To celebrate SPD Awareness Month this October, here are a few things that I’m now aware of, thanks to my children and their sensory issues.
My entire education was a complete waste of time. Because if the teachers taught me that there were only five senses, who knows what other lies they slipped in there?
A mess is to me is tactile heaven to my girl. Sometimes the carpet just has to be a casualty of war in the battle of the senses. And be assured, it is a battle- I have the scars to prove it.
The bed has a different bounce to the trampoline and the bouncy castle, and that is why the kids just won’t stop bouncing on it. Ever.
A fistful of my hair is the source of all comfort. It can soothe and solace like no other material on Earth. A solitary stray hair on his hand, however, will send Cubby straight to a meltdown, even from the same source. Even if it worked its way loose by his grabbing fistfuls for comfort. I may take to wearing a shower cap during daylight hours, I’m sure I could work that look.
There are times that raising children with differences makes you feel terribly lonely. To that, I say: get on Twitter. There are more of us out there than you can shake a pop-tube at. With so many of us, there is no need for anyone to ever feel alone.
I speak an entirely different language these days. Sometimes I’m fluent, but most of the time I’m gesturing wildly and gibbering nonsense. Nobody seems to mind.
The reason I don’t like being hugged by strangers is not because “I’m English”, though voicing that together with an outstretched hand wards off the huggy bears.
Cereal is okay, and yoghurt is okay. Cereal and yoghurt together is really, really NOT OKAY.
Being able to button up their clothes or tie their shoelaces does not make your kids better than mine. But you bet I’m going to brag about it the day they can do it too!
Blowing your nose is not an instinctive action. Playing with what comes out of the nose kind of is.
Because I don’t punish sensory-driven behavior, I’m often taken for a permissive parent. Anyone who wants to try their hand at disciplining The Determinators is more than welcome. Just give me a whimper when you’re done exhausting yourself, myah?
Those same ears that can’t detect me calling her name, are the very same ones tortured by any kind of mechanical device, even at very low volume. On the same note, just because you’ve worked at tolerating the vacuum cleaner to the point where she can operate it herself, doesn’t mean you won’t be back at square one if you get a new one. A messy home is a clean conscience, or so I tell myself.
I have parent friends, and I have SPD parent friends. And they get completely different responses when they ask how we’re doing. Yet, I tell the truth to everyone.
There are some days when you can spin, climb, and hang upside down all you want, and it will never be enough. There are also days when slightly tipping to the side will be overwhelming. There is no way to detect which of these days it is going to be until you’re living it. Finding the balance is as tough for us as it is our kids. I prescribe chocolate and wine in large quantities until the world seems to right itself again.
Waiting is really, really, really hard.
Even for Especially for parents.
I celebrate the milestones like every other mother. But I have different ones, like “first time she smelled something” or “walked around her baby brother instead of straight over him.”
My children don’t know what an object is until they’ve put it in their mouths. Even if they do know what it is, they’d better keep mouthing it to make sure it doesn’t change. Or in the hope that it will change. Either way, they are going to reject any product that was actually intended for oral motor purposes.
The kids will beg and plead to go to the park, and then for you to push them on the swings for upwards of 30 minutes. When you finally buy an indoor swing, they will only want to use it if the other sibling has expressed an interest. At this point I hand them each a pillow to fight with and consider it part of the sensory diet.
I spend so much time living and breathing SPD, and seeing it in everyone and everything. On the odd occasion I encounter a person without quirks, I’m a little freaked out, and want to prod them with a large stick to see if they’re actually breathing.
Expensive make-up makes far prettier wall murals than washable paint.
I talk about Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory as though he is one of the family. He is one of the family!
There are people on this planet who don’t have a special interest. They’re actually kind of boring, our way is better.
Fine motor delays are somehow miraculously overcome in the presence of child-proof medicines. For that matter, there are no motor-planning issues involved when a certain someone moves a chair to a different room to climb up to out-of-reach cupboards. With locks. I’m on first name terms with the Poison Control ladies.
The more I crave sleep, the more she avoids it. And I swear she is the sensory craver, not the avoider.
That raindrop running down the window really is the most magical and absorbing thing in the world, and well worth staring at for a considerable amount of time. Shame my kid only notices it when I’m running late.
Finally, I’m aware that while You Can’t Always Get What You Want, With A Little Help From My Friends- We Can Work It Out. I’d have more up-to-date music references, but only Pudding-sanctioned music is tolerated in our house.