Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Archive for February 2013

Wordless Wednesday 27 Feb 13

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It is Spirit Week at Pudding’s school, and today she had to dress up like what she wanted to be when she grows up. Rather than dressing like Hello Kitty for the third time in a row, I prompted her to tell me what kind of job she would like to do. See if you can guess what she said…

IMG_2031 IMG_2035



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February 27, 2013 at 7:58 am


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I’ve got so much going on this week that I don’t have time to post.  But I’m such an excellent procrastinator, I’ll do just that.  This week, for instance, I’ve got a video conference tomorrow, a cocktail reception on Thursday evening, organise our family to fly out to the states on the weekend, and I need to draft the presentation for a conference upon my return.  Oh, and the thousand other things that I need to do in my job.  But I only work part-time (32 hours a week), so it should be easy.

And then there is the day to day dealing with kids with special needs.  Trying to eke out time with each to put what they learn in therapy to good use.  I’m effectively dealing with three different schools, and two sets of speech and occupational therapists.  Yet somehow I only have two kids, and their needs are comparatively mild, it really should be easy.

I was talking to a colleague today who said I make it all look so ‘easy.’  I had to laugh.  Of all the things my life is…easy would be the worst adjective.

I’m dropping balls, but somehow my juggling act keeps going.  I forgot that one of Pudding’s schools has spirit week this week, and I forgot to dress her up like a movie star on Monday.  Lucky for me that Hello Kitty is a movie star (shut up, she is!) and Pudding always opts to dress like Hello Kitty.

She is helping out in other ways too.  Taking on more little duties as I shirk them.  She has been making leaps and bounds with her reading and writing since starting in an inclusive classroom.  On Thursday Spectrummy Daddy and I will be taking her in to school for a teacher conference in which Pudding will demonstrate her progress.  

One thing I’ve made certain of, even as we get busier and busier, is that Pudding always reads her reading book from school every evening, then I read a story of her choice.  After she has finished, I comment on the reading log sent from the teacher.

I guess Pudding thinks that she’ll save me a job here, because tonight I went to write, and I found she’d already done it.  Her verdict on this book?  Easy.



I don’t think any of this is easy, my love, but thank you for always reminding me that it is worth it!

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February 26, 2013 at 7:24 pm

S is for Sharing

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It has been a while since I updated my A-Z series. ‘S ‘gives me a wealth of options. Sensory. Spectrummy. Science. Smart. Siblings. Special. Safe. Stigma. Shame. In one way or another, I’ve touched on all these topics. And I’m not done yet, I could go on. But most days, I wonder if I should. Is 484 posts enough sharing?

Our personal lives are so intimate, the rest of the world can be so judgmental. What right do I have to try to understand and explain somebody else’s neurology?
As Pudding grows and develops, she is expressing more of herself, and I relish every morsel that she shares with us. It reminds me of falling in love, every day.
Yesterday my kids begged me for treats after dinner. I guess I’m a sucker (I could do a whole ‘S’ post on how I’m that word!) and Daddy was working late, so I surrended (yep, that would be an ‘S’ post for me too).
Cubby wolfed down his treat in seconds. Pudding decided to savour hers. I was reminded of myself at her age, perhaps even myself now. She took each chocolate and rolled it around in her hands. She smelled it, she tasted it. She held it in her mouth, moving it around to draw out every bit of flavour before eventually swallowing.
Sometimes she too will race through an experience like Cubby. Other times she will dwell far longer in the moment, extracting every detail and reveling in all her senses.
I remember being a little girl and eating the same sweets, and feeling the contrast of the crispy candy shell and the smooth chocolate inside. I remember how my hands would stain with colour from rolling them around in my palms. I remember being just like her, at times.
I also remember having brothers who would have eaten their share long before me. Cubby was in this position now. He’d finished all his, without sharing, and wanted hers. I watched what happened.
Unlike my brothers, who were older and bigger than me, Cubby is at a distinct physical disadvantage when it comes to his big sister. He can’t force her to give them to her, and she can certainly retaliate if he takes them from her.
A year ago, Cubby wouldn’t have realized this. For him sharing would have meant taking what he wanted. I’d have to hover constantly to make sure that Pudding’s swift justice wasn’t too brutal. Pudding had to learn that her sibling (and by extension, other children) would take things that belonged to her. It compromised her sense of fairness, one that the rest of the world doesn’t seem to employ.
Cubby certainly doesn’t. He knows he had his share of the treats. Now he is a cunning predator who knows how to manipulate his sister into sharing some of hers.
He uses Pudding’s sense of fair play against her, reminding her that “it is nice to share” and that he doesn’t have any and she has lots. It works, and she divides them up, reminding her brother to say thank you, before letting him know he is welcome.
There are lessons learned as these siblings interact which I couldn’t begin to teach on my own. I wonder if Pudding will learn that her brother is tricking her- applying rules that he doesn’t obey himself. I wonder if she’ll learn one day to apply rules in certain situations only when it suits her. Like her younger brother.
I remember when I was 16, and it was the first day of my English class in 6th form college. I had a bag of cookies, and offered them to my new friends, sitting on either side of me, as social convention dictates. Then, knowing that it wasn’t expected in an English classroom of strangers, I went around the rest of the class and offered them a share too. I got more questioning looks than people taking me up on a cookie. It seemed ridiculous at the time, and is still does now. All of us too stifled by unwritten rules that we’d all forgotten that it is nice to share, and even nicer to get an unexpected treat!
I wonder if she’ll learn the rules, and mostly follow them, but at times be so sick of unnecessary convention that she breaks them just because she can. I wonder if she’ll feel stifled by expected behavior, and revel in mixing things up, in her own little way.
Then I think about her staying just as she is. This delightful little soul with her uncompromising sense of justice and fair play is exactly what she is supposed to be, and what a world it would be if there were more like her.
Ultimately, I hope she’ll share herself, just as she is, with the whole world, instead of trying endlessly to fit in with what is expected. I know those are the times when I really feel like I’m sharing myself.
I’m writing about sharing, because just as I share these stories about my children, I’m always sharing something of myself too. The more I try to understand and explain my child’s neurology, the more I understand of myself. I just can’t do that any other way.
And it is nice to share, just don’t expect me to give up any of my imported Galaxy chocolate!

