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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Shaving cream

One of the strange after-effects of Raya being taken off of amitriptyline is that she has regressed on some of her sensory issues. It seems like some of her senses have been heightened and things that she is more aware of things that she had previously gotten used to. She had gotten to where it didn't bother her to have her hands covered in sticky food. For example, she had recently started eating little chunks of soft, canned peaches that she could pick up with her fingers. A few days ago though, the big kids were eating some so Raya wanted some too. I cut them up and put them in a "bwayt" (plate=bowl) for her like she wanted, but she touched one piece of peach and then tossed the bowl on the table and wanted her hands washed on the spot.
I talked to her feeding therapist about it on Thursday and she suggested having some "messy play" at OT on Friday, and that we did. :) No sooner had I said the words "messy play" than Miss Elizabeth produced a dollar store can of Barbasol shaving cream. She squirted some on the big green gymnastics mat and showed Raya how to smear it around with her hand. Raya just stood and stared at her. I think if we could have heard her thoughts, it would have been something to the effect of, "No way, lady! You ca-RAZY if you think I'm touching that!"
With a little coaxing, Raya carefully dipped the tip of her left index finger in a small pile of shaving cream. She excitedly pointed to me with her foamy fingertip and said, "Wookh, Mommy!" She was so proud of herself. :) About half a second later, she wanted it OFF. She showed Miss Elizabeth, who said, "Oh, are you messy? Do you need some help?" and then proceeded to take her 2 shaving cream-covered hands and swipe them down both sides of Raya's arm and hand, smearing a thick layer of shaving cream from elbow to fingertip. Raya looked at it with equal parts shock and disgust.
Unsure of what to do next, she sat there as still as a statue staring at her hand.
Then Elizabeth picked her up by both hands to stand her up in a little pile of shaving cream. The instant Raya realized what was about to happen, she jerked her knees up as if Elizabeth was trying to lower her into an active volcano:
The girl REFUSED to put her feet down! Since both of their hands were coated with slippery shaving cream, Elizabeth ended up setting Raya down in the shaving cream before Raya's hands slipped out of hers. Raya tried her best to keep her skin from touching the messy shaving cream. She even flexed her knees hard enough to lift her calves up off of the mat and pulled her hands up to a safe distance:
The internal conflict that was going on inside her was written all over her face. She watched Kaida, who was absolutely in HEAVEN jumping and running and squealing with delight while she covered herself with shaving cream and you could tell that Raya REALLY wanted to have fun like Kaida was, but she just couldn't bring herself to touch the stuff.
 After a few minutes, she got a little more comfortable with having shaving cream on her hands, so Elizabeth squirted some right in her palm:
 She decided that maybe it wasn't so bad. She sat completely still so she didn't feel it sticking to her legs and feet, and played with the shaving cream that was squishing between her little fingers. Then she asked for more, which was very exciting to us. :) She works so hard to overcome fears and fight the instincts that try to keep her from doing things that make her uncomfortable. It makes my heart happy to see her do things that I know are hard for her.
 By the time the hour was over, Raya was cautiously but willingly walking through little smears of shaving cream. We left the clinic with both girls coated from head to toe in a fine layer of shaving cream and smelling like old men. :) Kaida definitely had more fun than Raya but I think Raya left feeling empowered. She's still not completely over her aversion to being messy, but the messy play reminded her that getting her hands & feet sticky and messy is not the end of the world. :)

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