I still sometimes have to step back and survey to realize that situations or the behavior over situations are due to sensory overload/underload.
We went to the Newport beach this past week. We have been to the beach before. a couple of times it was good and a couple of times it wasn't so great.
This last visit to the beach had the potential of going both ways. and it did.
Syd - Remember my clothing averted child. The one who wore sweat pants/leggings (sometimes not always jeggings) for 80% of the school year last year. The child that gets so overloaded with certain things like lotion after bath time that it sends her spiraling down into the pits of a fiery hell. (dragging the rest of us kicking and screaming along with her most times)
Syd went to the beach with good spirits and good intentions. She was so excited to run crashing into the waves and wanted to try a boogie board for the first time. And it was all good. The first few waves were a hit. and then not so much.
I just saw it as her irritable, bitchy, much like her mama, mood swing side. She came out of the water crying. She was wet and sandy and sticky and cold. She wanted to go home. She hated the beach. She hated the seaweed. She was mad at our friends teenage boys because they told her that they saw a shark. She Was Done.
I took deep breaths and each time she looked away and I made eye contact with my friend I would roll my eyes, making sure that everyone knew how over her dramatic nature I was.
After much pleading J was able to convince Syd to walk down the beach to a rocky area to look for hermit crabs. I stayed back with the little boys.
Ryan - Ryan was covered in sand the second we unloaded chairs and took off our flip flops. He walked in the water with J and hit a couple of waves and then immediately sat down and started dumping sand over his legs and running his arms through it. For the rest of our day at the beach he was nearly covered in sand. He would just lay on it like it was the most comfortable pillow top bed ever. He was in heaven.
I was able to understand how it must feel to her sensitive skin, to have sticky sand and a wet swim shirt stuck to her. There was nowhere for her to go.....EVERYTHING had sand on it. The chairs, the towels, the crackers. There was no getting away from it. I felt terrible for not seeing it. I felt like a complete ass for not being more sensitive and empathetic to her.
Normally when we swim (at a pool or water park) we bring extra clothes for Syd to change into because she can't handle the feeling of her wet clothes in the car. Jan had packed some clothes for her after telling Syd to pack some, as a precaution to halt any impending tantrums later on if Syd forgot. (you live and learn) Jan forgot to pack that bag. aaand Syd forgot as well. She was still sticky (beach showers can only do so much) She was now hungry. Tired. Cold. and still wet. any one of those things normally could send her spiraling. All she wanted to do was to go back to the house and shower. She didn't want to move from her seat. She was miserable. but she did. She got out of the car and ate pizza, freezing in the park because nobody else wanted to drive home on an empty stomach. She made the best of it. She put on a smile and held it together. I'm so proud of her.
2 completely different experiences at the beach. Both involving sensory issues. Each one being at either end of the spectrum.
I don't think that I could have handled having another Ryan.....his need for sensory stimulation has been a nightmare :) but I sure wish that Syd didn't have such a sensitivity to it.
I'm glad we had our day at the beach. It was great.
and P.S. there were in fact baby tiger sharks....in the shallow end...very visible.
yip...that might send me running for shore in tears at 9 years old.