The Easter school holidays flew by and D just could not wait to get back to school, bless her.
It wasn’t just the routine – that she craves and needs – although that played a big part – it was the fact that she’d be going back onto home-school transport from now until the end of the winter term 2017, so that hopefully I can have my next two feet operations and recuperate without the absolutely dreadful stress of last October (where I went into the operation crying because transport hadn’t been sorted and it took the Head of children’s services to agree it, two weeks later!).
So, having transport sorted in advance, with the same bus driver and escorts as last time has been a massive, huge weight off my mind.
We wait outside on the doorstep in the morning, D hopping around in anticipation, sometimes one of the cats is waiting too and then the familiar roar of the bus’s engine as it comes into view, the beep-beep-beep as it parks and then a “bye mumma!” and she’s off, skipping to the bus, I watch as the escort helps her get strapped into her seat and she’s off.
Reassurance for me as I’ve seen her get on safely and a little bit more independence for D as she’ll get off the bus at school and walk in, with her classmates.
And in the afternoon, it’s another doorstep wait for me, accompanied by a cat as we wait for D’s return. Sometimes it’s a good ten minutes past when they should be there, on Friday it was about half an hour late (the bus got shunted by a car apparently, but all okay) and she’ll either skip along the pavement or run (as she doesn’t use the school toilets), usually smiling, happy to be home. Happy with this pretty mega change in routine, well done D.
We are a long way off of D walking to school by herself, I can’t see that ever happening, what with her anxieties around strangers and sudden loud noises and very little road safety awareness but right now, if she’s happy, I’m happy.
(Apart from the fact that the consultant keeps bumping my appointment to discuss surgery dates, that is…only twice in two weeks so far!)
If I were to sum up our Easter holidays in one word, it would have to be “cough”. Poor old D has had a vicious cough for the past few weeks and it’s been quite demoralising for her.
Regular readers may remember how much D detests the taste and smell of calpol, it proves just how poorly she’s felt that she’s asked to be given some, all the while pulling absolutely digusted faces!
She’d be fine in the open air of the garden but air conditioning in shops – for example – would see her go beetroot red as her cough overcame her.
On one such trip, we not only managed to get D through an eye test but experienced some really wonderful and autism-friendly service. An eye test with Leightons.
We’d been going to a recommended SN-friendly optician ever since an awful experience with a well-known chain where the optician got so annoyed that D wasn’t co-operating (partly due to his brusqueness, we shouldn’t have gone there – clue) that we were practically thrown out. But I felt sure now that D could cope in a mainstream optician, if I let them know in advance of her needs.
We were given an extended appointment and off we popped.
The staff at Leightons were absolutely wonderful with her, gently explaining in advance what they’d be doing and interjecting with smiles and humour, very much getting down to D’s level – which she best reacts to.
And then came the fun part afterwards, choosing some new frames. We were joined by two staff members, who understood the need for D to see her images in potential new frames on an iPad, as well as in a mirror. She was anxious about having to choose (a confidence issue) but between us all, we found some.
They arrived within two working days!!
Our trip to pick them up was handled again very gently, at D’s level. Her frames needed a few adjustments and, as D was comfortable, it all went very well.
Immediately we were out of the shop, she noticed the difference with her new lenses, pointing out tiny little things she wouldn’t have noticed before and no more squinting – yay!
Massive thanks to Leightons for creating – what could have been a stressful time – a smooth experience for D. It’s comforting to know that, in autism awareness month especially, that there’s empathy and understanding out there.
I’ve been wishing March away, waiting for an appointment with my consultant on 30/3, which is silly really because yesterday came and went with me feeling just as unsure.
He was very empathetic, very much “we don’t want to put you through any more than necessary” but has referred me onto a colleague because my poor feet have deteriorated further since my op last October and it will now be two toes being reliagned on each foot, as opposed to just the big toes.
Which means I’m calendar-watching again for an appointment the day T and D return to school after Easter. At which, hopefully we’ll talk dates and recovery time.
So, on the one hand I’m pleased that the consultant was very up-front and said that he’d rather his colleague who specialises solely in feet and ankles was doing this, but on the other, it’s more uncertainty and upheaval for the children.
However – pasting on a smile – this means that I’m determined to make some happy memories this Easter holiday, whether it’s watching D absolutely fly down the zip wire at the SN Playground she loves to visit, or simple home-based fun with a DVD and popcorn and cuddles, or preparing an Easter Egg hunt – all happy times.
How was your week?
When I was a teenager, our Capital City had such an air of mystique around it.
I’d spend Saturdays taking the coach from Berkshire suburbia with my friend to London and, as it went through Chiswick, the Hammersmith flyover and into Kensington, be convinced that I’d one day be living in Chiswick, in one of the houses with an Art Deco curved exterior. Teenage dreams eh?
We’d get off the coach at Kensington High Street and meander through Kensington market, there were always some really wonderful stalls with very vibrant stall holders – a mixture of Goth and New Romantics) and we’d take inspiration from them once home and adapt whatever we could find (black is still my staple clothes colour btw).
The Royal Garden Hotel (RGH) was somewhere we’d walk past, it seemed so glamorous with its international flags billowing in the breeze and its close proximity to Kensington Palace, I’d try and imagine what it would be like in there.
