Tuesday, 22 March 2016

The One With the Power of the Positive

I've written a story for Mode again, this time all about saying yes to yourself and the power of the positive. 

Saying yes to ourselves and our children just isn't something we do enough of in my view. 

The whole article was inspired by the first link in the story, all about a lady who decided to say yes to her children all day. It's not as mad as it first sounds and she ended up really enjoying herself too.

I'm thinking about having a yes day with the boy soon. If I am brave and do it I'll let you know how it goes. 

Check out The Power of Positive – Saying yes all day.
by Georgy Jamieson at Mode

Friday, 18 March 2016

The One With The Non Uniform Day

Today is Sports Relief, which means the boy had a non uniform day at school.

Normally this isn't a problem but currently the boy has an obsession with being very smart and wearing certain clothes. Hubby is at a loss because he quite clearly doesn't take after his 'fashion sense' (and I use that expression loosely). 

Of course todays theme meant you had to wear sports gear, football strip, trainers, tracky bottoms that kind of thing. This isn't in keeping with the boys current garb. For his birthday he wanted a tuxedo suit complete with waistcoat and bow tie from myself and hubby. Seriously.

This morning I made the rookie mistake of completely underestimating how much you have to prepare an autistic child for any kind of change in their week. 

Even though I'd said he didn't have to wear uniform on Friday I hadn't specified the boundaries of what he had to wear.  This morning the boy was determined to wear a smart white shirt and black jeans. It took a lot of persuasion, tears and will power to talk him into black joggers, a white T-Shirt and a hoodie. 

'I just want to be like the headmaster and wear a suit.' he bemoaned. 

'But it's Sport's Relief darling. Everyone will be in sporty stuff, including the headmaster.' I said hopefully with my fingers crossed behind my back.

The major stumbling block was the jeans. I know it was a non uniform day but I thought jeans was pushing the 'sports clothes' brief that bit too far, so I'd picked out joggers but it was a battle I can tell you. 

When hubby arrived at school with the boy the headmaster was indeed in casual attire, no suit, just a t-shirt and... wait for it... black jeans.

Luckily the boy didn't seem to pick up on this and a crisis was averted.

It just goes to show even if you think you've done something loads of times before and it'll be ok, you can't assume it will be. 

Preparation is the key... that and checking in advance what the headmaster will be wearing..... 

Thursday, 10 March 2016

The One With the A Word

So here's the thing. I haven't blogged properly for a long time because although there's been loads to talk about I haven't known exactly how to say it.

So I just need to plunge in and say it. 

The boy has been diagnosed with high functioning autism. High functioning means he's the lower end of the autistic spectrum and more able to function in everyday society. It's sometimes called Aspergers - but to be honest when I read about Aspergers I don't recognise a lot of the characteristics in the boy at all - and apparently the modern day thinking is to use the term 'high functioning' anyway as that's more positive. 

So there you go.

Even though we were kind of expecting it after all the appointments, observations, reports and analysis it still came as a bit of a shock to hear someone say it out loud.

It felt a bit final, even though this is an initial diagnosis and there's more tests going on, but to be honest with you I don't expect it to change greatly. 

Part of me was relieved to be getting somewhere at last and part of me was heart broken that it wasn't all a massive mistake and they'd got it wrong. 

Several weeks have now passed since we saw the paediatrician and life has settled into a normal pattern again. The boy is still the boy. He hasn't changed. His world is still as it always was and we're very keen to keep as much stability and normality in his life as possible. The school are being brilliant and so supportive. We have an additional homework schedule in place to assist with his phonics, letters, numbers and handwriting and as a result they are all improving.

Which begs the question is it just that the boy can't be arsed but when he does turn it on it's all there?

I'm not denying he's 'quirky' and doesn't fit the boxes and he does display some autistic traits but there's always this feeling in my heart that sometimes, just sometimes, he's playing us all. 

Time will tell I guess, but after the initial shock, the 'why us?' and upset I've actually cried less and felt more positive since the diagnosis. We're no longer in 'limbo' waiting for something to happen and feeling lost somewhere in the system. 

Don't get me wrong there are days when I look at the big blue box file I keep all the reports and observation notes and appointment details documented in and I want to take the bastard thing outside and burn it. But on the whole things are good.

The boy is as funny as ever. His manners are beautiful. He's caring, getting more sociable each time I see him with school friends, he has the growing maturity to deal with his rages and think about making the 'right choices' as they say at school. I see progression as a person, academically (when he can be bothered) and socially every day. He's my pride and joy, he's my life, my love and we all adore him.

We're very lucky and things are ok.

On several occasions we've been told 'the trouble is he doesn't live in the real world', to which I've replied 'who the hell wants to live in the real world? I'd rather live in his world thanks' - and drawn worried looks from doctors, therapists, SEN co-ordinators and health professionals.

But you know what, the boys world is safe, warm, full of love and support. And I for one am more than happy to live in it with him. 

Monday, 1 February 2016

The One Where We Ask Is It Ok To...?

Alright I know, it's feast or famine with me isn't it. Well I said I was back and I realise twice in one night is going a little two far, but I have another one of those 'Stories' for you and it was inspired by this. 

