Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

The Tracks of my Tears

with 31 comments

So what I didn’t refer to in yesterday’s post were the tears.  At one point in the afternoon, I was a little puddle.  I’d been holding on for a few days.  I’d wanted to cry when I locked Cubby in the car, but that would have only made the situation worse.  I’d wanted to cry when I felt ill the next day, but there didn’t seem much point by then.  I’d wanted to shed tears of forcing a claustrophobic Pudding to stay inside, but I held back.  And I really wanted to cry upon hearing about the 16 hour flight, but somehow managed not to.

I pride myself on my stiff upper lip from my English heritage.  I felt that I’d cried too many tears when Pudding was first diagnosed.  I vowed not to waste any more on something I couldn’t change.  A useless, self-indulgent act.

I’m stressed to the point of tears, and I don’t let myself…because it is self-indulgent?  How else am I going to indulge myself?  When am I going to indulge myself?  And at what point do I let myself break?  So I reclined on the sofa, and let the tears fall.  My inner Englishwoman did chide me for being so ridiculous, but I just gave in to it.

After a few minutes, Pudding came to find me.  “I want wheels on the bus song.”

I ignored her.

I don’t want to admit this, but I was waiting to see if she’d notice.  She didn’t.  She wasn’t looking.  Her mind was on hearing the song she wanted, my feelings not relevant right then.  I wasn’t feeling like making it a teaching moment.  There will be other opportunities to demonstrate how to show concern.  I cried some more, I was being indulgent anyway, why not gratify myself with a few more tears?  I let them flow.

She asked again, a few times, until I asked her to leave through my sobs.  I’m not proud.  Hardly my best parenting moment, but I justified that she needs to see emotions if she is ever to understand them.  I know, my inner Englishwoman is rolling her eyes too.

Once Pudding had made her retreat, Cubby entered.  He saw me crying and stopped.  His face contorted into a sob, but somehow he held himself in check, and didn’t make a sound.  It was a look of…concern.  Something I’d never seen him do before.  Previously when I’d hurt myself, or Pudding cried, his reaction had been to cry too.  I fell down the stairs some weeks ago, and he cried for 20 minutes after, even though it was my ankle that was hurt, and he was just a witness.

“Mummy’s crying…..Mummy’s sad.”

We label emotions a lot, so I wasn’t surprised he had detected this one.  But I was surprised by what he did next.  He crawled up on the couch next to me, and grabbed a lock of my hair.  He just sat there, his head resting on mine, stroking my hair.  Trying to comfort me in the way that works for him.  I took it.  Before long the tears stopped flowing, and I dried my face.  I gave my little guy a hug.

He looked at me and asked, “Mummy happy?”

I told him I was, and we left to join his sister for wheels on the bus.  I gave Pudding a squeeze, though she hadn’t solicited it, and didn’t particularly welcome it.

As Cubby nears two, I can really see the different developmental tracks they are taking.  Different, not less.  Pudding will get there, at her own pace.  She is still in the race, and there is no prize for winning.  What comes naturally and easily to her brother is an arduous task for her to master.  Though Cubby has some challenges too, they pale into comparison with those of his sister.
Some kids get to sprint, others must face a marathon.  I’m proud of her, and all her efforts.  Truly, her determination takes my breath away.  Her spirit keeps her on track, instead of sitting on the bench.

But I would be lying if I said it doesn’t hurt at times as I watch her get overtaken.  Those tears will have to fall too, useless and indulgent as they may be.


Written by Spectrummy Mummy

March 11, 2011 at 7:24 am

31 Responses

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  1. It is not self-indulgent. It is human. We as parents feel our children’s pain and its what also gives us the strength to fight on. I hate to tell you this, but its been 15 years for me and I still get depressed at times and sit alone and cry. You are not alone or feeling anything that the rest of us autism-parents don’t feel. Sorry but the stiff upperlip is nonsense…By the way, it all does come, just in their own sweet time.


    March 11, 2011 at 7:47 am

    • I think the thing that was most self-indulgent for me, was that I was crying for my disappointment. There are other schools, and they are great and she’ll do well. They just aren’t convenient, and will likely mean I won’t be returning to work. Tears for myself are novel at this point!

      I look forward to that day. I have a whole new respect for time. 🙂

      Spectrummy Mummy

      March 11, 2011 at 8:54 am

  2. Please NEVER beat yourself up for shedding tears for yourself or your child!! You are a mother and you are simply human and when we allow ourselves get soooooo bottled up with emotion that we swallow time and time again, there really is no other release except but to cry….. Your entitled and as long as you get back up, wipe them off and carry on, you’re probably better for it!! Hope your tears are gone for the moment!!


    March 11, 2011 at 7:57 am

    • My tears are gone for right now, thank you. I’m just not much of a crier, but sooner or later the dam must burst.

      Spectrummy Mummy

      March 11, 2011 at 8:57 am

  3. Crying is very cathartic and therefore does have a use, especially if used in moderation. But then again, as an American, I WOULD say that. Look at it this way: Pudding and Cubby are half-American so it’s best they do get accustomed to seeing tears as we are big blubberers as a nation!


    March 11, 2011 at 8:11 am

    • When it comes to crying, I would say they are more than half-American. Especially in Cubby’s case!

      Spectrummy Mummy

      March 11, 2011 at 8:58 am

  4. Well, I know I’m just an emotional American, but I say “Let it out”. 🙂 (((hugs))) It sucks. I’m not one who lets it out very easily either, and I’m have Hispanic! LOL You’re right, she’ll get there. She loves you. Great post.


