Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad


with 22 comments

Cubby does not like to be touched.

That isn’t really true, because he is a cuddly little guy with me, and with daddy too. He needs physical contact to get to sleep, but wants lots of hugs and cuddles throughout the day too.
Cubby does not like to be touched unless it is on his terms.

Much more accurate.

Pudding likes to touch.  She is affectionate, perhaps over-eager in her affections, and is definitely a hugger.  We’ve already begun the process of explaining who you can and can’t hug, but it isn’t that easy.  Pudding wants to hug her brother, and because he reacts so badly to those hugs, we’ve had to ask her stop.  After some time, she has accepted that Cubby does not want to be hugged.  Instead she kisses him on his head where he feels less sensitive.  Success.

Occasionally I’m a little sad at the sight of Pudding stretching out her arms to embrace him, then remembering and dropping them.  Sometimes she’ll try to join in on a hug and gets upset when I turn her away.  I hate this, but we all have to learn to respect Cubby’s sensitivity.  The lesson is just harder for her.

Yesterday, when we had our second round of this session of the sibling study, I mentioned to the examiner that Cubby does not like to be touched.  All of the session is filmed, and many segments require him to be seated at the table.  Every time she strapped him in that chair, he flinched at the touch.  Ultimately she suggested we terminate the session, and return another time, but I declined that option.  For one thing, I know he’ll have the same reaction next time.  For another, a return trip of almost 4 hours plus testing time is just too much on top of the various therapies and other commitments we have.  We pushed through, culminating with the blood draw for the neurobiological portion of the testing.  This went really badly, the phlebotomist missed the vein in the first attempt, he resented being held down, and he couldn’t stand the feel of the dressings on his little arms.  He was distraught, and carried on screaming until he fell asleep in the car, exhausted.

We arrived home just before Pudding returned from school.  I collected her from the bus, and she was excited to see daddy already in the house.  Daddy asked her for a hug, and she bounded over to him.  Cubby watched the whole thing, then looked at his sister and said, “hug.”

Of course, we had to coax her into doing something she has learned not to do, but the two of them hugged.  They both enjoyed it.  I’m hoping this is the first of many.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

November 12, 2010 at 12:30 am

22 Responses

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  1. *gasp* at the blood taking….poor cubby 😦
    Isn’t Pudding just the greatest big sister!
    I love happy endings 🙂


    November 12, 2010 at 6:20 am

    • I know, I hated it. It is probably the most useful part of their research though. I’m certain that the cause of my kids’ ASD is genetic, but they’ll never know that without research and testing. He was utterly miserable though, I felt like withdrawing my consent. He is much happier today though! 🙂

      Spectrummy Mummy

      November 12, 2010 at 6:31 am

  2. That was wonderful!! A hug can make everything right with the world – both for the giver and the receiver!! So glad you had that moment!! Loved it!!


    November 12, 2010 at 8:14 am

  3. What a nice story. 🙂

    Sorry about the blood draw. We were in a similar study and they couldn’t get Julia’s blood. She’s a tough stick. 😦

    Glad Cubby got his sister hug.

    {{{hugs}}} for you!


    November 12, 2010 at 8:15 am

    • It totally comes from me, I have “old lady” veins, as I’ve been told a few times. He doesn’t get my high-threshold for pain, though his sister did (and then some).
      Thanks for the hugs- we don’t go back for another 6 months, thank goodness!

      Spectrummy Mummy

      November 12, 2010 at 8:38 am

  4. My poor little guy unfortunately inherited my veins, and it is SO tough when they have to do blood draws on him…Poor little Cubby 😦 😦 The end of your tale totally warmed my heart though and brought tears to my eyes — I was SO happy for Pudding and for all of you when he asked her for a hug ♥♥ That’s utterly fantastic!!

    Kathy Murray

    November 12, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    • Why do our kids inherit the worst of us! I felt terrible. Some poor parents with special needs kids have to put their children through much worse than a blood draw. My heart goes out to them, it must be awful.
      That hug was the best anniversary gift those two could have given me.

