Jsack's Mom's Blog

Welcome to my blog where I share my special needs parenting journey with my heart, truth, and love, one story at a time. ❤️

The Haircut

I see the long shaggy hair covering his eyes and he’s bent over trying to put his Batman in his Bat mobile. He’s getting so frustrated because he can’t see what he’s doing and this task is taking too long to figure out. I gently offer to help him and he runs away in anger and slams his door. He’s only four and already acting like a teenager. I pick up his toys, walk to his room and gather him in my arms. 

  
I wrap his blanket around him holding him tight in my Mama bear hug. Deep pressure soothes him and I rock until he stops crying. I brush the hair back from his eyes and I say the dreaded words “oh honey it’s time for a haircut.”

 Soon his body tenses and he’s ready for fight or flight. I rock him and tighten my hold till his fear ridden body is limp in my arms. 
The next day I tell my husband our son needs a haircut. He shakes his head and says “well I don’t want to do it.” Neither of us do it’s a two hour ordeal and the emotions overflow and we’re all stressed. We take turns holding our sweet boy who will turn into a howling banshee any moment. It’s my turn to perform the task of completing a decent haircut. 

I assemble my tools scizzors, buzzer, guards, comb, spray bottle, and a cloth. He will not wear a cape so we strip off his shirt and wrap a towel around him. I place his blanket in a clear plastic bag to protect it but so he’s still able to see it. Next I grab the iPad, thermos of water, and a bag of lollipops. 

I call my husband to help wrangle our son and it’s easier to catch a greased pig at a BBQ! He holds him tightly and I begin wetting down his hair. I’m being very careful to not spray his face at the same time singing his favourite song while his Dad finds him his favourite superheroes on YouTube. I begin to comb his hair and I cautiously snip his bangs. This is not an easy task as I venture close to his eyes. 

I comb his hair out a few more times and move to the sides. I gently approach his ears and I’m holding my breath while I cut around this delicate area. Next I move to the back of his head making sure to work quickly now as he starts to wiggle. I move over to other side and you can hear a pin drop as I cut around the other ear. The hair starts falling and covering his face and blanket in the plastic bag. 

I quickly blow it away and brush off his lap. He starts in with a low growl and I back off completely gently soothing him with my singing.  I carry on only to reach an impasse as he doesn’t want to sit any longer. I bribe him with a lollipop and ask his Daddy to hold him in his blanket bear hug. Instantly he’s soothed and I continue cutting. I’m not a hairstylist I have no professional experience whatsoever. Other than cutting his big brothers hair in the classic “page boy” style.

 I comb out his hair and continue cutting until he gets excited with the video and jerks his head and shoulders around. I narrowly miss stabbing him in the back of the neck! I tag team out with my husband and we trade spots. He plugs in the buzzers and I brush the hair away from our sons face and body. I prepare him for the buzzing sound and hold on to him tight because I know this is going to be a bumpy ride. 

His Dad works quickly and efficiently as I tighten my grip and sing louder overtop of the sound of the buzzers. He’s on my lap wiggling out of my arms and it’s like holding a bag of snakes! We’re almost in tears and we quickly wash his hands and face that are covered in hair. I pick up the hand mirror so he can survey our work and he starts to cry he wants all his hair back. A full sensory meltdown ensues while he can’t process what happened and why I can’t put the hair back. This is the invisible cloak that he wears as he tries to process all eight of his senses. 

I can only imagine what this has felt like for him. As much as we prepare him for haircut time it’s still unbearable. We let him run free and then I change him into his pyjamas while I make him a snack and give him something to drink. He sits at the table singing away between bites and I look at his happy face in awe. Just moments ago I imagined that the clippers felt like hot razors attacking his scalp as his body, brain, and central nervous system were in overload. He finishes up his snack, I wash his hands and face and hug him so tight while telling him how proud I am of him. 

He cuddles up with his Dad and watches a cartoon before storytime. I clean up the mess in the kitchen, sweeping, making lunches, and pour myself a stiff drink. I go downstairs and sit and sip while glancing up at my son and his Dad nestled together in the recliner. My husband says “thank you for being a brave boy for Mommy and Daddy.” 
His eyes well up with tears and he holds his Daddy’s face in his little hands and says “you hurt me Daddy.” I watch my husband’s face crumple and we look at each other and silently agree that this will be the last haircut he ever gets at home. This is our life with Sensory Processing Disorder. 

