Words – Sun 19th April 2015

Words have troubled D today, both in writing her “News” for school and a moment of stress when she couldn’t immediately explain what was wrong at a particular moment.  It took quite a while to establish what was causing her angst and it was something extremely minor.

Words is also a song that could have been a Music Monday sometime, but it seemed appropriate to link it tonight, click here to listen.  (No surprises as to the singer!)

Anyway, back to D.  Whilst she is becoming an absolute whizz on a keyboard, she finds writing down words and sentences very challenging.

I remember the OT at D’s school saying to me that “we’d come as far as we can with her writing” and that we should “concentrate on keyboard skills”.  

Here’s an example:

  

(Those wavy lines aren’t photoshopping, just how the paper was angled.  I have no idea how to photoshop anything!)

To me, it seems a bit strange that someone was prepared to write off (as it were) her writing skills at age 8.  I know that by now in mainstream she’d be encouraged to join up the letters.   To me, her writing is readable, it’s more or less on the lines and she’s using punctuation appropriately.  Whilst she doesn’t enjoy writing, she does like to add in explanation marks – in the right place too.  Both Hubbie and I are aware of how challenging she finds writing so it is always a joy to receive a card or a note from D.

We did do more in the holidays btw but D being D only wanted to write a few sentences, anything more would have been met with even more protesting.  Contrast this with T, who composes match reports, stats tables and writes and writes.

She’s not looking forward to being back at school but she will enjoy it once she’s back in that routine that she needs, craves almost.  Same goes for T.

I hope everyone’s day has gone well Jx

  

Time Flies .. Sat 18th April 2015

… when you’re having fun”.  That’s what D said to me today, adding “that’s a saying”.

And she’s right, it has.  The last two weeks have just flown by, I’m sure the next six weeks or so until half term won’t, but such is life.

D said the above because I’d told her it was time to come in, away from the bouncing, soft ball play fun with T.  She always accepts that it’s time to come in, because I’ve said so, I guess it’s that voice of authority.

T, on the other hand, is very much into challenging and getting his opinion across, deciding to have the last word.  He will (and does) challenge when we’ll say that “ten minutes have passed”, or whatever it was.  “Ten minutes? How can that be ten minutes? It didn’t feel like ten minutes!”

Maybe it’s time to have a visual timer in the garden too..

Having said all that, T (who never used to like cuddles) has turned mega (mega) cuddly these last few weeks, maybe it’s because he knows that my jaw has been aching, or that he’s relaxed after the Easter break.  I don’t know but it’s quite nice after years of his head just resting on an arm to have a huuuuge cuddle when he comes in from a day of football fun – as was today.

This meant that D and I had our “girlie” day, which is always greeted with happy squeals by her.  Another good day for all, with a win in the game T played in, a win in the match they watched and “their” team won their Premier League match too, happy menfolk.

I hope everyone’s day has gone well Jx

  

The Long And Short Of It – Fri 17th April 2015

The Easter holidays have meant a more relaxed approach to day-to-day activities, no rush out of the door for T, followed by D some 45 minutes later.

One thing that shouldn’t be rushed, but sometimes is, is D’s hair.  She hates having it cut, so we’re restricted to a speedy ends trim every so often, speedy is the word as I only have a moment or so’s grace before she gets fed up and starts wriggling and squirming.  I’d love to do the girlie hairdressing trips with her, but she’d be way too uneasy and wriggly and any patience on the part of a hairdresser would be lost.  She wouldn’t be able to respond well to “head down” etc instructions.

So, much as it would make live easier if she had a shorter, layered cut, it wouldn’t work.  Not just the upkeep but the initial cut.

The downside to plenty of happy bouncing on the trampoline, followed by lots of pool time, is knots, lots of them.  We had a fraught 45 minutes or so with the Tangle Teezer this morning, trying (gently) to get those pesky knots out. 

Shampoo time is no easier, wriggle, wriggle, splash, tears.  Last year I even washed her hair a couple of times in the paddling pool, she’s very happy to get her hair wet in there, in the cold (brr!) but it got it done.

Thinking about it, the majority of girls at her SN school also have long hair, so maybe I’m not alone in D having these sensory issues.

T, on the other hand, is extremely straight-forward, a run through with the clippers every month.  He’s never keen and squirms all the time, saying it tickles and hurts, but at least it’s over with quickly.

Not that I’d want to clipper D’s hair …

Back to school on Monday for T and D, the week has ended well here, with no “worst bits” for either of them.  Quite surprising, with the knots drama this morning.

  

Fun – Thurs 16th April 2015

It’s time to think cheerful thoughts and some up our week in one word, Dr Seuss says it best:

  

It’s definitely been a Fun week, the weather has been fantastic, so good in fact that the pool came out early.

   

 

T much prefers his own surroundings during the holidays and we’ve made good use of the garden, what with:

Plenty of splashing in the pool, with and without 100’s of playballs

Bouncing on the trampoline, or all sitting on it playing “pass the ball” or just lying there, T under one arm, D under the other and watching the clouds and airplanes go by in a blue, blue sky

We even made “squashing the garden waste down in its wheelie bin” fun, a necessary but yucky job.

