Tag Archives: change

Half Term Battles

5 Jun

So yesterday was another one of those days. Woken early I had lots to do, firstly there were the kittens, two would be leaving us and although I knew we would all be a tad dishearten, there was one person in particular whom I knew would find the adjustments a little tough to take! Yep… The little man!

Little man was playing in the garden when the first kitten left… I thought it would be better this way! It wasn’t like he wasn’t aware he was leaving, he had said his good byes and gone of to play on the trampoline! Still preparing for the event didn’t make things that much easier and as expected Little man cried for a rather long time! He called me names, told me I was evil for taking his Bellas babies away!

The turn of kitten number 2 came and despite him knowing that we could visit this kitten as she would be living with my sister he still branded me a cat napper. “A cat napper indeed”

Change is always hard for little man, his become attached to these little furry balls of cuteness and his certainly been dreading their departure.

Children adjust, that’s what we are told, I know this is true we all adjust as human beings because we have to! It’s just that sometimes it takes the little man that bit longer and in the meantime his certainly not the easiest of children to live with.

During the early hours, Bella (the mother to the litter) is pacing, she’s crying and hunting for her babies! Little man showed no intention on sleeping instead informing me that he was cat sitting! Yes… Cat sitting! I dont know who’s worse, Bella or Little Man? I’m sure they both felt I was going to steal the remaining two kittens during the night as both wouldn’t leave the room and Bella was continuously carrying her kittens around the room before trying to stash them beneath my bed.

I do love the connection little man has with our cat Bella, yes it sometimes feels like a kick in the guts when he shows her more affection than me… His mother, but he just has a different connection with animals which in many ways is beautiful.

Another thing that seems to have affected little man is not only the half term but that of the extended bank holiday weekend. Like many of us tend to do, the little man is getting his days mixed up. The whole thing has thrown his body clock into overdrive… I guess it’s kinda of like jet lag. The half term can often be disastrous and the fact it’s another bank holiday today won’t help!

The queens jubilee seems to have taken over the television and the little man is getting somewhat tired of it. Plus it’s messed up the bus timetable so we will definitely not be going anywhere that requires such a mode of transport for the remainder of the day!

I would say that luckily the little man is now sleeping but it’s 2.30 pm and this just makes it harder for him to settle tonight! We often find any sort of bedtime routine that we have put everything into establishing goes to mush once any type of school holiday hits.

One thing the little man has been focusing on, which I guess makes him feel that bit more relaxed, Is that of his special interest. Transport and Lego are a bit part of his life and now his added wrestling to the equation his had plenty to occupy his Busy mind… And mine!
Admittedly he has been driving me a little bonkers with his Lego master pieces which largely consists of buses and wrestling rings and that of his constant re-enacting of wrestling matches which involves lots of banging and crashing (headaches are a continuous part of my life these past few days)! However his interest have saved us from any major meltdowns and have been my secret weapon for reinforcing good behaviour, so, yes they have their up sides.

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Here’s hoping the rest of the half term runs smoothly and we don’t face any back to school battles!

NEVER EVER AGAIN

14 Dec

This is the post where I try to explain why I never want to take my child with Aspergers on holiday ever again.

 Most of you will know me as the mother who is first to state that, ‘Just because a child is on the autism spectrum, doesn’t mean they should not be given the opportunity to enjoy life’s pleasures such as day trips and holidays’ I stand by this, really I do!

 Now, I will try my best to put into words what I can only describe as one of the hardest, emotional draining and tiring, three days of my entire life.

 This past weekend saw me on the edge of a breakdown as myself, good friend Donna and three children (Little Man aka A boy with Aspergers, Alice-Sara & Harley) embanked on a mini weekend Christmas break at Butlin’s Bognor Regis.

 I had been extremely lucky to be invited to the tots100 Christmas party which meant an awesome deal on accommodation and presented me with the opportunity to also bring along the family. I will talk more about the Tots100 Christmas party and Butlin’s itself in another post, right now I need to get this out my system!

