Through the years, we have learned that if we stray from the usual and do a fun thing we will most likely pay for it afterwards for an indeterminate period of time. I have labelled this “fall out”. Sometimes it’s just until bedtime but usually it can last a few days to a week.
Living with Sensory Processing Disorder can be tricky business. In the beginning we had NO idea what was up. After a lot of years, a bunch of research and many hours of therapy, we have come to adapt and expect certain things. Sometimes we are caught unawares or forget or whatever, but mostly we are cognizant of what is going on.
What does our “fallout” look like? It looks like tired kids on steroids. Hair trigger tempers, crying, meltdowns, constant constant bickering, complaining, unreasoning behavior and the inability (at times) to fall asleep. Now, you may think that this is just normal behavior for an overtired kid (or four) but trust me, it can be way over the top. Think of your “typical” kid on a hard day after being sleep deprived for a week and you got my little bunch. I am constantly talking kids down from a metaphorical (and sometimes literal) ledge. Constantly having to help them work through situations that come up because they are at their max and don’t know how to process pretty much anything. Three of them have severe SPD. One of them has mild SPD but when she’s tired she triggers everyone else.
Now that we expect these things and know when to look out for them, it seems that it is not as difficult to deal with. The behavior that many (outsiders) would see as a lack of discipline, out of control children and sometimes odd behavior, I see it in real terms. My kids have a hard time processing sensory information. Their bodies cannot process some of it. They try hard to control themselves in public (usually) but when they come home they feel safe. Home is a place to let it out. To relax and lose control. I know that may sound strange but it is reality for us. I am glad my kids feel safe with us. That they can “come down from” whatever it is that we did at home, with us. Outings to places that are noisy, busy and/or unpredictable are exhausting for my kids. Their bodies react and it affects how they behave.
I know what they need to do (most of the time) to settle and regulate their systems. Sometimes my oldest actually knows what to do now too. It’s awesome that he is becoming more aware of his needs and is articulating it. It’s taken a long time for that. He is maturing and it is making it easier for us all.
This week I expected more fallout. Yes, it’s been challenging at times, but despite me PMS’ing, I am finding myself calmer than I have been other times. Some may think that I am expecting the worst so the worst happens, but I am actually being realistic. I am expecting the real and preparing myself mentally and emotionally for it. It’s God and his wisdom and strength and a lot of time that has brought me to this point. I’m not saying I always deal with things perfectly now. Far from it. But it is getting better. At least this week it is. Maybe I’m still riding the high of my vacation. That is certainly possible!
**I wrote this last night, and hadn’t yet realized what a day at the Parade and Fair (we had soooo much fun!) and consuming way more candy than usual, would do on this morning’s behavior. Whoa! I did see it coming but it is exhausting already at 9:20am. We are amped right up this morning! I wish I could make them all better with the wave of a magic wand, but instead I am teaching them how to best cope when their bodies (and minds) seem out of control (disregulated). I should put on some camo and assume a Peace Keepers duty. That’s what I am. I am Mom and today’s job is keeping peace and smoothing out skirmishes and counseling those that encounter the fierce battle and need care.
Oh, and extra squishy hugs for all.