Sometimes we’d venter further into the area around Harrods and be captivated by the aura that that store gave off, before it changed ownership and lost a bit of panache.
IRA bomb scares were frequent then and with typical teenage bravado, it was a case of “won’t happen to us, let’s do it”, we kept on keeping on.
I achieved part of my dream and worked in London three separate times on my pre-children career; working in Tower Hill and Aldgate, then Fenchurch Street, then slap-bang in the City in Holborn and finally in Euston where – with a healthy T growing in my tummy – I decided I wanted to be at stay-at-home mum following his birth.
The dream versus reality commute-wish was all a bit different, leaving home in the dark and returning in the dark too, there was the choice between a (sometimes) 3 hour each way coach journey (guaranteeing a seat but exhausting) or a squeeze-you-in-tight train journey, usually without a seat, then another squishy and quite sweaty tube journey, to get to work, sit in an office without having time to appreciate the surroundings and then do it all again….and again….and again.
I never made time to visit the Tower of London whilst practically working opposite it – something I regret now, lunchtimes were spent rushing to the nearest sandwich shop and back to work.
There were always security scares, tube stations being closed or shopping areas, it was a case of finding another way back to the mainline station and getting home, only to do it all again the next day. Because you did.
The afternoon of 9/11 was a time when I just wanted to get home quickly, tall buildings had been evacuated in case and there was a sense of disbelief, a feeling of “how?” and “why?”, something that’s in the air today, why – in the name of religion or beliefs – would an individual set out deliberately to take as many lives as he could? How can that possibly be justified?
Yesterday’s atrocities won’t stop people going to our historical capital, it mustn’t. If it did, “they” would feel “they’d” claimed a victory. There is so much beauty and culture in London, so much I still want to see, from a parent and tourist’s eyes, not as a sleep-deprived commuter.
I did achieve another bit of a dream last year btw, I was at the RGH for a blogging event, the Tots 100 Mad Blog Awards, the hotel was every bit as lovely as I imagined, with staff calling me “Madam” – and not in the tone of when you’re told off and being called a Madam either.
London, I love you.
You may have seen from my Facebook feed that yesterday took a rather unexpected turn, after a phone call from D’s SN school.
The moment when your heart has an extra beat as you see the school’s number flash up on your phone is never good for nerves is it?
Poor D had collided heads with another (older, stronger pupil) in an inter-house basketball game and the school nurse was concerned about her.
So, off we dashed. Fortunately Hubbie had a day off and we could take D immediately to the nearest Urgent Care Unit as the nurse was anxious that D’s nose might be broken, she’d already checked airways but thought it needed a second opinion.
Poor D, she held it together until she saw us in school reception and then the tears came. No chance of masking any emotions for her. She was very scared as the nurse filled us in with the checks she’d made and it was a hand-clasping, Bunny cuddling, tearful 20 minute or so drive to the Unit.
The Urgent Care Unit was very impressive, we had to check in and, I guess due to the injury and chucking autism and anxieties into the mix, we were seen within 20 minutes and D’s poor swollen nose was examined.
Airways were again checked, along with the septum and – thank goodness – her nose wasn’t broken.
A cuddly rest of the day followed with D absolutely determined that she went back to school today, which she did.
An absolute Trooper isn’t she? The HT had heard all about the incident and was extremely pleased to see D back today, the other pupil was back in too.
I was relieved that she didn’t have PE today but tomorrow sees a day of activities for D including archery, something she’s again determined to be there for.
Hopefully she’ll be okay but it’s a relief that she enjoys school so much (and needs that routine) that she so wanted to be in today.
I haven’t blogged for a while because I’d be in danger of repeating myself, over and over.
Life is ticking by for T and D, we have days where it feels like we’re on that emotional rollercoaster; days where I wonder what the future holds for our very individual children and days mostly when I just want March to hurry up and be done.
In short, I’m Waiting, which is this week’s Word of the Week and could have been many before.
Waiting for an appointment at the hospital on 30th March where I’ll be x-rayed, my feet will be scrutinised and then we’ll know when foot operations two and three will take place, we’ve tentatively talked dates with the consultant but it was very much dependent on how scar tissue is looking after the first operation last October.
So, you see, we’re keeping on, keeping on, but in limbo.
I think the thing that’s frustrated me most is that I have playlists on my phone, “walking tunes” and “jogging tunes” and whenever one of them comes on, in particular “New Life” by Depeche Mode, it reminds me that I used to plough around the field near us to that or the treadmill and it just frustrates me that – for the moment – I can’t do that. Hopefully next Spring, another case of Waiting.
It’s not all bad though, some things have made me cheerful this week:
The “Whackers” as we call them. Very friendly, they were descending on D to get some bread. She found it hilarious when a male took some, put it in the water to soften/break it down and along came the female and nabbed it! Little things.
And, oh my goodness, this!
Apparently one of the coaches thought she has sporting potential and we’ve sent off our details to find out more. D came home saying “I’m going to be a Paralympian” and said her teacher had told her there might be training camps – which seems a bit like building her hopes up to me, there must be loads of children who get the form.
Whatever happens, we are mega proud and again, it’s proof that she has flourished in the right educational setting for her.
Another case of waiting!