Whether we're homeschooling that year or doing public school, around the middle or end of July, the unstructured structure gets old. Our loose routine has to be tightened up or we just won't make it. Most of the scheduled summer events are over and we can settle into more routine until school starts again.
I think this guy is ready to know what he can expect from life again.
This was Josiah last night while I was cooking. This is why I hate cooking right now. Once a big interest of mine, now I dread it and love pizza nights. Notice the splat of spaghetti sauce on the worn linoleum - I don't even know when that happened during the frenzy.
During the evening, this guy is winding down and needy and cranky.
Sensory differences can be so hard to explain to other people. I mean, they're easy enough to explain from a technical standpoint, but the complex factors and effects on a family's life are oddly difficult and unique to every home.
Sometimes I'm not sure how to explain what it's like to have weeks where I have to leave the house for a while in the evening one or more days simply because he has been so needy. I have to let Daddy take over because I can't handle being grabbed, rubbed, climbed on for another second. My ears and brain can't listen to any more too-loud conversations, overreactions, or tears. In the photos above, Josiah just wanted me to hold him. Easy enough if everything could always stop and no one had to eat.
For Joe, it's like having an itch that someone else has to scratch for you. He doesn't know how to fill his own sensory tank just yet. Shortly after these photos, Daddy took him to play in the living room. Often a rough wrestling session with Daddy is exactly what he needs, and he loves it. Being (gently) thrown around, (gently) shaken, rolled, getting to throw punches at Daddy's open hands and yell loudly - it scratches those itches that he still can't always identify.
Also, this is me right now.
Mama, can I honk you nose?
Add in the meltdowns that come from being too tired, too hungry, or hearing something that is too loud, and a day can be taxing.
But gosh is he sweet, too. There is little that upsets him more than someone else crying - it borders on panic.
Also, this is me right now.
All of these gymnastics are not for lack of training. Oh guys. Only God knows the effort. Now he's clacking his teeth together and listening to the sound it makes. Also, he wants to look at wolf costumes. And he wants ice cream. He is sweetly and creatively expressing his wants while tapping me on the chin.
Jesse and I were discussing Josiah's stress level yesterday. I was listening to a child development expert talk about children who come from difficult places - and sensory kids fall into this category. She talked about how she gently places her hand on the chest of a child while speaking to them - to create connection, but also to feel their heart, which is often racing.
It's interesting to place your hand on a toddler's chest and feel their heart race frantically when it shouldn't be. Seeing and feeling their agony creates a brand new set of lenses through which you see their life, and suddenly, everything shifts. Protective instincts override exhaustion (most of the time) and you stretch and adapt. Sometimes that means saying no to things, and sometimes that means needing grace and assistance from others in order to show up.
There's nothing quite as powerful as parents who get this at the same time. I don't know how sensory parents cope when one parent isn't informed or on board. Watching my husband recite the favorite Good Night Moon to a little boy wrapped in his favorite blanket who can't stop crying, even though he wants to? It's a powerful picture for a wife and mom.
So now it's time to move toward the school year and plan some ways to fill Joe's sensory tank while his siblings are at school. He will miss them, and then he will enjoy the routine again. I sit here watching him bang on the wall with an inflatable bat and try to think of good activities for this fragile tornado. Maybe a hamster wheel. :)
This is me now.