Gently Squeeze for Success
My sweet child who many of you know has her share of tactile problems. These days after a lot of hard work on everyone’s part it is hard to tell she does, except that she complains about them. She will suck it up and deal but it isn’t without a thorough protest and sometimes it just can’t happen because it is to much. I like to think of it as varying from extra coarse sandpaper to extra fine sandpaper. Some days the extra coarse is what she encounters and it is those days the struggle between child and the elements begins.
The recital with its pretty pink outfit brought a coarse sandpaper day, annoying but with enough drive and patience workable. I had already modified the outfit with a piece of felt so the most itchy part didn’t touch her skin, poor kid couldn’t move in the thing before that, and her face was contorted like she had broken an arm until the felt was inserted. She fussed with it and dealt with the aggravation so she could be on stage with her class, she had a focus a goal, and that goal would not be stopped no matter what. As soon as she was able she found a seat at the theater where the production would take place and promptly allow herself to be folded up in the chair. Why would she want to be folded into much like a taco? Two words gentle compression, the input to her body is soothing it helps the rest of her senses to take a metaphorical chill pill, and it puts a happy smile on her face. When she had her dress rehearsal she sat very much the same way for awhile until she felt calm enough to move around, but she would come back and find a chair to fold herself up in. She learned this little trick when she was about four and will ask me when she is most overwhelmed to squeeze her until she feels calm enough to move forward with a task. To see her finding ways to squeeze herself tells me she is growing and the coping skills she has been taught are working. I am proud and being a mom a little sad because it is one less thing my baby needs me to do, but mostly I am happy she is learning and maturing.
So what happened with the horrible outfit? After her performance I ran and changed her to another costume because she was in the finale this year as well. Her comment as she slipped on the other outfit, a plain leotard, struck me once again showing how aware she is of the tactile things the rest of us brush off. “Oh I feel energized now, the other one was itchy, but this is soft and now I can really move.”
I smiled and told her I was glad, and she did move better during the finale which was almost an hour after her number than she did during her class’s main performance. Her smile from stage didn’t look plastered on and she danced better than she did during the class performance too. I am just happy the theater has chairs to squeeze her at this point in her life, so she can plaster on the smile and do her thing on stage, because she enjoys the dancing part just not the costume. She is assuredly working on taking what some would call the lemons she was given and making them into lemonade.