Saturday, 9 September 2017

ASD Helping Hands Thetford Family Support Group Library Display Project

This week has seen the culmination of weeks of planning. Some time ago, I saw a post from our local library on their Facebook page, showing off their latest wall display in the children’s area – a local childminding group had created it, and not only did it showcase some of the kids artwork but it also was an excellent promotion of the childminder in the local area. The library had commented that they welcomed other local groups to contact them about using the space for their own display, and immediately I thought of our ASD Helping Hands group.

The ASD Helping Hands Family Support group has been invaluable to Picklepot and I since we started going in January 2016. For two hours every fortnight we meet at a local venue and there are arts and crafts activities, the chance for the kids to play together and enjoy themselves without worrying about being judged by their peers for their ‘different’ behaviour, a chance for adults to have a coffee (or tea!) and a chat about things, a place for us to discuss things, a place where we don’t have to worry about what anyone else thinks of us because all of us are in this together.

Since joining the group I have made friends who truly understand what it can be like. The group has changed, we moved venues at the beginning of this year and some people don’t come any more, other people have started coming … but on the whole we still feel like not enough people know about the group, not enough people know it’s there and it’s available. The idea is that this is a family support group, so all members of the family are welcome, and even if the person with ASD doesn’t want to come to the meeting, that’s OK, they don’t have to; the idea is that everyone feels welcome, nobody feels judged and the group is a place you can come and enjoy yourself.

With the idea of getting information about the group to more people who could benefit from it, I contacted the library and asked if our group could be considered to create a display. The library were quick to say yes, and the date was set that our display would be up ready for the week starting 11th September. At our next meeting we discussed some ideas of what we could do, and we came up with our plan.

We drew around hands and cut them out, and everyone decorated some hands with colouring pencils. We found a foam tree with foam leaf-colours which we cut out hand shapes and on each one we wrote the name of the children in the group. I created a big poster for the centre of the display saying ASD Helping Hands.

One of the ladies who comes to group knows someone who works for the local free magazine, and she contacted them about the display – they said if we sent a high resolution photograph along with a small written piece to go along with the photograph, they would run it in the magazine as a local interest story, which again obviously promotes the group and tells even more people about it.

Yesterday, myself and one of the other mums (and her daughter) met at the library with our display in a carrier bag in pieces, armed only with a wall staple gun and our imaginations on how we were going to bring it altogether. We talked, we laughed, we worked it out, we planned, and we got the display up on the wall. It took us the best part of 2 hours, but it was time well spent and we are so pleased with our efforts when we were finished.

Today was our first Helping Hands meeting since before the summer holidays. Afterwards we all went to the library together, and one of the mums’ fathers met up with us with his fancy camera, and he took some photographs of the group in front of the display. We now need to choose which of the final two photographs we are going to send to the magazine along with the article.

I’m very proud to be part of our little group. There’s lots of stress and tears involved when you’re struggling to get where you need to for a family member with ASD, but our group has shown me there is lots of laughter and friendship along the way as well.

We Are Each Unique And Beautiful, Together We Are A Masterpiece

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Oh! What a Day! (Because if you don't laugh, you'd cry)

Last night my friend asked if I could take care of her daughter today while she and her husband attended a medical appointment. I agreed quickly – their girl is always a pleasure to take care of, she’s Picklepot’s “girlfriend” so they get on like a house on fire, and she’s also great with Sunshineface. I had no plans other than to work, so I thought great, the kids can play and I can get on.

She arrived this morning just after 8.30 so I was still wearing bed hair, PJs and seeking out my first coffee of the day. After a night of getting up with Sunshineface (who was most adamant he did not want to sleep!) I was in serious need of caffeine. Fortunately my friend and her daughter are perfectly used to seeing me in this condition and it’s no bother for them. Picklepot was already up and dressed, patiently waiting for his girlfriend to arrive for their playdate.

I did some work and got everything up to date, I did an online shop for delivery tomorrow since we just got paid and have NO FOOD in the house, and I drank my second coffee before 10am. Things were going well. Then the husband woke up and sorted himself out, came downstairs with Sunshineface. Breakfast was being consumed by the two bigger ones, and the Sunshineface was provided with a chopped apple (which he mostly chewed and then left the chewed up chunks in various places around the front room, but no matter, he’s much like me and rarely eats properly first thing in the morning)

I got myself dressed and came downstairs, husband left for work, I did some more work and got everything up to date again, got Sunshineface dressed and we left the house to walk to the little shop down the road. While the big shop is arriving tomorrow, I needed a couple of essentials today. We also needed to put some electric on our key meter, so our main purpose was to stop at the shop to sort that out, but in addition as it was a sunny day and work was all up to date I thought I’d take the kids to the little park near the shop to let off some steam too.

