Archive | June, 2014

Stress, illness and a tea party.

24 Jun

Been rather quiet of late as just too busy to find the time to write anything down. And frankly, I’ve also been too tired. I have a million ideas for blog posts in my head but I can’t find the impetus to unscramble them enough to make sense.

Anyway, we are heading towards the end of the academic year and I know that all my children are very grateful for this, and the holiday we’ve booked. M especially is having trouble coping with the changes to the school day that end of term inevitably brings, but with the exception of one major faux pas (and they have unreservedly apologised) school have been great at explaining changes in routine in plenty of time, and doing all they can to minimise the stress on her.

Unfortunately, I think one of those changes was instrumental in making M ill for three days afterwards. I can’t prove it, but I am going to start keeping a diary of when she is unwell and seeing if I can link it to a particularly stressful event immediately preceding it. She had a day at a much larger school, with the children from four local primaries (about 200 children) doing their version of the Commonwealth Games.  Her PSA was in charge of giving M breaks from the noise and generally looking after her, and from what I can tell she did a sterling job. M was fairly chipper when she came out of school and told me a lot of what had happened during the time at the other school. She mentioned that Mrs T had looked after her especially when it began to rain.

However, she was nervy and aggressive at tea time, and several times during Beavers (which was outside and therefore low sensory) she asked to go home, but we made it through the evening. She needed a very long bath to try and unwind, and it was only partially successful as she had a very restless night. The next morning her temperature was up and she was coughing non stop so I kept her at home. Sadly she wasn’t well enough to go to her Saturday dancing class or a birthday party she had really been looking forward to. Sunday was slightly better but I knew she still wasn’t right when her evening melatonin knocked her out in under fifteen minutes.

She’s been back in school this week and coping OK. The infant class has been working hard on an enterprise task and this afternoon we (parents and grandparents etc) were invited up to spend our cash. There was a nail bar, hand massages, a raffle, cakes and biscuits, and a couple of small games to try to win a prize, followed by tea and cakes in the canteen. They had made everything, right down to the table decorations:-

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Straight after school we headed up to my friends as we were invited to play with her two kids. The sun was blazing and for two hours they expended vast amounts of energy on the trampoline and climbing trees. M is currently crashed out with the curtains closed watching a dvd. She will have a long deep bath and hopefully be calm, and sleep well. After tomorrow she will have only two further days of this school year to deal with and then she can relax. 

And so, hopefully, can I.

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Books from my Childhood

11 Jun

A chance remark from the lovely @DarkAspie on Twitter made me think of how many times I have re-read books from my childhood, and the impact they have had on me.

I always remember having books. Lots of books. My Dad actually built two whole sets of bookshelves in our living-room with the help of my very practical Granddad, and still there never seemed to be enough space for all the wonderful books we had. I kept most of mine on shelves in my bedroom’s built-in cupboard, and then as the collections grew, in boxes under my bed and around my room.

I’m one of those people that rarely gets rid of a book – they become like members of the family to me. If I like a book I will usually re-read it several times, sometimes almost immediately; other times maybe two or three years after the first time.

Anyway, the book I’ve been thinking about is Stig of the Dump. This is a copy of the book I own:

Stig_Dumpa

I used to bring the school booklet home every so often for a begging session – I would have bought all of them! – and my Mum always appeared to let me have a book, which considering we were never exactly well-off does show how much she values reading. I must have been about eight when I received my copy of this, and I don’t recall reading it there and then, although I expect I did. I was and still am a total bookworm; for me there is not really anything better than settling down for an uninterrupted afternoon with a book or my Kindle.

What I guess might be unusual is that I still have my original copy about forty years later. I have re-read it a few times, but the fun for me recently was reading it to my two youngest who were 7 and 6 at the time. B was 7;, and his boyish enthusiasm for messing about in the woods was naturally inclined to reading about a small boy who goes off and not only has adventures getting mucky, but also meets a caveman. As I read it out loud I could vividly recall how I felt turning the pages and wondering what would happen next, and would Stig be OK.

To be honest, I think it might have not gripped M’s imagination in quite the same way as it did B’s, but then wandering off by herself and meeting strangers, especially cavemen who live in a quarry is not top of her exciting things to do list.

