We sat at the top of the water slide, my oldest son, Mason, on my lap, ready to go. I wondered if the water rushing around us would be too much for him, but he seemed just fine with it. Over the rush of water I heard the lifeguard yell, “Go!” and I pushed off. As we started to enter the slide Mason suddenly leaped from my arms, yelling, “I don’t want to go, I don’t want to go!”
Somehow he managed to use me to climb back up to the top, but I was left laying on the slide, water pummeling my face. I couldn’t catch a breath, and my arm was pinned under me in an unusual position, my sunglasses bending almost to the point of breaking. I had time to think, “Well, this is it. I’m going to drown at the top of water slide. I’ll bet the news report makes me look really dumb…” when Mason suddenly was off of me, and I was forced to go down the slide. The last glimpse I got was of Mason standing at the top of the slide, with the saddest look on his face you’ve ever seen. I couldn’t stop myself, so I just had to go.
As I was deposited into the pool, awkwardly, my only thought was to get back up there and let him know it was OK. Instead, he had made his way down to me, and threw himself at me, crying and saying how the water hurt his ears. With this incident, Mason was fine with the sound of the rushing water. When we started to go, and got into the tunnel, he was greeted with the sound of the water hitting the sides of the tunnel. It was THAT he couldn’t stand. In fact, every night, before he showers, we make sure the shower nozzle is turned so that it doesn’t hit the shower curtain, because that is a sound that bothers him.
Mason calmed down and was fine, but this incident just showed me, once again, that, just when we think we have it all figured out, something pops up and catches us off guard.
I think I’ve got all my boys’ sensory issues in the bag, and something I’d never thought of pops up. We’re constantly adjusting, learning, and just going with it. For me, the unpredictability is one of the hardest things when dealing with sensory issues. I like to have a plan set in place for everything. In dealing with Asperger’s and the sensory issues (both my boys are diagnosed with these), I’ve had to adjust my own way of thinking and I’ve learned to be a little more flexible. I refuse to shelter my boys constantly and keep at home at all times, because that’s just not good for them. So, though I would NEVER force them to do anything uncomfortable or that really scares them, we keep going out, doing things.
I’ve seen them grow and become OK with sounds and feelings that once bothered them, and we’ve learned what things will probably always bother them. On that note, I will say that tagless shirts and seamless socks are the best inventions since sliced bread. At least in our world.
As we’ve learned and gone out and faced the world, we’ve even had fun. Our day at the pool, with the exception of that small, small incident, was really great. We spent time with cousins and family, and I even watched Mason and his brother, Connor, handle other kids trying to grab their pool toys without violence or yelling. So we go out and learn and adjust…one day at a time. Just don’t ask Mason to go near that slide again.