We endure an existence of high anxiety, a peak in the bell curve as we await the trough that follows. It’s always like that around here, crashing waves before a period of calm.
I’d like to blame those people, but it’s not really their fault. How were they to know? It was a perfectly harmless sign stuck to the back of their car. They didn’t know that he reads everything and particularly favours orange signs. It was innocent enough ‘family sale here,’ and an arrow pointing towards their home. It just came at a bad moment, an anxious moment when he’s more vulnerable to triggers and spin off.
So far the social stories are a failure but it’s a work in progress.
It’s a little embarrassing right now, but my Rhino hide serves me well. It’s only been the last few days.
I go to school to collect them.
My youngest son bursts from the classroom to prostrate himself at my feet, face covered with the palm of his hands to yell at 50 decibels “don’t sell me Mom. Pleazzzz don’t sell me.”
Yes, it’s well and truly stuck, even though the original sign didn’t specify which member of the family would be sold.
I prompt him of course, because it helps him remember. His face is in the dirt and his eyes are covered, but his ears are exposed, so I hum the first few notes like a secret code. I don’t understand the magic, I only know it works. Maybe it’s like the marching songs of soldiers entering battle, energizing? He explodes back onto his feet to a rousing chant, the theme tune from Indianna Jones, his personal salvation. A non lethal weapon from torment. He spins off in a revelry, arms wide, head back to salute his freedom in song. It’s like the Hallelujah Chorus that lifts the spirit and crushes the psychological deamons.
Even little people get to be superheroes sometimes.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
I watch my youngest son swirl on the hard wood floors.
My daughter watches him too.
So much pent up energy.
His motor mouth spouts a monologue of unfamiliar words.
“You’re going to wear yourself out with all that break dancing sonny Jim!” I say to his gyrating form.
“Break dancing?" she giggles, "what’s break dancing Mom?”
“Er…..sort of…..throw yourself about a lot kind of dancing.”
“Never heard of it, anyways, he’s rappin whilst he hip hops.”
“Indeed, is that what they call it these days?”
Verily, I must get a bit more with it.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
After a long career in the Navy, my parents decided to buy a house and remain in one place.
It was a three story terraced Victorian house and I loved it before the ink was dry on the contract. At the back of the house, leading to the tiny strip garden, was what my mother called ‘the conservatory.’
The conservatory was a four foot square arrangement of glass and wooden shelves, an entrance way or exit, a distance of three paces. The previous owners has neglected to remove some of their plants from this area, predominantly "cacti." They were a dull grey, with lots of prickles but otherwise quite unremarkable, apart from the single startling iridescent "bloom" stuck on the side like an afterthought. I stroked it to make sure that it wasn’t plastic, as the 1970’s were the heyday of fake flowers. Although my mother was keen to clear the place out, the cacti were reprieved.
Her delegation of duties had me hooked on responsibility.
I was immediately derelict in my duties as I trudged off to boarding school. I certainly would never have survived without water for three months, but cacti are so much more forgiving. They thrive on neglect. My arrival home was their rainy season when I would drown them with attention for a couple of weeks.
“Wear my gardening gloves,” my mother would advise, but I was of the filthy species of child. They were too big for pudgy little hands, far easier to dive in with naked digits. The huge prickles were easy to avoid. They broadcast their dangers. It was the little fuzzy ones that were my downfall. Their deceptive fur would burrow little barbs into the flesh to leave hairy fingertips. Easy to see but impossible to remove with stubby nails.
All these years later, it seems that both my girls have the same filthy gene, the ‘climb a tree,’ ‘dig a hole,’ ‘am I really plastered in chocolate?’ gene. My eldest son is graduating to the same genetic heights but climbing is still a struggle, as co-ordination of body parts is a challenge. We should all have been born with a coating of Teflon.
My youngest son on the other hand, lives life with as little use of his hands as is humanly possible. Tactile defensiveness, or how things feel, means that he will go to great lengths to avoid touching anything. He tucks his hands in pockets or armpits, clasps them behind his back out of danger or protects his fingertips in his mouth. They are all default positions for hypervigilant people.
We have been in this particular groove since the beginning. I might call it desensitization but it still looks like torture from his perspective. Time and maturation have helped but it’s a predictable path. In earlier times we worked to persuade him to write in shaving foam with his finger, buried plastic dinosaurs in sand, sunk Thomas in a washing up bowl full of suds, hid Pokemon in playdough and used any number of other devious means to tempt those fingertips into our tactile world. We should not discount the psychological cost of such treatment. How does the average three year old feel when you pour cement over their precious security blanket? For me, to witness his terror was offset by his determination and instinct to rescue despite the personal pain. It's a question of balance and I think I was off kilter.
These days he’s more malleable and sometimes he surprises us with his bravery. He’s also learned to adopt his own safety strategies to help him cope with the onslaught. We own more woolen, cotton and disposable gloves than any other family in a five mile radius of our home. He’s more willing to use tools, even though they’re difficult to manipulate because it means that he is saved from the agony of touching something worse.
They’re nothing if not inventive, children that is to say.
“I am need!” he squeals at no-one in particular.
“What do you need dear?”
“Yes I have be one but I be need more nine.”
It's always best to expect the "unexpected."
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
It may sound unkind but I would have to say that my mother was a health hazard.
That aside, she had many worthy talents including considerable skills as a dressmaker. Inevitably, we, her children, would fall victim to the strange ritual of trying on the half made garment full of pins and tacks and bits of greaseproof paper. I would stand on the carpet with my mother crouched at my feet as I followed her instructions to turn slowly in circles, to see if the hem was level. Her actual words were incomprehensible, muffled by a mouthful of pins, pointy side inwards. This is how I learned my ‘rotation whilst static’ skills, assisted by advanced toe creeping, but it was a perilous existence.
We would sit of a family evening, glued to the telly, whilst my mother busied herself with some project. At some unpredictable moment she would leap from her chair and announce “oh no! I’ve lost my needle / pin / scissors / other lethal weapon.” I was never quite sure how to react to these proclamations. They were often accompanied by an additional command such as “don’t move! or stay right where you are! or aren’t you going to help! or it could be anywhere!’ I suspected that she kept a catapault in her pocket for maximum carnage.
Quite often I find that it is little pokes from the past that help me remember how different a child’s perspective can be from an adult's.
These days, I am very much aware that dangerous ‘triggers’ lurk around every corner for the unwary but I never know what form the latest edition will take.
My son and daughter enjoy the latest craze, Webkinz, just like their forebears of Gonks, Trolls and my pukey little ponies. It's a phase and a culmination of painfully acquired skills:- do your chores, earn your pocket money, save it for three weeks and a Webkinz can be yours for the squandering.
My youngest son is less keen, interested, willing to be wooed but cautious.
“I am be figured,” he bellows at my elbow.
“Really, um…..why…….what have you figured dear?”
“I am be figured it out! Dat is a figure of speech.”
