Public toilets, hand dryers, and garbage disposals. Sounds like a motley crew doesn't it? They are on Hannah's current list of deathly fears. She's had an on and off fear of automatic flushing toilets flushing on her bottom and super sonic hand dryers for quite awhile, but I thought those had pretty much passed. The garbage disposal, however, is a new one. With all three evil appliances it seems to be the sound that bothers her at the moment. That's another thing that seems weird to me because although they are quite loud, she's never had a problem with loud noises before and right now it seems to only be those 3 particular loud noises that bother her. She's to the point that she about won't even go in a public restroom for fear of a loud toilet flushing or a chance meeting with a hand dryer. When the toilet flushes she runs across the stall as far from the toilet as she can get and either buries her head in my legs or squishes herself into the corner. You'd think I was chopping her hand off if I try to dry her hands with a hand dryer instead of paper towels. AND if Kyle turns on the garbage disposal in the apartment (which is REALLY loud, much louder than the one at our old house) she will run and hide and bury her face in her hands. Since all loud sounds don't bother her and two of her current fears appear to be reincarnations of old ones, I am inclined to believe that these are normal everyday toddler fears instead of a new manifestation of her SPD, but I don't really know. They are quite intense fears and the public bathroom ones are really starting to interfere with her life since she has quite a small bladder and it's almost impossible for her to successfully hold it until we get home if she happens to have to go pee when we are out somewhere. Those of you fellow SPD moms out there, what do you think? How should I handle this? We've got to get past the public bathroom phobia somehow, but I'm out of ideas. Do I be supportive or is that just enabling her fears? I don't want to be a psuedo anti-NERD (see Mama Mara's post here).
I just really want her to not be so freaked out about things she's bound to continue to come across in normally everyday life.
We are continuing to struggle with Hannah's behavior. She is so defiant it amazes me. She's always been stubborn, but she's taken it to a whole new level recently. It appears as if she almost WANTS to get in trouble or lose privileges sometimes. Her disobedience is so willful that I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that she's only 2 1/2. I've only seen this kind of attitude in teenagers before. I know defiance and disobedience are par for the course in terms of normal toddler behavior, but Hannah's current behavior seems a bit extreme to me. It always seems that everything about Hannah is just a little bit "more" than the typical kid, that she's just a lot more intense about everything-both the highs and lows if that makes any sense. She's hyper focused, while at the same time extremely distractable, extra curious, extra hard to get to sleep, more intense emotions and reactions to others' emotions, perfectionistic, obsessive about all things academic, extra set in routines, very inflexible to change, etc. The list could go on and on. For every typical toddler trait it seems that Hannah is just a little bit more of it than all the other kids. In some instances this is awesome, for example in the case of her already being able to read and do basic addition and subtraction. In other instances it's absolutely awful like when she bangs her head repeatedly off the coffee table when she accidentally writes a third "N" in her name instead of writing an "A" and she's used a crayon so she can't erase it. I repeatedly pray for patience with her every single day, but it seems as if my patience is always so thin. I know she's struggling too and that makes me feel even worse when I loose my patience or when I don't know how to handle a situation. It seems like lately there are more situations that I don't know how to handle than ones that I feel confident that I handled appropriately. The current thing that pushes me to the limit faster than anything else is this screech Hannah does when she's upset or being asked to do something that she doesn't want to do for any reason at all. She'll make it when I ask her to do something, when I touch her to guide her towards an undesirable activity, or when I ignore whining or a tantrum. That sound cuts straight to my bones because it is almost always a result of intentional disobedience and she will even make the sound again if I react to it at all. She KNOWS that it bothers me and it's almost like she enjoys pushing my buttons with it. It seems ridiculous to me to place her in time out simply for a sound she makes after she gets a warning about something, but it's basically sassing in my opinion and I don't know how else to handle it other than to use the sole weapon I have against unwanted behavior-the time out. If anyone at all has any ideas for how I could handle this another way since the time outs seem to be having no effect, I'd welcome the suggestions. I'm pretty much at a loss and could really use some help.
On a positive note, we took Hannah to the Providence Children's Museum yesterday and she had a blast. At first she was pretty overwhelmed by all the activity and kids running everywhere, but by the end of the morning she was splashing in the water, playing with the science toys, and playing house in the different "time period" houses. It was hilarious watching her cooking food in a kettle in a fire place while in the 1860's kitchen replica. She put the kettle in the fire place and then reached up to the mantle and pretended to push several buttons while saying, "beep, beep, beep!" I just about peed my pants laughing. I think we will end up getting a membership to the museum because it's super close to the apartment and only like 15 or 20 minutes from our new house once we move there. I can totally see us going there at least once a week. I could see it really being good for Hannah to be in an environment that can stimulate her academically while also challenging her socially. Maybe just maybe I could meet some new mommy friends there too.
PS. The last picture is the view out one of our apartment windows. I'll try to post the view out the other window in my next post.