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo!

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My Mommitment journey and car decal giveaway

A year ago I was suffering from a major judgemental spiral. Being a special needs parent I had more than enough stares, disapproving looks, and snide comments. It was always when my son was reacting to his environment of being too loud, busy, and over stimulating. I still remember a very public sensory meltdown that ensued when we were in a McDonalds. After a day of travelling for hockey I chose a quiet place to have his happy meal than an amped up hockey team pizza night. Well little did I know that the town was going to see a spectacle in that quiet venue. 

It always starts out innocently enough of they didn’t have the toy he wanted. So we go for plan B and they don’t have that either. After those options we decide to eat our meal by this time I have an upset child running up and down on the bench. To any outsider this looks like my son is spoiled and I’m a passive parent. When really it’s an impending feeling of doom for him struggling with preservasive behaviours that his mind is telling him he needs. 

We always have a set routine at our McDonald’s, but this isn’t our local one so making do is our only option. That’s when the judgement bus comes rolling in and I feel hot, stifling, embarrassment and then a instant cup of angry for my son being judged. I ended up overreacting and gave those diners quite a show of what it feels like to be prisoner in a sensory overloaded moment. I left that restaurant feeling defeated as I had to pick up my son and go back to the hotel. 

I brainstormed, wrote a blog, and had to think of a way to change this negative to a positive. So I prayed on it, I always believe when the student is ready the teacher appears. That’s when Mommitment came into my life. Now I judge less, and ignore more, I spread awareness of Sensory Processing Disorder than anger, and I love and forgive myself and my son because life can be as unpredictable as how his central nervous system and senses are. Today a year later I’m still a work in progress but I stick to my Mommitment mindset and proudly wear this decal on my vehicle. This is my check in for the day, week, and month to remind me of my Mommitment and now that I know better I do better. 

  
Without further ado here is the Giveaway details. Follow the Rafflecopter guidelines from Tues, Feb. 23 rd to Tues, March. 1 st. Two winners will be chosen for a Mommitment decal that you can proudly display. 

What can you do to support a Mom in your life and community by showing compassion and non-judgement? 



a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Anonymous 

There are times I put my ball cap on big sunglasses tuck my hands in my hoodie kangaroo pocket and hide out. Sometimes I do this at home or when I go out so I can remain anonymous. I might even look creepy in my incognito splendour, but I feel safe. I like to people watch there I said it, and this is a way I can do it casually. I learn so much about watching people. There’s an art form to it, a nuance that I appreciate. I don’t stare I just watch how people use their body language, talk in public, how they get absorbed in their “face in their phone world.” 

I have always enjoyed this past time and until now I’ve remained anonymous about it. People inspire me I can think up things to write just from seeing people interacting with each other. Sometimes I take notes while I’m sipping my Starbucks, and word prompts or blog ideas pop into my head. I used to go to parks while I was pregnant with my first and watch parents in action. I watched how they held their babies, what kind of strollers they used, how they cooed and kissed their precious bundles of joy. I enjoyed seeing them in those sweet, candid moments in love with their little family’s. 

I was so eager to learn and take mental notes about what kind of Mom I would be. Little did I know that the biological need kicks in whether you birthed your baby or were blessed with someone’s else’s. I just knew what my son needed whether he was comfortable in a football hold, or too hot from skin to skin and he would push his arms up and away from my chest. I would watch him for hours too just before I fell asleep while he was dreaming away in baby land. 

I could watch his body movements, the way his long eyelashes made his tender baby face look so beautiful. The roundness of his chubby cheeks, and the sweet way he pursed his lips like he was about to kiss me. I couldn’t get enough of baby watching when I had my babies. And I made friends with other Mom’s and I watched and admired their babies as well. My second baby loved to wiggle even when he was sleeping. He was in constant motion right before he’d drift off to sleep. His rosy cherub like cheeks looked like two little apples I could nibble on. His lips were always in a full pout, and his soft blonde hair I would stroke and admire his peacefulness. He was so angelic and since he wasn’t much of a steady sleeper I appreciated these moments even more. 

