Well, Yule was uneventful. As a was the new year. I just wasn’t feeling the holiday spirit. I can’t tell if I’m depressed or ill, or perhaps a combination of both. The last few days I’ve felt like absolute shit and have wavered between a terrible migraine and wanting to throw up. I’m restless and exhausted and having strange dreams every time I lay down. I really don’t feel like doing anything other than laying in bed and knitting or watching TV or something. I’m just not up for celebrations.
We went out for a New Years party with one of Curtis’ co-workers, the same one we’ve been going with every Sunday to play “Call of Cthulhu”. By 10pm it split into two main groups: crafters and gamers. We rang in the new year with a combination of wet felting and Munchkin.

I was moderately pissy because I had a horrible headache the whole time I was there and couldn’t partake in any of the wonderful food and drink until the last hour, at which point I stuffed my face and took down several heavy drinks inside a short period so I could try and catch up. It sort of sucked up until around ten to midnight, and I felt like the third wheel in a gathering of 20 people. I’m not very good at being social and I’m very much out of my element in an event filled with childless twenty-somethings. We were the only people who brought a baby, let alone had one, and everyone acted shocked that she was our fourth and not our first.
I miss my friends, but I haven’t seen them in a long time, they’re all celebrating elsewhere and many haven’t even asked to hang out since Zephyra was born. Babies have that affect on people sometimes.


I do not understand how Xan became such a drama queen, when Tempest can be so gracious. How is it that you can raise two kids exactly the same way, with all the same rules, with all the same surroundings, lectures, lessons and instructions… and yet they can turn out so completely different in situations that people normally attribute to parenting? Like gift-receiving, for example. Tempest was gracious and polite with all her gifts, while Xan complained about nearly every last one. SOMETHING was wrong with each of them, including the baby doll that he initially loved to death. Now he hates it because it has a button on its chest. I refuse to raise ungracious, selfish children.
After unsuccessful coaxing and explaining, I finally put my foot down about his whining and told Xan that he has to be gracious with every gift he receives, no matter what, and can privately hate on it later. He reluctantly agreed and decided he liked his gifts after all. Ugh.

Tempest was kind and gracious throughout the holidays and honestly didn’t complain at all. Maybe it’s just a reflection of her growing maturity. She seems to be very old to me all of a sudden.
In the last few months she’s become body shy, but only at certain times. When her medication is in effect, for instance, she won’t change in front of me and will walk out of the room if I start changing. If she wants a bath with Xan she’ll put on her bathing suit and refuses to let anyone in the bathroom if she has to go (this includes if someone is in the shower and she has to go… she’ll either wait or use the upstairs one in mom’s house). At night she’ll happily walk around without a shirt on, but only when she’s getting ready for bed. The other night she came in to give me a kiss goodnight and I realized her whole upper body just looked different. Like, her collarbone and shoulders area. It’s like she suddenly started getting clavicles, and her neck and face had started lengthening. It took me by surprise, as though it had happened overnight. I told Curtis about it and he agreed that she did look a little different… but we can’t really put our finger on why.
The following evening she came out crying, saying that a dress she wanted to wear was hurting her chest. The thick material was too rough for her nipples, she said, which had suddenly become sensitive. I asked if I could see and feel briefly to make sure she didn’t have a cut or a rash, and she was okay with that… and I felt a little tiny bump under one of them. Holy shit, she has a breast bud.

I’m not sure how I feel about this, because in spite of the fact that she’s brilliant, her emotional maturity has not caught up by any means. Sometimes it’s like she’s still four or five in a social/emotional way, even though her brain is working at this level far into her teens. I worry that an early puberty will seriously screw her up. She’ll have this grown up body and a little girl’s brain until (and unless) they catch up to each other. Maybe puberty will make her emotional brain catch up very suddenly and it won’t be so bad… but what if it doesn’t? I have this deep fear that she’ll be one of those Aspergers kids who stays “little” forever… just a little bit too far behind the social curve to fit in properly. I know it seems premature, she’s only eight and that’s very much still “little” in a lot of ways… but it freaks me out. I can’t tell if it’s genuine worry or if it’s general mom-style paranoia. She’s ridiculously smart, even her tests showed she was off the childhood chart for IQ while her “emotional IQ” (her ability to function socially) remained several years behind in the “significant delay” level. It’s made me worry ever since.
I know most high functioning autistic kids have that delay, and many catch up to themselves sometime in their early or mid-teens… but it’s not that comforting when I’m sitting here in front of my nearly-into-puberty eight year old who can still have a full blown temper tantrum one minute, and be too shy to bathe in front of her brother the next.

