Category Archives: sensory processing disorder

The Million Dollar Mistake

“The Million Dollar Fuck-Up” is probably a better title.

Spoiler alert: This story doesn’t have a very happy ending.

The weather in northern New Jersey has officially shifted from fall to winter. Chilly mornings and sunny afternoons have given way to bitter cold, cloudy, and windy days with occasional snow flurries. In other words, it’s time to wear pants.

At bedtime last night, I told my sensory sensitive seven-year-old son who hates nothing more than wearing pants that he would have to wear them to school in the morning.

“Will you pay me six thousand dollars?” His blue eyes sparkled with mischief.

I loved games. “Yes!”

“Will you pay me a million dollars?”

“Of course! I’ll write you a check!”

I didn’t anticipate how easily he would get dressed (in pants!) the next morning. I also didn’t anticipate that he would believe the printable check for kids I found on the Internet was real.

check

Like, really real. Like, he couldn’t wait to brag to his friends. Like, he thought we’d go to the bank after school, deposit the check (“like Mommy does”), and receive a million dollars in cold hard cash (like Mommy does?!). Like, for real.

It seemed like such a good idea the night before. That morning, not so much. When I confessed that the check was fake, my son was heartbroken. He was Lloyd Dobbler in “Say Anything” when Diane broke up with him and gave him a pen.

I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen.

I gave my son a fake check. I gave him a fucking pen.

Needless to say, things got worse before they got NOT BETTER AT ALL. I apologized for inadvertently hurting his feelings and tricking him. Tears squirted from his eyes, he threatened to take the pants off, and he wouldn’t budge from the staircase. Our surprisingly easy morning turned into a shit show, complete with a stand-off, irrational negotiations, and some miserable but necessary tough love.

Outside, the wind whipped. I was desperate. “If you keep your pants on, I’ll take you to the toy store after school.”

“I’m wearing shorts and you’re taking me to the toy store because you lied to me!” Ouch.

This grueling back and forth went on for a long while. In the end, he kept his pants on, but we were late for school and he refused to hold my hand on the walk from the car to the main office, which was his way of giving me a pen (and stabbing me in the heart with it and twisting it in both directions).

Did he need to wear appropriate clothing for the weather? Yes. Did I inadvertently lie and hurt his feelings? Also yes. Did I take him to the toy store after school? You betcha. Guilt is expensive, and for the record, I paid with cash, not a check.

The lessons in this cautionary tale require bullet points.

  • Kids are literal thinkers. Don’t forget this important nugget. Ever.
  • Don’t write checks you can’t afford.
  • Never break someone’s heart and then give them a pen.
  • Don’t judge parents. We’re all doing our best, especially on Monday mornings.
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Filed under guilt, motherhood, parenting, school, sensory processing disorder

When My Kids Wanted to Drink Soda, I Said Yes

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I have two children with sensory processing differences. Both are picky eaters. Both are sensory picky eaters. One is a severe sensory picky eater. Certain tastes, textures, and smells are deal breakers. Entire food groups are off the table.

Mealtime at home is tricky. Elsewhere – at school, camp, birthday parties, sleepovers, and vacations – it’s grueling. I am that mom and my kids are those kids, and it breaks my heart.

They’ll grow out of it.

I hear this a lot. Sometimes, it’s from well-meaning people who don’t know what else to say. Other times, it’s from parents who have stood in my uncomfortable shoes. I hold on to their optimism as my kids quickly approach the upper age limit on children’s menu items and gain more independence in their social lives.

I do my best to make sure my kids eat as healthy as possible within their limitations, and I encourage (but not force) them to explore new foods whenever possible. I say yes to whatever they want to try because I never want them to say no out of fear, and I’m not just talking about food.

Perfect parents need not read any further.

If my kids asked to try a Happy Meal, I would drive to McDonald’s in the middle of the night.

If my kids asked to try pizza, I’d have it delivered for breakfast.

If my kids asked to try a Slurpee, I’d say, “What flavor?”

When we eat out, I ask my kids if they want soda with their plain spaghetti no sauce, no butter, no oil with parmesan cheese on the side in case it tastes like the inside of a balloon.

I don’t want them to drink soda, but I want them try soda. I want them to know what an ice cold Coca-Cola tastes like, and I want them to know if they’re on Team Pepsi or Team Coke. But they never want it.

When my kids unexpectedly told me they wanted to try Mountain Dew, I was suspect. The thing about having picky eaters is that excitement and disappointment go hand in hand. It’s hard not to be enthusiastic about the potential to add a new food to their diet, but it’s equally difficult to anticipate the disappointment of “I don’t like it” that comes 99.3% of the time.

Their curiosity for the carbonated beverage came from an unfortunate infatuation with the YouTube sensation, Pink Sheep. Despite the annoying inspiration, when new food requests surface, I listen. At the grocery store, I bought strawberries, grapes, bananas, and a liter of Mountain Dew because a mom can dream.

All afternoon, my boys said they couldn’t wait to try Mountain Dew…later or in a while or tomorrow.

They were scared. “Why wait? Let’s do it!”

I alleviated their anxiety. “Mountain Dew is sweet and fizzy. It will make your tongues feel funny, but it’s okay.”

I threw in some healthy eating advocacy for good measure.  “Soda is fun to drink but it won’t fuel your body and brain, and it won’t make you healthy and strong. If you like it, you can drink it sometimes but not all the time.”

I put ice in two glasses and warned them of the hissing sound they would hear when I twisted the cap on the bottle. They smiled when they heard it. I poured a small amount in each glass. They marveled at the sparkling bubbles.

They sniffed. They pulled back. They sniffed again. They sipped. They winced a little bit and smiled.

They liked it. They liked it!

A few days later, I gave my kids money for the snack bar at our community pool. They came back with an ice cream sandwich, a soft pretzel, and a giant styrofoam cup filled with Mountain Dew.

I rarely feel like I belong when it comes to feeding my children, and I finally had something in common with the other parents when I proudly and firmly called my kids out. “I didn’t say you could buy soda! You didn’t ask for permission! No more soda!”

 sensory blog hop

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo!Want to join in on next month’s Sensory Blog Hop? Click here!

Want to read more amazing posts in the August Sensory Blog Hop? Just click on this adorable little frog…

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Filed under eating out, food, food issues, sensory processing disorder

What Dory’s Memory Loss Made Me Remember

Good morning,

I’m honored to have an original essay published on The Mighty about my experience watching “Finding Dory” with my son. You read the essay here.

As always, thank you for following my journey as a mother and a writer.

Talk soon,

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Filed under movie, sensory processing disorder