Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘time

In Her Own Time

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We have another milestone, friends. Pudding is learning to tell the time. Pudding had no interest in learning how to tell time for…well, for some considerable time. We’d tried using her special interests, visual timers, crafting our own clocks, workbooks and ordinary telling time books, toys, apps, and any possible thing I could think of.

But it wasn’t her focus. I was looking at seconds, minutes, and hours, and Pudding was more fascinated by days and months. While I was busy in the details, Pudding once again took me by surprise and approached time from another angle.

Last June we met with a new doctor. Pudding asked him his birthday (and will now always remember it), and then she let him know what day it fell on. And then surprised us by knowing every date we asked her. She appears to have an exceptionally accurate mental calendar (and seems equally frustrated that the rest of us don’t!).

So now, days and months not only had meaning, but were meaningful to her. We add our activities to the calendar as much as we can.

But language, as always, was still confusing. As we cuddled in bed at the end of the day, Pudding would ask, “What are we going to do today?”

So’d answer that we would do nothing more today but go to sleep. And tell her what to expect for tomorrow, as much as we ever can.

One day last month, Pudding rose in her early-bird fashion, and reminded us that she was going to a party. Ah yes, I told her, but not yet, not for a long time. Later. At 3 O’Clock. 

And for some reason- that may or may not have to do with delicious birthday cake- this time, she wanted to know more. I’d show her my clock and tell her when the little hand was counting down the hours…8,9,10,11,12,1, then, 2, then time to go.

We found a Hello Kitty watch that happened to have hands with different colours. She wanted to wear it, and would answer when I randomly asked her the time.

This week, Pudding was finding school tougher than usual.  On Monday I collected her earlier, but after that, I asked her aide to use this new tool of time to help her get through the day. I’d remind her that I’d be there at 1, and she could see on her watch how close that would be. Her anxiety dropped away, and she could once again focus on her schoolwork. Not with ease, but with practice.

This incredibly useful tool that gives her more control to navigate her day independently. She doesn’t have the precision yet with telling time that she does with knowing dates, but I know we’ll get there soon. As useful as it is, this isn’t a milestone that could be hurried along the way. But like all the others, we’re getting there in her own time, in her own way. And not a second, minute, or hour before we need to.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

February 26, 2015 at 5:31 pm


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For most people, life goes on.  The years are punctuated with transitions, but for the most part time seems linear.  Day by day, month by month, then year by year, time passes.  Not so for us.  Developmental disorders play tricks with time.  Some things are s-l-o-w-e-d right down, for better or for worse.  There is truly something magical about witnessing childhood in slow-motion.  Every breakthrough is a special gift.  And just when you think you start to understand, you’ll find yourself living through something that you thought was left behind.  Then suddenly your kid is catapulted through progress, and a new phase of development begins.

Cubby is the exact age that Pudding was when we noticed her language difficulties.  So many of the things that we noticed in Pudding at this time are emerging in him.  It becomes impossible to tell which things are sensory processing challenges, which are behaviors imitating his sister, and what might be autism.  Time will tell, but time moves slowly haunted by these ghosts.

Foreign Service life plays tricks with time too.  The line of time becomes a series of connected cycles.  Move, adjust, live, prepare, move.  Somewhere between prepare and move, the whole process takes you back to the beginning.  Right now I’m living through an almost constant feeling of déjà vu: the same events, places, people, and emotions from two years ago.  I say that I don’t know if I’m coming or going, but they cycle moves on even if I feel trapped in time.

Cubby’s IEP meeting took place in the same place as Pudding’s first one.  The same school and the same room.  I sat at the same table.  So I wasn’t present for that meeting.  My mind was somewhere two years previously.  Afterwards I’m finding it hard to forgive myself for not pushing harder for more services for him.  Of course, we are moving, so Cubby won’t go to school there.  Things will be different for him, but when I flashed back, it felt eerily familiar.  Defeated and voiceless.

On Thursday we drove by the apartments I talked about here.  I still remember sitting on the couch next to Pudding, trying to see if she would look at me when I called her name.  Like time paused back then, the details are so vivid…the fabric of the sofa, the taste of salty tears, the too-bright orange of goldfish crackers that she could eat back then.  I’m bracing myself for our return; we’ll stay there for a week before we leave for South Africa.  I snapped out of my reverie to tell the kids that we would be going there soon.  Prepare.

Pudding looked out of the window as we passed by.  “It’s got a swimming pool.”

I can’t speak.  Does she remember?  It was two years ago, she was only 2 1/2 years old…how can she remember?

And a playground.”

She remembers.

I wonder what else she remembers.  At the time she didn’t seem to pay attention to our distress.  I thought she didn’t notice when I cried, and I cried there a lot.  I know better now.  I know she is always taking everything in.  Maybe she can’t respond appropriately, maybe she doesn’t have the language to tell us, but she remembers.

