Five year old Mr. Sensitive is a very bright and very worried child. He also has Sensory Processing Disorder, meaning his world is too bright, too loud, and sometimes not bouncy enough. He is a child who chews metal forks. And is terrified of getting a haircut. Seriously, toothbrushing is a big deal in his world.
He is usually worried about sensory stuff – too loud, too bright and too much sensation trigger near panic as he tries to escape.
Recently I trimmed his nails. Toes AND fingers. Any parents of kids with SPD or ASD can relate to the hell that this job is. Terrified I’d cut him, Mr. S wrapped himself into a ball and thrashed about wildly, while he sobbed in terror and made me feel like the worst parent in the world. Of course, this dramatically increases the likelihood that I will cut him, so it’s an exercise in frustration for both of us.
When my son was little I used to do his nails while he slept; now that doesn’t work. Now he fights me in his sleep.
Contrast this with fearless Baby Dunk’s adventures with a recently cut and stitched lip. Once his lip was frozen he was asking “What’s that?” while the doctor stitched his lip up.
Mr. Sensitive is, well, a sensitive child. Unlike the bruiser of a baby his little brother is. Mr. Sensitive’s nails needed serious maintenance, I’m ready to have a doctor look at them. A good trim was in order.
So for safety’s sake I needed some cooperation from Mr. Sensitive. I grabbed his hand and he covered his eyes, sobbing in terror. Then I started telling him a story of a little boy his age with super powers and takes on the school bullies and saves his class. Mr. Sensitive loves stories of people braver than himself. He stopped crying and listened to the story.
He calmed, and once I finished with all limbs he asked me to finish the story. This is a child who,according to his teachers, doesn’t pay attention in class. And now I have to keep telling the kids stories like a scene from the Arabian Nights. Seriously, we’ve already told a child’s version of the Hobbit. I guess I need to start writing some more.