Up until he was about a year and a half old, Raccoon loved to be barefoot, take baths, get his hands dirty, etc. One day it was like someone flipped a switch, and all of a sudden I had a different son. Since then, getting him to take anything off once it's put on has been a herculean struggle. The only way he'll change his clothes is if he accidentally gets wet. Strategic water play anyone? Let's practice pouring! Come help me wash the dishes! ;) He loved to paint, then he wouldn't do it for months on end because it got on his hands and didn't turn out the way he wanted. (Besides sensory issues, we have a huge struggle with perfectionism too, but that is a post for another day.) Taking a bath, brushing his teeth, changing his clothes, washing his face, going new places, having family get-togethers, and many things more are - sometimes - just not worth the meltdowns.
Now I see the winds of change blowing again. It started a few days ago with Raccoon taking off his socks and going barefoot. I even took a picture of his feet because I've barely seen them in more than a year. If you had asked me last week what the odds were of Raccoon taking all his clothes off voluntarily and running around the living room naked, I would have told you there weren't any odds because it was not only unlikely (perhaps 1 in a million) but impossible.
Yet here I sit, writing this post in complete amazement because that is just what happened yesterday afternoon. Unless you're a sensory parent, you may think this is no big deal (don't toddlers run around naked all the time?), but for us, this is HUGE. It is not necessarily a behavior I will endorse long-term, but for a few minutes I see him enjoying a rare freedom from anxiety and fear. This gives me hope that Raccoon will not always be limited by his sensitivity to everything in the world around him.
p.s. I changed the title of the post from the original one.