Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘special interests

I’m NOT Batman

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Far removed from the terrible tragedy in Colorado, and insensitive media speculation that managed to both diagnose an individual without having met him, and demonize those on the autism spectrum, Batman means something else in our home.

Cubby, like his daddy, has taken a shine to Batman.  He likes other superheroes too, and knows all the real names and those of the villains.  Spectrummy Daddy even made up a superhero story for Cubby, and his alter-ego, The Neme-Sis (get it?).

A few weeks ago Grandma sent him some Batman nightwear (complete with cape) and a Batman action figure.  Spectrummy Daddy couldn’t fit in the pajamas, so Cubby was allowed to keep those.  I’m perhaps married to the only diplomat with a Batman toy on his desk.  Then again, Spectrummy Daddy showed up to the consulate yesterday in his Batman shoes, so I shouldn’t be surprised.  Don’t worry, he doesn’t wear them to his meetings- he has his Batman cufflinks for those.

Because I’m nothing if not an enabler, I taught Cubby to say, “I’m Batman” in the trademark growl.  It is obscenely cute.  It doesn’t matter if he is decked up like the caped crusader- my blond-haired, blue-eyed little bundle of mischief doesn’t make for the most convincing Batman.

Yesterday morning was a hard one for Cubby.  He opened up his bottle of whine before 5am.  Finally Spectrummy Daddy had had enough, and deemed Cubby not fit to wear the pajamas he so covets.

“Batman doesn’t whine,” he told Cubby.

So our very own Bruce Wayne lifted off his pajama top, and patting his belly growled at his Daddy:

I’m NOT Batman.”

That was the first time I actually believed he could be The Dark Knight.

Today he told Daddy that he could his Robin.  I’m not sure where Pudding and I fit into his scenario, but at least I know that when life in our own version of Gotham City gets a bit too much for us, we can always escape to Wayne Manor with a certain billionaire philanthropist.  Hey, my boys aren’t the only ones who can fantasize!

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

July 28, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Adventures with Hello Kitty

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When you are first freaking out about autism, and reading lots of books that freak you out even further, you learn that special interests are very obscure.  Your child will be set up for a world of mockery and ridicule because they have opted to become the world’s expert on stick insects or timothy grass.  You waste some of your worry hours on the fact that you hate insects and are allergic to timothy grass, but Pudding has saved me from this ordeal.  She saved me from a lot of ordeals, actually, by being the exact same child she was before her diagnosis.

Still, Pudding has the most typical special interests of any autist I’ve ever heard of.  For the last 18 months of her life, we’ve been living with Hello Kitty.  Nothing unusual about that for a five-year-old girl.  And lucky for us as a foreign service family, she has opted for a special interest that is about as global as it gets.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above begging for someone in Taiwan to send me something through the pouch, but it really is unnecessary.  I can’t think of anything she’d want that she couldn’t get here.  Well, apart from perhaps the Hello Kitty airline, or wine (because who doesn’t want their 5 year-old to be an alcoholic?).

A friend emailed me a couple of weeks ago with some game-changing information: a Hello Kitty store had opened at one of the malls in Johannesburg.  An entire shop.  Of Hello Kitty.  Oh my.

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Lady, if you go around wearing a Hello Kitty apron, you’re just asking for it!

We didn’t really need a store.  You see Pudding has Hello Kitty stuffed animals (including one that repeats everything she says!), board games and plastic toys.  She has t-shirts, sweaters, leggings, nightgowns, swimsuits, lunch boxes, flasks, a variety of bags, hair accessories, and hats.  I’m sure there is more that has slipped my mind.

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While she is wearing Hello Kitty and playing with Hello Kitty, she can watch her Hello Kitty DVD.  As far as special interests go, we’re lucky that she picked a brand that is truly global.  Imagine the trauma of moving your child away from her special interest every tour?

When we go to our local mall (which Pudding loves, but isn’t the one with the new store) we have a few points where we “check-in” with Hello Kitty.  There is the store that sells Hello Kitty jewelry that we look at, and another that sells bags and accessories.  There is the Build-A-Bear shop that features a Hello Kitty which we’ve somehow managed to avoid, and Woolworths selling Hello Kitty chocolate and party supplies.

I kept the Hello Kitty store secret, knowing full well that if she knew it, she would forever more only want to go there.

But after meeting Phineas and Ferb, it was her turn.  We didn’t tell her that was where we were going.  I’d aimed to take photographs of the utter delight on her face, but as soon as Pudding saw the shop she put the hyper in hyperactive and raced in ahead of me.

Fortunately for their sakes, most of the delicate items were behind locked glass, so Pudding contented herself with touching the shop assistants Hello Kitty apron until I rescued her.  I knew there would be no getting her away from what must now be The Best Place In The World without actually buying her something.  They didn’t have the bento box that Pudding has recently become obsessed with on YouTube, but they did have an egg shaper, which I bought to celebrate the fact that Pudding is no longer allergic to eggs.

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Good luck gettting me out of here.

We also bought a plastic cup, figuring that it would last longer than the day she had a Hello Kitty china mug.  It didn’t even make it that long.  Any suggestions for what to do with a broken plastic cup?  maybe storing her paintbrushes to combine another special interest of hers.

Still, nothing lasts in this world, and that is a lesson for all of us.  Including that feeling that I’d treated the children fairly- Cubby began demanding equal treatment until we caved in and got him a Captain America car.  Ping-pong, you see?

And all of this rampant consumerism explains why it is necessary for me to return to work.  I’m quite looking forward to it- as long as it doesn’t get too much in the way of my special interests.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

July 10, 2012 at 10:35 am

Give and Take

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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