Back this week!

So much space…..

So all the schools are back this week. With some changes. A bit more of an encouragement to wear masks. All pupils to get a couple of rapid Covid tests per week. A test which gives inaccurate results in potentially 1 out of every 5 tests. But let’s not mention the giant elephant in the rather cramped classroom.

Most children and staff will be returning to classrooms in a country with rapidly emerging virus mutations without mandatory masks, in rooms likely to have really poor ventilation, with pupils definitely and staff probably without the security of a vaccination. And here’s the elephant entering the already cramped room. The PM has been doing repeated photo opportunities in classrooms. In carefully selected modern classrooms containing only a handful of children. Lots of space. But that’s not the reality for most schools. Too many are squeezed into small spaces. Nothing has been done to reduce the high classroom numbers. Not one thing. If Hawklad was returning then it would be to a class size which is between 30 to 32 pupils and 2 members of staff. In a building which is well over 50 years old.

Please tell me how this is a good idea.

Sleeping Bag

Another morning of home isolation. Another day of home schooling. Another largely sleepless night.

A night spent in a sleeping bag.

Yesterday morning I decided to give my duvet an airing outside as the sun had decided to shine. It wasn’t until 3am when I felt sufficiently tired that I noticed the duvet-less bed. Yes it was still outside. Outside in the pouring rain.

My poor duvet has been on the radiator for 8 hours now. It’s still drenched. So I guess it’s another sleeping bag night facing me. But actually that’s no bad thing. It’s something different. In seemingly ever repeating days of sameness, CHANGE is good.

Bring on the sleeping bag.

Truly shocking poetry

Running on empty last couple of days. Even the simple tasks are becoming complex. You know you are in for along day when you nod off during the first school at home lesson. The lights went out midway through a sentence explaining Factor Trees to Hawklad. All before 10am.

Here’s the ultimate irony. A tired muppet Dad who wasn’t even trusted to keep the score in Pub Darts matches now trying to explain maths to a kid who has just got 38 out of 40 in his term mathematics test. Talk about feeling out of my depth.

Which is how I feel when I venture into the world of poetry. Yes I’m sorry it’s that time again. Head to the panic rooms my friends. It’s poetry..

It’s poetry Jim but not as we know it…..

It’s really Terrible Poetry time. Time to have a go at Chelsea Owens Mused Poetry challenge.

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Phew! After last month‘s hilarious entries, I had a bit of trouble thinking of what our next venture should be. What to do, what to do…

  1. Let’s try an oldie but a goodie: A Funny Love Poem Inside a Greeting Card.

  2. Most greeting cards can’t hold a ballad, so a few stanzas ought to do us for the Length.

  3. I’d recommend rhyming. I mean, you are serious about this love interest, aren’t you?

  4. Yes, this is love (or something like unto it) but the Rating‘s PG or cleaner. After all, some kid might stumble across your offering while trying out all the musical cards.

  5. Only in stories do lovers say all the right words, remember every birthday and anniversary, and get just the right present. We are not writing a story, here, we’re writing a humorous poem. As such, make us laugh. Laughter’s the best way to a person’s heart; right?
    And, as a side note, whoever said this was a card expressing love to a person? What if you’re more fond of a juicy cheeseburger? Just a thought…

You have till 10:00 a.m. MST next MONTH (March 5) to submit a poem.

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When you lie in double bed all alone

Experiencing a completely love free zone

Feeling like a discarded out of tune trombone

Your only company is a smelly dog and farting cat

Feeling as popular as flea ridden rabid fat wombat

But maybe today that Hallmark card will land on your mat

Bringing much needed kisses and expressions of affection

Offering a few sweet moments of romantic misdirection

Which is always better than a bad case of fungal infection…..

The future

The National Autistic Society has carried out research on the reality of adults living with autism spectrum disorders. It’s a sobering read.

I just want to highlight some specific lines in the report.

49% of adults with autism or Asperger syndrome are still living at home with their parents. 65% of these adults have had no community care assess- ments and are therefore unlikely to be known to the statutory agencies who should be supporting them.

31% of adults at the lower end of the autism spectrum are still being cared for at home, despite their high level needs. 45% of parents believed their son or daughter required 24-hour care, and only 15% thought they could live in sheltered or shared accommodation.

Only 3% of adults at the higher end of the autism spectrum are living fully independently, and a further 8% are living independently with some regular professional or family support.

As the report points out Families are picking up the care responsibilities in the UK associated with autism. Repeated Government’s have buried their heads in the sand. The current government unbelievably has probably set the bar even lower.

Like many families around the UK (and worldwide) my thoughts are increasingly focusing on the future. What will happen to Hawklad as an adult in our society which is so badly setup for those on the spectrum. Let’s just say that its currently not an entirely reassuring feeling I have. Yes I’m worried.

Autism

It was such a grey day today. Couldn’t find anything to photograph so let’s see what happened a year ago. So back 2020 and guess what was back!!!! After a few really bad storms our lake made a brief appearance.

One of the questions I’ve been asked the most by other parents and a few teachers (but interestingly never by family and friends) is

‘Does Aspergers get better with age?’Even occasionally the question becomes will he grow out of it….”

