Wednesday, September 3, 2014


My Sunshine has always been...quirky. She's always had a little "extra" that's just really defined what made her HER. She's very bright and bubbly and compassionate. But boy is she EXTRA sometimes. 

I always chalked the quirks up to a combo of my parenting style and her genetics. I'm a bit scatterbrained and love to be spontaneous. Her dad has an ADHD diagnosis that I'm convinced is the reason he's incredibly successful and driven. But that combo convinced me that she was just a little higher maintenance than her peers. 

The day she was born she took 22 hours of pitocin before she decided to come unwillingly down the birth canal. I swear after three hours of pushing she finally loosened her grasp on my trachea or whatever she was clutching to. And at 7:53 pm she came screaming into the world. 

It was a long day for all of us and as I looked down at this tiny creature I felt a wave of euphoria and exhaustion all at once. 

I was ready for a Big Montana and some shut eye. But Sunshine had things to see. She stayed wide-eyed and alert for 4 hours after her birth. It wasn't until I had Sweet Pea that I realized that birth usually tires babies out quite a bit. 

Not my Sunshine. In fact she didn't sleep more than 15 minutes at a time that entire first night. Again I knew nothing of "normal". I only knew Sunshine. I also knew there was something she didn't trust about being placed in that bassinet. She only felt safe in my arms. 

So I did the unthinkable. I pulled her into my hospital bed and we slept. 

Her whole childhood was filled with breaking my "rules" that I set before motherhood. Bed sharing was a huge no no. Weak parenting I said. 

Breast feeding past a year? Ew! If they're old enough to ask for it they're too old to get it right? ...too bad newborns ask for it in such a whiny voice. I wasn't able to take it away when she could use the King's English. She needed it. I was her lovey. I was her coping mechanism. 

Just a few months before her second birthday I gave in to social pressures and took away her security booby. It was time to grow up. At 2. Because that makes sense. 

I got pregs with Sweet Pea a few seconds after I weaned Sunshine. It was a year of potty training and cry it out and sleep by yourself and quit throwing tantrums. It was pure hell. But I had to do this. Because. Because...well because I was "suppose to."

I don't know who THEY are but I listened to THEY a lot in those years.

They say kids need to sleep alone. They say they need to nurse for exactly 365 days. They say to put your foot down. You're the authority. They say "because I said so." Explaining yourself to a toddler is futile. They say they can't be reasoned with. 

Well they were wrong. 

My Sunshine started kindergarten last week. I thought I'd tap dance down the halls to freedom. But something wasn't right. 

I knew it weeks before but I tried to push it out of my mind. That is until I stumbled upon an article about sensory processing disorders. Damn you Dr. Google. She fit the description perfectly. 

The tantrums, the naked obsessions, the sock aversions. They were all "normal kid" stuff. Until you paired them with everything else. 

She got her diagnosis the week before kindergarten. I still can't bring myself to call it a disorder. It's just different. Not wrong. She's a sensory seeker. It explains why she hugs way too tight and barrels into her friends giggling even as they plead for her to stop. It's often misdiagnosed as ADHD.

I start thinking about Hubs. I'm certain he was misdiagnosed and wrongly drugged. But when you know better you do better. SPD doesn't need drugs. 

We are just beginning occupational therapy to give Sunshine the sensory input she needs. We call it Super Hero Training Camp since they're there to find her super powers (like supersonic hearing) and fine tune them. I'm not even close to bummed about the diagnosis. It means she IS normal. In fact most gifted children have some sort of sensory processing issues. So the kid I thought was just average is actually probably quite gifted. I'm afraid if sounding like that high and mighty "gifted" mother. But it's a bright spot in a shady path, so I'll own it. 

The first week of school was rough. Lots and lots of tears. But by Friday I'd figured out how to hold myself together. 

I've met with teachers and counselors and principals who all tell me what a bright, compassionate, amazingly wonderful child I have. And they're more than happy to do whatever it takes to have a successful year with my spunky girl. 

We've got a long road. And there will be days that my Sunshine comes home on yellow instead of purple. But we've had a long talk about what that means. Her self worth will not be defined by a clothespin or a color chart. It will be determined by her and her alone. 

And we will also celebrate her. Because no great innovator in history ever fit nearly into the little box. They were hell raisers. They were different. And that's what made them great. 

So I will celebrate my girl. Because quirks and  all she is my Sunshine. My only Sunshine. We see some clear skies, and some are gray. But I hope it's so clear, how much I love her. And how I'd never wish those little quirks away. 

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