After spilling my most internal, gut wrenching, thoughts and emotions a couple of days ago, I felt an immediate sense of release. Nobody is going to understand what I am going thru unless I specifically write my fears, my hopes, my emotions, down. Somewhere. And whether or not I let others read them, does not matter to me. Because right now, this moment, I just need to let it all go.
This weekend was a little rough. But not nearly as rough as what life had been like prior to realizing our new reality.
Mr. Man has been doing swim lessons since the beginning of June. He loves water. Loves. Water. Fill up the sink, the tub, a container, and he will be occupied and content for as long as you let him. He even likes to swim in the dogs outdoor water bucket. I have pictures to prove it.
So naturally, getting him into swimming lessons, was the next step. We needed to make sure he had the tools to survive the water, because we could not keep him away from the water. The dogs water bucket? Found him in it after realizing it was awfully quiet. Too quiet.
It is only recently that I started stitching the dots, recognizing what his triggers are, realizing what calms him, and understanding what doesn’t. Swim lessons? Calming. For at least 1 or 2 days after his swim lessons, his meltdowns are definitely less severe. By far. Something I would not have recognized had I not started being hyper vigilante, super aware, about who my son is.
It has been proven that swimming can be a calming, therapeutic technique. However, I have never had first hand knowledge, let alone any experience. Until now. Now, my 3 year old, is benefiting. And because it may be awhile until we can get into private OT, swimming will have to do. So, I added another day. It may be spendy, but it will be one-on-one, with someone he trusts. Someone that understands who he is, and what he needs. I will take that any day of the week and sacrifice extras so I can help him. By helping him, I can ensure his anchor remains calm, cool, collected.
Moving on. This weekend, I was a little scared. Not going to lie. Especially now, that I am on team hyper vigilante awareness, operation dot stitcher. I am watching his every move. To see how he reacts. In overstimulating situations. In normal situations. In situations in which we veered from our usual routine. To see how he handled finally getting back on track. It was just by happenstance that this weekend threw every scenario at him. And I am so proud of him. He handled the weekend 90% like a champ.
Was that because of his swim lesson?
Or was it because I am starting to sync with his cues?
Am I catching the triggers and playing mediator? Quicker than before? Better than before? More efficient than before?
Or maybe my anchor is holding stronger? Stronger than yesterday?
Whatever the case may be, this is going to be a long journey. What I thought he would react to – he didn’t. What I thought would be fine – wasn’t.
This back-and-forth, change of sensory issues, seems to be the norm from what I am reading and hearing, and now experiencing. For instance, we can be going 50 down the road, his window open wide, and he is loving the wind blowing on his face. But take him out of the car 10 minutes later, in the middle of a light windstorm, with wind hitting his entire body – and all hell breaks loose. His feet forget how to walk; his words unable to form; his body tenses; his knees begin to buckle. But his anchor, he knows his anchor is there to keep him grounded from the wind.
2 weeks ago, we took Mr. Man to a Wednesday night make-up swim lesson. We thought nothing of it, but it was extremely busy. Something he is not used to. His normal Saturday lessons are quiet and calm. Daddy thought he was just upset because we had woken him from a nap from the car. But past dictates that he only gets upset when you wake him up from a nap at home or someones lap. Waking him from a calming nap in the car? He is 99% of the time a happy clam. So is this the first time we experienced, that we noticed, that he was in a sensory shutdown? Or was he just merely upset and uncooperative because we awoke him from a peaceful, albeit short, car slumber.
I am not sure. But I do know that the following Saturday, when we were back at his regularly scheduled quiet and calm swim lessons, he was alive, exhilarated, and relaxed. And again, this last Saturday – it was quiet and calm, so he was happy and relaxed.
Fast forward to this weekend, and his chaotic unplanned schedule. Our normal Saturday is this: wake up, hang out, relax, go to swim, pick up lunch, take a nap, wake up for dinner and football, go to bed. Our normal Sunday is this: wake up, hang out, relax, go to Sunday coffee, eat lunch, take a nap, free play, go to bed.
So really, nothing drastic happens much on the weekends. Sunday coffee’s are routine and have been since before I was born. And because Daddy works weekends, we rarely do much outside of the house.
This weekend. This weekend was much different. Saturday, we went to a huge party for a friends grandchild. It was packed. There were tons of kids. A plethora of adults. Tons of sensory. But he handled it like a champ. He had to warm up to the situation, but then he didn’t stop moving for close to 3 hours. Maybe that is the key – keep moving. Sunday – we walked into coffee, which was quiet and calm this weekend, and he went and hid in the laundry room for 15 minutes – just tucked away into a corner. Not throwing a temper tantrum. Just tucked away like a little hermit nestling in his shell.
Not sure what happened. And I am hoping that once we are finally able to see a private OT we will get some answers, some guidance, some tips, tricks, and solutions. But in the meantime, I am going to continue to be hyper vigilante, for each sensory cue, each overstimulated cry, each shutdown glazed look.
There are patterns. There has to be patterns. Right? All dots connect, somehow, someway.
In the meantime, our new future looks like one hypothesis test after another. I am so glad I passed Statistics with a C+. I knew it would come in handy!
In the meantime, we will add in another day of swimming lessons.
In the meantime, we will try massage and chiropractic work, to get those muscles stimulated.
Because in the meantime, this is what his anchor can do.
I can hold steady in the storm.
Never letting go; never giving up; but holding strong. Finding solutions to keep him grounded. To keep his bodily vessel centered.