My eldest son is a sensory seeker. As an infant he was excessively fussy and colicky. He’d go from calm to hysterical in a matter of seconds, and needed to be wrapped very tightly and rocked quite dramatically in order to settle him.
He crashed and bumped his way through the toddler years, in constant motion, jumping from the tops of slides, and seeking out ‘dangerous’ thrill seeking activities. He was never fussed by bumps and cuts, he even stared straight faced at the needle as he got each of his immunisations.
His favourite foods from very early on were olives and gherkins and all things salty or spicy. There was a point in time where I thought he’d never grow out of putting things in his mouth!
Until he was well over 3 years old, there wasn’t a single time where he went from asleep to awake without some form of distress.
Now 5 years old, he loves bear-hugs, rough-housing, being ‘squished’, and squeezing himself into tight places (like suitcases and boxes). He sleeps in a “cocoon” of blankets and needs a lot of help to settle for the night. He still loves olives and gherkins and goes crazy for some good, hard beef jerky.
His biggest challenge now is self-regulating his behaviours and emotions. We have tried a swag of techniques over the years, including breathing tools and activities, games of repetition and consistent routines. One of our most successful techniques during a meltdown is to bring his attention to his heartbeat. We encourage him to put his hand on his heart and ask him to feel how fast it is beating. We get him to feel our heartbeat to compare and explain that he needs to try to “slow it down”.
This week we got to road test Cloud b’s Glow Cuddles Bear, and I’ve got to tell you it’s my son’s absolute favourite so far.
The Glow Cuddles Bear is a lovely, soft teddy with a unit inside its tummy that emits a soft glow and the calming rhythm of a heartbeat. You set the unit to be touch activated so that when your child hugs the teddy its heart beats; or you can set it to run automatically for 10 minutes. You can also switch between just the soft glow, heartbeat and a vibration option.
I introduced the teddy to my son first during a time when he was becoming very overstimulated – wrestling with his younger brother but getting excited to the point of hysteria. I distracted him with the presentation of the teddy and told him to go lie on the couch and hug the teddy for a few minutes to try and calm down a little. The photo featured with this article is him about 1 minute after holding the teddy.
Over the last week I’ve noticed him carrying it around and taking it to bed with him. It was also the very first thing he packed into his suitcase for his stay with his Nanny and Grandpa. He’s certainly not a toy orientated child (if you can’t ride it, climb it or jump off it – forget about it!) so this was quite significant and a big indicator of how much he loves his new teddy.
Last night he was struggling to settle in bed – throwing himself around, fidgeting and telling me he just couldn’t lay still. I asked him to pass me his teddy, and then I switched it to the vibrate feature. You should have seen his eyes light up! “How did you do that mummy!?” “Do you like it?” “I LOVE it!”. As a sensory seeker, vibration is something he loves because it provides intense sensory feedback. All I can say is that I wish we’d discovered Cloud b’s Glow Cuddles Bear sooner.
I think any small child would get comfort from having the soft glowing heartbeat alongside them in their crib. It’s a beautiful product and by far our favourite for all ages so far.