In her second guest blog post for us, Stacy Baugh tackles the topic of shopping for new clothes with her precious daughter who lives with Sensory Processing Disorder and Asperger's Syndrome. How many parents out there raising kids with ASD and/or SPD can relate to this?
NEW SEASON, NEW CLOTHES
By Stacy Baugh
Each year I enjoy looking forward to Spring – new leaves on the trees, flowers blooming, weather just right for leaving the windows open. Unfortunately this change of season also brings a need for new clothes for my daughter, Emily. Time to put away the blue jeans & long sleeve shirts and bring out the shorts & t-shirts. Not only that, but it usually means getting an entire wardrobe of brand new clothes since she’s usually grown a couple inches since the previous year. For some people this might be something to look forward to, but for my daughter this twice-a-year excursion is something we dread and try to put off as long as possible.
In the Fall, we go shopping for pants and long sleeve shirts. After spending an entire summer wearing shorts, t-shirts, tank tops and bathing suits, it’s hard for her body to adjust to suddenly being covered in clothes. Everything itches or feels funny. The sleeves are too long. The pants feel funny on her ankles. Leggings are too tight. All the clothes are heavier – both in type and amount of fabric. Blue jeans are the worst offenders because they actually require a breaking-in period before they get soft and comfortable. The knit pants are usually the easiest to work with, but they don’t hold up to a girl that loves to dig holes in the dirt and climb trees.
And then…just when the blue jeans are completely broken in and have become her favorite pants – Spring arrives!
Same song, second verse, same as the first.
Now, the shorts feel funny because they hit on her thighs instead of coming down to her ankles like the jeans. Her favorite fleece (and ONLY) jammies are now too warm to sleep in. The blue jeans are so broken in (aka stained) that they are no longer appropriate for many destinations. T-shirts are usually pretty easy because we’ve learned which brands we like and we just bump up a size. Shorts are a challenge because she’s tiny in the waist, but tall. She’s 8 years old and could wear a size 4 in the waist, but then the shorts/skirts are WAY too short. We try to find ones with adjustable waists and then hope the elastic/buttons don’t poke her in the wrong place.
It’s the champion of challenges for my sweet girl to be sure – but we aren’t done yet!
3 years ago we stumbled on the perfect swimsuit for her and she loved it so much we bought 2 sizes ahead. We had about 8 duplicates of this exact same suit and she has worn it for 3 years. Now, she’s finally outgrown the last of them so -- she needs a swimsuit!
I’m about to turn 38 years old and I don’t remember a time in my life that I ever looked forward to swimsuit shopping. Does any woman? It can be hard for the most-fit, least-sensitive person out there, but for a child with Sensory Processing Disorder? Yikes!
We did a little shopping for a swimsuit this past weekend, and my heart just broke for her. She has a specific style she wants (boy-shorts/rash guard shirt - like the one we had before), and they are super hard to find in the stores which only adds to the frustration and self esteem issues as she wonders why “her” style isn’t more popular. We decided to just try a few different styles, but a combination of the sub-zero fitting room, the new style of the swimsuit, the fact that it was “too tight” (compared to baggy shirts) proved to be more than her body could handle.
We ended up with a complete sensory meltdown in the fitting room.
One of the hardest things for me about her SPD is seeing the hurt in her eyes as she thinks that something is wrong with her because clothes or shoes don’t fit right or feel good. I try to explain to her that the clothing & shoe manufacturers all make things differently, that size X in one brand does not equal size X in another brand. I remind her that Mommy often goes to 10 different shoe stores before I find a place that sells shoes wide enough for my feet.
I remind her of all the times she has said “I can’t cure it, but I can cope with it” and tell her she has to push through it so we can get clothes since we can’t leave the house naked, that she is tougher & stronger than she thinks she is, that I will keep searching as long as it takes to find a swimsuit so she can spend her summer in the pool/ocean – where she feels more at home than anywhere else in the world.
I remind her that God never makes mistakes and that He made her just the way she is for a reason. That she is absolutely beautiful in His eyes – and in mine. Then I praise her for her effort, take her home, help her change into her most comfy clothes, get her a snack and let her relax.
We’ll try again another day.
Stacy Baugh is blessed to be Mommy to an 8 year old little miracle named Emily. Emily was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder & Asperger’s when she was 5 and ever since has been bringing a new perspective to her parents as she teaches them how she sees the world. She is incredibly educated on most every kind of animal, she thrives in nature and loves to spend her time digging in the dirt, jumping on the trampoline, helping others, reading or playing with Star Wars LEGOS. When Stacy is not busy homeschooling Emily, or going on fun field trips, she also loves the challenge of making kid-friendly foods that are fun, healthy and tasty since her family has been dye-free/HFCS-free for 4 years and gluten-free for 1 year. Stacy is married to her best friend, Rob who is not only a hard working soldier in the Army, but is truly her partner in every way and is her rock when her own emotions get out of sync. In her spare time, Stacy volunteers with Wives of Faith – a Christian support organization for military wives, reads as many books as she can, and blogs at Midlife Army Wife.