Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘balance

Juggling

with 7 comments

…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

B is for Balance

with 4 comments

For my B post, I almost went with Behaviour, but beyond saying that behaviour is communication, don’t have much to say about it.  Instead, I’m going with Balance.  Balance, or the lack of balance, is a constant theme in our household.  Pudding, has a very poor sense of balance, but I’m going to talk about that another time.  I mean balance in the sense of harmony, and that is something that is a work in progress in our family.

Pudding is attending an intensive program in an autism preschool.  It is the most appropriate placement for her at this time, and yet I’m concerned that she doesn’t spend enough time with typically developing children.  It is difficult to get the balance right: to ensure she has all the support that she needs, but also to strive for inclusion.  According sufficient respect for her current needs, and adequately preparing for future goals.  I have to remind myself that I’m not in charge of time, and rushing Pudding too soon would only be counterproductive.

Pudding is very fortunate in that she has a brother.  Somehow, their age difference of two years is just right for them to play together now.  He has almost as much energy as she does, which is fortunate, as I’m generally flagging from days that begin before 5 am.  Now that Cubby is in preschool, his days are balanced too, spending his mornings with other children.  We still see a lot of copycat actions, but he is tentatively trying his hand at more social interactions.

Getting the balance right for siblings is something that is a struggle for many of us.  Spending time with both children together means being a referee.  I don’t feel like either child gets the best of me at those times.  And of course, spending more time with one means feeling guilty about the other child.  We’ve made a start on this.  On Saturday mornings, Daddy takes Cubby to play football (soccer).  I dedicate that time to Pudding, and we get to have fun just the two of us.

As a rule, at the weekends we do things together as a family.  With a week full of school and therapy, it makes for a nice contrast.  I want this kid with her incredible memory to look back and see a childhood that she enjoyed, not just shuttling from one therapist to another.  I feel responsible for that.  I’m not just striving to find balance for our family, I am the balance.

This Mother’s Day I wrote a post for about.com about autism mothers.  At the end of the post I wrote: “It is what we do, but also who we are.”  Somebody commented that this wasn’t the case for her, that autism did not define who her child was, nor who she was as a mother.  Clearly, she has a better sense of balance than I do.  When I’m adding everybody’s needs to the scales, there isn’t always room for couple time, or even time by myself.  Between our stay-at-home date nights, and time at the gym, I’m making efforts to take time for myself these days.  You never know- I might just tip the balance one of these days.

 

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

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 3, 2011 at 10:03 am