Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘parent

Trying to Be a Superhero (Guest Post by Spectrummy Daddy)

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One of the hardest things we’ve had to deal with as parents has been the separation anxiety of our kids.  Pudding had some terrible times when we would leave, and Cubby’s is much worse.  Mummy can’t even leave to go take a shower without him screaming out for her.  It’s a bit off-putting to be honest, and we always make sure that when we have date-night that the kids are asleep before we leave the house.  There is no need to subject our babysitter to that kind of torment.  (Plus, it keeps people volunteering.)  When Pudding asks for Mummy to put her to bed, I have to deal with the screams and temper tantrums that come from Cubby not getting his mummy.  He will calm down, but not before rattling the windows with his histrionics.  And when I have to put Pudding to bed, I get a lot of the same thing.

The thing is, I know how hard my wife works, and she is always there for the kids when they need her.  When Cubby falls down and hurts himself, she’s the one that picks him back up.  When Pudding needs a glass of milk, Mummy does that too.  That probably has a lot to do with it.  As Pudding says, “Daddy has to go to work.”  However, I have to admit, it’s very terrible sometimes being the one left out.  I always fancied myself as a Superhero, trying to do best for my kids, and that they would appreciate me for it, and want me to be there to comfort and hold them.  Maybe it’s because they’re still small, but I don’t see that happening yet.  It does break my heart when in the middle of the night Pudding cries out and I go only for her to say over and over again: “I want mummy.”  Or when I put Cubby to bed have him cry, “I want mummy-cuddle.”  Instead of Batman, I feel more like Aquaman.  A character that’ll do in a pinch, but not the guy you want to carry the story for long.

I shouldn’t complain.  I still get hugs and kisses from my kids, we play and rough house together, and I know they love me.  It’s just sometimes I wish they’d come to me for help and support instead of bothering their mother, who really needs a break.  I’m sure it’ll happen.  Until then I keep hoping that when Cubby and Pudding have an issue that needs solving, I’ll look to the sky and see the bat-signal waiting for me.  And you better believe I’ll get there as fast as I can.  Hopefully in the Bat-mobile.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

January 18, 2011 at 7:22 am

Time Out

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Friday was one of those days. You know, you probably have them yourself.  Every time you start a job, it ends up creating more work.   Nothing gets finished.   If I’m to tell the truth, and there is little point in doing otherwise, my whole week had been like that.  Somehow all the things I didn’t manage to get around to earlier in the week turned up overdue on Friday.

I knew it would be a day of chores, and Cubby would not be pleased about that.  At least Pudding is at school all day on Friday.  To appease Cubby, I decided to take him to the Tot Time at the local community center.   It seems every mother in the vicinity had the same idea, and after 20 minutes of overload, we retreated.

I stopped off for cleaning supplies on the way home, then it was time to give Cubby a snack before nap time.  As he finished eating, Pudding’s teacher called- she’d had diarrhea and needed to be collected.  10 minutes before we arrived at the school, Cubby fell asleep.  He woke up as soon as his rambunctious and very healthy-looking sister got in the car.

Parents already know this, but to those of you who aren’t aware, I should tell you that a nap of less than an hour is worse than no nap at all.  It fills the child with a demonic energy that compels him to create chaos and destroy calm.  When you throw in Pudding, that mix is combustible.

I spent the day putting out fires, and by the end of the afternoon I was burnt out.   Any patience remaining was extinguished.

Spectrummy Daddy came home from work and took over, but my bitter mood lingered.  I was shouting at the kids, and they were feeding off my toxic energy.   As I put Pudding in yet another Time Out during dinner, I had a moment of clarity: I was the problem here!

With a dramatic flare that teenage me would have relished, I stormed upstairs with the declaration that I was on Time Out.

I sat on my bed, and after a few minutes the tension drained away.   I could see the funny side.  I contemplated giving myself one minute for every year of my life, but anything after 10 minutes would have punished my husband as much as the children.  I went back downstairs to finish my food.

