TGIF (kind of) – Fri 24th April 2015

Friday’s are normally guaranteed to be a “good mood D” day, from the excited squeaks on the way to school as she remembers it’s “fish and CHIPS!” for me (yes the “chips” are squeaked louder) to the big smiles as she comes down the stairs at home time.

None of that today.  D came down unsmiling but she had had something that was causing her anxiety resolved.  She’d been invited to a Football Fun Day with school, D will give most sport things a try (she attends an after school sports club and they do a different sport every half term) but football worries her.  Partly it’s because it’s a speedy contact sport and mainly because she was put in goal once and hurt her fingers.  So, the prospect of a fun day comprising of football didn’t appeal.

We’d talked about it at home and reassured her that if she definitely didn’t want to do it, she needn’t, but she needed to hear from the PE teacher what it would entail – just in case it was more fun, less football.  So she did, decided that she didn’t to do it but wanted the reassurance from me that she didn’t have to.  Hence the worried little face at the end of the day.  All given and fed back so all should be okay.

It wasn’t.  We have a choice of two ways to walk home – the “deep dark woods” or past a busy school, normally we go past the school as (it’s not but to T and D, it’s quicker) but we had a change today.  It didn’t go down well.

Then once at home, T and D scrapped over the trampoline, with pushing and shoving from both sides.  T using the rationale that as D had kicked him years ago and he’d remembered it being discussed in CAMHS, that today, he’d fight back …. sigh.

So, a case of retreat for D, angry, emotional retreat and we hadn’t even done tea with our “best, worst (ha!) and funniest bits” yet.  It got “better” with initial refusals to come down for tea and once she had, it wasn’t the most sociable meal.  

Normality D doesn’t have any “worst bits” but she did tonight – her scrap with T – fortunately he’d already left the table, otherwise he’d have been quite cross!

And D’s fragility has continued into the evening.  A relaxed girlie day whilst the menfolk head off for their football fun is definitely needed.  Hopefully it will be calmer for D than today.  That’s the plan anyway.

  

This week’s Word Of The Week and #R2BC

Friday is just around the corner, thankfully, both T and D are back at school and their tiredness is very evident.  When I collected D from after school sports club today, she’d had a good time (as she told me afterwards) but was absolutely furious that she was tired and it was all my fault for letting her attend!

Scenarios like the above made me chuckle inwardly afterwards, especially when her huff, strop and bolt (oh yes, we had a bolt too) are out of her system, but at the time it’s quite frustrating that she’ll focus on just one aspect.

Anyway, up until about 1pm today, my word to sum up this week was going to be:

  
Because I have been, very.

With the children back at school, I headed off to the dentist on Monday for the next step of my “new smiley me” process.  I’d read up about it, so knew that this would be tougher than the first bit and boy, has it been!

Swollen jaw, extremely painful and I’ve averaged maybe 3 hours sleep a night since then as I’ve been just too sore to get comfortable.  It’s resulted in a very tired me and there have been a few times when I’ve cried – but out of T and D’s sight and sound as their lack of empathy would upset me more.

But it’s worth it.  Shall we move onto some Cheerful reasons?

1.  I’m hoping for sleep tonight (please) and this may help.

  
It’s a micro-bead travel cushion but I’m going to wear it the wrong way around so it supports my jaw.  My lovely Hubbie interrupted his work day so that we could go and find one.  It does look a bit silly but if it means sleep then I’m game!

2.  I had decades of not wanting my picture taken, not wanting to smile, a few weeks of discomfort is going to make such a difference.

I was lying on the trampoline earlier this week and took this, no filter, no adjusting, this is me, a (sore but) happier J:

  
Anyone who read my previous post will remember that this is pretty mega for me and smiling is contagious too.

3.  It’s been sunny, lovely weather and I’ve reached my steps targets and beyond, music in the ear worms and that took my mind off the achy bits.

4.  And it’s nearly the weekend, yay! Nearly time for T to play his football, he enjoys it so much and really plays as a team member, Hubbie will get his footie fix too and D and I will have some happy, cuddly girlie time.  

Maybe a better word for this week would be:

  

Because I’m glad I swept aside my terror of dentists and the like and did it.  

And my jaw is not so sore, thanks to some hefty (much cheaper than nurofen) painkillers, sleep time here we come – fingers crossed!

  

Sometimes – Weds 22nd April 2015

Sometimes …. we have a week where D is absolutely consumed by worries, each day brings a new one and they stack up and up (metaphorically).

This week, so far, has been one of those weeks.

The worries have been varied, from a trigger that reminds her how much something has hurt, to an unknown forthcoming event.

