I have moved over to WhittereronAutism.com. Please follow the link to find me there. Hope to see you after the jump! :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Send me a postcard!

We are off on our hols, but we we'll be back soon.

In the meantime, here are a few posts that you have may be missed before I joined the Hub.

Leave me a little note so I'm not all lonesome when we get back.
[translation = chance would be a fine thing!]

1. "The Joys of Autism - Progress for all"

2. "High What?"

3. "No Way Jose!"

4. "I am not a princess"

5. "Ear Wigging"

6. "Static"

7. "Trying not to be critical"

8. "Plan A"

9. "Hemorrhaging"

10. "Mother Knows Best"

11. "Umpire"

12. "Fixations - what to do?"

13. "Undiagnosed - are you quite sure?"

14. "Tentative Steps"

15. "Progress"

16. "Wife Beating and recouperation"

17. "Do we have to?"

18. "Come in Number 2 your time is up"

19. "Secretarial Skills"

20. "A Rose"

Play Ball?

It is a curious development. Pal comes over for a playdate with my oldest son. This pal loves to play outside. [translation = typically developing peer]

When we bought this house, it came with it’s own stick, a big one. At the top of the stick is a net for playing netball. I thought it was a bit of an eyesore myself, so I grew Morning Glory all over it as a disguise. This act did not endear me with the neighbours for some unaccountable reason. I was advised by those same neighbours, that the stick was meant for playing the popular game of baseball and that I should restrict my gardening activities to other areas of the yard. I was at a bit of a loss to know where the yard was, but I didn’t let that worry me unduly. But I digress.

Pal is very keen to play this sport with my son. We spend a considerable amount of time hunting down a ball. Pal informs me that our balls do not meet the required American standard. I am slightly deflated by his criticism but promise to seek out a bicycle pump to remedy this fault, prior to his next visit.

Pal attempts to dribble the ball. Instead it makes farting noises across the driveway. My boys find the flatulence of the ball to be an added bonus. [translation = hilarity] Pal is not impressed with either the ball or the guffawing laughter. [translation = foreigners fail to take sport seriously] I don’t really care one way or another. [translation = my boys are outside, a thoroughly loathed status at the best of times] My youngest son will not play at all. [translation = he must be the best and or win ]

Pal becomes teacher. [translation = coach, but not the vehicle kind] He shouts orders in an upbeat manner. [translation = sounds pretty professional to me, but what would I know, since I am unable to locate a sports channel on the telly] Junior takes part tentatively.

As an experience netball player myself, I can tell that he has great form. [translation = English game] Pal offers his opinion, “no, not like that! You play like a girl!”
I am confused by the comment. Netball is a girl’s game afterall, ergo, he is playing jolly well.
“Try it like this. Watch me. See! You hold it to your chest like this. No, no, put your hands the other way around. No don’t stick yur but out, bend yur knees.”
He does rather look as if he is about to lay an egg. Junior adopts the pose and lobs the ball up into the air. [translation = shoots] The object of the exercise is to get the ball to fall through the ring. The object crashes back down. Junior is incensed that his first attempt [ever] is a failure.
“I bad! I loser! I die,” he bellows.
As he bellows, he bends forward, pulls down his trousers, [translation = shorts] and sticks out his derriere. Pal pauses. [translation = frozen and transfixed at the age of 8] Senior roars with laughter. This behaviour continues for the following ten minutes.

