The Non-Sensory Sibling

I often wonder what my girl will think when she gets old enough to read my posts and hear how we came to be the family behind My Sensational Girl. Will she view it as something positive or will she feel like I violated her privacy by sharing her life story without her permission?? Only time will tell.

I have been quiet lately…there hasn’t been too much to tell. Life is good…quiet…normal. SPD still lives with us, but we are the ones in control. We are at the place in our journey I had always hoped to get to. My girl is thriving. She takes risks and succeeds. She overcomes. She copes. She is HAPPY.

This week I overheard a conversation that made me sad. My little one was talking to her big sister. She noticed that there aren’t a lot of pictures of her in the house.  I looked around and my heart sank..she is right. There are wall collages and frames all over of our first born. Only one or two pictures of my little one are displayed. There’s that half-finished baby book in my closet under her sister’s whose book is filled to the very last page. And then there is this blog..35 plus entries documenting the life of our first born. Every piece describing how wonderful, resilient and inspiring my oldest child is…not only to me but to the world. And suddenly I became more concerned, not with how my oldest would feel about my blog but rather my youngest.

I feel like a terrible mother. I know full well that, in most families, the oldest child tends to get an overabundance of effort and energy. I was the third child…I get it. If I went to my parents’ house I am certain there would be less documentation of my childhood than that of my older siblings. It’s not for lack of love, it’s for lack of energy and time. The first born gets undivided attention. There is more of you to give that first time around. That’s not the part I am beating myself up over. What upsets me is that I never realized that my second child is just as important to our story than the rest of us and for the last three years I have overlooked that. That’s right…she is only three. But she has done more for our sensational girl than I have. Shame on me for not putting that on display.

My little one is a force to be reckoned with. She is equal parts sweet and sass. She is funny…not in that cute, toddler way but genuinely hilarious. She lights up a room and has the face of an angel even when she is at her most devilish. She is outgoing. She is brilliant. She is that final piece to our family puzzle. From the time she was old enough to be aware of others, she has demonstrated empathy and compassion towards her sister. Before she could talk, she could fully understand that her sister sometimes needs a little extra TLC. I can recall times as an infant where she would crawl over to comfort her crying big sister. They are the best of friends. They love hard and they fight hard. They would be lost without one another. And I wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for the BOTH of them.

Before my second child came along, there was still a part of me who thought that maybe I made more of my oldest child’s issues than necessary. But then the little one came along. Sure, she doesn’t like loud noise and hates it when her hands get dirty. Just the other day she fell apart entering an indoor water park on our family vacation. She was scared of the noise and all the sprinkling water. But then, it was over. She regrouped within minutes. She could be talked down off the ledge. And, just like that, she was fine. My oldest couldn’t get her bathing suit wet for years. She didn’t learn to swim until she was seven. She still doesn’t love taking a shower. Had she been three when we went to this water park, we would have had to leave. In the past I believed in the possibility that maybe we were just neurotic, first time parents. Now I know for sure that my gut instinct was right. Now I know that every fight for her rights to services was warranted. Now I know that my oldest child was born with a manageable disability that could have overcome her completely if not for early intervention. She did not “grow out of” her SPD. She trained her brain to deal with it. My oldest child didn’t bring me to this realization, my youngest did. So yes, my youngest child may be neurotypical but that doesn’t mean she is any less sensational or important as her big sister.

So, to my sweet, sassy, spunky and super special youngest child…I am sorry you got the more distracted version of me. I am sorry I haven’t given you the credit you deserved. You are a star. You are a leader. You are independent, strong and confident. You will go on to do great things. You are the person I wish I could be. Thank you for being what we all need you to be for this family. Thank you for being you. I love you more than you will ever know.

Though she be but little, she is fierce!’

-William Shakespeare

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3 thoughts on “The Non-Sensory Sibling

  1. A love letter to be cherished some day, as I am certain it will be. And thank you for sharing.

    I am well aware of SPD, though I have written only one [long] post introducing the topic on my blog [Sound Sensitivity and Sensory Integration], beginning with sound, but working through the other senses before it concludes. I always intended to expand it into a Series, but competing priorities have intervened. Today, finding this post, I have moved getting to it closer to the top of my list for time and focus.

    I will nose around here before I do, and I’m sure I will find many posts to list in my Related Content links that follow each of my articles. Your attitude is an inspiration. As is your heart.

    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

      • Thank you. I have been looking in this direction since I first created my ADD/EFD protocols – over 20 years ago now. There was so little to find about it for SO long. I appreciate your offer, especially since I know that you have had no choice but to DIG.

        You are probably already aware that, like many others differences, sensory defensiveness is a spectrum situation. Most of the people with other disorders I support are unaware that some of their symptoms are tangentially created by sensory processing differences – although below the diagnostic level in most (but not all).

        When we look below the surface, even “neurotypicals” have one or two extreme preferences and sensitivities that are best explained by understanding SPD.
        xx,
        mgh

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