It’s all adding up for D.

Today’s concerned the fact that she’s been invited to attend a Football Fun Day with school.  Whilst we’ve been emphasising the “fun day” aspect, all D can see is the word “football”.  She participated in a girls football tournament earlier in the year and enjoyed it, but (I think) it all brings back memories of playing football in after school club and her fingers being hurt by the ball when she went into goal.  Plus it’s a contact sport and there were some much older pupils participating.

So, until tomorrow, when I collect her from after-school sports and try and found out a bit more about this “fun day”, we’re none the wiser.  What I do know is that it’s happening the day after her next injection, which we are definitely, absolutely not mentioning at the moment.  She has enough to worry about already.

We have to walk past the mainstream primary school where she went to nursery, reception and one term of year one (when she received her statement and transferred to SN school) and there’s always children running, laughing, shouting to each other, just being children.  Sometimes it makes me feel a bit sad that neither T or D are able to let go of their worries and anxieties.  Of course we do have “running around a field with a kite” time and trampoline fun but it’s always limited, tending to get a bit competitive and inevitably one will upset the other.  That’s life for us, I guess we grab the laughter however fleeting whilst we can.

  

Tender – Tues 21st April 2015

A fragile, tender D after school today.

She wouldn’t tell me what was wrong straight away (she tends to built up any negativity and emotions) but it all came out with tears about 1.5 hours later (quite a long 1.5 hours).

She’d be told by her (boy) friend that another child had said D was “ugly”, yes, our beautiful D.  Understandably she was upset.

We’ve reinforced to her that she isn’t “ugly” and that some people who deliberately say things that hurt other people’s feelings do so because they don’t feel great about themselves.  It’s the only explanation we can give.  

Life isn’t always going to be hearts and flowers for D, much as I’d like it to be, she will encounter people who are purposefully mean-spirited, how they enjoy seeing others upset by their words or actions and it’s a question of rising above it.  That’s all very well for us to say but when you’re a SN child who doesn’t like raising her voice or answering back because she doesn’t want to get into trouble at school, it’s another matter.  It’s a question of confidence, which is something D lacks in unfamiliar situations, something that is and has been an ongoing issue, especially in a situation which isn’t always adult-led such as playtime.

There isn’t an answer, apart from us letting D know that she’s loved.  Which she is, very much.

T, on the other hand, would have no hesitation in rising up against something he disagreed with – and no doubt finish with a “nod” after he’d said something sarcastically witty back.  He’s extremely good at sarcasm, our T.  

It just goes to show, you can have two children with autism, this “blanket” diagnosis but so, so difference in their approaches and how they deal with situations.

  

Tears – Mon 20th April 2015

Today started with tears for D.  She woke up crying because she “was going back to school as the holidays were over”.

Lots of cuddles, lots of reassurance that I was sure she’d have a good day followed.  

She was also anxious that her classmates would all be a bit grumpy at coming back to school too.  Well, all that could be suggested was that once everyone saw each other’s friends, that they’d all be pleased to see each other and be back.

She enjoys school once she’s there, it’s the “getting to and going from” that makes her anxious, when she starts to over-think potential situations and get very, very angst-ridden.

She was also worried about me.  I was heading back for some more dental “stuff”, “stuff” that will make me even more smiley, eventually.  Once the pain and soreness have all gone.

D was worried that I’d be collecting her with a bandage tied from under my chin to the top of the head and, as we were going into school, we saw one of her TAs and the first thing she said was “Mumma’s going to have a sore jaw later and she’s off to the dentist”.

She was relieved that she was collected with no bandages in sight but, as for the sore jaw…. umm, yes! D told me that I looked “normal”, whatever normal is.

Unfortunately later on, the tears were mine, well out of sight and sound of the children as it was/is painful.  I can’t let them (particularly D) see me upset as, as there’s not much in the way of empathy shown, it’s even more upsetting and any mention of injections, needles or pain reminds D of when she has her monthly (painful) injections or blood tests.  She then gets upset at that memory and it’s not a particularly way to be.

So, with the menfolk at football for an early evening game, we’ve luxuriated in a mega bubble bath and hopefully tomorrow will bring fewer tears, for us both.

T went back to school today too.  I was slightly concerned as his favourite saying in recent days can been a “CBA” response to anything and (practically) everything requested.  CBA standing for “can’t be a*sed”, followed by a decisive “nod”.  Luckily he saved his “nods” for me once he got home and he wasn’t really at home long enough for any “CBA” responses.  Every cloud, eh?

I hope everyone’s day has gone well Jx

  

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)