“Indeed it is.”
“Do you like figures of speech?”
“No but I be figured it out anyways.”
“What have you figured out.”
“Dat dey are not cacti.”
“What isn’t a cactus?”
“Cacti! Cacti! Cacti! It be double, it be Latins.”
“Ah……so who are not cacti?” I am already out of my depth and mired several yards into the bog.
“Yes, porcupines are animals not plants.”
“Dey are spikey. Hedgehogs is spikey too.”
“Yes they are. They’re both spikey and they’re both animals.”
“Oh dear, yes they are.” I’m stuck, up to my neck in it and sinking fast.
“But dey are not cacti.”
“So true, so true.”
“So I am bin touch dem. I am be brave.”
“What are you going to touch?”
“Dah Webkinz which are not real spikes.”
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I would hate to criticize my mother in law in a public forum but sometimes you just have to tell it how it is.
I have traced it back to her!
I don’t know why I didn’t connect the dots before. You see, she is solely responsible for the twiddle gene. Her son has it and so do all his children. I on the other hand, not being related by blood, am free of the twiddle gene. I often think that if had the twiddle gene too, then it wouldn’t be quite so annoying. As it is, I don’t, so it is, annoying that is to say.
They all do it, the foot tapping, hair twiddling, flicky fingers, nibbling and the like. These are the kinds of people who make teachers yell, ‘sit on your hands!’ More unfortunate types are twacked with a ruler.
Then there are the ear lobe pullers, the people who suck air through their teeth and the women and girls who do that thing with long hair that has no name but ought to have one.
Who can ignore the chin rubbers and beard strokers? I’m very agin the jostling change in your pocket types. I cannot stand the rhythmical drumming of fingertips on the table top boffins, the fluff pluckers and the throat clearers. The rockers are pretty annoying too, swaying forwards onto tippy toes and then rolling back onto heels guys, gearing up for speech. I’m convinced that Restless Leg Syndrome should fit in there somewhere.
Due to my never ending thirst for knowledge, I have conducted scientifically controlled experiment to determine the cause of these behaviours. 9 times out of ten, when you ask someone ‘why are you doing that incredibly annoying thing?’ the most common response is ‘what? or I’m not doing anything!’ Bizarre as it may seem, they are oblivious to their behaviour and more importantly, it’s effect on their audience.
They’re all variations on a theme, be they displacement activities, coping mechanisms or an aid to concentration. No matter how you choose to label them, they all fall into the chasmic category of annoying. If you are unfortunate enough to belong to a family of twiddlers, what might you do to relieve the stress of such an existence, lighten the burden? This is a question I have often asked myself. No amount of kooshes and fiddlesticks will placate them.
I asked myself this question again, as I waited seven minutes outside the school for the boys. My daughter sat in the back seat with her mild fever and a twiddling fingers. The offensive digits played with the electronic window button, up and down, and up and down…..for 420 excruciating seconds. I tried to distract her with conversation but she never missed a beat. I tried and work out what it was that was so annoying? Was it the noise? Not an offensive noise really and quite quiet. Repetitive but rhythmical. Would it have be more annoying if she’d did missed a beat. Why?
I should have acted sooner, probably about twenty years ago.
Back then, we’d sit on the sofa together, the Chesterfield. We’d talk about the future, or rather, I’d talk and he’d twiddle. As the months rolled on, the sofa grew bald, buttonless and saggy. Sadly, the male of the species was fatally flawed. If only I paid more attention. If only I’d known that we would produce a whole twoop of twiddlers to taunt me. As I said my wedding vows I sealed my own fate. As we packed to move out to the States, the sofa was just so much collateral damage. Oh woe is me, cursed by this twiddle riddle, pure innocent that I am.
Now where did I leave my knitting?
Monday, May 26, 2008
I suspect that I am stuck in a time warp circa 1970. I think hard, as I need to assess if I need to recalibrate. Under what possible circumstances would my parents have taken me to the European equivalent of Build a Bear with 50 bucks in my hot little hand? They would have had to have won the Lotto! Someone must have had a near death experience! Maybe my birthday and I had behaved like an angel for 365 days! They all seem equally unlikely.
I move forward a couple of decades and re-examine the circumstances under which I would have taken my first child to such an establishment? Single parents are often short of cash. It would definitely have been a special treat or over compensation for guilt, another fringe benefit of single parenthood. I ignore the issues of the exchange rate and twenty years of inflation.
The thinking has failed to provide me with a solution.
I look at my daughter, the epitome of pleading. She was invited to a play date, which has now morphed into a visit to Build a Bear. A parental contribution was necessary last time for such an expensive treat. No-one should be expected to fork out the cash for two children for such a jaunt. I am reluctant to repeat the exercise within the same month.
“It’s very simple dear, we can’t afford it.”
“But we’re rich!”
“Yes we are. We have a house, food on the table, we can pay the bills, but $50 is too much for an afternoons entertainment.” I try not to make comparisons. It seems little enough by comparison to 50 minutes of speech therapy. I don't belong to the 'treat all your children the same' club any more, not for a long time.
“$50? But I need money for the movies and snacks too.
"Movies? I thought you were going to Build A Bear?"
"And a movie."
"All in one afternoon.........it was supposed to be just a play date."
"You said I could go! I can use my allowance if you like.”
“That doesn’t even come close dear.”
“Use your credit card.”
“Credit cards……” I decide not to disappear down a blind alley. “Your dad’s been in England for two weeks. Two weeks of not working. Two weeks without pay. So not only is there no money coming in, he also had to pay for an expensive flight, hire a car and live there for two weeks.”
“What about the money in the bank?” I had forgotten how simple life is when you are young.
I grow weary of being out smarted and out manoeuvred by ten year olds. I want her to experience a little bit of what other people consider ‘normal’ but I’m unwilling to shoulder the practical fall out. How can I equate 45 minutes of occupational therapy for two with an afternoon of frolick for one at a fraction of the cost? What is really necessary and what is extravagance?
At ten years old, I might have gone tadpoling, fished for pollywogs with an old jam jar. I’d have had some squashed sandwiches wrapped in tin foil. It would have been fun.
When my oldest daughter was ten, we would have done the same thing, but with a bigger picnic. It would have been fun.
I lift a coffee mug to my lips but resist, as a thimbleful more will make me tremble. I glance over the neatly stacked piles of Pokemon trading cards on the windowsill, at the roiling clouds through the window. I am ill equipped to tutor smallish children but I’m way out of my depth with the next developmental stage of growth. I watch the first spike of lightening whip out from the clouds and count, waiting for the clap of thunder in my brain.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
We all make associations all the time, where we connect one event or set of circumstances with another. I associate the arrival of Summer with sun burn, turning puce and spending many a happy hour peeling off strips of dead snake skin from my arms. I associate the holidays with Christmas pudding, hidden silver shillings to break teeth and a visit to the dentist. Some of the connections we make are faulty but they’re hard to shift once they’ve been experiencing. We learn through our unique experiences.
