Tag Archives: car journeys

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

 

Echolalia and The Medicine Show

1 Aug

I do love my music. With the exception of death metal and some of the more heavy rap, I pretty much enjoy everything depending on my mood. But like most people I have my go-to favourites, and none more than when I’m driving.

I switch from pounding hi-energy disco circa 1984 or equally ear-splitting rock (when I’m lucky enough to be alone) to being the queen of easy listening if I’ve got the little ones in the car. I discovered years ago that anything with a very fast or heavy beat tends to amplify their worst behaviours, so I’ve gone all grandma on them ever since. My tunes of choice right now tend to be one of these two:

CDs

I often just have M in the car, as she’s heading off to yet another appointment, and it’s frankly adorable to hear her singing along to David Cassidy or the Bay City Rollers as we eat up the miles into town. She’s extremely fond of Dr Hook too (not quite as much as me but I think I have obsessional issues with Dennis Locorriere’s voice – that’s another story altogether) and she’s word perfect on songs like Sylvia’s Mother and Years From Now. All very innocent. Until…………..

CD 2 was requested yesterday on the way to Camhs. M had decided she wanted the “funny” songs, not the slushy ones, so I slid the CD in and off we went. Hubby’s new car is a bit weird, the CD player is in the glove compartment so it’s not advisable to change CDs while you’re driving.

The second track came on and I was singing along under my breath as I do because M has a problem with me singing over songs – she can, but I’m not allowed to. And then I realised what the words were. Dilemma. Do I quickly skip the track and face a meltdown or do I let the song play out and hope she’s not actually listening? The second option is what I choose as I know that she will get very upset if I skip before the end, but I’m cringing inside as I just know that she will be absorbing every single word. That’s when echolalia is a curse.

I have no idea when the lyrics might pop up again, and where. M’s echolalia comes to the fore mostly when she is stressed, and it can take any form from counting to 100 over and over again, to reciting huge tracts of a film script, or song words. I used to get a bit annoyed when all I could hear were Christmas songs in the middle of July but right now, if she gets stressed, I’d be delighted to hear Jingle Bells instead of this option.

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/drhook/freakersball.html

Just praying she doesn’t recall all the words in the middle of a particularly trying school assembly!!

Making Sensory Boxes

14 Jun

I am heartily sick of not being able to drive the ten miles to the local town without Small Boy and Small Girl arguing and fighting. They take any chance to needle each other and even to hit and slap. Frankly I’ve had enough of it, and I’m sure they have too. I don’t know why they can’t get along, but I remembered that when the teens were small they each had a cuddly toy that was only for car journeys. They would hug them and chat to them and play, and mostly things weren’t too bad. Armed with this thought I let it wander for a while and came up with an idea.

I had to drop Teen Girl at the bus station and Husband at the airport yesterday so I spent half an hour at the pound shop in town before making my way home. I bought this lot:-

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Then I popped into the supermarket for a couple of smallish strong boxes. Today I sorted out the piles into a set for B and a set for M:-

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Actually, I confess that the orange and blue rubbery stick men came from the autism conference I went to this week. But all the rest was from the pound shop. I chose a variety of toys that can be played with imaginatively, cuddled, stroked, or squeezed, and for a first attempt I don’t think I did too badly. I am planning to add to the boxes with some off-cuts of fleece fabric (they both adore the feel of fleece) and maybe something from Chewigem that is designed for putting in their mouths as M especially is very orally fixated, but they were delighted when they saw what I was up to. They both understand that these boxes are not for sharing (the idea is to keep them apart in the car) and that the boxes will not be used indoors.

The round balls aren’t easy to see in the photos above, but they are my favourite toy so far. Small Boy was very excited when I showed him what they do, and he has promised to try and use it instead of scrunching up his hands when he feels angry or frustrated. Here’s how they work:-

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I must admit, I’m a bit annoyed I didn’t pick one up for myself for when I’m stuck in traffic jams, or on the telephone to someone who is trying my patience, but I guess I can always sneak a shot of one of theirs.

So, here are the boxes so far:-

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Tomorrow afternoon the children and I are off to the autism centre’s summer picnic, a journey of over an hour on a day that will already have included Sports Day, so they could well be hot, tired and grumpy. I’m hoping the contents of these boxes will work a little magic and they will travel calmly. I’ll let you know.

NB For the purposes of my sanity when driving, I haven’t included any toys that squeak, chime or clunk, but if you are making a sensory box for home, depending on the age of your child(ren) I think adding noisy toys would be a great idea. And apologies for the poor quality of the pictures but it was quicker to take snaps on my phone than to faff about with my camera.

Lane Hayes

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shoestringjane@outlook.com. Find me on Twitter and Instagram: @shoestringjane

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