      Spectrummy Mummy

      November 12, 2010 at 2:37 pm

      • I know! He seems to have inherited my worst traits. My immune system – the poor thing gets colds like there’s no tomorrow 😦 😦 And this too. And I know what you mean. I can’t even imagine what they have to go through. I was worried about my little guys first dentist appointment, given that he clamped his teeth down hard on a toothbrush every time I tried to brush his teeth, and even tried to bite me when I tried checking on his new teeth coming in – I was afraid he was going to bite the dentist. I had no idea what we were in for. Thankfully, the dentist actually had training and had also had experience with Special Needs and Autistic children in the past and she was fantastic with him 🙂 I can only imagine how great that must have felt to see Cubby ask for that hug ♥♥♥ I really had tears of joy in my eyes, I’m so happy for you 🙂 I long for the day when my son can actually voice and emote that he wants a hug from his mommy and daddy…

        Kathy Murray

        November 12, 2010 at 2:44 pm

        • That is great on the dentist, thank goodness that there are more of them these days with experience with our kids. I really hope that day comes soon for you, it will be amazing. 🙂

          Spectrummy Mummy

          November 12, 2010 at 2:52 pm

          • 🙂 🙂 🙂

            Kathy Murray

            November 12, 2010 at 2:57 pm

  5. A question: Doesn’t everyone like to be touched only on his or her own terms? Throughout my NT daughter’s life, I’ve taught her that it’s completely up to her whether other people touch her; her body, her rules.

    Perhaps Cubby’s terms are just different from NT terms. Like Cubby, I’m touch sensitive and, sometimes, even a hug from my husband is too much if my sensory cup is already full. Other people are less sensitive, but even the least sensory sensitive person has his or her own definition of when enough is enough.

    Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg

    November 13, 2010 at 8:18 am

    • Absolutely! The problem is that he is an adorable toddler, and many people can’t resist touching him. Even when I’ve mentioned that he doesn’t like it, they forget, touch him, and he gets overwhelmed. When he is predicting it (has asked for a hug) he is happy to receive them. It is a mixture of the startle and his inability (at this point) to make others respect his preferences. I’m able to say enough is enough, he isn’t.
      Now with Pudding, when she learns a rule, it is hard for her to understand that it is sometimes okay to break it. She also has poor body-awareness, so a hug or touch from her can be too much (even for me, and he is much smaller than she is). Having spent most of his life being told she can only kiss him on the head, she is thrown by the change. Now that he can vocally ask for a hug though, we can teach her it is okay to give hm one. She is unable at this point to pick up on his gestures.

      Spectrummy Mummy

      November 13, 2010 at 8:49 am

  6. Cubby sounds exactly like Perky. Only on his terms will he be totally OK with being touched.
    I just kind of go all gooey when my two have a hug. It is rare, even rarer now that Pinky is just over a month away from turning 9. (I think I might have to change his nickname…) Good luck with your results, I will be thinking of you.


    November 15, 2010 at 3:55 am

    • Oh yes, you are definitely in need of a name change now. You should do a poll/competition to decide. I’d like to throw in the suggestions of Mr. Pink and Mr. Perk, which have a cool Reservoir Dogs kind of feel to them.

      Spectrummy Mummy

      November 15, 2010 at 7:18 am

      • Oooh! I like your suggestions! I will check with the almost 9 year old and see what he thinks…


        November 17, 2010 at 2:39 am

  7. […] previously seemed to be only children started to discover a relationship with each other, and now show affection to each other.  There was the odd bit of toilet […]

  8. Oh my son has just learnt how to give proper hugs, it is the most wonderful feeling in the world. It must be so challenging for you when they are not as forthcoming, but ultimately so much better I am sure. We are due to have a second baby shortly, and I can’t wait to see my two children interact with each other.

    I came here via the blog gems.


    February 13, 2011 at 3:34 pm

  9. I cried. So very, very special. *sniff*


    February 13, 2011 at 4:26 pm

  10. Oh that is SO wonderful! My youngest only likes giving hugs on his terms too. It’s hard when his older brother is a very cuddly boy, but he’s learned how to let Max make the decision to hug rather than him. x


    February 13, 2011 at 4:39 pm

  11. What a wonderful ending to your story. I bet your heart melted at the sight of the two of them hugging. I bet Pudding was very happy aswell.
    I have popped over from blog gems x

    Jenny paulin

    February 13, 2011 at 5:36 pm

  12. That is just wonderful..and lovely. There is nothing like it is there? Seeing steps forward…
    over from blog gems..


    February 14, 2011 at 4:20 pm

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