What it’s like having a texture-sensitive kiddo

My big dude is a pretty rad miniature human. At 7yrs old he has managed to grasp a level of humor and sarcastic-ness that far outdoes most adults I know. It doesn’t surprise me.

From the moment he came squalling into the world, bright red, and wrinkled, I knew he was destined for glory the minute the nurse proclaimed “He looks like Benjamin button, just look. It’s like he’s an 80 year old man in a newborn’s body!”

Thankfully, due to the fentanyl drip I’d been given previously, I managed to suppress my backhand urge. But she wasn’t exactly lying either. My 3rd child, I’d indeed birthed an old soul. In the womb he was a duo. I lost his twin before they were fully baked and so he came out solo. But I won’t go into that story because, well, I can’t.

Suffice it to say, we were super excited to welcome this strong-willed survivor and thus named him Alexander. Because after so much, he deserved a strong name. And boy is he strong. Strong-willed, strong in determination, his physicality is impressive, and oh yeah, his aversion to anything “uncomfortable” is the strongest of all.

You see, Big dude is texture-sensitive. Now, I don’t know the medical term.So we’ve developed our own name for it. He says he’s being sensed when it happens. And I think that’s pretty fucking spot on. You might too after you read the description.

If a flavor, texture, smell, or sight triggers something in him he vomits. Like demon-possessed, I’m gonna ruin your best shoes, vomit. It comes without warning, without a moment to grab the nearest container and duck for cover, and it can happen any time.

We’ve grown used to it. Over the years we’ve practiced different ways of trying to tame the pukebeast. From talking himself down, and avoiding different triggers, to making sure that old, dead leaf his sibling just carried in with his shoe is picked up before Alex’s mind tricks him into thinking it’s dog poo and another rug is ruined.

Yeah, we’re like the champions of upchuck.

But every once in awhile I feel really bad for him. Like today.

He was at school, eating lunch, surrounded by his friends and classmates when all of a sudden worst case scenario happens. His friend decides to pour his applesauce all over his cheeseburger and then *gasp* dip it in ketchup.

Typical 7 yr old food experiment- but it waved a red flag of doom in front of Big Dude’s gag reflex and whammo. The cafeteria table became the next scene out of a miniature Carrie- the elementary school years- sequel.

So the nurse called.

I’ve put this on his med records and all the paperwork due every year, but still I understand why a call is warranted. We spoke, and she wasn’t sure if sickness or a sensed moment had happened as of yet. (he failed to tell her all the details at that time)

So I talked to him, he sorta avoided my questioning, which was the first clue to it being a sensed moment. Anyway, I went in and picked him up, just to be on the safe side. When it comes to elementary kids and cooties, you can never be too sure when the next stomach bug might be in full swing.

Once, we got to the car he let the story spill, full of all the embarrassment an event such as this could bring. And so I hugged him,  asked if he was still hungry, (he was) and took him to the nearest pizza joint for a nice hot slice and some good conversation.

So yeah, life with Big Dude is an adventure. Sensory overload at its finest. And maybe he’ll eventually get it under control, or perhaps he won’t. But no matter what, we’ll get through it. All we need is humor, Clorox wipes, and quite possibly, an extra set of shoes.

If any of you reading this are also parents of sensed kids, lemme know! I’d love to connect with others who know exactly what this is like and see if you have any tricks up your sleeve for avoiding the unavoidable. 🙂

Saying goodbye sucks

Losing someone is probably one of the most heart wrenching experiences out there. It doesn’t matter if everyone knew their passing was something coming, or an unexpected accident no one would have ever imagined.

And it never gets okay. Honestly, why should it? But the one thing that’s super scary to me is that you do grow numb to it.

I mean, how weird, and awful, is it that I’ve experienced so much death in my life that I’m actually numb when i hear someone else has passed?

My first friend I lost was shot in the face by a kid with a shotgun because the kids mom didn’t approve of her daughter dating a black boy. So she gave her child a gun to scare him off the front step.

Now, my friend was an amazing person. And the fact that his skin color made someone take his life haunts me to this day. I’d been to funerals before his. Family members and such, but this was the first one that I felt deeply. I’d never been to his church before, even though I basically spent tons of my time in his neighborhood with my girl Trish. But that day of his funeral was something magical.

So many people came that we literally couldn’t fit inside the building. And those voices when they sang his soul to rest, well, they truly were the songs of angels. It didn’t matter that day what your skin color was because we were all celebrating the life of someone, basically still a child, who’d been taken from us too young. And he was loved. And he’s still missed.

