Ok First I have to apologise for being such a terrible blogger. It’s been weeks since I last posted and as always so much has happened I get fried brain trying to work out where to begin. So I have decided that It’s of great importance for me to report the ins and outs of our recent day out and what a complete DISASTER it was. It’s not easy having problem free days out with a child on the spectrum. Queues, noise, smells, environment are just a few of the many triggers that lurk and pose a threat on your family outing. Well, its safe to say once home and able to analyse the whole situation it was clear to see that all of these and more contributed to what can only be described as a challenging day out. No, it didn’t help that the free bike and kite festival that was put on by the local council was of no real interest to little man. Then there was the fact that he somehow thought we were going to a fun fair (don’t know where he got that idea) We spent the best part of the afternoon hearing ‘Is this bloody it’ and ‘where is the fair then’ No I’m not kidding it really was this bad and worse.
This is my account of the days events I’m guessing little mans may differ. After running around like a headless chicken trying my hardest to organised myself and the three children we finally made it out the door and into a taxi and headed off for what was meant to be a fun day out. We were of to the Bike and Kite festival. This is a free event that is run by the local council and often attracts a crown. Little man isn’t to bad with Crowns it just depends on the environment and his mood. His great with fun fairs the music and lights are a favourite part of the trip. With this I took it upon myself to assume he would feel the same way about the festival. Out the taxi things started well. We met up with my good friend who had a gift each for the children little mans being a model bus. Buses being his “special interest” made this the perfect gift and little man was displaying a huge smile. This huge smile then decided to shy away and hide out for a while as it was only seen a small number of times through out the day.
Little man’s ability to have a little fun was partially non existent at the beginning of the festival. He was beginning to get himself into a mood and getting him out of it is near on impossible. Walking around a few of the stalls he got upset and angry because we were looking at hand crafted jewellery. We had only just arrived and intended to look at everything in due course. Explaining due course to a child with Aspergers doesn’t come easy. Patience! Well, who needs patience? Certainly not little man or so he thought. ‘I wanna go there’, ‘I wanna see that’. I hear you say well isn’t this all children? Yes, to some degree but this was more extreme in many ways. Example! Once we had agreed to do one thing he is already freaking out about doing the next. I admit it had been sometime since we did a day out and I was starting to remember why. We were only safe when at a place of interest and even then it could be a worry.
A break was needed and we grabbed a spot to settle in. I had prepared a feast of a picnic and we were all pretty keen to sit and eat it. SORRY DID I SAY ALL? ALL EXCEPT LITTLE MAN THAT IS. He expressed his disbelieve at the fact we had chosen to sit and eat when we needed to be up and doing things. One of my many techniques as little mans mother is to try and engage him in conversation on a topic of his interest to get him to relax. He was stressing and pointing asking why others were able to do things and he had to just sit and eat crappy food he didn’t want in the first place. My tactics of engagement were failing fast and lucky for me and everyone sat around us A bike stunt show had started in very close view from our chosen picnic spot. Oh yer the blissful sound of…. Well, music and cheering but this was better then the full on wringing I was hearing a few seconds prior. Owning a bike and being rather good on it little man enjoyed the show and flashed us a brief smile. Moments like these give you the encouragement to carry on with your day with the hope of it becoming increasingly better then it had started out. To be honest things did start to go in this direction and for a few hours with the exception of minor problems (the inability to queue for the bouncy slide without displaying his need to get on the slide NOW. The tantrum over wanting me to buy him items that were well out of my price range) things were Ok.
I started to enjoy being there. My daughter was happy playing with a kite we had brought from one of the many stalls. My six month old sat happily in his pram starring at the beautiful display of flying kites and little man had gone from raging bull to a clam child who was pleased with the bubble gun he had brought. Things got even better when he spotted an open top bus parked on the grass. Unbelievable no matter where we go a little bit of little mans “special interest” comes with too. I don’t mean to imply that this bothered me if anything it tickled me! He was overly fixated on buses. His level of interest on his subject was fascinating. I have never seen anybody have a passion for something on this scale. I guess this is the true Aspie in him.
Little man darted to the buses leaving me far behind. Lucky we were with my friend still who dashed after him and explained that he was unable to just board the bus without the given permission of the owner. Can you imagine the terror in our eyes when the owner shouted ‘SORRY THE BUS ISN’T FOR PUBLIC USE’ Oh my god was he really going to do this to me. I sound selfish I know. I should have been thinking is he really going to do this to little man? The thing is I couldn’t bear the thought of losing the blissful day that was so hard to achieve. We had got this far the prospect of tantrums (huge ones at that) was to much to bear:( I guess an angel was looking down on us, This and the fact my good friend had a quite word in the owners ear as this got little man safely onto that bus and saved us all from the terror of what may of been (well for now at least)
Little man was in his element on that bus. I sat on the grass as he explored the thing inside out. My friend followed close behind snapping pictures of my smiley boy. My little girl was still flying her kite and seemed happy to do so all night if she could. It was great to see the children both enjoying themselves. Of and to not have the constant bickering was another joyful reason to be sat with a smile.