If I think I’m having flashbacks, I don’t know what it must feel like to her.  We may be going through a cycle, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change it.  Record some good memories over the painful ones.  So in these last few weeks, I’m winding down the therapies, easing back on commitments.  Making the time about them.  Celebrating time, instead of fearing it.  So when these flashbacks return, as they will in another cycle, we’ll welcome them.

Before we know it, we’ll be flashing forward to something new.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

June 26, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Cosmetic Fix

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a powder, lotion, lipstick, rouge, or other preparation for beautifying the face, skin, hair, nails, etc.

cosmetics, superficial measures to make something appear better, more attractive, or more impressive.
Spectrummy Daddy and I went out on a date on Friday night to celebrate our anniversary.  We get out together every 2-3 months, which is seldom by anyone’s reckoning.  Our plan was to get the children to sleep and then I would collect my friend B, who was babysitting.  I’m convinced the kids knew we had plans to ditch them, because they took even longer than usual to get to sleep.  By the time I got Cubby down, it was already half an hour later than when I said I’d pick up B.  I hadn’t tidied the house, changed clothes, or done my hair and make up.  I left Spectrummy Daddy to tidy the house while I tidied myself up, as best I could in less than 5 minutes.
I got dressed, very quickly applied foundation, powder, blusher and mascara when I came to an abrupt halt.  No lipstick.  I no longer owned a single lipstick, or lip gloss.  In the five years that I have been married, and (for the most part) not employed, I’ve seen no reason to buy make-up.  The make-up I owned before getting married has lasted me until now.  I know, you’re supposed to get new stuff every few months or so, but it always seemed like such an unnecessary luxury on one salary.  As I don’t wear make-up on a day-to-day basis, Pudding doesn’t really know about cosmetics, which I’m okay with.  I don’t want her to be insecure about her appearance.  I want her to know that pretty is meaningless, and she is truly beautiful, inside and out.  On the odd occasion that she has seen me dressed up and wearing make-up, I get a “pretty mummy” compliment from her, but she doesn’t know the artifice involved in my appearance.
This does not mean she has no interest in make-up.  Presumably to her it just looks like art supplies, and Pudding is an artist.  Lipstick is particularly appealing with the colours, twisting mechanism, or little dabbers and brushes.  So over the last few years, every single one of my remaining lipsticks has been smeared onto walls, clothes, and carpets, until finally on Friday night I discovered there was no more.
All evening, I just didn’t feel right.  My appearance was off, and it made me uncomfortable.  Suddenly my clothes felt tight, and I felt all the weight of a stone (14 pounds) heavier than I was when I got married.  I know how vain that sounds, but I don’t think of myself as a particularly vain woman.  These days I cut my own hair, and I don’t go for facials, massages, manicures and pedicures, like my friends.  I can’t seem to figure out how to devote enough time to myself, when I already feel that the kids don’t get enough of me.
Last week I showed Pudding my wedding photos.  I asked her who she saw, and she said, “Daddy.”  I asked her if the lady was Mummy, and she replied, “no, that’s not mummy.  That’s pretty mummy.”  It made me smile, but there is a difference between the woman in those photos and the one I am now.  Not just a difference in beauty, but a difference in self-esteem.  That woman knew how to take care of herself.  This one is too busy taking care of everyone else.  That woman was fit, relaxed and energetic.  This one is dull, tired and worn out.  Once in a while, I miss the old me.
On Saturday we went to the mall, and I visited Sephora, which has been my place of worship since I lived in Paris.  I bought products for my lips, cheeks, eyes, and skin.  I even bought new products I’m going to have to google to find out how to use properly.  Apparently five years is a really long time in the cosmetic world, things have changed.  For the quarter of an hour or so in there I concentrated solely on me.   It took me back to lunchtimes on Oxford Street picking a new eye-shadow to go out that night.  It felt really, really good.  And anyone who says you can’t buy self-esteem has never seen me spend $75.60 and fifteen hedonistic minutes in Sephora.
I do realize though, that these are nothing more than “superficial measures to make something appear better, more attractive, or more impressive.” I know that I have to get some time for myself, exercise, and find some way to get the kids sleeping well so that we can too.  But until then, I can put my mask on, and feel good about myself.  Because a cosmetic fix will work, for now.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

November 15, 2010 at 7:05 am

I want to tell you…

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“I want to tell you

my head is filled with things to say

When you’re here

all those words they seem to slip away”

Harrison, George.  “I Want to Tell You”.  Lyrics. The Beatles “Revolver” Capitol Records, 1966.

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Written by Spectrummy Mummy

July 29, 2010 at 6:55 am