Scottish schools broke up last Friday so we have just finished our first week of the holidays.
And what a week! What the children didn’t know is that we were keeping a big secret, which was that all 4 of their grandparents were coming to stay. Not in the cottage (no way would we have room) but in a holiday cottage a few yards away.
We have been real tourists. We’re been to John O’Groats, The Castle of Mey, a boat trip on Loch Ness and a distillery tour. Today we had a BBQ in the back garden for M, who is 7 today.
Unfortunately for me, M decided 5 am was a good time to start her birthday, and therefore also a good time for me too. There was a division of labour between hubby and me; he got the shopping list and I got the cooker, and then hubby’s dad came down to lend a hand with the meat (always handy to have a retired butcher in the family). We headed into the garden about 2 o’clock and have only been back inside for about half an hour. The kids still need a bath but we are waiting on one more visitor, M’s godmother, who has been at work today, and frankly M is so high from sugar and excitement I am wondering if her usual melatonin will actually work to help her off to sleep.
M was quite definite about what she would like for her birthday, and even wrote a neat list. She has a fairly narrow set of toys that she will play with, and we have learned that it can be a waste of money to buy her something radically different, so she was delighted with gifts and cards of the Hello Kitty, Sylvanian Families and Moshi Monster variety. I do think a lot of their value is their small size – they are easy toys to hold in the hand, and also to line up and categorize, something M often likes to do. If she is very calm she will act out scenes for the figures, and I often hear film scenarios or excerpts from TV shows in her play. If she is more anxious then the play becomes more of a mammoth tidying session, with everyone and everything being put into lines or into boxes. It’s part of her autistic nature to take comfort from this sorting, a calming tool, but I do like the fact that recently she has done less of it, I am assuming it is linked directly to stress, and now we seem to be managing her world better in terms of keeping the worst stress at bay, the less of this behaviour I see. Every aspect of M is a learning curve for me, and I hope that maybe one day I can work with other children on the autistic spectrum and help them with what I’ve learned.