We walked to the shop, I checked my account before taking out some cash (nightmare fear of the money not going into the account for some reason on payday!) and I went to get the electric key out of the pocket on the pushchair to top it up in the shop. I hadn’t brought the key with us. I’d taken it out of the meter and placed it on the radiator in the hallway ready to put in the pocket on the pushchair and take with us, then in all the palaver involved with getting three children out of the door and one into the pushchair I’d forgotten to pick it up.

We walked back home, I dived indoors and grabbed the key, we walked back to the shop again. We were in no hurry, the kids were behaving themselves and it was nice weather. I kept telling myself it really didn’t matter, even though Picklepot kept complaining that now he was seven I should have left him in the park with his girlfriend on their own while I went home to get the electric key (Nice try, kid, but NO!)

At the shop, the bigger two decided they didn’t want to come in so I headed in with Sunshineface in the pushchair and picked up what we needed. Sunshineface decided now was a good time to drop his feet onto the front wheels of the pushchair – you know, while I’m juggling bread, milk, cheese and butter in one hand and steering one handed around a tiny shop with barely enough room to get down each section. Cheers, kiddo. I made it to the front desk (feeling proud of myself) and put down my shopping, asked the lady for some money to be put on the electric key, and just as I was asking for two mixed slushies for the big ones they came screaming into the shop because Picklepot was being silly and doing something he shouldn’t have been so his girlfriend came to tell me what he was doing and he came to defend himself. I said OK whatever, I’m getting slushies if you behave yourselves so they both did a happy dance and squealed a lot and shouted requests at the lady behind the counter about what they wanted.

Once we finally staggered out of the shop we went to the park. To my dismay it has quickly become an open rubbish bin … litter just about everywhere, broken bottles and cigarette ends, empty squashed cans, crisp packets blowing in the breeze and all that kind of sad crap you find blights so many places which should be really nice for the community to enjoy. I decided to overlook this, the kids were thrilled to be at the park, they ran off ahead to play.

Picklepot found a kid he knew playing with another kid – no parent in sight – just two six year olds on their own in a park in the middle of a housing estate. They were doing their best to break something – I don’t even know what it was – and immediately started asking Picklepot to share his slushie. Annoyed, I called him over to me, told him to leave his slushie with me while he played, asked him to play nicely and not destroy whatever it was the other boys were destroying. He returned to them and immediately started to try and destroy the object. They’d progressed by then from stamping on it and throwing it to climbing up a frame with it and chucking it off the top. I was a bit concerned about someone getting hurt, as well as annoyed that he was so quickly ignoring my wishes and joining in. So I shouted over to him, you play nicely you don’t try and break stuff or you come in here with me. He shouted back, But they’re trying to break it! So I thought to hell with it and yelled back, I don’t care what they’re doing, they’re not my children, but you know better than to try and destroy things especially if it isn’t your property! Pretty quick all of them stopped doing what they’d been doing and started playing. I thought OK and left them to it.

Picklepot’s girlfriend was in the fenced off area with Sunshineface and myself, and while she was playing happily with Sunshineface I did think it was a bit rude that Picklepot had just left her to it while he went off with someone else. Then he shouted help. I looked round and he’d climbed up the top of a frame which has various ways of getting down again – a firemans pole, a twisted rope ladder, and a set of those double bars you slide down. He’s climbed up it a thousand times before, and come down those double bars with no problem. He’s come down them head first, feet first, dangling with just his arms, backwards, you name it. This time he’d climbed up and decided he was unable to get down.

His girlfriend went over there to help him and I heard the other boys start taking the mick about “A girl” coming to his rescue, which got my back up. That girl has bigger balls than most boys I know. She’s utterly brilliant with Picklepot, she keeps him calm and stops him getting too worked up, and I knew for a fact she’d be able to talk him down no problem. She also has no fear herself and is quite happy to climb up the frame and come down the firemans pole without even blinking. So she did that a couple of times, and I was so proud of the way she simply ignored the other two as if they weren’t even there, and eventually Picklepot had the confidence to come down the double poles again.

After a while at the park we came home. Sunshineface was hungry and the other two kids were bugging me, three other girls had turned up (alone) and I’d had enough and wanted more coffee. We walked home without too much issue, though Picklepot was being a bit silly and mucking about it wasn’t too bad.