Watching my children while they slept made me appreciate their beauty, calmness, and the tender years that they were at. And how fast they were progressing as they grew from babies, to toddlers, to preschoolers, and off to Kindergarten and leaving my nest. As they’ve grown this made me want to study them as they play. As if I could capture this time of their lives and bottle it for safe keeping for my memory bank. The voices my youngest likes to use with his superhero characters makes me giggle. And the songs and dances my oldest uses to entertain himself and other amazes me with his talent. I also watch them watching me as I’m reading, cooking, or working out, asking me a hundred questions about what I’m doing, and when will I be done. 

As much as I enjoy people watching I’ve given birth to a couple of investigative people reporters. My son’s will give me updates on our neighbours comings and goings. As well as what his dog is up too, sleeping, eating, or sniffing as he sees my youngest staring at him through a crack in the fence. I have to remind my kids it’s not nice to stare at people in public. A passing glance is long enough and adding a smile if someone looks your way can make yours and their day. I’ve received compliments from other people watchers about my son’s. Which always makes me puff up my chest as a Mommy peacock strutting my parenting stuff. 

I’ve been told by little Grandma’s in the grocery store how polite and cute my kids are. How they must keep me giggling with their antics. I’ve nodded, agreed, and have added “yes laughing and a little hair pulling as well.” I used to feel so anxious if someone was watching me with my babies. Almost like they were trying to see where I was doing something wrong, or I would be judged for not doing something right. Igniting  the whole Mom wars debate that I wanted to avoid like the plague. 

It spoke a lot more to my insecurities then what people thought of me. Usually they just wanted me to hurry up in a line up when deciding what meal to order. They weren’t judging me they just were in a hurry with life. And there I was with my baby smiling away at them from my stroller. I got over that after my children started getting older. Now my oldest is quite a handsome boy with brilliant blue eyes, and an easy smile on his lips. 

He captures attention wherever he goes as he’s kind, polite, and always engages someone in conversation. My youngest he’s equally handsome and adorable, but where his brother is my quiet child he is my loud, wild, child. He is a boy very comfortable in his skin. He has no qualms of telling you his name, how old he is, and inviting  you back to our house for a play date. With him everything is an adventure, something fun and exciting waiting to be discovered by him. I love how he tackles life whether it’s scary or challenging  he wants to take a bite out of that experience. 

There are those days I want to be anonymous when he raises hell with being uncomfortable or panicked about something in his environment. This is something he has no control over with his neurological disorder. If sets him off sensory wise then we have some drama to contend with. Those are the times I want to crawl underneath the table and hide under my hat and dark sunglasses. But I don’t, I’ve taught my kids to never shy away from life. I just do my best to handle the situation and regulate my son as quickly as possible. Then we can leave as quietly as we came in or I can be the people watcher, and say “take a picture to remember us by.” Which actually happened in a McDonald’s as there were a few judgey Mcjuderson’s in attendance. Oh to be anonymous, incognito, say what you say, dream what you dream, feel what you feel without a care in the world, and be free. Now if you will excuse me it’s time for my weekly people watching session at Starbuck’s. 😉

This has been my Sunday confession with the loveable More Than Cheese and Beer. Head on over and check out her anonymous Sunday confessions. And all the lovely ladies who linked up today. Thank you,  smooches. 😘

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#1000 Speak Compassion-nurturing 

 At this moment in time I could use some nurturing. My heart has suffered from being judged, my body from pushing it to the limit of injury, my soul from putting myself last on the list of life’s priorities. It’s been my own doing, I put myself out there and recieved ridicule and embarrassment. I allowed it to hurt my heart and make me feel cheap, dirty, and ashamed. There is a thing about being too honest especially on social media.

I started a new workout routine as I’ve been living with chronic pain for the last five years. And slowly it’s grinding away at all the wonderful things I’ve accomplished over that time. The nurturing place where I housed my children and now my back is full of white hot pain if I do too much. Lifting my child who is showing all the signs of a sensory meltdown as he runs through a parking lot. Carrying him to bed after he’s so wound up from seeking sensory input all day he crashes in my arms on the couch.