I can’t not worry about it, because I want her to have the most normal, unaffected-by-disability life possible.
I tried to bring up the topic of puberty with her again yesterday, just to make sure she knew what was coming. She was noticeably uncomfortable with the line of conversation, something I haven’t noticed in her before, and repeatedly and aggressively told me that she knew this already, god until I finally relented to letting her go. Sometimes everything seems to be so normal and other times her differences are glaring… she can cop an attitude with me about the puberty talk but also be the little girl who hasn’t said the words, “I love you” without prompting in three or four years.
It’s not as bad as it sounds. She expresses her love in different ways, and we’ve learned to look for it elsewhere, but it is an obvious reminder of how her brain functions just slightly off the track of social norms.

We had a three hour fight with her yesterday afternoon because we realized she’d managed to evade taking a bath for THREE FUCKING WEEKS and was refusing to get naked, even by herself, for any reason, and had a throw down screaming tantrum about it (see what I mean about this weird mix of puberty and immaturity?) until I finally told her that if she didn’t pick a time that evening to bathe, I would have to strip her down and bathe her myself. Finally she decided that 6:10pm would be a good time, and actually took a bath on her own. We had to agree not to come near the bathroom, lock the door, use the upstairs if we had to pee, and knock before entering so she could shut the curtain.

Meanwhile, Xan is very much a typical five year old boy with his constant craziness, and the endless, “I’m booooooooored” and the night-time tantrums while he tries to stall for more time spent awake. He’s a ridiculous ball of energy and can’t survive without an audience for his antics. Back to that drama queen thing again. Yesterday he got frustrated with the new remote control car that Tempest and him got for Yule, and he kicked it over a hump, effectively destroying it.
I was so mad I gave him a lecture about being respectful to your toys, even though I knew he wasn’t listening.
I was so mad I didn’t even want to see him for the rest of the day.
I was so mad that conversing with him now requires a two drink minimum.
Fortunately we spent the extra five dollars for one of those, “no matter what happens to it we’ll replace it no questions asked for 20 months” things, so we can go get another one later today. Though I’m mad enough not to actually want to. Uggh.

Baby is crawling pretty well and is getting past the frustrated-at-everything stage. Last night we also found a tooth poking through on her lower gums, so that may have had something to do with it. The last few nights she’s been up until 2am, but happy as a clam just crawling about screaming and clapping and being absolutely precious. She’s adorable so I can’t be mad, but I really wish she’d fall asleep a little earlier.

I bought an avocado the other day and mushed pieces up so she could play with it. She wasn’t interested in it at all and is obviously not ready. I mean, I could probably feed it to her if I really wanted to, but I see no reason to do that if she’s not keen on self-feeding yet.

This one was from a few days ago while I was finishing up a pair of socks I was knitting.

These socks.

They almost fit Tempest, too… just a little baggy. She laid claim to them before I finished, but they were just a little bit too big to be comfortable so I’ve been wearing them instead.

It freaks me out a little bit that Tempest and I can share the same pair of socks with relative ease.

Comments

comments

26 Comments

  • I always thought it was interesting how it seems that when girls start puberty early, they always seem to get embarrassed, no matter how open or nudity-friendly their family was. My sister started before I did, and she is nearly two years younger so that puts her starting at about 8. We had both grown up having naked time running around outside and had bathed with both parents until about 6. She got all shy once she started growing breasts and hair, and started spending copious amounts of time alone in the bathroom. When I started, I got shy, but not quite to that degree. I disliked getting walked in on in the bathroom, but would change in front of my mom and such. If you’re thinking about a menarche party when that hits, just be a bit careful. We grew up in a super sex-positive house and were exposed to our mother’s menstruation rituals and such, but my sister still pitched a huge fit when my mom tried to have a special dinner and a “period cake”. If I remember correctly, it ended up thrown on either the wall or floor. Any allusion to bleeding was met with utter humiliation and tantrums. Hopefully you won’t run into that!

  • syrup_tea says:

    I started puberty around 7-8 and I remember being SO self-conscious about my body that I would take baths with my underpants and a singlet on, and made sure the door was locked. (Why didn’t I ever think of a bathing suit?! Heh). I’m already terrified of going through puberty from a mother’s side and our child isn’t even born yet. I think its a good thing to just let her have the space and privacy she needs. I hope you can find a way to work through it all together which will suit her needs too.

  • bluealoe says:

    I’m glad you got through the holidays. I totally know what you mean about not feeling the holiday spirit. For New Years I stayed home and….I don’t even remember what I did. Nothing special. I’m proud of you for being social. 🙂

    Intellectually I know 8 is not incredibly young to begin puberty, but considering I didn’t even start until I was at least 12 (and I didn’t have hormonal problems or anything), the idea freaks me out a bit. I mean, I remember a four- and five-year-old Tempest running around without any clothes….wasn’t that just, like, yesterday?