Once home, we had some lunch and my friend arrived. She stayed for a while so the kids carried on playing. I did some more work, got up to date again, things seemed to be going well.

Then Picklepot came in from the garden to announce that because his girlfriend was being bossy, he’d thrown his trainer at her and now it was in a bush and he couldn’t get at it. He wanted me to get it for him. He expected me, in a summer dress, to climb through a 6ft tall rose bush and pull a trainer out of a prickly bush. Um, no, you can ask your dad to fetch it later and then you can explain to him why you threw your trainer in a bush in the first place. My friend and her daughter went home. A busy day but bar the odd issue, fairly successful.

As mentioned earlier, our choices for dinner were limited so I put into the oven what we had left to make a meal. It was about halfway cooked when an urgent scream from Picklepot in the front room alerted me to the fact that Sunshineface had somehow got hold of the Sharpie marker pens I use for my grown-up colouring books.

I went into the front room and found Sunshineface sitting in an armchair with an assortment of 20 Sharpie pens around him, on the floor in front of him, handfuls of them. Lids were off, he had purple on his t shirt, red on his knee, green on his foot and an assortment of colours on his hands. Once I gathered them together, put the lids back on, I went to take him upstairs. I realised I couldn’t walk across the front room due to the amount of toys between me and the doorway.

As I started to tidy up I asked Picklepot for help, to which his response was, “I didn’t make the mess” I said OK you didn’t tip the toys over the floor but you played with them, so help me tidy up please. “I didn’t make the mess I only played with the toys” So I said well I didn’t even get to play with the toys but I’m expected to tidy it all up! He still wouldn’t help me tidy so I did that myself. Then I took Sunshineface upstairs to try and sort him out. Turns out that Sharpie pen won’t come off skin with baby wipes, nor with a hand soap and warm water scrub, so leaving him covered in Sharpie quickly became my only option and I was about to go to the loo before we went back downstairs when I realised the loo was blocked with loads of paper.

After unclogging the toilet, and going to the loo, and scrubbing my hands thoroughly, I took Sunshineface back downstairs so I could serve up dinner. Of course, it had been halfway cooked when I was called away for the Sharpie incident, and this whole time of clearing up and sorting out toys and the blocked toilet and trying to clean up Sunshineface meant that dinner was a crusty relic of what it could have been.

We ate what we could of dinner, then the kids had ice cream for afters, and of course Sunshineface covered himself in melted ice cream. Along with the Sharpie on his clothes, I decided to strip him off and put his clothes straight in the wash.

The washing is on (with plenty of Vanish!) and work is up to date (again). Husband has just arrived home and Sunshineface is running around in his nappy and nothing else (he won’t keep his dressing gown on) the purple Sharpie went through his t shirt so he has purple splodges on his tummy and a red line down one side, to compliment the red spots on his knee, the green squiggle on his foot and the multi colour design on his hand.

Now husband is home, the joy of the bedtime routine can begin. I just hope Sunshineface is more tired than he was last night and we don’t end up sitting there til 10.30pm with him throwing George Pig soft toys at my head telling me “No sleep”.

I’m exhausted, and I’m looking forward to my Archers & lemonade tonight!

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Summer Holidays - Weeks 2 & 3

We went for our family holiday the first two weeks of August to our usual bolthole on the Suffolk coast at Corton. It’s a lovely area and we spent the whole two weeks holiday there this time, so we had lots of time for exploring.

The usual beach we go to at Gorleston is lovely, uncrowded, sandy beach with a handy café nearby for visiting when we need a loo break and a cup of hot coffee or an ice cream. However this year we also ventured further down the coastline and found the more touristy area of the beach. It was more crowded, but not too bad, and again features a lovely sandy beach. There is the best ice cream shop ever positioned on this section of the beach and we all enjoyed ice creams from them! We also enjoyed fish & chips from the chip shop there twice over the course of our fortnight holiday and both times was absolutely lovely. Along with arcades, inflatables for kids, there is a toy boat lake, a paddling pool and shops selling the usual beach bits & bobs in case you’ve forgotten anything you need. We will definitely be returning.

We spent a day in Great Yarmouth. Our main aim was to visit the Sea Life centre which we did, and that took us about two hours to go round and enjoy. After that we walked to the beachfront and the kids went on the inflatables and several other games. We enjoyed a trip on the Great Yarmouth Big Wheel, and rounded off our day by going to the beach and having a run about. Even though by that point in the day it was cool and overcast we had a great day.

