New Year’s Resolutions. Everyone makes them. Lose weight, eat healthier, watch less T.V., spend more time with your family, exercise, lessen your stress. January rolls around and I’m glued to “Dr. Oz” or “The Doctors” talking myself into a lifestyle change. Nodding my head along with the audience saying, “I need to throw all the junk food out of our pantry. I need to get off the couch and find that Pilates DVD that’s been missing for the last couple years. I need to take more bubble baths, read more books, and spend less time on the computer.”
This year my New Year’s Resolutions are very different from past years. I have a child with sensory challenges. I need to look past myself and figure out what my husband and I want her future to look like.
The past month has been especially challenging. B’s routine has been completely messed up, and we all know how kids thrive on routine. Especially kids with sensory challenges. Sharing a room with her sister during the holidays, working on holiday school programs vs. the predictable classroom routine, visiting with out-of-town family, getting sick with the stomach flu…these are all little changes that add up to HUGE inconsistencies in B’s everyday structure.
That being said, it’s really overwhelming to look down a road that appears quite foggy at the moment. There are times the fog clears and lifts briefly, and then other days it’s quite thick and heavy; oppressive even. How do you look into the future when you can’t visualize it with much clarity?
We want the same thing every parent wants for their child. We want her to enjoy school, have friends, get along with her sister, enjoy her childhood but right now our future for her is more limited. Here are our new New Year’s Resolutions for B’s not-so-distant future:
- Learn how to take deep breaths when her body is in fight-or-flight mode
- Recognize when her body is running to high, too low, or just right
- Touch a new food without always needing a utensil to touch it
- Eat at the table without asking us to light a scented candle (because smells of food are too overwhelming for her)
- Incorporate 3 new foods into her diet over the course of 2012 (she has to eat each food ten times before it’s considered a “safe” food)
- Figure out appropriate ways to self-regulate when she becomes upset (jumping on the trampoline, brushing, and hopefully we’ll find a few other methods)
- Look at and describe 5 very challenging new foods (e.g., meatloaf, mashed potatoes, cheese, deli meat, and chili)
- Verbally express how she’s feeling in specific situations to help her identify with her emotions
I think the goals we have in mind for her are pretty realistic, but quite challenging at the moment. I’m hoping with continued therapy and after talking to a few more specialists/professionals, we might get some of the answers we’re looking for. We want to help B make life less challenging for herself as well. I’m especially hoping we can figure out some of the more challenging sensory issues before she starts kindergarten this fall.
Back to my #1 New Year Resolution for 2012. To learn everything I can to better understand my daughter’s sensory needs and talk to parents who are dealing with similar situations 🙂