Chaos Theory

Guard duty…

Scrap the guard duty, is that a biscuit I can smell….

I think we all have that sixth sense. Mine kicked in during the early hours. Son had just popped his head round the bedroom door.

Are you awake Dad?”

At the time I was reading about chaos theory. Got to explain my cooking disasters somehow.

I’ve got a question in my head and I can’t sleep.”

Sixth sense fully kicked in. My mind better get up to speed quickly.

It’s to do with the Royal Family and the rules surrounding the line of Succession.”

Relief as I feared a bird and the bees type question.

I’m guessing my question won’t be adequately covered in the Succession to the Crown Act”

Must admit in all my many years, I still haven’t got round to reading that real page turner.

I bet the Act doesn’t reflect the progress made in genetics, physics and quantum theory.”

No, I think that is a safe bet. Already my mind is braced for impact. A wander into his world is truly joyous but often feels like my mind isn’t quite able to take it all in. Maybe a bit like a modern and much safer version of a Psychedelic Trip.

Ok the rules on succession are quite straightforward and a lot fairer now. But what happens if we spiced it up a bit. What happens if through the advancement in genetics we managed to bring back a former King or Queen. Or maybe we develop time travel and can bring forward a previous monarch. A King or Queen who didn’t lose the throne in battle. Say Henry V or Queen Victoria. So the question is…. Would they still have a claim to the throne. Maybe it would lead to a civil war between those supporting the current monarch and those supporting Henry V or Victoria. Victoria won’t be best pleased with the current state of her empire. Henry V will be distinctly horrified at the current leadership of the country.”

And with that mind altering nugget he went back to sleep on it. Suddenly chaos theory seems so clear now.

What happened to the Bank Holiday

It’s a Monday. According to my cute animal calendar it’s Bank Holiday Monday. But apparently it isn’t. This week because of VE Day commemorations it’s going to be a Bank Holiday Friday. I must have missed that memo. So our plans for a late start ended rather abruptly. Feels like it’s going to be another odd week. Most of today was actually spent trying to get my head into school mode and convince son that he can’t really do the whole day’s schooling from the comfort of his bed.

Little success on either…..

Dads whose to know that I’m going to school in bed today. It’s not as if the headteacher has a Eye of Sauron all seeing power.”

If the schools stay too much longer under the control of the current Schools Minister then I wouldn’t put it past schools adopting that form of teaching.

I can effectively enforce social distancing during lessons. Apart from pets and my cleaner, no one would dare venture into my bedroom”

Somedays even his cleaner tries to avoid venturing into that place.

If a bed is good enough for Lennon to have a peace protest then it’s definitely acceptable as a comfy classroom.”

Eventually Son was enticed out of bed with cookies. An impending attack by a dog returning from playing out in a sodden garden also focused his mind….. But I must admit I quite like the idea of bed at present. Maybe Bed Parenting might work tomorrow. So while I warm up the hot water bottle, I want to say thank you to Claire and Riya.

Thank you Claire for the nomination for the Liebster Award.

We’ve struck up a great blogging friendship over the last few months even though she keeps beating me at our daily balancing challenge. I’m sure she’s cheating…. So here’s goes with answering her questions.

  1. If you could have had any job/career what would it have been?  As a toddler I wanted to be a captain in Captain Scarlet. As a kid I wanted to be an Astronomer or Dr Who. Then I wanted to be a mountaineer. Then it was to be a goalkeeper for Newcastle and finally to captain Yorkshire at cricket. Ended up being an Accountant – figure that one out.
  2. If you were stranded on a desert island what three items would you choose to have with you? A helicopter. A person called Bear and a nice house. Guess that’s not the answer you wanted so…. A Swiss Army Knife. A fishing rod. The Lord of the Rings omnibus.
  3. What the thing you like most about yourself? My eyelashes.
  4. If you could relive one day again, exactly as it was before, what day would it be and why? Think it was in 2013. We caught the train up to Kleine Scheidegg. On a gloriousday we then walked down Lauterbrunnen. We played all sorts of games with our 6 year old. It was the best two hours ever. So much laughter and views to die for.
  5. If you could only see one more band/singer live, who would it be? AC/DC, never seen them.
  6. What is your biggest achievement in your life so far? Son…
  7. What’s your favourite way to relax (keep it clean please!)? Climbing, but I’ve had to ditch that. So now it’s running, exercise and blogging. Least favourite being watching Newcastle United.
  8. You can have a superpower for a year. Which one would you choose? Captain Marvel stuff so I could travel the Cosmos.
  9. What’s your favourite time of day and why? Friday 3.30. Schools finish so Son is off for the weekend.
  10. What are you most afraid of? Snakes. Wasps. Spiders. Drowning. My brothers old punchbag with a boxers face on it. Alvin and The Chipmunks.
  11. What are your ‘words to live by?’ Name the three most important for you. Chips, Crisps, pizza. OR love, laughter and listen.

