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June 17, 2008

Writing Motherhood

Book_clubCaroline has a sensory processing disorder. This has meant many things in our lives. It has meant terror and screams during hair brushing and tooth brushing because of tactile sensitivities, broken bones and stitches because of motor planning issues, multiple bathing suit changes at the beach because of scratching and itching and “yuck!”

It has also meant a decrease in proprioceptive abilities and poor vestibular modulation. In English this means that Caroline’s body wants to be in motion all the time, her body rarely understands where it is in space and she is impulsive. In Mother this means an impulsivity that makes following the rules nearly impossible. Over the years we have learned that our “No” has to be limited to true safety concerns. Even with this as our guiding principle, I probably say “no” hundreds of times a day- no joke.

I think about the time we had gathered our dinner club together for a family BBQ. A friend was watching the little ones in the front yard. One of our rules is “Never run into the street.” Pretty simple, right? That day something got to Caroline. We never found out what. But in the middle of a game, she darted right into the street.

I couldn’t shake that feeling of shame, embarrassment and guilt. I couldn’t stop thinking all the thoughts that were running through all the other mother’s heads. I wanted desperately to sit them all down, tell them my tale of woe, tell them that Caroline’s little brain, neurologically, is programmed differently than their little bundle’s. I do all the things the other mothers do. It just doesn’t always work.

Instead of doing this, though, I try instead to switch my own thinking. When I see behaviors in other children that seem off, that seem ‘correctable’, I try to imagine the stories that exist in these families. Their mother’s tale of woe. Rules are rules but they are not always black and white. There is almost always a story filled with grey.


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