While we were there we celebrated the birthdays of both boys and Daddy P. We ate lots of birthday cake! Sunshineface turned 2 and most of his presents have been Peppa Pig based. His speech came on in leaps and bounds while we were away, and amongst his new words were “George” (his favourite character) “Suzy” (he got a Suzy Sheep toy) and if you say “Dinosaur” he’ll say “Raar!” like George does. Picklepot was 7 and he got a lot of Minecraft presents, including the new Minecraft book. We also got a ‘family’ laptop for us all to use, and installed Minecraft on that so he has another way of playing if he wants to – and I can take the laptop with us on holiday or when we go to stay with my parents so he can merrily play Minecraft while we’re not at home. It probably seems indulgent to a lot of people but with Picklepot it helps so much to keep him calm it’s invaluable to us.

On the whole we had a wonderful time on holiday but there was a lot of arguments about Picklepot’s behaviour & attitude. He was very rude at times and throwing lots of strops, and more than once Daddy P and I lost our tempers with him. I don’t know whether it’s the fact that we were all together and he isn’t used to that, or what was happening but it’s not been as bad since we got home. Perhaps it was just the fact we were away from home that was making him act up.

We returned from holiday on the Saturday and while I feel like I could do with a holiday to get over the holiday it was lovely to spend some time with my family at the coast. I’m looking forward to returning again soon. There’s something about the coast that makes me feel so relaxed and content.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Summer Holidays Week One

The summer holidays have begun.

Picklepot broke up from school on Friday last week. On Saturday my parents and brother came to our house for the day; Sunday and Monday we didn’t do much; Tuesday we went into town with his best friend and her mum to sign up for the summer holiday reading challenge; Wednesday we were meant to go to a friends house, but then it was cancelled last minute so we had a lazy day at home instead, and he went to Beavers last night.

I’d received an email from Lioness on Monday to say that the Beavers would be having a water fight after completing their Emergency First Aid work during the meeting on Wednesday, and a request to bring a towel and a dry t shirt. We arrived at Beavers and waited outside for the doors to open. Other Beavers had brought along water guns, but they hadn’t been asked for in the email. Picklepot walked up to me with a frown.
“You didn’t bring me a water gun”
I said “No, it wasn’t requested that we brought a water gun in the email”. Another mum, who happens to be staff at Picklepot’s school, said to me, “I did message Lioness to check, and she said we didn’t need to bring anything except the towel and dry t shirt”
Picklepot folded his arms and glared at me. “Why didn’t you bring me a water gun? Other people have got a water gun.”
I repeated, “No, it wasn’t requested that we brought a water gun in the email”.
He growled at me and ran off.

On our way into the hall, another mum was leaving. “Oh the water fight has been cancelled,” She said to me, “On account of the weather being rubbish today. They’re doing it next week instead.” Picklepot overheard and threw his bag and jumper on the floor, standing in the hallway with his arms crossed and a grumpy face on.
Why has it been cancelled?”
I sighed. “You heard what she said. The weather is rubbish today. It’s too cold and it’s raining. It won’t be a good water fight if you’re all too cold. They’ll do it when the weather is nicer.”
Next week. She said they’re doing the water fight next week.” He grumbled.
“Well if the weather is better next week then yes, they will.” I replied. I knew what was coming. We’re on holiday next week so he isn’t at Beavers, so he will miss out on the water fight if they do it next week.
Sure enough, he kicked his bag across the floor. “Well that’s not fair! It’s meant to be tonight. I won’t be here next week so I won’t get to join in and that’s not fair!
I asked him to calm down, not to kick his bag, and to pick up his things and go into the hall. He growled at me again, picked up his belongings, went into the hall and put the bag down by Lioness and Tiger. He took his jumper and went to join the other Beavers who were already forming up. As I stood there, I watched him throw his jumper at another kid. It hit the other kid full in the face.
“Get here NOW!” I yelled. Picklepot skipped over to me grinning.
“Why did you throw your jumper at his face?” I asked. He shrugged.
“I didn’t.” He replied.
I fought the urge to scream in frustration. “You did. I stood here and I watched you. Why did you throw your jumper at his face? You could have hurt him!”
Again he shrugged. “I didn’t.”
“I watched you do it!”
“I didn’t do it deliberately.”
“Your jumper just flew out of your hands and hit him in the face?!”
“I was trying to throw it over his head.”
I sighed. I took hold of his jumper and threw it in his face. He burst into tears. “Was that a nice thing for me to do?” I asked. He cried hard.
“Well then, that’s what I’m saying to you. Whether or not you intended for it to hit him in the face, you did throw it and it did hit him in the face and that’s not nice. So go and say sorry.”
“I didn’t do it on purpose!”
“Regardless! You did hit him with it so you need to apologise, whether or not it was done on purpose!”
The big fake sobbing continued. He makes lots of noise when he does this. It’s a very quick way of getting me mad very quickly because I know it’s fake but he’s very convincing with big tears rolling down his face and everything. Other people that don’t know him so well often think he’s properly crying and obviously they presume I'm being horrible to him.

