No Middle Ground – Tues 24th May 2016

Sorry, I wrote yesterday off as a definite “I don’t like Mondays” day.

D had taken part in a dance festival in the morning, reluctantly and with tears and it just emphasised to me how challenging she still finds situations, despite absolutely flourishing in other areas.

The music was great to hear, the other schools taking part were brilliant but D sat there, arms folded, head down, tears streaming and could not enjoy it.  It was a shame for her and another confirmation  to me that our girl – diagnosed at 4 years old – won’t “grow out” of autism, won’t be “cured” and that society won’t necessarily adapt for her.

I also found it quite upsetting that, because her school’s performance was last, quite a few parents only stayed to watch their children and left before the rest of the performances.  Maybe there were time constraints, maybe they didn’t want to stay and watch SN children performing, who went through so many challenges just to go into that busy, noisy sports hall.

And then later, I had the stress headache from hell, the kind of one that makes you want to rip your temples out to find out why it’s hurting so much, so phone screens/TV anything was just too much.   Hence no blog.

Today has seemed brighter, both head-wise and weather-wise, that always helps, a school walk without rain.   

D’s had a routine day today but tomorrow is all change again as her year group are off to see “Charlie and the chocolate factory” at the theatre!

It will be a “marmite” day for D, she’ll either love it or not, because there isn’t any middle ground for D.

Changes aplenty in that they’ll be leaving after lunch and not getting back until the evening.  Like I say, a Marmite day.   She’s already anxious about getting back late, “late” for her means missing tea and “late” for b e d, which causes no end of worry for her.

I hope she enjoys it.  Really do.

Ish – Sun 22nd May 2016

Oooh, the last week of school coming up before half term and it’s a busy one.  Making my head spin a bit just thinking about it, so goodness knows what it’s doing to her! 

It’s all really good opportunities though.

Tomorrow, she’s taking part in a dance festival, how fab is that? A two hour festival first thing and ….. yippee …. parents can go and watch.  I know that the dance they’re doing has involved lots and lots of practise and calm encouragement, so it will be wonderful to see.  If nerves overtake and she doesn’t join in, that’s fine, it happens.

Wednesday, her class are heading off to the theatre, again, how brilliant.  It will be a late return and she does get worried that she’ll have missed tea/bedtime so that may be a challenge but I hope all the children enjoy it.

And then Friday, they’re having a birthday party for the Queen! D fully expects QE2 to make an appearance, after all it’s a party for her, but I’ve said it’s very unlikely that the birthday girl will be there! 

A busy week and therefore we’ve tried to keep today calm and quiet, it mostly worked until she got extremely stressed over her reading book – her reading was fine, she just got very worried about it all.

Ish, therefore, describes our day.  I’m hoping her week ahead is just as wonderful as it sounds, at least she’ll have half term to recover and regroup a bit!

New Challenges – Sat 21st May 2016

Plenty of new experiences for D today and she rocked them!

We were off to a birthday party for a fellow SN pupil, somewhere we’d never been to before and the format would be something new too – a pool party!

There were quite a few challenges for D, the first being we had to get a train, the train journey was only about 8 minutes or so and going through two stations after our one.  She noticed that a lot of the stations ended in “…ham”, which caused her a lot of merriment.

Then we had to find the venue, after asking for directions and it was raining.  We could smell the chlorine of the venue before we arrived, again she found that extremely funny.

It was busy when we arrived – gulp – but our lovely hosts soon arrived and said that the party would have the pool to themselves, yippee!   And they did.

D was the only girl in the group and she didn’t seem to mind this.  I love that she’s growing up with no worries about her shape, she has a tshirt and shorts type swimming costume and was soon joining in, really enjoying it.  There was a really good ratio of lifeguards and pool party helpers too.

The only time she got annoyed with me was when everyone had gone off to get changed for some cake and I hadn’t registered that this was happening, there were scowls, folded arms and some angry words from her but all okay in the end.

We got a lift home too, which was fab.

I’m glad these new experiences were so successful, I think we’ve found a new SN-friendly place to visit and maybe have a birthday party there in the future.  Great stuff.

Time Flies – Fri 20th May 2016 

Our lovely D,

“Time sure does fly fast” is something you say in the school holidays or at weekends, you’re right though, the last 12 years since you arrived in our lives – six days early – have simply flown by.