I swallowed my humble pie as I offered everybody an apology for my behavior.   Really though, the next day that hits me like that, I’ll do it again.   I don’t know why Pudding hates them so much: Time Out is just what I need.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

January 10, 2011 at 6:59 am

Man in comfy shoes disturbs mama bear

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Out to dinner the other night with my mother, we had a conversation where I claimed that the general public crticizes my parenting on occasion, and she refuted this, saying it was mainly in my mind.  She does make a valid point, for the most part other people have more to concern themselves with than how I raise my children.  Also, for the most part, my kids reserve their most challenging behaviors for at home, and are generally well-behaved while outdoors.  Very occasionally though, we have an almighty meltdown with gawping witnesses, and I maintain that their snide looks and hushed comments are not imaginary on my part.  Sadly, I only had to wait until the next day to be proven correct.

On Friday we went to the Magic Kingdom.  Some of you may gasp in horror at the thought of taking spectrummy children there, but it provides just the right level of stimulation for my sensory-seeking girl.  Throw in princesses galore, and no fewer than eight places where she can eat, and I declare it Pudding Heaven.  On a good day.  She started out fine, but as the day wore on, it became too much for her.  She is in a strange environment, with unfamiliar social demands, and a ruptured schedule.  Throw in constipation, and all the fronts converge.

At Disney they have a playground which I hoped might offer a little respite from potential sensory overload. It looked just like one of those soft play areas at the mall, so Pudding dutifully took her shoes off.  I made her put them back on, because the outdoor surface would have hurt her feet, and the crying began.  She ran away (my major don’t at a theme park) and began kicking at me when I tried to get near the shoes.  Daddy had no luck either, and she began screaming and spitting in protest.   By this point she was beyond words, and beyond reason.  We took her to the safety of the stroller to get calmed down.

I sat down in front of her, meeting her flying fists and kicking legs with soothing words.  It takes all I have to remain calm in such situations, but past experience dictates it is the only way to deal with these outbursts when she gets too far.  She eventually stopped, and began asking to go back to the play area again.  I whispered that she would have to wear her shoes, and she began screaming.  When Pudding was first born, the midwife at the hospital in Luxembourg told me she had never in her 32 years as a midwife heard a child scream as loud as Pudding.  She continues to get louder with age.  Perhaps she has a future as a warbler of the Mariah Carey/Celine Dion variety, but right now it is just ear-piercing shrieks.  It is unpleasant, painful even for those with sound sensitivities (sorry Cubby) and I never feel more conspicuous than at such times.

I sat on the kerb in front of her, waiting for the storm to pass.  Next to me was a girl, with her father on the other side.  He gave a sideways look, and then told his daughter that this was not how she was to behave on time out, and she would be punished for behaving like this, with another glance at me.  Now, I’m okay with you using my kid as a cautionary tale, but he wasn’t saying it to educate his daughter, he was talking deliberately loud enough to let me know what he thought of my techniques.  He was talking loud enough for others to hear several feet away.  He was challenging me, and like most animals under assault, I was primed to fight back.

Had there not been my ever-observant daughter and this man’s own child to watch, I might have unleashed my fury at the man.  But I can’t require my overwhelmed child to gather herself together, and then display the same reaction myself.  And I’m not going to criticize somebody else’s parenting in front of their child, unless that child is being threatened or hurt.

Man in the street: I’m not asking for your compassion, I’m not even asking you to stop judging, I’m just asking that you keep it to yourself when I’m in the middle of dealing with something.  Even if you think I’m dealing with it very badly.  It is my kid, my parenting, my problem.    She needs my focus, you don’t deserve it.

As it was, I concentrated on what my kid needed, and a couple of minutes later she felt better.  We had a fantastic time the rest of the day.  It probably deserves a whole other post.

You don’t have to walk in my shoes.  I’m very glad about that, you aren’t cut out for it.  The compassion, understanding and sensitivity would be beyond you.  Besides, your feet wouldn’t look as pretty as mine in sandals.

But man, you disturbed a mama bear.  Your lucky I was in cub protection mode, because if you’d got me on attack, there wouldn’t be anything left of you now.  Or your comfortable shoes that you are so fortunate to be wearing, but aren’t half as awesome as mine.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

December 5, 2010 at 9:14 am

You know it is going to be a good day when….