 It’s never easy taking Little man on days out and its even harder trying to embark on any type of Holiday no matter how short or long it maybe. The change and the anxiety mixed with the unknown often brings about havoc, and if you have ever read any of my post relating to such event’s you will already know this (remember the camping trip or even the day trip to Chessington)? 

 Nonetheless, when stating like many do “Never again” I somehow never really mean it and with passing time I find myself trying to do it all over again! Why? Because his my son and I don’t want to leave him behind!

 Despite things starting reasonably well (his delight over the funky hotel lighting which was a sensory pleasure was most welcome) things soon turned sour and within an hour or so all hell had broke loose.

 OK, Ok, I half expected this! After all we have just arrived, everything is different and a mix of both anxiety and excitement fills the air. 

 After a soak in the bath, just before heading to bed he started to argue with his sister. I know arguments between siblings are the norm with most children, but these really are over the top, Little man becomes far to angry and loses his temper rapidly. Worse still his now able to throw an almighty punch. On trying to break up yet another blow up that had become somewhat out of hand, Little man thought he would also hit out at me, not only punching but kicking me too. His not a baby anymore and his growing which I guess kind of worries me if I think about it!

 No, this isn’t good, I don’t show him that I’m frighten of him, I’m actually not, I’m just worried that one day he will go that bit too far!

I don’t like having to restrain my own son but it did have to be done before he hurt himself or somebody else, it was then he spat in my face and then laughed inappropriately. 

 The fact that his violence stopped and I thought we were over this hurdle makes this so much harder.

 After lots of tears Little man finally slept and I convinced myself that as the days went on things would get better, however they didn’t and despite trying to structure all the activities his need to control everything and everyone around him was just too much. Yes, I know things are hard for him, but there were stages of that holiday that I felt like running away especially when he carried on hitting out at me leading me to seek first aid for what was a suspected broken finger (I had pointed at him and he had hurt my fingers so bad I had no choice but to get them strapped up). This was the last day and in all honesty I was so thankful it was. By now I had cried till my eyes were sore and seriously felt like smacking my own head repetitively against the wall. 

 Harley also spent the best part of his second birthday amongst meltdowns and my pleads for a little respect and if anything a five-minute break. I know many people will think, “It’s hard for him too” Believe me I know that, of course I do! I didn’t care about the disapproving stares as Little man hauled abuse at me, I did however feel terrible for the children stood in ear shoot of his language. There was even one episode that resulted in me having to leg it out of a local fish restaurant leaving my poor friend with three kids, one who wasn’t in the friendliest of moods. 

I sat on a bench looking at the sea and really felt like I couldn’t return and carry on with this job called “Parenting”. I left a message on my Facebook page which read, “I don’t think I can cope with Little man’s behaviour anymore” and at that moment in time, I really did feel this way.

 My friend said something to me as we sat talking in the hotel once the children were finally sleeping, she said “I can honestly say I have never seen Little man 100% happy unless his indoors” I thought about this and realised just how right my friend was.

 Once we did finally return home, a lot later than expected following unexpected car trouble (the word unexpected is not one little man favourites) I noticed how his mood calmed! Yes, he fights with his sister in the comfort of our home and yes he can still be abusive, but as I sat watching him cuddling his younger sister watching the end of Eastenders (yes, cuddling, the cheek of them, I know) I realised that in-order to parent and parent Little man well, It needs to be at home (well, at home meaning not on holiday)! I’m not stating I’m NEVER TAKING HIM ON HOLIDAY AGAIN! Though I did state this more than 1000 times during the course of the weekend, I’m just stating that for now, and in-till there are clear signs of improvement in this type of challenging behaviour and yes, my ways in coping and dealing with it, I will not be booking any family holidays in the near future… and that my friends is a ‘FACT’!

Preparing my child with Aspergers for our family festive break

8 Dec

17

Days till Christmas

We’re off to Butlin’s this weekend and are all rather excited about it.

 However, it’s really not a case of “just up and leaving” for us! Well, I suppose it isn’t for anyone really, but for us such a trip means extensive preparation.

