Hear Me, Touch Me

posted by Momo Fali on February 27, 2009

My six year old son has always dealt with sensory issues. He was in occupational therapy for years because of problems eating foods with certain textures and for his mental battle with being touched. As far as touch goes, he’s now on the opposite end of the sensory spectrum and can’t seem to keep his hands off anyone showing bare skin.

But there is another issue that the therapists don’t know how to deal with. He gags. A lot.

Now I’m not talking about gagging when he doesn’t like how mashed potatoes feel in his mouth. We’ve moved past that. I’m talking about gagging when a bike helmet strap rests under his chin, or when he’s wearing a turtleneck, or when he’s in a wedding and is supposed to wear a bow-tie. One time he was a ring bearer and wouldn’t wear the tuxedo tie, jacket OR vest. We couldn’t even button up his shirt. He came down the aisle resembling Eric Estrada, minus the chest hair.

When he has a cold it’s even worse, as he proved the other day during his quarterly hearing test.

At the ENT’s office, the audiologist had put my son in a sound-proof room and placed large headphones on his ears. These were the same headphones he’s worn many times before…but, the other times he didn’t have a cold.

Never mind that it was Fat Tuesday and my kid arrived at the doctor’s office wearing FIVE beaded necklaces around his neck. He likes to keep me guessing about what will really bother him, so I didn’t see it coming when the pressure from the headphones made him start gagging.

I could see him through a window and I quickly ran into the room and took the headphones off, as he began pulling on the collars of his shirt and undershirt, trying hard to get them away from his neck. I started unbuttoning his oxford to remove it as I explained to the audiologist what was going on.

We then tried putting the headphones on and letting the wires run down his back, thinking it could’ve been those wires touching his chin or neck that bothered him. No go. He gagged again and pulled on his undershirt collar, so I took that off too.

We finally figured out that he was okay doing a test with ear buds instead of the big headphones, but I had to hold all the wires behind his head so they weren’ t touching him in any way.

And in the middle of the hearing test his other sensory issue…his love of bare skin…reared its ugly head.

There I was with my hands full of wires, staring down at my half-naked kid who couldn’t hear a word I said…as I helplessly watched him rub his own nipples.

    Comments

  • BusyDad


    I don’t know what to say. There is nothing constructive I can ad besides hahahahahahahahahahahah! Good thing he wasn’t rubbing his nipples down the aisle, that’s all.

  • Mama Dawg


    How do you do it? You never cease to amaze me. Neither does he for that matter.

  • Schmutzie


    You are being featured on Five Star Friday!
    http://www.fivestarfriday.com/2009/02/five-star-friday-edition-43.html

  • FrankandMary


    With every little insidious problem, there tends to be some humor & some grace if you stretch enough to find it….I think you do.~Mary

  • Mz. Nesbit


    I love your outlook on life. I love the way you find humor in things. I love that your son played with his own nipples…
    lol

  • Lynn (Walking With Scissors)


    Ah, motherhood. These are the things they don’t tell you about in books.

  • AlisonH


    After all the barfing I did with my long Crohn’s flare, I feel for him on that gagging reflex. I hope he can learn to battle it back down. As for the rest, um, well, thank goodness (for some things) for the eventual effects of peer pressure in our kids’ lives, if nothing else.

  • Captain Dumbass


    At least his hands weren’t a little farther south. Make sure he remembers all this stuff on Mother’s Day.

  • Always Home and Uncool


    Worse bare parts his hands could have been on. Much worse.

  • Heather


    I’m sorry, I know that the gagging isn’t funny, but the nipple play is totally hilarious. I can’t stop laughing. At least he wasn’t licking his fingers first, then rubbing them.

  • WeaselMomma


    I just need to buy you a drink. You so deserve it.

  • Mrs4444


    SO funny (your post AND the comments.) I have an 8th grade student who rubs his cheek across my hand any time I point to a math problem in his notebook. It doesn’t even bother me any more…

  • Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]


    If you can’t laugh at your own kids, who can you laugh at?

