#BlogTober Day 4 – Date 

By | October 4, 2017

I was nervous – very – on 30th May 2000.

Why? I was going on a date.  I’d been a single parent for nearly three years and, drunken snogs aside, hadn’t felt ready, willing or able to go on a “date”.  

Having grown up in a household where, prior to my parents’ divorce, there were frequent and differing “uncles”, I was determined that my son wouldn’t have his stability jeopardised for the sake of something that might not last.

So, for me to be preparing to meet a friend’s brother and going on a date was a big deal.

I can remember what I wore, a pale pink round necked top with a flared hem and some black cropped trousers.  I deliberated and debated for ages over that!  Hubbie wore a short-sleeved shirt with small checks, which I found out later was bought specifically for our date.

We went to a wine bar first and I remember an England match on the screen, I didn’t realise at that time how passionate Hubbie was about football so, for our date to have been on an international game’s night must have been a bit of a decision for him.

I had a Smirnoff Ice (that is still my going-out drink) and then we went to the cinema, to watch Saving Grace.

It was a lovely film to watch and very, very funny.  Martin Clunes’s character of Doc Martin first appeared in this.

We got on really well and there was a little peck on the cheek at the end of the evening, with the prospect of more dates.   Hubbie met my son after about the third date and they got on really well.  

Hubbie said to me that summer “it’s been a good summer, Chelsea won the FA cup and I met you”.   

A bit of a fast foward to 30th May 2002, exactly two years later and I was nervous for another reason:

Our wedding day, my son was our page boy and T was a little bump in my tummy.  We’d decided to get married on our two year anniversary before we knew that I was pregnant with T, so he was the icing on the cake – as it were!

Having a wedding anniversary at the end of May has its advantages, sometimes it falls on May Bank Holiday but it’s always in half term week, which means we can all go out for a meal or day out and the weather is on-the-whole okay.

Isn’t it funny how one date can change your life? 

I (would) like driving in my car #BlogTober

By | October 3, 2017

If I drove, that is.

I would be just like this:

I even have my playlist already, instead I use it to cycle or walk to.

I had regular driving lessons when my eldest was a toddler, then I became a single parent and couldn’t afford to keep them up.

I haven’t really bothered since.  We live 20 minutes walk from a small station, so there’s the option of that or twice-hourly buses to the nearest town and there’s supermarkets, the all-important coffee shop, GP and banks within a 20 minute walk in the other direction (there’s also way too many bookies, coffee houses and optician chains up there, but it’s what pays the rent I guess.  It used to be a lovely community precinct and it’s full of chain stores now).

So, with all that nearby and the fact that my children’s diagnoses and various needs took priority, learning to drive got put on the backburner.

But what if I could drive, what would I drive?

When I was a teenager, I wanted one of these, a RAV4.  I was also going out with someone who windsurfed so I had the wetsuit (lol!) and I’d imagine driving it, wind in my wet-from-the-sea hair.

Then, I liked the look of a Ford Ka, the early big-bottomed models (any resemblance to me is coincidence) and also a VW Beetle, I couldn’t find a early Ka picture but look at this Beetle!

And now? Well I’d love to try again, see just how long  and – more importantly – how much it would take to get me through a driving test.

I had thought “why bother?” but, yep, let’s get through the next foot operation, get all healed and then I’ll see.  It would give me a lot more freedom and D would love if we could just head off to a beach when we felt like it.

If I could choose anything now, it would be a Mini Cooper or Countryman, an electric one because I just love the look of them and how deceptively spacious they are inside.  

I guess, on this prompt, it’s “watch this space”, maybe in next years #BlogTober, I’ll have an update! 

The Behavioural Challenges Parents of Autistic Children Face and Where to Find Support 

By | October 2, 2017

There’s not a single parenting manual, educational book, or even advice column that parents of autistic children can use to help them anticipate what behaviors they’ll encounter in their children. Autistic children come in a wide spectrum, sometimes necessitating help, understanding, and direction from medical experts. Nurses with a DNP online degree are very often the people that the parents of autistic children go to when they are left befuddled by changes in their child’s behavior. All children need routine, and autistic children develop best when they are engaged predictably. Still, the occasional outburst, tantrum, or behavior that is truly puzzling can make the parents of autistic adolescents feel like complete failures. This is how you can better yourself, your understanding of autism, and your kids, with the assistance of helpful resources.

