Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Sudden Interest

with 15 comments

Abby Cadabby

Image by Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr

Now, perhaps I should have realized on Saturday.  I was buying toothbrushes, yet again, because my kids like to chew on them.  I picked up the Elmo one for Cubby, and the Ernie one for Pudding, but she stopped me, and told me she wanted the Abby Cadabby one instead.  Hmm.  I bought the one she wanted, but kept thinking that I should have taken an Ernie one just in case she changed her mind.  After all, Ernie is numero uno in this casa.  She requested the Abby toothbrush every morning and night, but I still didn’t think of what that signified.  I just thought she preferred it because it was pink.  Because the whole deal with special interests is that the kid has them for a significant amount of time.  Not a few lousy months.  Not a new one all of a sudden.  Who can keep up with that?

On Wednesday, her bus home from school was late.  And when I mean late, I’m saying that she got on at 12.15, and at 1.30 there was still no sign.  I called her teacher to check it had left on time.  It had, and she contacted transport to find out what was going on.  They were stuck in traffic, having gone back to a previous stop for something they’d forgotten.  Finally at 2.00 the bus arrived.  It was too late for us to make her occupational therapy session, which is only takes place once every two weeks anyway.  Not great.

Pudding’s 4 year-old bladder simply couldn’t take such a long ride.  I felt awful for her, because I knew she would have been desperately trying to hold on.  Normally the ride is 45 minutes long, which is pretty tough on young kids, but adding an extra hour to that when you can’t understand what is happening must be awful.  She seemed pretty nonchalant though, and got changed after some extra long hugs.  Yes, I needed to get my clothes changed then too.

With fresh clothes and no plans for the afternoon, it wasn’t long before Pudding was itching to go out.  Spectrummy Daddy emailed with the suggestion of the book store, and I leaped at the idea.  It has a train table for Cubby, princess and Sesame Street books for Pudding, and a coffee shop for me.  It isn’t very often we get win-win-win for the three of us!

Pudding became enamoured with a girl eating a cake-pop.  Okay, the cake-pop was pink, I’m pretty sure the girl herself wasn’t that interesting.  It still hurt to see Pudding’s awkward advances rebuffed.  And it annoyed me that, due to her allergies, I couldn’t treat my girl to a delicious cake-pop when she’d had such a bad day.  I took Pudding over to the Sesame Street section to distract her.

Then she saw it.  An Abby Cadabby doll.  Some other kid had already got to it and pulled off the tags, so I had no qualms about letting her play with it while we there.  Cubby was content with the train table and randomly pulling books of the shelves for me to pick up.  I was content with a bench and a vanilla latte.  And Pudding was content doing a galloping lap of honour with Abby Cadabby.  Every once in while she’d canter over and tell me something about Abby, and I lapped up the moment of happiness in what could have been a very bad day.

Only then it occurred to me just how thrilled she was with Abby.  How Ernie hadn’t been mentioned at all.  How I didn’t have the thirty dollars or so to buy another toy, and even if I did, I couldn’t just get everything she wanted.  She loved that Abby, and I was going to have to part them.  Curses!

When it was time to leave, I carefully explained to Pudding that we were leaving, and Abby had to stay in the store.  She began to cry and jump up and down, so I quickly took the toy and put it on the highest shelf, then grabbed both kids and got out of there quickly.  In the car, for the next 20 minutes or so until we picked up Daddy from work, all I heard was:

“I want Abby Cadabby.  Want Mummy to get it.  Got to the book store Mummy for Abby Cadabby!”

I tried to console her with the fact that Ernie was at home, but that just fueled the fire.  Ernie’s reign is over.  Abby Cadabby rules now.  We heard the demands right through bedtime.  Finally I came right out and asked her:

Me: Pudding, do you have a new special interest? (Before you say it, I know!  I should not try to be smart with someone who is probably much more intelligent.)

Pudding: Yes.

Me: Well, what is it?

Pudding: Abby Cadabby.  I want her.

So there you have it.  She threw Ernie out of bed, but then reluctantly took both him and Upsy-Daisy.  Reminding us all the while that, in fact, Abby was the one she wanted, and I should go to the book store for her.  And, you know, repeat for last night.

I know we’ll end up getting her the Abby doll, because we’re suckers for special interests, and for putting smiles on that kid’s face.  But I’m determined to make her work for it in some way.  I want her to learn that belongings have value, and you need to earn them.  We’ve never had much luck in the past with reward charts, but I wonder if this would be enough of a motivator to work.  Any tips?

