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thursday Thirteen Sensory Stories

1)The "Feces"

When Jake was born, my Mom sewed a whole bunch of receiving blankets from soft flannel material. Jake loved them and they were the only thing that really calmed him down. Around 9 months old, he kept referring to "feces" and pointing to his blankets. I was totally confused. Poop? He's talking about poop? Poop on the blankets?

Then it dawned on me: It was because I had said, "These blankets are nice and FLEECY."

Henceforth, God help us if we ever forgot/lost/misplaced the Fleecies. Kids usually have 1 comfort object? He had about 12.

2) Sorry, but you smell

The upside of having a Hubs with a supersonic sniffer is that he can tell you if there is chocolate, or even a Starbucks in the vicinity. There is a downside, though. He will also tell you if you didn't brush your teeth good enough (when you're standing 5 feet away) or that you ate too much garlic yesterday and he can smell it from your skin. Even though, again, you are across the ROOM.

3) Walking Tide Commercial

Jake used to be horrendously hard on clothes. I'm not the type of Mom that insists that my child stay clean, but playing in the dirt was an extreme sport to this boy. He'd come home literally covered from head to toe in MUD. Every day! If it is gooey, squishy, and wet...he is in there like a....well you get it.

4) The Slurpee from Hell

Back when Jake was four and I didn't know anything about sensory issues, we went one summer day to a driftwood carving competition. There were CROWDS and NOISE from chainsaws, and then I bought him a small slurpee because it was hot out. I laugh now just reading this.

5 minutes. That's how long he lasted before I carried him kicking and screaming like a wild banshee to the car and vowed that I was never going to buy him a slurpee again. Took me longer to figure out the noise and crowds thing.

5) Shhhh!

Jake has always hated loud noises of any kind. Once when he was two we had a new hardwood floor put in, and we had to leave the house because he was hysterical from the noise of the saws. Then it was the compressor at our dive shop that would send him into fits of crying. The it was balloons. Not the fear that his beautiful orb would suddenly explode, but the sound of the latex expanding as it blew up just sent him over the edge. Just for fun, you should also try toilet training a kid that is terrified of the sound of toilets flushing. That's not even the end of it-he has to leave the house if I vacuum, and retreats to his room with the door tightly closed if I am blowdrying my hair.

But on the other hand, he loves to blast All American Rejects from his stereo.

6) Crowd Control

Everyone in our family has an aversion to crowds, which is why we don't find the city particularly appealing and would rather be hiking out in the bush then in a theme park. However in order to give our child the "well rounded" childhood, we braved the crush of Disneyland fireworks one summer.

He still talks darkly about it, as if it were a traumatic, life changing experience from which he will never recover. I see therapy in his future.

Word of Advice: Some things are simply NOT worth it. A "Disney Moment" in our house now has an entirely different meaning.

7) Torture by Disney Movie

When Disney's Tarzan was released and Jake wanted to go watch it, I was totally psyched. Who wouldn't be excited over their kid's first Disney experience? There he was....propped up in his little booster seat, popcorn in hand, and everything went okay until those damn baboons started chasing Jane. The music swelled, and with a scream that would strike terror in Tarzan's heart, Jake launched himself from the booster seat and literally wrapped his entire body around my head like a boa constrictor. I'm sure I received nasty glares and mutterings like "why doesn't she take that kid out?" but it's a little hard when you can't extricate yourself from a three year old's death grip to see what you're doing.

I was a slow learner. It took two more movies (both Disney), and two more hysterical screaming death grips before I finally got it. Movies were not fun. Jake is now 12 and still won't go to the theatre.

That therapy bill is going to be high.....

8) Plasticky Pressure

Kids with sensory sensitivities often seek out deep pressure in ways you would never guess. Jake's favorite? He'd blow up his water wings, put them on his legs, wrap himself in a plastic fireman jacket, and go to sleep. In the summer.

The result?

A kid that appears to have spent some time in a sweat lodge. At the time, we just thought he was downright WEIRD. I had to check on him every night to make sure that he hadn't cut the circulation off to one of his limbs and/or given himself hyperthermia.

"How come your kid has no legs?"
"Unfortunate water wing accident."

9)Regulating the Un-regulateable

Ever notice how kids with sensory sensitivities just don't realize they are hungry? Or tired? Hot or cold? It's 93 degrees and Jake decides to wear pants because he just doesn't figure out that he may get too hot (at least not until he's about to pass out). He would forget to eat, and then it would suddenly be like I must eat an elephant this second because I'm so hungry that if I don't I am going to die and you will have to scrape me off the floor.

He's pretty good now but if his routine is messed up, he'll forget. And if you let it go, and then experience numbers 5 and/or 6, it's akin to arming a nuclear bomb. You just DON'T want to go there.

10) You Gonna Eat That? vs That Won't Touch my LIPS

We have two camps in this house. Those that eat almost anything (me ), to the bottomless-pit-because-I'm-growing-and-I'm-a-future-foodie (Jake), to those that can't stand most foods known to man. (Hubs) There's also variations on a theme, like I-won't-have-different-items-on-my-plate and I-don't-want-anything-touching. Or even I'm-not-into-side-dishes-so-don't-bother. Then there's the I'm-not-hungry-and-I'm-sick-of-cooking-so-make-youreself-a sandwich. I'll let you figure out who is who.

People sometimes comment that I must find cooking really difficult and it's "spoiling" to make two different dishes. Me? I could care less. I love my Hubs and it really is not a big deal to throw something simple together that he likes, while Jake and I have something else. As a result, there's a lot of variety at our table. My only issue with Jake is that he has very expensive taste.

He's still waiting to go out for lobster one day.

11) Birthday parties are supposed to be fun, right?

I used to make Jake go to birthday parties. Then at one point, he stopped bringing home invitations and I found them in the back of his desk in school. I really didn't get it until one year, he was a total rotter just before a party and as a consequnce, I announced that he wouldn't be allowed to go.

"OH THANK GOD," he sighed "That WORKED!"

He later shared that while the idea of parties is fun, parties themselves.......not fun. Again...some of those so-called "well rounded child" things? Just not worth it.

12) Sock Aversion

Jake came home one day with his socks inside out.
"Mrs. T says that her kids can't stand sock seams, and so they wear them inside out. I hate them too."
He's worn his socks inside out ever since. Hubs wears socks with his sandals because he can't stand to have bare feet.

I don't really know how the inside out thing makes it better, but Jake swears by it. If he's not running around with his pant leg caught in them because he just didn't notice, that is. How can you notice the seam, when you don't notice that your pant leg is all messed up?

13) Danger: Kid on Sugar

Some people think that Jake would be a little monster after eating a sugary treat, but in all honesty...he's always active and sugar makes no difference. On the other hand, I wasn't so off base about the slurpee up in #4. One summer Hubs allowed Jake to have a can of Coke before we had to drive home from the city.

Think about it....long ride in the car, a ferry ride....
...a kid literally vibrating and clawing at the walls because the caffeine is coursing through his bloodstream like crack..... Ummm...ya. Hubs was getting the death glare from me the entire ride home.

We tell his teachers, "if you have a party and there is pop there with caffeine, let him have some AT YOUR OWN RISK. Do not call me to complain about it after. You have been warned."

So far, there hasn't been any takers on that one.

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