Teaching autistic children can be difficult because their motivations differ so greatly from the average child. It is because of this that frequently we need to use motivators that many other parents disapprove of quite strongly. Most people are on board with giving a child a piece of candy for successfully conquering potty training at a young age, commonly under 5 years old. These same people are less convinced by giving an older child an M&M for putting on one sock, ineptly. I suspect that it’s the back story that’s missing.
To read more click "here."
Saturday, May 24, 2008
These are the last three subjects that I’ll be tackling on Trusera. Initially I just wanted to discuss fading, which is a huge hurdle for our family, but then I found that would be too difficult without touching on the other two first.
Sequencing is simple for most of us. Others find ‘doing things in the right order,’ a Herculean challenge.
Lets take an every day example, such as hand washing. I quickly discover that when I break the task down into it’s separate parts, there are 13 single steps to hand washing and they need to be done in the right order to achieve an approximation of cleanliness. If I take my chocolatey hands to the bathroom and dry them on the towel first, I will fail to achieve the desired result. Additionally, if I start all over again from scratch and eventually get to step 13 to dry my now clean hands, I find that the towel is all covered in chocolate. This is not a good result.
To read more click "here."
"was fortunate. My father was in the Navy which meant that we never had to endure any one school for very long, as there was always another posting hanging in the wings to bring relief. The crunch came with boarding school where my education was stabilized from 11 until I was 18. Like many marginalized children, not in the ‘in crowd,’ I made it to adulthood relatively unscathed. That was all back in the bad old days when people were more narrow minded, ancient history. These days people are more enlightened, open minded and accepting of differences great and small. We enjoy an 'inclusive' mentality and marginalize the judgmental tendencies.
Other people are far less fortunate than me. Their experiences defy comprehension.
Today I learned of a young man who was ostracized publicly, his name is "Alex Barton." This little chap is definitely small but he is neither round nor freckled. He looks perfect. He is perfect. He is the perfect fit for his loving family. Sadly, he is not a perfect fit for some of his peers, primarily his teacher who orchestrated his ousting and planted stigma in the young minds of many. I learn that other "autistic people" have had similar experiences. Many others are flabbergasted at such behaviour.
Strangely, or rather coincidentally, a pal sent me this quote yesterday:-
"Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me." Mathew 25:33-40.
Another chum sent me this e-mail. She is no longer small and round, and I grew up to be much bigger than I ever imagined.
Tequila and Salt
This should probably be taped to your bathroom mirror where one could read it every day.
You may not realize it, but it's 100% true.
1. There are at least two people in this world that you would die for.
2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.
3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.
4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.
5. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.
6. You mean the world to someone.
7. You are special and unique.
8. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.
9. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.
10. When you think the world has turned its back on you take another look.
11. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.
If you are a loving friend, send this to everyone, including the one that sent it to you.
If you get it back, then they really do love you. If life hands you Lemons, skip the lemonade,
ask for Tequila and Salt and call me over!
Best wishes from me and mine to all the Bartons.
Here are another couple of links to blogs of a more erudite nature on the same subject.
"Left Brain Right Brain"
"Action for Autism."
Many thanks to "Bev" for pointing us all in the right direction and to "Niks Mom" as we all gather together.
Alex might benefit from going to "Adam's" school, where inclusion is a positive goal that many more of our children should enjoy.
"Drive mom Crazy" also gives as an adults perspective.
"Abfh" posts on this today too, as well as providing a very handy telephone number "here" in case you're not the writing type.
Here are some more jolly good links that we may be able to pass around the blogosphere:-
Or you could pop along to my jolly good pal "Last Crazy Horn" as see her sterling work in situ at "Odd One Out."
P.s. We've been battling asthma over here with the boys, so I've not been as vigilant as I should have been. If we've missed you out drop me an e-mail / leave a comment / post a link.
"Here" is a link explaining why some people choose to "homeschool" from "Mrs.C."
Friday, May 23, 2008
Whenever I was feeling gloomy as a child my mother would tell me to go and do something nice for someone else. It was this advice and several other bits, that made me secure in the knowledge that she was completely barmy. At that time I was unaware of ‘displacement’ activities, and ‘self therapy’ was an alien concept. I think of my barmy old mum as I receive an international telephone call from my chum, the one with the charmed and perfect life:-
“Come on Maddy, tell me all your woes so that I can feel less mopey.”
“Ooo where to start! Shall I tell you about my ghastly gum remodeling escape or the root canal that I had instead accidentally?”
Later in the day, when the painkillers start to wear off and I become more mopey, I telephone my American pal, the one with more woes than is fair for any one person to shoulder. Hers are the kind of woes that can’t be fixed, ameliorated or obliterated. Perfect teeth so no need for dental insurance. Her expenses aren’t for autism therapies but for health issues. A perfect family and yet a life time of unwarranted misery.
“Hello there! I haven’t spoken to you for ages. How are you doing?”
“Oh you know me, nothing to complain about apart from funeral pyre of medical bills.”
“Shall I nip round with a box of matches?”
“No house insurance dearie. That’s the kind of help I could do without.”
Who do you need to phone?
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I already know that the process will involve squeaks, so I pick my time. I hope to keeps the screams of agony to a minimum but you just can’t be too careful with this kind of thing. I wait until the boys are engrossed in electronics time and then coax her to the table. I don’t know how it got in there and neither does she, but some how or other, the bubble gum shall be removed from the tresses. Ice cubes have proved a failure so now it’s onto olive oil and picking. She doesn’t believe my promises after the previous debacle with ice and I’ve noticed that all the scissors from the kitchen drawer have disappeared. The offer of a new hair style was shunned. This is definitely one of those chores that I would prefer to delegate to her father.
I make soothing noises as I massage the sticky mess, messages of reassurance with few real words but still she whimpers in anticipation of pain or pending baldness. I hear the scrape of a chair in the hall, quickly followed by another clatter. Over her shoulder I see two boys move in slow motion. One adopts the marine on manovres approach, on his tummy, the hand over hand crawl. The other is in a sitting position, his back towards us as his feet propel him in our direction, very, very, slowly. They take up position under the table in silence. Their sister squeaks, shudders and snivels. The big brother takes the universal protective stance of flat fingers over eyes and thumbs in ears. The little brother takes the alternative protective stance of thumbs in eye balls and index fingers in ear holes. They wait in silence. Every few minutes one of them bends down to peck a kiss on her feet. Precious electronics time minutes ebb away, as they stick to their vigil of solidarity.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
She leans against the fridge and the weekly menu plan which is blank. The dictates of the organic weekly vegetable box rules the roost for everyone except junior.
“Soooooo what are we having for supper?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Er….what are you cooking then?”
"Bacon it poison! I am be having brown rice and chocolate pudding!"
“We’re having bacon!” she beams.
