Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘Africa

Wordless Wednesday 21 May 14

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Wordless Wednesday 21 May 14

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Written by Spectrummy Mummy

May 21, 2014 at 12:37 pm

On Safari

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We went on a safari.  Yesterday we woke up even earlier than the kids to drive out to Pilanesburg, which is a game reserve about 2 and a half hours from where we live.  I wasn’t holding out much hope of success.  We’ve done a few self-drives before, and the kids just got bored in the car.  Now with driving for hours on top of driving for hours…I didn’t see that they’d be in the best of moods.

I wondered if we were ready.

Cubby likes giraffes, and along with zebras, we seem to have had lots of opportunities to see them.  I wondered if he was even bothered any more.

As for Pudding, well- it isn’t like you see Hello Kitty on safari.  She hasn’t shown much interest in animals at all.

It was a hot day, so we smeared on the sunscreen to the disgust of both kids- but tactile defensiveness doesn’t defeat African sun.

I’d hoped to set up my tripod on the seat next to me, but Pudding soon let me know that she was sitting next to me and nowhere else.

Was it going to be worth it?  

Then we started moving.  Maybe it was the bumping of the safari vehicle that appealed to her senses, maybe it was the warm African wind blowing in her face…perhaps both…but Pudding was happy. Not content.  Not just smiling.  Whole body fizzing in excitement.  Her feet were stamping, her arms were flapping, she was shaking with glee.  It was sheer joy- and as always when I get to witness such perfection- I was grateful that she feels in such a way that the whole world gets to share it with her.

Just movement and wind- we hadn’t seen an animal yet.

Just inside the game park, the ranger came to a halt.  I wonder how she’d react but she took it in her stride.  The ranger wanted to know what animals everybody wanted to see.  The kids at the front requested lions.  Cubby requested giraffes- I guess he still likes them.

I asked Pudding which animals she wanted to see.  Silence.

I still sometimes take that silence as a lack of response.  I should know better.  After a few seconds, she knew what she wanted: an animal that we hadn’t seen yet on any of our self-drives.

Hippo.

And what do you know?  Right after some impala, we got to see some hippos.  Most were submerged in the water, cooling off from the hot day.  But there was a baby hippo just standing by the shore.

hippo

Meant to be- just like someone else I know.  We lasted out three hours and took in elephants, lions, zebras and lots more.  Yes, we were ready, and yes, it was worth it.

I’m supposed to be writing a post about autism awareness today, and I have nothing.  This girl hasn’t changed who she is.  This world hasn’t changed for her.  But she is taking on more and more of it, and I feel along with her every fizzy, frothy sensation of glee just for being here.

Watch out world- aware or not- here we come!

 

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

April 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm

R is for R & R

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Pudding reconnecting with my mum.

One of the benefits to living in (cue ominous music…) The Most Dangerous City in The World, is that the State Department grants us two R&R trips during our – assignment there.  Now, you know that we love Johannesburg, and what we have seen of the rest of South Africa.  But it is equally true that we need that break.  Back when we initially started planning that trip, we really needed it.

Then seasons change, and life alters, and you kind of get on with things.  Pudding has just started Kindergarten, and is doing very well.  I’ve only been working for a few weeks, and it isn’t the best time for me to be out of the office.  I adore Jozi in springtime.  The weaver birds are back, the weather is perfect, and it just feels lighter and happier there.

It reminds me of the early weeks when we first arrived, and just couldn’t believe our luck.  And then when, inevitably, the trip started to look like more hassle than a break, I wondered what kind of R&R it would actually turn out to be.

And then we actually arrived in England for the first time in almost four years, and it was all worthwhile.  It was Cubby’s first time here (outside of the womb) and he revelled in seeing double-decker buses and black cabs in London.  Both kids delighted in spending time by the sea- not the ocean.  And the kids got to meet their cousins, and spend time getting spoilt by their grandparents, and living, and playing, and being themselves.

We are having the time of our lives.  Or a time in our lives.  A time of many R-words.  We’re recharging, and reconnecting.  I’d even go so far as to say we’re resting and relaxing.  I knew we needed it, but I didn’t know how much.  I’ve taken lots of photographs here, and in almost every one, the kids are smiling.

Who knows, the kids might even start feeling so comfortable with their grandparents that we’ll even be able to have another elusive R-word: a few hours of respite.  Because just as we love Johannesburg, but need the occasional break…the same can be said of parenting high-needs children.

And if we can successfully Recharge and Reconnect, we’ll be Ready to go back to Routine.  And nothing to do but plan the next Rest and Relaxation, and make sure we don’t wait for four years next time!

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

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

September 5, 2012 at 8:42 am

Wordless Wednesday 31 Aug 11

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Happy Wordless Wednesday everyone!

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

August 31, 2011 at 3:10 am

Comic Relief

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I still feel guilty about not adequately preparing Pudding the last time we moved.  Oh, I know what you’ll say: how could you?  You didn’t know how!  Thank you, friend.  Now I do, and in some ways it is worse.  I’m more responsible this time around.  Somehow I have to make her ready for this move.  The problem is, I don’t know for certain that things won’t change.  We’re still putting her program together, and it looks increasingly likely that we can’t do many things until we’re over there.

The one thing we know for certain, that won’t suddenly change on us, is our housing.  We have been assigned a house, and requested photos so that I can show them to Pudding.  She is delighted with the photos.  She has already assigned everybody their bedrooms, though she does insist she’ll be sleeping in Cubby’s room.  It has a small swimming pool, and a nice garden, so she is very excited about it.  Too excited.  She looks at the photos daily on her iPad.  She asks to go there all the time.

Here is our problem.  Pudding still has a fuzzy sense of time.  We think she understands “now”.  She seems to appropriately use “later”.  She knows her days of the week and months of the year, but just as words, not concepts.  She knows she goes swimming on Sundays, for instance, but doesn’t know when Sunday is in relation to other days.  She tends to insist it is Sunday so she can get to go that day.

We don’t leave until the beginning of August.  While the remaining time is just a flash in the pan for we grown-ups who have things to do, it is an inconceivable amount of time to Pudding.  She wants to go to Africa (we dropped the South part for brevity’s sake) and she wants to go today.  When we tell her we aren’t going today, she just tries harder, convinced she will hit upon the right approach sooner or later.  After all, this works whenever she wants to go to the park.

When our friends were here, we were discussing what we might do for the day.  Pudding wanted to go to Africa, of course.  I explained for the umpteenth time that we weren’t, and she seemed to get it.  It was time to get going, so I asked her to go to the bathroom first.

“Potty for Africa!”  She grinned as she closed the bathroom door behind her.

The Potty for…technique was the reason we had to stop rewarding her for going to the bathroom during potty training.  The little wheeler-dealer would hold it until she extorted a cookie, or preferred treat every time.

We all laughed.  I was reminded of a telethon with an unconventional method for raising money for developing countries.  It sounds like a charity movement, I said.

Don’t worry, everybody here groaned too.  True comic relief.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

May 26, 2011 at 7:23 am