Also thanks to Riya for the Vincent Ehindero Blogger Award.

1. What’s the best thing you like about blogging? And your advice. Making friends. At present I don’t get to socialise much these days. Blogging allows me inflict my bad and make new friends. And I do mean real friendships. My only advice is always have hope …. if I can do this then YOU certainly can.

2. What do you do to relax? Climbing in the pre parenting days. Now it’s blogging and running.

3. What is that one thing you are very grateful for? Three things. Our Son. Spending part of my life with such a beautiful person as my partner. Having been brought up by the best possible mum.

4. What is your happiest moment? Being handed our son after he had just been born.

5. Would you prefer a Cat or Dog? Got to be careful as we have both and gerbils. Let’s base it on this morning. The Cat missed the litter tray with his poo and the dog got excited and wee’d all over the kitchen floor. So it has to be the Gerbils currently.

I won’t nominate anyone as I have a rather bad habit of nominating blogs that are then deleted within weeks of the nomination. The last time I did, it was something like 5 of the 8 blogs were gone within the month. So best not nominate. I’ve been so grateful for the nominations over the last few months. I really have. But I think the time has probably come to do no more of these. Don’t want to risk deleting my own blog.

Tree

Last night I had one of those dreams. That type of dream that leaves me breathless and unnerved for hours. Unable to sleep until after 3am then startled back into sleeplessness forty minutes later. All because I blogged briefly about throwing my knickers at Tom Jones.

I was walking across farmers fields. I was in agony as I was walking barefoot and the ground was rock hard with frost. With every step I seemed to tread on another sharp thorn. On my MP3 player was one song on repeat. Green Green Grass of Home. I was heading towards one tree. A tree on top of a small hill. The only tree on that hill. The closer I got the ground became more painful. Then the heavens opened and it started to rain increasingly hard. So hard my skin started to sting. Then I arrived at the small tree. A hangman’s noose swaying slowly in the wind.

That was clearly enough for me as I suddenly bailed out of that fun little dream.

Green Green Grass of Home was one of my mums favourite songs. You would often walk through her front door and hear Tom beautifully signing this song. The song written by Curly Putman was one of her favourite sad songs. It’s all about a man facing his last night on death row.

In the shade of that old oak tree
As they lay me neath the green, green grass of home.

What’s the lesson from this nightmare.

Is it

I really should stop blogging as it gives me nightmares.

Or

Next time I do have to throw my knickers at Tom.

Dreams pesky dreams

If I was a flower I wonder what dreams I would have.

Before my partner died I would have the occasional dream that I could remember, but not that often. My sleep would be disrupted but usually by our son. Plus back then, when there are two of you can take turns on the sleepless shifts.

Then after my partner died sleep became increasingly disrupted. Son has always had an interesting sleep pattern. Whatever we have tried has never managed to change that. Eventually the health professionals just called it – it is how it is for him, it works for him, so just run with it. Basically his mind and body are too active for sleep anything south of midnight. He will usually fall asleep between midnight and 1am. Then he will sleep until 6am until his mind and body kick into active mode again. When he was younger he would constantly wake during that time, so one of us would need to be with him to get him back to sleep. But as he’s got older he more often than not sleeps through. A couple of times a week he will still wake and I get the night visits. Checking I’m still here, wanting an answer to a question or wanting to tell me a fact.

Dad Harold (that’s Harold II) was not the last english Saxon king. William beat Harold on the 14 October 1066 but wasn’t officially crowned until the 25 December. In theory Edgar Atheling (Edgar II) was king. He had the strongest blood claim to the throne. Night Dad.

But as our son’s sleep has stabilised my dream pattern has increasingly disrupted mine. It takes an age for me to get to sleep then all to quickly a vivid dream wakes me and then that’s usually it for the night – no more sleep.

The dreams have also changed. I have had three distinct dream stages. Each stage has its own unique dream type – each night its the same sort of dream.

The reliving fond memories stage. This was the nicest, yet saddest stage. The dreams would relive completely accurately lovely memories. Maybe a holiday trip, a birthday, an early date with my partner, finding out when we we’re going to be a family….

The bizarre memory stage. Then suddenly the dreams changed. They still were based on fond memories but always morphed in some bizarre way. A dream about a lovely family trip to a petting zoo, but in the dream the cute little animals were replaced by dinosaurs – we still petted them. A dream about sledging with son on one of our few proper snow days. But in the dream the white snow had become pink.