We haven’t felt the need to head out to busy, busy places – expensive too – just seeing the children smile and hearing their laughter has been enough.

Both T and D have caught up on sleep and those tired little faces before the end of term have been replaced with happy ones.

Have I got any more R2BC?

My lovely Hubbie.  It must be hard for him to leave a snoozing household this week but he’s always got a smile (albeit a tired one) at the end of the day.  He’s been reminding me to smile too, if a grumpy moment looms (they’ve not been many of them!). 

The Fitbit.  I was a bit of a relaxed, slightly lazy J the first week of the holidays and didn’t always hit the 10k targets, it was nice to just relax and enjoy the family birthdays and cake! Back on it this week though every day’s target met since Saturday.

And the sunshine.  It’s made all the difference.  Lots of fresh air in the garden, a few gardening jobs done and the only downside is that my grass seed laid has had no chance this week as we’ve been out there so much.  It has the look of a rather sparse tufty head at the moment!

  

Those little words – Weds 15th April 2015

T and D’s summer terms start next Monday, fortunately without inset days so we don’t have to deal with the sulks of whoever is returning ahead of the other versus the joy of the other one who has an extra day off school.

It was time to mention those two little words though – School and Homework – particularly for T as (yes) football-related activities mean that he’ll be out all day Saturday and most of Sunday.  Homework therefore needs to happen before then, which is totally out of his preferred routine of doing it on a Sunday.  So… we’re aiming for tomorrow – wish me luck!

D’s homework is that of News (which she moans and groans about as she finds writing challenging) but does it … eventually.  Also reading, something she has been doing in abundance and really enjoys.  She’s even picked up my habit of reading in the bath and the six Rainbow Magic library books I got out for her to read have all been done, she’s now part way through the book that was part of her Easter present.  T has finished his and it’s gone onto his (very) neat pile of similar books in the series.

I know with the advent of Kindles and such-like, there are concerns that children’s reading will dwindle and I remember reading a survey which said that some children are embarrassed to read a book whilst with friends, for fear they’d get teased.  Awful.  I’m very pleased that T and D have such a joy of reading, I read anything and everything at their age and I hope they continue to enjoy adventuring into whatever world the author chooses to take them.

Our day also saw some more splashing time in the pool, some trampolining and the occasional stroppy moment, but that’s okay, as long as they are happy (ish), I feel like the day has gone well Jx

(This is D in the pool, by D)

  

Small Steps Amazing Achievements linky – 15/4/15

Welcome to this week’s sunny Small Steps Amazing Achievements, as Jane at @OurLitEscapades and I co-host fortnightly, this week it’s my turn.
Thank you to everyone who linked up last week, we enjoyed reading your posts.
If this is your first time reading this, you can find out about the Small Steps Amazing Achievements linky here, we do hope you join in. Posts can be old or new and please don’t forget to visit and comment on other posts too.
Here’s the badge code if you’d like to “grab” it:
“Our
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Jane and I enjoy reading and commenting on your posts and sharing them via the #SSAmazingAchievements hashtag.
Here are Jane’s highlights from last week:

“At eight years old @mumturnedmom’s son has sat his first set of exams!

A five month old update for Little Miss over @BecomingaSAHM there have been some highs and lows this month

There has been some very positive progress over at @kiwimumdi and some nice family trips have resulted

and lastly there has been tomato seed planting over at @earlyrisingmum

We always find it difficult to choose a few to highlight as the posts linked up are always so wonderfully varied, but you can read them all here.
We can’t wait to read what your children have achieved this week.

Splash – Tues 14th April 2015

It’s not often that the pool is set up this early in the year, but the fact that the weather is glorious and the children don’t go back to school until next Monday has meant plenty of this:

  

And this:

  

The yellow/red/blue thing to the left of the pictures is our trampoline with an adjusted tent around it.  An absolute godsend for T to use as he doesn’t like being gawped at from surrounding houses, he can get in there, have a bit of a bounce and relax (it’s one of his calming mechanisms).

But back to the splashing!  It was all about getting as many play balls into the pool as possible and showing how they could both swim on their fronts and backs.  An element of competitiveness did creep in, but T seemed to accept that D didn’t want to “race” and a compromise was reached whereby he was timed for “laps”.

My floppy hat had an airing too.

 

 

And it’s meant to be just as nice weather-wise tomorrow.  It’s at times like this, that it doesn’t really matter that T isn’t open to the idea of venturing beyond our garden in the holidays and Minecraft was forgotten for a while too.

I hope everyone’s day has gone well Jx

Let’s Dance – Mon 13th April 2015

There’s two things I miss when T and D are off school:

The first is a coffee, sometimes with a magazine, sometimes without, but just me and my thoughts.  I always was a bit of a (ready?) “massimo decaf skinny mocha in a takeaway cup” fiend and seem to have gone right off instant coffee in the last few weeks, so it’s no understatement to say that I’m looking forward to a mocha appointment at the tail end of next week.

