While this time of year typically brings happiness, excitement and joy for many of your peers, as your mom, I know that for you, the holidays can be filled with anxiety and fear. The lights, sounds, changes in temperature and so many other subtle stimulations and sensory overloads of the season can be a tough challenge for you my love.
With that in mind, I thought this week would be a good opportunity to discuss one of your least favorite sounds - the dreaded sound of "nose blowing".
I know. We all do it, and as the wind gets colder, the frequency in our house is increased, but what is it about this sound that makes you run for the hills?
You my dear have what is called a Sensory Processing Disorder. For you, the sound of a nose blowing is a trigger that effects your auditory processing ability. Basically when someone blows their nose across the room, for you, they might as well have instantly put you into a wind tunnel, blocking and disrupting your being with the intensity that would bring - not awesome.
The reason is because you have a hard time differentiating and processing multiple sounds at the same time. There is no volume control, and so the intensity of a sound like that can be immensely jarring.
The way I imagine it is like this: I'm driving in the car (an automatic activity - something I do everyday). Seat belts on, radio on my favorite station, and you and your siblings are talking over one another (because who ever heard of waiting your turn to respond, right?!)
With all the sights and sounds around me, I can still adjust the radio if I need to, and tell y'all to lower your voices - all while still focusing on the road. I have control over the prominence of the various sensory inputs.
But now... add a thunderstorm to the mix.
Driving now becomes even more challenging. On top of the radio and the voices from the back seat, I now contend with the sound of the wiper blades, and the flashing of the head or break lights, and the limited visibility through the windshield as the water splashes and sloshes about.
My whole body becomes tense, as I try to focus. My mind battling to block out unnecessary sensory inputs and isolate the ones that matter.
Suddenly I can no longer handle all the inputs and I yell to the voices in the back (you three yahoos) "STOP TALKING! I need to focus!"
I get it baby. I can relate to how you feel, especially this time of year.
Your sensory system is running in a constant thunderstorm. Multiple noises and sights stress you out!
But this week we saw progress!
For as long as I can remember, you would collect everyone's napkin at the dinner table. "Why?", I would wonder. Was this your super duper "Mr. Clean" gene showing through? I finally realized that this was an effort to blunt the chance of someone blowing their nose (essentially turning off the radio before the thunderstorm even starts). Well played Addie, well played...
Those times when you missed a napkin, and God forbid one of us blew our nose or even got it close to our nose for that matter? They were subject to suffer the wrath of Addie - you became a mini Mike Tyson! Look out!
Or you would hit, scream, cover your ears, and run! It was a pretty consistent process.
Although you still can't stand the sound, you are getting better at controlling the volume of the conflicting inputs on your senses.
It's as if you realized all the people you trust and love (teachers, family, friends) are doing this nose blowing thing. It can be anticipated (you see someone grabbing a tissue) and there's a subsequent process that ends with the tissue/napkin in the trash.
It is predictable, and predictability is your friend.
As a result, you are less likely to hit those within arms reach, there is less screaming so loud that the neighbors can hear, and fewer times that you run out of the room as if the zombie apocalypse was upon us. Progress.
Rather, you usually cover your ears and just wait until it's done, only removing your hands from your ears when you know that tissue has been officially banished to the trash! Although as of late, I've even seen you try to hold the tissue to your own nose or mine...I believe in an effort to gain control over the dreaded sound. HUGE progress Addie!
So while you are still weathering the many thunderstorms in your life, I'm happy you found an umbrella for this one.
I love you!