Safe list

The 6 week summer school break is only a month away now. Not long. 30 days. Lots to do in that time. Even more after today.

Hawklad has decided that he wants a stress free as possible summer. Summer is difficult as he can remember the summer of 2016. First day of the summer holidays his granny died and then as the school returned he lost his mum. So summer can be tough even without his current anxieties levels.

Stress free means reducing exposure to those triggers that can escalate his worries. And what is one of the most common triggers. Movies and TV shows. I’ve frequently talked about how often story lines involve death, illness, broken families……

So I have a task. Compile a list of movies and shows that Hawklad can watch which are SAFE. No sadness, no illness, no bereavements. 6 weeks is a long time, so it’s going to have to be some list.

Here’s my list so far

Pokemon

Scooby Doo

Smurfs

Alvin and the Chipmunks

Paddington

Yonderland

Madagascar

Ice Age

Banana Splits

Wallace & Gromit

Kicking and Screaming

Herbie

Willie Wonker

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Shrek

Space Jam

Frozen

The Incredibles

Home Alone

Night at the Museum

The Lego Movie

Fantastic Mr Fox

Big Mommas House

Cool Running

Red Dwarf

The Office (US) but avoiding a couple of episodes

Inspector Gadget

Pink Panther

Three Amigos

Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Remember no triggers. For example The Guardians of the Galaxy – top movie but just NO to the start…. For example Mary Poppins Returns – great movie but mum dies…. For example the Disney movie I’ve forgotten the name of at the weekend , really good apart from the one line about a serious illness.

Rare

It’s been over 5 years since I sat down in a restaurant….. That’s as rare as a start to the morning like the photograph above. That’s as rare as my football team winning something. Oh hang on the last time that happened was 1969. So hopefully not that rare….😂😂😂

A bit like my so called football team and silverware, the next restaurant trip is not looking particularly imminent. Hawklad isn’t keen. I can’t think of the last time I went with my family to eat out. Maybe a couple of picnics or a garden bbq before the world changed. It’s well over a decade since I went for a meal with a friend. The height of culinary excellence with friends has been limited to the very occasional grabbing a bag of crisps on the way to see my team get beat again. And the other side of the family is understandably very much more distant now.

But here’s the thing. I’m not missing the food. I’m much happier with a bag of chips , sat on a sea wall and fighting off the mad seagulls. I’m not in a mad rush to expand my social circle again. Do you know what I miss about restaurants. That feeling of being grown up every so often. Having to smarten myself up, even combing my hair…. To sit properly. To feel like I’m doing stuff that other people are doing.

That probably makes no sense at all and anyway it’s not happening anytime soon.

Decisions

I’m pacing in the garden. Distracting myself with thoughts of that tree in the distance.

Jobs to be done. But which ones first today.

– do I Hoover

– do I clean the toilet and bath

– do I do the surfaces in the kitchen

– do I finally deep clean the oven

– do I wash the windows

– do I cut the grass before the weather breaks

– do I phone school to sort out Hawklad’s exams

– do I sort out the Home Insurance Renewal

– do I bake that cakes I’ve been promising Hawklad for days now

– do I start putting together the work payroll

– do I chase up those work orders

– do I respond to those work queries

– do I fix the printer.

– do I complete the government form which needs sending in

– do I read the documents Hawklads psychologist has sent to me

– do I pay those bills sat on my desk

– do I clear the mountain of paper which is burying those bills

– do I sew those rips that have appeared on Hawklads trousers or do I just buy new ones

– do I fix the headlight on my car

– do I put those shelves up that are looking at me

OR do I just go round in circles, too tired to make a decision…..

Contain

That’s a cloud formation. A difference of option.

Well I think it’s a prehistoric fish….

Dad I think it’s a sperm….”

And with that the cloud spotting game ended…..

We are trying something different this week. A new way of trying to manage Hawklads anxieties. At present they can consume his thoughts, consume his day. They just seem to spread out and spiral out of control. Well let’s see if we can try and contain them a bit. This week when he gets an anxious thought then he makes a note of it and then immediately tries to distract himself. We now have a 30 minutes slot each day in which we discuss the anxieties he has made a note of. Talk them through.

Let’s see if this helps contain his anxieties. Helps him recapture more of his day.

T minus

Hawklad has been looking for a marker in the sand. Something to aim for which is solid. To him all the attempts to build bridges back into the wider world has to lead to something.

Yes school could be that. A return to the classroom. But he’s still not convinced that it’s right for him. Is he better off learning outside the school system. Plus it’s not a definite marker. It can be delayed. If the bridges aren’t ready say at the start of September, then maybe October might work.

Well now we have a solid marker.

A concert.

