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Moms Get Sensory Overload, Too

I never had a sensory issue until I had a kid.

Now, it seems I am constantly on the verge of overstimulated, “touched out,” in need of quiet and otherwise irritable.

As I type this column, my 6-year-old is sitting beside me on the couch, while I teeter the laptop on my knees. Although, “sitting” isn’t the most accurate way to describe Mikey’s position.

As soon as I opened up the computer, in an attempt to squeeze in a little work while he was entertaining himself, he skipped over, jumped up on the couch, and slunk down beside me – very similar to the way a dog would. The only thing he didn’t do was circle around a few times.

He pressed his body right up against my shoulder and slid all the way down, and is now leaning on me, as I keep my elbows tight to my ribs to accommodate him. I don’t know how he can even be comfortable, seeing as his butt is resting in the growing divot between the couch cushions.

What makes this position even more magical is the fact that he never stops moving. His feet, which are curled up and pressed against my knee, keep kicking me, causing me to sway just enough to throw off my typing. And he is constantly turning his head this way or that, snapping his fingers, scratching something or just vibrating in one way or another.

He was also talking nonstop, but that was silenced when I gave into his request for a lollipop (because I’m a glutton for punishment and want to peel him off the ceiling right before bedtime).

Now, however, I get to experience all the slurping and sucking sounds, and the hard candy clinking his teeth and he continuously pulls it from his mouth with a “pop” and then plunges it back in with a smack.

It’s enough to make me want to crawl right out of my skin.

And since I have completely thrown in the towel on parenting for the evening, he’s got the tablet in front of him (to be fair, I have my laptop in front of me) and I have to keep telling him to turn it down before it goes out the window.

But, I do need to be able to hear it so I can tell if he gets into something he shouldn’t. I don’t care about “parental controls,” the child can still find a way to get into the bowels of the “morally grey” web.

So, with one ear and eye on his tablet, the other ear trying to tune out the lollipop slurping, my core muscles tightening to keep the computer on my lap and in front of me, and the little voice in my head on repeat telling me not to lose my cool, I await the return of my husband from his day at the office.

He will inevitably want to kiss me hello (nope, get away from me, I need some space) and want to know what’s for dinner (bahahahahaha), and will appear sincerely wounded when I snap at him.

Fortunately, he’s extremely forgiving.

He also knows the tables could turn on a dime and it will be him the child clings to as a human jungle gym, recipient of all the “Hey, Dad, guess what?” questions, and turned into Mikey’s overall play slave.

It’s all about balance.

Let me add a little note here to say that I do know how fortunate I am to have a child who wants to be near me, with me, next to me, ON me all the time. I know these days are fleeting and before I know it, he will be a teenager and want nothing to do with me (I may or may not be counting down the days).

But that doesn’t mean I can’t be overwhelmed sometimes.

My columns are full of dry humor about the perils of parenting, but I do hope all you readers know it is all in jest. I love having the love of my child and family.

Even if it is suffocating.

Holly Crocco is editor of the Putnam County Press/Times newspaper and mother of a 6-year-old. She can be reached at


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