“Not necessarily it’s just that today is the sell by date.”
“Well if I cook it now it will keep for another few days without going off.”
“What’s in the other pan?”
“Greens, or it will be greens when the oil’s hot.”
"Green is be poison! I am be having brown rice and chocolate pudding!"
“Er…..either Curly Kale or spinach.”
“Whichever bunch is less yellow.”
“Which has the floppier stalks?”
“Hmm, the Kale wins by a whisker.”
“We’re having curly kale and bacon?”
“Probably not. Kale and something.”
“What’s the something?”
“I haven’t figured that out yet.”
“How can you be cooking yet not know what we’re going to eat?”
“Well, sometimes it’s like that. I’m waiting for inspiration.”
Her father walks in to drape himself on the kitchen counter, but that’s jet lag for you.
“Is there any inspiration in the fridge?” she queries in a tentative tone.
“I hope so. Have a peek and give me a hint.”
“What about this cheese? Ooo no it’s all yucky.”
"Cheese is for mouses!"
My! His categorization skills are coming on a treat, or is that prejudices?
“We can scrape that off.”
Her father remains silent as his eye lids droop.
“Hmm looks like……they used to be…..mushrooms.”
“What are they now?”
“Petrified, I mean dried. Chuck em over.”
“It’ll be fine. You’re a great help.”
Her father crumples a little further.
“What else dear?”
“Well there’s this box of……something or other.”
“Ah, left over rice, perfect.”
"Rice is be mine!"
“So? What’s it gonna be?”
“I’m still debating. What else is there in the fridge?”
“But you’ve got a pot on every burner now. Surely you must be cookin something?”
An unwelcome murmur comes forth from the unfortunate time traveler, “I’ll never moan about airline food again.”
“Yes, there’s nothing like fresh organic produce to stimulate creativity!”
“Sounds like a dose of swamp fever to me.”
I can see into the future. It’ll be a different kind of fever, of the cabin variety and I’ll throw away the key.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Family life with children can be stressful for a couple of decades of our lifetime’s.
Small children require a great deal of physical effort. Teenagers tap into the failing cerebral skills of their parents. Financial woes both great and small add a layer of pressure to the traditional family.
The stay at home parent often seeks instant relief from duty, the moment the other parent crosses the threshold. There is so much competition for time and attention that often we fail to cut the other half a little slack. Both parties believe that they give 110% to the relationship.
Or maybe that’s just around here?
We attempt a conversation in the kitchen whilst one child mimics a cat around his ankles and the other is determined to reach the ceiling via a shoulder carry.
I clatter and cook.
“What is all this stuff anyway?”
“Just a bit of shopping. I’ve not had a moment to put it away. Don’t look at it, just push it to the back of the counter so that I can start supper.”
“What are these?”
“Oh just picture frames.”
“I can see they’re picture frames. Why are there 8 of them?”
“Because they were going cheap.”
“Well I thought they’d be nice in the family room.”
“The family room is already plastered with all their……er…….art.” He wobbles a bit with his unwieldy load.
“Well now it’s summer and the fans are on, all that flapping paper is driving me batty. Bits of it keep falling off and fluttering about the place. I must have used a whole roll of seleotape sticking it all back up again.”
“So I thought I’d pick 8 of the best ones and pop them into frames after I’ve decorated.”
“Yes I’m going to paint the walls. Have you seen the tide marks?”
“You can’t see the tide marks because of all the art.”
Our youngest son meows, plaintively.
“So you’re going to paint the walls.”
“Yes. Freshen it up a bit.”
“Have you any idea how much that will cost?”
“No, I’ll do it myself, cheap labour.”
“So why didn’t you go and buy paint, brushes, drop clothes, masking tape, all the things you need to paint?”
“I’ll make a list. Anyway I can get those any time. It’s a question of doing everything in the right order.”
He staggers about the kitchen a bit, trying to maintain balance and focus.
“Right. So really you should buy the frames last.”
“Oh no. Careful don’t tread on him!”
He shifts his weight and shuffles as the top guy makes another lurch towards the ceiling.
“Because after I’ve decorated and go out to buy 8 picture frames I can guarantee you that I won’t be able to find 8 all the same.”
“8 cheap ones that are all the same?”
“But this one’s got a chip.”
“Hardly noticeable. I did say they were cheap.”
“Maybe you could tackle something less ambitious?”
“All the other projects that you started and never quite got around to finishing?”
I resist glare and swallow pout, “hmm.”
“All this because of a little fluttering!”
“It’ll increase the value of the house.”
“Minus the cost of eight holes in the wall.”
“Nothing. When is this evolution going to take place?”
“I’m not sure yet. I need some time when no-one will be in the house. Or a barricade to keep them out.”
Cats spit, but I’m not sure which ones.
“You plan is to make the family room off limits! The one room where we spend 95% of our waking lives!”
“I just need a couple of consecutive child free days.”
“Hmm maybe we can wait approximately 11 years, if we’re lucky?”
“I’ll add barbed wire to the list.”
“It would be cheaper to buy more earplugs.”
“Save you from having to hear all that annoying fluttering.”
“I’ll add duct tape to the list too!”
“It'll take more than a strategic strip of tape to shut me up.”
Monday, May 19, 2008
This is a four step programme for perfect parenting. The first part of being a good parent is to do the right thing. The second step is figuring out what the right thing might be? In any given situation, if you can master these two basic skills you are well on the road to success. All you have to do then, is follow though on your decision and be consistent thereafter forever, the last two steps – persistence and consistency. This masterful, empowering programme should be adopted by all parents worldwide, from the moment the baby gulps the first lungful of air.
I see her pedicured toes, encased in four inch heels, as she totters up the path. Baby carrier slung on one arm, a school age child dragging on the other. I’m uncertain whether she deserves award for ‘best effort’ or a chair?
I see a father in his business suit berating his son, “why didn’t you bring it?” mystified, frustrated and already late for work.
A parent helps her child with the fluttering papers that escape from a back pack, “why did you unzip it?” The baby stroller next to her creeps backwards down the gentle incline.
A mother and son stand in line outside his classroom. Both are immaculately turned out. The mother chats to other mothers. Her son picks his nose with the dedication of a surgeon.
Another mother comes to the end of a rope of her daughter’s hair. A skillful, even braid, heavy in the palm of her hand, just before the school bell, “what do you mean you lost the elastic band?” she gasps at the six year old.
So many rhetorical questions that we all say every day wasting lungfuls of air.
And me? I sit on the bench outside the school wondering why I am no longer equipped with two changes of clothing at all times. I dither over the recovery strategy. One bemoans that her new white sports trainers are already falling apart and filthy. Another is covered in dust from head to toe having discovered the joy of scuffing dirt clouds. His new chant of ‘dusty, musty, fusty,' begins to rankle. The last one is sodden, soaked through to the skin, having become entangled and then enraptured with a sprinkler on the walk to school.
