It always brings a smile to my face when I look back on my childhood, and some odd pastimes I had. Why, you may ask? Since my diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, I have realized that although my past fun may have looked odd, to the sensory seeker, it was heaven. I see that now. Before I had my diagnosis, I thought playing Meatball Sandwich with Flip and Fold chairs was a bit odd. You see, my brother is 4 years older than me. When I was in elementary school, he picked on me (like older brothers do). One game he made up, most likely because he thought it would make me cry, he named Meatball Sandwich. We had these two Flip and Fold Chairs that I know by a different name, but given the audience for these posts, I will not use that name. My brother and I would take one of the chairs, and it would become the outside of a sandwich. I would go inside the sandwich, and my brother would jump on it. Then we would swap, and I would get a turn to jump on him. I remember the weight, the feeling of the constant jumping, the reverberation through the chair’s padded material onto and into my body. I never cried. It never hurt. I used to initiate the game, and now I know it was because I was craving that sensory input. That weight, that constant vibration, I LOVED IT. I have switched out my Meatball Game for a weighted blanket, which doesn’t look as odd as an adult sticking out of a flip and fold, while their significant other jumps on them.
I remember I had this plastic yellow and white tea set, with a blue tray. I think it may have been Fisher Price. There were 4 yellow plastic spoons. I loved to stir the spoon in the cup. The sound it made, that clicking against the plastic, such an awesome sound. I wish I still had that tea set. The motion of turning the spoon and the sound it made centered me.
I had issues with textures growing up, and still do. I have never liked eggs, in any way, shape, or form. The smell alone makes me want to vomit, but the texture! Rubbery, jiggly, smooth and chunky when they are hardboiled. NO THANK YOU! Oatmeal and me are on the same playing field as eggs and me. I can tolerate the smell though.. As a child from the 80’s, who remembers the polyester nightgowns, with the character print on them.? Or the flowery print? They made me itch. I can still remember feeling the seams on my skin, and the outside was fake soft. It was as if the creators of the fabric were trying to get people to overlook the itchy seams and coarse feel by putting a layer of what felt like cheap felt on the outside. Nope, glad the 80s are over, and when I am old you will not catch me donning Polyester pants or suits. I also can’t stand the way 3D texture feels. When I run my fingernails or fingers against it, makes me grind my teeth. The feeling is similar to nails on a chalkboard. I have to admit, I am glad chalkboards are a thing of the past.
Loud noises seem to bother me more as an adult. I do not remember shying away from loud places and loud noises, although maybe that is why I was not a fan of the mall or Disney World. I used to go to Air Shows as a kid, but I really enjoyed them, and the noise never bothered me. Maybe because to me, the Blue Ahgels sound like White Noise. I notice at my kids Tae Kwon Do, when they have to say,”Yes Ma’am,” and recited the Tae Kwon Do creed, I have to cover my ears. I feel like my ears are going to explode. I wait impatiently for the screaming to end. If there are sounds that go off unexpectedly, sometimes I jump, and I am reminded of the babinski reflex, where a doctor runs their finger along the bottom of a newborn’s foot, and it curls in response. That is my reaction to unexpected loud sounds. I cringe. My whole body goes babinski.
I wanted to share my sensory life, and how different sensory inputs affect me. I have learned that I am without a doubt a sensory seeker, and that has made my day to day life more doable, and enjoyable.