So it’s been about 4 years since I updated this blog. With everything going on with Ruby and the beginning of our journey into Sensory Processing Disorder I thought now was a good time to start writing again. Hopefully this will help people understand what we are going through and keep people up to date. Or maybe I’m just talking into the void and that’s okay too.
Since Ruby was a baby she craved movement, hated loud noises, and often hated hugs and kisses. She has been the kid that had to climb to the top of everything, ran everywhere, and screamed or sang at the top of her lungs. She could be super brave one minute and scared to death when a loud motorcycle rode by. Often exciting times would cause her to get so overwrought she would have tantrums. It wasn’t uncommon for them to last up to an hour and involve her hitting, bitting, and kicking me. She could go between being able to have a conversation with us to barely being able to speak a word. The hardest thing and the thing that triggered me the most was it seemed like she never listened to me.
For a long time I’ve felt like I was failing as a parent. I would go from being a gentle AP parent to a yelling crazy parent and feeling terrible, because I just couldn’t understand why she couldn’t be quiet or sit still. Looking back at some of my mom meltdowns makes me feel horrible. Also looking back I realize that I was in denial and that I was inadvertently making things harder on her. What finally woke me up is when she started having trouble at school. Her teacher noticed how she shut down every time she corrected Ruby and the noises she couldn’t control. The breaking point was the day after Halloween when was she very rude all day long and pushed a couple kids. It seems minor, but it was so off for Ruby that both her teacher and I knew something was wrong. That night I really looked at Sensory Processing Disorder. I didn’t just stop reading when I got to a symptom that didn’t match. So much of it fit her and I couldn’t deny it anymore.
For so long I have mentally cataloged her unusual behavior and every time I saw it my anxiety increased. Finally figuring out that it’s a sensory issue has greatly shifted my perspective and lessened that anxiety. I also realize that I’m a far better parent than I’ve given myself credit for, because as much I could make it hard I also created an environment where she could cope and feel safe.
So our next step is get evaluated and find a good occupational therapist. In the mean time I’m trying to listen to her and help however I can. She bounces a lot on a mini trampoline and an exercise ball. I don’t stop noises unless it’s super loud and I’m trying to have lots of sensory experiences available for her. She has noise canceling headphones. The first time she put them on she smiled and said I can’t hear anything. Today was the first day she wore them to school and I just got a message from her teacher that she had an excellent morning. Her teacher has been amazing and helpful. I feel like we are so lucky that Ruby is in her class.
Lots of people have said that they hope she doesn’t lose her uniqueness. Our goal is to help her be herself even more. I realize now how much she struggled to get through the day and how truly amazing she is doing when there are plenty of times when it felt like a noise was going to literally kill her or that she was so overwhelmed she couldn’t remember what just happened.