No, I’m not talking about my sassypants 11 year old girl. Nor am I talking about Puppy Chews-a-lot.
I’m talking a different kind of mouthyness.
Parental types – remember how when your child was an infant/toddler and they put eeeeeeverything into their mouth? How great you were with that hook finger in fishing out items from the back of the cheek? How you had to be careful with what you gave your infant/toddler because they might decide it’s edible?
Now imagine that phase lasting for years.
Welcome to my world.
Maura is a sensory seeker – a term I was blissfully unaware of 8 years ago (though in retrospect, I was living with it in Sean, the toddler who licked everything but the cat – and only because I stopped him as he tried to lick the cat.) Most people who know of sensory issues, as they’re called, know of the kids who hate tags on clothes, or sticky things, who’ll scream if they get wet or the collar is funny on their shirt.
A sensory seeker is the opposite – they seek out sensory things. Take Maura into a fabric store and she’ll go down the aisle, both arms stretched out, feeling all the fabric. She especially likes the fleece section. When we go to the beach, she plunks down instantly to run her fingers through the sand. I had a box of buttons that she was enamored with. And yes, she also has been known to lick things too.
Just now, I had to ask Maura to please spit out the pieces of the Sorry game she got out. She spat it out…then popped it right back in her mouth. I then insisted she spit it all out…and four pieces came out of her mouth. Yesterday she was sucking on Monopoly houses (she’s figured out where the board games are hidden.) The day before that, Josh shouted for me. I ran into the living room to find him wiping Maura’s blue mouth out as he asked “Are ink pens non-toxic?” (Turns out that yes, they are.) She’d been sucking on the end of the pen.
Needless to say, bead art doesn’t happen much in this household.
As much as sensory seeking can be annoying, I will say this – given the choice between being a seeker versus being an avoider – I’ll take seeking any day. Sure, it can be annoying, or scary, or informative (if you suck on blue tissue paper, your mouth turns blue) – but at least I can get her dressed easily, and she enjoys lots of different foods.
Yep, that’s my convoluted pep talk to self in situations like this – I find a weird positive, “well, it could be worse!” spin. Of course, she’ll be the girl who’ll want to ride all the scary rollercoasters…and since Josh gets nauseated just looking at one, guess which lucky parent will have to join her on said roller coaster? The one who’ll be reviewing her opinion on sensory seeking versus avoiding.