Okay, well maybe motherhood didn’t GIVE me sensory issues, but it certainly didn’t help with the issues I already had. Growing up, I always knew I was “overly annoyed” at certain sounds. It wasn’t all sounds that bothered me, mostly ones associated with eating and breathing; you know, just the sounds you need to make in order to stay alive. I would get so disgusted listening to people eat that I would shove my food down my throat as quickly as possible just so I could leave the table. If someone smacked their gum around me, I could feel my right eye twitch rhythmically with each chomp. I had a dorm-mate in college whom I loved dearly… but she snored. Multiple times a night, I would pick up the side of her bed and drop it, then jump back into my bed, throw the covers over my head, and act like nothing happened as she startled awake, looked around, and rolled over on her side to stop snoring. I’m telling you; it was bad.
I even refused to go back to a church we were visiting because the pastor’s nose would whistle in the microphone while he gave the sermon. Trust me, this was like nothing I’d ever heard before. His nose actually produced two separate whistling sounds, and they would go in and out in a tortuous off-pitch harmony. I feel like even Jesus would have been annoyed!
After we started having children, I became acutely aware of how much noise they produce. And not only are they loud, they do not walk on eggshells around you, just because certain sounds might make you want to kill them. They stomp when they walk, they eat with their mouths wide open, and they will eagerly get into heated arguments about the most ridiculous things because they have all the energy in the world to do so, seeing as how they get 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night and don’t have a job!
As much as I love my 4 kids, there are times when I want to scream/pull my hair out/run away due to the noise volume in my house. There is usually one kid crying, one kid determined to recount to me everything he just did on FortNite, one clinging to my legs, and the other one eating what I can only assume are dry wall screws (it usually turns out to be just cereal but I swear he could make eating eggs sound crunchy). One particular child of mine has facial tics. I know they aren’t her fault but some days every snort, sniff, or throat-clearing makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
The other day, I took the kids to go get ice cream as a random treat. I don’t know if you’ve ever really paid attention to someone licking ice cream but the slurpy sound alone was enough to make me want to drive off a bridge on the way home. That day it was decided that if we ever go out for ice cream again, my oldest has to sit in the back with the other kids. It’s for everyone’s safety really. He thinks it’s because I don’t want him spilling in the front seat. Bless his heart.
But my sensory issues go beyond just sounds, I also have specific ways in which I allow myself to be touched. I despise being tickled, and I don’t like shaking hands. For whatever reason, the feeling of someone touching the palm of my hand brings out a homicidal side to me that I was previously unaware of. My youngest is two, and is completely unconcerned with my particular touch regulations. Because he always wants to be touching me, he has forced me into a parenting philosophy I like to call “Unintentional Attachment Parenting.” He was also breastfed for the first year and a half of his life, so he likes to hold on to the memories of that magical time by shoving his arm down my shirt whenever possible. Often I will wake up in the middle of the night to the feeling of this warm, chubby hand rubbing the bare skin on my stomach. It may sound sweet but it makes my skin crawl. And yes, he sleeps in our bed but that’s another blog post for another day!
And so by now you may be asking yourself: “What is the point of this post? Does the author have any tips on how to handle this? Has she discovered the secret to overcoming these sensory issues?” Well, no. No I have not. So far I have tried complaining about it incessantly and drinking wine. It hasn’t cured me yet, but I am not a quitter!
Maybe it’s naive but I keep hoping one day I will wake up and be normal, that all my sensory issues will vanish. I imagine that it may just happen to be as my youngest turns 18 and heads off to college. At this point, I’m assuming I will suddenly declare every noise my husband makes to be aggravating, so at least we have that to look forward to! In the meantime, I will try to stay optimistic and keep biting my tongue whenever possible. Just know that if you smack gum, chew ice, eat with your mouth full, or have a deviated septum, we can’t be friends!