 Little man is looking forward to the trip, however he has many concerns, things that for most add to the excitement of a holiday!

English: Skyline Pavilion, Butlin's, near...

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 Little man wants to know, how everything will plan out! Just how will we get there; how long will it take; how long does each and every activity last; what are the bedrooms like; what do they use to clean the pool; does the hotel smell of bleach, will there be a shower?

 OK, OK… Most kids ask questions but for Little man it’s not just a question but a real concern!

 When it comes to days out we need to ensure good preparation has played its part, otherwise Little man will suffer and the entire family will pay dearly. The truth is, I’m unsure why god considered me the “Right” person to mother a child on the autism spectrum! Organisation has never been my strong point! Well, when it comes to actually getting somewhere on time, I’m the worst ever! Seriously no matter what I do, something always seems to happen… always!

 We went camping back in July and absolutely nothing went to plan. It was extremely hard work and at certain points of the holiday I did have to stop and ask myself why I was actually putting myself through this. Yes, that may sound selfish and maybe a thousand adults on the spectrum reading this will now jump on my back! I know it isn’t easy for the Little man either, but at the time when his having an almighty meltdown in the tent at 2am, I did ask myself why!

 I always come up with the same answer! His my son, and just because he has Aspergers doesn’t mean he should miss the experiences that all children are entitled to. As a family, we are all entitled to a holiday and as hard as this may be, I’m determined to keep on trying! It’s my belief, the more we do these things, the better Little man is able to deal with them. It’s not that he don’t want to go on holiday’s or have day’s out, if this was the case then of course I wouldn’t push him, the fact he does want to engage in such activities, no matter how hard these things become it gives me that nudge to keep trying.

Camping wasn’t ideal for a child on the spectrum, especially camping at a festival, to be honest, it was the most unstructured place to take a holiday and as much as he now declares his a big camping fan, I would need to be thinking long and hard before embanking on such an adventure again.

 Now, we have been Butlin’s before! Little man was around 5 and this was prior to his diagnosis. Nevertheless things went surprisingly OK. I know his that bit older and yes, things do tend to unfold quicker and normally in a bigger more explosive way, but considering how structured Butlin’s can be I think it may actually be a really good place for a family consisting of a child with Aspergers to take a break.

 Well, we’re leaving on Friday, after school so it really is upon us.

 Here’s what I have done in preparation so far.

 We are staying in the Butlins hotel and I’ve checked with facilities are in our room (tv, shower, single or bunk beds etc.)

English: Ocean Hotel - Bognor, near to Felpham...

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 Packed his clothing separately from ours, making sure they have been tumble dried for maximum softness.

 Made sure I’ve packed him entertainment for the journey (Lego, books etc)

 Downloaded the Butlin’s iphone app which has the full weekends entertainment, including opening times of certain activities, shows, the weekend line-up and any additional special bookable extras. Also includes a Map which is a bonus as Little man is driven mad when we get lost.

 As we haven’t been for sometime (I last went about 6 years ago) I’ve been speaking to some mummy bloggers on twitter who have been telling me what we can expect (What to avoid and what not to miss) I’d like to personally thank @TiredmummyofTwo who very considerately contacted me to ask if there was anything I wanted to ask as she was aware of my situation (please note, this isn’t someone who works for Butlins just a fellow blogger) I really am grateful that she took the time to contact me and offer that bit of support (it really is the little things that touch a person’s heart)

OK…  I’ve planed transport

 As the children’s father is now unable to attend, I’m now taking a friend who knows little man really well and is as good as family. This is important as on the Saturday I’m at the Tots100 Christmas party and my friend will take care of the children (a great mate)

 Trying to plan Sunday as-well as I possibly can as it’s Harley’s second birthday and little man can find other people’s birthdays difficult at the best of times.

 Making sure Little man knows exactly how many days in-till we leave and the times in-which we are leaving.

 Plus a host of other things that are actually rather jumbled in my head right now!

