Seasons

Same view – different season.

I never asked my partner which view she preferred. One of thousands of questions I never asked. Oh for those 17 years again…. I suspect she would not have gone for the snow version. She didn’t like being cold. To be honest she didn’t like it too hot as well. She was a Spring and Autumn person.

I would definitely opt for the snow version. I have always liked the cold. Maybe it was all those years of sitting watching the most northerly English Premier Football Team. Sat in a black and white shirt in the middle of winter. In summer I would melt. That’s a Yorkshire summer. Lord knows what I would do if I lived in Arizona or The Mediterranean or The Middle East.

Switzerland can get hot in the summer. I remember one really hot day. It was too hot for my partner. After a quick visit to the zoo she stayed in the hotel with our son while I went for a run along the lake. Never been so hot. After 40 minutes it was too much and I just jumped into the lake. Oh the sweet cool glacial waters. And I can’t swim… When I emerged from the lake a sweet old man was walking past shading the sun out with an umbrella. In almost perfect English he said

Grüezi. You must be English. Only someone from England would be mad enough to run in this.”

But I digress. This is Swiss Sunday and it’s not supposed to be about me. That’s wrecked any chance of a free Toblerone from the Swiss Tourist Board.

Switzerland is a special place. A place for special memories. A place where you can visit a valley one trip and it’s deep snow perfect for skiing. The next trip it’s scorching hot and it’s beach soccer.

Unlike the UK these days it still gets distinct seasons. Stunning colours in Spring. Heat in the Summer. Moody Autumns. Proper winters. That is how it should be. Something we need to try and preserve.

Trust

Birds are very trusting. Well they are in our garden and they were in my parents garden. Whatever you put out for them – they would just crack on eating it. I remember being told as a kid

“Don’t fall over when your feeding them because they will start on you next”

Maybe that’s why I was allowed to watch a certain Hitchcock movie soon after.

Son is the opposite. Need to confirm details like oven temperature, sell by dates, cooking times, fridge temperature, cleanliness of utensils before food is deemed safe to eat. Limited trust in food.

I remember as a kid when our family got its first ever microwave oven. It was the size of a small city. When unpacked it was time to test the beast. I was sent into the kitchen with a cup of cold water. I tried to explain what the buttons did but quickly realised my parents had legged it. The kitchen door slammed shut with Mum and Dad hid behind it. Safely behind the blast protection I was told to begin the process of warming the glass of water. Clearly to my parents this was on the same risk level as an exposed nuclear reactor core. Thinking about it if it had been that dangerous clearly I was the expendable one. Not sure Dad ever used the new cooking device. He had zero trust in the nuclear age.

All those years later and we still are talking trust.

  • School are trying to convince me that they are doing everything possible to help our son with his dyslexia.
  • The Council is trying to convince parents like me that they are providing a class leading Autism Support Service to all its children. Suppose that includes our son.
  • The Council is trying to convince me that it is a waste of time for our son to be seen by an Educational Psychologist as it won’t achieve anything meaningful which could be used to tailor his schooling.
  • The Paediatrician is trying to convince me that I should push for an Educational Psychologist to see our son as it will help tailor his schooling and come up with specific interventions to help him. It will also reduce the demand on his department.
  • The Health Service is trying to convince me that because our son is a low priority and doesn’t fall into a service which has been commissioned then he doesn’t need any specific support over the coming years.

We are expected to trust the professionals and follow their advice without questioning it. Clearly they know best. Clearly they only have the best interest of our son at heart. Finance and budgets don’t influence decisions. They will provide support and care at times to suit the kids not the professionals. What do we know – we are not trained. We are not professionals. Leave the care to the experts. A few years back I was naive and I believed this crap.

The looks you get when you do have the audacity to question or worse to say NO.

Don’t get me wrong this is not all professionals. You come across brilliant ones. But the funny thing is that they are often the ones who listen the most. The ones who push the idea that the kids and parents should take ownership of the care package.

So back to trust. Trust in the system. It is none existent. You have to question everything. Push for answers. Don’t be afraid to say NO. Ask for second opinions. AND when the inevitable brick wall hits

The ‘service is not available’, the ‘your child doesn’t meet the criteria’, the ‘forgotten about’ zone, the ‘just go along with the treatment’ train line.

