Summer

Cold, cold, cold but sunny.

Can’t believe the break from school is almost over. As Hawklad isn’t ready to go back we go again on the school at home project. Wait for it. Using my fingers to count past 10 I think Monday will be the 212th home at school teaching day. Does that make me a proper teacher now…..

I must admit there feels like there is quite a lot of schooling fatigue on both the pupil and the parent now. If this was true homeschooling then now would be the time for changing things up. But it isn’t so lessons start again at 840am on Monday. The weekend will be spent trying to complete holiday homework.

It might just be about limping through until the summer break. This summer feels like it’s the crucial time. Can’t see him returning to school before then. So summer is when we either fully commit to homeschooling or we try to move closer to a return to the classroom.

The process will be tough enough….

The last thing we need is a self righteous horse whip clown determined to use children as a way to become PM. To appear the hard man. Wanting to take schools back to Victorian values. A clown who is trying to now push through changes to extend the school day, reduce school holidays, increase homework and drive through increased discipline.

If I’m honest I’m not looking forward to the next few months.

Brain Freeze

Another one of those warm Yorkshire Spring days….

Trying to do mindful yoga outside works ‘so well’ when your fingers are blue and you can’t feel your toes. Actually can’t feel any part of your body. Not so much mindful as Mind Numbing. Brain Freeze.

A bit later Hawklad wanted a slush puppy. Really…. Well I guess it is the warmer months. So the slush was made and taken outside.

Dad it’s not melting in fact it’s refreezing….”

So yes it cold but here’s the thing. It’s been just what I needed today. Not enough sleep last night. Not enough for a while now. So I woke feeling like a zombie. As I’m trying to be healthy, caffeine is not an option to get me going. The next best thing is a shock to the system. An ice cold bath or in this case a Yorkshire Spring day…

Autism

It’s Autism Awareness week. It does feel like it should be Autism Awareness Week every week, every year until we finally start to make some real progress. Let’s not kid ourselves as we have are only just starting down that road.

This years theme is centred around inequalities. Inequalities that have become even more stark and exposed during the pandemic.

I tell you what is unequal. Bridge building. It’s always up to the autistic person to try and build those bridges. Our society, our institutions and too many of our communities are not interested. They see Autism through inaccurate stereotypes. Something to be ignored or brushed under the carpet. We’ve all experienced that approach. Individuality is frowned upon. People need to be forced into set moulds and templates.

Yesterday I was listening to the words of a really wonderful, unique and brilliant teenager. He was talking about his struggle with autism. His daily fight with inequalities and ignorance. Why was it so hard for people to understand. He was saying that every day he heard so many false stereotypes. But in fact he had a sense of humour, he liked having fun, he liked having friends, he had feelings, he cared. He was as valid as an individual as anyone else.

That lad wasn’t different he was UNIQUE. We all should be. It’s a better world for that.

We all should be welcomed and supported.

Back then

Hawklad is a cheeky one. Every time we watch something on TV that refers to a historical incident he always asks ‘you were there Dad so what was it really like….”. Last night he said it when the programme mention the American Civil War. What was it like Dad….

Every so often he catches me off guard with a different line of attack.

Dad has your musical tastes changed with age. What are your favourite 5 bands now…”

Ok that would be

Whitesnake

Pink Floyd

Shinedown

Iron maiden

Blue Oyster Cult.

Ok Dad what were your 5 favourite bands when you were young…”

I think they were

Whitesnake

Blue Oyster Cult

Iron Maiden

Black Sabbath

Scorpions

So they hadn’t changed too much.

Was that pre CD times Dad

Yes it was, not invented yet.

Not much point inventing CDs back then when you were a kid as they hadn’t discovered electricity yet. Are you sure it wasn’t Beethoven you were listening to back in the medieval times.”

White rabbits

A cold, wind swept day. Definitely two jumper weather.

So it’s not quite sunbathing weather here. We did sit outside for a while. That’s with winter coats on while holding hot water bottles.

While outside we talked. Well when I say talked it was more about trying to reassure Hawklad. He was worried, really worried. April 1st and he had forgotten to say ‘white rabbits’. In Britain and also I believe in North America there is a tradition that saying ‘white rabbits’ as the first words of the new month brings good luck. Pilots had a similar superstition during the last war. Saying that phrase as the first words of each day apparently helped provide protection during the daily upcoming flying endeavours.

Hawklad has been doing the ‘white rabbits’ thing for a while now. I think he picked it up from me one time. I’m a bit annoyed with myself as I try to avoid Hawklad seeing me with any superstitions . Well this month he forgot. I would never give it a second thought but Hawklad was spooked. He takes things very literally. That can be a common personality trait with people with Aspergers. So I tried to reassure him but rather unsuccessfully. I will keep working on that. But it’s so difficult for him. More things to worry about. Life is so complicated…..