Picking him up and cradling him like my little Joey and I’m his kangaroo Mama keeping him safe from a world that’s too loud, busy, bright, and at the same time beautiful in it’s simplicities and complexities. I exercise to keep myself fit, healthy, and fabulous. I started a new workout routine and matched the instructor for move for move. No matter how fast or extreme it would be in the long run. What the end result was an aggravated old back injury from a bulging disk, and not being able to walk properly for three days!!! What was I thinking I asked myself as I had to hobble around with a cane and parent from my couch?!

I wasn’t thinking about my age that’s for sure. I was thinking of who I was before when I was the fitness instructor with seventeen years experience. Who gave those intense workouts and also participated in them. It’s been a humbling experience as I recently started a fitness challenge and I’m on the sidelines cheering everybody on. I have an invitation to start a free one week bootcamp in my town. I look at each day mocking me and my lack of flexibility. How is it possible after ten years of teaching I could become so inflexible? Easy enough I allowed my mind to become that way being a right fighter, and my body became rigid and immobile.

I need to nurture that part of my myself that makes me feel whole again. I write, read, whine onto my digital paper and drink copious amounts of wine to dull my pain. Who knows of this push and pull existence that I put myself through time and  time again. It’s you my dear readers who have followed along with me on my journey through heartache, grief, self loathing, and sometimes redemption. I lay myself bare and venture out into the world when it seems to be less cold, hard, and judgemental. This is my life as a Mom with children with special needs.

You can’t see my son’s conditions but if you push them to the limit they’ll bleed through with their reactions to noise, over stimulus, and disapproving stares. One has a disorder called Sensory Avoidance. I refer to it as his needs are like a bucket of water and everyone puts in a cup throughout his day. When he’s home from school his sensory bucket is overflowing. and he needs to empty it out and self tegilate with calm and quiet time. I give him this time to decompress as I know it’s essential to his psyche and mental health!


My other son has the opposite disorder he is a seeker of sensory input and it’s referred to as Sensory Modulation. His condition I refer to as having an empty bucket that he fills with cups of water all day long with every interaction, noise, and stimulus. Each time his bucket is almost full he dumps it out and has to start all over again. So this is the push and pull of my son’s existence. One wants to avoid all contact until he’s regulated and able to fill up his bucket. The other is constantly dumping it out and finding new ways to fill it!

They both empty my patience bucket on a regular basis, and I need to fill it back up again with things that help. Like quiet time to myself, being able to read, write, soak in a bubble bath until  enveloped in the softeness and luxury. Closing my bedroom door each night and cuddling into my love my husband, my soft place to fall. He holds me and nurtures me and my hearts love bucket is full of self worth, respect, consciousness, and unconditional love. And I’m refreshed and restored and able to face another day. Whether it’s full of fighting, auditory hyper sensitives, food texture issues, sensory seeking, or sensory avoiding.

We all need to be loved, respected, accepted, loved, and nurtured. Please take that time to give your body, mind, and soul are crying out for. Don’t be like me who pushes and pulls into the core of my existence till my broken, weary, sleep deprived shell of a human body can’t take it anymore. Find those ties that bind you to the ones you love, absorb their love and strength, full that love bucket, and be more than, better than, stronger than the pain that threatens to grind you down. Love, nuture, take the steps to self care, and truly cherish that reflection that stares back at you from the mirror of your life.

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Life with my sensitive child

