Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Archive for August 2012

Wordless Wednesday 29 Aug 12

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img_0264 

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August 29, 2012 at 9:14 am

Wordless Wednesday 22 Aug 12

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I have Hello Kitty at home. This might be the world’s biggest understatement.

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August 22, 2012 at 6:33 am

Starting School

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Pudding has started at her new school.  You’re probably wondering how it is going.  I could have written that things were going well after the first day, but I didn’t.  Nor at the end of the first week (half-week, really).  Only now dare I actually say it.

Things are going well.  I daren’t jinx it.  I want it to keep going well.  I want that more than anything.

I want her to continue to have the same enthusiasm for school that she does right now.  Where she is mad at the weekend, because she just wants to go to school that much.

Her whole team has been pleasantly surprised with the ease of the transition.  Last week, she started going until 12.30, which means she is now dealing with leaving her homeroom and attending art and music classes.  All this she is taking in her stride.  Our girl is blossoming, just like we knew she would, if she was planted in the right soil.

Just in case you think we’ve swapped Pudding, she still proves herself to be just as she always was.  Her teacher has been kind enough to send home photographs so we can see for ourselves how she is doing in class.  One photograph was of all the class: children and teachers.  I asked Pudding to name everybody in the photo for me, and she dutifully obliged.  And when I asked who her favourite kid was, she responded with “Pudding.”  She is who she is, and we love her for it!

But don’t just take my word for it, this is what her teacher emailed to me today:

Hello (I want to add the word Kitty!)

 

Pudding* had such a wonderful day at school today.  I wanted to share her Journal writing with you.  On previous mornings she has drawn for me and been done…. But today she wrote more than most of the kids in the class.  Her phonemic knowledge is very good and I use her to help find letters when we are working on a whole class writing piece.   

I am also getting her to use computers more and she is very good at navigating her way through to programs that she likes.  Pudding has also found where I keep my ipad and enjoys some of the alphabet apps on it. 

I just want you to both know that Pudding has wormed her way into my heart and I am really enjoying learning with her and about her.

 

Best email ever.  She had me at the first line.  Seeing the picture almost had Spectrummy Daddy and myself in tears.  I’m going to save that for tomorrow.  It won’t be a Wordless Wednesday, because there is a whole sentence in it!

So there you go- this is almost a straight up, unqualified, things are going great kind of post.  Almost.  Because in less than two weeks we’ll be pulling her out of school for R&R, and she might really not want to miss school for that long.

But I’m not about to start complaining about a child who wants to go to school, nor a school that wants to have my child there!  I’m just going to enjoy Pudding starting school.  I’m the luckiest of all spectrummy mummies to get to do that.

 

*Nope, she doesn’t call her that, in case you were wondering.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

August 20, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Googling

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Hello Kitty

Hello Kitty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Given that we’re a blogging family, (yes, Spectrummy Daddy blogs too, and you can read his side of the story >here<) and I’ve written not one, but two posts about Google, it is only natural that sooner or later our kids would get in on the act.  Pudding has learned to google.

We’re in the throes of some pretty cool development here in Spectrummy house.  Our girl is doing very well at the moment, in lots of different ways.  I’ll get around to telling you about it.

First things first: googling.  I have to say, by the way, I kind of love how I get autocorrected all the time for my British spellings, but the dictionary has no qualms with “googling.”  Not bad, Google.  I mean, you don’t go around altavistaing, do you?

You know what is hard to google?  Google.  It just brings you back around in circles.  Kind of reminds me of conversations with Pudding.  Or my own thought processes.  Where was I?

Oh yes, google.

I was trying to type a post for you the other day, when Pudding came up to the computer and told me, “You want Hello Kitty.”  Sometimes it is hard to know if she is inverting her pronouns, or trying some kind of hypnotism on me.  I believe either to be equally possible.

So I told her that if she wanted Hello Kitty, she’d have to do it herself.  She knows how to write the words, but writing is a struggle with her fine motor delays.  I thought I’d introduce her to typing as an alternative way of writing words.

So she typed “hello” and I showed her that she must press the space bar between words, and then she typed “kitty” and I showed her the return key.  And as soon as I let her hit that key, I realized my mistake.  Because now she can do it without help.  Which means that we’ll have to password protect the computer or reinvent the internet without stuff unsuitable for five year-olds.  Yep.

Now, because Pudding was already handy with a mouse, she figured out google images, and her newest favourite thing to do is to click through these images describing them as, “Pudding’s Hello Kitty T-Shirt”, or “Pudding’s Hello Kitty toaster.”  It would be nice if there wasn’t also Hello Kitty tattoos, cars, and houses.  Yes, houses.  I guess Pudding’s decided on our next move, and I’m going to assume it is on a whole new continent.  I shouldn’t even worry about her struggling with chopsticks, because there are Hello Kitty training ones.