From then on it seemed like someone else was falling down that hole of forever gone quicker than I could blink. I grew up in the 90’s, in south Florida, during the rave era. Not the big overblown commercial stuff it is now, but the underground south Florida breaks, electro, drum and bass dirty south scene. And man was it dirty. And dangerous.

Before I was 18 I could count at least 10 kids I’d known who had passed away from drugs. Some od’d. Others were killed in accidents involving dui’s and the like. One of the first people I ever loved met this fate.

My parents moved me to Las Vegas right out of high school. I rebelled and moved back home a few months later. Heck, I was 18 now and I could make it on my own. Or so I thought. So I went home and fell hard. I fell into partying, and dancing, and I fell for a boy so damn hard the world crumbled around me every time I looked at his face.

But he was a bit of a bad boy and had a past. Eventually, I couldn’t take living back home for many reasons and decided to move back to Vegas. This boy wanted to move with me, but he decided he wanted to do it right. He’d had a warrant out for his arrest and told me he was going to turn himself in, do the time and come meet me in Vegas when he got out.

So I left, and went home. We wrote each other pretty much every few days. Running to the mailbox was such an event. And we both loved art so we’d draw and fill pages full of inconsequential things to get us both through the long weeks. Eventually, his time was served and he was set free. We were both so excited!

His mom bought him a plane ticket to fly out to me. I woke up every day counting down the minutes until I’d be seeing him again. The weekend before he was to fly out he decided to go down to Miami to say goodbye to some of his friends. He called me from a party the night before his flight and told me he’d be seeing me in a few hrs. I said have fun, but not too much, don’t want to miss your flight!

We laughed. I sighed and went to bed.

The next morning I got a call from one of my girlfriends back home. Except I couldn’t understand a word she was saying. She was crying so hard I got scared for her. Finally she said two words that pretty much killed me. “Scott’s dead.”

It echoed around my head over and over and over. I didn’t understand. And told her it was an awful joke to be playing on me the day of his flight. Except it wasn’t a joke. He died of a heart attack from a drug overdose. There’s a good chance he could have been saved, except the monsters, for they dare not be named people, he was with left him, without his clothes, wallet or jewlery, out in front of the hospital after it was too late. So yeah. They robbed him and left him to die. And he did just that.

His mom bought me a plane ticket to go back home and attend the funeral. I remember bringing him a lucky poker chip my dad had given me with one of the casino’s names written on it. At his viewing I placed it in his coffin and told him if he couldn’t come to Vegas than I was making sure I brought it to him to keep forever. I said my goodbyes and flew back home and died a million deaths myself.

After that hearing about people’s deaths got easier. How fucked is that for me to say? I don’t know if it’s more fucked that I actually view hearing about someone’s death as easy, or that there’s still so much death surrounding me.

There’s one thing that didn’t get easier though. My fear of everyone I love dying. I might just be the most morbid motherfucker out there. I secretly fear people dying all the time. ALL. The. Time. Do you know how exhausting that is? When my kids go out to sleep at their friends- I fear their lives. When my sis goes out to a party, I’m afraid of a car accident. Hubs flying to New York for work? Plane crash. Parents having Sunday dinner? Choking. It never ends. All these scenarios run through my mind until I have to physically talk myself down.

But I keep it to myself. And then i learn someone else has died and I don’t cry. I don’t mourn. I don’t let go either. I can’t. If I did I might end up breaking for good.

In just the last few weeks, a man who basically was like a second father to me and a boy who was one of my childhood best friends/mortal rivals passed away. These two guys at different times in my life meant the absolute world to me.

And I can’t find it in myself to mourn their passing. I don’t know how any more. After Scott, I’m so empty when it comes to that part of life. Call it self preservation if you will. I cannot ever allow myself to break down the way I did after he passed. I might not be able to put the pieces back together again.

But I know it isn’t healthy either. To keep so much grief bottled up inside. To never let go and say goodbye. I just wish that my friends and family would stop dying for a little while. Give us a break.

I wish Florida wasn’t such a cesspit for kids and such an import state that dangles horrible temptations in front of bored children for them to lose their life on.

I wish more parents of my friends had given a bit more of a fuck about their children and not let them go down that road unhelped.

I’m so thankful I only played around the edges. That I never dove in head first and got caught up in a life of no escape except for the one 6ft below.

As to all the ones I’ve lost from disease, or accidents, old age or overdose. I’m so so sorry I cannot properly say goodbye. I know you deserve it. I’m sorry to all my friends to go to the funerals and are lacking my shoulder to cry on because I’m too much of a pussy to attend. I hope you don’t hate me because I didn’t show up. I wanted to. I swear. I just… I can’t

Life is such a precious thing. If you can remember that at least once a day, everything else will become so trivial. I think that’s what gets me through it. I only wonder, will it always be enough?