After he eventually went off to say sorry to the other kid, he started running round in circles. He’s meant to put his jumper on and form up, not chuck his jumper around and run in circles. I asked him to put his jumper on. He removed his woggle from his neckerchief and chucked the woggle and the neckerchief onto the floor. He put his jumper on and kicked his neckerchief around the floor.
“I can’t put that on.” He said.
I waited silently. Another thing I am sick to death of is him making statements like “I can’t do that” instead of “Please can you help me do that”. So I don’t respond if he says he can’t do something, I wait til he asks for help.
He didn’t.
He picked up the neckerchief, screwed it up some more, threw it on the floor and kicked it again and yelled in my face. “I said, I can’t do that!
I looked at him. “So what do you need to do?”
“I need to put my neckerchief on!” He screamed at me.
“So what do you need to do?” I asked, meaning he needs to ask me for help not just scream at me that he can’t do it.
“I told you! I need to put my neckerchief on!” He screamed.
“You need to ask for help nicely, not scream at me that you can’t do it.” I told him. “Now it’s all crumpled up and on the floor, so first of all you need to sort it out and get it ready to put on.”
He kicked at it again, then picked it up and threw it onto the table in front of Lioness and Tiger. He went to walk away. I called him back. “You need to sort it out and get it ready to put on. I’m not doing it all for you after you’re the one who crumpled it all up.”
He glared at me and growled again. “Humph” He said, crossing his arms.
I swear this child is trying to push me over the edge at times. Another leader took the neckerchief and picked up the woggle from the floor. She turned to me. “Bye mum!” She said loudly. Then she turned to Picklepot. “You show me how you can sort this out, OK? Then you need to put it on and form up – quickly now, everyone else is ready!”
I turned to Lioness and Tiger. “He broke up from school on Friday. It’s been emotional.”
Tiger smiled. “It’s the change of routine. It’s OK. He’ll be fine. Go and enjoy your time.”
I left feeling thoroughly annoyed, upset and angry. He had been fine all day, then turned into a monster specially for the Beavers crowd. He’d made me so cross with his behaviour, which he knows I won’t tolerate, yet he does it in front of people as if he expects it to be OK.

When I went back to pick him up, the lady who had been doing the Emergency First Aid skills with the group came over to chat with me. “He did brilliantly again,” She smiled. “He was my helper again, and he remembered everything I taught them last week.” (He was her helper last week, too) “He knew all of the answers to all the questions I asked them, and he demonstrated very good bandaging abilities. He demonstrated what I’d taught them last week and got it all perfect. He’s very good at it. Has he ever done a first aid course before?” I said no he hadn’t, but that it was something he was interested in. “Maybe when he’s a bit older he can come and join our team as a cadet,” She suggested. “He might enjoy that. Getting out and about and going to events with a purpose to being there.” Then Tiger came over to me. “He’s been fine,” She reassured me. “He loved doing the first aid stuff again, he remembered everything from last week really well and took it all in tonight. He’s done brilliantly.” I smiled. “I just wish he didn’t work so hard at making me so cross!” I said to her. “Ah, but you’re mum,” She said, “He knows he can push you constantly and regardless of what he says or does you’ll always love him. That’s why you get the bad behaviour. Anyone else can walk away and not come back. You’ll always come back.” When the group was dismissed, Picklepot came over to me and apologised for his earlier behaviour. I breathed a sigh of relief.

We spoke with Lioness and Tiger about being on holiday for the next couple of weeks, so he would be missing two meetings, and celebrating his birthday while he was away. He got upset because he’d be missing the water fight, but I said we would take our water guns on holiday with us and have a water fight while we were away. That seemed to help him cheer up again.

I can’t wait for our holiday. I need a break … I think the change of scenery and having different activities to do will help keep Picklepot more chilled – and we’ll have lots of time to spend together.

Three more sleeps!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Weekend of Ugh

What a horrible weekend.

