There is something pretty sinister about disappearing from my blog for a week, only to emerge with a post entitled “The End.” Anyway, we’d been in the Drakensberg mountains for a week. For some kids on the spectrum, a change in routine can be hard for them to handle, but Pudding was spectacular for the entire week, which of course meant that her brother had to be the one acting out. A week without internet access was quite isolating for me, but obviously something about the area suited her well.
In fact, she was doing so well throughout the week, that I began to get concerned about how she might react to returning home. I had a couple of talks with her about the fact that her holidays were coming to an end, but she didn’t seem too perturbed. Finally we got to Saturday: the day we were driving home. I’d already packed her toys away, so Pudding was busying herself by drawing pictures in the condensation on the windows.
Before long, she became frustrated. What she sees in her mind’s eye never translates well enough to paper, or glass in this case. She so loves art and drawing, that her fine motor difficulties are at odds with her perfectionist tendencies. Several times she drew something on the window, only to rub it away moments later.
Pudding: Mummy, help me!
Normally I love that she will actually ask for help instead of getting angry about something that is challenging. Normally. But not when it comes to drawing. If she finds it hard to translate an image, it is even harder for me to decipher. I’m neither an artist nor a visual thinker, so my efforts rarely turn out the way she wants. A week earlier she’d been trying to draw a shower, or a series of showers for different people (Hello Kitty’s shower, Cubby’s shower, Jimmy’s shower) and it had taken a while to produce something satisfactory. n the end I’d drawn a very similar shower with different colours to denote the ownership. I was glad that I got there in the end, but it took repeated efforts.
On the morning of our departure, I didn’t have sufficient time to devote to the craft. I hoped against hope that she would ask for something simple that I could easily reproduce.
Me: Okay, quickly- what would you like for me to draw?
Pudding: The End.
I racked my brains. Was she referring to the end of her vacation, in which case some suitcases and a car might depict her commission. Or, picking up on her inflection, does she really mean for me to draw The End? And what in the universe would that look like? Why is my five-year-old an existentialist?
After a few seconds of looking like a goldfish, I thought of a solution. This wasn’t so different from Hello Kitty’s shower.
Me: Okay, but you have to tell me- what colour is The End?
Her turn to be the goldfish. What was I doing talking about colours when we were drawing with our fingers? In fact, she still hasn’t answered me, and she let me go about my business of getting our things together. I’m not fool enough to think this is over yet, but I do have a reprieve. At least until she comes up with a colour for me.