Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hand to Hand Combat

I have a goal.

It's bigger than completing my first triathlon this fall.  Bigger than having the sink be free of dirty dishes for one hour.  Even bigger than scoring a ticket to Oprah's Favorite Things Show (the equivalent to Super Bowl tickets which we did get one year.... however, Oprah, alas, we did not).

No... this is bigger.

My goal this year is to have Sean use liquid soap.

I know, I know... "Impossible!" you say.  Just the mere mention of washing his hands with liquid soap will send his body into an immediate fight or flight response.  His muscles tense, his eyes well up, the screams of painful agony begin to grow... and that's before I've turned on the water.

Liquid soap for Sean is like lava flowing on his skin from a volcano.  A fiery hell that is so deep and so scary that I'm not even sure I  know how to begin to access it.

Texture and sensitivity issues...  Do you fight the fight or deal with it?

For years we have done our best to accommodate him.  He has his own bar of soap in a travel box at school .  He also has one in his backpack for days when he goes to after-school cooking club at the junior high.  At various times you will find a bar of soap in a Ziploc baggie found stashed in my purse, my glove compartment, a long-forgotten diaper bag.  I'm sure after I die the children will discover a bar hidden amongst my things....

Sean takes showers.  He uses shampoo - when reminded.  And, you are going to love this, he uses LIQUID acne soap in the shower!!!  I have chosen this year to take up the fight because I'm frustrated and I simply don't understand.  Why can't he make the connection from the liquid soap that he uses in the shower to the liquid soap that he would use at the sink?

I know it's not crucial to his well-being.  He can certainly survive in a liquid and foam soap world and be perfectly happy.  I'm not even talking about quality of life.

I don't know.  Maybe I'm being selfish.  Maybe I want this one little quirk to go away so we can be "normal" in one tiny realm of the world.

Little...tiny.... that's how millions of people see the issue.  You press the dispenser and the soap streams out onto your hand and you think nothing of it.  It's mindless and countless people do it every day.

But for Sean it's huge.  It's Mt. Everest for him.  It will take time.  It will take hours at the sink.  First, I'll wash his hands for him so, in his mind, he's not touching it.  Then maybe I'll move on to having him play with the foam...eventually the liquid..... 

Oh, even that seems overwhelming to me right now.

We'll have to wait and see.  You'll have to tune in to check on the progress. 

Speaking of... George let me down yesterday and Sean's arms showed signs of picking.  Hopefully, George will be back on the job today.  Or else it's back to the ever-so-popular "Mom Monitoring" (a.k.a. nagging).

Even if we get over the picking and the liquid soap, there's always going to be another mountain to climb.

You have to just keep going.  Rest when needed.  But never give up.

Then again, Sean is a boy about to become a teenager.... maybe he simply doesn't like being clean!

1 comment:

  1. Liquid soap. Whew, I can relate to the amount of effort you have put into trying to surmount this hurdle. I gave up the fight on liquid soap years ago. And I must confess, I have given up the fight over shampoo, after years of effort and trying so many different brands of shampoo that it has taken me years to use them up -- myself.

    Apparently, for my daughter, it is the consistency of thick liquids like shampoo, liquid soap, egg whites, etc., that is utterly disgusting, and causes gagging. I don't know why your son can use them in the shower -- be grateful for small things. That could change.

    I learned from Internet searching that there is such a thing as solid shampoo, and solid hair conditioner. And so after years of fighting over this, I started buying solid shampoo and hair conditioner for my daughter. Now she washes her beautiful long hair often, with no nagging on my part. Good luck with your efforts, and may you succeed. But as you know, there are alternatives, if it does not work out.