Averted – Mon 20th Oct 2014

One of the aspects I most admire about T’s character (our nearly 12 year old high functioning autistic son) is his drive and determination to do his best.

This will sometimes mean that he’ll do things over and over, until he’s satisfied, whereas I’d be saying “stuff this” and move on to something else.

But the downside to this is that he takes either opinions which differ from his or (what he perceives as) criticism very badly. He’s not able to instantly brush something aside and move on, this does concern us as he travels through secondary school and it’s one of the reasons why we are relieved he has a diagnosis, in the hope that others may be understanding.

Today didn’t start well. T had prepared his school bag but had packed it as a “week 1″ and not “week 2″, which meant that all his books had to be quickly changed over. It also meant that his PE kit was incorrect, as he’d assumed it was outdoor (for week 1) as opposed to indoor (for week 2). The latter wasn’t ready (or dry) so he had to head off with the wrong top.

This didn’t make for a happy T, in fact it was a very unhappy T that left the house. Cross with himself, cross with me and extremely worried that he’d either get told off, get a “sin mark” or a detention (the newbies are threatened with detention for the strangest things, like not wearing a jumper in class even if it’s really warm). Poor T. One consolation was that he heard me leaving a phone message for school explaining what had happened and that he was very anxious about the situation, so he knew that the PE teacher should hopefully be aware.

It hasn’t made for a terribly worry-free day, wondering if he’d be ok, hoping he would be and crossing my fingers that he wouldn’t be furious with me when he got off the school coach and take it out on D, as he tends to.

Luckily….phew…he was smiling his little smile. It had all been fine with the PE teacher, he’d got the message.

Lessons learnt for both of us, one that whilst it’s good that T is now happy to pack his school bag himself, it wouldn’t be a bad idea if I double-checked it. It would certainly save the angst of this morning.

D has had a reasonable start to the week, she wasn’t happy at home time, she whizzed straight past me unhappy, but told me what was wrong once we were outside. Another child had been touching her and she wasn’t happy BUT she did stand up for herself and tell them to stop, which they did. Although there was still the “I’m upset so I’m going to bolt past Mumma”, she did tell me and was confident/cross enough to tell the child to stop, which is progress.

I hope everyone’s day has gone well Jx

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A bit cross – Sun 19th Oct 2014

Sunday’s are dominated by homework in the Bluecrisps household. T, not wishing to complete it during the week, preferring to get it down in one go.

I say “one go” but it does take a while.

Whilst I completely understand T’s reasoning behind this – he does have a long day – it means that we’re limited to being at home. There are also always issues between the amount of homework that T has, compared to D. She has “News” to write and reading.

It can make for a glowering T at the table, books around him, muttering away because of this variance.

But there have been giggly moments, times in which they’ve been competing against each other on the cross trainer. T especially trying to out-do his sister on both pace and calories. This is where his football training and running around fields all day on Saturdays is very nigh in evident. But, it was a good break between homework and they willingly (ish) took turns.

If we had to be in for homework, it was a good way of keeping energy levels up.

Half term is in sight, with one week to go. I hope everyone’s day has gone well Jx

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My Sunday Photo

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D and I went to see Circus Starr yesterday. The acts were amazing, full of very supple people.

The Circus Trip – Sat 18th Oct 2014

One of my happiest childhood memories is of going to the circus with my grandparents. It was when they still had circuses with animals and I remember being absolutely enthralled by the lions especially.

The thrill of sitting in a circus tent is something that I wanted T and D to experience, that feeling of “wow, how do they do that?”. We had the chance to go to a Circus Starr performance last year and today D and I went along to another one.

The Circus Starr show is an inclusive experience, aimed at the disabled and SN community. As such there are no looks or stares if a child shouts or has to leave, because every parent there understands.

As someone who is an absolute wimp about heights, I particularly appreciate the acts where they are scaling up wires and such-like. It was great, here’s some pictures:

Waiting for the show to start:

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Trapeze artists:

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Sword balancing:

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Juggling (my pictures weren’t very good)

And a clown. No circus is complete with a clown and if he’s riding a water-spitting ostrich and kicking a gigantic ball into the audience, then so much the better!

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D’s favourite bit was a skit with the clown, who wanted to skip but no-one would allow him to. He tried skipping with his coat, wires, his tie and all were taken away in a very slapstick fashion. Then he decided to skip with his trouser braces …and they fell down … repeatedly. All very funny, D was jumping up and down, laughing away. It was great to see and here.

My favourite were this group, showing amazing strength and agility. Those trapeze bars were held by other members of the group on their shoulders:

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A great way to spend an afternoon and we got to meet the lovely E from @fairywishes and her children too.

Circus Starr have a free Show and Tell app available here, we’ll be writing a separate post on this but I wanted to include the link here too.

