Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Social Smiles

with 8 comments

Pudding, 5 weeks

Yesterday I watched a friend enjoy the smiles of her infant- trying to determine if they were the first deliberate social smiles.  I remember once watching a documentary on human behavior which speculated that babies begin their “social smile” to caregivers at around 4 weeks old, because that is precisely the point at which a sleep-deprived parent needs something in return for taking care of the demands of a newborn.

Pudding met all her developmental milestones for the first two years of her life, and her first little smiles at one month were no exception.  Of course, I completely took those magical smiles for granted a the time.  I never knew how lucky we were to get them, nor how hard it might be to care for another without that basic reciprocal exchange.

We expect parenting to be about hard work and self-sacrifice at times, but the very fact that children are typically hard-wired to demonstrate emotional attachment in return indicates that we as humans find that difficult to do without reward.  So naturally, it gets harder to parent a child who is not hard-wired in this way, or desires interactions only intermittently, or whose sensory needs interfere with that normal process.  Behaviors seem more challenging, relentless even.  I wrote about my version of finding that difficult in my post on Friday.

Just like how the baby’s first smile comes in the nick of time, our community pool finally opened on Saturday.  Though we had other chores to do in the morning this weekend, we spent the afternoon at the pool.  The smile on her face told us Pudding was in heaven.  She was sated.  She got the input she needed, and peace was restored to our family.  As soon as she was in the water, she began interacting more with us, wanting to play games.  Back to being a happy family.  Not to mention that with Spectrummy Daddy home from work for three days, I got to take my shower every morning.

Of course, we are back to the normal routine today.  Pudding is back at school, we can’t go to the pool until late afternoon.  On Friday I’d emailed my friend complaining about how I had to give up another thing, and I was really running out of things to give up here.  But I was looking at it all wrong.  Though we can’t manage it all the time, saying yes to what Pudding wants makes all our lives easier.  Instead of giving up, I need to look at it as gaining something, like the new parent trading sleep for the baby’s smile.

I just have to find a way to make sure it doesn’t have to mean saying no to me all the time.  I tried taking a shower with both kids this morning, but I won’t be trying that again- Cubby felt crowded in there.  Tomorrow I’ll try the morning bath for the kids, and I’ll delay my shower.  I’m certain I’ll find a solution sooner or later.  Let’s hope that is enough to out a smile on all our faces.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

May 31, 2011 at 8:43 am

8 Responses

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  1. Try having a LONG shower.. put one in, wash, and then (if possible) have them sit out with a towel… (and even a drink/snack until you & the other child is showered. It used to work for me until Alex got funny about water pouring over his head… 😦

    Trish Reeve

    May 31, 2011 at 9:08 am

  2. My oldest son cried nearly every bath (starting with his first bath in the NICU) until he was somewhere around 4. On the other hand, when my youngest son, was cranky or getting overwhelmed, my solution was always a bath. Actually, it still works even though he’s now 16. He is always much more relaxed after his very lengthy showers (30+ minutes).


    May 31, 2011 at 9:45 am

  3. We stick the kids in the tub and then do a quick rinse in the shower. It started off hard and then became easier. We called the tub our indoor pool. Maybe that will help???


    May 31, 2011 at 10:35 am

  4. The quest for balance, for give and take seems to be what is most perplexing to any parent. Parenting on the spectrum only seems to further complicate the quest, but in some ways I think the rewards are far sweeter. I truly understand about Pudding’s affinity for water because my little Jonas seeks it in the same way. Thank you for sharing.

    Aimee Velazquez

    May 31, 2011 at 10:40 am

  5. How bout taking your shower at night, after the children are asleep.. This way you won’t have to even think of dealing with it in the morning, I find that one less thing to worry about waking up to the better!!! But I think the way you describe Puddings love of the pool and water, I would forego my bathing too. She must be so happy there!!


    May 31, 2011 at 10:49 am

  6. {{{hugs}}} you’ll find a way…it does get easier. I know it’s hard work but you are doing great. Your kids are just adorable and you are just what they need.
    Try having a shower at night, or even better a nice long bath with candles and a nice drink of what you like.
    Love and hugs. xx 🙂


    May 31, 2011 at 4:05 pm

  7. That is a beautiful baby picture of Pudding! What a cutie! I’m glad the community pool opened. Truly, she is a little Mermaid, isn’t she? I love Alienhippy’s idea of a night time bath with candles. Keep experimenting and keep that picture of how happy she is in your mind to get you through! 🙂


    June 1, 2011 at 1:07 am

  8. […] Social Smiles (spectrummymummy.com) […]

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