Archive for January 2013
Okay, I’m adding a few words just so you can get some context. This photo, kindly supplied by Pudding’s teacher left me speechless, which is a kind of wordless.
This morning, I posted this on my Spectrummy Mummy Facebook page:
When it comes to Show and Tell, Pudding prefers to adopt a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. We’ll see if she wants to explain why there is a Luxembourg flag in her backpack today.
And then her teacher emailed this:
With these words:
Pudding did her first real show and share today…so cute!
It’s the first time she wanted to go up…I thought it might be a Welsh flag, but she corrected me and told us that it is from Luxembourg.
Your girl is amazing…just love her 🙂
If you are familiar with Pudding’s challenges, you’ll probably share my joy. If not, let me tell you that this is the picture of an everyday miracle.
By the way, yes- she came from Luxembourg, but the really amazing thing is gettting to see where she will go.
In case you hadn’t dropped by lately, this blog has been pretty quiet this year. For someone who normally has an overabundance of words, I’ve hidden behind pictures.
The day after Christmas, I lost one of my closet friends. Even as I type know I feel a pain that I can’t find the words to describe. Rachael was truly one of the best people I have ever known. I’m mad that she was only in my life for twenty years, but I cherish every moment we shared.
She made a disability advocate of me years before parenting would take me that extra step. The world was a better place for having her in it, and I will miss her for the rest of my life. She would have been 35 tomorrow. In the midst of grieving, we had another sudden death in our Consulate community. I’m once again lost for words, and without my outlet, I find it hard to process all this loss. I can’t make sense of the senseless.
Without writing, I am out of my comfort zone. I turned to the next best thing- my camera, and tried to content myself with viewing life through a lens. But there is always more going on outside of the frame.
In the midst of all this, Pudding has truly found her place. She is reaping the rewards of all the support and effort that goes into teaching a different thinker. My girl is reading! Not just odd words and signs, brand names and adverts. She is reading books, and learning to write her own stories.
My biggest wish for her- that she can narrate her own life story- just took a huge leap forward. She will have words. They will delight her, they will inspire her. They will give her comfort when needed. And she will own them. She will own her story.
Last week I met with the Director of Teaching and Learning at Pudding’s school. She asked me if I would take part in the conference they are holding about inclusion in international schools.
I was overwhelmed with anxiety. I can’t do public speaking. I express myself best through the written word, I couldn’t even imagine talking in front of that many strangers. This is way out of my comfort zone.
But how can I not? How can I not persuade other international schools embarking on a journey of inclusion that they need to develop programs for children like mine? They need to open up their doors.
They need to get out of their comfort zone, and so do I. I sought permission from my boss, and he went one better- he offered me his support. He reminded me that what might seem like weaknesses can be our biggest strengths.
I don’t mind stepping out of my comfort zone, if it means helping to persude more schools to do the same thing.
After yesterday’s post, I had some people question why I didn’t react more to what happened during our flight. It is a valid question, and one that had whirled around my own head ever since Saturday. You see, my instinct was to protect my children. Adrenaline was coursing through my system, and my body felt like it needed action. My brain even pictured the various actions which would have satisfied it- all were physical, and all of them would have landed me in trouble with aviation security. But I wasn’t thinking about that.
I was thinking about what the children would do if I raised my voice, or had a physical altercation, or even moved to argue face to face with the man in front. Pudding had already had a meltdown over the change of seats. A meltdown during which she became violent, briefly clawing at my face with her fingers. Pudding is not usually an aggressive child, but she already felt threatened, and was lashing out. And this was with me being calm.
If I get worked up, if I raise my voice, if I give in to strong emotions, it is absorbed and reflected back at me by two people who need me to stay in control. That isn’t to say that I never get angry, or I’m always in control of my emotions, but I do know that when I explode, so does everyone around me. And I really didn’t need that. Nor did the rest of the passengers crammed on to that painfully full flight.
Well, all apart from one, that is.
Before I actually confronted him, calmly, I’d spent several hours with Pudding and Cubby sleeping on me, peacefully oblivious to the barely-contained rage I was feeling. Any parent who knows this forced calm- and I’m certain there are a few of us with children on the autism spectrum- know that this inertia is a hundred times more difficult than acting on our feelings.
We do it, because we can. They can’t.
We can take a deep breath, calm ourselves down, refuse to let things escalate. My kids don’t know how to do that yet. They are learning, and like with many of life’s lessons, they need them modeled time and time again. Even when there are jerks within hitting distance who totally deserve it.
Now, maybe you have children who don’t follow your every move, hear every word you say (even if they conveniently don’t pay attention at times), or detect every change in your pitch. That way you don’t risk the same consequences. Maybe you haven’t had years of learning to show Zen when you feel anything but. I’m glad for you, and I’m jealous of you. You don’t have to hold it all in until you find a suitable outlet.
Believe me, it gets hard, when you mother like me. Certain situations are just harder. But at least when the gory fantasies (I’m always like Buffy the Vampire Slayer in my daydreams) I had of what I could do when the plane touched down and the kids were handed off to the husband didn’t get to come true, I can always write about it here.
Because some how, some way, this stuff has to come out, if you are going to mother like me.