Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘Ernie

Sudden Interest

with 15 comments

Abby Cadabby

Image by Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr

Now, perhaps I should have realized on Saturday.  I was buying toothbrushes, yet again, because my kids like to chew on them.  I picked up the Elmo one for Cubby, and the Ernie one for Pudding, but she stopped me, and told me she wanted the Abby Cadabby one instead.  Hmm.  I bought the one she wanted, but kept thinking that I should have taken an Ernie one just in case she changed her mind.  After all, Ernie is numero uno in this casa.  She requested the Abby toothbrush every morning and night, but I still didn’t think of what that signified.  I just thought she preferred it because it was pink.  Because the whole deal with special interests is that the kid has them for a significant amount of time.  Not a few lousy months.  Not a new one all of a sudden.  Who can keep up with that?

On Wednesday, her bus home from school was late.  And when I mean late, I’m saying that she got on at 12.15, and at 1.30 there was still no sign.  I called her teacher to check it had left on time.  It had, and she contacted transport to find out what was going on.  They were stuck in traffic, having gone back to a previous stop for something they’d forgotten.  Finally at 2.00 the bus arrived.  It was too late for us to make her occupational therapy session, which is only takes place once every two weeks anyway.  Not great.

Pudding’s 4 year-old bladder simply couldn’t take such a long ride.  I felt awful for her, because I knew she would have been desperately trying to hold on.  Normally the ride is 45 minutes long, which is pretty tough on young kids, but adding an extra hour to that when you can’t understand what is happening must be awful.  She seemed pretty nonchalant though, and got changed after some extra long hugs.  Yes, I needed to get my clothes changed then too.

With fresh clothes and no plans for the afternoon, it wasn’t long before Pudding was itching to go out.  Spectrummy Daddy emailed with the suggestion of the book store, and I leaped at the idea.  It has a train table for Cubby, princess and Sesame Street books for Pudding, and a coffee shop for me.  It isn’t very often we get win-win-win for the three of us!

Pudding became enamoured with a girl eating a cake-pop.  Okay, the cake-pop was pink, I’m pretty sure the girl herself wasn’t that interesting.  It still hurt to see Pudding’s awkward advances rebuffed.  And it annoyed me that, due to her allergies, I couldn’t treat my girl to a delicious cake-pop when she’d had such a bad day.  I took Pudding over to the Sesame Street section to distract her.

Then she saw it.  An Abby Cadabby doll.  Some other kid had already got to it and pulled off the tags, so I had no qualms about letting her play with it while we there.  Cubby was content with the train table and randomly pulling books of the shelves for me to pick up.  I was content with a bench and a vanilla latte.  And Pudding was content doing a galloping lap of honour with Abby Cadabby.  Every once in while she’d canter over and tell me something about Abby, and I lapped up the moment of happiness in what could have been a very bad day.

Only then it occurred to me just how thrilled she was with Abby.  How Ernie hadn’t been mentioned at all.  How I didn’t have the thirty dollars or so to buy another toy, and even if I did, I couldn’t just get everything she wanted.  She loved that Abby, and I was going to have to part them.  Curses!

When it was time to leave, I carefully explained to Pudding that we were leaving, and Abby had to stay in the store.  She began to cry and jump up and down, so I quickly took the toy and put it on the highest shelf, then grabbed both kids and got out of there quickly.  In the car, for the next 20 minutes or so until we picked up Daddy from work, all I heard was:

“I want Abby Cadabby.  Want Mummy to get it.  Got to the book store Mummy for Abby Cadabby!”

I tried to console her with the fact that Ernie was at home, but that just fueled the fire.  Ernie’s reign is over.  Abby Cadabby rules now.  We heard the demands right through bedtime.  Finally I came right out and asked her:

Me: Pudding, do you have a new special interest? (Before you say it, I know!  I should not try to be smart with someone who is probably much more intelligent.)

Pudding: Yes.

Me: Well, what is it?

Pudding: Abby Cadabby.  I want her.

So there you have it.  She threw Ernie out of bed, but then reluctantly took both him and Upsy-Daisy.  Reminding us all the while that, in fact, Abby was the one she wanted, and I should go to the book store for her.  And, you know, repeat for last night.

