Misfits and Meetings

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When it comes to school – I do the necessary. I drop The Boy off in the morning and pick him up at home time. Sometimes I go in to calm him down if he’s having a particularly difficult day, though I should add that it’s at my request that they phone me.

Some parents do other stuff like going in to read with the children and going on school trips etc., I don’t. Not because I’m a lazy cow who’d rather be sat at home watching Jeremy Kyle point at chavs – no- it’s because I have social, sensory and anxiety problems.

In every playground you will see the ‘perimeter ‘hoggers’. These are the lone wolf parents who lean against walls and railings looking at their phones trying to be invisible. I am one of those people.

My coats have pockets which disguise the fact that I am constantly fiddling with my keys. If I’m not fiddling with my keys I am looking at my phone – sometimes I am doing both. I look at the parents who socialise with ease and know it will never be me, not unless I have lobotomy anyway.

The thought of being jammed on a school bus with noisy kids is my idea of hell and when I was asked if I could help out I had no choice but to tell the truth.

‘I’m having a panic attack just imagining it. I’m not great with crowds and I have anxiety problems, you see. Sorry!

The school are understanding of this now and don’t ask anymore. I feel sad but accept that I have limitations and to push beyond those would do more harm than good as they would have a hyperventilating lunatic to look after as well as the children.

Thankfully The Boy has his SSA and he probably copes better without me in those situations as he could pick up on my anxieties no matter how much I tried to mask them – especially if a full blown panic attack was to occur.

However, when I heard that our SENCo was setting up a group with the parents of children with special needs, I knew I had to be part of it. I was apprehensive but knew the group would be small and that my friend would be there. She’s very lovely and reassuring, bless ‘er.

Having missed the first two meetings due to being elsewhere and, er, mixing the date up – I finally made the third.

Even something as trivial as this causes me anxiety especially when it’s something I haven’t done before, (fear of the unknown), but my mind was made up. I was going to do it because the school has given us so much support and I wanted to give something back.

So the day came and I ran through my notes.

Have something to eat so tummy doesn’t growl like a bastard.

Take reading specs.

Pen and paper because you know you’ll totally forget everything that’s said.

Wear hearing-aid to avoid saying ‘Eh?’ all the time.

Have massive wee before you go.

Drawing on my years of coping skills I went in earlier than the others. I find it hard to walk into a room with people in it I aim to be first in whenever possible. There were six of us in total – so a nice small group which I can cope with.

Heart clanging away I waited for the others to arrive.

I recognised one of the other mothers as a lady who used to work at The Boy’s nursery, (where he was first suspected of being autistic), so there was only one parent there who I didn’t know, at least by sight.

First job – tea and cake.

After years of practice I can now drink in front of strangers but food is still iffy. So the flapjacks were a no-go area for me. Better safe than choking to death having breathed in whilst trying to swallow, eh?

I may not have felt entirely comfortable but I was there.

Most people will consider this an insignificant thing. ‘It’s only a little meeting yer silly mare!’ but I know there will be others who will nod like mad. ‘Oh yes! That’s me too!’

It felt good to be in the presence of people who understand what it’s like to have a child with conditions like autism. They understand the daily challenges and judgement by ignorant gits. I’m used to the feeling of not belonging because I’ve never fitted in anywhere, (hence the misfit reference), but for the hour and a half I was there I didn’t feel quite the “misfit missy”as I usually do.

The school supports our son but they also support me. If I go into school to comfort him and the hall is full of kids catapulting themselves over the vaulting equipment the receptionist takes me around another way to avoid my anxiety levels going orbital. It’s a small thing but means that I am better mentally equipped to deal with my son’s meltdown.

I’m passionate about autism awareness so I really need to be as proactive as I can. My next goal is to attend the autism show. Don’t get me wrong I have been to crowded venues in my time – sometimes it’s required a nip of the hard stuff and sometimes I’ve gone in cold but it’s always been a struggle which is why I tend not to bother now.

It will be crowded and my anxiety will be off the scale both before, during and after but I figure that even if I was to lose the plot – it wouldn’t really matter because most people there will have seen much worse.

My drive comes from years of being ignored or misunderstood at school. Without doubt I have a learning disability and struggled every day of the ten years I was there. Nobody saw my distress and as a result I left school with nothing to show for it. Going through the SEN process makes me realise that, with support, I’d have been capable of much more. As it is all I have are a bunch of ‘if onlys’.

If only I’d have been allowed to stay in at play-times my anxiety might have lessened to a degree where I could take in information in order to learn.

If only I could have entered the class early and left after everybody else then I would have been spared the anxiety of being pushed and shoved in crowded corridors.

If only I could have worked in small groups – I might have learned something except fear.

