Our little Mr. has sensory disorder. There I put it out there. Why? Because when my little miracle, wonder boy, is screaming in the store and throwing the ice cream container on the floor you’ll give me a sympathetic smile and say “you go girl.” And you’ll realize this is only a second of him, a snip, he’s pretty great, just give him a minute and you’ll see.
Several months ago I just didn’t get it. Why did my precious, scream, cry and hit me when the doorbell rang and the dog barked. Or how leaving him in nursery would insight a catastrophic break down that would end with me staying or him crying himself to sleep. How a tantrum over a simple break of an object could elicit a breakdown that requires a quarantine to his crib for 30+ minutes. We were baffled. I expressed my concern to a friend at the park and she, gratefully, empathized with me, having a sensory kid herself, and recommended I have him seen. I worried, had I done this? Had timeouts made him more tenacious than other kids? As first time parents we were baffled that the regular old parenting techniques didn’t work for him, in fact they sent him into a tail spin. I soon came to find out that this was him regardless of us. A mix of his own special temperament sent from above, some prematurity factors (most premies have some sort of varying degree of sensory disorder, duh that totally makes sense now), and a strong willed nature. This is our boy. So much like myself without my even realizing it. As his Occupational Therapy (OT) began we clamored for anything to help him work through the barrage of information shooting at him. Any way to help him cope with it before it sends him skidding to uncontrolled rage. He’s sensitive, he’s incredibly observant, he’s spiritual. Now I know how can a 2 year old be spiritual, but he is. He’s keenly aware to the feeling and spirit floating around a room and will react in the like. It’s amazing to watch. I was daunted by all the information at first, but gratefully reminded by our OT that this is a marathon not a sprint. So take it bit by bit. He will be learning how to cope with this for years, or a lifetime to come. And if we can help give him the right tools he will eventually be able to do it himself. I so want that. It is hard in the trenches day after day, and yes I’m human I get frustrated at times. It’s a lot of mental analysis having to retrace the signals of what may have set him off. What stimuli he was reacting to. What his signs of overstimulation are. And finally how I teach him to cope with them before or after they happen. Each day is a lesson in patience, compassion, self control and the most amazing love. To show you just how astute this sweet boy is he will have an episode, a breakdown an atomic explosion that will send me reeling. And given some quiet time, he will eventually lay his head on my shoulder and say; “I sorry.” “Oh I luv u.” All his little neurons are finally calm, and he relaxes his body onto mine. I envelop him in a gently firm hug, no rocking or rubbing (that’s too much stimulation), just stillness and we find peace again. He knows he went off the rails, he knows he shouldn’t, but the gravity of all his senses taking it all in at once; the sound, the feelings/emotions, the sight, the touch, the smell. It overwhelms him and he reacts. He feels it all and he feels it deeply, deeper than we understand. He’s amazing.
He’s doing better. Somedays are great and other days we are the shrieking family in the grocery aisle as he tries to comprehend the transitions he had to go through just to get in the door, and now we are filling the cart item after item, the temperature changes from warm to the cold dairy section, the baby on the aisle over crying. He’s feeling it all and expressing it . . . . loudly. But were working at it, we’re a team. It’s not a 30 day quick fix. It’s a catalyst. One driving me to push myself to be a better me. To work on things that if he didn’t have this character trait might go unnoticed, or brush it off. From the minute he was born he has made me better, made me take stock of the person I am and make changes to draw closer to the person my Savior wants me to be. I look at this, curious, tenacious, determined, loving, spiritual little boy and think “Wow, you are miraculous!” He is!