Your Child’s Primary Care Doctor Can Help

Whether you have a concern about how your child is sleeping throughout the night, getting along with his siblings, or behaving at school, your child’s primary pediatrician is the first person that you should refer to. Not only is your child’s doctor familiar with his or her medical history; pediatricians will only give advice that is sound and backed by medical evidence. Should your child ever begin to display behavior that cannot easily be explained or persists, you need only make a call to your doctor for personalized advice.

Talk to the School Nurse

School nurses are experts at checking temperatures and applying band-aids to scraped knees. However, they are also experienced medical experts who know how to work with children with various personality types and backgrounds. Your child’s school nurse might have completed an online DNP program while dealing with school children coming into the office all day long. Nurses employed at schools don’t know what their days will look like as newly enrolled students come in for physical exams and others come in for their daily scheduled medications. It is likely that the school nurse at your child’s school is aware of the fact that your child has autism and may occasionally need to receive medical intervention. Realize that there are probably other children at your child’s school who also have autism, so more people in the education system know how to handle emotional outbursts and meltdowns.

The Parents of Children with Autism

Know that you aren’t the only parent in your community who has a child with autism and you’re all learning along the way. You can participate in support groups for parents of autistic children and you are allowed to say that you don’t know what to do in a particular situation. You may share stories, suggestions, or just find someone who has time to listen to your woes. It will be okay and your child will continue to develop.

Whether you only have one autistic child or have been working on raising a household of children who are as different as the days of the week, changes in behavior are to be expected. All people have their good days and their bad, just as autistic children do as well. Don’t take your child’s outbursts and occasional tantrums personally and learn to go with the flow.



Mistakes #TheMMLinky and Babies #BlogTober 

By | October 2, 2017

This might seem a strange combination, but bear with me, all will be revealed.

I’m a firm believer in the quote above.  

We’re not all perfect, wouldn’t it be absolutely in-your-face boring if we were? You only have to read certain weekly gossip magazines to realise that some “celebs” seem to be morphing into each other, in their quest for perfection.  

I made a mistake yesterday, not a massive one but it’s one that makes what I’ve been working on mine:

Somewhere in there is a missed stitch, I’m not going to search for it.  I don’t need to.  It’s rectified, I love it and my little mistake is what will make it personal to me.

Some mistakes can be bigger of course and then it’s a case of learning from them and moving on, trying to bury whatever emotions are associated and making the best of it.

For example, on my first wedding day, I was told I was making a “mistake” by the man who was – probably very willingly – giving me away.  I remember it very clearly, we were sat around the corner from the church and, instead of – you know, the usual things that might be said – telling me how lovely I looked, I was told that.   Maybe I was but it was my mistake to make.

A few years and some Clomid later (ovulation drug), I was pregnant.  Very happily pregnant.

I’d always wanted to be a mum.  It probably came from spending a lot of time with my youngest sister, who was born when I was 11.  She’d be crying at night and I’d go in and cuddle her because no-one else did, that sort of thing.  I wanted to have a house full of love and laughter and there’s no doubt that my parents’ divorce when I was 9 (yes, do the maths, things progressed quickly post-divorce) affected my resolve to be there for any future children.

So, there I was, two weeks overdue with my eldest, but having niggling doubts as to whether the “mistake” comment was justified and whether, even though I was fully committed to parenting, it was a partnership.  

It wasn’t.  I became a single parent when my son was 3 and was juggling full time work, child care and paying for a house with a token £5 a week via the CSA.

But I don’t regret that “mistake”, how can I? If I hadn’t been determined to stay in my house, to carry on working, I would never have met my friend, who introduced me to her brother, who became my Hubbie when my son was 6.

If I hadn’t met Hubbie, we wouldn’t have our two wonderful children, T and D, born 18 months apart – with no need for Clomid(!)

T was born in my old house, bang on his due date and D was born in our new house, 6 weeks after we moved in, 6 days early, 

Having T and D made the decision to become a SAHM mum easy, I’d done the juggling bit and it was hard, I felt that I not only wanted but needed to be there for all three of them.