This post is part of my A-Z series.  You can read the rest by clicking >here<.

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February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am

Wordless Wednesday 20 Feb 13

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Hello Kitty duct tape for the win!

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February 20, 2013 at 7:17 am

I Can Cook!

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It was one of those lazy Sunday mornings. We were watching kids TV, a British show called, “I Can Cook,” in which a perky (they always are) TV presenter and a few stage kids make a meal together.
They make food together, and there is never any fighting or tantrums. Then they all eat the same meal and talk about how much they enjoyed it. They use words like “delicious” and “scrumptious” that make me think they are indeed child actors reading from a script written by a 40 year-old woman. But I digress.
Cubby was riveted as he curled up with me on our oversized bean bag chair. Pudding actually put down her iPad to watch. The presenter and child actors made it look so easy that they actually tricked me into thinking this was something I could do with my kids.

Pudding poking holes
A little later that day we’d collected all the ingredients to make cheese and vegetable pasties. I asked the kids if they wanted to cook like on the show, and was greeted with an enthusiasm rarely seen outside of all things Hello Kitty.
Cubby, my little literalist, decided he was going to be Arthur, one of the stage kids on the show. On I Can Cook, the presenter began by sprinkling some flour on the cooking mats for each child, as they carefully coated them in preparation for the pastry. We began by recklessly spreading said flour all over our clothes, hair, the floor, and even (in Cubby’s case) up his nose. We repeated step one, and this time I did not turn my back to put the flour away, and it mostly stayed on the table. Later I would come to regret not immediately putting the flour away, but I’d learn that lesson later.
Next came rolling out the pastry. In I Can Cook, each little chef has their own perfectly-sized utensils, and I think that is why there isn’t a blood bath on the show, which is my kind of reality TV. In our house, we have just the one rolling pin, which is great for adults. Actually, we may have a kids rolling pin that is gunked up from when I made play dough wrong and could never get it off again. But I digress.
Poking holes in pastryTaking turns is almost as difficult for my children as sharing, so here I knew I had no chance of success. But nobody was hit with the actual rolling pin, so we somehow made our way through Step 2. Simple step 3 was the not-so-simple task of gently prodding the pastry.
This time I had a fork for each child. What I didn’t have was kids with the ability to grade their pressure. Instead of gentle prodding which doesn’t quite pierce the pastry- fairy steps in the words of Perky Presenter- we made big giant troll holes, which we then had to reseal, roll out the pastry again, fight over the rolling pin again, and repeat. So eventually we kind of, in a fashion, sort of accomplished step 3.

