Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What we did in June when we werent in New York

While me and a couple of my colleagues were returning back to the hotel tonight after a long day of work , I was thinking of an email I got from an old friend about why I had not written in my blog for so many days
I replied to him that I have been too busy being "inlife" to be "online"

While that is true, I miss blogging terribly.

My posts provide me the great opportunity to go back and look back at how things were last year or the year before that

A greek philosopher said that those that journal get to expereince happiness twice - and this is true of this 21st century blogger typing on her Ipad, as it was true of that old greek dude scrolling on his papyrus

Once you start to blog - you realise that all the years you did not blog are gone
Sometimes I look at old college pictures ( thanks to facebook ) and I wonder -

who was I then?

What did I feel about things?

Was I happy? Did I know I was happy ?

Al those pre-blog years that I cannot relive -

For now those years are just re-interpreted through the eyes of a 36 year old woman, not seen through the eyes of a 18 year old

And this is why though its midnight and I am in a hotel room at the end of a day that began at 5 am, I am looking at my photos and facebook updates to gather up this month , before its lost

My phases as mother

I do not know if this is true for you - but I am not the same person all the time
I usually have three phases as an autie mum - this third phase I discovered in June

Incarnation one: The Active mum :

 I floortime with dedication everyday.I read a lot about autism . I look for new methods. (In my recent phase of this I actively researched The Son Rise Program.)

Incarnation two: The Guilty Mom :

I am burdened by a feeling of not doing enough. Either my workload is high, or I am traveling a lot or we have guests at home. I feel incredibly guilty and keep thinking about time and the scarcity of it in my life. (Sometimes I do not even have any distractions to blame)

Incarnation three : The Passive mum :
This phase is one that I saw recently this month . I do not think about therapy or autism. R is just my child and not my child with autism .

Though this phase has passed – I really enjoyed it.

I did not clock watch – felt happy lounging on the couch watching TV with Dh after work.

I did dinnertime, bed time and bathtime, cuddle time with R – without a THOUGHT to “building neural connection”. Or analyzing R in terms of Floortime levels or anything like that. ( I think this is how many Autie mums think )

In a TV show I was watching recently , an actress goes to live with the Amish.

She asks Amish woman with exasperation “don’t you ever get tired of never being able to want anything?”
The Amish woman replies “don’t you ever get tired of always wanting something?”

In June I had times when I felt like the Amish woman with regard to parenting .I did not want anything.

It was nice.

Is this the kind of mother I would be all the time  if R did not have autism ?

While I enjoyed Incarnation three very much( which would seem intuitive as it involves very little work) , I actually enjoy Incarnation one very much as well !

Even though being an active autism mum involves lots of hard work and thinking.

 I think its because I actually enjoy Floortime very much. I can literally see R blossoming when we “play with purpose” and as he expresses new ideas and thoughts it gives me an incredible window into his world.

Plus it makes me feel connected to him.

Not just in a heart connection – as mother and son.( thank goodness I always have this )

But in a mind connection – as mind to mind

It was interesting to discover Passive mum in me and even more interesting to discover that active mum is just as much  fun

Often in Autism-land, mothers wonder how we can have a chance at happiness – as we have to work so very hard.

The implication being that the presence of so much work will leave no room for happiness.

But I wonder sometimes if this hypothesis is true and if a life full of hard work can also be full of happiness


DH and I decided this month that we would do more things outside the house.

So we decide to go on a picnic on the bank of a little stream we have by our cabin

To our great surprise – R is elated to go. "We are going on a picnic.. we are going to have a great time” he tells us

This unusual loquacity is explained later as R is reading a book with Miss Gypsi on picnic

I make a list of all the things to pack in a picnic basket and R helps me pack our basket .

We cross everything off the list and off we go

In accordance to the script we have a great time

We walk in the stream, look at frogs and butterflies

There is a storage unit nearby . Each unit is identified by a number which thrills R no end

Canoe trip

The Open Doors organization sets up a canoe trip which is also a lot of fun .

DH and I decide that we really need to get a little boat ( one in which R can stand as he is very eager to do this on our canoe and keeps pleading that he wants to go to Papa so that he can walk around the canoe )

We go swimming every weekend ( barring the one that we are in New York ) even though the water in the pool is chilly.