I wonder how many of our neighbours are watching this development, as we cavort around on our driveway with a flat ball, three little boys and a net on a stick. I don’t imagine that they would consider this to be progress. Junior exposes his Spiderman underwear approximately 53 times. [translation = which corresponds precisely to the number of attempts he makes to throw the ball through the net]

Later that night I discuss that matter with his father.
“We need a strategy!”
“We do.”
“Which bit should we tackle first?”
“There’s more than one strategy here?”
“Yes, the ‘anti – trouser’ strategy and the ‘anit-negative talk’ strategy.”
“Ah. Which one is worse?”
“I really don’t know.”
“Well the ‘anti-negative talk’ is already an ongoing campaign, so perhaps we could concentrate on the trousers. An anti-flasher strategy.”
“Well, he didn’t really flash [translation = moon] he just displayed his undies.”
“It certainly gets the message across loud and clear.” [translation = universal comprehension]
“No meltdown though.”
“A new form of protest that isn’t a meltdown is………good, ……right?”
“Definitely, and he used words AT THE SAME TIME.”
“Wow. We are moving into pastures new.”
“He could probably get away with it in a pasture.” [translation = field]
“Pity we’re so urban.”

“You don’t suppose he’s developing into, into…..a sporty type!”
“Blimey I hope not! What on earth would we do with one of those?”
“Can there be anything worse than giving birth to one of those athletic types?”
“The tragedy of it all. How do parents cope with such a disaster?”
“I can hardly bear to imagine. Too, too sad.”
“There again, you did play rugby.”
“Not by choice. Anyway, you played tennis, netball, badminton, and all those ‘throw the thing’ sports.” [translation = javelin, discus, shot put]
“It was compulsory.”
“So tell me? Is it more socially acceptable to drop your trousers in England or in the States?”
“I’m afraid I have no terms of reference.”

Shaving, wafer, after wafer

Many children, and some autistic ones, suffer a great deal of anxiety. Anxiety is often caused by predictable and understandable concerns. With youngsters, many of their anxieties come from a lack of understanding. Simple explanations can help to reduce their concerns and provide guidance as to how to interpret different things. One of my sons is overly concerned with tools that are sharp or made of metal. Knives, scissors and many other ordinary household items cause him grave concern. With my boys a great many of their concerns are unpredictable. They lurk ready to pounce when I least expect it.

Prior to our holiday, I have two pressing tasks to perform – pluck my eyebrows and trim the Passionflower. I start on the latter, secateurs in hand. Two boys play inside behind the glass doors with their father and sister. [translation = still allergic to outside] They don’t watch me, but they check up on me every few minutes. [translation = any attention given to a parent’s doings, that does not have any direct benefit to the child, is to be applauded. I have spent far too many years being completely invisible] Inbetween whiles, I yell instructions at them, every now and then. Frequently, I have my back to them and shout over my shoulder. “Don’t put it in the sink!” “Try and share with him.” “I’ll get you a snack in a minute.” I know that they are miffed by this, that I appear to have x-ray vision. [translation = as all mother’s have] Two wheelbarrowfuls later, the vine is trim. [translation = two weeks of California growth is akin to an attack by Triffids] I nip back inside and check that all is well.

All is well.

Broadly speaking, I attend to matters of personal hygiene either very early in the morning or very late at night when I am child free. Today however, I am out of time. I must attend to my eye brows and attempt to make my eyes visible by trimming the thatch above. I have approximately three minutes to complete this feat.

I nip upstairs stealthily. I put my nose to the mirror and try not to breathe. [translation = short sighted] With the tweezers in hand I attempt to remove as much hair in the general area of my brow as is possible. [translation = speed plucking is an unacknowledged skill.] Not for the first time, I consider whether a razor might be more effective. [translation = quicker] I achieve near baldness on the right side when I am rugby tackled by a screaming Banshee. “No, no, no, don’t do dat! Dat is bad! I love your wonky bad old eyes. I love dat they are old and mold.” I remove the tweezers from my right ear. [translation = stabbed] I look to my ankles where my youngest son is entwined, face down, eyes shielded by my moth eaten socks. I can’t bend down to him because I am hobbled by his vice like grip. His older brother leans against the door jam to survey the scene. I try to explain the concepts of ‘beauty treatments,’ to two clear skinned, perfectly formed male youths. It is an uphill battle.

