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Life without boundaries

9 Dec

It’s not what you think, this post.  It’s not about living without fear, jumping off cliffs, skydiving, or pushing yourself to extreme limits…

I’m talking about Maura’s lack of boundaries.

The child has no clue about the words “personal” and “space”.  She does not understand that in life, there are some boundaries you shouldn’t cross.

Sometimes this means I’m holding onto her in parking lots, or sending a sibling to follow her up the structures at playgrounds.  In Ireland, it meant keeping at least two hands on her at all times near cliff edges, because she of poor balance always wanted to look over the sheer drop.

But usually I’m referring to the more personal boundaries.  In other words, the girl is a bit of a leech.

Maura has always craved physical contact, and loves attention.  She also cracks herself up by doing certain things, like poking me over and over and over and over, while saying “Mom…Mom…Mom..”, or having the need to hug me when anyone on the television has a tender moment.

Most of the time, I deal with it well.  Last night at church however, I hit sensory overload.

Maura was in rare form – poking me, putting her arm around me, thumb sucking, gnawing on fingers, wanting to put her feet up on the back of the pew, wanting to stick her finger up her nose, flipping through the song books and bulletin.  Over and over, rinse and repeat.

Which would have been bad enough, except the teen stuck next to Maura during all this was intermittently bouncing his leg and trying to keep her from sticking her finger up her nose while clocking him in the shins with the kneeler.

This is how, during the Sign of Peace, I found myself foot wrestling with Maura after she nailed her brother in the shin with the kneeler well enough for him to say “ow!” out loud during Mass.  As everyone else was wishing each other peace, I had Maura in a bear hug, throwing my one leg over both of hers while hissing “No! Leave it!” in her ear, trying to keep her from lifting and dropping the kneeler again.

I either looked like the epitome of patience or the most stressed out mother in the world to the people around us.  I was really trying for the former, I think I achieved the latter.

Only those of us living the dream truly understand this level of touched outness.  It’s not just one day, but day after day, month after month, years of it.  As my mother would say, it’s like being nibbled to death by ducks.

I know some parents have little sensory break areas for their special kiddos.  I think I may need one.  My own blanket tent, maybe with some fairy lights, a cushion and blanket, a book to read, and a wine fridge.  That’s not too much to ask, is it?

Hanging onto Maura at a cliff's edge, in 2011.  She thinks hugs are great luckily.

Hanging onto Maura at a cliff’s edge, in 2011. She thinks hugs are great luckily.

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8 Responses to “Life without boundaries”

  1. CJ December 9, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    Oh my! I see that scenario perfectly in my head! May the Peace of Christ be with you Always, Amen.

  2. andthreemakesfive December 9, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    You absolutely should have your own sensory room!

  3. Jessica December 9, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    Don’t know if this is helpful or not, bbut I found myself laughing like crazy :). Thanks for being able to put your every-day-events on paper and write it so well that I can see it playing out :).

  4. bookloverlori December 9, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    Oh this one hits homes. It’s getting better, but I have those days when one more push sends me over the edge into crazy land. Gentle non-touching hugs sent your way. 😉

  5. Ginny December 9, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    Oh my you are my hero!!! Hopefully, all around you were sending you great hope of Christ peace as you wrestled Maura. Ha ha my spell correct changed peace to pecs. I suppose you need those too!

  6. thewondermya December 9, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    No it is not, go for it ! It is not because she does not understand it that your legitimate need for it vanishes.

  7. eisnikki December 9, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

    Nibbled to death by ducks…..what a great description. Elijah also likes hugs….and poking….and laying all over me. It feels absolutely horrible to complain about my child hugging too much but when you’re on your 75th hug of the night it really does get a bit wearisome. Still wouldn’t trade it for the opposite but a nice happy medium wouldn’t go unappreciated 😉

  8. Robin December 10, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    i can definitely relate. My son has this way of just hanging on me, with all his weight. Or leaning. And yes the “mom, mom, mom”….I get that all the time too. Just endless noise. We do need a break from it. I am so thankful right now for school because it offers me the time I need to myself. And what you described in church reminds me of my dad made me laugh. When I was a kid and was wiggly at temple, my dad used to do nose-wiggle contests with me, silently….something pretty funny for a kid. Hope you have had some of that much-needed recharge time…

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