Be prepared to fight. No guarantees of success but it’s worth it. The kids deserve it.

Mystery Blogger Award

Thank you to Rory (A Guy Called Bloke) for the Mystery Blogger tag.

What is the Mystery Blogger Award?
“The Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.” – Okoto Enigma

 The Rules:
1. Put the award logo on your blog.
2. List the rules.
3. Thank whoever nominated you and include a link to their blog.
4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well.
5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
6. Nominate 10-20 people.
7. Notify your nominees.
8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice, specifying one weird/funny question.
9. Share a link to your best post(s).

Rory set the following questions

Which is your least favourite mode of transportation?

Time Travel – complete waste of time.

Why, oh why why did the chicken cross the road?

Don’t know I don’t speak chicken, but the road was really pissed off.

What is the stupidest thing you have ever done – voluntarily?

Went to a fancy dress party dressed as a Can-Can dancer. This wasn’t the Moulin Rouge this was Hartlepool…. I got dressed up, makeup on and drove to the party. Unfortunately my car broke down and I had to walk a mile through Teesside’s streets of pain in the pouring rain feeling a tad out of place. My calves have never been the same but I did get TWO marriage proposals.

When you have left this planet, as in your life ends, what do you think is next ….?

Part of me secretly would like it to be the Moulin Rouge….

At what age do you think you actually became an adult?

Never going to happen.

And next

I do like the stupidest question. So please if your brave let me know your particular moment.

Tell me why

In my voice – Tell me why

  • My partner was taken from us when she was so young.
  • The system continually fails our son.
  • The Government can find billions to bribe other parties to keep it in power but can’t find the money to fund education support for the kids who need it.
  • I don’t sleep anymore.
  • They say the world is getting smaller yet I feel so isolated.
  • Chocolate has so many blooming calories.
  • Hair doesn’t like growing on my head yet it sprouts like an Amazonian Forest on the back of the my hands.
  • The cat continually finds a way into the wardrobe.
  • I can’t find any socks in this house.
  • They never made a Captain Scarlet movie.

In our son’s voice – Tell me why

  • My mum had to die.
  • Both my grannies had to die.
  • My hamster had to die.
  • My girl cat who was like a sister to me had to die.
  • I can’t read.
  • Some people think I am stupid just because I am autistic and dyslexic.
  • Shops have to be so busy.
  • Hazard is leaving Chelsea.
  • Do people have to kiss in films.
  • Marvel Movies are way better than DC Movies.
  • Most kids don’t like rock music.
  • Broccoli wasn’t deemed an inedible plant.
  • My Dad can’t cook.
  • In our dogs voice – Tell me why
    • I get shouted at for pinching socks.
      I get shouted at for digging holes.
      I get shouted at for eating garden tools.
      I get shouted at for eating garden furniture,
      I get shouted at for digging up plants.
      I get shouted at for burying stuff like socks.
      I get shouted at for pulling bits of the apple tree off.
      I get shouted at for escaping.
      I get shouted at for climbing in the hedge.
      I get shouted at for eating cat poo, cow poo, sheep poo.
      I get shouted at for pinching food.
      My best friend isn’t with us anymore. I know I am a dog but she was a really cool cat.

    In our boy cats voice – Tell me why

    • My sister isn’t with us anymore.

    • My best friend, the really lovely woman has gone. I miss siting on her lap.
    • I get shouted at for missing the cat litter by several feet.
    • I get really shouted at for missing the litter by so many feet I hit the wall.
    • I get shouted at for sitting in front of the TV when a movie is on.
    • I get shouted at for sneaking into the wardrobe and getting white hairs on all the black clothes.
    • I get shouted at for falling in hot plates of food.
    • I get shouted at for always tripping people up.
    • I get shouted at for sleeping on the laptop.
    • I get shouted at for sleeping on the toaster.

    In our gerbils voice – Tell me why

    • We don’t live in a toilet roll factory.

