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Snuggle at Your Own Risk

Snuggling with my daughter comes with risks. Because of her sensory processing problems, she is always wiggling and twitching.

Natalie had been extra snuggly lately. And I have the bruises to prove it!

If you’re the parent of a kid with ADHD, you probably know what I’m talking about.

Natalie, like a lot of kids with ADHD, is all bone and muscle. She has a fast metabolism, she moves constantly, and there just isn’t enough time in the day to waste some of it eating. So, she has no fat to pad those sharp elbows and knees.

She a world-class wiggler, even when snuggling. So when I hold her, I’m constantly getting an elbow in the chest.


Or a knee in the side.


Or a head butt (those are the worst) to the cheekbone, nose or mouth.

Am I bleeding?

And with her sensory processing issues, Nat constantly seeks stimulation. She can’t just let me hold her when we snuggle. She begs to be tickled; or to have her back scratched — so hard that it has to hurt. I switch off between scratching, hard rubs, karate chops, and tickling. She may be relaxing, but I’m working up a sweat!

And when she sits on my lap, she has to be pushing against me. She straightens her legs and pushes her feet hard against mine. Moves her feet; pushes against my legs again. Moves again, pushes on another spot. Probably that joint compression thing that her O.T. says she needs. So I push back. Hug her tightly. Squeeze her feet. Compress her wrists, her elbows. Rub her arms with firm, hard strokes.

After 10 minutes of snuggling I usually feel like I need a cold glass or water, a long soak in hot bath water, an ice pack, and a couple of Advil.

ADHD kids should come with a warning — Caution: Snuggle at Your Own Risk. But I’ll take the risk. It’s worth it. I love my snuggly, loving, wiggle-worm girl.

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