Avengers

A day outside in the – wait for it – warm Yorkshire sunshine……

An afternoon of outdoor table tennis. An afternoon of losing my pride. It’s never been my sport. One of the few sports I can’t pick up.

Dad Table Tennis is a MARVELlous sport. You do know the sport should be played like a game of chess. Carefully moving your opening around the table until an opening appears. That’s the idea. Your approach Dad is basically the Avengers Strategy. HULK SMASH…”

No need to mess about with the delicate strategy. Why waste time when with one massive swing of the bat you can immediately move to the ENDGAME

But Dad you are supposed to play with VISION.

Ok I’m out now, you win the pun war. Pick up your crisp packet. If you do then you can be scaAVENGERS hero.

I never THORt of that one Dad. Best keep the envIRON MANaged. I wonder if anyone else would understand these puns other THAN US.”

*********

Lets not forget the stereotype. Asperger Kids don’t have a sense of humour and can’t have fun ……….

Needs must

Taking just a few moments to breathe. To enjoy what is close by. The beauty in life. The simple things.

A report on the news was talking about the UK Covid vaccine strategy. Currently no plans to extend shots to the under 18s. A child vaccine might be licensed after Autumn in some other countries. Again there are no plans to roll that out in the UK.

Ok so unless there is a real shift in the trajectory of the virus then we are on effective lockdown for the rest of the year.

That makes seeking out those moments to breathe even more important. If that means getting on my hands and knees, then so be it. Needs must.

Vegetate

I’ve been trying to practice yoga and tai chi for months now. I diligently watch and follow the videos. All the really glossy and professional videos. I was trying again this morning. Following the instructor through her perfect routine. Even her dog sits beside her perfectly. Never moving. In the background the gentle sound of peaceful music. Perfect.

Meanwhile in deepest Yorkshire.

A muppet is seamlessly moving from one body creak to the next groan. Losing balance and crashing into furniture. Constantly fearing my pants are going to split under the galactic pressure being exerted on them. Every time I hit the ground a mad dog instantly leaps on me and I replay the Bill Murray Ghostbusters scene – I’VE BEEN SLIMED. And no gentle sound of peaceful music here. Rather the sound of derision and laughter….

What on earth are you doing Dad”

“If this was on TV it would be banned”

“You look a right sight

Funnier than a Will Ferrell movie

Say that again Dad. Golden Rooster. More like drunken Pigeon

Are you supposed to be balancing on one leg or head butting the wall

My Dad has turned into Homer Simpson”

Please never do this when any of my friends visit”

Your just embarrassing yourself now”

Technically speaking this probably means that I still have a long way to go on my spiritual exercise journey. Or more likely …. time to get the mega pack of biscuits out and vegetate.

Terminator

Kinda feels like the type of sky you get just before it all goes horribly wrong in a Terminator movie. This time no coming storm. Just me in the kitchen making a curry. Actually very similar when you think about it. Especially if you have ever seen or unfortunately tasted one of my Saag Aloo horrors.

As I watched that cloud formation role through my thoughts had moved from terrible cooking to more important stuff. Doesn’t that cloud look like a polar bear lying flat out on its tummy. Well it did to me….

We spent an hour or so playing the cloud spotting game today. Fantastic free garden entertainment, the kinda stuff you need during a prolonged lockdown. While we were cloud spotting I kept hearing a nagging voice in my head. We could be so easily playing this in a years time. It’s not unreasonable to assume that Hawklads anxieties and phobias will still be here in a years time. If so then our lockdown will still be in place in March 2022. That would make it TWO years. TWO years. Maybe that is what the clouds are telling me. There is a storm coming. A long protracted one.

Schools Out

Schools Out, Schools Out for Easter.

The last day of term was marked with another school letter. Another positive pupil case with 45 other pupils in isolation for 10 days. Across the country infection rates amongst the 5 to 14 age group are rising since schools returned. On Monday some of the country’s lockdown rules are eased.

Well at least everyone is still wearing masks…..

On the way back from the vaccination centre yesterday I stopped off for petrol. Straw pole. Me and the person behind the till had masks fully on. One lady appeared to have a mask but she was carrying it in her hand. Another guy had a mask hanging loosely around his neck. Everyone else, no mask.

Lockdowns Out, Lockdowns Out for Easter

So the two week break has started. Started with sitting out in the baking sun. Talking with Hawklad on what he would like to do over the next few days. First ice creams of the break. Sat outside in the freezing wind.

Wooly Jumpers Out, Wooly Jumpers Out for Easter.