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

March 25, 2011 at 7:09 am

15 Responses

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  1. It’s definitely worth a shot. Can you put a picture of the doll LARGE and IN CHARGE at the top of the chart, and put the chart some place she’ll pass by it a LOT? That worked for us with Coleman and his Sonic.

    As for changing special interests. Yup! Some of us keep one perseveration for a really long time, and others will last a few months and then change without notice. Then, I have one that’s lasted for years, and others that come and go on top of that. Predictable, we are not. 🙂


    March 25, 2011 at 8:40 am

  2. Too bad about the bus!! That would upset anyone.

    She wants Abby bad, mum!! So, I would do like Laura suggested and put the picture of the doll at the top of the chart and choose the things you definitely want her to do but not too many. My son is working with completing five items before he gets a reward. Not a big reward but something he very much enjoys. I’m sure, given her new love, she will complete whatever tasks you set for her to get there!! Please let us know how she did!


    March 25, 2011 at 11:50 am

  3. These are great suggestions. I think it’s important to keep it simple and doable for her. After all, you want this to be something that feels good to work toward and not a giant source of frustration. If she gets to experience some success, then you’ll have something to build on. Plus she gets to be really happy and proud of herself. 🙂


    March 25, 2011 at 12:45 pm

  4. I think the suggestions are great!

    What we do is a reward system. If I get 5 good behaviors he gets a small reward. Does one bad, he gets one taken away. If he does well he gets one big reward at the end of the day–dessert. Maybe after a few good days Abby Cadabby gets to come live in a new home???


    March 25, 2011 at 1:12 pm

  5. These suggestions are awesome. I went to Target and found a much cheaper Abby, and I also picked up a responsibility chart. Given that these things have gone pretty badly before, I’m going to try and focus on something that she’ll be able to achieve, but maybe require 5 days of it. Until she has got that down, I’m not going to take them away for a bad behavior, as that would end up in negative points. 😉
    Also going to put a picture of Abby with it to show what she is working for. THanks for your suggestions- you all rock!

    Spectrummy Mummy

    March 25, 2011 at 1:49 pm

  6. I agree with the other ladies. We have made my son work for his special interest, but he’s 7. I made him read books and he’d get 5 points a book. In order to get his Lego set, he had to earn 300 points. Well, he lost interest about halfway there, so obviously, even for older kids, the goal needs to be attainable. He did get the Lego set, but it took a long, long time. We ended up giving him points for cooperating with his listening therapy.

    I think you’re right on with giving her responsibilities that you know she can achieve. Especially at her age. Good luck!


    March 25, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    • Oh yes, it is tougher for her than I’d even imagined. But then, the first time trying anything new is tough. We’ll see. Glad he managed to get that Lego set in the end! 🙂

      Spectrummy Mummy

      March 26, 2011 at 4:14 pm

  7. We use a star chart – 5 stars to achieve before getting the reward (whatever it may be). Each star represents something that needs to be done, such as doing good work with the speech therapist (co-operating). Achievable goals are the important factor, as is not taking away a star for negative behaviour – we are focusing on the good, otherwise it could end up unachievable. Today was reward day – a trip to the toy shop to spend $20. This took over a month to get to, as stars are only given for very specific things. As Pudding is so young, perhaps only using the star chart idea for a specific reward, such as the Abby doll is best, otherwise it would place an unrealistic expectation on you. I hope this helps! Good luck. We are suckers for special interests and making kids smile, too!


    March 26, 2011 at 12:37 am

    • I really need to finish reading other comments before I make my own!!


      March 26, 2011 at 12:38 am

    • Well, we’re trying it, and i’m observing the consequences. Let me say right now, that whenever I think I have that kids figured out, she throws me for a loop. 🙂

      Spectrummy Mummy

      March 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm

  8. Abby Cadabby is WAY cooler than Ernie!


    March 26, 2011 at 6:45 am

    • Ha! I’m not intervening at all, but it is definitely easier to find stuff with Abby than Ernie these days. 🙂

      Spectrummy Mummy

      March 26, 2011 at 4:11 pm

  9. […] Abby Cadabby, Ernie, around the time of Bashful, but after Upsy-Daisy, there was Sleeping Beauty and all the […]

  10. […] To appease them both, I suggested that we went to the book store nearby.  Pudding ran to the Abby dolls again, Cubby went right for the trains.  Around 45 minutes later, I realized in my haste to leave, […]

  11. […] a picture of Abby and taped it up on the wall.  I’d managed to find a smaller and cheaper Abby doll than the one she initially fell for to use as her reward.  For the first trial, I didn’t […]

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