Sunday, January 12, 2014
Then imagine turning on everything in the room all at once: computers, tablets, phones, stereos, TVs, appliances, anything that makes noise when activated.
Then imagine cranking up the volume and speed on each of them all at once while dozens and dozens of people flood the room as well talking loudly with one another and generally just whooping it up.
Then imagine that there's no immediate no way of turning any of them off and no way of discriminating the dissonance.
I imagine you'd most likely want to get the hell out of there. Reminds me of my panic attacks of old.
Unfortunately this is what life has been like for Beatrice since early on (called auditory processing disorder, which is a big-bucket spectrum disorder that's not fully understood).
So you can only imagine what it was like the moment we passed the Disney Pearly Gates with both Bea and Bryce for the first time. It freaked Bea out. And with good reason. It can freak out any child (or adult) without any processing challenges. She didn't run, though. Not literally. Just more a "deer in headlights," fingers in ears and wanting to leave. After the first 30 minutes she warmed up nicely, adapted accordingly, and was ready to go for the Disney gold.
Her coping has improved dramatically since turning three, starting preschool and now in pre-K (next year starting kindergarten), loving to socialize with all her friends, loving her teachers, and going to speech and occupational therapy. She's learned to adapt and adjust more regularly, something I wish I could've done as a young adult through my 20's, spending way too many years allowing anxiety to crush my very soul.
Plus, she's smart as a frickin' whip.
But the noise and inability to filter and process quickly is still overwhelming to her sometimes and that's when Bea plugs her ears and wants to bolt. I felt bad because my expectations for both girls at Disneyland slightly exceeded the reality of how at least one-half would feel.
The good news is that they both had a ball no matter the moments Bea battled, and that's what the Mama and me counted on. Bea's come a long way, baby. Bryce? Well, she is and has been more adventurous to date, boldly riding more rides with the Mama and me than her older sister. Either way it was a first-time Disney win for the girls.
What was it like for us you ask? Besides being a little tired from awkward shared hotel room sleep, hiking all over the parks while pushing the girls along in their "limo" stroller and the Mama carrying Bryce (they did walk as well, but not the entire time), eating too much junk food and dealing with individualized meltdowns -- it was magical.
It really, really was.