Nightmares

3.30am (Yesterday)

Dad I’ve had a nightmare. The Great Heathen Army came looking for me. They keep swarming over the hills towards us”

That time during the night is not the optimum time for my brain to discuss Norse Armies. Especially ghost ones. But parents find ways, especially when they are beyond tired. You just want the best for your kids. It’s tough when you see them distressed.

What weapons did they have.

Blood covered swords, hammers and axes

Ok now imagine them with some silly weapons. Something like sticks of rhubarb.

Bananas”

Perfect. What are they wearing

Viking clothes”

No make them wear something silly, sillier the better. The least scary thing you can think of.

Summer dresses”

Perfect. Did you see the Viking Leader.

Yes he was massive. A fearsome warlord.”

Would he be so fearsome if I was the warlord.

Your not massive or fearsome”

That’s the point.

Dad you will need a name. Your version of Erik the Red, Snake in the Eye, Forkbeard or Ivar the Boneless”

Ten minutes later much laughter. Some of the names are unprintable. But

  • Erik has lost the remote control
  • Halfdan Apple Crumble Slayer
  • Bagpuss the soft furry one with fleas
  • Ubba the demon cook
  • Sigurd my pants are buried in the garden
  • Sven Fork Lightening Farter
  • Ivor Big Arse

Tonight a bit of silliness quelled the storm (or to be more precise the Ghost Viking Army). Son found sleep again. But it’s tough. Tough on kids stressed out. Tough on the patents. My batteries seem pretty flat. But that’s what you get when you sign up to be a parent.

Sleep won’t come for me but at least I can have some bizarre daydreams about me being a Viking warlord, running over the Yorkshire hills in my finest summer dress armed with a stick of rhubarb and a banana. Now that is the stuff of nightmares.

Super Hero

It was another work day. Son stayed in the car mostly. Middle of nowhere so it was just us two. I could park the car right next to where I was working. So he was watching movies or dreaming or telling me what I was doing wrong. His day sounds so much better than my work one.

On the way back home.

Dad I’ve been thinking about a new Super Hero character. I think we need one who has Aspergers.”

So what is his or her special abilities.

I think it’s a her. You don’t often hear about girls with Aspergers in the movies tends to just be boys or men”

All Super Heroes have faults. Maybe not Captain America. But I think ours will be a bit of a loner. Might come across either shy or awkward in crowds. Avoiding close contact and certainly avoiding things like hugs. Will often believe what people tell her when people are joking. Always very anxious. The public might think our Super Hero is a bad person as she is seen as being different.”

Anyway her special abilities are:

  • Super senses – hearing, feeling, seeing
  • Super computer of a brain
  • Super memory
  • Super strength honesty
  • High pain threshold
  • Seeing things that other people can’t see
  • Solving number patterns
  • Super good at interrogation
  • Can sense who is good and who is bad
  • Interacting and communicating with animals
  • In tune with the natural world so can harness its awesomeness
  • Fuelled on Pizzas

Speaking of Pizza, how about an early pizza tea”

Who am I to argue with Superpowers. It’s Pizza time.

Early morning coffee

Dad what time did you just say we have to leave the house for work on Sunday

6.20am.

“That’s so early it’s almost back into 2018”

Sorry we need to drive 40 miles so we can get to a briefing starting at 7.45.

“Dad I may have to join you in having a coffee that morning”

Yes I suspect my current Decaf diet will be scrapped at 6am Sunday. Son’s comments about Coffee made me smile. A couple of years back I came across some research that seemed to suggest that Coffee was starting to be used with some kids with ADHD.

Dopamine levels in the brain need to be within a very narrow parameter range for the brain to operate at optimum levels. A body of research exists that seems to support the theory that with ADHD Dopamine levels are too low and outside the optimal parameters. Stimulants like caffeine raise Dopamine levels. The argument is that stimulants can then be used to raise Dopamine levels in people with ADHD to optimal levels. This will have a positive impact on concentration and attention levels. So a cup of coffee might be a good idea for kids with ADHD (like our son)????

But too much caffeine may cause things like stomach trouble, raised heartbeat, sleep problems, irritability……. It’s an addictive psychoactive stimulant drug.

Then you factor in Autism. Little research exists on the effects of caffeine here. Does it help. Does it hinder.

