My son, the very thing I live for, absolutely hates nearly everything I love.
Art fairs, street fairs, state fairs…pretty much any fairs. Movie theaters and malls. Anything loud or crowded and he’s out.
I live and thrive around people. I love some of the small, silly interactions you have with strangers. I love crowds. I just love people watching and seeing how events can bring people together. I just like people, period.
My son screams at children that look at him. Or hides when anyone he doesn’t know comes near him. He tends to like adults and tolerates kids he knows. But he hates being around a lot of people regardless of age.
I love exploring. I love the invigoration of a new place. I love experiencing new things. I like spontaneity.
My son hates leaving the house most of the time. And the only time he tolerates it is when he is given plenty of warning. New places are the worst.
I love when I am warm and toasty and snuggled up under the covers.
My son says his skin is itchy when he gets warm.
I love going out to eat. I love someone else cooking food I can’t make. I love trying new food from all different cultures.
My son does not like restaurants, especially if there are a lot of people or it’s too loud. He gets the same thing everywhere we go. Pizza, chicken nuggets, fries. One of those.
I LOVED spirit days at school. I was so excited for him to experience them and do fun and silly stuff.
My son is not down with the silliness. He is not okay with doing anything other than the regular routine.
My son loves video games. He loves Mario Bros and Minecraft the most. It is one of his only true interests.
I can’t stand talking about video games constantly. I will play them from time to time but day in and day out? No thank you.
My son likes being cold because he is a constant hotbox.
Being cold seems to physically hurt me. If it is 80 degrees outside and there is the slightest breeze, it’s cold and I’m putting a sweater on.
My son likes playing cars at home. He likes playing in the yard with his toys.
I can’t stand being in the house all the time and I’m not particularly good at playing with cars. And if I’m going to be outside I would rather be at a park over the yard.
My son likes the consistency of knowing the foods he is going to eat that day. Pre-approved by him.
I hate making his lunch for that reason, I feel like I’m feeding a hamster eating the same boring thing everyday.
My son gets nervous in new situations and gets extreme anxiety about them.
I cried the first time I had to put gas in the car by myself even though I knew what to do. Even though I had run in to pay for gas all the time. I get anxiety when doing new things.
My son is perfectly fine with noise, as long as he is the one making it. A lot of the time, things are too loud for his comfort.
I can’t stand certain sounds, unless I am the one making them.
My son tenses up when people touch him, especially on his shoulders.
I tense up when people touch my upper back, or if they are too close to my face.
My son doesn’t like looking people in the eye.
I don’t like looking people in the eye when they are feeling intense emotion, especially if it is anger or frustration.
This is sensory processing disorder. It is such a small taste. Sound like complaining? No, it’s not. It’s just easier to explain to others. We each make exceptions and do what we can to make each other happy. My son is amazing and so unbelievably sweet. He does things he can’t stand because he knows I want to. As do I for him. I believe what he says when he is uncomfortable with something. I may push him a bit but I let him be who he is. In so many ways I see myself in him. These sensory issues he has, I struggled with them as a kid. Even now I still have some problems. Just on a much smaller scale than it is for him. I know it is difficult for parents of special needs kids for different reasons. This is just a piece of our difficulty. And Sensory kiddos can have all kinds of extreme issues from food aversion to issues with textures of clothing.
I can admit that our likes and dislikes don’t always blend. But we know how to work with each other. This also is why it’s important to make sure that each of you have your own time to do the things you love. We as parents put so much on the back burner. We feel like bad parents if we want to do something we love, that our kids don’t. I’m here to tell you it’s okay. You do not have to become your kids. You just have to love them. It is okay to live a separate identity from them. And while I am writing this for others, this is a reminder to myself too. It’s okay to be you and live a life you love.
My son is like land. He is rigid, with roots down deep holding him firm. Inconsistencies cause the land to wither, break apart, have to start anew. I am like water. Easily flowing from one experience to the next. Crashing into new things with excitement. But we both soften around the edges. The water slows when it reaches the shore made from sands that have loosened its grip. The land and water marinate in a spot that works. We marinate. And it works. I wouldn’t have it any other way.