I know we’ll end up getting her the Abby doll, because we’re suckers for special interests, and for putting smiles on that kid’s face.  But I’m determined to make her work for it in some way.  I want her to learn that belongings have value, and you need to earn them.  We’ve never had much luck in the past with reward charts, but I wonder if this would be enough of a motivator to work.  Any tips?

Advertisements

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

March 25, 2011 at 7:09 am

Is there an app for that?

with 10 comments

One of my reservations about the iPad was that Pudding would become antisocial.  Our goal is to keep her engaged and interacting as much as possible, so I feared that she might hole herself up in her room playing games.  To counter this, I ensure that the only apps on there are of educational value, and I put a password on the device.  It is also possible to put a timer on which sends the iPad into sleep mode after a certain amount of time.

I’m pleased to say that these things haven’t proved necessary.  She has been very good about asking to use the iPad, and is willing to stop when I ask her.  More often than not, she is showing me a picture she has drawn, or how much better she can write her letters now.  She enjoys being in the same room, and has generally been so well-behaved that I removed the password altogether.  She still asks me if she can use it, even though she can operate it herself.  I like that.

As for being antisocial, that hasn’t proven to be a problem yet either.  One of the things she likes to do is go on YouTube to watch Ernie sing the Rubber Ducky Song.  From there she navigates to other favourite clips (don’t worry, there are settings to ensure she only watches appropriate material).  The other day she brought the iPad to me, and said she wanted to put trains on for Cubby.  I was really impressed and touched that she was thinking of what he would like.

I continued to prepare dinner, and after a few minutes of quiet, I went to see what was happening.  They were both lying on the sofa, side-by-side watching the iPad.  I can’t remember a time they have both seemed so content in each other’s company.  I stood still, wishing that my camera wasn’t in the basement, knowing that to go and get it, I’d alert them to my presence and disturb the moment.  I savoured the image, amazed that once again the kids had surprised me with their progress.  The iPad was actually encouraging them to be more social.  Who knew?

Then Pudding looked up and saw me watching her.  “NO!  I want Mummy to go out of the room.”  And just like that, I was reminded that there is still a way to go on her social skills.

Is there an app for that?

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

January 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Give and Take

with 10 comments

Pudding got Christmas this year.  That in itself is pretty huge.  She got that Santa brought presents in the night; some were for her, some for her brother.  She got that, she just didn’t always accept it.  She liked that Santa bought her various pink and princessy items.  She was cool with Father Christmas bringing Cubby trains and boy things.  But Santa had made a mistake with one present, and she has done her best to rectify that ever since.

A couple of months ago, we’d seen a Sesame Street book with a toddler’s “CD” player and discs.  It was perfect for Cubby, who likes Elmo, and music, and touching (scratching) any grown-up CDs and DVDs he can get his hands on.  We did not anticipate that within the few weeks between then and Christmas, Pudding would develop a new special interest with Ernie.

Special Interests are, well…special in our house. Even before the diagnosis, we’ve always enabled and cultivated these passions.   Of all the aspects of spectrummy life, special interests are the easiest for us to understand.  This is because both Spectrummy Daddy and I both have special interests now, and we did as kids too.  In fact, not having special interests would be unusual for our progeny.  You try telling Spectrummy Daddy that Batman is not the greatest super hero of all time, and see where that gets you.  Just like if you even suggest to me that there might be a greater novel than Jane Eyre.  As a young child I was crazy about horses.  I’d even got a small collection of tack, but…erm, no pony.  Then anyone who knew me as a teenager remembers my obsession for Take That far exceeding the typical teenage infatuation.  I even went to the same concert five times in a row.  My parents were enablers too!

So, at the time of purchase, there was no Sesame Street or Ernie for Pudding, she was enthralled with Upsy-Daisy again.  My parents bought another doll to replace the one she carried everywhere with her, and she was ecstatic with new and old Upsy-Daisy.  But she made more requests for Ernie, we found and bought a stuffed Ernie for her birthday, and that was it:  Ernie, Ernie, Ernie.  I must admit to feeling a little sad for Upsy-Daisy, at being so quickly usurped, but like Sleeping Beauty and other special interests, they still remain close to her heart.  Their importance to her just waxes and wanes.

