Monday, November 9, 2009

Superhuman Smeller

Recently it has come to my attention that Bronwen has the nose of a blood-hound. She complains about smells before I even notice them (like the over-scented air freshener in a public bathroom or the needs-an-air-freshener scent of her brothers' bedroom.) If I approach her while eating something or immediately after, she always notices and usually is dead-on in her assumption of what I've been eating: "I smell peanut M&Ms!" Busted.

I've been researching (again) Sensory Processing Disorder lately in regards to a couple of my kids. (I'll write a post all about it soon, as so many people have sensory issues these days and don't even recognize it. But that's for another day.)

Last weekend we took a family road trip to Southern California and while Jared was driving, I was filling out a checklist on my kids, determining which areas of sensory input are issues for them. Perhaps this made me more aware of it, but Bronwen's superhuman smeller was cracking us up the entire way to Dana Point.

We were driving along, talking to each other, while the kids were watching Pinocchio, headphones glued to their ears, not making a peep. All of a sudden, Bronwen starts screaming as if she's in agony. After about a minute, her shrieks were finally intelligible. She was saying, "somebody goed stinky in the car!" (No, her grammar isn't perfect yet:) We realized that we were passing a huge cattle farm and indeed, there was a strong smell. But she noticed it before most of us and reacted strongly.

Later, we had to rearrange bodies in the car so that I could sit by Margaret and calm her down when she was THROUGH with being in the carseat. This put one of her brothers directly next to Bronwen, and her complaint? "He's smelling me with his breath!" This wasn't just the typical case of "he's breathing my air" or "she's looking out my window," Bronwen didn't want him near her because she could smell his breath from the next seat over (no one else noticed it at all.)

As the ride wore on and on, she began exhibiting signs that she would benefit from a nap. We pulled out her blanket and encouraged her to go to sleep. Bronwen insisted (by crying and whining) that she couldn't sleep with her shoes on, so I helped her get them off. Instead of this rectifying the situation, she now had something new to cry about: her feet were stinky and how could she sleep with such smelly feet? Sigh. She finally overcame her hardship and drifted off, much to the relief of everyone else in the car.

I foresee her father using this to his advantage when Bronwen is old enough to date. His meet-the-date "interview" with her beaus will involve feeding them raw onions or better yet, he may tell them that she loves cologne! They won't last the evening!

This ultra-sensitive smelling power could be crippling in some situations (like in the fragrances section of the department store,) but I intend to find a way for it to be an advantage to her. Perhaps she has a future as a truffle-hunter. Maybe she can check airplanes for otherwise undetectable peanut fragments before those with heinous allergies board. Or check for poison by smelling all the food and drink of the president or royalty or paranoid celebrity before they eat it. I'm sure that pays well.

Do your kids have any super-human abilities?


Prudy said...

OH, Michal, that's hilarious. I could use her around here since my sniffer is severely lacking. I'm always the last one to notice a bad smell. You should use her at the grocery store to check for ripeness. Or for drug checks at the airport. She could make the big bucks! No super human powers over here. Although one of my charges seems to have the power of getting whatever she wants. Does that count?

Stacy said...

When Eleyna broke her arm, she became really oversensitive to smells. She would complain of things being stinky all the time. Also, there were a few times when she saw a speck of black in her food, like a teeny speck of cinnamon in the milk from her cinnamon life, and she gagged it back up because she was so grossed out. She lost those superpowers when her cast came off, thank goodness.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I'm convinced that your Bronwen and my Natalie would be very good friends. I wrote a post once about her supersmeller ability. She'll say, "Mom, your face stinks." Oh, okay. She also has a super memory. When we can't find things, she always remembers exactly where she saw them. "Grant, it's on the shelf in the garage." And she's always right. I guess we'll keep her; she's very handy that way.

mindyluwho said...

When she's old enough to bear children, she is going to die during pregnancy. My sniffer increased 10 fold during my pregnancies!

Myrna said...

I had a kid who couldn't walk if the seam on the toe of his sock was not exactly straight across the top of his toes. Thank heaven they began to make tube socks. It's an easier fix.

I mentioned this quirk to him a few weeks ago. His reply was, "What do you mean [in the past]? I guess he's still "sensitive" or should I say sensory disabled?


Nancy said...

Myrna, we had the sock sensitivity thing going on too. I turned them inside out because there is no possible way to keep the seem lined up exactly right at all times. And I am going to be very careful to mitigate all smells when Bronwen is coming to my house!

A Mother Heart said...

Too funny! She is getting so tall! Why do they grow so fast?!

The Red Hen said...

McKenna had "superhuman" smelling capabilities too. She used to ask if I had any gum or treats in my purse and when I would say "no". She would then say "let me smell your purse." She also used to sniff out treats that I had hidden in the cupboards!

I think that may be somewhat hereditary since I have a sensitive nose and can smell things before others notice them too.

She also used to complain that she could "smell" the chemo drugs they gave her through her Broviak tube that went directly into her heart, even though noone else could smell it.

Kim said...

I have the super-human sniffer in our family. My Mom is always amazed when I get into her car and say, "Oh, when did you see Carol this week?" I can identify all of her friends' within about a 5 day window. I am always the one to notice smells before anyone in my family. And I am tortured during pregnancy as my already sensitive nose becomes even more keen. While pregnant with Caitlin I could not be anywhere near a bag of nacho cheese doritos, even if it was still sealed, I could smell it and would run gagging. And Brad took to calling ground turkey "Lord Voldemort" during my pregnancy with Drew. It didn't matter where, when or how he prepared it, I was in agony.

Poor Bronwen, growing up with three brothers and a sensitive nose. Boys can be so stinky. I hope you can afford to build Bronwen her own granny flat when the boys start moving into the teen years. :)

J and M said...

We've got some super sensory powers around here as well. Supersonic hearing which results in terror around all public bathrooms. Other "super powers" are requiring some O.T. visits (:

Jen H. said...

My G. is a super-smeller, too. It can be pretty hilarious.

I think my hearing's pretty sensitive. I get a little CRAZY when my girls are learning new piano songs and they play the wrong notes. It doesn't help us progress with the lessons, for sure--talk about injecting tension into the whole situation. It makes me so uncomfortable, which I'm sure they can feel.

Tamara said...

These super senses must run in your family! When we saw Scotty this weekend he asked us, "Do you hear the firetruck on the freeway??!!" Far in the distance, I barely heard the siren screaming, but Scotty's super-sonic hearing couldn't miss it!