Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad


with 7 comments

In the words of a broken heart
it’s just emotion that’s taking me over
Caught up in sorrow
lost in my song
but if you don’t come back
Come home to me, darling
don’t you know there’s nobody left in this world to hold me tight
nobody left in this world to kiss goodnight

Emotion, The Bee Gees, Their Greatest Hits: The Record, 2001

Spectrummy Daddy is away on a trip.  It wasn’t such a newsworthy item as his trip to Afghanistan, so we didn’t make a big deal of it.  I’m struggling for time, so I dispensed with the social story and calendar that we used before.  Though I don’t have the worry that kept me company the last time he was away, at the back of my mind it did register that this was the first time since we moved here that he has gone away, and the change in routine could be difficult.

Yesterday morning, I thought my relaxed attitude was working.  Cubby got upset as soon as Daddy left without him (we usually drop him off at work), but Pudding merely commented that Daddy was going on a trip and is coming home on Friday.  I continued to be impressed as she nonchalantly accepted a further disruption to her routine.  Monday was Cubby’s first day at occupational therapy, so instead of dropping him off at preschool first, we went directly to her school.  She was fine.

Her brother, on the other hand, wasn’t.  By the time we arrived at OT, he’d worked himself up into a frenzy, and the first 20 minutes were spent trying to calm him.  The rest of the session was spent crashing, banging, bouncing, swinging, flitting from one kind of sensory input to another, and fully convincing me that we needed to be there.  For a full two minutes afterwards I had a focused, engaged, calm and regulated little boy.  Then he remembered he was upset about Daddy leaving, and I quickly realized it wasn’t going to be worth taking him back to school for the rest of the morning.

We returned home to find our housekeeper devastated by the news that several members of her extended family had been in a fatal accident.  I made her some tea, and asked her to let me know what she needed, and felt the full impotence of another person’s grief and lacked any adequate words of consolation.  Really, this was too much.  I expected her to want to go home (she lives in one of the townships some distance from our home).  Instead, she said she needed to be here, with us, but would leave later that afternoon.

I knew what she was waiting for.  She was waiting to see Pudding.

Pudding and Ms. Leia are friends- on Pudding’s terms, of course.  Ms. Leia knows, as I do, that if you’re patient enough, if you don’t try too hard, if you hold yourself back and let her come to you- this child will be yours forever, and bring sunshine on the bleakest of days.  Yesterday she needed to see Pudding, I know that feeling.

I collected Pudding, who had one of the best days yet, and was smiling and singing songs.  Ms. Leia never spoke to the children of her grief, and I said little more than Miss Leia was feeling sad, which was by no means an accurate description.   By late afternoon, Ms. Leia was no longer crying, and she wore a mask of normality.  Enough to convince most of us, particularly, you’d think, a child who is unable to label or describe, or adequately process emotions.

But not processing emotions doesn’t mean you can’t sense them, or feel them with all that you are.  Pudding knew.  Her friend’s sadness was tangible, more so to Pudding than the rest of us.  She let Ms. Leia hug and hold her for longer than she generally finds possible.  Longer than she can tolerate.  She knew.

When it was time for Ms. Leia to leave, Pudding’s emotions finally got the better of her.  She had a meltdown- she didn’t want Ms. Leia to go, she wanted her Daddy home….everything that had been fine all day was eventually too much.  It had to come out, I knew that.

I was left with all I ever have left when I don’t know what else to say or do…Mummy’s here, Mummy’s here.  When every other emotion is just too much, I’m so grateful that it is enough.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

November 15, 2011 at 4:44 pm

7 Responses

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  1. What a beautiful post. It so tangibly explains how our children can see, feel and absorb things around them and then react – later. Pudding demonstrates this so well. She was a rock for Cubby and for Ms. Leia. Then you were her rock. Cubby had his own open emotional response going on at the same time. And through it all is the steady ribbon of love that holds you all together. 🙂


    November 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm

  2. Oh dear. And amidst her own hardship and struggles Leia waited to see Pudding. What a thoughtful, kind soul. And poor Pudding to have have to struggle with all of this. Sigh. But I do believe that when you say, Mommy’s here, it’ll be OK, I do believe that is enough. Enough for them to know it will be OK. Hugs to you for having to go it alone.


    November 15, 2011 at 7:54 pm

  3. This is beautifully written. What a lovely explanation of how our children can pick up on the emotions around them and rise to the occasion, occasionally.

    Lana Rush

    November 15, 2011 at 8:35 pm

  4. Good post.


    November 15, 2011 at 9:54 pm

  5. Your daughter touches so many souls. Her sheer smile gave Ms. Leia the hope she needed to get through her own tragedy. That is an amazing gift Pudding gave.

    Everyone forgets that our children are very empathic and feel so much. It’s that they do not know how to process those emotions that cause them to shutdown at times, not that they do not feel.

    Elise Ronan (@RaisingASDKids)

    November 16, 2011 at 2:35 am

  6. Wow, what a day! I love that Pudding was able to help Ms. Leia feel better. And I don’t care what people say, kids with autism DO sense things, they do feel empathy, at least my son does. And it sounds like Pudding does as well. Good luck while your husband is gone.


    November 16, 2011 at 3:47 am

  7. […] left it up to Pudding to take part in Autistics Speaking Day.  Pudding dealt with some pretty big emotions.  I got completely carried away with #youmightbeanautismparentif and said a prayer of thanks […]

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