Monday, May 13, 2019

Mommy Day

Memorable conversation yesterday.

Hubby: What day is it today?
Calder: Sunday.
Hubby: Is it Mother's Day or Father's Day?
Calder: Father's Day... (silence means wrong - try again) Mother's Day.
Hubby: Yes, it's Mother's Day. Who is your mother?
Calder: God (?! )
Hubby: Where is your mother?
Calder: In China (?!)
Hubby: What is your mother's name?
Calder: Calder.
Me: "Mother" is the same as "Mommy". What is your Mommy's name?
Calder: Brenda!
Me: Where is your Mommy?
Calder: (points to me)
Hubby: So today is Mommy Day.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Pick him up

On the train with Calder and a baby started fussing in his pram. What started as whinings became shrieks as both parents watched and then tried to distract him. And all the while I was repeating in my head, "pick him up, pick him up, pick him up..." because I didn't know how long Calder could take the baby's sharp crying. (Sounds of distress or anger agitates Calder.) Finally, the Dad reached to pick up his baby. And the baby instanteously stopped crying. And all was well again.

Friday, April 19, 2019


It drives Calder fairly crazy if there's a missing piece.
Woe is she who does not count before she starts him on a puzzle.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Type 2

A friend suggested letting Calder type his journal, so that's what I started doing, in addition to his weekly typing of memory verse/s. To cut down the amount of work, I get him to type his past journals. It turned out to be something he enjoys, because he wrote those journals, and he has always liked reminiscing. I realised that starting this seemingly simple project is really introducing a whole new set of skills.

He learned:
1. How to use the Shift key to make capital letters.
2. Where punctuation marks like comma and full-stop are located.
3. How to use space-bar to separate words.
4. How to use Backspace to cancel an entry.
5. How to move to next line using Enter key.
6. How to move the mouse to put the cursor where it's needed.
7. How to left-click to open a new word document...

Skills that we take for granted. And I'm thinking perhaps somewhere in the future, there's a quiet office where he can work, keying words one at a time. Because he would be confused by noise and intentions at a cafe, and gardening would be too hot. I wish there are more job options for autistic persons in Singapore, jobs that

1. Require minimal verbal communication.
2. Are repetitive yet progressive (potential to learn new things).
3. Are set in calm environment (not noisy or hot or urgent).

Is this ever possible?

Sunday, April 14, 2019


Calder's teachers suggested training him to type on computer. I was wondering what's worth making him type word by word. Bible verses! So I downloaded the app Remember Me that blurs out text bit by bit and that scramble words, and started memorising meaningful verses with Calder.

The procedure:

1. Decide a Bible text for memorising.
2. Copy and paste it onto Remember Me.
3. Get Calder to type out the verse/s on computer.
4. Align the text for easy memorising.
5. Print out two or three sets of this text.
6. Paste around the house.
7. Use Remember Me's blurring function to memorise the text.
8. Use Remember Me's puzzle function to recap the text.

Today's memory verse (aligned):

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall; 
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40: 30-31

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Hiding Place

Calder was volatile today, vacillating between grinning and howling. In other words - moody. Is it because the weather was hot? Because I was busy and couldn't give him my full attention? Because he didn't sleep well last night? Something unhappy that happened in school? Because of raging hormones at 14? Or, like what his sister suggested, food allergy? It's another Mystery with a capital M.

What I do know is that when my autistic son gets moody, I have to drop everything I'm doing, and bring him into the dark and quiet bedroom, sit beside him and try to transmit my calm to him. I pat his shoulder rhythmically or massage his fingers one after another, in the attempt to sync my calmer heartbeat to his anxious ones.
This only works if I'm truly calm. So the worst thing that can happen is when he gets more and more agitated and I lose my patience. Because when I use the impatient voice, it gets magnified into his mad rage.

And so time stop while I try to assure him of my love. We listen to serene music or I sing to him. Today, the song that I repeated over and over again was "You are my Hiding Place". And it occurred to me that God has given me this soothing singing voice for the purpose that when my autistic son is born, it can comfort him.

And I'm back on the bed in the dark and quiet room, sitting by him like I mean to stay there forever.

May God give him peace.

"The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms."
Deut 33 : 27


When Calder read aloud, he would pause at the end of a line on the page, but never at the end of a sentence. For the longest time, I had to remind him that he needed to stop at the full-stop. Then I found a good solution - to take turns reading with him, one sentence each. This way, he became sensitive to the full-stop.