June 17, 2010
One of the things we were told to "work on" this summer was...shaving cream. No! Really. We have a note from a therapist and everything.
OBVIOUSLY, a lot of Noah's sensory/tactile issues have improved dramatically over the past year. He'll walk barefoot in the yard, play in the sandbox, get dirty at the playground -- sometimes he'll even fingerpaint! Imagine that! But shaving cream still freaked him out.
And oh, but early intervention folks LOOOOOVE the shaving cream. They paint with it, "cook" with it, encourage the kids to get really messy with it. They've been trying to get Noah to play with shaving cream for a good two-and-a-half years now. It's like an SPD rite of passage: BOW DOWN BEFORE YOUR GILLETTIAN GODS.
But he wouldn't go near it, ever. He refused. Sometimes there were tears. Sometimes he'd hide under a table. By the end of this school year he would simply scream "NO THANK YOU" as soon as the can of foaming gel made an appearance. His teachers eventually stopped trying -- Noah was improving in so many areas that they decided he maybe deserved a pass on this one little quirk.
So that was on our list of suggested summer activities from his OT -- try to get Noah to play in shaving cream or similar slimy-textured materials. I admit I wondered if they were making a bit too much of this -- don't most adults have certain textures that give them the willies? And don't we all manage to compensate and/or avoid them and/or more or less survive just fine? Who died and made shaving cream so goddamned important?
But since it is such a big part of the school day and curriculum, I agreed to see what we could do at home. I had this big whole plan involving Ezra and the bathtub and good old-fashioned peer pressure (mmm, sweet delicious rivalry), but then I kept forgetting to actually try it. I thought about maybe doing something Huge and Awesome with our wading pool but...come on, even I knew that had disaster written all over it. Put the buy-one-get-one-free coupon down and WALK AWAY.
Yesterday, Noah asked to play with his phone. I said sure...after we played one last game. On a super-spur-of-the-minute impulse, I tossed a couple little toys in a bowl and buried them in shaving cream. I told Noah he needed to find all the toys I'd hidden in the bowl. Then I stepped back and bit my lip and cringed a little, waiting for the kind of reaction his teachers described.
"Okay!" he said.
He tested the foam with one finger, then quickly found the first toy. He then shoved both of his hands into the bowl and pulled out the rest.
"I found them!" he announced.
15 seconds. The whole endeavor took exactly 15 seconds. No crying, no resisting. He even laughed and posed for a photo before calmly trotting off to wash his hands. No big thing.
Shaving cream: 0