Hug machine

While some people plan their dream homes, I dream about my OT room.

A huge room filled with sensory toys, bean bags, tactile mats, slides, swings, monkey bars, a hammock and a trampoline and a rock wall and a ball pit. For my girl. Yeah.

But the first thing I’d put in that room would be a steamroller.

Or a “squeeze machine”, or a hug machine like Temple Grandin’s.

Some days it’s not the lack of language or sleepless nights or missed opportunities that hurt my heart.

It’s watching her helplessly… as she runs through the house in a frantic, endless loop. Under the table, over the couch, through the chairs –  she searches out the tiniest spaces through which to squeeze herself. It’s then that I get a glimpse of the turmoil inside. I see how desperate she is for input to calm her body, to handle the system overload, to relax her heightened senses.

She seeks pressure to cope with the pressure of living in this world.

In our college days my twin and I would say the pressure whenever faced with a stressful or nerve-wracking circumstance. Now, after a long day at work all I want is to see my babies, but I come home and find her here lost to me, lost to a pattern, her mind and body lost in space.  I try to hug her and she reaches out briefly, but then pushes me away in frustration. I am not nearly enough.

But there are the moments when the heaviness of it all is just too much.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Cor. 4:8-9

This child shows me that pressure has a good work. That deep touch can be painful but it helps you feel again; deep pressure humbles, heals. I believe God has the greatest touch, it covers all. If so then, I want to be squished, flattened, held, steamrolled by Him.

I once read that the Hebrew word for glory means “weight”. God is so big, so full of glory, beauty, power, honor – He is heavy with it.

It’s ok if you think I’m crazy. I want my OT dream room. But more than that, I want the glory of God’s goodness, grace and character to press on my daughters, wrap them in on every side. I pray for peace in Rhema’s body.

And that He would supernaturally hug her for me today.

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17 thoughts on “Hug machine

  1. I’m sure you’ve tried everything for the sensory input but this is something I tried when K was in the hospital for those days and desperate for input. I used the gallon sized water bottle and rolled it over his body (not rounded so a couple of 2 liter bottles would work better). It mimicked the Steamroller machine and I saw a marked difference in K afterwards. Like I said I’m sure you’ve thought of everything but this is all I’ve got. I hope you get your dream OT room. How I wish I could give it to you. XO

  2. Jack is very much like this too. He asks over and over.. “Squish me!” He gets behind me and then I lean back with all my weight and we count to ten. He asks us to “squeeze his face..”

    These are some of the few phrases he can actually say and he does very often because of his need for the pressure. I wonder how he must feel inside. If he has a headache.. I’ve even looked at that very squeeze machine in your photo online, wondering if that’s what he might want for Christmas if he could tell me.. .

  3. My Isabella has been trying to build a swing like they have in the O.T. room by hanging a sofa cover over the handle bars of her trampoline. I had no idea what she was doing until I observed an O.T. session!

    Your scripture references inspire me, J. Thank you for using the Word of God to help us with our loves.

  4. A few weeks ago there was an Extreme Makeover Home Edition show where they did a sensory room for a family with two kids with autism. It was SO cool! They even had Temple Grandin on the show for a few minutes to offer input. It got us thinking too of how fun it would be to have an extra room for something like that.

  5. I pray for peace in Rhema’s body too.

    Have you ever tried putting her under a beanbag chair and squashing her with your weight? Riley used to love it. I sometimes still do it, but with bed pillows. Would she tolerate it?

    BTW….started your book today. P. 19. Totally sucked in. It’s soooo good!

  6. I pray for your room too! I’m sure, as someone else said, that you have tried everything. But in case you haven’t tried this I’ll throw it out there. I hope all of the suggestions aren’t frustrating for you. We bought one of the giant exercise balls. Daniel would lay on the floor and I’d put it on his feet. I would lay on it, about at my neck then start rolling forward, (up his body and then going down mine) he LOVED it. Daniel would also command “SIT ON ME” sometimes. very different though. The ball was a great buffer. He would just giggle. We had a weighted blanket, but he didn’t like that too much. Don’t know why.

  7. Nope! Not crazy. After watching Temple’s squeeze machine, I decided to become J’s….I roll a large exercise ball on his back, we squish between large pillows or bean bags. We squeeze and squish….such relief for our kiddos!

  8. What a beautiful point. It totally is the tough, “squeeze everything out of you” time that God’s shows His amazing love and peace that just doesn’t make sense. Praying with you that God will “squeeze” your girls, relieve the pressure and give them peace.
    Thank you, once again, for seeing and sharing God’s goodness in the tough places. Our Heavenly Daddy is is so proud of the way you continually give Him glory through it all. God bless you and your family richly!

  9. Hoping you don’t wait for the whole room – just get the squeeze machine, maybe?

    I’m sorry to be so absent of late. Thank you so much for continuing to read my blog and find the time to comment, too. Love.

  10. I am asking everyone to please watch Chucky’s story by Brian Kirby on vimeo or youtube. Chucky also has a facebook page(Chucky’s story) this is my aunts fight for s better life tor Chucky. They need help now! It’s heart breaking ! Please help us help CHUCKY!

  11. Thank so much for this post, I too dream about the same things for my daughter, thank you for being a guiding star to finding what I was looking for!

  12. My little guy enjoys being crushed. He needs that deep pressure. I pray for you and your daughter. Keep the faith even in those tough times. These children have gifts! Very important gifts and God never make mistakes:)

  13. I have a hug machine I’m giving away – I’m near Boston MA if anyone wants it just leave a message here and I’ll get back to you with a way to contact me. It’s in pristine condition and looks exactly like the one in the picture above.

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