I don’t know how else to say this.
I have been failing my son. As his mother, I am falling very short.
This isn’t easy for me to write. But if nothing else, it’s honest, and maybe it will help some mother, somewhere, who is silently beating her head against the wall.
Logan has been labeled “a difficult child” his entire life (he’s four-years-old).
He has dramatic outbursts, runs away from you at the worst times (like in the grocery store or at an amusement park), and flat out does not respond to any sort of discipline.
Time outs are a failure. Yelling is a failure. Spanking him is a failure.
This has caused extreme anxiety in our home.
Logan just won’t listen to us. It’s almost like he is trying to be bad. And then he’ll look at you and apologize, but you KNOW he’s really not sorry for biting his sister and hitting his brother because he turns around and does it again.
For all of his little life, I have thought, something is wrong with Logan.
Shaun’s parents have said it’s because Shaun was a terror as a child, and this was his payback. Thanks a lot, Shaun.
But I couldn’t accept him being a “difficult child” as an answer. There was something else. Something more. Logan wasn’t my first child, and he wasn’t my last. His brother and sister just seem… I don’t know… happier to be in this world. And I know all children are different, and that you cannot compare your children to each other, but he is very different.
The truth of the matter is, Logan worries me to death. And not in an I-hope-he-doesn’t-kill-people-and-make-them-into-lampshades kind of way, but more in an I-hope-he-doesn’t-wind-up-in-jail-because-he-won’t-listen-to-us-ever kind of way.
He’s the sweetest kid you’ve ever met. Which seems contradictory, I know. I can’t really explain this very well, but he’s my little bleeding heart of a child. He’s very funny, and very smart, with a kind heart, and an understanding that seems way beyond his years.
It doesn’t make sense, does it? How can this little person, who is so kind and gentle at times, flip his entire demeanor in an instant.
So after four years of struggling with a child that didn’t seem like he liked us very much at times, a child that everyone kept telling me probably has ADHD (something I refused to believe), I think I’ve finally found an answer.
And after I read every thing I could find about highly sensitive children on the Internet, every article came glaring back with the same answer… Logan is highly sensitive. He’s not broken.
- He would not latch on to breast feed, even after consultations with lactation nurses.
- He didn’t seem happy as an infant. He didn’t really want to be held, cried a lot, and threw up almost every time he ate. Even the most expensive and most gentle formulas did not help.
- Shaun used to say, “I think he is either reading my mind or staring into my soul,” when he was a baby.
- He has very sensitive skin (often resulting rashes – more so when he was younger).
- He tells me everything “smells bad” and plugs his nose by shoving his tiny fingers inside his nostrils.
- Music is always “too loud” and he wants even the quietest music turned off.
- He has his entire wedding planned. He is marrying our nanny in “Cowboy Town” (Phoenix, Arizona), and gets very jealous if Becky even mentions she went on a date with another man. He’s four years-old, and I sincerely think he believes that he will marry Becky one day. This is awesome because he loves her so much, but heartbreaking because he is so serious about this.
- He has a vocabulary beyond his years. When I was having him tested for his speech problems, he tested at the eight-year-old level.
- After Cha-Cha (our dog) died, he has developed a curiosity about all things death related. His imaginary playmate is his Dead Papa Logan who lives in the bone yard. First of all, no one has ever said “bone yard” to this child. And he doesn’t have a “Dead Papa Logan”. Weird playmate, right? And he wants to know about anything that could kill him or his family. Storms are particularly difficult at our house.
- We have to pray for everyone’s health each night to God/Santa (in his head, they are the same person, no matter what I tell him). These prayers sometimes last 20 minutes, blessing even the new neighbors whom we’ve never met.
- He remembers everything. Everything. The child’s mind is a steel trap.
- He behaves badly when there is a lot of chaos (at a party, at a grocery store, etc.). And by chaos, I’m saying there are a lot of sensations (lights, lots of people, sounds, smells, etc.).
- He settles down in small groups and calm settings. For example, he can sit and play in his sandbox, as long as he’s by himself, for an hour or more.
- He doesn’t know a stranger. He will tell everyone what he thinks, as soon as he thinks it.
- He is very loving and very passionate in expressing his love to others. “Mommy, I love you so much that my heart could just burst. I just wish I could tell you how much I love you with more words.”
- When I ask him why he did something wrong, his reply is always the same, “My brain made me do it. This side of my brain. I don’t know why I be so bad all the time,” as he holds the left side of his forehead.
So, after researching everything I could, at this time, I think I may know what the deal is with Logan. He’s highly sensitive. His little antenna is probably just tuned in harder than yours or mine.
And that brings me relief. I’ve made him an appointment with an occupational therapist to see if I’m on to something.
Maybe he doesn’t hate us.
Maybe we just overwhelm his senses. Maybe I can stop failing him as his mother.
Do you have a highly sensitive child? Does Logan sound like your child? What are some changes you made that helped?