If only I’d have had somewhere to escape to when it became too much instead of having to endure the stress, the stimulus and the bullying.

If only somebody would have seen beyond ‘shyness’ and recognised that I needed help.

How different my life might have been..

I point blank refuse for my son to go through that.

But thanks to an amazing school with teachers who care.. he hasn’t.

Image Credit Public Domain CC

Sons, Sand & Sauvignon

Love Is…

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*WARNING* This post contains the word ‘fart’.

Since I’ve been on the decaf I’ve not been a morning person. In fact there’s only a 30 minute period in the entire day when I’m actually firing on all cylinders and then my brain disengages again. I’m also functioning on depleted supplies of oestrogen and this could explain why my inner grumpy went orbital the morning I walked in to find OH’s dirty undies casually draped over the chair.

Two words.

Skid marks.

OH assures me it’s due to having a ‘hairy bottom’ though I think it’s also to do with the numerous ‘rump rippers’ he fires into his ‘drawers’ throughout the day.

Truth be told – I’ve yet to come across a male who hasn’t left varying degrees of skiddery in his underpants. Having been married twice and birthed three sons- I’ve seen more skidmarks than Brands Hatch but apparently I can still be caught off guard and so I found myself faced with a dilemma –  did I wash them, toss them, or set fire to them?

After conducting a brief risk assessment (see what I did there?) I reluctantly chose to violate my washer with the offending skivvies. So I shoved them inside the machine (via the end of my mop) and slammed the door before they could escape. Then I threw in a box of Daz and left them slapping against the door on a hot wash while I staggered off to dry-heave over the kitchen sink.

It got me to thinking about how long into a relationship bad habits creep in and according to an article in The Telegraph – it’s three years and six months after tying the knot. It’s what is known as ‘the comfort zone’. OH and myself married last year but we’ve lived with each other for nine years so I’d say we’re well into the comfort zone!

Early on in relationships people stifle burps and politely leave the room to fart break wind. They take time over their appearance and are considerate to their partners. OH even let me have the TV remote in the early days – imagine that?

Muffling farts with a strategic loo flush?

*sticks hand up*

However, it was OH who took our relationship to another level the night he fired off three consecutive trumps farts into the sofa while watching Top Gun just at the moment that GOOSE DIES!

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This is real life and real life is..

Morning breath that could strip the paint off a barn door.

Watching the light of your life floss his undercarriage WITH HIS UNDERPANTS.

Sniffing what’s left of the crotch of your leggings (with elastic bits pinging out) to see if you can get another day out of them.

Women shuffling around the house in tea-stained dressing gowns or worse – onesies.

Men strolling round the house in saggy man pants or worse – onesies.

Leaving your ‘trimmings’ in the bath – eh ladies?

Toenail clippings on the floor…

The first time OH clipped his toenails off onto the carpet, I had to hold myself back from grievously bodily harming him. One of the talons pinged it’s way into my wine glass, although OH was oblivious to it as he was deep in concentration tackling his big toe at the time.

Folks, if my Dad had given himself a pedicure over my Ma’s Axminster carpet – he’d have needed those clippers surgically removed. Truth.

Clipping your hoofs in front of your OH is most definitely NOT bringing sexy back. Do it over the bath or the bog, eh?

Nose-picking?

Everybody does it but the female of the species generally do it in private whereas the males can spotted knuckles deep anytime, anyplace and anywhere.

I blame TV’s portrayals of so called ‘perfect relationships because it gives people unrealistic expectations of what relationships should be. Humans aren’t perfect, therefore life isn’t perfect and neither are relationships. Richard Gere strutting into a dusty old factory wearing a uniform and slinging Debra Winger over his shoulder?

Only in Hollywood.

Whereas Jim Royle picking his nose, farting and announcing to ‘Baaaaaaarb’ that he’s off for a “Tom-Tit” is entirely believable.

Snoring is another thing we tolerate in the early days because our brains are releasing happy-go-lucky neurotransmitters into the bloodstream. However, once the happy juice wears off you could quite happily beat the living shit out of them with a shovel in order to get some sleep! Am I wrong?

Having said that, I woke myself up snoring not so long ago, so, er, moving on….

After the infatuation dies down is when the real love begins.

Love is commitment.

Love is knowing that your partner is flawed but loving them anyway.

Love isn’t a bunch of roses or a box of chocolates (or a cactus) it’s a feeling in the heart which no amount of money can buy. When someone loves you despite your faults, you have something really special.

That’s what love is.

OH loves me despite the fact I’m a bit very strange.

He’s not fazed when I turn psycho due to lack of hormones. You know, the hormones that make us bearable?

