Archive | March, 2013

Silent Sunday

17 Mar

Silent Sunday


A rare event

16 Mar

Hubby and I are going out for a meal tonight. In fact, any minute now.

We are going to try the new curry restaurant in the local town, as basically it’s near and we both love curry. Eldest daughter has happily agreed to babysit, and as she isn’t often around on a Saturday evening (being 17, in love and gorgeous) we have jumped at the chance. M has been OK with this plan, and seems to be looking forward to us being out, which is a startling change from her usual reaction to my going anywhere without her, but who am I to argue? 

Someone on Twitter said she hoped I’d be dressing up for the occasion and having a lovely time, and I got to wondering if I could actually “dress up”. I own one smart black skirt (which I am keeping ready for the funeral next week) and apart from that I am strictly a jeans and leggings sort of person. Not the epitome of glamour by any stretch, I do like my jewellery to match my outfits though, and that is about as far as I go. When I think of the time I spent BC (before children) shopping for new clothes, trying out new make up ideas, and then the whole preparation for a night out I am astounded to think I could have had that much spare time. Nowadays I brush my teeth, check my hair and change my top for something that might have seen the iron. 

Perhaps I should start thinking about some smarter clothes. But then, where would I wear them? No point having a posh frock to sit munching popcorn in a darkened cinema with 2 sticky primary age children or doing the school run in a suit – the staff were all amazed the other day when I turned up in a skirt for Red Nose Day. I didn’t think it had been that long!

So, I am off to raid the wardrobe for an ironed top (ha ha) and maybe I’ll even slap a drop of foundation on, but if you see a 40-something glamour puss out for a curry tonight it won’t be me OK?


14 Mar

This morning at 8.30 I got a phone call I was expecting but dreading. It was to tell me that a lovely man had died a bit earlier today.

His name was Granda (not his real name but all my kids called him that and for respect of his widow’s privacy I won’t name him). He was 80 and had been frail, and frankly fading, for the last few months. he was rushed into hospital on Tuesday afternoon and I knew he wouldn’t be coming out.

Who was he? My “dad” and the childrens’ “granda” but only sort of. When we moved here over 10 years ago he and his lovely wife adopted us as part of their already large family and all my children have grown up being blessed with more grandparents that the children of parents from a non-divorced background would normally get. A whole extra set of wonderful warm people to tickle them, listen to their stories, bake and knit for them (that bit was Nanna!) and just generally be there and love them. I got the understanding and support that parents can offer an adult child, and the love I needed when my own (quite lovely) parents were, as they still are, over 600 miles away and I wanted a hug or some adult perspective. I love taking Nanna shopping, and helping out with wee jobs as I can fit them around life with a young family. It worked so well.

And now that has been torn apart. My children are wise and know that death comes to us all. They are all very sad but will learn to accept that is what happens in life – no one gets out of death. I worry about Nanna – they were together for 60 years – and I worry mostly because I am on the periphery of the family and as such might not get much of a say. Which is probably right, but I worry that undue pressure will now be put on her to move into the town, away from her memories and her open spaces, and that well-meaning people will try and take over, treating like an invalid and not like a woman who needs to grieve and who will then pick herself up and carry on. She’s tough in a gentle way, is Nanna. Practical, hard-working and philosophical, with a heart as big as a house, and I think, if loved and supported, she won’t need to move, but I am concerned that she will attempt to please everyone else and do what “they” think is right.

Why am I writing this? Who knows. You can’t change it any more than I can, but maybe you can spare a thought for Nanna, and maybe all those thoughts will drift her way and give her the resolve to deal with her loss and to move on with strength, finding the way to live the rest of her life on her terms. Positive thinking never hurt anyone.

Am just about to take M, my youngest, along to the cottage and see if Nanna is back home yet. I saw smoke coming from the chimney earlier so I know someone is there, it might be one of her own children or grandchildren, and I want to pay my respects.


Silent Sunday

10 Mar

Silent Sunday

The Times They Are a Changin

9 Mar

Blatant quote from my adored Bob Dylan to kick start today’s ramblings.

And aren’t they just? I feel right now that I am watching M change so fast some days that my head is spinning. After last week’s near disastrous dancing lesson I was very laid-back this morning, just mentioning quietly that I would love to take her for a celebratory fairy cake at the cafe for good effort at dancing and left it at that. 