For every polite question I have trotted out the same answer

The condition will not change but the personality traits may well fluctuate over time. Some traits may become less noticeable while others may become more pronounced.

There is research in this area but I will leave others to discuss that. I will stick to my well trodden line of each child and adult is unique. With Hawklad it is very much on par with my standard answer. Some of the traits have become less apparent as he has got older. Some of his old repetitive behaviours like hand flapping are hardly seen these days. Where’s as some traits like fixation on objects and constant motion have stayed largely the same.

But there are also existing traits which are becoming far more pronounced. Verbal stimming (repetition of words and sounds) has dramatically increased with him. Phobias and social anxieties have increased but how I’m just not sure how much of that is down to the pandemic.

Aspergers is very much who Hawklad is. It’s his personality. It is him. Sadly there is still too often a fundamental misunderstanding of what being on the spectrum actually means. Not enough understanding of what it is to be Autistic. We have such a long way to go as a society.

It’s cooking Jim but not as we know it

Warning this post contains some disturbing baking images.

This house had an idea. Some next level pancakes….

Not content with messing up normal pancakes let’s go a stage further. Pancake sandwiches. So what filling could we go for?

Chocolate biscuits. Carefully warmed chocolate biscuits. How hard could that be.

First Try….

Erm…. As Spock would say ‘it’s a chocolate biscuit filling Jim but not as we know it’.

After a number of other shocking tries we finally produced this….

We can officially call this a warmed chocolate biscuit filled pancake sandwich.

The message here. If keep throwing punches, you might be the worst boxer ever, but eventually one will land.

Frustrating

The sun goes down on another school at home day. It was one of those days where it feels like for every step forward we took two giant steps back. Such hard work.the really frustrating thing is that it wasn’t the actual learning which was the issue today. No the frustrations came from repeated system crashes, missing content, confusing instructions, formatting disasters and online tests that will only work with exactly the right spelling and format.

We can make home schooling so much easier for the pupils than this…

So with the frustrations still ringing in my head another school communication arrived. All about the required Covid testing to support the schools reopening next week. Each family will be required to self test families using the rapid result kits TWICE a week. On top of that all pupils will be tested with the same kits once a week in school.

My one question is that if our schools are completely safe and not hubs for virus transfer (according to our PM) – why is this level of testing required…..

The school letter also apologised to parents for the confusing over masks in the classroom. A few days ago the PM told schools that masks had to be worn in the classroom. Our school wrote to parents to inform them of the new rule. Unfortunately the rule has now changed again. The PM has now said they are only recommended and school can’t enforce them.

More frustrations……

Searching

It is a beautiful planet.

What is never beautiful is my food skills. What words are more appropriate.

Abomination

Shocking

Horrible

Disaster

Dreadful

Petrifying

Well today I almost outdid myself. Nearly messed up the easiest thing. All I had to do was make strawberry jelly. The supermarket didn’t send the Jelly Cubes but that was not a major issue. I had rather cleverly put aside a packet of the powder jelly just in case.

So I came to make the said jelly. All I had to do was add boiling water, stir then put the bowl in the fridge. So I emptied the powder into the bowl, added the water and stirred.

Ok why is strawberry jelly brown coloured……

I continued to stir expected it to turn red eventually. No that is definitely brown. Now it was time to check the jelly packet. Ok ot was the same shape as a jelly packet. The same colour as the normal brand of jelly we buy. BUT the words STRAWBERRY JELLY did not feature that prominently. What did feature prominently was the words CHINESE BROWN GRAVY.

In my defence why would you put Brown Gravy in a bright Red Jelly looking packet…

Jelly is off today’s menu, Stir Fry is strangely very much on….

Monday morning

A Monday morning. A school at home Monday morning. Don’t you just love them….

Dad have you got your thinking hat on yet….”

Do I ever have my thinking hat on

Not really Dad but it’s another view on a tough question

Ok I will make a hit drink and prepare myself…

Ok I’m braced now. Hit me with the question.

How do you spell Trigonometry?”

Oh is that it. Wow I thought it as going to be a shocker. I’m almost happy. I can Cole with that. Life is good. Hang on why are you giggling….

That’s not the question, thought I’d trick you”

Pants. You got me there. Ok what’s the real question.

Its Religious Education. I have to discuss sexuality and homosexuality. What are the various religious views and discuss.”

Wow…

Dad I think you would call that a 3 coffee question.”

It’s definitely is and it’s definitely not a question for an early Monday morning.

Sunset

What a lovely sunset.

Last night Hawklad reminded me that this Sunday last year was when we first talked isolating. I remember it quite well. A Sunday evening. I was sorting out the school bags for Monday morning. Hawklad came into the room and asked how did we know that this new virus wasn’t already in school. How did we know the bus was virus free. Should we stay off school until it passes. I tried to reassure him but I could sense his anxiety. I emailed the school to let them know that he was anxious. When he’s anxious it can throw off his ability to sit still and concentrate.

He did get to school the next day but not by school bus. He asked to be driven in. A few days later school proved too much for him and our family lockdown started. Soon the world changed.

It’s odd looking back. Its hard to believe that we have been isolating for nearly a year now. I wouldn’t have dreamed that I could have coped with that much isolation fit that long. A world suddenly constricted to our garden and house.

But we have…….

We can do this.