All perfectly seamless really, in all our different ways.
I see someone’s Grandpa leaning against the wall, on substitute parent duty. He watches the children. He watches his lad. As the bell clangs and children dive into air conditioned classes, he moves off, wipes his brow with a white handkerchief and smiles, as well he might.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
As the temperatures hit the 100’s I concede that a house with a swimming pool, might have been a good idea afterall. Now that they can all swim, or rather move in the water and continue breathing at regular intervals, it seems a good idea to share. I choose an afternoon when the boys are otherwise occupied and invite my daughter’s pal. I leave several messages on her mother’s answering machine. Can she come? Can she swim? Does mother have any objections, warnings or advice? Would she like to come too?
To non-Americans this may seem like overkill, but I’m up to the mark on statistics. It’s not ‘just’ the drowning, the second leading cause of death of young people under the age of 14 but also, that for every one child that dies another five suffers "serious injury."
I have always been paranoid about the pool, despite all it’s safety features. It’s been a long period of adjustment for me. In England only millionaires and celebrities have pools. Here, there are community pools, pools in apartments blocks and the tattiest of hotels. It’s a different culture. For me, pool and non-swimmers is a bad combination, so we taught them to swim. Pool and swimmers, can still be a bad combination. The only safety feature that functions in my psyche is my personal, physical presence at all times, despite the dodgy eyesight. With the boys gone I shall be able to concentrate fully on the guest. Two lives are so much easier than four.
As the day draws on and no returning phone call transpires, I cringe at the thought of explaining to my daughter. Without parental contact it’s a non-starter.
At school collection time, my daughter and pal squeal with excitement, the way that only truly little girls can. There is no sign of her mother. I start my painful explanation to shrieks of protest. “My mom’s over in the car, she’s brought my stuff, she said she would!” We move in the direction of the car, idling near the curb. As I bring up the rear I see her grab her swimming gear through the open window, which prompts me to gallop forward before I’m stranded, breathless. Pal’s mother smiles, “hi Natalie, I got yur messages, here’s her stuff. What time shall I pick her up?” I’m set off track by the offer of collection, the opportunity to pin point that all to elusive time factor. We agree on five and off she goes. I remember all my un-answered questions in the dust.
I sit on the edge of the pool in the shade lurking, a knitting gnome at the deep end. My fingers flick, the wool gets soggy, my legs dangle in the waater and my eyes watch two, sleek, otter heads. Neither was happy with my blanket refusal of ‘privacy,’ no negotiation. The dictator has spoken. It’s official, a smothering mother but I’m glad she’s unfamiliar with the term ‘over protective,’ as she rolls her eyes. It’s supposed to be fun so, I kept my interrogation to a minimum, ‘yes I can swim,’ had to suffice. I wait for a footfall, a mis-step or an earthquake. I shift my weight on the cement, ever poised, ever so slightly numb. They play rather than swim, but it’s too hot for anything but lethargy.
A couple of hours later they are transformed into pickled walnuts. They take themselves off to the shower and to empty the hot water tank. With the pool safely locked away, I commence snack preparation. I hope it’s been fun. They looked like they were having fun. They sounded like they were having fun.
The boys come home at the same time as pal’s mother arrives to collect her. Pandemonium ensues when they realize that pal is about to leave. Whilst they have endured their double therapy afternoon, they’ve also been swindled out of a vicarious play date.
Amid the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, tearful farewells emerge, tender and ever so slightly damp bathing attire. I enjoy a private beam moment. Not so long back they didn’t have play dates, nor friends come to think of it. As for ‘play,’ well who would want to do that?
The thermometer reads a piping 88 degrees. We wave from the door in a huddle cuddle[*] as she calls, “didn’t know she’d remember how to swim after last year.” The sweat on my brow fights the chill in my blood, the stuff of nightmares and life times of regret. If ‘Paranoid’ were a club, I’d be the fully paid up member.
[*] ‘Huddle cuddle’ = ancient English. Refers to the close physical bodily contact of any number of parties which serves to calm and ground the group, ward off bolting tendencies and significantly reduce the incidence of parental panic. Warning- over enthusiastic use of the huddle cuddle may result in instability, imbalance and internal implosion similar to that of the collapsed rugby scrub.
Fast forward a few generations:- .............
“Hey Chuck! Is that your great gran sittin there on the side of the pool knittin?”
“Is she watchin us?”
“Yeah. She’s like a baby sitter, fraid of unemployment.”
“Does she know we’re on the Olympic swim team?”
“Sure. What can I say, she has trust issues.”
“What’s she gonna do if one of us drowns man?”
“I dunno, but she knows CPR and she’s got 911 on speed dial.”
Here are links to my last three posts on "Trusera."
"Scaffolding for Autism"
"Doom, gloom and despondency"
"How can I tell if I'm autistic?"
Some bloggers have sitemeters. Some bloggers check their sitemeters to see who is searching what subject, if they are brave. Occasionally I am brave and check. What follows are three pieces upon subjects that three people researched via google. This is the fifth topic:-
‘How can I tell if I am autistic?’
A worrisome question on so many fronts. My facetious nature prompts me, ‘if you have to ask……’ but clearly this matter preys on many minds. To read more click "here."
Saturday, May 17, 2008
When I received the first evaluation of my son, I was a little gloomy. I remember three things distinctly. Firstly, it started off well enough with something like ‘he is a good looking happy faced child……’ ahhh……but then went downhill at a rapid pace. What followed was a laundry list of deficits. Truth be told, it doesn’t matter what euphemisms they use, deficits equates to ‘bits to fix.’ That was the second bit. The third bit was the value laden phrase ‘window of opportunity.’ I was left with the distinct impression that in our case, the boat had left the harbour, sunk and was now moldering away as an old abandoned shipwreck, but then some of us are terminal pessimists. To read more click "here."
Friday, May 16, 2008
The first time I came across the term ‘scaffolding,’ without any further explanation or definition, I was peeved. There is so much jargon and shorthand associated with autism that newbies like me, can have a hard time unscrambling the underlying message. It’s as if all the professionals talk in a secret code that we are all supposed to translate and implement without guidance.
To read more click "here."
Thursday, May 15, 2008
“Nothing, I’m just thinking.”
“Dis is a boat! Dis is a boat! Dis is a boat!”
“Whataya thinking about?”
“Scorchio! Scorchio! Scorchio!”
“Ding ding, ding ding, ding ding.”
“There’s a name for people like you, there’s a name for people like you, there’s a name for people like you!” I pause to look at him, but he is elsewhere. I do not like to think where he has picked this up. I determine to find out where, later.
“Well just the three of us, not your little brother of course.”
“Eat yur veggies! Eat yur veggies! Eat yur veggies!”
“What are you cookin in the microwave then?”
“Go Mario go! Go Mario go! Go Mario go! “
“Ready for battle! Ready for battle! Ready for battle!”
“No receipt, no returns!”