Well, I returned to find a busy M still dancing away in a group for heaven’s sake. Not with a 1 to 1 (which they will do if there are enough young helpers) but in a group. Wow. She is attributing this to the new (to her) dancing shoes in the next size up, which I must admit do fit her better. 

After a lovely lunch in the aforementioned cafe we hit the shops. This is part of our Saturday routine and I couldn’t tell you which one of us dislikes it most, but with a 20 mile round trip every time we go out it makes financial sense to shop while we’re already here. Sadly it was one of those days when I needed to visit 3 different supermarkets to buy what we needed. With 2 children on the spectrum and another with severe food intolerances I do have to be careful. Anyway, M hates Tesco and wanted to sit (as usual) in one side of a shallow trolley. I said no, I had too much to buy. She wasn’t happy BUT she didn’t run off or start yelling and screaming.

Tesco done we headed for Lidl for a few things. Their trollies are the wrong shape but we managed a quick dash. Then Asda for just 2 items. “Please Mummy I hate Asda I want to sit in the trolley” I figured I knew how much she could cope with and we whipped in and out in a few moments.

No meltdowns, no running away, is this my little girl? I remember going to a seminar where Olga Bogdashina stated how important it was to keep some shopping in your autistic child’s life as at some point they would, with encouragement, manage to cope with a certain amount of the sensory torture such a trip can bring. I am seeing this a lot with R, my ds1, and now it seems I am starting to see a glimmer of hope in that department with M too.

On the way home M decided she would like to go to the park this afternoon and told me she was “going to ask my Daddy because I love him and I want some Daddy time.” I’m sorry, you what? This is the child who has been super-glued to my side for the past six and half years choosing Daddy time. I suggested she waited till all the shopping was put away instead of jumping on him the second we were through the door. She actually listened! Seriously, what alien has come and swapped my baby girl for a lookalike? Not complaining though, I would like to point this out.

So, M and Daddy went out, and I got a rest. I did take a 15 minute power nap, but mostly it was a rest from the being the one that just has to be there for her, the one who makes all the decisions, the one who cuddles her, reads to her, encourages her to eat, helps her dress, you name it, her world has revolved around thinking no-one else can possibly be as good as me. Which is flattering for about 10 days and after that it does get pretty wearing. After six plus years it’s just what I do. Until today. Today M made a choice that didn’t involve me. And I was delighted.

Maybe this is the start of a realisation that I don’t need to be there for her every second. Just maybe. And maybe tomorrow it will be like it never happened. But it did, and I like to believe it will happen again.


8 Mar

Good grief what a day!

Firstly I couldn’t rouse B or M for love nor money this morning, even though Friday is traditionally chocolate spread on toast for breakfast instead of healthy stuff.

Then after the mad dash to school I seemed to waste my 3 child-free hours in pointless housework (not pointless obviously but I’m sure I could have used my time better).

I went to collect M at 12 and that was fine. Until I realised that I had somehow locked myself out of the house. I rang hubby to check he at least had his keys (he did.) M was a bit anxious about her stomach (always hungry this kid) and as for some wonderful reason I had my wallet in my coat pocket – it lives in my handbag so this was a happy chance – I took her round the corner to the village cafe. By good luck the soup was lentil, so she had a half portion of that and a small cheese sandwich. Always a worry when feeding my ASD children out is whether they will eat as sometimes even a meal that sounds the same will look or smell too unfamiliar. I remembered that my antibiotics were indoors and I was due to take the lunch-time dose. Not gonna happen.

I texted dd1 to ask if she had her key with her and she didn’t. Why do I provide keys for the girls if they don’t take them with them? Surely this defeats the object. Dd2’s phone is on the blink so I rang the secondary school who were less than helpful and suggested all I could do was to drive around the town to see if I could find her. Yeah, thanks for that.

As it happens, even if I had been inclined to drive nearly 10 miles to search for a proverbial needle in a haystack I had agreed to meet M’s learning support assistant at 1.15 so we could work through M’s visual timetable together after the latest review meeting when we got some helpful tips. Another big change for M, going into school after lunch, and I wasn’t sure how she’d cope but in my worry about the keys I’d forgotten to ask anyone to take her for me and therefore left it too late.

She really enjoyed the afternoon though – Fridays have “golden time” which is more-or-less free activities so she played in the library area with 2 of her younger classmates, coming over to me every so often to “check in,” We stayed warm (massive bonus) and I was very happy with the way the visuals will now be done, slightly more streamlined and easier to read.

