Guest post by Colette Greene, Community member
When my husband and I had our second child, we were thrilled. She was a bit fussy, but I wrote it off as her just doing what babies do. There were small clues that I didn’t pick up on at first. She would only nurse. She refused to use a bottle, even if it had breast milk in it. And forget about a pacifier. She would spit it out immediately. As she got older, the signs were glaring. She was given a book that played a little tune and she would cry every time it played. She cried at birthday parties when everyone sang “Happy Birthday”. I couldn’t sing in the car because it caused an absolute meltdown. She refused to wear certain clothes, and sometimes she would just cry for no reason at all. I kept thinking something was wrong with her, but the doctor assured me she was fine. I thought because she was so particular about things she might have OCD. I combed the internet looking at the symptoms, but they just didn’t seem to fit. While she did obsess about a few minor things, it wasn’t to an extreme degree. I also didn’t feel like she thought we were in danger if she didn’t do certain things. For the most part she was, and is, a happy child. I checked the autism spectrum and still didn’t think it was right. I kept researching different personality disorders and scouring mental illness sites. In trying different terms during one of my searches, I stumbled across the words ‘highly sensitive’. It was like a light switched on. I began reading anything I could find on it. Any book or website and every angle on the subject that could be studied. It all made perfect sense. Finally, I was beginning to understand her and her personality. Most importantly, I learned there is nothing wrong with her. She is simply more in tune with the world around her. At first it was hard trying to accommodate her quirks, but we’ve since learned to love and appreciate every part of her personality. Now Veronica is four years old. As she gets older she has outgrown some of the behaviors that were more difficult to deal with. We do our best to teach her how to best cope when hard situations come up. She will go into a public restroom as long as she can keep her ears covered. Unless it has one of those Xlerator hand dryers, then forget it. They’re just too loud. Her sock seams still need to be straight, but she can pretty much dress herself. I keep a pair of scissors handy to cut off loose threads. I can now sing in my car, most of the time. She doesn’t freak out at birthday parties anymore. She really enjoys a good party. She likes semi-trucks and fire trucks, but admires them from afar. She likes to help fold the laundry, but only if she can do a particular item by herself. For example, only she can fold the shirts and I will fold the pants. She still randomly cries sometimes, but now she can articulate what’s the matter, and I can help her through it. Just like with any child, some days are better than others. I’m enjoying watching her blossom into a wonderfully creative and beautiful person. I especially treasure the times she lets me into her world and shares all the beauty she sees. We’ve still got a lot to learn, but we’re all enjoying the journey.