Sunday, November 8, 2009

The road more traveled

Maybe not the younger girl - it's too early to tell with her, really, though she has the ability to be more easygoing when she chooses - but the older girl, she has those sensory issues. We've discussed it. She won't eat food with crunchies and if her head reposes on any but her bamboo jersey pillow cases she stays awake from the scratchies and she won't dry her hands under the blowers in public restrooms because the noise is too loud. (And let's just use this moment to clear something up - no, I didn't just pee all over myself. She dries her hands on my pants; that's all.) (I never really invited her to do so, but you know -- Mommy = obviously available for whatever = towel.)

Now, perhaps we all have our quirks. Maybe you fall strongly on the crunchy side of the peanut butter divide, and maybe you over there are a devotee of the creamy. Let's note that my beloved elder child won't accept either texture, and I think you're all ridiculous because stick some peanut butter in front of me and I'm going to eat it. Is your peanut butter preference a sensory issue?

So here's my point (were you worried I don't have one?): like any kind of tolerance, I'm sure sensory sensitivities fall along a spectrum. E, my particular daughter, she falls on one end. I think of myself as pretty far along the other end of the spectrum. I don't have a lot of (sensory) issues.

Except for one.

So we were driving south on I-95 today (how many of you just involuntarily shuddered?) trying to say goodbye to I♥NY and reacquaint ourselves with our home state of Maryland. This is a trip that can be done in 4 or 4.5 hours. I have done this drive in 4 or 4.5 hours. Yet it seems that I-95 has been suffering some horrible form of chronic constipation the past few years, and no matter what time of day we travel we get very stuck. And the girls, they were free-falling down all the tolerance spectra you could fling your bumpy peanut butter at.

So M comes up with the brilliant idea of offering them the less-favored sections of the massive Sunday New York Times he's been clutching on his lap like another child. Are you wondering: what were two pre-literate children going to do with 8000 pages of newspaper?

They made confetti.

They covered the backseat in so much ripped paper that we couldn't find their toys anymore, or their books or their milk cups or their shoes when we stopped for a bathroom break. They, who were pantsless for long-drive comfort (E's idea, of course), were kicking through paper like swim-lesson initiates holding on to the wall of the shallow end. Their hands were black and left streak marks on their faces until they looked like Dick van Dyke's orphan chimneysweep apprentices.

Haven't I told you about my one itchy-feeling sensory cringe-iuducer? So help me, it's newsprint. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scrub them with every baby wipe we had in the car and then hose down the vehicle. I wanted to escape, to bolt out the driver's side door and abandon ship and family. We were moving slowly enough that I could have done it. I couldn't look in the back seat. I imagined every microscopic arsenic particle of ink filling our lungs, dusting our skin, clogging our pores. I wanted to lift my oblivious babies out of the filth and horror - but I couldn't fathom touching them.


And thanks to the traffic, we even got home too late to bathe them.


I'm going to have to change their bed linens tomorrow. But, we did finally make it home. And the lovely husband swears he's going to de-ticker-tape my car before tomorrow morning's commute back into work and school and regular life.

November 8, 2009
Portrait of the greatest two little would-be New Yorkers that ever were, until they got pantsless and strapped in to rub themselves in filth for 200 miles.

(Whether you like them or not:) more NYC pictures tomorrow. Pinky swear. Pin It