It started on Friday, at school pick-up. Picklepot was being very silly, not listening, running off, acting up etc. I put it down to him being over-excited about it being the weekend, and we hustled home to get ourselves ready. We had a Beavers badge ceremony that evening, followed by a BBQ. We got to the ceremony and Picklepot was quiet and out of sorts. Halfway through he went to the loo and on his way back he asked if we could go home. I said we had to wait til the ceremony was over. Once it was over I said to him about getting BBQ food as was our plan but he wasn’t feeling it and he wanted to come home, so we did. We picked up McDonald’s on the way back as none of us had eaten dinner (thinking we would be getting BBQ food) but Picklepot only wanted his milkshake, and didn’t eat any of his meal. He went to bed and was awake a lot that night with a raging temperature, crying and screaming. Around 2.30am Sunshineface also started crying, so I ended up dozing in the chair with Sunshineface while Daddy P stayed with Picklepot in his double bed. None of us got much sleep.

On Saturday I woke with a sore throat and a banging headache so I headed to the shop for orange juice before Daddy P went to work. After he left, the boys and I had a quiet day. I cancelled our plans to go out with the ASD group because we weren’t up to it, and I managed to get some work done. I took Sunshineface up for a nap just after 12 and when I came downstairs just after 1 I found Picklepot asleep on the sofa. It’s a sure sign he’s unwell if he falls asleep in the day! I got some more work done and slept myself til 5, when Sunshineface woke up. Picklepot stayed asleep until 6pm.

It was a late shift for Daddy P so the boys and I had our dinner together at 6.30pm but none of us really ate a lot. It was the first thing Picklepot or myself had eaten all day. After we finished I cuddled up with both boys and we watched TV til Daddy P got home. We took the boys up to bed and once they were settled I crashed in bed myself. I was exhausted and I felt rubbish.

Overnight Picklepot slept through but Sunshineface was awake a lot. I think he was hungry though because when I gave him some more milk around 5am he finally settled. Daddy P was up and off to work again early this morning but the boys and I slept in til 9.30am.

I woke feeling even more rough than yesterday. I’m running a temperature, my throat is sore, my head is banging and my glands are swollen. I washed and sterilised the bottles and made them up; loaded and ran the dishwasher; loaded the washing machine and tumble drier / folded the stuff from the tumble drier and re-loaded it with another washload / I’ve done plenty of work today and everything is up to date. I put Sunshineface down for a nap just after 1pm and Picklepot and I had some toast as our lunch.  I’ve done some more work since then and reloaded the tumble drier / washing machine for another cycle.

It’s hot today (27 degrees) and the dogs are lounging in the kitchen not doing much on the whole, but then every now and then they’ll go outside and start barking and when they start they won’t stop and its bloody annoying so I have to keep going to tell them to shut up and come back indoors. I don’t want to shut the back door because it’s so hot in the kitchen with the door shut, particularly with the tumble drier running. It’s frustrating though when they’re running around barking at birds / bees / clouds / the noise of families talking and playing in other gardens.

Daddy P finishes work soon and when he gets home I’m going to enjoy a nice shower as I’m feeling all hot and disgusting. He said he’ll sort out dinner but truth be told I’m not sure what there is to cook / what any of us will eat anyway.

I feel frustrated, because it’s such a waste of the weekend – we’ve sat at home and watched TV and slept – and I feel annoyed because I’m sick as well as the kids, which sucks – and it’s a waste of such gorgeous weather – it’s so rarely hot and sunny in the UK I feel we should have been outside, enjoying it, not stuck indoors feeling sorry for ourselves. These things can’t be helped though. I just have to get over it don’t I and not dwell on it.

I’m not going to be able to give blood as planned on Tuesday because of this sickness – whatever it is – I’m not fit to give blood according to their guidelines, so I need to reschedule, but the app isn’t working properly so it won’t let me reschedule which is a pain. I’m also due in the office tomorrow but that’s not happening – not when I feel so rough. Also planned for this coming week is the yearly team bonding day with my office buddies; it’s planned for Thursday, so I’m hoping I’m well enough by then to participate and enjoy it! Then on Saturday we’re due to drive to Surrey for my nephews birthday party and an overnight stop at my mums house before travelling home on Sunday.

So many plans depend on me feeling better, and soon. I’m drinking orange juice and dosing myself up on paracetamol to take the edge off the pain. My skin feels prickly and my joints ache – it’s almost like flu, but less severe.

Fingers crossed we’re all better soon!

