Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘pride

Art Matters

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For three years now, I’ve opened her school bag to see if I can gleam from the contents what her day was like. My powers of deduction aren’t exactly at a Sherlock level, but I use each clue to tease more conversation from her. My goal is to add some words beyond the script of, “you played with your friends at school.”art

Some days I get some real evidence: her artwork. I’ll ask her if she was learning about snowmen or flowers, or Hello Kitty (because Mr. Holmes himself would deduce that she was education at the Hello Kitty Centre for Learning and Cute Fun!). But for years she didn’t care. She is about the process, not the end result. Art was done. Finished.

For so long, I’ve praised her art, asked her questions about it, showed it to others. But something was always missing. She didn’t care. She didn’t care if we thought it was good or bad. The only way we knew she ever thought it was good or bad was that she was a mistress of censorship, and much of her work was scribbled out as soon as it was completed.

That thing that Cubby seemed to be born with- a pride in his efforts- just seemed to be missing in her. And while parenting Pudding is a welcome relief from the “look at me, look at me” antics of her brother, I wondered if she would ever feel that pride. Pride in herself, pride in what she could do.

deerstalker

It was important to me that she felt it. So even if my words were never heeded, I would take that artwork from her bag and tell how good it was. I couldn’t make her care about her achievements, but she would always hear that we did. Let her hear us singing her praises even if she never wanted to join in our melody.

And then things changed.

Maybe it was being in a classroom with other little people who loved their work and showing it off. Maybe she knew that to compete with a sibling who wants all of our attention, she’d better seek some of it. Maybe all our words sank in. Maybe it was just time.

First she started to show me her work. Then she let me add it to her wall.

And then I guess I missed some one day, and I found that her art collection on her bedroom wall had grown by two pieces. They were fixed so neatly to the wall, that I at first assumed her daddy had added to the gallery. Only I found the box of adhesive on the floor, and I know he would have put that out of reach of the kids. I checked, but it wasn’t him.

When I asked, Pudding confirmed that she’d put her pictures on the wall. I could elicit no further details, but you don’t have to live on Baker Street to deduce that she put it there because she liked what she’d done. She placed it there with care because it is important to her. Her art matters to the most important critic of all.

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Written by Spectrummy Mummy

February 4, 2013 at 7:57 pm

The Package

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The Package of forms from the hospital is just as heavy as last time.  Its bulk doesn’t comfort me, though they are blank, I’m scared to complete them.  I quickly hide them in a drawer.  It loiters in the drawer, unopened, for three months.  I know it is there, but I will myself to ignore it.  Finally, one week before the appointment, I have to open it, can put it off no longer.  Lucky that I did, there are forms for her teacher to complete, and there is only one day remaining before Spring Break.  I quickly tuck the rest of them away.

We’ve completed these same forms before.  That time there was a sense of urgency.  In my desperation to understand, I pushed away the overwhelming thought of what my answers would mean, and just responded to the questions posed about my girl’s development.  Just questions, they don’t define her.  Then those forms were evaluated, and more evaluations took place, and a label came which still doesn’t define her, but altered the course of our lives nonetheless.  That label brought answers, and understanding.  It brought recommendations for therapies that we just couldn’t afford.

It also gave us a new starting point.  A ground zero from which to chart her progress.  And this is the part that scares me.   The first time around, we compared her development with her peers, now we compare her to her younger self.  Yes, there has been progress, but has there been 20 months of progress?  In our game of snakes and ladders, are we moving forward?  I can’t help but reflect that had we been able to follow their guidance, there would have been much more of that elusive progress.  The feeling as familiar as the package of forms: Guilt.

Guilt is debilitating.  It leaves me prone.  I must fight it, because she needs me to keep moving forward so that she can too.  We do the best that we can, with what we have.  That maxim motivates me.   My armor.  I size up my enemy again: Guilt.  Nothing compared to the opponents my girl faces every day.  The best that I can do right now, is simply to fill out a few forms.  It isn’t easy for me, but like my girl, I try my best.  Time to open that drawer.

I did open that drawer on Tuesday.  There was no filling out the forms though.  Every time my attention was elsewhere, a pair of supervillains intent on destroying the house, my patience, each other, the world took over.  Eventually when peace was restored with bedtime, I opened up the envelope again, and got to work.  I don’t remember what answers I gave the first time around, but I suspect many things remain the same.

But there are so many things those forms don’t measure.  A burgeoning sibling relationship, the ability to work out what she needs even when her system is threatened, the capacity to make friends, flexibility in the face of disappointment.  So much more than I’d have hoped for the last time.  I just need to remember that for today.  I’ve been trying since the early hours of the morning.  I have the same worry and guilt as ever, but now mixed with pride and hope.  The heady cocktail of a Spectrummy Mummy doing the best I can, with everything I have.  Just like any other day.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

April 21, 2011 at 5:38 am