I hope everyone’s day has gone well Jx

Ecstatic! Fri 17th Oct 2014

Ecstatic is how D has described herself tonight, in between squeaking and grinning, lots of grinning.

Why?

Because she is now a house captain for her school! The voting took place a couple of weeks ago, these were her reasons for wanting to be elected:

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That and the fact she’ll get to help hand out the medals on sports day (she does like medals, just like her brother).

I think back to that over-whelmed and very scared little girl in mainstream and it is amazing just how far she’s come, how being in the right setting for her (small class size/high staff ratio) has enabled her to gain so much confidence in school. She was able to recognise when another child was upset during assembly today too and tell us about it (assemblies just didn’t happen for her in mainstream).

It is wonderful to see her really delighted to be voted in and it comes after a tough few weeks for her (trike fall and then broken iPad).

Needless to say the house captaincy was her “best bit of the week”, with her classmate being upset the “worst bit”.

We have a mega-relieved T that it’s the weekend (his “best bit”), with no “worst bits”.

Tomorrow brings football for T and a trip to the circus for D and I, an SN-friendly performance, which we went to last year and she’s really looking forward to it.

I hope everyone’s day has gone well Jx

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Pride – Thurs 16th Oct 2014

As the title suggests, I’m feeling a bit proud of T and D this week, I’d like to bellow it out, Bono style.. But I won’t because they’re settling/sleeping, I’ll whisper it instead.

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And why is that my word for the week?

1. Kurling
D participated in an inter-schools Kurling tournament this week. In a big hall, having to sit next to new people during every round, turn-taking and coping with the fact that their SN team came 6 out of 6 against mainstream school teams.

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2. Parents Evening
Today has seen meetings with both T and D’s teachers.

Both are doing very, very well. The only criticism T’s tutor had was that he doesn’t participate much in History or RE, which considering all the changes he’s got used to (and the fact that homework is never popular) is fantastic.

It made me chuckle that it’s called Parents Evening when in T’s case, it was a 5 minute meeting with bells being rung when the five minutes were up. Sort of an educational speed dating. Not the ideal environment for D and fortunate I guess that Hubbie went with T, whilst I stayed behind with D as she’d had a bit of a fragile day.

3. The iPad mini saga
This will hopefully be sorted out next week, D is very much missing her one (which decided to break down early last week) and there have been tears this week, lots of them. I must admit that I was nearly in tears too after someone from the tech centre kept insinuating it was my fault because I had the “find my iPhone” app installed on it.
(Deep breaths)…anyway she should receive a replacement next week.

4. Wellbeing
And finally for me, I’m taking steps with my wellbeing, never easy when issues with the children tend to dominant the day.
My little linky is here if anyone would like to join in.

The Mumsnet Book of Animal Stories

Can you imagine the joy of seeing a story that you’ve created and told countless times to your children being put into print, with the loveliest illustrations?

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The hardback book above is as a result of a Mumsnet, Gransnet and Walkers Books collaboration to find ten winning entries for inclusion in a book about animal stories, created by parents, for parents. Last year’s competition resulted in a wonderful book of bedtime stories.

We were very fortunate to be sent a copy of the book – it’s always very exciting to receive a book through the door – and, over the last few days, we’ve been reading it together.

The stories are fantastically varied from a little wolf who found out it was fun to be a little bit bad after always being good; a hamster blasting into space; a little bat who discovered that he loved to fly just in time for Halloween and, our favourite, a tiny hedgehog (hoglet) who was determined to stay awake through the winter.

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The illustrations for each story are really lovely and capture the individual tales perfectly.

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Here’s some more information from Amazon:

“Book Description
A beautifully illustrated treasury of charming animal stories written by members of Mumsnet and Gransnet and chosen by a panel of judges led by former Children’s Laureate, Anthony Browne.

Product Description
This delightful and unique treasury features ten prize-winning stories written by members of the popular parenting websites, Mumsnet and Gransnet. Chosen by a celebrity judging panel, led by former Children’s Laureate, Anthony Browne, and including Miriam González Durántez, Lucy Mangan and Justine Roberts, these are warm and witty stories, written by parents, for parents. Each of the stories is gorgeously illustrated by a talented new artist, making this the perfect gift to be treasured at bedtime.

About the Author
The ten authors are all winners of the Mumsnet, Gransnet and Walker annual writing competition, which aims to find exciting new authors from the Mumsnet and Gransnet parenting website. These talented writers have all drawn on their own experience with children to create imaginative and original stories for all to enjoy.”

The book is priced at £12.99, click here to head to the Amazon page.

It’s a book that we’ll enjoy snuggling up and reading, congratulations from us to the winning entries.

Disclaimer: we received a copy of the book for the purpose of this review, all words and opinions unless stated are our own.

