FEATURED WRITER : Have you seen my sippy cup? By Rina Brahmbhatt

It's Monday, 7:30 am. The seven-year-old Muskan is seated at her pink Peppa Pig breakfast table, a small chair and a table, large enough to hold a water cup, and a small plate!  

As usual, I am running around, looking for Muskan's favorite sippy cup so she can have her water. Today, I can't find that specific cup, so I serve the water in a different cup. Muskan doesn't move. She simply stares at the cup as if it's some kind of alien object. It may seem like a foreign object, but she can not tell or even ask why her sippy cup is different

Who would have thought, even now, I am teaching Muskan how to drink water using a sippy cup? 

Muskan will only drink water from a sippy cup, and that sippy cup must be one of her preferred sippy cups. She is a typical girl, and many of her favorite sippy cuts are pink and include Dora, Peppa Pig, Lola, and Barbies! Our cups also have a wide variety of textures, smooth, rubbery, spikey, and even lego sippy cups! It is almost like we are building our own empire of sippy cups! 

I can tolerate and dance around little miss's demands at home, but it is becoming increasingly tricky at school. Her teachers are concerned with the safety issue. 

Muskan not only drinks water from the sippy cup, but she actually chews on the sippy cup lid. She treats these lids as jolly ranchers. She munches on these things till it's totally out of action. Sometimes, she chews so hard that she completely locks the sippy cup lid in less than 5 minutes, and the cover becomes useless. The teacher has complained that she may even choke on it if she is not supervised, so we need to get her off these sippy cups. 

I should be able to get help from an occupational therapist....who is non-existent in our life. Don't get me wrong - I have searched far and wide and browsed the internet and local mom groups, one zillion times with no luck. 

It's now 8:00 am, and little madam is still staring at the cup. I sit across the table, on the floor. I encourage her to take the cup and start drinking water so she can proceed to have her breakfast. She looks at me nonchalantly, totally oblivious to the situation, and continues to stare at me and then the cup. 

I now lean forward, holding the cup towards her mouth, and gently whisper, 'Sweet, let's finish the water so we can have breakfast. Mummy will find your cup later.'

She moved an inch, and start drinking the water, ever so slowly, sip by sip, and with each sip, I continue to prompt her. 

It is now 8;15 am, and I am already late for my train, and she, of course, is late for her school bus. 

I call the bus and inform them today; I will be dropping Muskan at the school. I don't call my office to tell them of my late arrival (I tell myself it will be one too many calls, and as always, I will be staying late and making up for the time I missed in the morning). With the logistics taken care of, I move onto the next task, breakfast. 

It is now 8:30 am, and there is no hope in hell for Muskan to finish her breakfast and make it to school at 9:15 am. 

I quickly slice her banana and feed her with the fork as I get her ready and eat my own breakfast on the move! I pack the rest of the breakfast and scribbled a note for a teacher to give her remaining breakfast. 

Fifteen minutes later, we are finally set and ready to go!  I tuck, Muskan into her car seat and hurriedly pull the car out of the car park, and the first stop is the school! 

I glance in the passenger mirror, see my princess in the backset, gleefully playing away with her favorite sippy cup she's just found in our car. I make a mental note to check the car for missing items!

About the Writer:  

Rina is a mom to 17 years old daughter who has Autism and is non-verbal. She is currently writing a book to share her experiences and joy of raising a special needs child. This featured story is an excerpt from her upcoming book.

This piece was written as Rina’s final assignment for a six-week Creative Nonfiction writing workshop.


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