One of his favourite bands, The Darkness are playing some gigs in December. So we have bought tickets to see them in quite a small standing only venue. A definite date which is far enough away to allow for steady progress. A true test of his progress. We can leave it to the last minute to decide if he’s ready. We can even get to the venue and Hawklad can see what it feels like. If he’s uncomfortable then we can just grab a pizza and come home. He’s seen them twice already so it won’t be a disaster if he doesn’t manage it this time.

T minus 6 months and counting

Broken

A long and winding road if you can find it.

You kind of assume that your country is geared up to support its young people. That they matter. Well they should matter and countries should be geared up. But this is Britain, where support and mental health services have been under funded and in recent times cut back. Britain which has a Government that wants to return to ‘good old Victorian values’. Britain where children are only seen in terms of future economic value. In Britain where support is frowned upon by those in charge. In Britain where children taking time off in the immediate aftermath of a significant bereavement is described by the Government as ‘extended holidays’.

In 2016 Hawklad lost his granny and mum within 6 weeks of each other. A traumatic experience for anyone but for an 8 year old with Aspergers, it’s an emotional maelstrom. But here’s the thing. Sadly he won’t be the only child in this position. But where’s the support. Schools are not set up to cope. In Hawklads case the school cared but where clueless. The specialised education services in the area had been effectively closed down to meet savings targets. I approached his Doctor who just referred to child mental health services. He warned that they had a backlog of cases. That was all the Doctor did. Hawklad was already on the waiting list for Aspergers support.

That was it for over a year. No support. Left up to me, someone who was struggling already. How do you start to help someone when you are broken.

Finally we got to see the Child Mental Health Team. They worked on anxiety issues but no bereavement counselling, no Aspergers support. Luckily his dedicated worker was wonderful and she did try but it was not her area of expertise.

Fast forward to 2021 and Hawklad still has not had any bereavement counselling. Taking a wider view. He had some help with a physiotherapist but that was cut. He started speech therapy but that service was cut. He has had a few months of Aspergers related support but the specialist retired and was not replaced. He has had no dyslexia support. He does get some support for anxiety but that is patchy.

AND he is one of the lucky ones in Britain….

It has to be better than this for all our children. THEY ARE NOT JUST ECONOMIC RESOURCES. It won’t change here under this Government, it will only get worse. BRITAIN is BROKEN when it can’t care for its children.

Recycling

Meet my new Garden Helper. She hasn’t quite worked out that green waste goes directly into the brown bin….

I must admit that was just about beyond me today. Should it go in the green or brown bin, the recycling containers or the compost heap….. I’m clueless today. Lack of sleep and the second vaccine doesn’t help. So today was a struggle. Trying to stay awake, trying to think, trying to work, trying to be a parent. Today was hard work. Very few smiles. A survival far.

But at 12.40am I’m still here. I’ve not burnt the house down. Not crashed the car. Ok I did drop the mobile and cracked the screen. But I got through the day. Now tomorrow is almost here. New start. New hope. Another chance.

Maybe me and that cow can even figure out the recycling ……

Gaze

Colour has arrived to Yorkshire. Always great to see, it’s such a lift. Sadly it won’t last long and it will be gone for another year. It’s a reminder to me that time is precious. Got to make the most of it. Grab those moments. Live and not just survive.

Yes there will be darker, colder months. Those times will be more manageable if the gaze is in the moment or looking forward, rather than focused on what has been.

It can still be a such a wonderful life.

Walking

Everyday we go for a walk. Each day a little further. When we get the chance edging a little closer to people. It’s all part of our attempt to build up Hawklad’s confidence in the wider world again. Help overcome his social fears and phobias. Allow him to build bridges into the world again, when he is ready.

We are nowhere near entering crowds and busy public places yet. That will come in time. Next stage will be walking into a shop or supermarket. Then when he’s ready going for an ice cream and cake in a cafe. Then maybe school. I’ve already spoken to school about allowing him to work round the school after the school day has finished. But that’s for another day.

So we did a walk. A local walk. Maybe it’s the impact of over a years worth of lockdown but many local places are looking epic . When everything settles down I’m certainly going to appreciate more what I have on our doorstep.

Take for example yesterday’s walk. A circular 2 mile walk from our house. Tell me why it’s taken all these years to do this……

Thought for the day….

Why do so many movies have to feature serious illnesses and sad deaths. I know it’s art replicating real life BUT it’s a pain in the backside when you have a son who is fighting fears and phobias about health. A son who has lost his mum to illness.

Even in children’s movies and cartoons….

Even in comedy shows like The Office.

Here’s an idea. Keep the movies as they are but have a separate movie channel. The SAFE CHANNEL. On this channel only safe movies. No illness, no death, no drugs, no broken families. No need to constantly be on edge at the slightest on screen sneeze or pale look.