Saturday, December 13, 2008


I'm running around frantically trying to get all of my last minute projects finished up before it's time to leave. I also have Jer's unit's holiday party and a bachelorette party of sorts to go to today, so this is complicating matters. I doubt I'm going to be able to get everything done, but I'll do what I can. When we made our plane reservations, Christmas seemed a world away, and then suddenly Connor and I leave on Tuesday and my list is only half checked off. Crazy.

Connor and I have started talking about the airplane we're going to go on. The kid is a veteran flier-- he's had eleven plane trips, but this will be the first one as a toddler, so it should be interesting. Hopefully I will not be forced to drive the other passengers slowly insane by repeating the ABC song under my breath 18,000 times in a row in order to keep him from screaming. This kid is obsessed with the ABCs. He especially likes the W. He is perfectly happy to listen and watch me sing and sign them until my hands cramp up. Somehow I'm thinking the poor person sitting next to us will not be so amused.

He's looking forward to seeing his relatives, I think. He's especially looking forward to seeing my father, his Papa, because the sign we use for "Papa" is very similar to the sign for "pony"-- his other current obsession. This could possibly cause problems. I'm wondering what exactly he thinks his grandpa looks like.

Connor's been a little harder to take out in public recently. There are a couple reasons for that. The first is the holiday season. Connor has some pretty severe issues with Sensory Processing Disorder-- he can't take in and make sense of a lot of sensory information coming at him all at once. The holidays are a nightmare for this sort of thing. People ringing bells in front of the grocery store. Holiday crowds. Loud piped in music. Holiday candles. Christmas lights and dangling ornaments. Dayglo toys and displays.

Connor copes with this sort of thing in one of three ways. The first is that he'll close his eyes. He does this in especially loud environments. He squeezes them shut, wrinkles his nose up, and buries his face in my shoulder. The touch and scent of my clothing is a familiar thing, so he's used to that, and if he closes his eyes too he only has to deal with processing the noise.

The second way he copes is that he'll stare his hands or at lights on the ceiling. He does this if there are too many visually stimulating things and strange smells in the room, but it's fairly quiet. By staring at the ceiling or focusing on a familiar thing (his hands) he's able to block out all of the other stuff going on and just focus on smell. This is a fun thing when I'm carrying him on my hip and he's leaning way back to see the lights.

The third technique that Connor uses is the one that makes me have to do my Christmas shopping in very small doses. If there are too many things to see, too many noises, and too many strange smells, Connor will squeeze his eyes shut and start screaming at the top of his lungs. If he makes a really loud noise that drowns out the other noises, and he blocks off the visual stimulation, than he'll be okay since he only has to focus on smells. This is about the time I start heading for the door. This kid has a set of lungs.

Guess which coping mechanism I'm seeing the most this time of year?

I'm doing my shopping in fifteen minute intervals.



Shannie said...

Connor, Christmas shopping makes me want to squeeze my eyes shut and scream at the top of my lungs too!

Jess, Hang in there!!!

maurylorraine said...

I'm looking forward sooooo much to seeing you guys tomorrow!

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