Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad


with 9 comments

The morning started out fine.  Pudding didn’t try to get in our bed until right before the alarm went off at 5.30.  I got to enjoy most of my cup of tea in bed, the two of them sitting peacefully together watching Sesame Street.  Pudding demanded pancakes for breakfast, and I agreed to make them.  So right up until 7, it was a perfect morning.  I had Pudding washed and dressed and ready for school.

Then I decided to take a shower.

I felt the warm tingle on my skin, heard the hum of the water hitting the tiles, closed my eyes and meditated on the simplest of life’s luxuries.  It is a good place to just be, there have been many times I’ve taken that 5 minutes and let my stress wash away down the drain.  But it comes at a price.  Either there is banging on the door, and screaming, or- worse- the sound of silence.  Sometimes I don’t know what scene will greet me as I emerge soaked.  One thing for sure, I haven’t taken a shower in peace for a very long time.  Today there was no pounding on the door.  I grabbed my robe and headed downstairs.

Before I even saw it, I knew it would be the pouring.  Pudding’s stim of all stims.  She loves to pour from one vessel to another.  It is the reason why we have long baths with lots of cups, why we play on the sand & water table for hours, why in bad weather we’ll pour water together at the table.  But it is never enough for her.  We’ve put child-proof handles on doors to stop her getting to the taps (faucets) for more water.  We have to swipe away every item that could become a pouring vessel before she gets the idea.  Our kitchen is a galley one, with no doors, so we put up gates on either end, and a lock on the fridge door.

You’d think that would be enough.

A gate was pushed down, and the fridge door wide open.  The tap was still running with water all over the kitchen floor.  Cubby was carrying a cup, and the minute he saw me he deliberately turned it upside-down.  Pudding was on the carpet in the dining room, trying to mop up a pink stain.  It was the very expensive liquid omega supplement we give the kids because they can’t eat fish, and is also gluten and dairy-free.  It is also in her hair, and her clothes.

I don’t even recognize my own voice as I start yelling.  It is low and deep.  Full of rage.  The kids are terrified of course.  I usher them upstairs.  I strip Pudding of her clothes and give her new ones.  I take her Abby doll, and tell her she can’t leave the room until I get back.  I go down to clean up as best I can.

When I return, she is still naked, no longer in her room, but at the basin in mine.  Water.  Again.

She begins to sob as soon as she sees me.  She attempts to apologize, but she is incoherent through her tears.  She knows she is wrong, but she just can’t help this impulsive, compulsive behaviour.  No social story, no punishment seems to work.  Positive reinforcement works until I’m not around.  I feel like I’ve tried everything, and I don’t know what else to do.

I just hold in more anger, waiting for my time to pour it out.  One thing is certain, I can no longer let it wash away in the shower.

I wrote this earlier this morning, but decided not to post it.  I felt better for writing it, and don’t need a reminder of this morning for posterity.  Then, the SPD Bloggger Network published this post of mine, and I was reminded of Pudding’s connection with water.  It makes her feel right, and I take that feeling for granted every day.  Instead, I welcome any sensory suggestions for Pudding’s water craving.  I think we’ll start again with a morning bath, at the very least.  As important as a shower is to me, water means everything to her.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

May 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm

9 Responses

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  1. Would she take a shower or bath with you perhaps? Not as restful as alone but at least you get a shower and can keep her in your sight, and she might like it. Good luck to your little water baby 🙂


    May 27, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    • She loves to have a shower together, as does Cubby, but I hate it. Easy access to new pouring materials like shampoo, and no relaxation for me. I think the way ahead is the evening shower- or at least waiting until she is at school.

      Spectrummy Mummy

      May 27, 2011 at 5:57 pm

  2. You’ve done very well to identify something in your own life that approaches your childs need.
    As long as it’s safe
    as long as it doesn’t cost the earth
    as long as it doesn’t take over their life

    If a morning shower gives your children 1/10th the joy it gives you…. 20 minutes earlier to bed is a small price to pay?

    ps, Here I was thinking this was a post about how cold it’s getting in Sydney right now. With our mild climate & generally no central heating, it can take some effort to shower in single-digit temperatures!


    May 27, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    • I’m looking forward to moving to the southern hemisphere…we’re already in the 90s here- too hot for me! Ready for winter already. 🙂

      Spectrummy Mummy

      May 27, 2011 at 6:24 pm

  3. Last year I visited a friend and his wife who have a toddler son. I stayed over, and the deal was (very readily offered and agreed by me) I would watch their son in the AM while Mum took a much-longed-for relaxing shower. It was the least I could do. But I did not set my alarm properly – and not being a person who wakes up without a prompt – I completely missed shower time. Really, I have rarely felt so guilty, knowing how much it would have meant to this frazzled mother to have a shower free from the worry of what her son might be up to. So, as a penance, I hope to visit you in SA and attempt to keep watch for at least the amount of time it takes for you to shower leisurely.


    May 27, 2011 at 8:16 pm

  4. You’ve definitely taken all the steps possible but Pudding is just too smart. I feel bad for both of you because she so needs this sensory input. Can you promise her lots of pouring for a designated time after you get out of the shower if she is good while you are in it? That’s turning it to positive reinforcement for a “wait”. On the days you don’t have time for that after your shower, sadly I think you’ll have to do the evening or early early morning one. (That’s my route – I’m up between 5-6 to beat my son out of bed for a shower!) ((Hugs)) to both of you.


    May 29, 2011 at 12:12 pm

  5. […] seem more challenging, relentless even.  I wrote about my version of finding that difficult in my post on […]

  6. […] into another room.  He could only sleep next to me.  I couldn’t use the bathroom alone or take a shower.  His occupational therapist began introducing games of hide-and-seek for the three of us at the […]

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