Thursday, March 11, 2010


Momheimers is an advanced condition of motherhood caused by the gray matter seeping out of the brain and altering the color of the hair. I must be in the early stages of Momheimers between having enough gray hairs to leave a bald spot if yanked and doing a couple of doofy things this past week!

It all started a week ago Sunday. Steve and I recently became members of the church to which we switched in February 2009. The pastor planned to welcome us at the service. Before I left for choir practice, David and Pamela were ready and Steve was in the shower--all systems were go for an on-time church arrival.

The choir sits in the front of the sanctuary, so, when we take our seats, I usually look for my family. To my great shock, they were not in the usual spot. I craned my neck and strained my eyes but still could not see them! I could not imagine why they were so late on such an important day.

The pastor launched into the announcements and got around to recognizing the new members. He did not see my family, and, since Steve travels often, he asked me if Steve would be attending church. I shrugged my shoulders and said, "He's supposed to!" which drew a titter from the congregation. I racked my brains trying to figure out why he was uncharacteristically late. I figured that one of his bosses from earthquake-stricken Chile had him on the phone, so I stopped worrying.

After the choir left the sanctuary to sit in the pews, I grabbed my purse and suddenly realized, I HAD TAKEN BOTH SETS OF KEYS! After I finished laughing at my own expense, I showed everyone the keys to exonerate poor Steve. I was so thankful I had assumed he had a legitimate reason for not showing up and did not fume my way through the service.

I knew the lost keys probably upset Pamela, so I brought home the children's bulletin which she enjoys filling out. She read the title, "Jesus Is Sad about Jerusalem," and said, "Just like Pamela and the lost keys." What a clever segue into expressing her feelings!

Our faulty intersubjectivity (shared perspective on the situation) could have caused me to blow up at Steve for blowing off church. Missing important information leads to judgmental attitudes like the people in these funny commercials about a man in the hospital and a man cooking dinner. A few days later, I hurt Pamela's feelings for this reason!

Steve saw the outer wrapper of a package of bacon in the trash. Pamela sometimes microwaves herself a couple of pieces of bacon for breakfast. He grew alarmed because we bought the bacon the night before. For some strange reason, he assumed she had eaten an entire package of bacon for breakfast. He asked me to have a talk with her.

I should have investigated this more carefully, but I was multi-tasking with some hard deadlines. I should have reflected that Pamela leaves half of her French fries when full. She gives me the rest of her Skittles when she's had enough. I should have realized the sudden change in behavior made no sense and asked her what she ate for breakfast. I should have checked the trash can myself.

But, I did not.

I said, "Pamela, you ate too much bacon for breakfast. Eating too much bacon will make you fat."

Pamela completely understood what I meant and started crying, "Fat like Homer Simpson. No more bacon!"

I had not expected such a strong reaction! I consoled her, "You can have two pieces of bacon. Two pieces are fine."

She stopped crying and said, "Two, not three."

Suddenly, I realized I was operating under a faulty premise. I headed to the kitchen and saw the outer layer of the packaging in the trash. Where was the inner wrapper? In the refrigerator, of course! Pamela had eaten only three pieces of bacon for breakfast and put the rest back in the refrigerator.

Boy, did I feel like a chump!

There was a silver lining in this breakdown of intersubjectivity. Pamela expressed herself well enough to revise my understanding. Three years ago, she could not have done that!


Corrie Howe said...

That is wonderful that she is learning how to communicate her feelings better. My son is very high functioning, but he still has difficulty articulating his thoughts and emotions.

I was so proud of him when he once said, "Mom, you know how I feel about dogs? Well that's how I feel about going to this person's house." He was saying he's anxious.

Prince Andrew and the Queen Mum said...

WOW. what a great post. in so many ways!

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

She is definitely expressing herself well! I'm especially impressed by what she said about the keys. Amazing!

The Glasers said...

Thanks, Queen Mum!

Corrie and Tanya, it really is a miracle because she has struggled with aphasia all of her life. Her ability to speak finally started to improve after doing the association method when she turned 15. Her ability to communicate thoughts and feelings improved after starting RDI when she turned 18.

Corrie, I love your son's analogy. He should some wonderful dynamic thinking there!

Chrissy said...

Thanks for a great post. I also suffer from Momheimers...I think we need a support group!