The current dream stage. The weird/unsettling dreams. No more dreams based on real life memories. Just unsettling made up dreams. Last night for example my partner (who was pregnant) and I had gone shopping in this made up out of town shopping complex. We had gone into a huge furnishing store. We found some items we needed and I went looking for a shopping trolley. Couldn’t find any trolleys inside, so I looked out in the car park. Still no trolleys. So I walked across to the next store which was a supermarket (ASDA). They had trolleys but they needed a coin to release them. None of my coins would work. I then couldn’t find our car to get more coins. So I ran down a short slip road to the next group of shops. Here the trolleys were all vandalised. I ran down another slip road to the another shop which was a huge DIY store. They had trolleys but they wouldn’t push correctly. It took all my strength to move them a few inches. Finally I found an electronics shop which had trolleys that worked. But now as hard as I tried I just couldn’t find my way back to the first store with my partner who would be getting increasingly annoyed with me. I was now completely lost and in full panic mode. Then I woke up. Now I was completely unsettled and that was it for sleep. Too tired to read or blog. So all I could manage was to watch crappy TV and listen for the clock to tick round until son woke up.

I look back with fondness at those memory dreams. Even those bizarre Dino type memory dreams. Yes they could be sad but they where a wonderful gateway into the past. But these current dreams I really hate. No sweet memories here just my brain finding new ways to unsettle my soul. Sleep is now something I desperately need, yet I struggle to do it. It is also becoming something which brings me nothing but stress. I hate being stuck in this ever decreasing sleepless circle.

Hanging on

After all the bad weather. The floods. The driving rain. The damaging winds. After three storms. Conditions which have proved too much for the early daffodils. The snowdrops are still hanging on. They are truly wonderful little delicate flowers.

Hanging on applies to the humans as well.

Son’s anxiety levels are definitely spiking now. He is returning to the outside world after 10 days of safety within the confines of his house and garden. Days of not needing to build rickety bridges between his world and the world of others. It’s been wonderful to see a kid enjoying being a kid again. Seemingly without a care in the world. But soon school will open the gates to its hostile environment again. As hard as I try the smiles are harder won and often just a little too forced now. Today he is hanging on.

His Dad is just hanging on as well. Son’s anxieties are sending shock waves through my system. A system which is operating on too little sleep. A system which is facing its very own localised storm. A Grief Storm. These storms don’t last as long as they once did. But they still can have an intensity which still takes my breath away. Sucking the life force out of me. They often sweep in without warning. Turning seemingly light into dark. It takes me back to my climbing days. Happily climbing looking into a dry sunny cliff face, blissfully unaware of the raging blizzard which is screaming towards my back. Within seconds I am are grimly hanging onto the rocks trying not to be swept into the oblivion beneath me.

I strongly suspect this Grief Storm was germinated in my fears as a single parent and the growing prospect of homeschooling.

  • Is it the right decision?
  • Am I taking on too much?
  • What happens if my work levels and our income are adversely effected by factors outside my control. My role is heavily dependent on community and sporting based events. These are likely to be curtailed if a certain virus takes hold in the UK. That would make our financial position even more precarious.
  • Are we giving up on school too soon?
  • How will I find the time to do those things which currently help get me through the day. Homeschooling is likely to make activities like running a bit of a rarity.
  • And on and on

Wrestling with these factors on my own. Thoughts then increasingly turn to the gaping hole left by my partner. Suddenly it’s a full on a Grief Storm. So I end up just hanging on. But at least I am still hanging on and that’s a start.

Poets Society

The feeding zone has been active today with the usual characters. Yes the characters are making a mess of the lawn but it’s always so good to see them. We don’t get too many human visitors these days so who is going to notice the rugby pitch of a lawn and I don’t think non-human visitors are that fussed.

Another largely sleepless night. One short dream, a viewing of the stunning yet grim Everest movie and a bout of late night blog catchup. While reading a friends post a thought entered my zonked out brain. How many other souls are struggling with sleep currently. We really deserve our own secret club. Maybe the name should be The Dead Tired Poets Society. Dead Poets Society is a truly stunning movie. If we want to be selective we could be the Dead Tired Parents Society.

But why stop there. We could have so many subgroups.