    March 11, 2011 at 8:36 am

    • She does love me, even enough to tolerate my horrifically off-key interpretation of Wheels on the Bus. 😉

      Spectrummy Mummy

      March 11, 2011 at 8:59 am

  5. oh wow. SOOO know where you’re coming from on this one. Wow. In the words of Rosie Greer “It’s all right to cry…” and because you were able to show your emotions, Cubby could too.


    March 11, 2011 at 8:52 am

  6. You rock. Tears and all. Take comfort that all mother’s cry for their children. They are our hearts walking around outside out bodies. Hopes, fears, joys, prayers…..all those come with tears many times. Pudding and Cubby are so blessed to have you and your husband as their parents. And they are a true blessing back. I’m sorry that you have had so many hard days in a row. Wishing I could do something to ease your day.

    Nomads By Nature

    March 11, 2011 at 10:03 am

  7. It’s sooo OK to have a good cry—and in front of them. Cubby sounds so sweet and Pudding will get there–in her own time and own way. The reward will be just as sweet.



    March 11, 2011 at 10:16 am

    • All the sweeter for waiting. Like chocolate. Who am I kidding? I can’t wait for chocolate either!

      Spectrummy Mummy

      March 12, 2011 at 4:56 pm

  8. I would not make it in England, because I’m a big crybaby! I try not to cry in front of my son, but it has happened. It’s okay, and it’s healthy, and it’s good to let it out, so we can keep moving forward.


    March 11, 2011 at 10:56 am

  9. Think of crying as a opening your release valve. Too much pressure over time and you’ll blow. That’s how I think of it! I find that I just need to cry sometimes, please don’t beat your self up for it, you’re doing an awesome job.


    March 11, 2011 at 12:35 pm

  10. mummy,
    i can’t help wondering why it is that so many of us who have aspie’s also have circumstances whichforce us to travel 10 hours or more on a plane. When we travel to Europe we have separate seats-my husband and one child in say, row 6, and I and our other child in row 12. We switch the children back and forth every few hours so they can have a small change of scenery in the monotony of the long flight. I also went to the dollar spot at target and stocked up on various “surprises” which I would hand over when things got desperate. Does your daughter have the special headphones for music therapy? They seem to help tone down the sensory overload in travel also…My heart goes out to you, and I will pray for you and your precious family.


    March 11, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    • I’ve wondered that myself before. I hadn’t thought about splitting up, I feel safer in a herd, but the change of scenery might make it worth it. We do have the headphones for music therapy, but we got the less expensive ones that don’t cancel out the noise. We may get more. Thank you! By the way, if you have any tips about the airport, please consider adding them to this post(https://spectrummymummy.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/the-airport/). 🙂

      Spectrummy Mummy

      March 12, 2011 at 5:07 pm

  11. You and Alysia are going to need to issue me with kleenex/tissue ratings at the top of your posts! I loved reading both your latest posts today, they are so moving, to read that both your little guys are on their own path which is so reassuring. I agree letting Pudding see your emotions IS very important, Perky used to be like Pudding, seemingly not noticing the emotions of others (except crying babies!) but now is very tuned in, demonstrates considerable compassion and appropriate responses. Some of this comes from him getting older, I think, but also from the Transporters DVD narrated by Stephen Fry which is all about emotions. This is the link if you are interested http://www.thetransporters.com/


    March 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    • Funny that we both posted similar things on the same day! I thought I was the only needing tissues ;-). We have The Transporters. It was not sufficiently appealing to Pudding (only two female characters) but right up Cubby’s street. We’re annoyed we got the US version though, as the narrator is no Stephen Fry, who we love.

      Spectrummy Mummy

      March 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm

  12. I’m so glad you let it out. It’s therapeutic for me!
    (but I’m a big sook at the best of times anyway lol!)

    I am amazed at far your kids have come in such a short space of time. It’s indictitive of great parenting 🙂


    March 11, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    • Thank you, but their development seems WAY out of my control most of the time. I just get to watch it. 🙂

      Spectrummy Mummy

      March 12, 2011 at 5:12 pm

  13. Thank you for sharing this, and for your candor …

    Paula Kiger

    March 12, 2011 at 6:55 am

  14. Beautifully, open post. I can see the whole scene unfold. Tears definitely have their place and purpose. I must have some English between the Swede/Korean mix that I am because I too, do not cry often and see it as self-indulgent. I think how you let it out and where and why are all very appropriate and cathartic. Right now, in the place I am – there is no room for tears. I must be strong for others. But there will come the time that I let them go as well.

    I would not push off that Pudding does not see or recognize your emotions and you probably already know this and I’m being silly even mentioning it but I will anyway. She may not react for many reasons. It may not process in the moment with the multiple other processing things our kids go through. It may be that she sees and recognizes it but does not know how to communicate her response so she defaults to staying with what she does know. Many times I think my son is not hearing or listening when I talk to others. Later, he makes it clear in a roundabout way that he was listening and knew what I was talking about/going through.

    As for Cubby, he is precious and adorable. And, I send you tissue and hugs.


    March 12, 2011 at 9:51 am

    • Thank you, I’ll take both the tissues and the hugs. Swede/Korean is a very interesting mix, there must be quite the story there!

      Spectrummy Mummy

      March 12, 2011 at 5:14 pm

  15. i could just imagine cubby comforting you. so tender and precious. as every one has said, sometimes you just need a good cry… and there doesn’t even have to be a good reason. hope you’re feeling better now.


    March 12, 2011 at 3:36 pm

  16. I’m so behind in reading and so sorry you’ve been having such a rough time. You have to take care of your own feelings in order to be at your best for your kids. And if you didn’t let your feelings out, you wouldn’t have had this amazing, tender moment with your little boy. That’s something to treasure forever.


    March 14, 2011 at 1:33 pm

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