For my B post, I almost went with Behaviour, but beyond saying that behaviour is communication, don’t have much to say about it. Instead, I’m going with Balance. Balance, or the lack of balance, is a constant theme in our household. Pudding, has a very poor sense of balance, but I’m going to talk about that another time. I mean balance in the sense of harmony, and that is something that is a work in progress in our family.
Pudding is attending an intensive program in an autism preschool. It is the most appropriate placement for her at this time, and yet I’m concerned that she doesn’t spend enough time with typically developing children. It is difficult to get the balance right: to ensure she has all the support that she needs, but also to strive for inclusion. According sufficient respect for her current needs, and adequately preparing for future goals. I have to remind myself that I’m not in charge of time, and rushing Pudding too soon would only be counterproductive.
Pudding is very fortunate in that she has a brother. Somehow, their age difference of two years is just right for them to play together now. He has almost as much energy as she does, which is fortunate, as I’m generally flagging from days that begin before 5 am. Now that Cubby is in preschool, his days are balanced too, spending his mornings with other children. We still see a lot of copycat actions, but he is tentatively trying his hand at more social interactions.
Getting the balance right for siblings is something that is a struggle for many of us. Spending time with both children together means being a referee. I don’t feel like either child gets the best of me at those times. And of course, spending more time with one means feeling guilty about the other child. We’ve made a start on this. On Saturday mornings, Daddy takes Cubby to play football (soccer). I dedicate that time to Pudding, and we get to have fun just the two of us.
As a rule, at the weekends we do things together as a family. With a week full of school and therapy, it makes for a nice contrast. I want this kid with her incredible memory to look back and see a childhood that she enjoyed, not just shuttling from one therapist to another. I feel responsible for that. I’m not just striving to find balance for our family, I am the balance.
This Mother’s Day I wrote a post for about.com about autism mothers. At the end of the post I wrote: “It is what we do, but also who we are.” Somebody commented that this wasn’t the case for her, that autism did not define who her child was, nor who she was as a mother. Clearly, she has a better sense of balance than I do. When I’m adding everybody’s needs to the scales, there isn’t always room for couple time, or even time by myself. Between our stay-at-home date nights, and time at the gym, I’m making efforts to take time for myself these days. You never know- I might just tip the balance one of these days.
This post is part of my A-Z series. You can find the rest by clicking here.