For the financially challenged – The Dead Broke Poets Society,

For the puzzled amongst us – The Dead Confused Poets Society,

For the bad cooks – The Dead if you eat this cake Poets Society,

For those feeling happy – The Dead Chuffed Poets Society,

For those who can regenerate – The Deadpool Poets Society,

For the rubbish Fortnite players – The Dead in five seconds Poets Society,

For the rubbish negotiators – The Deadlock Poets Society,

For the strong amongst us – The Deadlift Poets Society,

For the gardeners amongst us – The Deadheading Poets Society,

For the Monty Python lovers – The Dead Parrot Poets Society,

And for the impassive people – The Deadpan Poets Society.

Today was another fun day. Fun but with son’s anxieties bubbling just beneath the surface. I have emailed school to tip them off but deep down I know they won’t do anything. The teachers won’t be informed and if they were – what would actually happen. Not much. I’m not sure how much training this group of teachers have had in dealing with anxiety. They certainly have had little specialised training in areas like dyslexia and autism. Maybe that’s why my first questions to the teachers tends to be

You do know he has Aspergers and you do know he has Dyslexia and you do know he has Dyspraxia.

The look I get back with the generally vague replies suggests either they don’t or they do but given the 1000 things they are dealing with this is never going to be a priority. So my parenting anxieties are mounting again. That’s why having fun is so important. It’s great for my son and it’s such a release for me. A release which is even more important when sleep fails you. Can you guess what tonight’s insomniac movie is. I’ve dropped enough clues.

Dead Poets Society.

Two quotes

“I AM DIFFERENT NOT LESS” – Dr Temple Grandin

Another week we dust ourselves down and go again. Although the route is still shrouded in mist and we face countless dead ends – we must keep going. If not for me but for our son.

A session with a new health professional. Always a good sign when she does not ask me what I want, she asks our son. The health professional is going to contact school to see what work they have undertaken to help with our son’s handwriting. Assuming school has done nothing and has no plans to do so (which we believe is the position) then the health service will start a programme to help with his writing. This will be the first time in three years work that son will have had specific help with his writing. Let’s see what progress can be made, what writing aids help. If progress cannot be made then that might be the time we start to move away from pen and paper to keyboard and voice recognition.

So we start down another path.

These are the specific areas son asked for help with

  • Handwriting
  • Shoelaces and Ties
  • Holding objects like handles which require two hands.

Interestingly he sees Aspergers as who he is – his personality. Aspergers is not a label just him. However he now sees himself as not dyslexic.

The fact that I can now read some of the words and can mostly guess the rest means I’m not dyslexic. Now I’m just not very good at reading.

I think this recent view of dyslexia is down to school. Firstly school sees anyone with dyslexia as low attainment. Son hates being branded as below average. As a result Son sees dyslexia as an unwelcome label. Secondly the label dyslexic brings him no additional help from school. Whats the point of referring to yourself as dyslexic if it brings no support benefits and only results in being automatically branded below other kids in the class.

The bottom line is the school system has failed him. It has failed too many kids. That’s one of the reasons you read so many cases of great individuals who have decided to hide their dyslexia. Kenny Logan is a Scotland Rugby legend playing 70 times for his country. He choose to keep his dyslexia secret. From his team mates. Even from his wife. Only at the age of 34 did he finally seek help. On what planet can this be allowed to happen. So much wasted talent and opportunities. So much stress and suffering. This is nothing short of a disgrace.

I started with a quote and I will finish with one. One from our son

When someone has a disability your not allowed to discriminate against them. If your in a wheelchair you shouldn’t have to put your hand up for help. So why is it that when someone has an invisible disability you can be ignored and that you have to say ‘Please will you help me’ and when they ignore you it’s not discrimination.

Dream Bar

The Yorkshire fields are rapidly becoming boating lakes. Very tempting for a young mad dog. Not so tempting for the owner faced with cleaning the mud laden hound. Then faced with cleaning the mud strewn house.

Son had finally gone to bed and I started on some late night work. I wasn’t hopeful as I was already fighting the urge to sleep. But needs must. I think Apple or Microsoft should take account of tiredness in the design of apps. How many people fall asleep while using things like spreadsheets. Maybe special biometric sensors on the keys or touch screens that detect oncoming snooze episodes. This should then trigger either the playing of 100db Mongolian Heavy Metal or sharp electric shocks. I probably needed both last night.

So yes I fell asleep at the keyboard. This brought the onset of a recurring dream coming back for another outing in my mind cinema. A dream I have had for probably 20 years now. It’s always the same. A great hill walk with friends ending up in a Bar. But this is no ordinary Bar. This one is carved into the base of a gigantic cliff face. No greenery just an environment of stones and cliff faces. Inside you get a traditional UK pub. Roaring fire. Dart Board. Landlord polishing his pint glasses. A chalk board listing today’s special food. It always ends as we get our gleaming glasses of Black Sheep Bitter. Again I woke last night with a jump with that same unnerving feeling. That dream is so real. Too real not to be a real memory. I just can’t recall where that Bar is. So as one side of my mind tries to find the errors on the ever so boring spreadsheet the other side churns through places I’ve visited trying to locate this elusive Cliff Face Bar.