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Sunny Saturday Musings

It’s been a difficult week this week. Like everything has been ‘off’ ever so slightly and things just haven’t gone to plan, it’s nothing huge and life changing but its enough to put you out of sorts. Sunshineface hasn’t had much sleep since about last weekend. He’s been doing LOTS of crying, wanting lots of cuddles, being that sort of toddler that cries for being put down, cries to be picked up again, cries because you give him a drink, cries because you don’t. It’s like even he isn’t sure what will make him feel better. His temperature has been a little raised, but he’s been drinking plenty and having wet nappies, and he’s been alert and responsive so there’s not much to do apart from ride it out. It’s just tiring, having a toddler attached to you 24/7 while you’re trying to get things done, as any parent will tell you. I put him down to go to the toilet the other day and he screamed like I was murdering him. I was desperate for a wee. So I held him on my lap, on the toilet, while I had a wee. That’s normal, right now. That’s my life. Sleeping in a rocking chair in the nursery for more hours each night than you are in your own bed, because every time you think he’s settled and you creep back to bed, he wakes up screaming again. Wondering if it’s acceptable to take him out wearing just a vest because he is so hot or if people will photograph you and post it to Mums Net with an outraged rant about what an awful parent you are. Trying to function enough to do a hundred different things that need doing and ending up not doing any one thing til it’s finished. I have a half loaded dishwasher, a half unloaded tumble drier and a half drunk mug of cold coffee to show you that. Then suddenly yesterday he slept for a massive amount of time during the day – five hours! – ate a huge dinner and went to bed – a little bit later than normal, but not much – and slept til midnight. I couldn’t believe it. He then settled quickly, and slept round til 7.15 this morning.

He would have slept longer, but I had to wake him up as I had to get him in the car and take him with me to drop off Picklepot. He had to meet the Beavers at the local Tesco at 7:40am to go by coach to a fantastic day out that sounds right up his street. The information on this adventure place they’ve gone to says 100 activities available including archery, rock climbing and go karting. Picklepot didn’t wait to be asked twice when he was asked if he wanted to go. Fortunately for me the meeting time was delayed last minute from 6.15am meeting. That would have been painful. I had no choice but to take Sunshineface with us as Daddy P was working at 7am but I guess maybe with a 6.15 meeting time we could have risked leaving Sunshineface here with Daddy and me being home on time. It didn’t work out though of course. So after sleeping the best he has for the first night in over a week I have to wake up Sunshineface, change his nappy and stick him in the carseat without further ado. He wasn’t impressed, even after I let him have a Belvita breakfast biscuit.

Check out the look on his face! He's just like his Mama in the morning! Such a grump!

All week, because of Sunshineface being the way he has been, it’s been difficult to get the housework done, or my work; then yesterday Picklepot was off school sick (something he ate) But thanks to the epic nap yesterday on behalf of Sunshineface, I was able to catch up with work and then some. Picklepot felt well enough to play Minecraft; I said well you need to do your homework before you play Minecraft. He said but I’m sick. I said if you’re well enough to play Minecraft you’re well enough to do your homework. So now we have a homework free weekend because he did it within about five minutes yesterday morning because he was so desperate to play Minecraft 😉

After dropping Picklepot off this morning with a tightly packed backpack of items (a long list of stuff he needs, all to be crammed into a small size back pack the child can carry themselves – it was like tetris trying to fit everything in!) Sunshineface and I came home and I did some work and then we watched some TV and I drank coffee and at 10am he wanted to go upstairs for nappy change. We went up, I changed his nappy, and he snuggled down in my arms to go to sleep. I napped with him for an hour, then when I woke up I put him in the cot and he woke up again. I left him to it and he hasn’t made a sound since. To give you perspective on that, right now it’s 2.03pm. He’s been asleep since around 10.30am. My next door neighbours (the new people, not the nice couple on the other side) have been screaming at one another, crashing up and downstairs, (literally sounds like they’re moving furniture and having an argument while they do it), slamming the front door, slamming the car doors, more crashing around – how many times do you need to open and slam shut the front door? Can you actually close it like a normal person instead of slamming it so hard the front of my house shakes? Somehow Sunshineface has slept though all of that!

We’ve still received no update from the services contacted with regards to assessment for ADHD for Picklepot, which is now overdue from December from what I was originally told by the paediatrician that discharged Picklepot from care without telling me.

We’ve still received no update from the Autism Anglia service contacted with regards to my plea for help as I am helplessly watching Picklepot struggle more and more, and when they asked me for forms on 12th May I had them filled in and returned by 17th May and have not heard anything further yet I made it quite clear we need assistance.

