Today was a magical day, Hannah & I went to the jimjilbang where I had the opportunity to enjoy my time with her with no issues. Something that’s been happening with more frequency since the new year. Yay brain maturities!
Before I get into it, you need some info on her special needs. Hannah has a couple that makes our lives rather indescribable, we have almost no language we can share. She was born deaf, but we didn’t officially find out until she was 18mo, and has dysphasia, which we learned last year. It’s a language disorder that makes it difficult for her to retain(we think) and uses words in anything language related including sign. For instance, she has called me Mom or Mommy for two years, but if she’s remotely distracted I’m called Hanna, Shala(fav. teacher), or Ina, her au pair, and the like. It’s the same for everyone, including her Daddy. It’s the general belief that it stems from multiple surgeries in her infancy.
As you can imagine this makes life difficult, she doesn’t understand us most of the time and vice versa. However, we’ve made it work, and Hannah & I have worked on the Jimjilbang for a while with many frustrations, but we kept going. I believe(d) that there is an importance to her going there aside from having mommy-daughter time. She’s a smart cookie with a high IQ (language is not cognition), which can be detrimental at times. Number one is when she manages to outmaneuver you, her specialty. Number two, she has complicated thoughts that have no outlet aside from drawing and her limited language. Finally number three and the one that has had me worried for months, she takes in all around her, including the expectations for a woman’s body.
She pokes her belly in the mirror, a normal kid belly, and sighs or says that she’s sad and my heart hurts. She’s only 8, and I can’t use all those little tips on the internet or my own knowledge of what I wish my Mom said to me. Instead, I show her my lower belly with its pudgy glory, even pudgier than hers, and it makes no dent. So the next best idea I could think of was to bring her to the jimjilbang and let her see all the other bodies in the world. Larger women with rolls, cellulite, bellies, perfection, and those of a more average nature. I’m not sure if it’s making an impact, but I’ll keep trying. We did have that moment again today, thankfully she shook it off faster than usual.
This place has other benefits for her, things that she doesn’t get in the real world. Having people flat accept her and make it clear to her has never happened. They figure her for being dumb or somesuch usually. They also don’t typically go out of their way to be friendly without being patronizing. Part is that she is mine, and part of it is she is as sweet as much as she’s a pain, but they don’t often see the latter and when they do nothing is said. She enters that establishment, and she is kissed on the forehead, receives touched foreheads, and sincere smiles and praise, usually in Korean, but it doesn’t matter. She feels love from a group of people that can’t use English well either; it forms a connection.
I can offer her the feeling of independence and leaves me grateful and joyous, a luxury for special needs parents. She is one of the most resilient people I know, she’s had a lot of troubles in her life. So when I see her desolation in social situations, it tears me up. I want to go grab that kid off the playground and yell for them to stop being a little bully quite often. Another thing of gratitude is that she’s getting older where other children will put up with her not understanding the magic game made up right then. I’m so tired of her being ostracized, but she doesn’t have enough communication to do a playgroup, even the therapeutic ones. I’m her mom, I’m her friend, and I don’t give a frack about anyone who judges me about the friend thing. She needs people, and the three of us are it.
Hannah Chess: is a game that is a lot of fun. You put all your pieces on your side, any order, and then take turns dramatically killing the other team with leaps, surrounds, and all other fighting styles learned in TV & the Renaissance Faire. There’s a variation where she tells you exactly how she wants you to move & kill. Those are my favorites because she turns it into a play where all her pieces plot, play, fight and argue about their strategy, it’s hard not to laugh. Even for the staff member watching today.
Scale-Free Update: The cravings today were incredible. I noticed some extra me and freaked out wanting to check my status, see what the cookies had done if I should stop all of this and go back to working on my metrics. While I’m aware that eating cookies would increase girth, I keep eating a couple a day I’m in a mix of diet and not and it doesn’t help that I feel like an Orc Lord from That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, though I am pretty sure that I will not resort to cannibalism. Unless I get superpowers from it, then it’s a strong maybe.