Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sensory Issues SUCK: Part II: Saturday

Back to Saturday...

I'd been talking up that we were going to go to a play to see Goldilocks and the Three Bears, a favorite story of hers. We managed to get out of the house pretty uneventfully, and drove the short distance to the little theater in a nearby town, stopping off at Dunkin Donuts first. I knew we were in trouble when she was excited about getting donuts while we were in the car, but completely clammed up once we were in the store. So uncharacteristic of her! Once she was back in the car, happily munching on half of a chocolate-frosted donut, she was acting as if she didn't have a care in the world.

Walking into the theater, she shut down again, grabbing onto me, refusing to give the nice lady at the table our tickets, or to say hello to any of the other little girls waiting in the lobby with their parents.  I don't think 10:30am is close enough to nap time to have played a part in her behavior.

Now, we have been to a theater production before, last year when we went to see Nicklodeon Live. And yes, there were some loud, even shrill performances, but the fact that the theater was so large (absorbing some of the sound, I guess?) and there were plenty of musical numbers, she actually really enjoyed it! We've also been to the movies twice. I had been worried about the volume of the sound in the theaters, but it didn't seem to bother her. I thought she was fine now.

She wasn't.

She was definitely interested in what was going on on stage, but the volume of some of the voices in such a small space really got to her. After moaning for nearly an hour that she wanted to go home (calmed occasionally by me giving her her blankie, giving me the false sense of acceptance of her surroundings), she began to cry, begging me to go. "No bears! Go home!"

Broke.  My.  Heart.

Fortunately, it was a children's performance, with lots of audience participation, so climbing over a row of people, hauling child, two coats and a satchel didn't really disrupt anything. Well, not other than the fact that Goldilocks herself had to squeeze past us on her way to the stage, delivering her lines as she stepped over my bag.  As we passed through the postage-stamp-sized lobby to get to our car, we encountered the four bears of this version of the story waiting in the wings for their cues to re-enter the stage (it was a very small theater, mind you). I thanked them quickly, stating that sensory issues were necessitating our hasty departure. They were sympathetic and visibly moved, and said goodbye to Samantha, who said, "Bye, bears. I love you," as we walked out the door. I saw several sad, furry bear faces waving goodbye from the window as we left.

And then I lost it.

As I buckled her into her car seat, wiping my tears with my hand and trying not to sob, my sweet girl took my head in her hands...

"Mommy, you okay?"

"I'm okay, sweetheart, thank you."

"You have a cute nose." (touching my nose - where did that come from?)

(laughing) "Thank you, baby."

(rubbing my cheek) "I love you mommy."

I cried the whole way home.


From my cell phone...wee little baby bear's bed in front.

From my cell phone...nope, my girl was not happy, even before the show.  Clutching her blankie...


17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm crying now...and it's only 8 am.
:( :( :(

Nathan'smama said...

I haven't tried theater, or even a movie yet. But I get the crying and clinging in grocery stores and many (but not all) restaurants, so I can just imagine. At least she had the words to express herself, and also has the knowledge and ability of how to "fix" it when you're sad!

Cathy said...

Tears here! We haven't tried anything like that yet, but I see this in our future too.

Krista said...

I am so sorry, I can only imagine the devestation. My son is the same way...

Beth said...

Yeah, it does suck.

It REALLY REALLY isn't going to be this way forever. I had totally forgotten about theaters. Especially live theater. Hannah had some quick exits, but she was improving. Then I bought expensive tickets at a theater 40 minutes away--Seussical. Within the first 15 minutes she whined and wimpered to leave the show. She LOVES Dr Seuss. I knew if only she'd give it a chance, she'd enjoy the show. I stuck it out until intermission. When we left, I wasn't as good as you--I was pissed off. We both got over it and went out to lunch.

Three years later we went to see a free production of Seussical-it was more crowded and more noisy in a smaller theater. There were two seats available near the back, but she wouldn't be able to see well from there. She chose to sit up on the floor with a bunch of other kids. She was mesmerized and loved every minute of it--noise and all.

One question: Has Samantha had ear tubes? I know a child who never had auditory sensitivity until she got ear tubes at age 5. Loud noises truly hurt her.

Rochelle said...

So sorry the theater didn't turn out well on Saturday.