I childminded and at times did wonder if I was helping T and D by having other children around but was told by an educational psychologist that it would benefit social skills so I shouldn’t feel guilty. Another potential mistake averted.

And they are all growing up now, individual in their own ways.  I love being a mum and learn more and more each day from our children.

The Opticians Visit #SmallStepsAA 

By | October 2, 2017

It’s been a “given” for – well, as long as I can remember – that Hubbie does the sport-related activities with T and that I do all the medical/school related bits that need   doing.  

The fact I’m a non-driver plays a massive factor in this,  especially with away games and training for T as they are venues not always easily accessible by public transport.

That “given” got put to the test last week with an opticians visit and eye test for D.

She’d managed to catch her glasses in play equipment at school and, as you can see, they snapped.  

Cue a phone call from school, with immense guilt from my point of view with the fact that I’m still under post-op orders to be foot up and there was no way I could drop her old pair off or – more importantly – get to the opticians with her.

So, massive change alert, Hubbie took her to her appointment, which included an eye test as she was two weeks away from needing one, she has them every six months as she has worsening astigmatism in one eye.

Mega eh? We don’t use a national chain of opticians as we find our local one very accommodating and extremely autism-friendly, they are happy to book a double appointment and let D relax into there, which normally involves a few moments of trying on some very whacky frames.

So, off that went and her new glasses, with a new prescription have been ordered.

I think it was a challenge for both, Hubbie unsure as to how D would react to so much change and similar for D as she’s so used to doing these tasks with me.

I’m also looking forward to seeing her new frames on her as obviously I wasn’t there and have no idea what they chose.

If you have a superstar moment, with an old or new post, please link up below.  The linky is hosted by Jane at @ourlitescapades but the code synchronises:

BlogTober – All About Me #BlogTober

By | October 1, 2017

I do love a blogging challenge, very useful when the creative thoughts don’t flow as well as they could and I’m joining in one for October, hence the BlogTober in the title.

The prompts are here, if anyone else would like to:

So, Day One, all about me.

This would seem, at first, to be a tricky one for me, because although I do tend to “blog it out”, I’m a very private person, you won’t find any “jazz hands here”, sometimes I wish you would.

It took me absolutely ages to join Facebook because I’d seen news stories on how special needs communities could be targeted after terrible events.  It scared me that my children could be “hated” for their “label” and that made me wary.

I now know how supportive being in groups can be and how my feed can be adjusted to reflect the interests I have, which is really rather fab.

I’m not an “oh sh*t, I’ve just done …” type of FB person, I’m the quiet one, who’ll join in and then wonder if anyone else has “got” what I’m saying.  Yep, that’s me.  

What else? Well I’m very interested in my and others wellbeing and how environmental pressures can affect that, both physically and emotionally.  

When I had a “career”, I really wanted to go down the HR path but was told I was “too nice”, that I shouldn’t allow myself to get involved and then I met and married Hubbie, got pregnant with T and became a SAHM so didn’t have to decide whether I shouldn’t be so nice!!

So, I had T and D 18 months apart, childminded for a few years and, after two autism diagnoses for my children, focussed on their needs and started to blog.

When I first started blogging and tweeting, I was “bluecrisps”, anyone remember? Named after D’s favourite snack, cheese and onion Walkers crisps.

I loved D’s little interpretations for items:
Ketchup was “splot”
Quavers were “yellows”
Custard cream biscuits were “gold bars”

We still have a few:
The hair dryer is the “hair driver”
Our conservatory is the “observatory” – but really it’s our junk room
Ready salted crisps are still “really salted”, which they are.

I enjoyed being Bluecrisps and my blog was a wordpress hosted one. There then followed a change to self-hosted as AutismMumma, firstly with Overblog (not recommended) and then back with WordPress.

So, why the name change? Well, when I first started blogging it was intermittent and it was a big change for me as I’d kept loads of notebooks where I’d scribbled whilst in teen angst but not really since.

I found that blogging helped me offload when my head felt bunged up with thoughts and I hoped that my experiences and thoughts as an SN parent may help others feel not so alone with their challenges and achievements. Reading other people’s certainly helped me.