Tomorrow I have a meeting and I’m feeling very nervous about it. I’m asking for help for my son. I’ve been his Mom OT (occupational therapist) for a year now. I’ve wrote about his sensory “diet” before with exercise, deep pressure massage, skin brushing, and joint compressions. I’ve recently started using essentials oils and adding in more vitamins, and Epsom salt baths. I also use PECS (picture example cards) for transitions. He knows when we’re leaving for school, choices to make after we’re home play Legos, Color, cartoons etc. He knows what we do for quiet time, read, cuddle, yoga, or IPad time. He knows when his meal, snack, and bath times are. Now this may sound very structured and read that I’m a anal retentive control freak. I assure you this is not the case, he needs to know everything about his daily life as change is his nemesis. For some people change is comfortable, adaptable, and like an elixir in life. Not to my son, with his SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) it’s one of the most terrifying things to experience. With the traffic jam in his brain while trying to process his five senses, as well as the proprioceptive and vestibular ones, is a lot for him to take in. He gets exhausted as I can see how he struggles with a world that can be too indifferent, too loud, too bright, and too busy for him to live in. I keep him regulated as much as I can, and when I know there’s going to be a change I prepare him with social stories, plenty of positive feedback, and sensory tools like fidgets and things for him to safely chew. When we recently went away for the weekend we talked extensively about our trip beforehand. He knew we would drive there, stay at a hotel, go swimming, and watch hockey. When we arrived at the hotel my husband and our oldest son went for lunch. We decided to go swimming since we ate at the hockey game. I got our luggage upstairs and to the door and walked in. My sweet sensitive boy wouldn’t come, in he told me he was scared and stayed in the hall. I had to sit and hold him, assure him he was safe and I would protect him. As he’s very sensory he’s also highly sensitive to the spirit world and sees what others don’t. So it took me a half an hour to talk him into the room after blessing it and asking whoever was there to please go. If you’re still reading you’re probably thinking get that Mom a Xanax STAT!!! I get my son more than any other person on the planet, being empathic I feel what he sees. And sometimes I’ll see it too if I’m tuned right in. After all was settled we went for a swim and soak in the hot tub. This is just what the doctor ordered as we both felt refreshed and rejuvenated. So back to the room to shower and change and go for dinner. We walked over to McDonalds home of holy grail of chicken nuggets. The only chicken my son will eat by the way. We get our food and sit down to eat and then my son is upset. He wants to have his drink which I say after and I substitute for his water. Yes I get your typical 3 year old reaction of Noooooooo!!!! Then he just escalates from there as this McD’s doesn’t look like ours back home, why can’t he play, followed by crying and whining. As his frustration grows I’m almost packed up our food and ready to go. This time he’s in full sensory overload and the whole restaurant is there to watch the show! I’m dodging slaps, punches, and scratches, and yes I’m frustrated as well. I pick up my son and ask him to use his words and tell me how he feels. He says “I’m so scared Mommy I want to go home!” So back to the hotel we go, I held him in my arms and hugged him so tight. My heart was breaking for my sweet boy as he shared with me all the things he was scared of. Too many transitions in one day, tired, travelling, hungry, boom sensory overload was the result. So after I had him regulated and calm we watched cartoons and used my Sesame Street app called Breathe to help. Which brings me to the meeting I have tomorrow, I’m asking for help with my sons needs. It’s not easy for me to ask for assistance but yet here I am doing it. I’m scared of handing over the reins of his primary care but I’m also exhausted. I’m tired of being the Mom who’s worn out, with bags under my eyes that now are a set of luggage! I’m tired of being the only one advocating and protecting my bear cubs. I’m tired of everyone around me getting more sleep than me, and telling me I look tired!!!! One thing you NEVER $@@@%# say to a sleep deprived Mombie!!! I’m tired of staying up late after my sons naps out of sheer exhaustion. I’m tired of feeling lonely and missing feeling special, for a date night with my husband. I’m bone tired of having to sleep with one eye and one ear open, when the dreaded Obstructive sleep apnea takes over and my son wakes up scared, coughing, because he’s stopped breathing. I feel like the most impatient, misunderstood, pathetic, angry Mom. Who in my worst moments swears and yells at the my precious sons when my patient bucket is empty. Most of all I’m tired of struggling and surviving on vapors of sleep. It’s hard for me to accept some days this is my life, because I wanted to be so much for my children. So I’m asking for help for the Calvary to come in and join me on my team of no sleep or “barely enough to function sleep.” It breaks me to hear my son snoring and knowing that soon he’ll stop breathing. And I will run to him while he’s crying and alone for those moments. I feel like the oldest saddest woman, who’s only nice thing I do for myself was go see my favorite band Fleetwood Mac in concert. And it took nearly 2 years to do that, since the last concert of theirs. So that leaves me lying awake, watching my son sleeping peacefully, and praying it will continue throughout the night. And my heart lies here on my sleeve open, exposed, and bleeding, while my tears silently fall on my sons cheek.

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*Image used with permission from the wonderful http://www.bravegirlsclub.com*

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