What is the first thing you think of when you hear Montana? Is it the mountains? Big sky? Glacier National Park? Cowboys? Well, whatever it is I am sure I have thought it. Then I moved here. I can tell you, Montana are all of those things. I will say that we do have a lot of cowboys. With cowboys comes rodeos. Now, before I moved here I never really understood what the big deal was about rodeos. Then I went to one my first summer here. I loved it and have gone to one every summer since. It has become a tradition for our family. The trick is attending them with a kid that doesn’t like loud noises. This summer we tried a few different things and think we have finally figured out how to enjoy the rodeo as a family!
On most days noise doesn’t both us. We notice if a fire truck whizzes by with its sirens going, or a car with the base turned up stops by us at a stop light. They are annoying but we can ignore the sounds and not think much of it. Then there are those that can’t stand those sounds. It makes their entire body go into over drive. It sounds like that fire truck is in their head, or that the bass is in their heart. It hurts them. If this is a child they don’t know how to handle it. So, they do what they think will help. This can be accomplished by shaking, crying, rolling around on the while crying, completely shut down(not be able to talk) or do all of the above at the same time.
Now, I am not a DR or an occupational therapist. I am just a mom. A mom that has a child that can’t handle loud noises. I have been there for the meltdowns. I have had to turn down activities because I know he won’t be able to handle the noise. I have seen the look of fear in his eye’s when he realizes that he can’t calm down and he just wants to have fun. We have learned so much from the firefighters struggle to process loud noises. I am slowly learning, through trial and error how to enjoy things as a family in a way that allows him not to lose control.
If you expect me to say that spanking is the way, please stop reading now.
I know that every kid is different. I also know that there are parents out there that just don’t know what to do anymore. So, I am hoping that with this post I can reach some of them and give some fresh ideas for a very hard and frustrating way of life.
Over the past 5 years we have attempted to go to the rodeo several times as a family. Most times we had to leave because it was just too much. When I found out when the rodeo was this year I was determined that we would enjoy it as a family! And enjoy all of it! So, I started to review all of the other years to see what I could change so that this year wouldn’t fall apart.
The first thing we decided to do was to get good seats at the rodeo. Far enough down so that we could get out easily if we needed to. Next was figuring out how keep the noise to a minimum. So, we decided to try they ear muffs they use when we go shooting.
The firefighter reacts to noise the worst. He was the one I was the most worried about. He did really well. I started to notice him shut down at a point so I asked if he wanted to go out and walk around the fair grounds. The fair was running at that time so it would give us something to do. He grabbed at the chance and we left. Soon after his sister wanted to leave as well. They lasted till about the last 20 minutes. Not to bad when last year they wouldn’t have even lasted 30 minutes.
Both kids liked watching the horses and the cowboys and cowgirls. They said ‘ouch’ every time someone hit the dirt. All in all I say we will make the rodeo a yearly tradition.