 Oh… and you better believe it! I have spent so long worrying about the Little man, plus ensuring all three children’s belongings are packed that I haven’t even thought about what I’m taking! That means packing when his at school today!

I can’t wait till everything is sorted so myself, friend and the children can look forward to our festive break which is promised to be filled with Christmas Cheer.

So… Wish me luck people! I’ll have the Mac so let’s hope that the holiday update is just that, “An Update” and a happy one at that, avoiding a festive holiday “Rant!”

We’re planning a break away

9 Nov
A poster announcing Storm and The Hurricanes a...

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I recently got invited to the Tots100 Christmas party for bloggers on the 10 th December which will be held at Butlins Bognor Regis during the Christmas Fantasy weekend and I can’t wait to see some of my fellow blogging friends again.

As we have been offered discounted hotel accommodation I’ve decided to make a weekend of it and the children will be accompanying me to Butlins, much to their delight.

It will be an extra special weekend as my youngest Harley will be 2 years old on the 11 th of December so he will be spending his Birthday at Butlins amongst some of his favourite people, Bob the builder being one of them (his one time true hero… His Bob bonkers).

 

 We will be doing lots of planning prior to the weekend because of course the Little man himself will be joining us. His quite excited about staying in a hotel, bless him but we will still need to ensure his fully prepared for the event of leaving home for the weekend.

I feel confident that all three children will have a great time. We have taken Little man and his sister to Butlins before, of course this was before Harley came along. He loved all the structured activities and he adored all the exciting shows over at the centre stage. Nonetheless I will still do everything to ensure all goes smoothly and this includes the choice of travel to the holiday site.

I find this is where issues arise. Little man is a massive fan of transport and his adamant that we take a coach, where I’d rather we jumped on the train, a coach will take double the time and it could spark some boredom within him and the last thing we need is a couple of rowing siblings, and that’s what tends to happen when Little man and his sister become bored.

Another thing I will need to consider carefully is the sleeping arrangements. Little man may not do well sleeping in a strange room, we have only just got him sleeping in his own room, which is a whole other post. Plus the prospect of him sharing with his sister may be a little too much to expect.

We are quite lucky some children with Asperger’s cannot cope one bit when it comes to day trips or weekends away, Little man can get a little anxious at what to expect but tends to adjust well, especially when in the company of family

 There is one thing I can promise the Little man wont be doing while at Butlins… Visiting Santa! Hell no, Little man has the tendency to ask the man with the white beard

how much he gets paid for humouring small children!

He doesn’t believe in Santa one Little bit!

 December looks set to be an awesome month for the children, what with Harley’s 2nd Birthday, a trip to Butlins and Christmas there will be lots of excitement in my house that’s for such.

Just because I love him

17 Aug

A few months back I was the lucky winner of a family ticket with camping to the Wilderness festival in Oxfordshire

 Yes, I was having a period of good fortune as I had also managed to get hold of a cybermummy ticket, won a build a bear birthday party and the fantastic prize of a £15o dove spa voucher.

This itself was a fantastic prize that I won on the awesome blog Not Supermum. The festival would commence on the 12th August and finish on the night of the 14th, meaning I would be leaving on the Friday and returning Monday morning. Given Little man’s Aspergers I considered all the options very carefully, which basically were, “Take him” or “Not take him” Of course I don’t want to leave my Little man behind and just because he has Aspergers doesn’t mean he is unable to be involved in the daily activities that you or I might participate in. I’ve always stated this opinion and continue to do so! However, I was thinking of him as opposed to anyone else, let me explain! Back in early July I was invited as a VIP guest to the Pandamonium Festival by Cadbury. The event was in Nottinghamshire and although we enjoyed the Cadbury mini games and the lavish VIP area where we sat next to the Ambassador  of China, things started to turn sour by the afternoon. A festival is a place that you can’t attend on a schedule, It just don’t happen! What with crowds, unannounced changes to a listing, and the fact that most of the time you are unaware of all the activities on site in till you arrive. This is an incredibly anxious prospect for Little Man and many others like him.

