Now that my granddaughter is in school full-time, I don’t get to spend as much time with her. She misses our time together, too. She loves having days off when we can stay at home. She calls them our “stay home days.”
I totally agree with her! I love having our “stay home days,” too! I often try to convince her on our stay home days that we just have a PJ day, but she insists on wearing her dresses! That part of her daily routine is one that she insists on keeping! She wants to get totally dressed!
I guess she is like me in a lot of ways, if she’s not dressed she feels like she can’t get things done! So we get dressed, even on our “stay home days.”
My granddaughter used to wear blue jeans and t-shirts and cute little blouses. She doesn’t wear them anymore. She only wants to wear dresses. She will submit to wearing leggings under her dresses, but she won’t wear anything else.
In the summer, she only wears dresses or her swim suit. We tried getting her to wear “skorts” which are skirts and shorts combined, but she won’t wear them. She will only wear them if we cut the shorts part out.
She won’t wear certain leggings if they are “bumpy.” Her socks have to be thin and smooth.
We didn’t want to admit what we knew was up—our granddaughter has a sensory disorder.
What’s a Sensory Disorder
In the simplest terms, a sensory processing disorder means that normal sights, sounds, tastes, smells in the environment don’t get processed correctly by the person experiencing the disorder. For example, in our granddaughter’s case, it is certain fabrics or things being too tight or too loose that cause her to “freak out” for lack of a better term.
She sometimes has similar experiences with certain foods, too, but the clothes are where she has the most difficulty.
Because there isn’t a lot we can do about this, we let her wear her dresses or other favorite clothes because it isn’t worth the “fight.” When I say fight, I mean just that. She screams, she cries, she throws a fit! The harder we try, the more she fights us!
We let her pick her clothing choices the evening before and lay them out so they are ready for her in the morning. Sometimes we have to make last minute changes because something about them bothers her.
How is This a “Hidden Treasure?”
It’s actually a lot of work finding the right clothes that she will wear. We can take her shopping and she will see the cutest little outfit. But if it gathers at the waist or has something with lace that will touch her skin, we know we can’t buy it because she won’t wear it no matter how much she insists that she will.
The hidden treasure comes into play in that we have to think more about what we do with our granddaughter. We have to pay extra attention to her needs. It makes us more thoughtful and caring about what she thinks and feels.
Sure, it is a lot more work to do this. Yes, it costs more because we sometimes have to spend a lot of money finding the right combination of materials so that she is comfortable, but it makes us grow, too. We don’t just take things for granted with her. We can’t.
We have to think of what might work for her. We are getting pretty good at it, but sometimes we still fail miserably because we still have to keep trying different things as she gets older.
Yesterday, we got her a new pair of dress shoes for her school Christmas concert. She loved the shoes when we were in the store. She walked and even ran around in them,
But when we got them home—a completely new story unfolded. The straps weren’t tight enough. Her foot bulged too much. Her socks weren’t right. The tights were too loose.
We took deep breaths and tried to explain how much she liked the shoes and that shoes did that. We tried to explain that the “high heels” that she had chosen were different from tennis shoes. We might as well have been talking to ourselves!
We agreed that the shoes will be worn during the concert alone and then probably not worn again!
Tying it All Together
We realize that not everything we think is always the way that things will be or even how they are. Our granddaughter has opened our eyes to many things including that we have to be more sensitive to the things that we don’t always understand.
We are learning and so is she. It isn’t easy, but we are working on it, together!
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About the author
Karin Nauber, “G.G.” is a professional journalist who has worked in the newspaper business for the past 27 years. She is also a grandmother who, along with her spouse, is raising one of their granddaughters. G.G. has five grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending as much time as possible. She began this website with the hope of helping other grandparents who may be struggling with their role as parent/grandparents. If you would like to contact her, please do so at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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