On the bright side, I haven’t yet encountered anything too inappropriate attached to the Sanrio brand.  In fact, I even saw Pudding googling other things today, like her school.  This is a whole new world that is opening up to her.  I just wish we were ready for the one that we’re already living in.  Still, if it all gets too much, and I don’t know what to do…I can always google for help.  It has worked out for us so far!

 

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August 18, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Wordless Wednesday 15 Aug 12

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Mummy, come here! I’m NOT going to squirt you…

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August 15, 2012 at 6:03 am

Wrong Number

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I keep getting calls on my work cell (mobile) phone for my predecessor, but the person calling doesn’t understand English, or the version of it that I speak.  During last week’s hectic preparations, I kept getting call after call disturbing me.  The person on the other end didn’t respond, and I became more and more exasperated.  In the end I took to saying “wrong number” and hanging up.

At breakfast on Saturday morning, those calls started again.  Eventually I gave the phone to Spectrummy Daddy who told them they had the wrong number and they listened and stopped calling.  Just like that.  Obviously they understand American, not English.

The kids are very interested in phone calls.  We usually use skype to talk to our families, and the kids can see who they are talking to, which makes them happy.  With phone calls, they have to know who is on the other end of the line.  Sometimes it is impossible to actually have a conversation because of the incessant questions from both Pudding and Cubby about who I am talking to and what they are saying.

Saturday morning was no different.

Cubby:Mummy, who was talking on the phone?

Me: Wrong number.

Cubby: Was it number six or seven?

Me: (laughing) No, it was just that somebody called the wrong number.

Cubby: Who is called the wrong number?  Is it number eight?

No longer at sixes and sevens, we know it is number 8, with her curves in all the right places!  We’re on to you and how wrong you are.  You’d think after a few years at this that I’d have learned to speak more literally, but I’m still learning.

Yep, our lines are definitely crossed!

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

August 13, 2012 at 6:05 am

Juggling

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…I’m humbled by your ability to juggle…

…you’re obviously skilled at finding balance in your life…

…am in awe of your ability to handle so much at once…

These were comments on a recent post.  You know- the one with Hillary Clinton.  Yes, I’ll keep name-dropping, because it is now years since Hugh Grant smiled at me, and I need to bump up the star quality of this blog.

The last couple of weeks have indeed been just like a circus.  But I can’t juggle.  When I try to walk the tightrope, it becomes clear there is no balance.  You might think otherwise, because you don’t know what happened last week.  So I’ll tell you…

Last Saturday, there were two very important meetings that both Spectrummy Daddy and I had to attend.  There was nobody to take care of the kids, so I took them into work with me.  I’ve done this before, and the kds are usually happy there.  I have a TV and DVD player in my office for some reason, so that and playing with office supplies is generally enough to keep them occupied.

We bought some ready meals from the supermarket that we could heat at work for lunch.  The kids food was allergy-safe. but mine contained cashew nuts.  And because I had so many balls in the air, and my eyes were on those, I didn’t see until too late that Pudding had reached across to my food, scooped a tiny bit of sauce and stuck the finger in her mouth.

It was the first time she’d ever actually consumed cashew nuts.  Her allergy readings are from RAST tests.  Her face started to go red, and Spectrummy Daddy ran to get the epi-pen.  By the time he got back her eyes were swelling closed, and she’d got hives all over her face.

Her breathing was still normal though, and her lips and tongue didn’t seem swollen.  I held off on using the epi-pen, but her reaction was fast and serious, so I grabbed her and drove straight to the hospital.

It would be an entirely different post to write about how awful the hospital experience was for an already overloaded child who hadn’t been prepared to go there.  I was terrified, and I lost my mind.  When asked who her doctor was, I gave them the name of the pediatrician she had in Luxembourg when she was first born.  The one who told me that she “loves herself like a kitten” when I tried to question some of Pudding’s puzzling behavior.

The nurse asked if she had any other conditions.  I knew they were unlikely to have heard of Asperger’s, so I went straight to Autism.  And no, she hadn’t heard of that either.  Or ADHD.  At this point the doctor from the Consulate called and asked if I needed him to come.  Yes, I did.

They quickly administered an anti-histamine injection and oral steroids.  Her vitals were all normal, she never developed anaphylaxis…this time.  She responded immediately to the medication, and I took a photo to reassure Spectrummy Daddy, only I was shaking so hard I couldn’t manage to actually send it to him.

Image

In fact, 30 minutes later, we were free to go.  I was still shaking, but relieved.  As we drove back I remembered that I’d missed the meeting, and I’d left Cubby with Spectrummy Daddy.

