Choo Choo

Today we’ve been to the Apedale Valley Light Railway. We have lived close to this for years but have never been! There’s a heritage centre and you can arrange trips down the mine as the site is set on the old coal pit at Apedale. Something that the coal miner’s granddaughter in me definitely wants to do!

Evie was tired after a sleepover at Grandad’s (or rather called a “not-a-lot-of-sleepover” would be more accurate 🙈). When Evie is tired her sensory issues tend to come to the fore. I mean let’s face it, when we’re tired none of us are at our best.

Evie was excited but soon began to panic. After absconding to the loo, her usual escape route, we managed to get back on the train. It was only a short ride but she braved it out. It was noisy and she’s not keen on noise unless she’s the one making it. She was upset but we managed to head off the worst of her meltdown.

Now a meltdown is a horrid uncontrollable thing…fear comes to the fore. Escape is all Evie wants. It’s hard to distract her it to calm her. She can lash out through fear and she is so very strong. To be perfectly honest it’s not pleasant when you can see people looking at Evie…wondering what’s wrong. I turn my head. I genuinely no longer care for anyone’s thoughts. It’s taken 7 long years to reach this level. What I do care about is that I don’t want their pitying looks…I just want their understanding that just sometimes things are a bit harder for some people. Sometimes seemingly simple things for some people are really hard for others.

I’m not just talking about Evie here. I have realised as my experience of Evie’s sensory processing disorder widens that I have my own sensory issues. Such as? Well I HATE sand. Absolutely detest it. I can’t bear it on my feet unless it’s the really really fine dry sand that brushes off me and doesn’t stick to me. We’re talking tropical sand or Greek Island sand…I am that fussy! The wet sand type, the rough stuff puts me into a
panic. You have no idea how hard I find walking into a beach and how I steel myself…as a baby I used to sit on a blanket, protected from the sand as my family learnt my hatred of it. I hate to eat on a beach the gritty feeling can stay well away from me and my food…😷

And fireworks…I am your fireworks party pooper. I adore the pretty, quiet ones but you can take your bangers and rockets and squeakers and keep them well away from me. I used to stay inside and only come out for the nice ones. And I wasn’t alone, another older friend had exactly the same reaction to me.

Some days it does feel like it’s a case of two steps forward and one step back. Today is one of those days. She did so incredibly well at the playbarn last week that I hoped that she would do as well on the railway. We do find that if Evie has managed to do something once, then the next time it tends to be a little easier. So we’ll work on it. We’ll remind her of today, assure her of her bravery, remember the fun…build a social story so that next time the fear will be less and the fun will be more.

If we don’t try, we will never find out what we can achieve. So we keep trying…we’re allowed to scream, we’re allowed to cry but we will never ever give up.

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