This week we left our mild southern winter for the bone chilling temperatures of Michigan - it was 3 degrees! Yes, you read that right, it was 3 degrees back in the Mitten State. Cold. Not exactly my favorite temperature.
Did I ever tell you about the time Dad and I went on a date to Ruby Tuesday’s? As we left, I literally found myself sprinting to the car because it felt like Antarctica outside!
As I sat there shivering, rocking back and forth and blowing my warm breath into my hands, Dad started up the car and saw the temperature. He looked at me laughing and said “Leanne it’s 62 degrees out.” Yes, to me even that’s too cold!
I know, it’s shocking that I was born in the north!
However, you my dear were born right here in the south where the temperatures are usually much warmer. Therefore, you’ve never had to master the art of layering clothing. You much prefer no layers at all, or as we call it - being nudie!
While I joke that this in result of your warm southern blood, it’s actually a direct response to your sensory processing disorder and temperature regulation.
Temperature regulation is our core temperatures response to outside stimuli. The temperature of our bodies is regulated by neural feedback mechanisms in the brain, which operates primarily through the hypothalamus. No, not the giant gray semiaquatic pig looking mammal - that my dear is a hippopotamus. I’m talking about the hypothalamus, which is the exact opposite with regards to size (it’s a part of the brain that’s super tiny)!
But don’t let its size fool you, it has a big job! It functions as the control center for our autonomic nervous system (or key involuntary functions) by regulating sleep-wake cycles, body temperature, and appetite just to mention a few.
It has the remarkable responsibility of regulating the body’s core temperature. When your body is exposed to heat or frigid conditions (like snow or ice), this system balances your internal temperature with the temperature outside. Pretty cool huh?
Your sensory processing disorder causes the sensory signals from the hypothalamus to get a little messy and unorganized to appropriate responses sometimes. Yup, from sleeping, to eating, to temperature control, these crossed signals can result in some lingering stares from onlookers because of what may be seen as abnormal behavior in certain situations.
Remember when I said it was 3 degrees outside?
Well, with this unique disorder you have what is referred to as a hyposensitive (under active) tactile dysfunction. Your tactile sense is in charge of input from the skin receptors about touch, pressure, temperature, pain and other things like that. Simply said, it takes a lot for you to feel the cold of the freezing temperatures (opposite of mommy).
You see coats and shoes as restricting your motion so in essence you don’t find them necessary. This is actually a very common revolt amongst toddlers. So, it stands to reason that you also don't see the purpose of “layering up” in cold weather, or putting on hats, coats of gloves either. Heck, you barely have an appreciation for getting dressed at all! Your hypothalamus must be working in overdrive keeping you nice and toasty! Lucky you!
We pick and choose our battles Addie. I know very well that you won’t get a cold from lack of appropriate winter apparel, but you would be completely unsuspecting of the hyperthermia from the boots you keep ditching, or frostbite on the fingers you keep exposing by tossing those gloves!
So, while you’re doing much better with social appropriateness of keeping pants and shirts on - outer wear is still a little challenge.
Enjoy the snow baby girl, if you can’t find me Ad, I’m the one chasing after you, sweating trying to keep your coat and gloves on!
I love you.