Friday, April 12, 2013

Of sensory struggles and Mummies

It's a rainy, dreary day and boys are bouncing off the walls.

The morning has been full of quite the mixture of laughter, tears, squealing and screaming. 

Playing nicely one minute and not so nicely the next.

On days like this, I really should resign myself to the fact that trying to get a shower and expecting no injuries, sibling squabbles or property damage is not realistic.

It was clear before the bathroom door was shut that I would need to separate the four boys.  I was naive enough to think that telling Aaron and Parker to get in their beds and play quietly until I came out would actually work.

Um, yeah.  That lasted a whopping thirty seconds.

I first tried the approach that all expert mom's employ...I ignored the ruckus.

When it was clear that would not work, I used my next great mom strategy...

I yelled for them to stop the yelling and chaos.  No, the irony is not lost on me here.

Finally, I realized I would need to get out and deal with the situation before someone ended up needing to go to the ER.  As I tried not to slip while I stumbled, dripping wet, without my glasses to their room, I hoped it would not be ME needing the ER.

I gave Parker a few books (which I should have done to begin with) and told him to enjoy them quietly on his bed until  I came out.

Aaron was having tremendous trouble with impulsiveness and keeping his hands to himself, so I sent him to a spot in the kitchen.  I know that when Aaron is like this it is often because he needs a little help to calm down, re-set, in processing things.

I told him he could play, look at books, jump, spin, whatever he needed to do, but he had to do it alone and not leave the room.

After a much too short shower, I went to the kitchen to find that Aaron was calm and content.

He cannot always communicate it, but his body knows what it needs and I'm so glad more and more he seems to be aware of that. 

When he's practically crawling out of his own skin and cannot keep his hands to himself no matter how hard he tries, he often will grab a blanket. He wraps up as tight as he can and rolls around on the floor.  The deep pressure, tight blanket, rolling around helps him to calm and hit the re-set button.

Such was the case this morning, but with a different twist.

I found him, not tightly rolled up and rolling on the floor.

Rather, he was wrapped up in two of his favorite blankets and quietly standing in the corner.

He asked "Do you know what I am?"

"King Tut?"


"The Sphinx?"


"I'm a Mummy in a Mummy case in a Museum."

This then led to a discussion about Mummies, including showing him some pictures in which his only comment on each one was "ew."  He thinks the word sarcophagus is a weird word and that Mummy case sounds much better.

Ten minutes before he was bouncing off the walls. 

A few minutes in a Mummy case and we are doing an impromptu history lesson.

He isn't always able to communicate what he needs.

He doesn't always even know what he needs.

I surely fail often at helping him figure it out.

I'm thankful for moments like this, where I can be "in tune" enough to know he needs to be separate from his siblings and he can follow his body's lead to figure out what he needs.

I'm even more thankful that these moments are happening more often these days.

There are struggles. 

Some days are smothered in struggle for this boy.  

These moments, these glimpses into us figuring things out and setting him up for success are flickers of light at the end of the tunnel.

The calm doesn't always last long, but it's enough. 

It's enough to catch a breath.

To be encouraged to keep trudging on.

It's enough to remind me that my kid is amazing and that he works so hard and has come so far.

We both have.

As he wraps up tight like a Mummy and walks off singing "Walk Like an Egyptian", I want to wrap this moment up in my heart for the tough days...


  1. Have you ever seen the movie about Temple Grandin? She designs a box which she can get into and pull a rope and the side come in an hug her. She got the idea from watching the ranchers put cattle into a box to brand them. Your story reminded me of that movie.