Little man is a child who manages reasonably well if his home life isn’t tightly scheduled, though we try with the help of visuals etc… It’s outside of the comfort of the four walls of our home, things become very difficult. Little mans intense need to control his environment causes him to become extremely rigid which is becoming a very tiresome for all involved. I almost had a breakdown once home from that festival, we all did including the little man himself, so, I needed to weigh things up in my mind before being any arrangements. 

If the truth be told despite any post I’ve written to assist a family embanking on a day out with a child on the spectrum I still find the whole task incredible hard for myself to apply. Many theme parks will cater to the family of a child on the spectrum, offering wrist bands to avoid queues and busy areas of the park (sometimes known as a ride access pass)!  Festivals are a very different  thing altogether.

So, after much deliberation I came to the decision that it was probably best if Little Man remained with his father who was already watching my toddler. However, I did something that some may describe as odd! I went against my instincts, choosing my desire for my child to have a weekend of fun just as his sister would. I asked him, he wanted to come! As his mother how could I possibly leave him behind?

We left for the Wilderness festival around 8 p.m Friday evening, (We meaning, myself, my friend Donna, daughter Alice-sara and my Little man) as total camping virgins.  During the drive Little man was a little anxious about speed limits and motorways. I tried my best to estimate our journey time, through I didn’t want to, as I wanted to avoid any rigid time keeping. This failed terribly as he would not rest till I gave the estimate. We hit Oxfordshire 20 minutes above schedule, giving us some extra time to now get to the beautiful Cornbury estate in Charbury the location in which the Wilderness festival would be held! I breathed a sigh of relief at the prospect of avoiding any upset from Little man. We left the A road with his beautiful array of cats eyes that provided Little Man with visual delight and entered the extremely dark bendy country lanes. The roads were dark and narrow. I love these little lanes yet, I had little time to sit back and chill in the passengers seat as Little man was becoming a little worried. Suddenly everything went very wrong, what started of as having plenty of time given the fact we had hit Oxfordshire a little quicker than first expected had now flipped the other way, we were now somehow 20 minutes over schedule. As the realisation set in that, “We were Lost” there was no hiding it from  Little man who had already worked this out for himself. Once Panic had set in, it resulted in verbal abuse, mainly at myself, followed by lots of tears. I was becoming stressed along with my poor friend who was the one driving. The other problem was, the gates were due to close for the Campsite which would result in us all spending a night in the car! Can you picture it? Its a terrifying vision and one I would rather not live out!

Thankfully the lovely people at Wilderness took one look at my face and Im guessing that of little mans (That displayed a string of emotions) and my guess is, wanting to avoid the tantrum that was so obviously brewing,  had then decided to let us in! Well, it was this or maybe the fact they felt sorry for my poor daughter who had basically slept all the way from London and was now stood with a blanket around her, eyes still closed and shivering like a ice cube. Whatever the reason, I was most grateful to them when they ushered us in.

However it wasn’t a case of getting in, unpacking and jumping into a nice warm bed! Remember we’re camping here, and we are, “camping virgins!” Myself and my friend were yet to embank on our challenge of attempting to put up the tent. Lets just say that little man had good reason to blow up when we were still trying to work the stupid thing out some two hours later, (seriously not kidding, even I had a mini tantrum by this point, which largely consisted of me kicking tent pegs in sheer anger). Well, at least my daughter didn’t complain, nope she was in here sleeping bag embracing the whole camping experience by snoring under the full moon.

The festival was great, It had that hippy chick, carefree feel about it. Dress crazy, dance like a idiot, or sit and debate politics through the small hours, no one cares! This attitude makes life so doable even if it is just for them few days! I love that happy festival atmosphere. That’s the good thing about this type of festival, No one stares or makes judgements when little man is having a hard time! My parenting skills are not judged, “If they were at least they were discreet about it!” Honestly, I met some really nice laid back people.

The overall location was idilic, what with beautiful swimming lakes where I embraced the whole ‘Wilderness’ theme by freezing my arse off while being nibbled by crayfish, as Little man sat watching alongside my friend, (only myself and my daughter braved the cold waters and its many residents).

