Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘family life

B is for Balance

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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

Sweet Reward (at Hopeful Parents)

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Hopeful Parents

This post was orginally published at  Hopeful Parents.

Pudding’s reward chart had been working wonders, but there were still some activities which required extra motivation on her part. At the end of the week, she had completed 3 out of her 5 goals. Had we overwhelmed her with too many chores?  Or was this her way of testing to see if she would get the prize anyway?  The reward chart is so new that it is impossible to tell, we’re still in beta testing mode.

We decided that she would have a reward, but not the toy she would have acquired had she carried out all of the tasks every day. Our local ice cream shop has a sorbet that is gluten, dairy, and egg-free that we pass off as ice cream to her.  We knew she’d be happy with that sweet treat, as long as it was pink and had sprinkles on it.  Ice cream always has to be pink with sprinkles.

As Cubby took his nap, I suggested she accompany her Daddy (who is in charge of religion and frozen desserts) to get ice cream. She refused. Perhaps I wasn’t clear that she would get some too, so I let her know that she would, as a reward for her tokens. She declined once again. I explained that it was pink, that there would be sprinkles. Still she declined.

Maybe it was because of her separation anxiety monster. After a long stretch without the beast, it has once again taken hold of our girl. It seems that just as it loosened its clutches on her brother to enable him to sleep through the night, the monster returned to attacking her. Now she can’t sleep without me by her side. She flinches if I reach for my coat or shoes, and requires constant reassurance that I’m not going anywhere without her.

I suggested that Daddy could stay home and she could go with me. She rejected this idea too. By now she was upset, frustrated that we couldn’t understand what she was trying to communicate. Could it be that she no longer liked ice cream? I found it hard to believe, so I checked with her. Yes! She likes ice cream and yes, she wanted to go for some! Okay. Spectrummy Daddy and I were at a loss. Finally she let us in on the source of her sorrow.

“Cubby wants to get ice cream.”


Her brother.

She was thinking about her brother.

She was thinking about her brother!

My girl who has for so long lived in her own world, and refused to let her brother be a part of it, was upset that we weren’t including him on this treat. All the times I had tried, and failed, to get her to allow him to be part of her life.  Before he was rejected and ignored, now she wanted to share her enjoyment with him.  She was upset that he wasn’t included.  Here was my reward, and there is nothing sweeter.

We waited until he woke up, then the four of us went to get ice cream. We asked for two spoons for the strawberry sorbet, but it quickly became clear that she wasn’t prepared to let Cubby have any. A second serving was swiftly ordered for her brother, before the magic of the moment was lost.

Sharing each other’s world is enough to ask, they don’t need to share ice cream too.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

April 19, 2011 at 7:06 am