Archive | June, 2016

Musical Magic (aka Happy Birthday Mr Rhodes)

8 Jun

There are just some songs that instantly make one happy, aren’t there? I mentally compile playlists all the time, especially when I’m out driving and a favourite comes on the radio.

But there are occasionally tunes that inspire what I can only describe as a burst of pure physical joy, and I heard one this afternoon as I was driving Small Boy back from his art and craft lesson.

It was this:

I remember sitting in front of the TV, our Amstrad video-recorder with the tape in the right place, and my fingers on the record button (oh don’t get all moral on me, we all did it!) and waiting for Peter Powell to announce the world wide debut of this single on The Oxford Road Show. As I was driving along the A9 today, and this song came on, I could almost feel the bubbles of excitement in my teenage chest, that sense of wonder that is so precious that I wish we could bottle it for later, and my entire being felt as if it was aglow with the anticipation I felt 33 years ago. Oh ye gods, shoot me now, I’m old!

Anyway, I digress. Oblivious to Small Boy in the back, I yowled along, word perfect, and might even have punched the air occasionally as I took us homeward. The memory of that TV moment is only surpassed by the recollection of 11,000 people all waving their fingers and pointing at exactly the same time  to the part of this tune where Simon sings “you’re about as easy as a nuclear war” which was something to behold at a gig at Wembley Arena. Coincidentally, that was also the same concert at which – in a rare quiet second – me and my two friends screamed his name so loudly that Nick Rhodes looked up and actually waved at us. Yes, it happened. Be jealous. Whatever. I have that burned on my soul. No apologies.

Small Boy, as I have mentioned, was sitting in the back, also oblivious to me. He had his big sister’s borrowed MP3 player, and her headphones, and was in his own little word, doing a more than passable impression of Joe from The A Word. His musical drug of choice is the very lovely Ed Sheeran, and he plays certain songs on repeat, namely You Need Me I Don’t Need You, which has the rather naughty line “They say I’m up and coming like I’m f*cking in an elevator.” Ed! and you look such a nice young man.  Luckily, unlike his little sister, Small Boy doesn’t tend to use echolalia and knows better than to  sing one word of that particular line, so we get along fine.

All joking apart, Ed Sheeran is SB’s “safe place” when he’s trying to self-calm, especially if he is anxious, and he is anxious a lot of the time. Learning the words, and playing the songs over and over brings him a huge degree of comfort. He zones out and I see one of two expressions, a furious concentration as he sings along, or this one:

PicMonkey PhotoBenji

This is what I love to see when I glance in the rear-view mirror, a chilled out Small Boy, at peace with his surroundings. He had a great day today; up at the right time and dressed and breakfasted without any problems. He’s finally getting used to heading off on a Wednesday to his art and craft, and it’s just a shame that I don’t think there will be the money for it to continue after the summer holidays.

By a stroke of luck, today also happens to be the birthday of one Mr Nick Rhodes, so I shall leave you with this picture shamelessly screen-shotted from Duran Duran’s IG account (hope you don’t mind lads) and it remains for me to wish Nick a very happy birthday from a lifelong fan.

Nick R IG

This post is dedicated to the lovely Tracy aka @c0dfanglers, who is my sister-from-another-mother, and lifelong Durannie. Enjoy the pics honey xx

 

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We’ve Kind of Been Here Before

3 Jun

Since I last updated here, it’s all gone a bit wrong (again).

Small Boy has been out of school since two days after the start of the summer term. It was almost impossible to get him back to school after Easter, but the crunch came when I had Small Girl at a Camhs appointment and I spent 3/4 of it talking about SB. I had the light-bulb moment where I thought we’re damaging him, leaving him every day somewhere we have to drag him to screaming. The screaming is communication; all he can say is help me, and we’re not listening. We need to change this.

I drove SG back to school for the afternoon session and he appeared at the staff room door while I was letting SG’s PSA know she was back on the premises. He had seen my car, and that I hadn’t driven straight off. He didn’t speak, just looked straight at me with tears shining in his eyes and wrapped his arms around my waist. I told him to collect all his belongings and to wait for me by his coat peg. Then I told the staff that the only sensible and kind thing I could do was to remove him until further notice. I assured them it was nothing they had done wrong (it really wasn’t) but it was hurting him, and my job was to protect him.

The relief on his wee face was a wake up call if ever I needed one. I sent a text to Hubby to inform him of what I’d done, and not to be surprised if he called and heard SB in the background. And then we waited.

The first two weeks were the worst. Somehow I’d got it into my head that away from the hyper-stimulating environment (or whatever) of school that he would quickly bounce back and “be himself.” That didn’t happen. He was rude, angry, aggressive, even violent, and my heart sank as I wondered if I had somehow made a bad situation worse.

But I hadn’t, and my instincts were right. One day I got a smile, a genuine one. Then he asked a question – about the platypus as it happens – and we spent half an hour on Google, learning everything we could about the strange and frankly terrifying critters, and now, several weeks on, I can almost say I have my boy back.

He’s still angry, and frustrated, and horribly panicked about any kind of change to his routine, but the absolute terror has mostly gone from his eyes. School are continuing to be wonderful in their support, and there is a team dedicated to trying to “fix” what went wrong. The only problem is that without the input of specialist services that deal with mental health issues, specifically those of young autistic people, we might not get much further. And guess which service we are still waiting on? Yes, you know it.

Without knowing just what he can’t cope with, there is no way we are prepared to attempt to put him back into full time schooling, just to see the very same thing happen all over again. The stumbling block is that being only just 11, he has no idea what his triggers are. Having Teen Boy around is helpful, as we can take a stab at the worst of the probables, but they are not definite. TB has told us it was several years later that he finally managed to start filtering out the worst of his sensory issues, so it might be that part of what we have to do is wait until SB can do the same. Which doesn’t help much with school, but I refuse to rush him. He is autistic, and I will not shove him into a mainstream neurotypical pond and demand he swims like the NT fish because he can’t. And why should he? If he were blind, or in a wheelchair, the system would know it had to adapt for him. But because you can’t look at an autistic person and see the autism, for some reason it’s acceptable (well it’s really not but other people think it is) to squash and squeeze and push them until they are stuffed into the same round holes as everyone else, no matter that they are perfectly content to be square pegs.

Well, this mumma says no! My square pegs require square holes, and if it takes yet another fight, bring it!

In the mean time, SB is coping with one hour of practical science once a week, one to one with a PSA, and for some reason, 90 mins of PE too. Rather him than me *shudders*.

For another time, I’ll write about our tentative journey into home education.

 

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