I blogged through D’s first few terms at SN school and then through T’s diagnosis of high-functioning autism when he was 10. Truth be known we’d had an inkling for a few years that he was probably also on the spectrum but left it as he was “masking” a lot of emotions and “coping” in primary school.  

When it came to the possibility that his traits were starting to become more obvious and that support may be needed in secondary school, we felt a “label” might help him get any necessary support. I’ll have a slightly hollow laugh here because secondary school haven’t taken any notice of his diagnosis at all and he does still mask an awful lot. He gets home, sticks his headphones on and bounces on the balls of his feet.

Blogging has brought me some fantastic opportunities materially but the one big thing it’s given me is a feeling that I’m not alone, that fellow bloggers and SN parents understand.  

I’ve been very fortunate to meet a few bloggers in real life and hopefully next year – BAPs and feet permitting – I’ll meet some more.

AutismMumma suited me better.

As well as BlogTober, I’m going to use October as a non-Choctober.  I can use this as my emotional crutch and it’s time for me to challenge myself! 

I have a few ambitions too:

I’d like to learn an instrument, I’m veering between the saxophone and piano (slight size difference I know)

I’d like to pass my driving test.  It’s been a while since I’ve had lessons and they are not cheap.  I also have the added complication of my foot operations (one six weeks ago and one hopefully in January 2018) so I need to wait for my feet to heal.  

I always used to want a VW Beetle but love the look of a Mini Countryman and the tardis-type interior and the whacky dashboard. We’ll see.

I do have a couple of other aspirations which I’ll keep to myself, for the moment anyway.  They’re a tad life-changing! 

I nearly forgot…

I love purple, all shades, very rarely wear it but love it in the house.

I learned to crochet last year and honestly it keeps me sane! Sometimes I’ll start something and want to throw it away/burn it because it’s so tricky but it’s such a good feeling when I can finish it.

I’m very partial to a Costa Decaf Skinny Mocha and my husband, nice combo! 

InstaLinkLove Week 56 #instalinklove #week56

By | September 30, 2017

Welcome to the fifty-sixth week of InstaLinkLove. 

I am really enjoying looking after the linky whilst Vicky, Ross, Grace and Ross settle into their live as a happy family of four.  

I’ve been absolutely floored by flu this week so have enjoyed looking through the pictures linked up.

If you haven’t joined us before, then this is the easy-to-use linky which helps you get your Instagram posts a bit more interaction and interest. 

Thank you to everyone who linked up last week and welcome to those who are back for more and those who are first-timers.

This is a really straightforward, no stress (none of us need that in our lives!), easy to use linky. All you need to do is link up the URL from up to two of your most recent Instagram posts. I say most recent because this is better for interaction. 

All you need to do is find your Instagram account on-line, click on the photo that you want to link up, click on “share post” and then copy and paste the link to that specific page.

The only condition is that you go over and like everyone else who links up. 

Here’s my favourites from last week’s link-up:

Please remember the rules:

*You can link up to 2 images per Instagram Account per week. 

*Please remember to visit and “like” the other pictures linked up.
It would also be great if you could share your post with the linky on Instagram using the hashtag #instalinklove to help grow the community. 

Thanks and really looking forward to seeing what you’ve been up to on Instagram this week x  

The Train #SmallStepsAA

By | September 25, 2017

This new term has seen a massive change for T, he’s entered year 10 and become a commuter.

The coach company we’d used since year 7 (and it had been running for many years before that), decided to pull his school route a week before the end of the summer term and weren’t willing to re-install it without certain criteria.  

T’s school offered no hope to the families effected so a large number of pupils were forced to make alternative arrangements for a school two hours (each way) walk away.

We looked into whether catching an alternative (commercial) bus was viable and also concluded that cycling along a road that has seen dozens of accidents was too dangerous, he’d have to get the train.

We are fortunate to be 15 minutes walk away from a small train station that runs half hourly trains into Reading, so T would get that and then get a train to a station on the route to Paddington.   Yep, a commuter train.

I’ve commuted to Central London for three roles in my working life so could give T some semblance of the challenges of packed platforms/everyone rushing for the same train and the manic hustle and bustle as people wheel their cases behind them, not noticing who they bash.  All in a rush.