Tearing Spinach
Foolproof stage four was ripping the spinach. Pudding loved this task- she loves a good rip. Cubby’s fine motor skills weren’t up to the task, and he very quickly tired of this job, trying to pass of whole leaves of spinach as ripped up. If this kid doesn’t become a lawyer, I’m not sure what he’ll do with his skills.
Then we get to the fun part: filling our pastry. I’d pre-made the ratatouille filling, so the kids just had to spoon it on, add their torn-up spinach, and sprinkle in the cheese. Cubby was good with all of this.
Pudding, however, does not do cheese. “You must not eat cheese, “ she likes to solemnly intone. Now she was faced with a dilemma: if she added the cheese, her mother would try to trick her into eating it, which she can’t do. If she doesn’t, she will miss the tactile sensation of (rolling, squeezing, and then ) sprinkling cheese, and she wouldn’t be making the pasties just like in the show. In fairness, we also hadn’t grown our own spinach in our hippy garden, or collected a salary for our efforts, but I digress.
She made the first one with no cheese, but then opted to conform to our pro-cheese agenda. I allowed this, against my better judgment, as I thought I was in with a chance of getting her too eat cheese. When will I learn?!
Of course, we completely overstuffed the pasties, but that was okay. In our house, we believe pasties come in all shapes and sizes. We’re rebels like that.
In 15 minutes they were cooked, and 10 minutes after, I deemed them ready to eat. They weren’t. They were like molten lava inside. We all had burnt tongues that made us mad at pasties. But they were so “scrumptious” and “delicious” that we ate them soon after.
At least Cubby and I did. Pudding happily ate one until she encountered some cheese, then ripped them apart to try to pull out the offensive ingredient.
But, as Cubby announced just like those pesky paid-up members of Equity- “I Can Cook.” I Can! Even with my spectrummy pair helping out. And, you know, they tasted SO good that I might even do it again. But no cheese this time!

So we might watch that show again. It isn’t as easy as they make it look, but we did have a lot of fun and practice some skills. Shame we didn’t have anybody filming though- our surreality TV is far more entertaining with a not-so perky presenter and the quirkiest of kids.

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February 14, 2013 at 8:59 am

Wordless Wednesday 13 Feb 13

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My Sweet Valentine

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February 13, 2013 at 7:48 am

Wordless Wednesday 6 Feb 13

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Written by Spectrummy Mummy

February 6, 2013 at 7:01 am

Posted in wordless wednesday

Art Matters

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For three years now, I’ve opened her school bag to see if I can gleam from the contents what her day was like. My powers of deduction aren’t exactly at a Sherlock level, but I use each clue to tease more conversation from her. My goal is to add some words beyond the script of, “you played with your friends at school.”art

Some days I get some real evidence: her artwork. I’ll ask her if she was learning about snowmen or flowers, or Hello Kitty (because Mr. Holmes himself would deduce that she was education at the Hello Kitty Centre for Learning and Cute Fun!). But for years she didn’t care. She is about the process, not the end result. Art was done. Finished.

For so long, I’ve praised her art, asked her questions about it, showed it to others. But something was always missing. She didn’t care. She didn’t care if we thought it was good or bad. The only way we knew she ever thought it was good or bad was that she was a mistress of censorship, and much of her work was scribbled out as soon as it was completed.

That thing that Cubby seemed to be born with- a pride in his efforts- just seemed to be missing in her. And while parenting Pudding is a welcome relief from the “look at me, look at me” antics of her brother, I wondered if she would ever feel that pride. Pride in herself, pride in what she could do.


It was important to me that she felt it. So even if my words were never heeded, I would take that artwork from her bag and tell how good it was. I couldn’t make her care about her achievements, but she would always hear that we did. Let her hear us singing her praises even if she never wanted to join in our melody.

And then things changed.

Maybe it was being in a classroom with other little people who loved their work and showing it off. Maybe she knew that to compete with a sibling who wants all of our attention, she’d better seek some of it. Maybe all our words sank in. Maybe it was just time.

First she started to show me her work. Then she let me add it to her wall.

And then I guess I missed some one day, and I found that her art collection on her bedroom wall had grown by two pieces. They were fixed so neatly to the wall, that I at first assumed her daddy had added to the gallery. Only I found the box of adhesive on the floor, and I know he would have put that out of reach of the kids. I checked, but it wasn’t him.

When I asked, Pudding confirmed that she’d put her pictures on the wall. I could elicit no further details, but you don’t have to live on Baker Street to deduce that she put it there because she liked what she’d done. She placed it there with care because it is important to her. Her art matters to the most important critic of all.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

February 4, 2013 at 7:57 pm