I would still recommend this book to any young (or old) reader. It is gloriously pre the days of constant Health and Safety, when you could – and did – roam about from dawn to dusk and came home in time for tea, hopefully without rips in your clothes and no obvious injuries. It also has a rather open ending; you are never quite sure if Stig was real or imagined, but to me that just adds to the magic.

photo taken from Google images. I am not the owner of this image.

The Balancing Act

8 Jun

M had her Highland Dancing exam yesterday. She was very outwardly calm about it, practising regularly and going to all her extra classes (once a week after school) and seeming quietly confident.

However, on Friday evening she had her melatonin at the usual time for a weekend which means that she should have been fast asleep by 8.30. Hah! I was out collecting something so I got home about 9. She was suddenly wide awake and downstairs “E forgot to brush my teeth.” Her big sister had indeed forgotten, so a quick brush later and she was tucked back up. 

The next hour and a half was hard work. I had a little Jack-in-the-box, not a sleepy daughter. Her final assault on my emotions was a pathetic wail that we hadn’t fed her any tea and her tummy was rumbling. (I would like to point out for any worried readers that of course we had fed her.) I sent her back downstairs for a jam sandwich and a drink, and called down to hubby to stick a second melatonin in the sandwich. We’ve been strongly resisting upping her dosage even though the paediatrician said we could, as usually she will settle. This time it was needed, and thankfully she finally dropped off about 10.45.

The next worry was would she wake in time. Being woken is a sure-fire way to turn her mood into cranky straight away, so it was with huge relief that she was awake and cheerful in plenty of time in the morning.

I deliberately didn’t get to the hall too much in advance. M has short hair so nothing needed to be done except for changing into her dancing outfit and having her photo taken (I do this every year). She was quite buzzed and hyper, whizzing around the room and chatting to everyone. I managed to calm her down by giving her my tablet to play some games on. And then she went through for the exam. 

This is my happy girl (on the surface) when she returned:

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We stuck rigidly to our usual post-dancing routine of snack at the cafe, wander around the charity shops and then a quick top-up shop in the supermarket before heading home.

B had had a lovely morning out in the garden helping L with her guinea pigs and bouncing on the trampoline. He was full of sunshine and good spirits. Unfortunately for him, he had also borrowed some of M’s dinosaurs to play with. She went nuts at him, really over the top, and hit him hard before I was able to intervene. I know she was exhausted from the late night and change in routine but violence to other people is a hard limit in our house, I comforted B while L raced upstairs for the weighted blanket. We parked M on the sofa in front of a dvd and told her firmly not to move unless she needed to pee.

Thankfully, it worked. the quiet time and the deep pressure from her blanket soothed all the upset away and gave her time to “restore factory settings” as I tend to think of it. I guess the nerves about the exam, the late night and the change in routine from lesson to exam was enough to tip her over the edge. Poor B was just the trigger for her explosion. I think if it hadn’t have been the dinosaurs it would have been something equally small – and maybe I would never have been able to avoid it. When she is older I am hoping she will know to take herself somewhere quiet for a while in order to decompress and manage her anxieties before they hit meltdown, but I am grateful that I was able to contain most of it and keep her and everyone else safe.

We ended the day in a much nicer way, M and B friends again. I took them to the local shop to choose an ice lolly then we headed to the park. They had a wonderful hour playing in both parks, and in one they met some friends who were delighted to see them. M spent most of her time on the swings – she adores the motion and I think they calm her. I can understand this as my place of refuge as a child was my swing in our garden. I could spend literally hours swinging. 

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The evening routine went without a hitch; cuddles and melatonin and being very tired from so much exercise was enough to send M to sleep before 8.30 and the “normal” was restored.

I do need to learn to pre-empt the meltdowns though – perhaps I should have had her blanket and dvd waiting for her. As a so-called “neuro-typical” myself it is very hard if not impossible to think ahead about what might be ahead that upsets M to the point she can’t handle her emotions. Every time she explodes it gives me an insight into how not to handle it next time. I know as she matured she will learn to self-regulate but until then I will keep on trying to keep the scales balanced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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