It’s a massive change to a coach that would take him to school and back and then a ten minute walk home isn’t it? Lots of challenges, masses of noise and, as T doesn’t like being too close to strangers, plenty of sensory issues.

He’s set off today, in the rain and he’ll no doubt get home in the rain too.  

The downside to commuting is the proximity of all those germs and bugs as people cough and sneeze it out on the trains, combined with the dry air inside the carriage.  T’s already had one heavy cold.

But we should be grateful that there was an alternative to getting him to school and that he’s willing to do it.  It’s such a shame that his school don’t seem to care just how much he and the other pupils have been affected.  

I’ll bet they will if grades suffer.  Definite lack of duty of care but we are mega proud of our commuter.

Small Steps Amazing Achievements – 25/09/17

By | September 25, 2017

Welcome to this week’s Small Steps Amazing Achievements, as Jane and I co-host, the linky is with me this week.

<div align="center"><a href="http://ourlittleescapades.com/small-steps-amazing-achievements/" title=“Our Little Escapades" target="_blank"><img src="http://ourlittleescapades.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/SmallSteps.jpg" alt=“Our Little Escapades" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

We really enjoy reading, commenting on and sharing your posts each week and are looking forward to reading what your superstars have been up to, with old or new posts.

Please don’t forget to share the linky love and comment on other posts linked up too.

Here’s Jane’s highlights from last week’s linky:

“It was lovely to read that @KidsOnTour1 feels like her son is finally in the correct education setting

wellisntthisnovel received her very first school photo of her daughter. This is something she has waited a long time for and it was a reason to celebrate 

@rainbowsaretoo also celebrated David’s back-to-front t-shirt as it represented the fact that he is starting to dress himself”

The linky is below, we’re looking forward to reading your posts x

The Monday Motivational Linky #4 – Not Good or Bad but..

By | September 25, 2017

Another week has zoomed by and it’s my turn to host the Monday Motivational Linky (#TheMMLinky), I hope you’ll join in too below.

My motivation this week comes from something that’s a bit of a bugbear for me, that of labelling foodstuffs as “good” or “bad”.

Living with ASD children who take practically everything extremely literally, we have always tried to make sure that we refer to food as either healthy or unhealthy, it’s also something I need to get clear in my mind too!

There was an incident at D’s school a few years back where the teacher referred to “good” and “bad” foods (and she used the term “bad”) so resolutely that D refused to eat any of her lunch that day and then the next day, there was a pupil’s Birthday and the class (and the teacher) had chocolate cake!!  Double standards I think you’ll agree. 

I was having a group chat which included one of this linky’s co-hosts last week, mentioning how convenient it is to give into temptation and raid the biscuit tin when you’re either bored or, as in both our cases, stuck inside the house for a few days. 

It is very easy to mistake signs of thirst for “I’ll have another instant coffee and a biscuit”, yum yum and before you know it, that’s four bourbons dunked and ingested.

Which is okay in isolation, just not with every cup!

Since being holed up whilst recuperating from my foot operation, I’ve been making the effort to – biscuits aside – eat healthier.   I love predominately vegetable-based meals and it always makes me feel good if I have a few days run of getting that five-a-day in, combined with yummy granary toast for breakfast.

I like pasta but pasta doesn’t like me and I’ve never been one for masses of pastry, mccoys salt and vinegar crisps however are another matter! 

The challenge going foward for me is recognising and remembering that putting good fuel into my body will benefit in the long run.  Yes, the items that would be frowned upon are okay, but not as the norm.

I currently have a heavy cold/flu thing courtesy of T and it would be tempting to metaphorically dive head-first into our choccie drawer, just because I feel rough but that doesn’t help in the long run, what with blood sugar spikes etc.

Having said that, it is Hubbie’s birthday today (Monday) so cake will be eaten!! 

Onto the posts from last week’s Linky and the two that stood out for me were Kelly’s around baby steps reaping results and Deb’s idea of creating Happy Lists, I do get bogged-down in “to do” lists so am definitely adding in happy lists! 

So, that’s my motivation this week, how about you?