Weddings are joyous occasions, right? My niece is getting married next month, and my husband and I couldn’t be happier for her.
Hubby and I were talking about the upcoming wedding and the things we needed to think about for the date when it hit me like a ton of bricks. My seven year old was going to have to wear dress-up clothes. In some families, they may not give having to wear dress-up clothes a second thought. But in our family, it spells serious sensory trouble.
Vman has Sensory Processing Disorder and is extremely tactile sensitive. This means that clothing has always been a particular problem for him. We try to find the most comfortable clothes (with absolutely no tags, of course) but even some t-shirts can feel horrible for him. How on earth is he going to manage having to wear something other than athletic shorts and jersey shirts?
I’ve learned over the years the best way to handle a sensory-explosive situation is to discuss it multiple times before it actually happens. It raises the chances that Vman will be able to talk through his anxiety and discomfort and lowers the chances of a complete meltdown.
One night last week, I mentioned that we had been invited to his cousin’s wedding. I expected Vman to ask me when the wedding would be or if the rest of the family would be there. Instead, a concerned look flashed across his face as he slowly asked, “Does this mean I have to wear fancy clothes?” Yep. He knew exactly what it meant.
As I told him it would mean that he would have to dress up, crocodile tears started pouring down his face. I quickly explained that we would work together to find the most comfortable clothing for him. But I also explained that it was an evening wedding and wearing shorts just wasn’t an option. Instead, he would need to wear cotton pants and a button up shirt. (I don’t think a shirt with a tuxedo printed on it will pass the mustard, do you?)
Having sensory kids is a delicate balance. On one hand, I need to pay attention to and honor the specific sensory needs my kids have. On the other hand, I also need to teach them how to manage their sensory challenges to fit into real world situations. And this wedding is going to be one of those times.
I am absolutely dreading taking him clothes shopping. I know it will be an absolute cry fest on both of our parts. I also know that I will do my best to find a good compromise.
My hope is the day of the wedding he has one final cry out and then manages the clothing for the night. Otherwise, it could prove for a very “interesting” evening.
DO YOU HAVE A TACTILE DEFENSIVE KID? WHAT SUGGESTIONS DO YOU HAVE FOR WORKING WITH DRESS-UP CLOTHES?