We have decided to do something outdoorsy everyday this summer

They say that one of the best treatements for ADHD is being outside
They say one important condition for neuroplasticity is aerobic exercise and we are taking full advantage oof the summer

Enjoying process without results

R HATES to color - DH and Miss Gypsi wisely deduce that its because he cannot color well

So DH get him a lot of paints and just leave them hanging about for many days - he loves looking at all the bottles

Then one day he asks me himself to open a bottle

And last night I ask him if he wants to come with me for a walk or play on his computer and eat trail mix ( this latter is his favorite thing ). But to my joy he says

"But I want to paint"

He is producing no Picassos - I can tell you

However he is enjoying painting which is the whole point

Asking for something 

R almost never asks to buy something - but this one time we are at Marshalls - and he INSISTS on getting red shoes and he really preens in them saying " my new red shoes"

How adorable is that

Scripts as the scaffolding of language

R is using a lot of scripts these days. Some professionals believe that scripts should be discouraged

But we actively encourage scripts. ( thanks to some great advice from Dr Nancy Kauffman)

 Scripts are the scaffolding of language. Especially for children like R who have many thoughts and not many ways to express them

Plus his scripts are very very appropriate

The other day when I am scolding him for going on the road he sobs through his tears "Dont worry Blue "( as he is clearly worried )

He uses his ABA apps ( kindergarten.com)  on the Iphone a lot as well . He is forever making little observations about the world around.

If he has a cut on a hand - he will show it to me and inform me piously of my duties "you put a band aid on a hurt"

Joint attention is just an amazingly blossoming skill

Sometimes his observations are very very apt.

But sometimes they are very funny – The other day while I am making tea in a saucepan, R points to the pan and says “that is a frying pan” .

I lift him up to show him what's inside ( tea) and ask what's inside

"Bacon" he replies
For instance the other day I am talking to my MIL – who expresses her worries on R’s future .

I tell her how Dh and I always approach just the next step and no further and that I don’t know what he will be but we have a lot of faith in him

I have to laugh when R who has been on the Ipad and not appearing to pay any attention at all to what I am saying

He takes my hand and belts out a Blues Clues Song “ you can be anything that you want to be

And he is right


Yuji said...

I love all of your outdoor activities -- so many wonderful bonding opportunities. And what a nice way to handle the painting... no pressure, just letting him discover it. I need to do that more often.

I do wish that I had started blogging sooner. Even the event of just a few years ago are already being reinterpreted by my present self.

Þorgerður said...

Lovely... and lovely pictures :)

Puffin said...

That was simply lovely to read, K!

Bright Side of Life said...

Lovely post! Since you are all types of mum, that must mean you have a good balance in your life! :)

Anonymous said...

Whoever the 'They' are you quoted - they are very wise. ;) Being outside and exercise are indeed very good!

I enjoyed being a phase one type - perhaps overly attentive to every opportunity to nudge our children toward the next level. Fortunately I did learn to be in phase 3, sometimes.

Lovely, as always, K.


autismand said...

A joy to read, as always.

Dr Asit Kumar Bhattacharyya said...

as usual u write well,the active mom,the passive mom part & the happiness is really charming,u r a happy,contented accomplished & charming mom. Be with the Nature,[outdoor activities].I was advised by a palmist to be with nature as all cure of all ailments r to be with 'nature'.luv ur blog,luv u.---asit k bhattacharyya

Lizbeth said...

I love how he liked the letters on the storage unit. My son would find that fascinating as well. We've been outside as well--it's amazing what wonders it is for them to be out running, jumping, etc. and how well they sleep afterward!!!

It looks like you've been having fun--yay!

Lisa said...


BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

Big smiles!

danette said...

"you can be anything that you want to be" I just love that, he is so right! :)

Rachel said...

I love the photos... and all of the activities that you do do as a family!

And I love his painting - how fun that he is enthusiastic about it.

And that last line... oh so true!

Anonymous said...

aw!! I love your ending and I'm sitting here with a huge smile on my face. I understand exactly what you mean about blogging and I loved reading your thoughts about the stages of an autie mommy.... and I crave that mind connection. It's harder for me to get that with so many distractions and another little guy...but so rewarding when it happens. I was thinking that even when we work hard, there is tremendous happiness in those connections, in the sudden insights, etc. For me, that is most rewarding and makes everything worth it.

Allison said...

I love the pictures; you all look so happy outside. It reminds me of how much I want us to get a canoe!
It's great that he's enjoying the painting and you have such a beautiful attitude about it.
(btw - I commented on your NYC post twice because I didn't realize you had enabled comment moderation. Feel free to delete one of them because I think they basically say the same things. Sorry about that!)

Mallika said...

Made me smile. Happy that you have such a wonderful child that brings out such a wonderful mom in you.

Gwennifer66 said...

Love your blog. My son also asked for those red shoes! pick them out and was really excited about them too.

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