When I spoke to the health professionals the advice ranged from ‘worth a go’ to ‘its a bad idea’.

I’m no medic so I will continue to play it safe. So early on Sunday double standards will be adopted. I will have a strong coffee whereas our Son will have a glass of orange juice.

Hermione

On the other side of this Bush is a stunning view yet it’s blocked by plant beauty.

Our Son loves history. You often see him watching very in-depth documentaries about a vast range of historical subjects

  • Romans
  • Viking
  • Pharaohs
  • Greeks
  • Persians
  • Incas
  • American Presidents
  • British Kings and Queens
  • Battles and Wars
  • and on and on

Unfortunately he doesn’t get the chance to extend this knowledge at school (yet).

It’s probably due to being put in the bottom set due to his dyslexia but the teaching is at such a low level. Son says he will keep watching historical videos as it’s the only way he learns anything new. He smiles when he calls himself the Hermione Granger of the History class. If the teacher asks a question he is always the first hand up but is never selected to answer.

I think one incident really sums up the problem.

In a test the class were asked to name facts about King John. Our Son then provided an in-depth answer which talked about

  • When King Richard the Lionheart was captured on the third crusade John (his brother) negotiated with the captors to keep him imprisoned
  • He lost most of his fathers empire
  • After he was forced to retreat from France he alienated himself from the many of the barons and a rebellion started
  • Eventually the two factions started negotiating after months of conflict. The end result was the Magna Carta which limited the power of the crown.
  • He then got the Pope to declare the Magna Carta invalid sparking more civil conflict which spilled into the reign of the next king – his son Henry III
  • He may well have killed his nephew (Arthur of Brittany) a potential rival
  • John was excommunicated when he refused to let the Pope have a say in the selection of a new Archbishop of Canterbury
  • He probably died of dysentery

That is my son speaking not me. My knowledge of John ends with the Magna Carta being signed under his rule and the stuff in Ivanhoe.

His teacher spoke to our son and basically told him that he provided too much information. That he was in Year 7 and he shouldn’t know this stuff until Year 10. That’s a way of inspiring his love of the subject. To be fair to the teacher her approach to learning is what the government wants. Sadly the government understands as much about education (and actually most other areas) as does that Bush in the photograph.

Chasing rainbows

As a kid one of the worst realisations was when I found out that a rainbow does not produce a pot of gold. What no tricky Leprechaun guarding the the pot. Even now I feel a tinge of sadness when a rainbow appears.

This rainbow appeared four years ago on our last holiday. I remember our son trying to get his head around an overseas pot of gold.

  • would it be legal tender in the U.K.
  • Is it the same pot of gold that appears in the U.K. or does every country have its own pot of gold
  • If the rainbow straddles two countries do you get two different types of gold in either end
  • What happens if the pot of gold appears over water – does it float
  • If the gold sinks what happens if a fish swallows a gold coin – does the fish get to keep the gold – does he disappear when the gold goes
  • Are we allowed to bring the pot of gold through customs
  • Is it taxable (that was my thought)

This rainbow photograph was taken on a Sunday. Five days later I had a Swiss beer with my evening meal. Not had alcohol since. I really don’t miss the booze. I do miss the friendship and socialising but not the drink. I’m not sure what my old climbing buddies would make of it. We sat around the camp fire drinking whiskey and eating sausages. Now they would do the same while I sit there drinking herbal tea and eating tofu. Suspect I would be assigned to the solo ascent team.

A few weeks ago an advert came on the radio about a lager which was apparently liquid gold. Son immediately asked how much it cost to buy a glass of gold in a pub. I jokingly pointed out that the excessive cost of drinking gold would be the least of your concerns. As gold inside of you would be really really bad for your health.

“Dad you must know gold is chemically inert so it possess little risk. It should just pass through the system when you go to the toilet.”

I never knew that going to the toilet could be so costly.

Now a thought crosses my mind. What would you do if you found did find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and you discovered that it was a pot of liquid gold lager…

Now that would just sum up my luck….

Baking

I thought I would bake our son a cake to say sorry for this Sunday. He’s coming to work with me. Going to have to leave the house before 7am and will get back in the evening.

Well I’ve seen worse Dad”

That’s almost a compliment.