Maybe they would let you come in when nobody is around to get her used to the place, or maybe even during a small rehearsal to get her used to some of the noises etc. ?

Everyone has sensory issues not just kids with special needs.
Our OT was giving us the example of how some people have to chew gum all the time...totally sensory!
Never thought of that.

We just have to help our kids figure out how to manage them in all circumstances.

You are doing such a great job taking Sammi everywhere and exposing her to our cultural world.

From her point of view she wasn't horrified to not like the bears....I love that she said Love you bears bye, bye on your way out.

Hugs & hoping future theater performances go more smoothly.

Lori said...

Ugh! I am sorry that you had to bail on the play early. On the up side...her telling you that you have a cute nose is a moment to cherish =)
{Hugs}

Zoey's mom said...

Yep,sucks completely and the hardest part for me and it sounds like for you as well,is seeing the otherwise,happy go lucky,loving life child,disappear for that period of time.And almost as if a switch is flipped,once they are comfortably back in their comfort zone,the smiles and giggles return.

Nice to get some reassurance from seasoned moms,like Hannah's, that this won't be forever.Till then,hard on our hearts but we will wade through this together.another reason I love this online community so much!

Brandie said...

It sucks when we just want to have normal mother daughter experiences and ... can't. It does get better! Gracie wouldn't make eye contact or speak to people outside of close friends and family. She has outgrown it enough that she can at least be polite to people. We did A LOT of role playing before stressful (for her) situations.

Crazy Beautiful Love said...

I am so sorry. It's stories like this that make me wish I could remember all my years of training with special needs. I remember bits and pieces and wish it was more. Having Eslea has made me go back and reread everything. Good thing I saved all my books. :)Sammie is so beautiful. It is so very common in children with downs but also with "typcial" children. I loved that she was trying to cheer you up by telling you something sweet (I assume you tell her she has a cute nose and she likes it?). She is such a smartie. :))

My name is Sarah said...

This is Joyce. This was so our Sarah for several years. Might even still be but I've learned over time what bothers her ears and just avoid those situations. Live theater was always an issue as well as concerts. Sometimes I would ask for seats as far from the speakers as possible and close to an exit door.

The Holt's said...

I am so sorry!! I am new to DS but was wondering if sensory issues is something that most DS children have?

Lacey said...

Oh poor baby! Its funny how some things affect them and some don't. Hopefully you can make it back to the theater soon!

evrfwd said...

Oh girl, I'm sorry that this happened. I started to cry, but only after I read the part about Sammi comforting you. She bounced back didn't she, I mean to be able to comfort you like that. I think sometimes we want things for our kids that they just don't care about. Like I want maya to be interested in the zoo, coloring and playdoh, but she's just not ready. i guess I have to learn to be ok with that. it's really hard tho. because I see other kids and sometimes I wish, i wish it was so so different.

Maya also has some sensory issues, but she never used to before she had her ear tubes(put in last summer). There are just some sounds that drive her crazy, like a screaming child whether it's a happy sound or not...the vaccum cleaner and our juicer. It's a challenge sometimes but I think for sure she will grow out of it...or at least it will get better when she gets her tubes out.

Anyway I so wish we lived close to each other. I would come over and give you a big hug right now. oxox

Carrie said...

What a rough experience--for both of you! Kudos to you for listening to your daughter and leaving when she couldn't handle it. We have some sensory issues here (mostly with my typical son--and a little with Miss B) and they just baffle me b/c you provide them with things that are SUPPOSED to be fun, and then it's just too much drama and all the fun is sucked out of it. Makes me sad!

Melissa said...

I'm so sorry that the theater didn't work out. It breaks my heart to think of her telling the bears bye as she walks out. :( Hopefully this too will pass, and you will be able to enjoy these events in the future.

Becca said...

Just a quick note for anyone that happens to stumble across this post now...

After reading this, my mom mentioned to me that I came across as being upset because Sammi wasn't able to enjoy the play. Sure, that was *part* of it, but I was actually crying because I felt bad for making her stay for so long, when she was so relieved to leave, also because it was SO sweet that she said goodbye to the bears and they were making sad faces and waving goodbye to us, and because she was so doggone sweet to me in the car! I think it was more the poignancy of the moment, definitely not *all* disappointment! :-)