There was you and T, he’s always been so protective of you and still is, underneath the teenage mask he wears.

You’ve brought so much into our lives, from the challenges of autism to the absolute joys of your recent achievements in SN school.  You’ve made me a better person, a more stressed one at times, but you’ve made me think beyond whatever preconceptions I may have had about motherhood and how to stand up for you and your brother when I’ve needed to.

Today saw the last-but-one hospital appointment for your injections and then we went to your favourite shop, Hobbycraft.

There’s you and your proud Dad, being silly!

Another thing you’ve taught me is to live for the moment and not to sweat the small stuff.  Little things like the wrong  bread arriving in our shopping are nothing when I consider the educational battles we’ve fought and will continue to fight.  You’ve grown up from a toddler diagnosed with autism to a young lady with autism, you’ll get older but that won’t change.  You’ve already developed strategies for coping but sometimes you still get overwhelmed.

Many things make your dad and I very proud of you, but the main thing for me is how you’re described:

“a lovely girl”, “very polite”

I make sure that, if we’re out and being served, I say thank you and you do too, sometimes prompted, often not so.  We’ll walk into school and you’ll say “good morning”, it’s lovely.  

That also means that it’s getting easier to tell when you’re not so happy, when you want to bolt.  That occurs after you’ve built up emotion at school because sometimes your lack of confidence and politeness means that you don’t always say if something is bothering you – unless we’re home of course and then … whoosh! Eruption time.

But enough of that today.  You’re 12 today, almost a teenager.

You smiled when you saw your balloons and you’ve kept on smiling today.  You loved your presents and your main one – a flute – got played this morning and how much more confident you are with that too.

We are so proud of you, our D, never stop believing that. 

Anticipation – My #WOTW and #R2BC 

After the last two extremely busy and emotion-filled weeks, it’s been nice to have a reasonable one this week, one in which D has been grinning away in anticipation everyday because tomorrow is her birthday.

It’s been lovely, she’s woken up happy and squeak-filled every day and enjoyed the countdown.  It’s only really the last few years that she’s recognised birthdays and Christmas so her excitement is wonderfully contagious as it feels like sometimes she’s making up for the years she lost out.

Anticipation is definitely our word for the week, the presents are waiting to be wrapped, the cards signed and the balloons ready to be placed in her room whilst she’s asleep so she sees them as soon as she wakes up in the morning.

Oh, the balloons! They caused a few looks today, mainly happy looks from the little children out with their mums and getting them home on the bus was fun – the shop didn’t have a big enough bag to cover them in.  I felt a bit like someone from the “Up” film! 

What else has made us happy this week?
Well, we’re at that time of year when Hubbie has plenty of enquiries for work so that’s a positive.

T received his options details and he was able to change one subject, which is a relief.  He’s very “black and white, no grey” (ie no middle ground) in his thinking so he needed to feel fully happy with his choices, otherwise he just wouldn’t give it focus.

There’s not much else to add really, apart from…

I hope tomorrow is as wonderful for D as she deserves, she’s made us extremely proud in her 11 years so far. 

An Alright Change – Weds 18th May 2016

Today’s happenings were all sorted, as with any changes for the children, we need to think ahead, let them know and then remind and remind, especially for D as she forgets very easily.

Yes, I was heading off to the train station for a hair appointment.  I wouldn’t be back for school hometime so Hubbie was picking up T and D.
All was fine until I got to the station, having missed calls from Hubbie, who’d heard on the radio that there were no trains due to a fire on an engine on the line.  

Therefore there was no way I’d get to my appointment. 

Disappointing but these things happen.  

D wasn’t expecting to see me at hometime, I wasn’t sure how she’d take the change from what she was expecting but she was delighted!

It’s not all been hearts and flowers though, there have been a few moments at home.


Two days to go and at least I picked up her birthday cake today. 

Oh, to be a Hooker #Prose4T 

Sometimes I share my crochet journey on here, it makes me pleased when I finish an item.  I couldn’t crochet a thing beyond “wriggly worms” until I went to a crochet group in February.  It’s enjoyable now, even if the thought of following a pattern scares me! 