“He spilled his water on it, again.”
“Never say never! Never say never! Never say never!”
“Yur cookin his homework?”
“Everyone’s a winner! Everyone’s a winner! Everyone’s a winner!”
“Yes, it works a treat, although it is a bit crinkly.”
“Stripy eggs, spotty eggs, coloured eggs.”
“What’s he havin to eat tonight?”
“Easter baskets, Easter bonnets, Easter Butts.”
“A little brown rice, half a banana and some chocolate pudding if I can find a second to make it.”
“Chocolate pudding! Chocolate pudding! Chocolate pudding!”
"What are we havin?"
“Pasta. I'm just not sure whether to have tomatoe soup first or Minestrone first?”
“Dis year or next year, dis year or next year, dis year or next year.”
“Don’t matter, I like em both!”
“Nice water pipe! Nice water pipe! Nice water pipe!”
“Yes but there’s a problem.”
“Easter bunnies, Christmas bunnies, St. Patrick’s Day bunnies.”
“Mama Mia! Mama Mia! Mama Mia!”
“You can’t have Minestrone before a pasta dish because it has pasta in it already and you can’t have tomatoe soup before because you have tomatoe sauce on your pasta.”
“Cheese nip! Cat nip! Nip and tuck!”
“So what? I mean, why, what difference does it make?”
“Gratuity not included! Gratuity not included! Gratuity not included!”
“Because you’d be having the same thing twice over.”
“Pot of gold, pot of gold, pot of gold.”
“So….I mean why?”
“Mario said it! Mario said it! Mario said it!”
“Well it’s hardly balanced is it?”
She looks at me with a blank stare, as well she might. Sometimes it's so hard to think straight, or even wonky. My son pauses too, a brief respite for motor mouth, before he offers his contribution, “but at least they are be match!”
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
“How comes you don wear onenna them cool jogging suits like Mrs. Whatsherface?”
“Um…...probably because I don’t jog.”
“Mrs. Whatsherface doesn’t jog either, but she always looks so nice. She wore a pink one today wiv little jewels on the butt. You always look so……….”
“Black and white?”
“Old…in a nice cuddly kinda way.”
I wait for percolation.
“I am a cute?”
“No er…..I am a cute pug puppy?”
“A pug puppy?”
“Yeah. I am dah puppy you are dah bitch.”
“Oh….you are learning a lot at the dog park aren’t you.”
“I am dah cutest one?”
Depends upon your definition of ‘cute.’
“I am be.”
“Oh good. What are you b… I mean……what?”
“I am beed XS. What it is XS?”
“Extra small.” He gasps in shock.
“I am not beed small! Er……I am beed the small……est in dah family, but I am beed huge at school.”
“You certainly are tall for your age.”
“Why you are a pet it?”
“I’m not a pet, I’m a ………”
What exactly am I these days, apart from buried?
“No! Yur clothes!”
“Oh, that’s ‘petite’ it means small in French.”
“Yur cloves are be French?”
“Er…..no they’re from Target, probably from China.”
“Dat is stoopid. Yur cloves are not small dey are whale size.”
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I kneel at his feet to tie shoe laces as he drips toothpaste froth on the top of my head. I should be taking this moment to teach him how to tie his own shoe laces. Maybe I’m teaching him to multi-task but I have my doubts. It can’t be multitasking if I’m the slave doing all the multis. I’m against slavery and child exploitation but a helping hand wouldn’t go amiss, several extra hands to be precise. Maybe I’m teaching him the art of delegation?
Behind me, my daughter lists her numerous concerns before my brain is able to process the information. It dawns on, all of a sudden, as these things so often do. Due to some parental oversight, she has reached the giddying age of 10 and get is ignorant of the rule. I waste no time in explaining it to her.
“It’s simple. Worry about the things that you can change or have influence over, ignore everything else.”
I glance up from the knotted laces to see whether or not she understands. She in turn glares back at me as if I have just crash landed from Mars. We are both distracted by the snorter, who slip streams minty from wrist to elbow. “Eeeow you are so gross!”
“I am not be gross! I am be clean!” He beams a toothy grin and lears towards her. “Hey haven’t you heard of personal space,” she pouts, “Mom tell him to stop teasing me!”
“Come along dear, can’t you see she’s upset, don’t be a pest.” As soon as I have said this, I realize several things simultaneously; that he does know that she’s upset, that he is aware that he is purposefully annoying her further, and that he is therefore a fully qualified member of the ‘annoying little brothers club.’
“Pest, pest, pest! Pesty, Pesty, Pesty! Pst, pst, pst!” he persists with glee. I grab her wrist to stop her swatting him, as I would prefer his fragile good humour to remain unchallenged.
Now all I have to do is figure out a way to curb his teasing tendencies, not that I’m worried of course.
Monday, May 12, 2008
We bimble back in the car with full tummies. My son conducts a conversation with someone who is invisible. He takes both roles, an impressive achievement for someone who can remain silent for 5 hours solid:- “which you prefer? Decepticon or autobot? I don’t know? Neither to do I?” This question and answer circuit, circles and fills every molecule of the car, when we happen to pass a particular sign. The visual cue pokes my youngest into action, “Jack in dah Box! Jack in dah Box! Jack in dah Box!” I glower and keep an eye on the speedometer. “Mom?
“How many minutes until we get home?”
“I’m not sure. Here, lets turn on the GPS, we can bet on how inaccurate it is.”
“Ooo 9.6 miles. Darn it. That’s gonna take forever!”
“Apparently not! It will only take us 12 minutes, see, just next to the mileage there’s the time slot.”
As we crack along the motorway she chimes a countdown, copies the female robotic voice of the GPS:- “9.5 miles, 9.4 miles, 9.3 miles.” How many excruciating moments do I have to endure in this moving cage, preferably without crashing? I check the time slot, who would have thought that 9 minutes could be so painful. All three of my children continue to talk on their own circuit but of course there are four voices in total. I purse my lips, concentrate on the traffic and pray for safe deliverance.
As we reach the 3 mile point, the magic number for one child, he decides to switch over from “Jack in the Box” and join his sister in the count down, but his mimicry is far more accurate. He and the GPS woman could be twins. My older son notices that the mileage and time slot match, 3 miles and 3 minutes, a magical mystery that triggers his attention and kick starts his voice box into the same groove as his siblings. The triplets are in perfect harmony, two boys and the GPS woman. My daughter’s voice is very close but ever so slightly off. The effect is quadraphonic with one set of dodgy wiring. They are so loud I can hardly hear the GPS woman. We travel at a steady speed with the rhythmical chant of plain song. I am quite certain that my head will explode in the next 60 seconds amid the jungle drums. I can feel my foot pressure on the accelerator as we pull off the exit and reel around to the traffic lights.
