its something i never expected to feel. i have always felt my kid is an individual and very much requires attention and patience and attention with a side of attention. he has a lot to say about everything and if you feel a requisite “mm hmm” thrown out from time to time will do it, he will tell you its not acceptable one way or another.
but thats just him. thats how he rolls. nothing too out of the box or extraordinary.
but today it finally happened. i was asked if he has…(she paused not wanting to offend me overly much) sensory issues.
the term ‘sensory’ was said as if italics were a verbal accent and ‘issues’ was whispered.
my kid is very aware that he had an evaluation done because he needs some extra help getting through some life situations. he knows when he’s freaking out – he feels he’s got a good reason for it. from his point of view, its not something unacceptable or unfounded.
we were at the orthodontist today. this has been a very high octane summer so far. we had a fun water park trip, we had family visit, summer school, dental appointments, orthodontic consults, occupational therapy evaluations, play dates, birthdays and now braces and palatal expanders.
i’ve confused some of these appointments and mixed up what we’re actually doing at certain offices, but i’ve tried to keep it all straight.
today my son was a champion. a total rock star. as we waited to be called back from the waiting room a family with many girls came in. two had braces and two more were getting them put on. the oldest was maybe just a year or two older than my kid. i asked if my son could see her braces. she proudly smiled big as an alligator. when we got called back a little while later, the two getting their hardware were reclined and mid-braced. my son climbed into his chair and immediately started whining. the chair was reclined fully and he was asked to lay down.
my kid doesnt like bright or even regular lighting let alone fluorescent lights. asking him to lay on his back and relax while staring right into the lights is equal to offering to light the bed on fire for some warmth. not gonna happen. yes we used sunglasses, its not enough.
i reasoned and talked, but the words he was choosing to say were just reflex. defense. deflector shields.
no one actually wanting an answer will jump from question to question to observation like he does in panic mode.
meanwhile, the mom of the other two kids was calmly walking from kid to kid observing the process as her little ones giggled and squirmed slightly.
she and her girls generously offered for my son to get down and go check out what they were having done. it would be the same as he was preparing to have done and the logic is, “see? no one is gushing blood or screaming in a panic while the evil zombie dental assistant actually stabs their mouth with the hook and mirror”
my kid didnt buy it.
i started to resent the mom that got to calmly stroll about the office while her kids relaxed to have a little orthodontic work done.
our assistant finally got up and walked away from my son.
he switched with a lady who seemed a bit more patient and calm.
my son was still talking himself into a fit.
they ended up putting us in “the quiet room”
the quiet room is the office they keep the broken desk chairs and extra desks in.
but it has a door. a thick door. a thick door to keep the anxious wales of a special needs kids muffled so as not to frighten the typical kids who can smile and go with the flow who dont need to be told every step before it happens.
this was not unlike my labor experience with this same child seven years prior when i scoffed at the screaming and carrying on i heard after being admitted. silently judging those women just to find myself 24hrs later writhing and screeching as i heard the ‘click’ of my own door being closed.
i calmly talked my son down from his ledge. i mimicked the vocal technique of the therapist that evaluated him three days ago and it seemed to work.
it worked a little too much. i actually got nervous when once they began the hard labor in his mouth, he became silent and perfectly still. completely resigned to whatever would happen to him.
once his expanders were both in place (top AND bottom) and his four braces were put on, we left the room to rinse and drink and breath the typical air. the mom & her 2 were still there. that’s when i felt the full force of my kid and what he requires of those around him.
he requires more. yes. he requires exactly what he needs. he can verbalize and insist on what he needs for himself because he is sure. he may not always be right. they did not pull all of his teeth, afterall, or use the guise of braces to extract his brain and feed it to aliens, but he knew what he needed for himself and he was brave enough to insist on it. fight for it.
once he gave over to trust the people helping him, he allowed it. he was able to give in and go where he needed until it was done.
he did it!
afterwards, his speech was completely impeded. he has so much metal in his mouth, his tongue is trying to find another host. he is drooling and spitting and sounds like a deaf kid with a bag of marbles in his mouth.
but he has laughed about it. we have laughed together about how ridiculous and silly he sounds and i have never been more proud of that little man in his whole life.
so while he does in fact require extra from those around him because his needs are not typical, i admire his steadfastness and courage to know himself so much that he will fight and challenge whomever is not giving him what he needs.
is that so terrible? would the world be worse off for learning this from a 7 year old? i know i am better for knowing him and being inspired by him
….when im not frustrated to the point of tearing my hair and scratching my eyes out, of course!