“But why?” seems to be the primary refrain to any further and better particulars that I provide to them, by way of an explanation. There secondary concern, oddly enough, is pain thresholds, not theirs but mine. [translation = "theory of mind be damned"]

We give cursory attention to the OCD issues of personal injury, death, visits to the ER and other sundry related matters. I pop my glances back on and peer in the mirror. I calculate when another three minutes might be available to me, to tackle the other eye brow? After further discussion and reassurance, we make our way back downstairs. The boys walk in front of me, exhausted by yet another test of mental gymnastics. He puts a brotherly arm around the little one. “You know it’s o.k little buddy……she is always having dah other one you know.”
“What?” he snaps back. It always sounds like an accusation. [translation = lack or regulation and modulation]
“Dah udder eye in dah back of her head.”

For a truly fascinating perspective on OCD in adults, nip along to my pal, "Lotta" on "Mom o Matic." Brave and insightful.

Bump the hand that feeds you

[translation = when ‘speaking’ is not your first language]

Why do they do that? It is so annoying! You lean down to refill their bowls with food or water and they nudge you, spill everything everywhere, those darned cats. Why can’t they just hold back? It’s not as if they’re helping at all. It’s the same thing several times a day. Why can’t they keep their furry little heads to themselves? What is the point? I need to duct tape their tails to the floor at a discrete distance until the task is completed.

I wish I understood this behaviour. I wish they could tell me why they do it? Why can’t I chat to a cat? There again, there is not a lot of chat around here. Speech delays mean that whilst there are now words, sentences, ‘chat’ isn’t high on their priority list. That’s not to say that they won’t wax lyrical on their given topic of interest, but a monologue is not the goal. [translation = engineer that reciprocal exchange] There again, the girls had a double dose of the chat gene. How much ‘chat’ can one household contain?

I ask my younger daughter to explain this behaviour to me. [translation = animal planet addict] She rolls her eyes in response. [translation = what is wrong with my mother?] She’s growing up so fast. Soon she will be a teen, or should that be a tween and no longer wish to have any associations with me. I must try hard to keep the lines of communication open.

I track down the next one. [translation = superhero defender of the feline population] Now that he can talk, I must seek out every opportunity to ensure that verbal communication is reinforced. I need to find a preferred topic of interest but not something that his main topic. [translation = Pokemon monologue]
“But why do they do it?” I ask in exasperation. He looks at me, straight in the face, “because dey are cats,” he responds, un-phased, unruffled and slightly bemused. Verbal! How I love it.

I find both these explanations unsatisfactory and seek out the little one, he who used to be animal phobic but is now a fan.

I explain my query and then ask “but why do they do it? It’s so annoying!” I plead. He puts down his toy to give the matter his full attention. I see him calculate – ‘can I be bothered to talk to this woman?’ I need to avoid brushing on a distracter, not to be confused with a trigger. [translation = using a word that is of interest to him, such that your conversation becomes ‘off topic’ and then rapidly disappears down a rabbit hole to get lost in the warren] I push, “come, come with me and see the mess they make.” He holds my hand in an obliging manner and follows me to the utility room. I point at the cats. He lets his heels drop to the floor, which means he is going to stay. [translation = tippy toe walker] With hands on hips he examines the evidence and the cats in mid breakfast.
“Dey are eat.”
“Dey are eat dah falling down ones.”
“Are they?”
“Yes. Look! Dey are eat the falling down ones first. Dey are eat the mess first. Dah mess is gone.” He looks up at me. “I am right and you are wrong. Dey are not dah messy cats, dey are dah clean cats. Dat is not annoying.”

Post script - [translation = post blog reading] At least my 'toileting' issue are mainly limited to the cat litter variety, unlike "Nik's mum," who I am sure would welcome some sage advice. Any sages around?

P.P.S. As I was tidying up before departure I accidentally deleted my folder with my bookmarks for all the autism, disabled and special needs blogs that I visit other than those on the Hub. [translation = oops] So leave me your URL so that I can make a new one please. [translation = or explain how I can retrieve the bookmark]
Cheers dears

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