I've grown my hair long. Longer than it's ever been. Longer than it ever was when I was a little girl and mum lopped it all off the day before school started. She thought it would be easier to manage for PE and swimming but then I got to school to see all these girls in my class that could sit on their hair and I cried. 

Why I've grown it I have no idea. Maybe that little girl who cried on the first day of school has never got over it; although I'm a long way off my being able to sit on it. Maybe it's just because I can. After all it's growing better and stronger than it ever has and hasn't got stuck at that awkward stage, so it could be my body having one last hurrah of hormones before the menopause sets in.

Or maybe I'm doing it to stick two fingers up at the people who always said you can't have long hair over 30, let alone 40. It used to be frowned upon in all the fashion magazines. The advice was have a nice short cut, or a bob if you must, but nothing longer than your chin. It'll look better when it goes grey and will be easier to shampoo and set. 

Well curlers to that. 

I'm such a rebel. 

Check out Is it ok to…?  Trends you can still follow over 40.
by Random Woman at Mode

The One with the Stories

Hello, it's me. I know, I know I've been gone for ages and I've got loads to tell you but right now I want to tell you about a new venture.

I'm writing stories for Mode. Now by stories what I mean is posts from the T'internet that illustrate a certain point of view or a theme.

I've published my first two tonight and I hope to do loads more. 

So yes I'm back blogging and I'll be with you all much more now but first off let me know what you think of this 

Check out Getting Away. Me time for when motherhood gets too much.
by Random Woman at Mode

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The One With The Listening Project

I'm not really sure why I didn't blog about this at the time, but it appears I didn't.

I thought I had. My friend Ice Cream Sundae from the radio station who set it all up thought I had.

But I didn't.

So I'm doing it now.

For those not familiar with The Listening Project it's a partnership between BBC Radio 4, BBC local and national radio stations, and the British Library. The idea is to record intimate conversations between friends or family to put together a picture of life today. Some of the conversations get broadcast and all get stored in the British Library. You can find out more about it here

Your local BBC station, where you recorded it, will broadcast an except from that conversation and some get chosen for BBC Radio 4.

Back in 2013 myself and Lemon Cake Lady had one of these conversations all about motherhood.

I've been reminded of this recently because The Listening Project is back in Suffolk, recording more conversations and making more memories. 

I listened back to ours today and it made me laugh. Not just because some things don't change, but because some things do. If that makes sense. 

This conversation was pre- 'Can we have a word?', pre- early years developmental specialists, pre- speech and language therapists, pre- IEP's and pre- endless forms, reports and observations. 

Listening back my main concerns seem to be, did I have enough rules for the boy and people tutting at my parenting skills in public.

Didn't know I was born did I? 

I have a copy of the full conversation on CD and it's one of my most treasured possessions. How often do you get to record you and your best mate just talking. A time capsule of your life and friendship on that day. Then to have it broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and archived at the British Library, well that's pretty special in my book.

You can hear us wittering on here - we hope you enjoy it. 

And mums, whether you're a Penguin or a Vulcan don't beat yourself up about it. 

Either is just fine. 

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The One With The Ups and Downs

Well, after the 'little victories' of parents evening the other day, the roller coaster of parenting took a dip today.

I've just come off the phone with our health visitor. He's a nice enough chap and mostly very helpful, but on this call I couldn't help feeling that I'd... well... to coin a Nanny P expression... pissed on his matches.

He's got it in his head that the boy is autistic. He's observed him once. Don't get me started on that one. Hubby and I were sent a questionnaire asking all sorts of things about his behaviour and social interaction at home. We filled it in very honestly and sent it off.

This questionnaire, along with the health visitors report, observations from the school and the report from the speech and language therapist, (who came and saw the the boy three times, but whom I've never met and who's report I've never even seen), are all to be sent off to a paediatrician for a formal assessment. 

Trouble is now we've messed with his system, because the boys score for autism has come back low based on our answers. 

"The thing is he doesn't seem to behave at home as he does in school' came the glum sounding voice over the phone.

Well no shit Sherlock. Sorry to piss on your parade matey but that's how it is. Show me a child that does behave the same at school, as they do with their mum and dad. You're never the same with your mates as you are in front of your parents. Neither should you be. 

'Well we'll send it off anyway but if they send it back then we'll have to explore other avenues.' he said sounding very annoyed that his theory was falling apart.

'It could be ADD. But that's a different department you see.'

Is it. Is it really. Does that stop us trying them next then? Or can paperwork not be sent off twice? 

Vintage Songtress has always said there's an element of box ticking about all this, and if there has ever been a box ticking exercise going on, it has been highlighted with todays call.

Well fuck your boxes and fuck your parameters. If we have to ask a million people for help and advice rather than opinions and half baked theories, then I will keep asking so my child can learn at his pace and to his abilities. 

The boy is not a problem to be solved or a case to be closed and brushed under the carpet because 'If it's too hard I can't understand it.'. He's a child, a human being, and once you get to know him you can understand him perfectly well thank you. 

We talked about the physical excursion he needs everyday to tire himself out, and how he can concentrate better when he's got it all out of his system, so I tried to finish the conversation on a positive note. 

'It's sports day later. He may not join in with all the events but at least it will wear him out.' I said

'Oh dear,' came the morose reply 'Well try and enjoy it anyway.'

Oh I will sunshine. Believe me I will.