I’m trying to be a bit more involved with the local Helping Hands ASD group. We’ve got a Facebook page now just for our meetings, so rather than clog up the official feed of the Helping Hands team which covers a wide area and more than just our Saturday group, we’re throwing ideas around together with things we can do and organising events for the families. It’s easy to sit back and wait for someone else to organise stuff but this is the sort of group where we need to make things happen for ourselves, and it’s nice getting to know some other mums with similar aged kids.  

Right now I’m going to take advantage of having this rare time to myself and I’m going to make – and drink – a whole cup of hot coffee and maybe watch an episode of Revenge while I have the chance! We got Now TV last weekend … I’m quite enjoying it so far!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

The End of the SATS is Nigh!

I spoke with Miss B this morning because one of Picklepot’s classmates said to me that Picklepot was hurting him. This kid keeps coming to me and telling me, and I keep saying, “You need to tell the teacher, or a dinner lady, when it happens” Because he won’t, he’ll wait til he sees me which could be the day after or it could be three days after the event. Anyway, I know this kid has similar issues to Picklepot, so I know he’s obviously heard somebody at some point say “I’ll tell your mum!” and so he thinks that is the way to deal with it. I spoke with Picklepot, and he said that it was yesterday, during ICT, this kid kept telling him he’d done it wrong, and he said no I haven’t, but the kid insisted he had and kept going on about it so Picklepot got annoyed with him. I explained again that even when he gets annoyed he isn’t supposed to hit people, and that if the kid wouldn’t get out of his face and telling him he was wrong he needed to call over the teacher and let them know what was going on, not resort to hitting the kid. So I spoke with Miss B, and she said OK, we’ll have a chat about the right way to handle things, because not only does the kid keep telling me instead of the teachers when he feels that Picklepot has done something wrong, but also because Picklepot felt the best way to resolve the situation was to hit the kid, which obviously isn’t the thing to do.

While we were chatting she said the SATS would be finished tomorrow and she was hoping that once it was all out of the way things would calm down. It’s not just Picklepot who has been up in the air about it all – a lot of the other kids in his class are finding it tough too. I found out Picklepot has to go off alone and do his SATS away from the other kids, because not only does he chat to them when he shouldn’t, but also because of his constant narration of everything. I don’t know if that’s just him, or if it’s to do with the ASD? But I’ve noticed it at home, too, he doesn’t do anything silently – he’ll narrate it, just like they do on those YouTube videos he’s such a fan of, even if there’s nobody there to listen, I’ll hear him from the other room rambling on about whatever he’s doing. Anyway the oher day it was Mrs S, the headmasters wife (she’s also a teacher at the school) who took Picklepot off for one of his SATS and he was quite proudly telling her that his scores didn’t matter, that mummy & daddy loved him anyway, that the SATS weren’t to test him but to test that the school had taught him everything they should have done, to test that the teachers had been doing their job properly – all of which I’ve told him, and his dad has told him, and we’ve gone through time and time again at home. He then finishes off this explanation to Mrs S by saying, “If I fail, Miss B will get the sack!” Where on earth he has heard that I don’t know. It’s certainly not something I’ve said to him! Poor Miss B! Luckily Mrs S laughed about it, and told Miss B who laughed about it and she was laughing when she told me, but then I walked home with one of the other mums and she said her daughter had come out with the same thing the other day at home! So it seems the kids have heard it somewhere, it’s beyond me where they’ve heard it, but apparently all the year 2 class believe that if they fail their SATS then their teacher will get the sack!!

Anyway as it is the last day of SATS tomorrow I’m hoping that we can do something to mark the occasion, maybe go out for dinner as a family or something, my mum is visiting tomorrow and it was her birthday earlier in the week so it’d be nice to take her out with us too. No plans so far for Saturday but I think Daddy P had a couple of presents hidden away for Picklepot for after the SATS so he might get those. Then on Sunday we’re off to my in laws for dinner.

Today I went for a lovely walk in town with Sunshineface, met up with a friend and we went for coffee, then we took a walk alongside the river in the sunshine, it was lovely and just what I needed to lift my spirits this morning. I felt a bit blugh first thing, I’m not really sure why. Tonight I’m out with my team from work, we won the ICE award for the month for being so damn good at what we do so as a treat we’re going out for dinner. I’m looking forward to going out with the gang, and going out in general – I get so few hours off from being ‘mum’, it’ll be nice to be me for a while!