    I don’t have any direct experience with children on the autism spectrum, so I can’t say I understand the worry about emotional maturity being behind. But I can understand that it’s scary. *hugs*

    I was so mad that conversing with him now requires a two drink minimum.

    This made me laugh. Reminds me of converdations with my 5-year-old nephew.

    Those socks are AMAZING. I love the…lacework?…on the top. I’ve always been astounded by the ability needed to knit socks.

    *hugs tight*

    • admin says:

      Happy new year, BB. What has it been now… like, 16 years? Damn. Oh hey I used your return address to send you a card.

      Socks: I’ve done a few pairs now and sock knitting varies A LOT between patterns. These ones were pretty easy and the heel was actually quite reasonable, whereas the “Twisted” socks I did earlier this year were a pain in the goddamn ass and I hated doing them. The “lifestyle toe-up socks” were easy and fun to do and would be a pretty good pattern for a newbie (they were my first intro to socks). They knit amazingly fast on two circulars.

      • bluealoe says:

        13 years, I think. Geez, hard to believe. I’m glad the box arrived, I was starting to wonder.

        I don’t think I’m up to socks yet, the only things I’ve managed to knit are scarves and baby hats. And I never did get the hang of circular needles.

  • azdesertrose says:

    Ugh. Parenting a pubescent child is a pain. I feel for you.

    Z is so cute.

    Love those socks. I wish I could knit worth a damn, but my knitting and crocheting always winds up too tight.

  • Those socks are fantastic!! Crafty woman!!

  • altarflame says:

    Those socks are great 🙂

    I hate that kind of ungrateful bullshit, too. Aaron is the absolute worst for just humiliating me with his rudeness, and I really think it’s more obliviousness and a lack of sophistication, with him, than anything – like when my mother in law gets them plastic dollar tree knick knacks and camo ball caps and pierced earrings for kids without holes, it does require a certain maturity to act gracious (or even, sometimes, to not laugh…she is really REALLY bad at gifts). Isaac is the one that picks awesome gifts apart for flaws, and is never satisfied, which is worse – but that at least usually happens privately such that he’s no making relatives feel bad :/

    It’s been extremely surreal for me to watch Ananda basically become a woman before my eyes over the last couple of years (SHE IS 11!!!) and I developed at the same pace. I imagine it would be even harder to accept or familiarize yourself with as a concept for you, since you were way later.

    I don’t want you to shoot me for this, but…there can’t be any possibility you’re pregnant again, can there? I know it was a long shot to conceive Z and can’t recall if you got your IUD back in yet. I just hear you talking about unexplained nausea and headaches and, well, I’ve had some closely spaced kids so it springs to mind :p

  • gardenmama says:

    Scott’s feet are only a little smaller than mine too, but that doesn’t freak me out so much because I’m a fairly short woman and I have no reason to expect him to not be an average size man. (I hope, my husband is only 5’8″) So far he hasn’t shown any body consciousness in front of my or aversion to my nudity. He hasn’t wanted to change clothes in front of other people for about a year.

    I do worry that sexual maturity will hit him before he has the emotional maturity to handle it. After all, most neurotypical teenage boys aren’t mature enough to handle it 😉 I worry that he’ll never have enough impulse control for me to trust him in any situation that isn’t supervised by at least two adults! Even on 2 different ADHD meds we haven’t seen much improvement on that front. I worry that he could be too easily manipulated by his peers to do whatever someone else wanted. I guess these are your typical parenting fears, magnified because they aren’t typical children.

  • Anonymous says:

    breast buds are just the start and this is not too early

    Both of my girls started puberty in 4th grade (around age 9). My eldest just turned 12 and she is really filled out in every secondary sexual characteristic but has not yet hit menarche. Which is totally fine with me, although the mood swings for the last couple of years have not been all that fun.

    I think the body shyness is a part of the emotional changes going on and not necessarily connected to an actual physical characteristic that she finds embarrassing. American Girl books has a great release on puberty that both of my girls have found helpful.

    Hey and that picture of Z with her tongue out – not looking so tied anymore!

    • admin says:

      Re: breast buds are just the start and this is not too early

      Thanks. 🙂

      And, yes I wrote about Z’s last appointment with her OT a little bit ago and how, given her improvements, it’s more like her tongue was “Functionally” tied rather than physically.

  • I can wear my sons socks and shoes and he’s 10. It’s mind boggling

  • mammaopal says:

    Is it possible that she’s started growing pubic hair, and is embarassed for anyone to see?
    I was 8 when my breast buds popped up, and it was a week later that I started growing pubic hair. It was quite shocking to me at that age, and made me super self conscious about public pool change rooms, or my Mom seeing me nude.

  • facethemoon says:

    Man I am not ready for our kids to hit puberty. Also, your baby is growing! I can’t believe she’s crawling and eating food already. Insane. It was just yesterday, wasn’t it?

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