Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Princess and the Pea

Once upon a time there was a cute little girl that drove her mom crazy.


I guess there could be a few more paragraphs to the story.  I would go something like this:

Once upon a time there was a family that wanted just one more little princess in their family; but she would have to be a real princess.  The mom and the dad followed all the online tips to having a girl and much to their splendider the ultrasound tech indeed announced that a princess would soon join their family.  Years past and the family tried very hard to not spoil this princess as to not create a brat.  She was sweet and loved her dear parents. 
     Over the years the sweet princess developed some minor sensory quirks...her socks bugged her precious little toes and her shoes had to fit just right.  One fall day a terrible storm came on; there was thunder and lightning, and the rain poured down in torrents. Suddenly hardly anything felt good on the princess and she was besides herself.  The parents opened their bedroom door one morning and wondered what that could be hollering outside their door.
     It was a princess standing out there in front of the door. But, good gracious! what a sight the new school pants, new shirt and the tennis shoes had made her look. The anger in her face and her wild hair made her parents want to climb back in their bed.  And yet she said that she was a real princess.
     Well, we'll soon find that out, thought the old parents. But they said nothing and went into the bedroom, took all the bedding off the bedstead, and laid a pea on the bottom; then she took twenty mattresses and laid them on the pea, and then twenty eider-down beds on top of the mattresses.
     On this the princess had to lie all night. In the morning the parents asked how she had slept.
     "Oh, very badly!" said she. "I have scarcely closed my eyes all night. Heaven only knows what was in the bed, but I was lying on something hard, so that I am black and blue all over my body. It's horrible!"
     Now they knew that she was a real princess because she had felt the pea right through the twenty mattresses and the twenty eider-down beds.
     Nobody but a real princess could be as sensitive as that.
     So the parents kept her as a daughter and knew that they had a real princess.

     There, that is a true story.

After meeting with a friend that is an occupational therapist and reading and reading about sensory disorders I think Chloe has a mild case of Tactile Defensiveness.  "Tactile defensiveness is the tendency to react negatively and emotionally to touch sensations.  The child is overly sensitive to stimuli that other people would hardly notice.  In a child with tactile defensiveness, the protective response is the default; even in a non-dangerous situation (in other words, a particular sensation ought to be perceived as discriminative), the child perceives what he is experiencing as threatening, and reacts accordingly. The child with tactile defensiveness is always “on guard,” and is unable to perceive regular tactile sensations in an unexaggerated, un-“adrenalined” way."

After taking a short sensory profile about Chloe I am comforted that her issues are minor though they sure feel prominent to me. I've also been reading "Raising Your Spirited Child:  a guide for parents whose child is more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and energetic" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka which I feel has been giving me some great ideas in understanding not only Chloe but others as well.

So as we work on educating ourselves and doing some exercises to relax the protective system we are trying hard to change our expectations and compromise.  I'm biting my lip each morning as Chloe wears the same black leggings and rotates between about 2-3 shirts.  I close my eyes as she wears her silver sandals EVERY day to school even in the 32 degrees.  We compromised with a hair cut if she would not longer let me fix her long locks.

Meanwhile I shop.  I buy shoes and more shoes; socks, coats, dresses, etc...just in case I strike the gold mind and find something that might be comfy for my Princess and the Pea.  And I return 99.8% of what I buy.

And we are learning to live with each other.  And some days I'm not very good at being compassionate...like today.  So I remind myself how much I wanted my princess and vow to love Chloe as little more.

The hair cut debut:


Ashley Calaway said...

Her haircut makes her look soo grown up! She is adorable. I hope you hit the gold mine and find some other clothes she'll actually wear ;-)

emily a. said...

I'm dying over her hair. It's adorable and if anything good comes from this issue, at least it got her a haircut perfect for her.

Leah said...

Totally agree with Emily-this is the most darling hair cut EVER! Love it. Also, I'm glad you looked into her frustrations, I thought it was just more than normal little girls stuff.

MaryJane said...

We were so surprised to see Chloe's adorable hair when she popped over the other day. Love it!

Anna's Josiah has the opposite sensory problem. He hardly feels anything. He is in OT on a regular basis and is improving all the time.

laura said...

Sara I am sure this is extremely frustrating. I think we talked about my friend who's son has had a strong case with tactile issues and is finally starting to make some headway with him. I have to say though Chloe's hair looks OUTSTANDING. Perfect for her.

Julia said...

Her haircut is SO cute. I think I need to read that "spirited child" book. I'm at my wits' end with my own little princess over here :)

Julie said...

I also love her hair! What a cutie! When my daughter had a phase of sensory issues, I also was going crazy inside. My only daughter for many years wouldn't let me do her hair because it hurt too much. As a teen, she wanted to grow her hair out. Only she would brush it. This past year she has let me french braid it and put it into pony tails. Her head is much less sensitive to pain, and she enjoys having me do her hair!!! For many years she wouldn't wear jeans and now wears them! I just bought leggings in different colors for her. Chloe sound just a bit more sensitive, but you are doing awesome trying to adjust! Hang in there!

Nancy Clark said...

Here's a funny story: When I first started reading your story I thought, "sounds like a sensory issue; I wonder if Sara has looked into that." By the end of your story/explanation, I am suddenly realizing that one of my sons fits this more than I realized. I hadn't noticed, because it's not so much textures as it is sound and actual physical touch. Hmm... Glad I saw this. :)