The second is music.  T objects to music channels on the TV and tbh we’re probably limited to Vintage TV as (to me) the music is better and the videos somewhat tamer.  So, the thought of a walk back from dropping D off/heading off to collect her with some tunes in my earworms is something else for next week.

Today though, we had some of the latter (and the former as Hubbie brought me a mocha home).  The menfolk headed off to an evening football match and so D and I have been having a bit of a boogie to some tunes.

She’s quite selective about what she’ll listen to and anything she’s not keen on will be met with moans and groans but, put on the right one and she’s singing along, strutting her stuff.

No pictures as we were too busy having fun.  A good start to the week and a happy D settling tonight.

It’s been a while since I’ve included a Music Monday so, to reflect the new happier me, here’s a smiley song:

When I first met Hubbie, apart from thinking that he was kind with a very shy 6-year old C, he had a lovely smile.  My late mother-in-law described it as “when he smiles, you don’t notice anything apart from that big grin” and she was right.

In my smile post, I mentioned why I didn’t, until recently, so it’s a lovely feeling that he smiles at me and I’ll reciprocate.  Happy days.

Insight – Sun 12th April 2015

When D received her autism diagnosis at aged 4.5 years, her speech was very, very stilted.  She was absolutely overwhelmed by the mainstream environment but couldn’t tell me, her body language spoke for her.

She has come a long way over the last few years, partly because she is now in the right educational environment for her (SN school, small class size, high staff ratio), partly because I’ve learned to second-guess both her and T, but mainly because she now has the words to tell me (sometimes eventually) whatever is troubling her.

There are times when she’s extremely stressed and can’t tell me what’s concerning her or what has happened, but also times when she’s relaxed enough to talk about how she feels about situations.

We had an example of this today.  We left the menfolk watching (yes) football and headed to the nearby lake to feed the ducks, swans and geese.  

On the way, we pass a playground, it’s always busy at the weekends and we pick our visits carefully as D does get worried by strangers and can’t tolerate the fun-packed environment of children rushing past her.  

We walked past, D holding onto my arm and concentrating on getting to the lake, when she said:

“That playground looks too busy for me, there’s too many children, I’d get scared”

Now I know that, any autism carer knows that a busy environment can produce any manner of emotions and actions … but it was really good to hear it from D.  She saw the situation, she recognised it wouldn’t be appropriate for her and she could tell me why.  A real insight into just how D is maturing and accepting her limitations.

Progress, eh?

Of course, there are times when I wish I didn’t have to second-guess all the time, times when it would be fantastic if we could all sit down over a roast dinner (T and D have limited food choices due to sensory issues) and times when I feel my ears will have enough of the same Minecraft YouTube video as its played over and over (and over) again.  

But, I’ve learned so much about awareness and acceptance of autism – this invisible disability – since we received her diagnosis that I’m grateful that it has opened up a new world for me.  A world where my focus has to be my children and ensuring that they flourish, even if I do neglect my needs at times. 

I used to be this commuting working mum, leaving in the dark and returning home in the dark, joining in the chit chat about whatever was new clothes-wise in the shops.  I had priorities then, of course I did, but they have greater meaning now and times when I get a little insight into how T or D are thinking are priceless.

We saw some ducklings too, which put a big smile on D’s face.  No pictures as I’d left my phone at home, to focus on just having a sunny walk with D.

I hope everyone’s day has gone well Jx

  

C’est La Vie – Sat 11th April 2015

I love spending time with T and D in the school holidays, even if they don’t necessarily enjoy time with each other.

Their variances between intellectual and emotional levels are widening, we had a good example of this today – T has a greater level of sensory tolerance than D, he’s always bouncing, kicking, heading a ball, whereas D feels a ball being thrown or a “knock” to a greater extent.  A simple game of “catch” will end in tears as, although it starts on good terms, competitiveness takes hold and T’s throws and aims become harder, more aimed at arms etc and concentrating on doing better.  This is how one such “game” ended, tears and a hurt arm for D with a “what did I do?” from T.

That was later on though.

Earlier T and Hubbie went off to football, D and I had a girlie day, she minecrafted, helped with the guinea pigs and enjoying seeing all the blossoms in the garden, intermingled with cuddles.

1:1 time is limited during the holidays, obviously, but today there was some D-time.  T gets his T-time as he settles later than D at night, so invariably we catch up then.

I’d prefer it this way (i.e. them at home) rather than T hanging around on a street corner or roaming around the area, he wouldn’t anyway, he likes to have a timetable of events, with a clear indication of what’s happening and where, just “chilling” wouldn’t do it for him.  He’d rather be either indoors with his headphones or having a good old bounce on the trampoline with a ball.  This isn’t to say that I’d prevent him from going out with his friends, he just doesn’t want to.  

I’m glad he is using the trampoline, even more so now that it has a refashioned tent over it (sides but no top), we are very overlooked and this now means that he knows he can bounce and adopt his calming mechanism without someone pulling faces at him from a neighbourly (or not) window.

Anyway, a reasonable day for both, in their own ways (arm incident aside), I hope everyone’s day has gone well Jx