This weekend was interesting. Not really in a good way! We spent the weekend house hunting and driving 11 hours each way to get there and back again. I do not recommend house hunting with sensory kids.
But, like us, you might not have a choice! We had to grit our teeth and do it, and we tried to mitigate the fallout as best we could.
The biggest 2 issues we had were the long drive and the sensory seeking behaviors – my kids want to touch EVERYTHING even when they know they’re not supposed to. It’s even harder to resist that impulse when people have cool stuff, knick knacks, and lovely throws, pillows, and enticing tech toys like remotes laying around. When our agent would tell us “this next house is vacant,” I instantly breathed a sigh of relief. My kids wouldn’t break stuff when my back was turned!
To be fair to my kids, they did a great job controlling themselves in some really difficult situations for them. If we knew there was going to be an issue, Mr. Genius and I would split up and keep the kids entertained in the car or back yard while the other one looked at the house. That amazing house with the collector owners who traveled all over the world? Yup, kids weren’t allowed inside. In fact, I was worried that I would trip and break something myself!
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There were times that we toured a house with kids under a strict leash of hand holding. In one case, I kept a tight grasp on a writhing 4-year-old who desperately wanted to run away. There was one house where we all had to do shoe checks to make sure dog poo didn’t get on our shoes from the lawn – because of our sensitivity to smells. There was even one house where we – the adults – had to leave because the scent of hidden mold plus the disguising air freshener was triggering us all. Sensory issues are difficult for all of us, adults included!
The kids actually enjoyed it. They would check all the bedrooms and assign rooms, claiming the ones they liked. My 4-year-old got upset every single time we left a showing because he wanted that house right now! and didn’t understand why we couldn’t move in on the spot. The highlight of the trip – the house of their dreams – had a secret kids room hidden in a finished attic space accessed through a closet, complete with rock wall, swing, and a ladder up to a loft bed. Leaving that house was hard for all of them, because they never dreamed such a thing was even possible!
The bad thing though? We might have to do it all again. Then the excitement and novelty will wear off, and the drudgery and pain will be the only thing left. I dread that. I truly do!