The dream has become so engrained that this imaginary Bar is on my bucket list of places to visit. Just need to find it. I keep hoping that one day I will come across a photo of a place just like this. A dream that comes true. It could happen surely. Look at this Swiss Hotel (thanks To Trip Advisor for the photo)

Sadly this stunning place is not the dream location. But it gives hope. The same hope that one day all our dreams do start to come true. Those so missed special ones return into our life’s. But until that time let’s keep those dreams alive. Let’s make new dreams. Let’s live.

Zord

Zero sleep last night. Not even looking at old photos from a trip to the Peak District helped at 5am. And as all you biologists will know – zero sleep equates to zombieism. So I’ve been a full on zombie today. All zombies need a cool name, just ask Rob Zombie or Shaun of the Dead. A particularly awesome zombie was Skipper in a brilliant episode of The Penguins of Madagascar. If you want a laugh look up that one.

My first name might be fine in front of a famous Western Actors surname or in front of a great English Strikers surname or as the name of a pet in a certain underwater burger eating cartoon. But as a Zombie it is pretty lame. So we need a rebranding. Hopefully for just one day only I am Zord. Yes I watched PowerRangers.

Unfortunately Zord is a bit cranky. Zord has decided he doesn’t like August. Too many memories. Bad memories. Sad memories. The slightest thing can bring a tear. Yes zombies have an emotional dimension to them. Yet again movies like World War Z are so quick to stereotype.

Zord is a bit accident prone. Smashed a cup and broken the scissors. He’s burnt toast, crumpets and baked beans today. He even managed to set fire to a dish cloth. Zombies clearly don’t get to use an oven much. Must admit the microwave is beyond Zord as well. He initially just took the lid of the tin of beans then put the tin straight into the microwave. I think Zord fancied being the Lord of Lightening just once.

Zord has a tendency to fall asleep. That sleep where the eyes shut, the head then falls backwards and you are immediately woken by that awful head snapping sensation. So far Zord has tried that while watching TV, while trying to type up a report, while trying to sign a cheque and while on the toilet. Silly Zord.

Zord can also be a bit snappy. Unforgivably Zord has snapped a couple of times at our son. Bad Zord. But he does realise that being snappy is not a good trait so he is trying to control the snappiness. Zord finds coffee and chocolate helps. I’ve not had the heart to tell Zord that he is one of the few vegan zombies.

Let’s see what lasts longer with Zord – zombieism or veganism. Trying to be a vegan is bloody expensive. Sorry bloody and vegan shouldn’t be in the same sentence. Forgive me I am a tired parent zombie.

Pranked again

Absolutely shattered. Tank empty, operating on fumes. Sleep walking. Zonked out. Giving Zombies a bad name. Too tired to sleep. Insomnia. Whatever you call it, it’s not a good place to be. Too many of us suffer from this. So much for progress.

Last night was a decent one really in the scheme of things. Three hours sleep. But just not enough. You know it’s going to be a long day when you go to make a wake me up coffee only to find when you sit down that you had already made one only a couple minutes ago. At least back to back coffees was a nice indulgence.

Thankfully I was alone at work. Not sure I could have managed conversation and spreadsheets. Today the spreadsheets got the best of me anyway. Nothing like looking at row after row of numbers to help wake you up – NOT.

One thing is clear – my tiredness makes me a sitting duck to stupidity. Driving back from work today I picked up our son from school. Soon the tiredness really started to catch up with me. While driving I fumbled around next to me for anything sweet and sugary. Unfortunately I completely forgot that I had not yet disposed of my son’s ear plugs from Kiss. Repeating the disaster from last year I again sampled the taste delights of used earplugs.

I was that tired I didn’t initially realise the humiliation. Just chomping away, just marvellous. The first indication was the hysterical laughter coming from next to me.

I secretly hoped you would do that again. You are often so predictable. So predictable I actually cleaned them first. See I’m nice that way.

Very kind of him.

Later I took the dog for a walk. No that’s wrong. This evening the dog took me for a walk. I was definitely in autopilot mode. We ended up in a random, new field. At least it was beautiful. I could happily have crashed here for the night. Not sure the farmer would have been that impressed with the sleeping trespasser. It took me a while to figure out how to get back home.

Anyway I’m back now. Hoping for maybe 4 hours tonight. That would be nice but I’m not holding my breathe. I will take any sleep, any at all.