    Sunshine Blogger Award

    Thank you to Carol Hopkins (Chopkins2x3) for the Sunshine Blogger Tag.

    Rules are: (to quote from a movie – we them more as guidelines)

    1. Thank the blogger who nominated you;
    2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you;
    3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions
    4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post/or on your blog.

    The questions which need addressing are:

    What is your favourite thing you write about?

    Son.

    What makes you very happy?

    Son.

    What makes you feel angry?

    Those in power. Self serving numpties in my country.

    What experience changed your life or was a pivotal turning point?

    2016. Losing my mum and partner within 6 weeks of each other. So ill prepared to be cast adrift without my guides.

    What is your biggest fear?

    Bono singing.

    What advice would you give to people younger than you are?

    Don’t listen to me. Your special – do your own thing.

    What is the source of your inspiration?

    Son

    What would you change about yourself?

    Be less tired and to look less like a sack of wet potatoes. Hopefully that won’t cause to much offence to potatoes.

    Which of your character traits are you grateful for?

    Can’t think of one. As my school report would say ‘bang average’.

    Where would you most like to live?

    Anywhere you get a view of a mountain.

    What are you most passionate about?

    Son

    ************************************

    Your blog is great so if you fancy a go – I’m nominating you with the same questions…

    It’s meal time again.

    Dad you have just made that up. I’m not having your favourite desert as a kid was called a Knickerbocker Glory”

    It was. It was the ultimate childhood treat. I sometimes feel as old as Captain America – in a time before Windows 1.0, in a time before Rubiks really annoying Cube, probably even before VHS Recorders. The Knickerbocker became a bit of favourite for me. It’s was layered ice cream and fruit sundae heaven. And where did they get those tall conical glasses from. Yes a favourite but certainly not part of our weekly routine.

    One of the things you get accustomed to as a Aspergers Parent is routine. Routine after routine. Plans have to be made. Schedules adhered to. Day after day, week after week. Anxiety inducing change avoided. This applies to all facets of life – meals included. We have a set meal programme. It never varies. Occasionally it does, life happens and it really can freak him out. Some people just don’t understand it. I remember one conversation with a mum in the playground.

    Say that again, he has the same meal programme every week. Well you should put your foot down and just give him something different. It’s so easy to spoil a kid.”

    And I remember another mum who then chipped in with

    I agree he will get over it in a few days.”

    Luckily not all the parents are like that. But it is worrying that this level of ignorance about autism still exists today. For the record this is the meal routine.

    *********************************

    Monday (School Lunch) – Flapjacks

    Monday (Non School Lunch) – Salad

    Monday (Evening) – Skinless Sausages and Beans

    Tuesday (School Lunch) – as Monday

    Tuesday (Non School Lunch) – as Monday

    Tuesday (Evening) – Mince and Rice

    Wednesday (School Lunch) – as Monday

    Wednesday (Non School Lunch) – as Monday

    Wednesday (Evening) – Spaghetti

    Thursday (School Lunch) – as Monday

    Thursday (Non School Lunch) – as Monday

    Thursday (Evening)- Sausages and Chips

    Friday (School Lunch) – as Monday

    Friday (Non School Lunch) – as Monday

    Friday (Evening) – Pizza

    Saturday (Lunch) – Beef Burger and Jacket Potatoes

    Saturday (Tea) – Chicken Korma and Rice

    Sunday (Lunch) – Strangely Yorkshire Sunday Lunch

    Sunday (Evening) – Salad

    Repeated every week

    *********************************

    I won’t discount the need for some change. If it’s carefully controlled. It helps prepare him better for the unexpected stuff. But only when it’s managed in such a way as to limit the anxiety attack. In terms of the food regime every so often I will intentionally change a meal, but hopefully in a good way. Trying to make the point that change can be a good thing. So last week Spaghetti became cottage pie. Actually it was changed to cottage pie, bottle of Fanta followed by arctic roll. See change can be good.

    The food regime does sometimes change unexpectedly……

    Dad that smells like burning food. If you have burnt the mince then I think you should take us out for a Taco Bell. Maybe we should try that one day.”

    In the Deep Dark Woods

    A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood.

