I live in a house which is dominated by Aspie’s and Aspie’s who all have fascinations with soft feeling things no less. (Due largely in part to hyper-sensitivity issues).
For instance, when Aspie Teen was about two, he went and hid in our bedroom closet. About a full minute later, he came out holding my wife’s blue and green silk nightgown against his face like Linus from the Peanuts gang, his eyes wide open. He stood and there and proclaimed “MOM…it’s MAGIC!” And from that moment on my wife lost custody of her nightgown.
That obsession hasn’t lessened in all these past eleven years.
When Aspie Monkey Boy (the middle boy) was a baby, he received a very soft fluffy baby blanket. He would not lay on anything else besides that blanket from that point on. Not only that, but I couldn’t stop the wifey from taking it every chance she got.
Eight years later, Aspie Monke Boy will still go through the stores on shopping trips, rubbing his hands and face against soft items as he goes by.
For Christmas, Mrs. Aspie Writer got a plush purple fuzzy robe, a plush purple blanket, and VERY plush, VERY soft, fuzzy blanket that she loves to wrap around her entire body at night. (Are you sensing a recurring theme here?) Nothing else I got her this year holds a candle to those three things.
Last night, Aspie Baby climbed up on the bed where mommy was cuddled up in her two blankets. He stripped out of his soft fuzzy one piece footsie pj’s, snuggled up beside his mommy, pulled the VERY soft purple blanket around him, being very careful to leave some to rub his face against, and started watching Smurfs for the 15th time that night. (I’m starting to sing the Smurf melody in my head at work now, thank you very much).
I personally don’t get the fascination. As long as it’s not too scratchy, I can sleep on it, wear it, whatever. However, Mrs. Aspie Writer can’ even try it on, if it doesn’t first pass the touch test. As you may imagine this can get very frustrating for me. How many clothes out there are THAT soft really? Especially prior to buying them and having them go through the wash with fabric softener a few times? And you can’t buy anything online because of this. The result is when we go shopping for clothes with my wife, (and believe it or not I like to go clothes shopping), it ends up being me pointing out outfits and her touching them and giving me “that look”.
“That look” is a combination of “what are you thinking”, “are you nuts” and “no freaking way mister” all rolled up into one sarcastic semi-belittling look. Now it’s not always ” that look”, sometimes it’s just a matter of our tastes clashing, or her not seeing herself the way I see her, and not being able to picture herself wearing something that I’ve pointed out. We’ve done this for so long now, I KNOW what the issue is most of the time and most of the time, she will remember to tell me what the issue is with a piece of clothing.
Things To Remember
Aspie’s who deal with hyper-sensitivity issues have to live through so much on a day to day basis. Imagine sitting at your house, and you hear the filaments burning in the flourescent lights, you can hear the garbage truck that’s picking up trash all the way down the road. The TV your child has on upstairs, the one that’s on downstairs, the children playing, the tock clicking, the washer/dryer going. All these sounds going SIMULTANEOUSLY since Aspies who deal with hyper sensitivity issues have no filter that can tell their brains to process these sounds individually. They have no built in Fade button like on your car stereo where you can filter more sound to the back if you want. Add on top of that the smell of the garbage can, whatever your kids are eating for lunch, the stuff down the drain in the garbage disposal, the bathroom someone just used. THEN on top of that you feel the label in the back of your tee shirt, the itchy scratchy feel of cheap fabric on your body as it rubs you every time you move. Here is a video that might help shed some light on it. (Though I’ve been told that this video still is not accurate because it introduces the sounds individually)
I believe my brain would melt and you would find me in a fetal position sucking my thumb and drooling.
Now our side of the story…We may be at work or school all day dealing with a myriad of things that really push us to the limits of our understanding, patience, will to live etc. We may work in a factory where our senses are bombarded all day or a busy office where the phone rings all day and the constant flux of foot traffic through our domain irritates the living s** out of us. At my job I supervise eight people. Our department has CONSTANT traffic through it. The doors are all locked from the inside and we have to get up and open them everytime someone wants in. My staff CONSTANTLY come ask me quetions about every little thing. My ADD brain is TRYING to focus on what I’m doing but I get interrupted constantly. Some of us may work in customer service industries which is one of the most trying places to work. We have to deal with all sorts of people from nice one’s who are a pleasure to ones that we want to follow and attack from behind. Tt the end of the day, all those things are external and we possess the ability to block it out to some level of success, but it’s VERY tiring and exasperating for us as well. It’s exhausing mentally and physically. And then we come home to have to be dad, husband, honey do-er as well. We know you’ve been run through the mill all day. But so have we.
When your partner gets home…give them 20-30 minutes to unwind. Then pass the reigns over to him and get out of the house for a while. Partners who are left behind: let them go! They need time too! Come together later and discuss the challenges you went through that day and how you felt going through them. This will help both sides understand what they deal with on an daily basis, and create more empathy for each other. Aspie’s don’t lack empathy after all…they crave it. As for the fuzzy-ness. After dealing with all that stimuli can I blame my wife for using the fuzziness as a comforting tool? Of course I can’t. AND I might add that since she’s gotten the blankets, she’s sleeping more deeply and more peacefully than she has in YEARS. Unless of course Aspie Baby wakes up. LOL. We all need comfort. We all use different things to bring us that comfort…food…drink…distractions like books and tv’s or movies and music. At least with a good fuzzy blanket they can still snuggle you while simultaneously being wrapped in their fuzzy goodness.