We wait at the traffic lights, idling quietly, with static figures on the GPS. We pull off, without robotic verbal guidance at 25 mph in a residential area, different speed, different pace but the boys are able to chime in at the exact moment when 0.9 miles is announced. My brain is completely floored by this feat. If I was not already silent I would be struck dumb. As I hit the button for the garage door my daughter asks, “how do they do that Mom?”
Not so much savant, but some kind of uncannily savvy.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
When we first arrived in California everything was fun, new and exciting. We knew that our new homeland was just like the one we left, apart from the accents. The main difference between England and America, apart from the accents, was that so many things were so hilarious. Everything was so funny. We were delighted with the stereotypes, confirmation of our prejudices. We saw them everywhere and oh how we laughed. The huge chap with the knee high white socks in open toed sandals, the plaid shorts down to his knees no less, the bigness of everything, oh what fun.
I wrote regularly to my family once a week, as the international telephone calls were too expensive. I told of our adventures in oh such a foreign land, the sprinklers that erupted to soak you unexpectedly, the six lane traffic in residential areas, the salads that were the size to feed a whole neighbourhood. My lightweight airmail letter contained a flimsy example of those mad cap Americans, a carefully folded paper toilet seat cover. What could be more hysterical? Oh what joy, but of course Brits always gravitate to scatological humour. The most joyous thing of all was that Americans didn’t realize how amusing they all were with all their funny little ways. They all thought they were perfectly normal!
We of course, knew differently.
Oh what a long time ago it all seems. As we’d wipe away the tears of mirth, it was difficult to fathom which was more funny, that Americans were funny or that they didn’t know how funny they were?
As we move out of Winter into Spring my son has difficulty transitioning to the changing seasons, or more specifically, the lighter clothing required when the temperature reaches the 90s. Although it’s already May, he is still clad in fleece trousers and several long sleeved T-shirts. These days I let him be. In previous years I dictated clothing. I stopped dictating short trousers when I found I was unable to prevent him from moving the shorts down to cover his ankles regardless of whatever else was exposed as a by-product.
I rush after him first thing in the morning as he squeals towards the toilet. I remember those funny toilet seat covers. I watch him sit gingerly, with caution and a grimace on his face, even though the seat has been sanitized and dried to meet his exacting standards of hygiene. As I watch and wait, I notice something else.
“Ooo you’re wearing shorts today!”
“Yes I am be brave!” Shortly thereafter, the waistband is up and so are his snowy white socks. “Are those your shorts dear? They look a bit big.”
“Dey are not big, dey are long!” I beam at the two inch gap between the hemline of his shorts and the cuff of his socks.
To end, I might remind myself of learning curves. I can tell you that the first time the police came to call at our house I was delighted. Imagine! At last I would have the chance to tell everyone at home that the Sheriff had visited. I was tempted to exaggerate, to mention a non existence horse, but I relented and instead I regaled them with graphic descriptions of the very shiny Sheriff’s badge. What a jolly jape! Could it really to be true, a real Sheriff just like in all the Westerns. What a hoot! How hysterically funny, the guy was such a wag. The second time he came to call it somehow wasn’t quite so amusing, although it was hard to take the chap seriously with his funny hat and handlebar moustache. The third time he came to call on the same day, I could tell that he was less than amused, although I couldn’t see his eyes behind the flashy sunglasses. I wondered if the gun in his holster might not be made of plastic?
In case you are a foreigner, I should warn you that if you call the emergency services willy nilly, such behaviour is considered to be:-
1. a nuisance
2. the offence of wasting police time
3. A financial fine will follow
I am no longer laughing.
Here are my last 3 moans on Trusera:-
"Chickens and Eggs"
"The Cost of Autism"
"Angela" over at "Memoirs of a Chaotic Mommy" has tagged me for this 'Your life in 6 words" meme. Hers is much more pleasant than mine.
However, as if that wasn't enough, she also added an extremely helpful note about derivation and pronunciation, as follows:-
'What is a meme?!
A meme has been explained to me in two ways:
1. Meme--pronounced 'mem', a memory
2. Meme--rhymes with 'theme', a theme where I am tagged to answer questions about 'me' or myself...'
Now isn't that illuminating? If that has been a test I'd have scored zero, or naught as I would prefer to refer to it.
So my life in six words would be this:-
'Rambunctious, rowdy, revelry raising unruly renegades.'
So now I need to tag six people?
Six it is. Watch out next six commenters, you'll be in the hot seat.
So first up is "Joker" from "Musings of a Lurcher." I imagine that this might prove to be a more interesting perspective than some, and you're allowed to let the peeps do the writing for you.
Then to "Niksmom" at "Maternal Instincts." Since her instincts, maternal or otherwise, are infinitely more sound than mine, I'm sure she'll whip this one out before we can all shout 'lovies!'
Also to "Furiousball" over at "In my diatribe," where no doubt his fiendish brain will startle us all once again. Maybe it might merit some lyrics or a musical accompaniment?
Sadly we'll have to skip over Bad Mommy as without blog, we are without public contact, but private works fine for me.
Then to "Kristina".......oh no, my Latin is rusty, I never progressed much further than amo, amas, amat! I'll never understand her six words. Mind you, she might use six Greek words instead which would be even worse. No wonder it's impossible to spell paediatrician out here. There again the average qwerty keyboard should foil her!
Then we have "Karen" over at "Art in the Garage." Now that might work well for us visual learners as she might treat us to a collage of her six words, but with the forthcoming exhibition she may be a little pressed for time.
Ooo dear, can't do Farmwifetwo as she has abandoned blogging in favour of more cerebral pastimes with a dollop or two or hard graft in the real world.
Aha! Then we have "Your Vegan Mom" This is a very handy spot indeed for those who have special diets. The recipes are easy to follow and she's very patient with idiots who require the odd translation here and there.
Come on people! It's only six words. In summary, please refrain from using foreign terms, namely the Queen's English, so that there be universal comprehension.
Well wouldn't you just know it! Just as I'm mid 'catch up' "Angela" comes pootling around to give me this "Gratitude with Attitude Award," what a nerve! It's all a plot to demonstrate my ever growing inefficiency and ineptitude.
She's kind enough to point us in the direction of the originator:
Gratitude With Attitude: Changing My World, One Attitude at a Time
And the post that started it all:
"I have finally done it…..gotten on board with all the wonderful awards out here in the blogasphere. Yep thats right I have created one of my own. The all powerful… Gratitude With Attitude award. Oh, come on, you know you want it! (LOL) I am so Thankful for all of you who visit regularly, even when I am irregular. :::laughing now::: I appreciate you all so much! I love hearing about your Gratitude and I love that some of you have carried a Grateful theme to your own blogs! I love that you understand being Thankful is not about a passive attitude. It’s about learning. It’s about seeing things different, having new eyes! Gratitude is about keeping that happy positive outlook on life…even when things don’t go the way we want them to. It is not about giving in, lying down or accepting everybody else’s rules it’s about making your own rules! Doing what you do with a happy grateful attitude keeping the “sour” to yourself. Gratitude IS Attitude!"
