Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Archive for October 2010

Wordless Wednesday Oct 20 2010

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If an image leaves me speechless, it is perfect for Wordless Wednesday.

 

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Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 20, 2010 at 7:01 am

S.M.I.L.E. (at Hopeful Parents)

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Hopeful Parents

This post was originally published at Hopeful Parents.  You can find the link here.

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

 

The Saturday Morning Integrated Leisure Experience is an amazing facilitated playgroup for children aged 3-5 with and without disabilities run by the YMCA for our local county therapeutic recreation services.  They get to do exercise, listen to stories, sing, and art projects.  As Pudding is in an autism-specific classroom all week, this is the only supported time she spends with typically developing children.  As an added bonus, the volunteers are excellent, therefore the rest of the family gets 3 hours of respite.  Time to do those chores that are so much more difficult to do with Pudding around.  Time to spend on Cubby.  You want more?  Okay- every other week they go swimming, with one-on-one volunteers, and learn the basics of water safety.  Are you sold yet?  I am.  They had me at respite.

When we first took Pudding earlier this year though, she wasn’t sold.  She walked in fine, but squeezed my hand harder.  One of the volunteers distracted her with puzzles as I spoke with the leader.  I hadn’t even finished when she was back, climbing up on me as though I were a tree.  I explained how I was going to leave, and she would stay and play, and have fun.  She cried, clinging harder.  I left anyway, leaving her in the hands of the two volunteers it took to calm her down.  I felt that stab of jealousy towards the other parents who could just simply goodbye to their smiling children.  She ran at me when it was time to collect her.  It had taken half an hour for her to calm down and settle in, the volunteers informed me- nothing they couldn’t handle.  (Yes, they’re that good!).

She really didn’t want to go again after that, and would whine through the entire car journey, but she was lured by the promise of swimming.  For the next 5 weeks she continued to go, clinging less each time, but still requiring 10 minutes to calm down.  10 minutes of Pudding crying and screaming and upsetting the other children.  I’ve lived through many of these episodes, 10 minutes can be everlasting.  Then in March the session was over and was not to be continued until October.

Before we knew it, October was here, and Saturday marked the return of S.M.I.L.E.  I didn’t tell Pudding about it.  When she found her old Dora suitcase she would carry her swimming things in, she mentioned taking it to S.M.I.L.E., but I didn’t say anything.  Pudding has been making advances lately, we’re going through a good spell.  I didn’t want to break that spell.  With all the ups and downs that the last month has brought, she has weathered them well, and I didn’t want to take her back to that girl who would sob as I left her each week.  I know that isn’t the bravest approach to take, but it is hard to be brave when you’ve been holding your breath for a long time.

So on Saturday morning, Spectrummy Daddy asked her if she wanted to go, and she said “yes”.  She sang all the way there, then skipped into the building.  She ran into the room when it was time, and started an activity by herself, with a MALE volunteer!  She said goodbye and hugged us, but turned quickly back to drawing.  She wasn’t even distracted by another girl who was flinging herself on the floor in a meltdown like the ghost of Pudding Past.  Was that really just 6 months ago?  I arrived early to collect her and peeped through the glass on the door to see her cantering around the room with some other kids, a huge grin on her face.  She looked up and saw me before I could hide, but she just stopped, beamed at me, then carried on.  When the door opened 5 minutes later, she was happy, but not eager to leave.  She collected her artwork, and said goodbye to the room, and left them with her radiant smile.

I don’t know if this spell is going to last.  I wish I knew what wizardry was making it happen.  It could be the result of her teacher’s efforts, or getting used to being around more kids, or her dietary changes, or the therapies, or just natural development as she gets older.  I don’t know why we go through a huge leap forward at some times, and just as big a move backwards at others.  I don’t get it, I don’t understand it.  It is a mystery.  So movements can be both baffling and bittersweet.  This merry-go-round might just spin us soon in a direction we won’t want to take.  Until then, I’ll smile and enjoy the ride, holding these moments close for sustenance when needed, hoping that won’t be for a while.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 19, 2010 at 7:11 am

The Name Game

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“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

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Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 18, 2010 at 7:31 am

Topped Up

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On Wednesday night Pudding and Cubby got to spend time with our friend Courtney.  Although she’d met Pudding as an infant when we visited London, Courtney remarked that she felt a little

 


Courtney getting a hug from The Pudding!

 

star-struck at meeting our little blog celebrities!  The kids enjoyed meeting her t0o, despite the chaos of a play-date, the whole thing went pretty well.

 

My Energizer Bunny can charge up the flattest of souls

 

I’m just back from a visit to the coffee shop with Pudding.  With Grandma in town, I could put Cubby to sleep, then steal out, just the two of us.  Well, just the three of us, as Upsy-Daisy was in tow, of course.  Pudding was sent home sick from school (just a cold) yesterday, so I kept her home today too.  I actually don’t remember the last time we spent time together just the two of us, and I had forgotten just how much pleasure I get from her company when it is just the two of us.  Just half an hour in her effervescent company has topped us back up- it is like a relationship recharge.

Tonight I get to do the same thing with Spectrummy Daddy.  It is only our fourth date this year, and our third alone together.  I’m a little run down with a cold and bad allergies, but I don’t intend to miss out on tonight.  We also need to keep the charge topped up before we drain out.

