Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sensory Overload...a daily struggle in a two-year olds world

Part 1:

It's often hard for people without sensory issues to understand what it's like for those that do. In my own home, my children that do not have a sensory problem have a hard time understanding the ones that do.

I don't know if this is just a two-year old thing or a precursor of things to come but our two year old has been wanting to be naked or sometimes not wanting to wear certain clothing, not wanting to eat foods he used to eat, not wanting to play with things he loved to play with and so on. Navigating the day with him has been quite a challenge. Then add potty-training on top of that, a very sensory overloading process as I have just learned, and we are MeltdownsRus.

After spending weeks of complete chaos, meltdowns (by both child and myself) and frustration, I decided I needed to make concessions and be flexible. That's really hard when your child insists on being naked and you insist the he wear clothes in order to go in public. Damn those societal conventions!

I decided that he needed choices. I know, at two, do they really need choices? In a word, YES. So when he gets up in the morning and doesn't want to wear clothes, I hold up a few things, mostly a few different types/colors of underwear or pants and ask him which one. He points and we are on our merry way. Well, except when I don't have what he wants to wear. Essentially this works most of the time. I have decided that as long as his bottom is covered, and we aren't going anywhere, he doesn't have to wear a shirt. Now I keep my house cold and that doesn't seem to bother him and I am honestly too tired and busty to be a helicopter parent so if he wants to go without a shirt, let him be cold and learn about it on his own terms.

Brushing his teeth is another struggle. Can I just tell you that it took me months to figure out he didn't like the toothpaste? He doesn't like the gritty texture of toothpastes. Yeah, apparently he has a favorite brand, Jason with the Octopus on it, and it's only sold at Whole Foods around here. And by "around here" I mean Whole Foods is 30 minutes away. The tube normally costs $6.00, but ended up costing me $55.00 because we found some other cool stuff there and then factor is gas for a Suburban. Cha-ching, the things we do for love, or less meltdowns.

Okay, back on topic, getting the right toothpaste was the answer, or so I thought. My two year old is a routine child meaning he likes things in a set routine and done a certain way. Unless he thinks it should be changed. When it was time to brush his teeth, because we had been out of routine for months, he didn't want to brush after the first night. Apparently it was a novelty the first night. That's where outwitting him came into play. I just offered him three choices of toothbrushes. One that spins, and two that are manual, one with Jessie and Bullseye on it and the other is plain. Tooth brushing issues solved, for now.

Don't get me started on food. Oops, too late! We used to have "safe" foods. You know, the foods he would eat no matter what. Yeah, not so much anymore. The only safe foods, if you can call liquids food, are milk with liquid coffee creamer in it, tea, orange juice, American cheese, and mozzarella cheese sticks. These are the only consistent foods in his diet. I almost bought McDonald's because for weeks all he would eat was their chicken nuggets. I won't even tell you about the time I tried to make them. Let's just say, TOTAL disaster and the smoke alarms went off. 

So we play it day-by-day and I celebrate the small victories like eating applesauce, yogurt and crackers. Those may not be what he eats tomorrow but for today, they work. And, if I can get him to at least wear something on his cute little butt, I am victorious!