So all this left us with a dilemma over the CD player.  In the end I decided to give it to Cubby.  It is Elmo, rather than Ernie, after all.  But the instant Cubby opened it, Pudding snatched it away.  One of the songs it plays is The Rubber Ducky Song, after all.  For the most part, he doesn’t mind.  He has plenty of other toys to occupy him.  When he decides he does want to play with it, a possessive Pudding isn’t willing to share.  It is usually around this time that Ernie decides he wants to ride on the back of Pudding’s bicycle, and Pudding graciously runs to assist him in this endeavour.

That is the other good thing about special interests, they make for great motivators.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

December 30, 2010 at 7:17 am

The Party

with 9 comments

A rubber duck.

Image via Wikipedia

On Saturday we held a party.  Now, you’d think as a Diplowife, I’d be a practiced and efficient hostess, but not so much.  As we were out of town for Pudding’s actual birthday, this celebration came two weeks late.  This would be fine, were it not for the fact that it was now a week before Christmas.  As a December baby, for Pudding the whole thing just clumps together, and as this party approached it became clear that holding a party this close to Christmas was just a bit confusing.

As usual, when our guests first arrived, Pudding became upset and very clingy.  We always have a 20 minute period where she needs to adjust.  As time went on, she settled down.  She happily made a craft with the other children, and enjoyed all the food, we had separate tables for allergic and non-allergic foods, which worked surprisingly well.  Pudding opened her gifts with glee, and had become so comfortable by this point that she happily went around giving hugs and thanking our generous guests.  Before long she was frolicking on  the floor.  I was touched by a couple of our friends saying how well she was doing.  It is always nice when her efforts are recognized. It is particularly welcome when people who don’t walk in our shoes try them on for a while.  Our friends had taken such great care to choose gifts that Pudding would love and be able to use.  I truly appreciate the thought and effort that went into their choices.

I served cake, but opted not to sing Happy Birthday.  The reason I gave was the whole too-close-to-Christmas-confusion thing, but a more honest reason is that I couldn’t find the candles and had no time to get more.  See, told you I was a poor hostess.  Nonetheless, we did have a sing-song.  As was clear to all by the grip she had on her new Ernie doll, not to mention the endless repetitive questions about said toy, Pudding has a new special interest.  I only wish I’d been able to capture on video the entire room spontaneously bursting into the Rubber Ducky song.  Everyone celebrating her passion was such a special moment for my girl.  Our girl.

I’ve talked before about how being a spectrummy parent can make me feel a disconnect with others, like a stranger amongst friends.  It is equally true though, that I’m gratified beyond words by the way our friends will show us that we aren’t walking this journey alone.  By Pudding’s next birthday, we’ll likely be living on another continent, but there will always be room for the people I’m honored to call friends.  And if they come to visit, you can guarantee I’ll throw a party.  Hopefully my hostessing skills will have improved by then!

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

December 21, 2010 at 7:06 am

Round and round

with 12 comments

The theme of the moment is going round in circles.  Pudding is really enjoying riding the roller coasters at the theme parks.  She is proving quite the daredevil, and the minute she gets off she asks to do it again.

We’re also going round in circles with conversation.  She has a thing about asking questions she knows the answer to repetitively.  She seems to have a real need to know that my response will always be the same.  Sometimes I get playful to get a conversation with her.  Sometimes, tiredness brings out my petulant side and I refuse to cooperate.

Pudding holds her Ernie (of Sesame Street fame) doll right up in my face.

Pudding: Who’s that?

Me: I’m not telling you who it is Pudding, you know who it is. This is endless.

Pudding: It’s not endless.  It’s Ernie.

How is it that every time I get fed up, she finds a way to pull me back in?  I suppose I’d better just sit back and enjoy the ride, even if going round and round makes me dizzy sometimes.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

December 8, 2010 at 9:11 am