I made time for someone else this week too.  Someone who often gets overlooked in the chaos of daily life- me.  This morning I had my first physical exam in over 5 years.  I hadn’t seen a GP since before I was married, and still living in England.  Way too long.  I’ve had some tests for some niggling physical problems that I’ve been ignoring, because I was too busy, or couldn’t make an appointment with the children around.  I know I’m not the only mother or caregiver to neglect myself in this way.  There is no way I’d ignore such symptoms in the rest of the family, and I need to remember that I’m a vital part of this machine.  If I get too run down, this whole thing won’t work.  Proper maintenance is most definitely in order, both physically and emotionally.

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about girls, and the example we set to them.  My bloggy friend Fi is facing the challenges of raising a spectrummy girl a few years down the line.  I think it is never too early to build up self-esteem.  As soon as Pudding is developmentally ready for it, we’d like her to receive instruction in a martial art.  I think it will be a great way for her to learn about her body being strong, powerful, and healthy.  We really need to get away from this fat/thin body image negativity.  Why are girls (and women) still doing this to one another?  Why are they starting even younger?  We’re doing something to give our daughters the wrong idea.  I need to remember that Pudding is always watching, and learning from me whether I realize it or not.  I need to take care of myself, and let her know that I do that because I’m worth taking care of.  I’m important, just as she is.  When you really appreciate who you are, you don’t need to drain the value of others to feel better.  Taking care of yourself is for the good of everyone- something worth remembering next time you feel drained and in need of getting topped up.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 15, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Wish List

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I have a Wish List on Amazon.  It has 15 items on it, and honestly,  I could live without them all.  There are cookbooks of recipes my family can’t eat.  There are exercise videos I don’t have time to do.  There are photography hobbyist books I’ll never read, preferring to capture the moment rather than set up the perfect shot.  Cubby’s wish list has 85.  Pudding’s list features 310 items.  I know, it is outrageous.  Why does her list have so many more than his?  Because she has been on this planet longer, and I have been adding to it all this time.  Why so many things?  It is a glutton’s list.  Think of the greed of it when some children don’t have shelter, or food, or clean water, or good health.  We don’t need the things on there.  I don’t add to these lists thinking that somebody will get these things for them.  I see something I like and I put it on there.  It is like window shopping for geeks.  Windows shopping, snigger.

It is my fantasy.  My list of what I’d get if money or know object.  Or my list of what I’d like other people to get that is developmentally appropriate.  There are things big and small on that list, from $2 touchable bubbles (a sensory delight!) to a ridiculous $7000 mahogany rocking horse (hey, far be it from me to stop you spending your lottery winnings on my children).  Not pretty but breakable china tea sets that would be broken in minutes.  Not adorable, but incredibly hard to manipulate items for those with fine motor skills issues.  Amazon, oh so smart, knows me.  It knows that if like certain items I’ll also like these ones, and it greets me on my very own page with recommendations.  My own personal shopper, who knows my (Windows) shopping habits better than I know myself.  It tells me about products that benefit kids with special needs.  And I add, add, add it on and tell myself one day we’ll get it.  We’ll tell the grandparents to buy it.  Most of the stuff just stays there, of course.  Much as I might desire a Bodysox or an indoor swing to help with sensory integration, nobody who knows our kids can overcome that tendency to do whatever will put instant smiles on their faces.  Trucks and dolls it is, then.

I have another Wish List too.  On it is Cubby having the words to tell me he is hungry, and what he would like to eat.  It is Pudding being able to articulate why there are some nights she screams out (In terror?  In pain?) and why there are other night she sleeps soundly through, though we haven’t done anything different.  On it is Daddy coming back safely from his trip to Afghanistan.  On it is Pudding being able to hold a pen properly, and ride a tricycle.  On it is my kids making friends, or having a conversation together just because, telling jokes we all understand.  On it is getting an onward assignment that will be good for the entire family.  On it is Cubby being able to calm himself down when things don’t go his way.  On it is awareness and acceptance for everybody who is a little different.  On it is Pudding dealing with a change of plan calmly.  On it is Cubby drinking from a cup.  On it is my friend-I-haven’t-yet met getting well, winning her battle.  There is plenty more on that list, some big things, some small.

This list isn’t one of gluttony, though it sure might look it to those dealing with more than we are, and I know some of you are dealing with much, much more.   And to others it seems like the most basic of demands, coming in right after food, clean water and shelter.  Unlike the Amazon list though, I want everything on it, and I’ll do everything I can to get them.

One more thing: some of those wishes are going to be fulfilled.  I know, because some of them already have been.  Every time one of those wishes gets fulfilled, I add another one, letting my hopes move forward, one wish at a time.  We have already come so far, and we’re going to go much further.  I know it.

Amazon has nothing to do with it.

Welcome home Spectrummy Daddy, you were missed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What is on your wish list?

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Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 14, 2010 at 7:30 am

Wordless Wednesday Oct 13 10

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Cubby ♥ Fire Station Open House Day

Happy Wordless Wednesday!

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 13, 2010 at 6:20 am

Discord and Harmony

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Beanbags

Image by Wendy Copley via Flickr

“I want Mummy to draw a beanbag.”

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Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 12, 2010 at 6:53 am