It’s the 29 Th. April 2011 and the day of the Royal Wedding. Its getting late and has started to rain, within what seems like a second I’m wet through.
Stood on Waterloo bridge in bight red heels, “Heels I so, regret wearing!” I’m tired, becoming cranky and just wanna go home!
One problem! Little man wont cross the bridge.
Myself, a friend and my daughter had just started strolling across the bridge when little man shouted, “No, no, no! I’m not walking across that!” He stood very still with an expression of fear spread across his face. He shook his head repeatedly and started to mumble something which normally indicates his nervous.
Did I know he had a fear of this kind? Nope I truly didn’t! I can’t remember us ever having to walk over a bridge before (his fine with driving over them it’s just walking that presents a problem).
It hadn’t rained all day despite the predictions, the Royals married on a gorgeous sunny day. Well, that was in-till now! I was quickly losing the will to live as I tried desperately to persuade Little man to cross the bridge! The prospect of having to get the train one stop to avoid it was one I didn’t fancy having to contemplate. Then there was the fact I wanted to get a picture of the stunning views of the River Thames that I must say looked stunning on this particular night (despite the rain). The London Eye looked incredible, all lit up in blue and red, the colours of the union Jack in honor of the newly weds.
My friend took over and somehow after what seemed like ‘forever’ little man walked across the bridge.
The rain had stopped and despite how heavy it fell, it lasted no more than a mere 30 minutes (nonetheless it was enough time to soak an entire family)
The mission back to Waterloo east station would require us to walk past the London Eye. As we got nearer I suddenly realised another problem was about to unearth itsself! Little Man was now refusing to walk past the wheel. His anxiety levels rose and he become quite panicky.
“Please mum… I don’t want to walk past it, it’s to big, I’m scared!”
“What are you scared of darling?”
“What do you mean what am I scared off, I’m scared of that thing, that’s what I’m scared of!”
Well, didn’t that tell me!
This time there was no reasoning with the little guy and it was apparent by the frustration on my daughters face that she had now had enough and looked forward to a hot chocolate and her lovely warm bed. I looked at little man who now had his hands spread across his face in a desperate attempt to conceal his eyes from his surroundings, while shouting, “COME ON MUM, COME ON! ITS GOING TO FALL ON US IF WE DON’T GO RIGHT NOW, FOR *#*# *#*#”
Yes, bad language was flowing freely from the mouth of my little guy, he normally does when anxiety kicks in!
I knew from that moment we wouldn’t be walking past the beautifully lit London Eye and that this time not even my friend would be able to use her magic ways of persuasion, just as she had done on the bridge.
Now, did I know he feared the London Eye? No! However I had learnt through recent events that little man feared very tall buildings.
It was about three weeks pervious, when I decided to take the little dude on a visit to Canary Wharf during one of our ‘special transport days’ For those who are wondering what this crazy lady is chatting about, a ‘ special transport day’ involves little man super indulging in his special interest of transport by riding on the trains, tube, bus, dock-lands light rail, and not forgetting the clipper that jets across the River Thames into Greenwich or Westminster. Though this mum would like to see her little man splashing about at the swimming baths or playing with the other children in the park she wouldn’t have it any other way as seeing the enjoyment in his eyes makes it more than worth it (even if it does mean she has to be a transport enthusiast)
However once at Canary Wharf I could no longer see that same ‘enjoyment’ in my little mans eyes, Instead I saw fear. Stood amongst the skyscrapers Little man dropped to the pavement to the safety of the ground. I had never seen him react to anything in such a manner. I had clearly brought him to an environment that he could not tolerate.
Canary Wharf Isn’t to far from the London City airport and as a result the skies above see quite a bit of air traffic. As you can imagine this creates quite a noise as the sound of the aircraft bounces of the skyscrapers. This sent the little guy into an even bigger frenzy of panic.
As per-usual there were those that stopped for a look, this time it was different though, purely because my son wasn’t having a meltdown, this was in-fact a lot different, he was reacting like the terrified child he was instead of a child who come across as ‘challenging’ Nonetheless this was challenging for me, I still had to get him off the floor and back onto the tube.
Of course I succeeded but this wasn’t without lots of reassuring and encouragement. Back on the tube little guy questioned himself, he said he never thought he would be scared of buildings and couldn’t understand what went wrong! He said he was now feeling a little stupid. I explained that he shouldn’t feel stupid as it was a common occurrence, more than some may think. I wasn’t just trying to make the little guy feel better (even though this was of course my first priority), I was actually stating what I believed to be true, after all I was the same as a child. Once I explained to him that Mum had once felt that way, he really engaged and we discussed it all the way home.
It turns out that like me as a child, little man had felt dizzy and sick, his head went funny and his body wobbled! He even described a butterfly feeling inside his tum which he informs me was a very strange feeling. I think what he meant or at least tried to describe was the feeling and an experience of vertigo caused by his vestibular processing.
From the age of two I used to throw myself out of my buggy and lay on the floor every-time my mother or father pushed me past a bill-board poster. It took sometime for them to work out what was going on but they finally did, especially when my father took me on a crane where he worked and was presented with a little girl screaming her head off while shaking so forcefully that the crane wobbled (Well, at least that’s what my dad claimed *giggle*).
It’s funny as now I’m older I realise that I myself had quite a lot of sensory processing problems. I like my little man was and still am to some degree… tactile defensive!
You see, it’s not just the issue of fear here! This was a sensory issue for my little man. Well, it was defiantly a contribution of the two. Little man is also worried of a terrorist attack, something I should have considered before taking him there! Skyscrapers, aeroplanes and the feeling of being out of control on top of the vertigo was a tad too much for Little man while at Canary Wharf and seemed to be that same way now.
After a long day and night I decided that we would not walk past the London Eye, after all he had already faced his fear on the bridge (proud mummy)
I wrote this blog as I wanted to show how such issues can pop up out of nowhere, how it’s important to be aware of the possible triggers of anxiety, the achievements our children can make (the bridge), and also how I see a little bit of me in my little guy! No I’m not an Aspie but I’m his mum and his bound to be a little like me after all🙂
It’s funny as a child I considered myself a bit of a nut job! what with the need to bite my sleeves even though it drove me mad, the fact i couldn’t deal with polo neck jumpers and school shirts, the way I hated G-strings in my early twenties lol (comfort babe is me) Oh, there are many more and I assume such issues of sensory processing disorder (SPD) were non-existent when I was a kid (now i feel old) Maybe if they were I may well hold the label, but then again I guess many of us would.