Friday, August 14, 2009

Praying about panties

Seems an odd title, don’t you think?  Not to me.  See, praying about panties is a very regular occurrence in our home.  

Our daughter, Bug, just turned 5 a month and a half ago.   2 weeks ago, she was officially diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), although we had suspected it for quite some time now.

We also found out through this evaluation process (with a neuropsychologist and an occupational therapist) that she has ADHD, and she scored as “gifted” in her learning and verbal abilities.  These 3 things, all combined, make for some challenging times.  Unfortunately, to the outside world that doesn’t have all the facts, she sometimes appears to be misbehaving, not listening, ignoring instructions, or being defiant.  Truth is, so much of it is involuntary or simply her mind/body trying to make sense of things in her world.

I want to start publicly sharing about this in the hopes of helping others that might be going through this to feel like they aren’t alone.  I hope to educate people about SPD because it seems like many people, even physicians are not very familiar with it.  I also want to just share how God is using this in our lives.  I NEVER want to appear as though I’m complaining about my daughter, so please hold me accountable if it ever appears that way.   I ADORE my daughter, and consider her a true miracle gift from God.  If you don’t know the story of her miraculous birth, ask me! I love to share!  I’ll save that post for another time.  I am honored that our Creator trusts R and me enough to put this sweet girl in our care.  I just want to learn enough about her, so that I can do the job He gave me to do.   I want to learn about these conditions so that I can better help her cope with the difficulties she faces.  I want to be compassionate about her needs, while also teaching her to properly interact with others.    Most of all, I want to love and appreciate her right where she is!   I want to see her through HIS eyes, and I want to see the world through HER eyes, because that is what brings me closer to His love!

Looking back, we can see signs from infancy and toddlerhood that point to this.  We were first time parents though, and didn’t have much to compare her to, in order to know what was “normal”. 

Normal.  I really dislike that word, anyway.  God made each of us unique, specially purposed for HIS plan.  Why would we want to be (or want our children to be) like everyone else?  Yet, we often do.   Thankfully, I’m learning to appreciate her differences and to embrace them.  I wish I could say I did that daily, but I’m learning. 

What made us seek professional help?  

Here are just 3 of the reasons that really stood out early on.  Many many more followed, and I will list those in a later post.

1) Her reaction to artificial food coloring.  We didn’t give her any sugar until she was 2, so we never noticed this reaction before then.   God had graciously allowed me to have “heard of” food colorings causing reactions in children through some various channels in the past, so when it came up in our house, I was vaguely familiar with it.  At least, enough to wonder if it was the culprit. 
One day, R and I were at the mall with Bug, having a great time….until we let her have a cookie with sprinkles on it!  We were walking around a department store, and within minutes of eating it, our child turned into some crazed, aggressive, mean person we’d never seen before.  She was literally yanking clothes off the hangers and throwing them on the ground left and right.  She was out of control….and we were scared.  This was not our child.  We strapped her in the stroller, and got out of there.   After what could have only been God’s urging, we thought to go get her some “real food” and see if that helped.  Finally, after what seemed like hours (but was probably 30 minutes), she calmed down.   But we knew something was wrong.  She never threw tantrums, and was truly a very easy going, well behaved child. 

We went on to “test” this theory about the food coloring under controlled circumstances at home 3 more times.  Each time, same reaction.   After that, we banned all artificial food coloring from our home and we haven’t looked back.  It’s been a couple years now.   Thankfully, we have been able to find substitutes for just about anything.  Whole Foods and are my favorite resources for this!  We are thankful that Bug has adapted to this lifestyle without a fuss, and is perfectly comfortable telling people she’s “allergic” to food coloring and bringing her own snacks/treats everywhere we go.

2) Her reaction to having socks on her feet.  She has never liked socks.  Never.  Can’t say as I blame her, as I don’t either.  The difference is, when I don’t want them on my feet, I pull them off.   Bug, on the other hand, would scream bloody murder while slapping and punching her feet as if her socks were filled with fire ants.  Not a typical reaction, I’d say.  Thankfully, we are able to cope with this by simply avoiding socks.   She doesn’t wear them.  Ever.  Not with snow boots in Michigan in January.  Not with tennis shoes.  Not with cowboy boots.  I figure if it doesn’t bother her, it doesn’t bother me.   On a RARE occasion she has worn them in order to play somewhere on a play area that requires them, but 9 out of 10 times, she will ask to go somewhere else if she knows they require her to wear socks.

3) The panties.  The aforementioned panties.  For a while, she was fine, and then almost overnight, her panties “bothered her”.  Every single pair of them.  She’d put them on and say they bothered her.  I tried checking for things that might be poking her.  I checked to make sure they weren’t too tight, or too loose.  I made sure the elastic wasn’t crooked.  I checked everything.  This became a daily occurrence where we spent way too long picking out a pair of panties.  Then it happened.  One morning, she just melted down completely trying to find a pair that worked.  Poor thing, she was frustrated, discouraged and confused.  She melted in my arms sobbing, and I just prayed for her.   That evening, we went out and bought 50 pairs of panties.  Seriously!  Every brand, various patterns, fabrics, styles.  We even bought some “boy” underwear because she liked the dinosaurs on them.  Who knew….many days those were the ones that worked best…when on backwards!  Good thing no one would see them anyway, so who cares!

I still pray with her about this multiple times a week.  She’ll be getting dressed, and I hear it.  The sounds that tell me she’s tried on several pair and nothing is working right today.  So I go in and sit with her and pray over her, asking God to please allow us to find a pair of panties that will work for the day.   Every time, after we pray, we find a good pair within 1 or 2 tries.  Praise God!

Thank you for joining us on this journey!  I covet your prayers, and would love to hear from anyone that deals with this in their life as well.

1 comment:

Leigh said...

Thanks so much for sharing! I too believe Noah has a sensory disorder although he's at the other end of the scale....we should email or talk...I want to know who you went to and how you started the process. The OT thru the school district won't diagnose him with a Sensory Disorder if it doesn't have to do with school. Yes, artificial colors and flavorings, etc...were the first thing to go in our house. And the gluten makes a big difference too. Gluten and sugar cause huge differences in my kids. Their behavior is completely different.....Thanks again for being so honest! I'm gonna check out that candy store! : )