It only seemed right to end the day on a high and as the festival was near on coming to an end we decided to make a move. The festival had taken place on a large heath (Blackheath) The heath was huge and the festival had not even taken half the space. For this reason we were surrounded by grass and the children had loads of open space to run around and get all the left over energy out of their systems before heading home. Little man began asking how we where planing on getting home. By this he was obviously referring to the type of transport we would be using. I asked him what he suggested. By doing this I expected him to say lets catch the 54 bus back home. Of course I should have known better then to just assume. ‘Let’s get the 380’ he replied. Ok the 380 is a small bus and it only goes to Lewisham which is only half the distance needed. Then there is the fact the babies pram isn’t far off from being a bus itself! Yes, it’s big and red but only has three wheels not four. I did actually say this to little man and I said it in that exact way. Sarcasm and Aspergers isn’t a good mix and I found myself having to explain why I would consider the babies pram to be a bus. After a bit of a discussion little man seemed fine with my reasons for not getting the 380 and with the promise of riding the 380 on the following weekend as a reward if he manages to behave at school with this we headed off towards the 54.
THE MOTHER OF ALL MELTDOWNS
It was right at the end of our magical day (It had turned out this way) That a storm broke. I’m not referring to those that take place in the sky as an act of god! No, I’m talking about those involving abusive taunts and aggressive, challenging behaviour that are all an act of little man. Yes, we had left the festival and I really considered us out of the danger zone in relation to meltdowns. Silly how wrong one could be. It began with little mans bubble gun running out of bubbles and him entraining himself by chasing his little sister who was still happy kiting along the heath. I heard myself a number of times requesting he stopped and a number of times (all of them) he didn’t. He then decided to take things further and give her a push and a shove for no reason at all. I told him I would take his bubble gun if he carried on chasing or hitting his sister. Of course he did and of course I had to be consistent in my threat to take the bubble gun. The problem was actually getting it from him. Luckily once again the help of super mate was required Little man run and my friend gave chase. We do know that chasing little man is something he desires and we often try not to engage in this activity. My friend rolled around on the floor play fighting with little man. He loved it and it gave me the perfect opportunity to grab that bubble gun. In the struggle to do so I accidentally stepped on his fingers. With this he stood up and scream and swore for me to give him his bubble gun. He then told the world how much of a bad mother I was as I had hurt him. Please ground open swallow me NOW. Oh god it got worse. After a number of hurtful insults (many I have heard before) he then decided sod the 54 the 308 sounded a much better idea. Super friend even had trouble catching him as he ran towards the bus stop even crossing the main busy road running through the middle of the heath. Once he was finally back he decided to walk up to his sister and give her a hard push that resulted to her falling to the floor. It was her reaction that upset me most. She stood up without a word and carried on playing as if nothing had happen. She had become used to such unacceptable behaviour. With this and his on going comments.. Get run over by a bus and die, and I’m the worse mum ever and the fattest being a few I was at breaking point. I know shouting don’t help and it sure as hell wont with a child on the spectrum but I’m only human and Its fair to say I lost it. I had been on the edge best part of the day and I had finally fell. HEAD FIRST. I told him to go away then and with this he did. S**t that’s the thing with children on the spectrum they tend to do exactly that! Go away. My friend was fast becoming a world class athlete and given the location anyone would think she was training for the marathon. Again she brought him back and he sat on the grass with his angry face on. He went on and on and on about how I can control my feet, standing on his fingers was not an accident. Tired of the situation I admitted defeat and called his father who once heard my blabbering over the phone jumped on a bus and took the 25 minute journey to health. Little man had since gave me a quick hug. I think this is because he figured that yes maybe dad is actually coming after all. He says it’s not for this reason but because he don’t really want me knocked down by a bus (I only hope he don’t) He then said sorry asking me to do the same. Yes, I was sorry I shouted but not sorry I had taken his bubble gun or called his father. With this dad arrived and took both the children back home on the bus leaving me with the baby and an exhausted best friend who I love dearly:) And owe a night on the town to.
So what did I learn? I learnt a number of things and here’s a few… Don’t call the pram a bus! Call it a pram, Don’t step on little mans fingers (learn to control my feet) Don’t shout Go away! As little man will do just that. Lastly I learnt.. Buy a good pair of running shoes and wear them during family days out.
RUN FOREST RUN.