I’ve written a little poem, linking in with #Prose4T this week:

“Oh, to be a Hooker!

I went along to crochet group, not sure if I’d be able.
Hook and yarn ready, nervous at the table

I “went fishing”, got tangled in my wool, 
Being left handed crocheting right handed, I felt like a fool.

It got smoother as I practised, my hook flying quicker, 
Not confident enough to take my eyes off it whilst doing a treble, apart from a quick flicker.

I tried making a shawl, which turned into a throw, 
Not following a pattern (silly me), it grew row by row (and row).

Crochet group now something I go to every week, 
No longer feeling silly, no longer feeling meek.

We are all pop along and show off our “makes”, 
There’s coffee, tea and biscuits, sometimes even cakes.

And now I crochet on the bus, I hook along on a train, 
Clattering past destinations, in the sun or in the rain.

At a spare moment, that hook comes peeping out, 
It relaxes and de-stresses me, of that there is no doubt.

I’ve done it, I can crochet (well, kind of), working out that “thang” 
It’s official, I’m a Hooker, I’m in the gang!”

Small Steps Amazing Achievements – 18/5/16

After a bit of an “aargh” start to today, a warm welcome from me to this week’s Small Steps Amazing Achievements, as Jane at @ourlitescapades and I co-host, the Linky is back with me this back.

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:

<div align="center"><a href="" title=“Our Little Escapades" target="_blank"><img src="" alt=“Our Little Escapades" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Jane and I enjoy reading and commenting on your posts and sharing them via the #SSAmazingAchievements hashtag.

Here’s Jane’s highlights from last week:
“Madam spent a whole week with her year group class, a big change for her and a very big achievement over at @earlyrisingmum

Monkey had his Beavers Investiture and he was very happy about it with @minnowmep

and lastly H has moved into the big swimming pool and it brought lots of changes with it, @ericahughes tells all here”

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.

Phew – Tues 17th May 2016

We had a letter home from T’s school a few days ago, advising of the decisions over his Options choices.

T’s in his final term of year 8 and it all seemed a bit soon for these choices, until we were told that his school take exams a year early, presumably so that they can be retaken and grades improved the following year – which benefits both the students and the school grades, although I do wonder about the increased pressure on the children.  

T had had some well thought out rationale behind his choices and he was extremely lucky to receive first choice of subjects in all but one, he’d been keen to do a language and he’d been allocated his reserve topic, a coding type subject.

He wasn’t terribly impressed and we’d tried to put across that a coding qualification might be useful and I could draw on the fact that I have two language qualifications and, apart from being able to swear in those languages (useful if you hurt yourself and the children are in earshot), they haven’t really been used.

Anyway, he was resolute, so a quick exchange of emails to and from his school and it’s sorted, he can now do the language route instead.  Phew.  He’s pleased.

Which brings another challenge between now and the end of term, in that he doesn’t feel he should need to continue to work in those subjects he’s not taking to exam level – eg drama, music, cooking.

I can see why he’s thinking along those lines, I’d be feeling the same.  Hopefully, those feelings will be overtaken by an end of term countdown.

In the meantime, D is also counting down, she’s extremely smiley this week (I hope I haven’t just jinxed that!):

Harmony – Mon 16th May 2016

As I’m typing this, D is singing, it’s a combination of songs from Oliver (the school production she was in three weeks ago) and “Rule The World” by Take That.

A bit of a strange combo you might think but it’s lovely, absolutely lovely to hear her singing, it means she’s happy.

It’s a sound that was missed over the last couple of weeks, it’s been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, tiredness and mud (ha, yes, mud!) playing their part.

The singing means that she’s started  rehearsing at school for the next musical event, it’s just under a month away but practice, practice and more practice by the wonderfully patient music staff at her SN school should make for a (fingers crossed) successful event.  I always find these events very humbling because I appreciate just how much time and effort goes in to just getting the children on to a stage, let alone everything else.

With D though, her singing is very much on her terms.  On our sunny walk home today, she mentioned a song she’d been practising – an absolute belter of a song – so…. I thought I’d sing a bit of it.  Nope, just nope.  Lots  of protest and hand twisting.

But that was a tiny blip in an otherwise really good start to our week.  One which will also bring D’s birthday at the end of it.  There is a definite air of excitement around!