    Our son adored the Gruffalo story. I think our son had all of Julia Donaldson books. We loved reading them to him, that’s what parenting should be about. Not the anxieties, the stress, the frustration, the heartbreak.

    Walking through this deep dark wood took us back to that golden age. Fairytales and colouring books. Toy cars and Teddy Bears. Dragons and magic. Thomas the Tank Engine, Dora the Explorer and Iggle Piggle. When we were a team of 3. Golden Years.

    But time marches on…

    Son gets older. Fairytales replaced with Manga. Colouring books replaced with an iPad. Toy cars replaced with FIFA 19. Teddy Bears assigned to the shelves. Dragons upgraded to Transformers. Magic being drummed out of him by school. Thomas, Dora and Iggle now Assembled into Thor, Black Widow and Ironman. A team of three assigned to memories. The Golden Years now the Anxiety Times.

    We walk further into the deep dark wood. Let’s hope it’s magic returns and takes us to a different world. One where anxiety is vanquished, dreams flourish and life is enriching.

    The mouse found a nut and the nut was good.

    Tree or not to be

    So did we spend the day under a tree or was son sat at his school desk?

    NEITHER…..

    After much soul searching and reality checking son went out at 8am to catch the school bus. He was certainly tired. With the school worries he hardly slept at all. Again not a great way to start an enriching learning day.

    After drinking two of the darkest, meanest and strongest coffees ever conjured up I was almost ready to roll. A quick hoover and set a washing load off. This week our possessed washing machine is only washing on the delicates setting. The delicate setting and arc welded grass stains are not a great combo. Anyway its time to pile into work and immediately…. the phone rings …. school.

    Your son has had a little accident in his first lesson. We have ice packed his thumb and wrist but it’s badly swollen. Can you come and pick him up. Probably need to take him to the hospital.

    It never ends. It really never ends.

    An hour later we are sat in the hospital. Given the amount of broken bodies and unhappy souls in the waiting room it appears the Hulk has paid a visit to our local town this morning – and clearly he was in a mood to smash. Yesterday’s dream of spending the day under a tree transpired to be 4 hours in a clearly overstretched hospital.

    Now we are home with hopefully no bones broken this time but with ligament damage to his hand. Hopefully it’s just a few weeks of painkillers and ice packs. At last we have a use for that packet of frozen French Beans.

    So we start again. A painful hand. Worries of tomorrow’s potential school day already kicking in. Need to revise for an end of year test.

    Yet son secretly hoping swelling IS TOO BAD for school tomorrow. Dreamy thoughts about that tree. Bugger the revision let him watch Marvel.

    If we had only just opted to sit under the tree this morning….

    Tree

    “Dad in one day I will be sat in school. In the bottom class trying to avoid getting any negatives. Being sad. Being hungry. Probably wanting to go to the toilet. Trying not to be different. That tree can just be itself. Doesn’t have to try and fit in. Even when bad stuff happened to it, it still was allowed to be a tree”

    The tree was hit by lightning a few years back. A fair chunk of the tree ended up on the ground. But it’s still going strong. Still doing it’s tree stuff.

    After a week free of school worries we return to normal service. Someone so young riddled with self doubt and anxieties. Trying to learn without dyslexia support in a classroom environment which you really couldn’t make any less welcoming for autistic kids. It doesn’t help that this week adds the pressure of two further tests. That’s 6 in 5 weeks. Government set targets gone mad. Apart from feeding the system what good does it do the kids. As my dad would say – it’s doing diddly squat. Dad would always say that. Normally in connection with how he thought Yorkshire was doing in the County Championship. For years I thought he was saying dinky squid. Maybe that should be my Disney character name.

    Sorry I digressed. So on Monday at 8am son will get onto his school bus. Back into the big scary alien education world. Full of pedantic rules and prohibitions. Set dress patterns and echoing Victorian corridors. Formulaic Government set teaching and stress inducing testing programme. Institutionalised discrimination for too many kids. Tell me why I don’t stop him getting on the bus on Monday. Make a couple of cups of hot chocolate and walk hundred yards. Sit underneath that tree and just see what nature shows us. A better use of our son’s school years?