No I don’t think it was…. it’s definitely cake like”

It’s crunch time the taste test.

“Dad it’s, its, it’s time for a pizza I think”

Oh dear.

Pepper

Today was a trip to the Zoo. Cold and a bit damp but so worth it. Helps take son’s thoughts away from school. Animals never fail to deliver. Need to make him smile.

We bought a heavily discounted season pass last year. Unbeknown to a certain Dad the pass expired last night. So the trip was significantly more expensive than expected. As we go every couple of months the pass is worth it. Not often can you say that about the stuff you end up forking out for.

Son challenged me to the usual ‘who can spot the Painted Dog first competition’. As ever Dad lost. So what was the forfeit. In the cafe I was to buy a coffee. I could enjoy half the cup THEN….

It was seasoned with pepper. Plenty of pepper.

Strangely the Peppered Coffee was not the worst thing I’ve tasted this year. I can think of a few horrible tasting Jelly Beans which take that particular award. However I suspect Peppered Coffee isn’t going to feature too heavily on the Starbucks menu.

It certainly cleared my blocked nose.

Tonight we had a lovely dog walk. Enjoying an other world type sunset – all with an underlying peppery undertone.

Kinda sad

It’s been one of those days. Slightly sad that those lovely Swiss Sunday Mornings are gone. Don’t get me wrong I am eternally thankful to have had those opportunities in the past.

Normally I try to keep the school holidays free to focus solely on our son. It’s the least I can do given what he’s been through.

But this Easter I need to get some cash in so I am going to have to work a bit. One day might be a 10 hour day. I don’t have any cover for our son so he is going to have to come with me. Yes he will still get time with me but it’s going to be so boring for him. It’s such a waste of his holidays. This makes me so sad and so frustrated. He deserves better than this. Will have to find a way of making this up to him.

Holmes

“Dad I have come across a lot of Sherlock Holmes stuff haven’t I”

He has. Maybe he gets it from me but he has always had a fascination with Holmes.

He used pocket money to pay for the Sherlock Holmes Costume from Amazon.

He has read his Hound of the Baskerville graphic novel I can’t think how many times. Having it read for him and now on his own with his reading pen.

He has listened to many of the great Detectives novels including A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Adventure of the Final Problem

He visited the staggering Reichenback Falls in Switzerland. Sherlock and arch evil villain Moriaty fell to their deaths here in ‘The Adventure of the Final Problem”

He has visited the Reichenback Falls local town – Meiringen. The town pays homage to Holmes and has a museum dedicated to the great detective. I will do a separate post about this one day.

He has seen several movies and TV shows, with so many different actors portraying Sherlock;

    Robert Downey Jr
    Benedict Cumberbatch
    Rupert Everett
    Christopher Lee
    Peter Cushing
    Jeremy Bret
    Basil Rathbone

Last night he asked to see the second Robert Downey Jr movie. Part way through our son calmly said

“I know he is a fictional character but I do think Holmes has Aspergers. Or acts like he does. It’s probably why I like him so much. Apart from the drugs I think I understand why he is like who he is”

I asked if that made me Dr Watson.

Don’t be silly Dad. With your cooking you would have to be the evil Moriaty”

Angles

Son came back from school with news of a maths test tomorrow. So we probably won’t get round to looking at the French Test which is Thursday. It seems like test after test. When I was at school the only test was really the daily trying to avoid being eaten by the Sabertooth Tiger.

Son wanted to have a look at angles. So we went through a number of angles listing them as acute, right, obtuse or reflex. Went well until he started to struggle. As soon as you started rotating the picture and he couldn’t process the information. For example these angles proved very easy for him.

Yet with the same angles but reversed he couldn’t visualise them at all.

This replicates some of the stuff we have encountered with the way he scans words and number patterns. Maybe it’s something he can work on. Maybe it’s something he just has to adapts to. It was an area the Health Service wanted to look at but the specialist team was closed due to budget cuts.

I need talk. I remember putting together an IKEA wardrobe. The bloody wooden demon took 2 days to assemble. It wasn’t until I came to stage 85 out of 86 that I realised I had put it together back to front. The door side screwed to the wall and the rear happily facing out. Partner not impressed with the idea of maybe knocking the wall through so we could gain access to the wardrobe from the kitchen.