My son is in the middle of a complete sensory nightmare.
It’s his clothes. I think. I really don’t know.
I got back from a trip to Phoenix and all of a sudden he won’t wear socks. His clothes are too big. His underwear feels “wrong”. His private parts are “uncomfortable”.
This is a kid who always wore socks even to bed at night. Hated having anything too tight.
He’s always had the “usual” sensory issues – tags bothered him, he wouldn’t wear jeans and the change from long sleeves to short (and vice versa) was a two week seasonal battle.
But this? This is new.
He screams. SCREAMS.
“MY PANTS ARE FALLING OFF OF ME!” and “MY SOCKS ARE TOO BIG!” and “THESE PAJAMAS AREN’T COMFORTABLE!”
Never mind the fact that these are the same pants, same socks and same pajamas he’s been wearing for months. The kid, at age 6, is still in 2T-3T underwear and 4T pants.
I’ve tried to play sensory detective – maybe he has it backwards? The clothes he says are too big are actually too small? Has he grown?
Is he sick?
Is he still recovering from me being away?
Is it something at school? He started a new behavior plan and his special education teacher is leaving tomorrow on maternity leave.
Answers: I don’t know, I don’t know, and I don’t know.
Does it matter?
He’s screaming like he needs to get out of his skin.
I’ve done everything I can think of to make it better. We’ve changed clothes in the driveway while waiting for the bus because he thought his shirt would fall off. I’ve changed his underwear twice in an hour to see if it would help. I bought him seamless socks.
Tonight he’s wearing his little brother’s underwear and pajamas.
He’s finally asleep after screaming for an hour.
I had to walk away.
I’ll admit. I am done.
I could feel the frustration boiling inside me. The more worked up he got, the more upset I got.
He wailed at the top of his lungs and I had to walk away.
I have no way of comforting him when he is like this. I have no answers for his pain.
I can help him work through the other sensory assaults on his system. He can wear headphones when the noise level is too loud. We can avoid certain foods that make him gag. He can jump on a trampoline or play on the swings or run in circles when he needs that input.
But this…the sensory assault that comes from within him?
I’m helpless to “fix” this. I cannot feel what he feels. He cannot express to me why he hurts the way he does.
When he claws at his clothes…his skin…
I cannot make it better.
This is the hardest part of his sensory processing issues for me.
I can’t imagine how hard it is for him.
“Seems I’ve got to have a change of scene
‘Cause every night I have the strangest dreams
Imprisoned by the way it could have been
Left here on my own or so it seems
I’ve got to leave before I start to scream
But someone’s locked the door and took the key
You feelin’ alright? I’m not feelin’ too good myself
Well, you feelin’ alright? I’m not feelin’ too good myself” – Feeling Alright by Dave Mason