I'm delighted if a little bemused that I should be a recipient. I thought I'd already made my position abundantly clear on the issue of autism, that when it comes to moaning I am supreme on the topic. That said, I'm more than happy to pass it along to those who share differing perspectives with lots of attitude.
I would pop along and visit "Susan Senator" or maybe dip into her "book" again as there's a woman that's in it for the long haul.
The first time I came across "Mom and her 26 children" I nearly died of heart failure. Fortunately for me, matters have improved since then. As far as I'm concerned and around here, dyslexia rules K.O.
Maybe I'd go along and visit "Estee" or poke about in the "Autism Acceptance Project."
I know that these are all our 'old' favourites, but if you need a dose of 'attitude' then I know that I'd be happy to pootle along to "MOM- Not Otherwise Specified," especially now that the "meltdowns" are almost gone as I'd hate a "frosty" reception.
I could always go along and tease "Kim" over at "Kim Stagliano" as it's always fun to interrupt her creative muse and manuscript writing, or is that re-writing by now?
Lastly, I would have to recommend "Mother of Shrek." For the time being "Casdok" has abandoned her blog and her role as mother as I believe she's swanned off to the Seychelles to enjoy a cocktail and a pedicure of the neon green variety.
I am mis-informed?
You're right, she's actually working away to sort out the next tremendous transition for her son, but her blog is still there for your entertainment, but don't look at the rude bits as I certainly would never endorse such a "thing."
Perish the thought! I'll stop now as the NPR pledge break is rattling my brain so I need to escape from the kitchen.
Ooo dear, now that's bad! I've just noticed that they're all mummies and I've ignored all the daddies. I promise to make amends next time.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Without wishing to blow my own strumpet, I would admit that I have 47 years of experience with men.
Since 49% of the world’s population are male, I have found them difficult to avoid. After many a long year locked up in a convent, for now all to obvious reasons, I found that I was a little short in the feminine wiles department. As everyone knows, all of life’s important life skills may be gleaned from a good book. Thusly I modeled my behaviour upon the more simpering characters found in Jane Austen’s novels. Although I practiced dutifully, dropping freshly ironed lace handerchieves and the like, on the whole, I found the whole exercise less than successful. Indeed as I look back, I see these early steps as a foreshadowing of my future life as a laundry victim.
During the intervening years I enjoyed a variety of interesting but fatally flawed relationships. It took me longer than most to realize, that I was the fatal flaw. I adopted a new modus operandum, plain speaking. Things improved almost immediately.
These days I ensure that all interested parties are aware of forthcoming events prior to their arrival. I am more than happy to facilitate communication by coping off A4 sheets of paper, announcing that my birthday is arriving on such a such date and plastering it all over the house. Such wanton self promotion is an irritation to my personal psyche but is preferable to the third party misery caused by an oversight.
And it is always an oversight.
I do a little victory dance in the kitchen as visual accompaniment to my question, “what day is it tomorrow?”
“Yes. What else?”
I adopt a more enthusiastic dance, more of an Irish Jig.
“I’m not jumping I’m dancing! Good guess. It’s Saturday today. Try again.”
I wiggle and wriggle, my version of Hip Hop wearing my best happy face.
“Yes! What else?”
I shimmy along the floor boards, a cross between punk rocker and demented chicken.
“Er….......21 days til dah praying mantis is borned!”
I glare at the tick down chart and block their view to that particular visual cue. I gyrate a little more whilst avoiding dizziness as I’m running out of dances, “yes, but what else?”
“Er it is my birthday soon?”
“Good one, but not for another 24 days. What else?”
I’m down to waltz and ballroom dancing.
“Er 32 days until summer holidays!”
I slither over to the other side of the room to block their view to the other tick down chart, and attempt belly dance, “true, but what else!”
I invert my arms from the elbow, to point at me.
“Er…..it is ……..red day?” they offer with a certain degree of uncertainty.
I pout. Here I am doing my very best to help them out, give them 24 hours warning and I am met with a brick wall. Perhaps there are too many visual cues or just the wrong ones? Maybe I should write ‘MOTHER’ on my forehead? Where is my black sharpie pen anyway? “Mothers day! It’s Mother’s Day tomorrow! Right?”
“No? Oh, is it next week?” I nip over to the calendar to check if I’m being a bit previous, “hmm, yes, I think it is, see, look here?”
“Er……….maybe it is being a surprise day………tomorrow.”
Pretty much of a surprise day today!
Friday, May 09, 2008
Some bloggers have sitemeters. Some bloggers check their sitemeters to see who is searching what subject, if they are brave. Occasionally I am brave and check. What follows are three pieces upon subjects that three people researched via google.
This is the fourth topic:-
Now there’s a curious search. I can see why people would visit me to find evidence that "British people have bad teeth." I would be eminently qualified in that department. But why search about bad teeth AND autism? Still, I suppose it makes a welcome change from searching any subject with the addition of "not autism," so I’ll stop moaning.
Bad teeth might be an area of concern, if a little vague. Some scientific types are concerned about mercury and the incidence of autism. Some parents and scientists suggest that there is a connection between "mercury tooth fillings and autism." These are weighty matters for many.
Other people worry about more mundane matters,
to read on click "here."
Posted by Maddy at 10:01 AM
Thursday, May 08, 2008
People have many differing perspectives when it comes to the matter of autism. Some people celebrate their differences. Others take a different view. Many adopt a "neurodiverse" approach, whilst some others have genuine "complaints." I would sadly have to show my true colours and align my allegiances with latter.
To read more, click "here."
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
I wash up and chat to their father in the kitchen at twilight when a small person appears, just before we take them all up to bed.
“Why what dear?”
“Why you are not?”
“Why are we not what?”
“Why you are not be wear dah pyjamas at night.”
I gulp to aid oxygen flow to my brain but spouse sniggers “because we’re British. British people don’t wear pyjamas. Pyjamas are for wimps. People from an island race never wear pyjamas.”
I am tempted to stamp on his foot or duct tape his mouth permanently closed. Where does he get this stuff from?
“Which bit dear?”
“Racing Island? It is be a game?”
“No, England is an island and race means……a type of people, English people, Italian people, American people……people who belong to a particular land mass.” Why did I say 'land mass' to a child with a speech delay?
“Island people are not wear pyjamas?”
“Exactly so,” spouts the terminator.
“Because island people swim a lot. You swim better if you don’t wear pyjamas.”
“Island people are be swim at night?”
“Just in case of fire. It there’s a fire, the best place to be is in the sea, in water.”
Not the OCD feed!
Why is he so trigger happy?
Both menfolk pause, reflective. “I am be not be wear dah pyjamas either.”
“Coz of dah label.”
Label? We're completely label free around here.
“It be say ‘flame able!’ I am not wanna burn my butt in bed.”
I am also broadcasting on "Trusera" today with "Chickens and Eggs."