I took a chance and drove straight to the secondary – my reasoning being if dd2 had the key I could come home with it, sorted, and if not I would already be part way to the city to pick up hubby’s set. Any other night we would have descended on friends but a Friday means ds1 comes home from his boarding school, and if I don’t have his dinner cooked and keeping warm he won’t be able to get to Scouts on time (approx 1 minute turnaround time) so it was important to sort this. Dd2 had not long come in from a mini field trip and was surprised and rather amused to be called out of her maths lesson, but bless her she handed over her keys.

M by this point had run out of coping strategies and practically lost the plot to discover that I hadn’t bought any pizzas for tea.”But it’s Friday” she wailed over and over.”So if I buy you a pizza will you promise me you’ll eat it?” I asked. Friday has been pizza night for 2 years now as it’s the easiest option for ds1 to eat out of a tupperware box whilst being driven to Scouts, and so everyone has been used to it, M included, but in the last few weeks she’s been protesting she hates pizza.

Anyway, she insisted loudly that she would “only eat pizza” so another change, we drove to Asda, where I ran round grabbing a few items I knew we were short of. Got back in the car and then we had another sobbing fit “I don’t want to go home.” But this time I ignored her and drove,

Since we have been in, she has curled up on the sofa with the dvd of The Incredibles and I have been at peace. I took my late antibiotic, made a refreshing cuppa and sat down to blog it all out of my system. Frankly if you read this far thank you, but I am not bothered if anyone reads this post – it just needed to come out.

I have just heard from hubby that he has collected ds1 from his train and they are heading homewards. Now as long as we don’t get a power cut we should be fine from now on!

16 Kids and Counting – what are the facts?

6 Mar

I resisted the urge to tweet last night, although several thoughts went through my mind as I was watching the latest episode in Channel 4’s series. 

After having the night to mull them over I have come to a few conclusions that I need to work through, whether for myself or others I don’t really know.

The Radfords work hard, have a baby every year (pretty much) and are devoted to their family. The mum, Sue, washes and irons all day, and is calm, cheerful and looks amazing for 37. Noel is a powerhouse of energy, be it in the family bakery, coping with the meals or knocking up bunk beds for six.

The Salims are overcrowded, untidy, living off benefits and the dad seems to rule the family in an offbeat anarchic way. His wife Noreen seems downtrodden and depressed, and also quite ashamed that her husband has no job. She also seems terrified that he wants more children.

Or at least that is what the media seem to want us to think. There was evidence that the Salim children have been targeted due to their father not being in work and being called “scroungers.” Can they really be called scroungers? I don’t claim to know a huge amount about the work situation in Rochdale but even I am fairly certain that the north of England has been very hard hit by the latest recession. Maybe Mr Salim has depression and is struggling to cope with the idea of changing his whole life e.g. looking for non-academic work. Just because he can laugh and play with his children does not mean that he is in good mental health. Are the Radfords as content and coping as well as they are portrayed? I certainly hope so – but how can we know unless we personally know them? It could be all smoke and mirrors.

BUT I am so aware how manipulative television can be – just leaving out 20 seconds of film and editing another few hours’ worth into a sound bite can manipulate the unwary viewer into thinking something very different from what is actually happening. We have no way of knowing what goes on behind closed doors unless we are living with the families portrayed. I know from twitter than Tania Sullivan, who was in the last series and is due to be in this one, was shown as a mum whose unborn twins lives were in danger, whereas she was in fact unwell with an infection and needed simple medical treatment.

All I know for certain is the following:- it is blooming hard work keeping track of clothes toys and books etc even with a relatively small family of 7. If the Salims are struggling to do this in a 4 bedroomed house with 11 children I am not surprised – you’d have to be super human not to struggle.

Sue Radford puts me to shame. I have no idea how she runs the house the way she does. On a personal level I feel she does way too much ironing but that is her business. I know I wouldn’t want that many children myself but they are a great advert for the larger family.

My personal feeling is that one shouldn’t be actively trying to conceive another child when on benefits, but it is just that, a personal feeling. The Salim family appear to have energy, intellect and boundless energy, their children seem polite and articulate, so calling them scroungers without being in full possession of the facts seems unnecessarily harsh.

Last fact – I find the programmes unmissable! Clever Channel 4, getting me hooked on another controversial series.

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