  • kaila


    what a delight that little guy is. I can’t get the picture of the guy from Waterboy out of my head. thanks for that. 🙂

  • Dapoppins


    What busy dad said.

    And he wasn’t even picking his stuffy nose hunting for gold? I think nipples must be better than boogers.

  • the planet of janet


    i’m thinking there are worse things he could have been doing with his hands.

    just sayin’

  • Bean


    Hilarious!! I can just see both of you. I thought the same as Heather and cracked up when I read her comment – at least he didn’t lick his fingers first! 🙂

    Gurnk about Five Star Friday!

  • ImakehairROCK4u2


    My 6yo has sensory processing disorder…don’t you just LOVE how there’s no rhyme or reason to what bothers them? I would appreciate it if you would email me your therapy info…I can’t get a dr to take me seriously about my son. I think we are in the same general area. Thanx!

  • Midwest Mommy


    I am new to your blog tonight and I have to tell you I love your writing style. I like how when certain situations might be stressful to some you find the humor in it. What a great way to live life.

  • OHmommy


    Oh, man,…. motherhood. Do I need to say more?

  • O My Blog!


    I’m sorry but I have to laugh! I give this one 2 *snickers* and a *snort*!!
    I thought Bongo Butt was bad in our home but this makes me feel TONS better!

  • Bee and Rose


    You and I could share lots of war stories I am sure! My son has Sensory Integration Disorder and Central Auditory Processing Disorder. He is 12 now and the sensory issues are minor now. However, wowza! did we have fun in his early years! Shirts with no tags, everything soft, hated foods that had flavor, etc… My daughter does the whole gagging thing too. (age 6) She also loves to line things up all over the house. We are a weird family! lol!

    I spit my coffee all over the place when I read your last sentence! LOL!!

  • Julie in PA


    That is sooo funny–the nipple rubbing, not the gagging, that is. If it makes you feel any better at my son’s recent checkup he wouldn’t stop walking his fingers accross the pediatrician’s balding head. When I went over to gently hold his hands to help him keep them still, he reached over and squeezed my boob! Nice huh?

  • Rhea


    I agree with OhMommy’s comment. Motherhood. You just never know when it’s going to smack ya. lol

  • Michelle


    How do you deal with his skin thing? My son has always soothed himself with touching skin, mainly mine, on my stomach and chest. I always just thought it was a by-product of Kangaroo care in the NICU before I knew about SPD. I have tried to find other things to substitute, all to no avail.

    In our house, it would have been MY nipples!

  • Single Parent Dad


    Turning that tale into a funny one is a gift, and I don’t just mean in the sense of your writing. I love your positivity.

  • BOSSY


    What an awesome mom you are, but maybe even a better storyteller!

  • Sarah


    Momo, I would buy your book in a heartbeat. You are inspirational in many ways.

  • newnorth


    hahahah, maybe they were getting cold :p

  • meleah rebeccah


    Aw! Your son has to deal with so much!

  • Jo Beaufoix


    Oh I needed these smiles. If I ever meet that boy I will blow him a big kiss. Touch is such a weird thing isn’t it? My 4 year old niece has sensory issues, but in a different way. She needs deep spinal pressure so is a rough and tumble monkey. She’ll probably a mountain climbing, rugby playing sky diver.

  • Monica


    Love the Erik Estrada image…classic! Gotta love that bride for “rollin’ with it.” My daughter, who turned into Sybil at the sight of a hairbrush, was a flower girl, and the bride was NOT AMUSED by the state of her flower girls hair. Yeah, whatever.

    And my heart goes out to you for all you have had to go through with your boy. You are, as others have written, an inspiration to lots of us moms (and parents in general) out here. Thanks!

  • Jodi


    Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

  • kristi


    You are cracking me up!! I am a new reader, but your son is hilarious!

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