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Friday, May 17, 2013

Head, Shoulders, Bees and Hair Bees and Hair

My Aidan has some quirks. We all do, don't we? Some of Aidan's quirks are new and some are old. Some are things he's been struggling with since forever and some things are new challenges for him.

An old struggle is Aidan's fear of bees. Every summer for the past few years, Aidan has been terrified of every insect he sees, but mostly of bees. Since it's Bee Time again now, Aidan's therapists and I have been trying to figure out, again, new ways to help him with this phobia so that he can enjoy the summer. 

Aidan has never had a bee sting. He has never been present when anyone else has had a bee sting. He just has an ever-present fear of the pain that would accompany a bee sting, if he ever got stung. 

Another thing we're struggling with right now is the fact that periodically, Aidan feels the compulsion to cut his hair. He finds a scissors and takes a bunch of snips. Then he gets extremely upset, crying and expressing frustration over the feeling that he "needs" to cut his hair. He knows he's not in trouble when he cuts his hair, because we can tell he's really struggling with some internal demons, not trying to misbehave.
I've been trying to figure out the pattern for this behavior. All our boys have OCD, but Aidan's is the most noticeable, and impacts his life the most. Other times Aidan has had hand-washing rituals. He would have to wash his hands a certain way each time, and if he got interrupted he would get upset and have to start all over again.

I've taken all the scissors in the house and put them where Aidan cannot reach them. The other night, Aidan came downstairs and told me he needed to bring Ben a scissors upstairs. I asked what Ben needed it for. Aidan said he didn't know but Ben needed it RIGHT NOW. It sounded fishy and my Mommy Radar went off. Aidan was making eye contact and telling me adamantly that his brother needed a scissors. I asked him if he wanted the special dessert we were having now or if he wanted to take a bath now. His eyes lit up about the dessert. I yelled upstairs to Ben that if he needed a scissors, he'd have to come and get one himself. He called back that he didn't need a scissors, that Aidan wanted to cut his hair.

Aidan started getting very agitated, and started freaking out about how he needed to cut his hair. He begged to take "just a few snips." I told him matter-of-factly that we weren't doing hair cuts tonight. I got Aidan's dessert ready, and encouraged him to sit down with it and watch some SpongeBob, because, I explained, if he took his mind of cutting his hair, he would feel better. 
Luckily my plan worked. Aidan was able to calm down and move away from the need to cut his hair that night. I talked with Aidan's counselor and Occupational Therapist about these challenges Aidan is having right now to see if they could shed any light on how I can help him.

Of course my Gurus To My Children unlocked what we think may be one of the keys to Aidan's hair struggle. After we all spent some time brainstorming, the therapists said that Aidan feels like he needs his hair short in order to control his appearance, in order to make it feel "normal." He doesn't like it when his hair gets even a little bit long because then he doesn't feel like his normal self. This is one area he can try to control in what feels like an out-of-control world.

Aidan's counselor, Mr. H, is someone he has finally been able to connect with. Mr. H said that today he was talking to Aidan about his own hair and how he liked it a certain way, etc. Mr. H said Aidan just opened right up about how he sometimes cuts his hair. Usually in the bathroom. Because he likes it short. I guess Aidan was a fountain of information! My Aidan! Freely communicating! With a counselor! About his problems! Awesome. 

We're still working on the bee issue, but the therapists of course have an incredible plan for that too, and Aidan has agreed to participate in the plan, which is huge for him! 

On the drive home from Aidan's counseling tonight, I wondered what in the world families do who don't have therapists. I said yet another silent thank you prayer for our therapists, who continue to solve the mysteries my children present me with. 

Then I thought how most families don't have therapists because they don't need therapists because their kids are developing "typically." And probably they don't need to hide their scissors so their kid doesn't snip his own hair because of a compulsion. And probably most kids play freely and happily outside when it gets warm out, and don't have to hide indoors on the off chance they catch site of a flying insect.s  Hm. 

Whatever. Our family has an army of therapists, and I'm so grateful for their insight, patience, creativity, persistence and compassion every single day. Since we don't have typically developing munchkins, I'm glad we have therapists. 

Hopefully we're on our way to conquering our issues with bees and hair.

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