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Earlier this week, in my usual miserable morning mood, I almost invented a very bad game, along the lines of, “you know it is going to be a bad day when…”  Like many terrible ideas though, it turns out the exact opposite is pretty good.  Tell me in the comments how you know it is going to be a good day.

I’ll start you off:

You know it is going to be a good day when….

Spectrummy Daddy brought me a perfect cup of tea as ordained in our spoken contract of marriage, even though he is exhausted from not spending the night in his own bed.  And today he did not accidentally put vanilla soy milk in it, so I could actually drink it.

Pudding walked up the stairs on the school bus with alternating feet, and then put on her seat belt all by herself.

Cubby ate all his yoghurt before calling for Elmo.  He used a spoon for some of that.

Cubby asked for a piece of Pudding’s cereal, and she gave it to him without my having to repeat the request.

Of course, there could have been some things that fell in my previous category, but today I’m going to focus on it being a good day.  I might just be right about it.

Now, in the comments, tell me all about you good day….

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

November 18, 2010 at 8:44 am

Pressure (by Spectrummy Daddy)

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Pudding, Spectrummy Daddy & Cubby

Spectrummy Mummy thought I did a decent job with my last post, and didn’t scare off too many of her readers, so she said I could do it again.  I thought I’d do one on something we can all understand: Pressure.

You see, all parents have pressure that they deal with in bringing up their kids.  Are they eating enough?  Are they sleeping enough?  Are they wearing warm enough clothing?  Why are they sniffling so much?  And should that be that color green?  These are things all parents think about, and worry about, constantly.  The pressure of knowing you have the life of a helpless child in your hands.  Honestly, we threw a birthday party for Pudding when she turned one not only to celebrate her birth, but to celebrate that she was healthy and we hadn’t done anything too stupid yet.  Then, the pressure gets greater.  Are they walking on time?  Have they started speaking on time?  Is it appropriate language?  Should they be playing properly with other kids by now?  How soon should they know their numbers, letters, shapes and colors?  It’s all so terribly hard.  And it just keeps getting harder when they start school.

Now Spectrummy Daddy, I know there is a point somewhere in this diatribe.  Can you skip to the end? Sure thing.  If you’re reading this, you’re probably feeling this pressure, and much more.  Being the parent of a special needs child (whether on the autism spectrum or other special needs) is always going to be filled with more pressure.  You see, we have so much more we have to deal with, and naturally that pressure is going to build up inside.  What if we can’t afford all of the proper treatments that my child needs?  What if money starts to be a problem?  Am I doing enough for my child and my family?  And then if you go out to dinner with the family, what happens if there is a melt-down?  What do we need to do to keep the kids occupied?  That’s something that Spectrummy Mummy and I deal with when we go out with Pudding and Cubby all the time.  We also realize how easy we have it.  Pressure of this kind can break you, and it can wear you down.  I’ve seen it with the best of them, and I know it’s happened to me.

Remember, kind reader, that you need some time for you.  Don’t feel guilty about leaving the kids with the sitter so that you can get out.  If you’re married, go on a date with your spouse.  See a movie, and get out of the house once in a while.  Everyone needs to re-charge their batteries, and you’re no exception.  Hopefully you’ll be a bit happier, and a little more healthy as well.

One last thing on pressure. It’s not always a bad thing.  Pressure changes coal to diamonds.  Pressure cookers allow food to be prepared faster.  “Pressure Drop” by The Specials and “Under Pressure” by Queen are great songs.  Pressure from a hug helps to calm my little Pudding sometimes, and pressure is what helps us make advances in understanding autism, how it works, and how we can better prepare our children for the world outside without losing what makes them unique.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

September 30, 2010 at 6:35 am

Letter

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The hospital where Pudding was diagnosed recently sent out a request that parents whose children were diagnosed there write a letter to other parents of children who are just now going through the process.  I don’t know if they will get to use my letter, as we have to keep anonymous.  However, the internet has a magic way of getting a message where it is needed.  It did it for me a year ago, and now I want to pay it forward.  Here is my letter:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

July 28, 2010 at 7:27 am