Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

The Mall

with 8 comments

This was a weekend where we didn’t have any plans, we were at a loss as to what to do.  If this ever happens, the best way to deal with it is to ask the most decisive member of the household (Pudding) what to do:

I want to go to the mall, please.

The mall.  Giant behemoth of over-stimulation.  Too big, too loud, too bright, too many people…that place.  Sensory processing dysfunction and autism go hand in hand.  Often malls  are the worst place to take a person who senses the world differently, it is just too much.  For Pudding though, most of the time she is under-stimulated.  She is constantly seeking new information, wanting to take in more and more.  She is a delight to be out and about with- it is when we are at home and she gets bored that the trouble begins.  Still, as a person whose senses function normally, but still finds malls a little much, I’m surprised that is her new go-to place.  I checked again to be sure:

Yes.  May I go to the mall?  Let’s go to the mall!

So we did.  When a child is as powerless as the typical 3 year-old, and as power-hungry as our atypical girl, it is wise to let her set the course.  The whole day will go more smoothly as a result. You might call this spoiling her, if so, I politely request that you go read someone else’s blog.  You will never understand, there is nothing for you here.  Got it?  Good.  The more we expose Pudding to different places, the more ready she’ll be when we make our next big move.  The fact that she wants to do all these things allows us to hope for a world of possibility.

This particular mall is huge, but that doesn’t matter- Pudding knows her way around it.  Not long after she had turned 2, my parents came to visit and she took them a 10 minute walk to the playground.  They didn’t know where it was.  She did.  My brain just doesn’t work like hers.  I’m lost all the time.  I need a GPS system to take me places, and she just knows.  It is incredible.  At the mall she only wants to go to a few places: the kids playground, ‘Mermaid Cafe’ where we get overpriced coffee and she has juice, The Disney Store (aka Princess shop) and shops that sell ‘pretty dresses’ for her.  Not for me.  I tried to on dresses, to be met with “Shall we leave?” and it being the first time we’ve heard ‘shall’ escape from her lips, we do.

The trip to the mall was successful.  We didn’t buy anything, and we even took our own lunch for the kids.  Pudding was just happy people-watching.  We must, as a species, be fascinating to her.

So the next day, when we again solicited suggestions on what to do from the children, Cubby volunteered “car” and Pudding stuck to the mall.  But rather than go the mall, we decided to go to The Mall.  As in The National Mall, home to the famous Smithsonian museums.  Our plan was to take her to see the ‘pretty dresses’ as worn by the First Ladies at their respective Inaugural Balls.  We hadn’t considered that every female tourist wanted to see the same thing, and it was packed.  Pudding started running around, getting flappy, so we leave.  Who would have thought it was the museum that would cause sensory overload, and not the mall?

We moved on.  She really likes all the boats in the American History Museum, but by far her favourite thing was this train, with all the incredible details.  Trainspotting and Asperger’s seem to go together, and our girl is no exception.

Trainspotter in the making

We had a picnic lunch on The Mall, and then hot-footed it out while the kids were still smiling.  We’re pretty adept at that by now.  It went so well that I won’t even cringe next time Pudding asks to go to the mall, or The Mall.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

August 4, 2010 at 9:15 am

8 Responses

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  1. Oh I LOVED reading this!
    And I giggled at the part about telling people to go and read another blog if they think you are spoiling pudding. SO TRUE!
    You do what you have to do and it’s whatever works as far as we are concerned. I couldn’t agree with you more 🙂
    I’m so happy that you had a wonderful time at the mall.
    And “shall”…..gorgeous. So beautiful!


    August 4, 2010 at 9:30 am

  2. Yes, we loved the “shall”. Haven’t heard it since, but just knowing it is there is good. Some people do need to be told- I just don’t care what they think! I think I learned that from Pudding too.


    August 4, 2010 at 9:45 am

  3. Trains, princesses, and interal navigation? Pudding is 3 year old me!

    I’ve never known a spectrumite who is average with maps. We seem to be either really great with maps, geography, and navigation, or really terrible. Then again, if her daddy is an FSO, he probably has a map talent, himself.


    August 24, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    • You know, I don’t think he does have the map talent, and she for sure doesn’t get it from me! I love hearing from female adults on the spectrum- it gives me an inkling of how she might turn out! Thank you for coming over and commenting!


      August 24, 2010 at 5:45 pm

      • The map thing was one of the reasons I wanted to be an FSO, myself! I ended up doing both undergrad and most of a master’s in international relations in the hopes of getting in, but I got rejected twice with letters to the effect of, “Your scores were great on the exam, but we don’t think you’ll fit into the culture of the Foreign Service.” Um, great? Thanks? I’ve changed tacts entirely and am now aiming for medical school to do research about autism, especially women and girls. I strongly suspect there are many more of us than have even considered being diagnosed!


        August 24, 2010 at 8:23 pm

        • Oh no, I hate their harsh rejection process. Especially when you meet some of the people they accept who seem exceptionally unsuitable, particularly when they get overseas. We actually think that there are a lot of FSOs who are undiagnosed. There are definitely a lot of children who are on the spectrum, or have ADD/ADHD. Either because this lifestyle attracts certain people, or the stress of moving makes an impact. Maybe both. I have no idea. I think you’re moving into a worthy cause though. And you’re definitely right about women and girls. I think one of the reasons Pudding’s (former) pediatrician missed her is because she was looking for “boy” ASD when I raised my concerns. Oh well, we will raise awareness!


          August 24, 2010 at 8:52 pm

  4. […] tricked, the way she recently used, “shall we leave?” to indicate she wanted to leave the mall, was also used to exit the park.  I’ve never heard her use “shall” in any other […]

  5. […] we’d do something later that she would enjoy.  Immediately she requested that we go to the mall.  Not a problem.  I promised, and she happily left on the […]

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