Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Thanks for asking

What's it like raising a kid with Sensory Processing Disorder? It's ...

Wishing you had soundproof walls every time your kid needs her toenails clipped. Then deciding she can live with obscenely long toenails for one more day, because you don't have the energy to fight about it.

Putting aside every sentence that begins, "You are getting too old to ..."

Understanding that no amount of love OR logic is going to help when (a) your kid needs to pee so badly she is screaming in pain, (b) airplane bathrooms are noisy and smelly, (c) you're somewhere over Kansas on a coast-to-coast flight, and (d) FAA rules governing emergency landings are woefully lacking in this area.

It's seriously questioning your right to operate a blender in your own home. But having an air-tight excuse for why you don't vacuum as often as you should.

Asking yourself 100 times a day whether this is one of those times you should give in or hold your ground. And once you decide, accepting that your child can't focus on what you're saying anyway, because (a) she's already too far into a meltdown, (b) the fireplace just made a funny noise only dogs and your kid can hear, or (c) there's something in the toaster.

It's learning to be flexible before you can teach your kid how to be flexible. And learning to ask for what your kid needs before you've finished learning how to ask for what you need.

Realizing no amount of pleading or threats will make your kid cooperate/fake it/behave just this once because a meltdown at that moment would be inconvenient or embarrassing for you. And finally "getting" that you don't have the luxury of worrying what anyone around you thinks of your parenting.

It's understanding that you don't have to understand everything, but you will inevitably spend a lot of time explaining things you don't understand to others.

It's making your daughter apologize for punching the inflexible, self-important dentist who won't find a way to let her plug her ears while he takes an x-ray. Even though you want to punch him, too.

It's smiling politely when another well-meaning friend recommends yet another parenting book, because telling people "Strategies that work with 'normal' kids don't usually work with mine" just sounds like an excuse, even to you.

It's being dog-tired of making excuses.

What's it like? On a good day, it feels like teaching your kid to swim with one arm tied behind her back. On a bad day, it feels like watching your kid drown, with both of your arms tied behind your back.

In other words, it's a lot like raising any other kid. Only maybe a little more so.


  1. I was not aware of this situation...but it explains some of our conversations.

    You are doing great by doing your best.

    Hang in there mama. She knows you love her and that is a HUGE gift right there.


  2. I needed to read this today! Thanks!