It wasn’t so much that I felt the balls dropping, as I looked down and realized they were already on the floor.

I’ve had a whole week now, before writing this.  Time for things to return to our version of normal.  Time to let the guilt ease away, and learn the lessons I need to instead.  Like always keeping her environment allergy-free.  Like if the circus comes to town again, I’d better fly in some carnies to help out.  And by carnies, I mean grandparents (in the nicest possible way)!

Perhaps some mothers can manage this juggling thing better than I can.  But in that hospital last week, I knew I was holding on to the most important thing, and I wasn’t going to let her go.  Let the other balls fall as they will.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

August 11, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Wordless Wednesday 08 Aug 12

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Waiting for the bus on the first day of Kindergarten. Note the sunscreen in her bag, even though it SNOWED in Johannesburg yesterday (for the first time since 1981).  Also, no Hillary Clinton today!

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

August 8, 2012 at 7:08 am

Posted in wordless wednesday

Meet and Greet

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You may have noticed that I’ve been a little preoccupied lately.  Just two weeks into my new job, my boss let me know that I would be in charge of a Meet and Greet event with the Secretary of State.  So, no pressure, then!

A visit of this magnitude requires all hands on deck, and an incredible amount of effort and organization.  The Secretary has a very full schedule with lots of important bilateral meetings and discussions.  But she also likes to take the time to thank the people who work in the Embassies and Consulates all around the world.  Yesterday was the turn of Consulate Johannesburg.

My little part lasted for only 20 minutes, but it took hours of arranging things to be just right.  Inevitably, some things went wrong leading up to the event, some things went wrong on the night, but all in all, it was amazing!

I’ve long been an admirer of Hillary Clinton.  This wasn’t the first time I’d been in the same room as her, but it was our first official meeting.  She was graceful and commanding, intelligent and inspirational- everything I’d hoped she would be.

The kids, however, were not so much into the whole thing.  I’d written a social story- I hadn’t been able to find one about meeting a Secretary of State or former First Lady!

Pudding got a little pensive.  I think she was wondering why somebody was getting more attention than her for once.  As she got closer, Pudding found things really hard to handle, instead of posing for photographs, she knew she had to get out of the way.  But she did allow Secretary Clinton to touch her face, which is huge!  I liked to think she was perhaps inspired by Hillary Clinton.  And when Pudding took her turn on the stage, it didn’t seem quite so audacious that we might be looking at the first female, autistic and foreign-born President.  Sure, those are some barriers, but I wouldn’t be betting against Pudding.

Cubby was also a little bashful, but The Secretary declared him adorable as he handed her a bunch of flowers.  He wasn’t going to stick around to pose for the official photographer.  And he let her stroke his cheek as well without having a meltdown.  I’m hoping that there might be a better photograph than this one out there- time will tell!

It was the experience of a lifetime.  In fact, those 20 minutes felt like a lifetime!  But what an honor to be part of it, and I’m sure one day the kids will look back on this day too.  If not, I’ll always have these photographs to show them.

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August 7, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Capture the Moment

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I know that I’ve been neglecting you, dear Reader these last couple of weeks.  I would feel guilty about it, were it not for the fact that all my guilt is used up on the children, and what happened with Pudding this weekend.  

I’ll get to that story when I can, for now you’ll just have to please bear with me.  Or bare with me.  I think the former, the latter sounds like I’m inviting you to do something naked and questionable.  I’m not- there are already enough naked bodies in our house thanks to Pudding and Cubby.

Two weeks into the job, and I’m in at the deep end.  I’ll write about that when I can too.  

What I will tell you about quickly is that I have another camera.  I didn’t realize how attached I’d become to my camera until it broke earlier this year as we entered a wildlife reserve.  To say I’ve missed photography is a huge understatement.  There were issues getting the camera here from the states through diplomatic pouch as camera batteries are a no-no.  Then even more problems as the equipment doesn’t match that of my old camera of the same brand, as we’d hoped.

Still, I’m back to it, and the camera reminds me to pause and savour these moments that have been whizzing by in this last year (yes, a whole year!) here in South Africa.

Here is the inimitable Pudding, with her Mona Lisa smile and the fingers in her hair betraying her endless search for tactile stimulation.  She might be looking off into the distance, but believe me she is present at all times.

And below is Cubby, who faces life head on, demanding you give him all the attention he deserves, especially when there isn’t enough to go around.  I need him to do that right now.

These two are growing and changing every day, so I’m delighted to be able to capture them once again, just as they are right now.  And frantic and even scary as life is at the moment, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Wish me luck for tomorrow- I just can’t wait to tell you all about it. ImageImage

 

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August 5, 2012 at 8:31 pm