So I tolerate the skidundies, the TV remote hoggery and general man habits because he tolerates me.

I even forgive him for ruining Goose’s emotional exit from Top Gun.

Because that’s what love is.

*OH sportingly approved this post but wishes it to be known that he picks his clippings up afterwards.

This is true except for the ones which shoot under the sofa. *snorts*

Image Credit J D Hancock via CC

A Bit Of Everything

 

The Boy and the Hospital Visit

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Not many people enjoy a trip to the hospital but for those on the autistic spectrum – especially children – it can be traumatic.

Hospitals are a sensory minefield for autistic children due to loud noises, smells and harsh lighting. It’s an onslaught on the senses alongside the anxiety of the reason they’re there in the first place so visits can be challenging for children and their parents. On top of that the tea and coffee is often of the vending variety – therefore crap.

We came to be in hospital because The Boy has been having nose bleeds and headaches with the headaches steadily getting worse so his GP referred him to a pediatrician who he saw this week.

First off he was weighed and measured and I can officially state that he is 4 foot 2 inches tall. He’s only six years old and he’s almost as tall as me! *gasp* He’s always been bigger than the average bear height-wise and this has always confused people into thinking he’s older than he is. Of course, Hedwig the owl also had to be weighed and measured and she’s 26 cm’s tall and 0.3 kg – in-case you were wondering.

Then it was in to see the pediatrician. The Boy entertained himself by turning the taps on and off while she wrote down his history. Then she examined him as best as you can examine a child with ASD but he allowed her to listen to his heart on condition that she listened to Hedwig’s too, which she did.

She informed us that headaches in children are common and she thinks his are migraines. Apparently a child is more likely to have migraines if a parent has them and in our case, that’s me.

Due to his age (and the fact that the headaches have been increasing) she wants him to have an MRI scan which can be a bit lengthy but is completely safe. However, knowing how The Boy struggles to keep still at the best of times – I can see this being a huge challenge for him.

I had an MRI scan when he was born. They whipped him out of my tummy and whizzed me off to the MRI room and that’s all I remember because I was completely trollied on morphine so I slept through the entire thing but I’m hoping that it will be of some comfort to my son to know that I’ve had one. Obviously, I won’t tell him about the ‘being trollied’ bit.

After the pediatrician had done her stuff a play worker took us into a side room (aka baby change) to explain to The Boy in child friendly terms what would happen but anxiety was threatening to overwhelm him. He was making more owl noises than human ones (a sure sign of distress) but she understood that it was unwise to go any further at this stage. We came away knowing that we will be contacted in a few weeks with an appointment for the scan but we can make arrangements to see the scanner beforehand if we wish to.

The Boy isn’t going to be sedated because the pediatrician has found that sedation often has the reverse effect on ASD children and apparently they go a bit ‘loopy’. I’m not finding a lot of evidence for this to be honest and I feel that it will be too big a challenge for him to keep still so we are going to get another opinion on whether or not he should be sedated.

In the meantime, there are lots of things we can do to prepare him for the scan in order to keep his anxiety to a minimum.

Books

Reading books about hospital visits will give him knowledge of what to expect as much of the anxiety is fear of the unknown so I am trying to find stories which feature an MRI scan.

Videos

Youtube has videos specifically for children and MRI scans, with or without sedation. We intend to show these to him over the coming weeks and then he will know exactly what to expect.

Playing

I thought it would be an idea to do some practice runs maybe using a big cardboard box that I can make into a scanning machine and we can practice him lying still, Hedwig too!

Social Stories

Using social stories is a great way of introducing new social situations to the child. We are hoping his teachers will work with us as well so that they can address any anxiety he has about the scan when he’s at school.

Keeping it positive

It’s important to talk about hospitals and staff in a positive manner. Me? I hate hospitals. They smell all disenfectanty and stuff and they conjure up memories I wish I didn’t have but I know that I can’t afford for The Boy to see my discomfort, so I do what I’ve done all my life and pretend I’m OK.

The Bribe

We know this will be a massive deal for our son so we’re going to promise him a trip to the Lego store after the scan has been done. Yes, it’s a bribe but it’s also a strategy because he needs incentives to do even the basic stuff and this goes way beyond anything he can comprehend. Nothing he has experienced in his six years comes close to this, not even what he went through during the autism assessment. It’s a big deal and if he manages to go through with it all, I will be so proud of him.

Hedwig

Where The Boy goes, so does his feathered friend and both got a sticker for being brave at the hospital.

Well done The Boy and well done Hedwig.

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Have you have been through this with your child? If so, any advice would be appreciated.

 

Sons, Sand & Sauvignon

Image Credit

“MRI-Philips” by Jan Ainali – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons