Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Discord and Harmony

with 12 comments

Beanbags

Image by Wendy Copley via Flickr

“I want Mummy to draw a beanbag.”

A beanbag.  Right.  I draw a small rectangle and look over to see if it meets with approval.  Not so much.  I put a few dots on it.  I know, the beans are inside, not visible, but what would you do if your beanbag wasn’t right?  Maybe she is looking to see the texture of the beans.  I don’t know, okay, I’m trying.  Still no good.  Maybe she means a beanbag chair.  I draw a larger, rounder shape.  Still not right.  It is Saturday morning before we drive out to collect Grandma from the airport.  I have a million other things I need to do.  I really don’t want to waste time sketching the perfect beanbag according to elaborate but unspoken specifications.

“Draw a beanbag.”

Her intonation is weird.  Yes, she is commanding, but the voice isn’t Pudding’s.  This is some kind of echolalia.  I’m trying to think of who might have asked Pudding to draw a beanbag.  And why?  And why the Dickens mine wasn’t good enough?  I ask, but I don’t get an answer.  I wasn’t really expecting one, but you never know.  Perhaps she is thinking of Cubby’s beanbag chair, which looks like a car.  I draw it.  It is bad, but it looks like a car.

Pudding- “No, that’s a car (in her voice, but as though she is talking to the world’s greatest simpleton).  Draw a beanbag (unfamiliar robotic voice).”

Me- “I’m sorry, honey, that is my best beanbag.  I don’t know what else you want.  Can you do it?”

Pudding– “NO!  NO!  Don’t want to do it.  Where’s Daddy?  Daddy’s on a trip.”

Me- “Yes, Daddy is on a trip.  He’ll be back next week.  When he comes back he can draw you the beanbag.” Daddy is missed for many things, but his artwork?  Please!  He is about as good at drawing as I am, his beanbag won’t meet with her highness’s approval any more than mine does.

Pudding- No, I want a mummy to draw it.  Draw a beanbag (now quite irritating robotic voice).”

She stomps off like a moody teenager.  Really, is my inadequacy in the art of beanbags really worth all this fuss?  She goes over to Cubby, who has been quietly sitting on the floor playing with her Leap Frog toy.  This toy encourages the kid to draw and write letters, and it engages her enough to practice the mind-numbingly dull task of writing the alphabet.  And when I say Cubby was playing with it, I mean chewing the pen.  She snatches it from him and brings it over.  I’m about to intervene when she hushes me with:

“Look, Mummy, a beanbag!”

The magic “Look, Mummy” combo.  She is using it all the time now, but it still hasn’t lost its attraction for me.  Really she could have hit me over the head with said toy, and as long as she’d appropriately gained my attention first, I’d have been enraptured.  She fiddles with the buttons until the robotic voice urges:

“Draw a zig-zag.”

Aah, okay.  I see.  This is an auditory processing thing!  I arrange her fingers on to the pen, then close mine over hers, and together we draw the zig-zag.  Then I teach her to say zig-zag and beanbag, enunciating clearly so she gets the difference, and marvel once again at how odd this world must seem to her.  How every time anybody speaks to her, she has to filter out all the extraneous noise around her, then patch those sounds back together into words, never quite sure this is the correct meaning.  Then I marvel at how our house is filled with so much electronic trash and briefly contemplate throwing out these toys with their odd sounds that get jumbled-up in my girl’s brain.  I scrap that idea, remembering the tantrums I’d get trying to get her to do her alphabet on paper, or even hold her pen in anything but a fist grip.  Some discord I can endure, some I cannot.  Ultimately harmony is the goal here.


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Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 12, 2010 at 6:53 am

12 Responses

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  1. Oh thats precious!
    Better brush up on your drawing skills Mummy!!!

    And speaking of echolalia, last week when Harley tWas sick, he told me that he had an attack of “asthma” in his underpants….. Lol!

    fiona2107

    October 12, 2010 at 7:05 am

  2. One day we hope to figure out what my boy is asking for when he says “Elmo Cake” over and over. We were convinced he must have seen a decorated cake at the bakery, but when we pointed it out to him and asked if he wanted “Elmo Cake” he said, “NO!…. Elmo Cake”!!

    This is our ongoing mystery!!

    Congratulations on figuring yours out!!

    joeys mommy

    October 12, 2010 at 7:24 am

    • There are some we’ve NEVER worked out. Elmo shake, Elmo snake, Elmo face….yep, this could take a while. Good luck!

      spectrummymummy

      October 12, 2010 at 8:38 am

  3. Hey now, I can draw ok. Sometimes my Sleeping Beauty doesn’t get scribbled over, and I draw a decent BASHFUL. But great blog and I’m sorry I missed it.

    spectrummy daddy

    October 12, 2010 at 7:56 am

  4. Not only is the “look Mummy” thing cool, but that she went to get the toy to show you. THAT’S HUGE!!! 🙂 Good job!!!

    Laura

    October 12, 2010 at 8:50 am

    • You know, Pudding has often brought things to me. I know that a lot of kids on the spectrum don’t do that. I actually thought it was a girl spectrum thing, but Cubby does it too right now. It’ll be interesting to see if he continues to do this, or if it will drop off. Likewise his eye contact is very good right now, even with strangers.

      spectrummymummy

      October 12, 2010 at 11:30 am

  5. I think it’s great that you took the time to sit and figure it out with her (instead of getting frustrated like many of us do).
    I wonder if you’ll start to see what we did with our little guy – as he got older, he was able to use more words but still not use the “right” words. For example, he’ll ask for “the bread we had at Stevie’s party” when he means “pita bread”. Now, it’s easier to say “pita bread”, but that has no meaning or association for him. Now, I understand what kind of bread he means, but unless you were sitting with him at Stevie’s party (last July), you would have no idea what he meant. It’s a whole other layer of frustration for him and us.

    akbutler

    October 12, 2010 at 10:05 am

    • Oh no, I was totally frustrated until we got it figured out. We might see the same thing, I’d hate to see all my detective skills go to waste! She is a very good “labeller” though, and quite economical with her words, so if someone were to tell her the thing she was eating and liked was pita bread, she’d remember it, and point it out at the store, etc. I’d like for her to tell me about a party and what she liked about it, even if it was just food. Maybe one day.

      spectrummymummy

      October 12, 2010 at 11:27 am

  6. Hello spectrummymummy, I finally got round to reading your post. I’m so sorry that I am so late. I totally enjoyed reading this and managed the whole lot and the comments. I got my reading head on today…lol
    You know what I didn’t even realise that I had audio processing problem till about 3 weeks ago when a friend of mine asked what music my husband likes. I said, “noise!”
    My friend looked at me puzzled and I repeated, “It just sounds like noise.”
    I really can’t cope with most of his music the one type sounds like hissing going around in my brain, it actually confuses me and makes me bad tempered. The other sort he listens to just sounds like shouting….”BLAHHHHH, BLAHHHHH,BLAAHH!!!” When he puts this on in the kitchen it echoes everywhere. I walk in and switch it off, usually saying something like, “I can’t stand this noise.” I also have been known to say that in a robotic voice.
    Hope you had a giggle with this….’Cause I did! 😀
    Love and {{{hugs}}}

    alienhippy

    October 13, 2010 at 5:40 am

    • I think Pudding really struggles with this. Sorry to hear you still have problems with it, it must be a nuisance. 😦

      spectrummymummy

      October 13, 2010 at 8:50 am

  7. […] knows I’ve written about that, and hardly covered how it impacts our life.  A is for auditory processing dysfunction.  I could keep going, but today I’m starting with […]


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