Updated: Feb 26, 2019
Ever watch those movies and think what your life would be like if you could fast forward through the bad parts or put the good parts in slow motion?
Well, for me, I often see the bad coming in slow motion. Like, earlier this week, when I pulled on my street. I saw my husband's car in the driveway. The garage door was still open, so I knew he had just gotten home. I watched as I pulled into the driveway slowly for my son to emerge from the other side of his car. Watched...waiting to see what type of facial expression he was going to have. That expression was going to dictate my night.
As I pulled into the garage, he still hadn't emerged from the car. I parked and suddenly, he was there next to my door. His face was sad and he was reaching for me. Reaching like a toddler does when they want to be picked up. I opened my car door. He immediately started crying and threw himself on me. I saw all this coming at me, like slow motion in a movie. Except I couldn't rewind it. I couldn't pause it. I couldn't fast forward it. And I certainly couldn't stop it.
I couldn't understand a word he was saying. But I remember thinking, "well, this is how the night will be." After peeling him off of me like a wetsuit, I was able to get out of my car. He was still crying. I looked at my husband for some type of help or clue as to what was going on. He just shrugged his shoulders and walked in the house. So here I was with him, crying, not sure what was going on. Just another typical afternoon for me.
Once I got him inside, he proceeded to complain that he had a headache. He climbed on me, much like a toddler would. A 95 pound toddler, cuddling his mother, except he is 8 and not a toddler anymore. He laid there on me under his blanket, softly calling my name, "Mama," while trying to calm himself. Then he was asleep. Asleep, like a baby on his mother. My 8 year old...after a long day at school, cuddled and cried himself to sleep on me.
I watched him sleep peacefully on me for a bit. I watched his sweet face relax as he slipped into a dream. His breathing slowed and his body stilled. My sweet boy. This is when I want to see things in slow motion...this is when I want to see time slow down, but it doesn't. These moments never last long.
Looking back at this day, I know he didn't have a headache. The classic headache symptoms weren't there. He was in sensory overload, as he often is when he comes home from school. He had a stressful day and he needed to regulate his body. He needed his comforts to help bring his stress and senses back in check.
In that moment of slow motion replay, I should have recognized the signs and known right then that he needed his weighted blanket and other sensory tools to help regulate him. In that moment, I should have known. But I didn't. Because in that moment, I too had a stressful day and I was also tired.
As a mom of a sensory kiddo, I am always on. Always tuned in. Always ready. But on this day, I wasn't. I wasn't on my game. I wasn't prepared for a sensory meltdown. I was hoping for a happy 8 year old, even ready for a moody 8 year old and I was looking for it as I pulled into the garage, but not prepared for a sensory meltdown. You see, when you have a sensory kiddo, you can't be too tired or stressed to deal with them. You have to put your feelings aside. You have to be attuned to them and their feelings. They will sense your stress, which will compound theirs.
So here I was. Exhausted. Stressed. Just in from work. All I wanted to do was relax for the night. I was looking forward to him leaving for 30 minutes with his dad for his piano lesson for the 30 minutes of quiet that would give me to decompress from my day.
But nope. None of that would happen now. None of that mattered. Here I was with my son in my lap asleep, like a baby. He needed me. He needed to calm himself and I was his security blanket.