Family Fever

Meow! Weds 15th Oct 2014

It was a very fragile D that walked along to school this morning, she’d felt “rushed” (when all she really has to do is eat her breakfast and get dressed) and her coat was “itchy and scratchy”. Of course, D being D, didn’t tell me this straight-away, instead she walked, tears streaming, occasionally wailing and waiting for me to second-guess.

Many, many cuddles later she went upstairs to her classroom. Another guilty walk away for me.

She was still pale and tired when I collected her but cheered up once home, due to this:

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D loves this magazine, it’s always very pinky, girly and, as the title suggests, packed full of arts and crafts ideas. It’s normally out just before it’s time for her injection but it came out the day after this month. Not ideal as it’s always her reward.

And this is what’s greeted us this evening:

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Crafted and instructions followed by D. She’s delighted with it. Coincidentally she tends to “meow” when she’s unhappy but that wasn’t the case tonight, very happy “meows” – although Bitsey (fluffy family moggy) wasn’t quite sure what to make of the mask!

It’s put a smile on her face, which is very welcomed, now if it would just stop raining!

I hope everyone’s day has gone well Jx

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Wellbeing Wednesday #WellbeingWednesday – 15th Oct 2014

Welcome to Wellbeing Wednesday, a fortnightly linky with the aim of feeling better from the inside out.

It’s a chance for us as parents/carers/individuals to share posts on things that make us feel happy.

It could be:
*A new haircut
*A new diet (the Wobbles Wednesday aspect)
*Which leads on to weight loss
*A healthy recipe or a totally un healthy but delicious one
*Or a new pampering experience/shopping find
*Or maybe just a quiet coffee with a magazine (something I really missed in the school holidays)
*Perhaps a book that you’ve enjoyed reading or some music
*Appropriate reviews too

Hopefully you get the giste, it’s a linky that’s not children-focused, it’s for us! Although if you’ve had a fantastic family-focused experience and wanted to include that too, that’s fine, as long as it made you feel better. Old or new posts are welcome.

Here’s a badge code if you’d like to grab it:

Wellbeing Wednesday
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.autismmumma.com" title="Wellbeing Wednesday "><img src="http://i1314.photobucket.com/albums/t576/autismmumma/03b7a5d9-124b-416c-8ba3-e129735d1a8a_zps0fe35827.jpg" alt="Wellbeing Wednesday " style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Thank you for those who linked up last time, my highlights were:

@Lianne84 has been participating in the #100HappyDays initiative, with some smile-inducing pictures

@shell1207 had a rough week with the weight loss, but her PMA and loss so far is so impressive

And
@bodfortea is continuing with her preparation for her big run in November

All the posts linked up can be read here.

The linky will be open for a fortnight, as this linky is fortnightly and I’m looking forward to reading, sharing and commenting on posts, using the #WellbeingWednesday hashtag.



Taking Steps #WellbeingWednesday

This last fortnight hasn’t been the best for my wellbeing, at times it’s felt like everything is conspiring against me.

D’s horrible fall off her trike, a water leak in the house and then poor D’s ipad mini breaking (it’s away for repair and very much missed) have all meant that I’ve felt there’s been very little time for me.

But sometimes a stressful time can spur you on, make you think “well, how can I make this feel better for me?”.

That’s where the “taking steps” are going to come in.

I’ve umm-ed and aah-ed about joining some sort of gym for ages, I’m not a fan of getting hot and sweaty in front of strangers but I do like the release of endomorphins that exercise brings. I trained to be an aerobics instructor years ago and the sound of certain tunes takes me back to grooving around and getting fit.

There is very little in the way of classes around here, there’s yoga for the other 50′s (I’m not there yet!) or Curves.

So, I’ve decided the exercise will come to me!

For less than a monthly membership of Curves, I can hire one of these and use it whenever, whether it’s watching Doctors or thinking up a post, it will be here:

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And there’s no rain-soaked walk home afterwards.

Talking of walking, my whizzy new phone has a steps tracker, which I’ve been using this week. Obviously it doesn’t take steps into account if you’re outside and don’t take your phone with you (as a result, the weekend’s results were pathetic) but it’s been quite interesting.

Just by walking to school, to the shops, back home and then school again, I’m well on the way to 10,000 steps per day, if I can then somehow count steps on the cross trainer and add them in, even better.

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And the cooler yuckier weather has meant it’s time to start soup-making, heaps of veggies in a pan and then liquidised. Yummy and very healthy. Each batch tastes different too as I use whatever we have.

This week’s is a parsnip, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, onion, sweet corn combo, yum.

So, I’m hoping by the next #WellbeingWednesday time, there’ll be some good results. Taking steps indeed.

Wellbeing Wednesday