Another area of concern was Little mans fussy eating. He will not eat anything cold or packed in a cool box, knowing the festival would be selling food at normal “Festival prices” I was aware that we would need to embank on daily journeys to the nearest local takeout to be sure he ate.

As expected the festival wasn’t the type of event that you would find people following a routine, just like my true personality, people were spontaneous, taking things how and when they came. This may have been perfectly fitting for me if I were alone,though it’s been so long since I have indulged in such spirited self-being, that I probably wouldn’t know how! The point, “I wasn’t alone!” Of course the problems Little man had with the lack of routine were displayed through eruptions of unpredictable behaviours! He hit his sister and swore so loudly that he may of been heard from those back in London! There where moments that he coped and enjoyed those activities that he coped with, though the majority he did not handle well t all! Of course I understand its hard for him, yet I’m human and could not help feeling somewhat restricted from the events taking place around me. I often found myself feeling a tad sorry for myself! Though it would pass within seconds, I needed to think of Little man and ways to improve the situation.

I myself felt some strong emotions come over me during the festival. At times I was so goddamn angry at Little man as he swore and called me horrific names! Others times my heart arched, I longed for my son discover a world of enjoyment as oppose to fear and anticipation that nearly always tipped into huge bouts of anger, accompanied by meltdowns

Despite this I tried my best to give them both a good time and see it through to the end. We did it (Well, we left the night before we had to) This wasn’t due to little man but just the connivence of avoiding morning traffic on the busy M25.

I pray that one day, my son be be able to enjoy events fully like those  such as the Wilderness festival! I hope over time we help little man develop the skills needed to enable him to deal with his anxiety and hopefully reduce it.

Would I take him again?

Yes, if he wanted to, I would?

Why?

Because his my son and I love him, Its as simple as that!

LOOK AT US NOW!

9 Feb

When i first heard that G was going to be assessed for ASD. I was both shocked and relived. If this is something you have just heard you maybe too. Once i had sorted everything out in my head the next step for me was to get educated on the subject and that’s what i did. I would advise anybody who has a newly diagnosed child of ASD or  those that think there  child could be on the spectrum should do this.

I found a great deal of information on the net. I also reed many books and spoke to other parents going though the same as me, my son and whole family. Once i started to research ASD i saw that things within the spectrum could be seen as gifts. There are many forms of autism some more high functioning then others. Aspergers is a condition on the higher end of the spectrum and Aspergers is the label given to G.

Once you know where your child is within the spectrum and you look at the reasons behind certain types of hard or unwanted behaviour you can then begin to avoid the upsets making your child’s life that little bit more easier. Ok not everything can be avoided certain sensory issues are hard to avoid but knowing what they are is a starting point. Lets not forget anybody within the spectrumof Autism sees the world some what differently from us.

There have been many times i have sat and cried but there are far more that i have smiled. When I’m on the net and i read forum post by parents of children with ASD and there so stressed angry and tired i think to myself that was me. Ok i’m not saying i never have them days anymore! I’m just saying it’s very rare i do. There is no cure for ASD i really don’t care what anybody has to say about that it’s just a fact’ But why would we want one anyway?

My point is before hearing your child had the condition they were the same child’ you loved them the same way you do now. The way i see it is your born with the condition the condition is what makes that child and your child is what makes the condition. If i asked for G not to have Aspergers that’s like me asking for a different child altogether. If you looked at us before and looked at us now! You would see how a understanding in Aspergers has helped in bringing me and my child so much closer. Don’t get me wrong we have always been close I’m close to both my children but G being close to me is different as it’s on his terms. Today it’s still on Giovanni’s terms but look and you will see he has opened up a little more as i understand him so much better.

My child is wonderful and yes my child has difficult times and yes he has at times got bad behaviour’ some non related to ASD as he is still human. But my child is who he is and i tell him never to be ashamed of that person.

Life doesn’t always have to be this hard there are many ways that we can make it easier for ourselves and children.

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