Me and my girl and boy, raising awareness and acceptance of autism

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Finding its place – #MagicMoments

It’s Monday and time to share another Magic Moment. Jaime at oliversmadhouse.co.uk is having a well-deserved holiday this week so Vicky at vevivos.comis this week’s host.

Here’s this week’s moment:

For two years there have been some painted purple shed panels in my back garden. Panels that were carefully painted and should have been put together, but other priorities kept taking over. Panels taking up space but the children learned to live with them and D would say “I’m just going to play near the Unfinished Shed” – meaning she’d use the base (already in position) to lay out the contents of her bag.

She had plans for the little purple shed too, an area where she can admire the contents of her bags and maybe do some drawing.

Why purple? Well, I am a bit of a purple-loving fiend, but generally only in accessories. We have a high proportion of OAPs in our village and there’s some who wear purple trousers, coats, scarfs all at the same time, good on them but I do wonder if that will be me one day…

(Having said that, there is the most gorgeous purple maxi dress in Phase Eight at the moment, a definite case of window-shopping only!)

Back to said shed, after a good year of nagging negotiations and deciding whether we could justify paying someone to put said panels together (Mr Bluecrisps, bless him, is not a natural DIY-er), it all happened yesterday.

There they were, Hubbie and his mate – who D calls Tap-man or Shed-man depending what he’s come over to do – scrabbling around over the little roof with nail tacks, refusing to look at the instructions until absolutely necessary and generally being alpha-males.

D, having slept badly for a few nights beforehand, was extremely fragile yesterday and didn’t cope well with all the upheaval but it was worth it.

Eventually it was done. The men folk strutted around, proud of themselves and I put the little finishing touches on that would appeal to D.

Did she approve? She did. She loves the butterflies and dragonflies on the outside and the space inside. It’s going to be used throughout the summer, that’s for sure! There is talk of a Mumma-D sleepover in there in the summer holidays too!

I’m so pleased it’s finally done and she likes it, her brother does tend to monopolise the trampoline so it’s nice that there is somewhere in the garden for D, the fact it’s purple is a bonus!

It’s now a “Finished Shed”!

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“Hello…I love you…” #MagicMoments

Ooh, it’s Monday after a loong half term and time to link up for another Magic Moment.

My one this week is very recent, happening last Monday. It’s made me think “awwwww” every time I remember it and it’s about my little man, T.

T, for those new to my blog, has high-functioning autism. He finds showing affection difficult and has problems with reading emotions in others, but will happily burble football results, match facts and anything football-related until the proverbial cows come home.

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Unlike his sister, D, who is very emotional and you can instantly tell how her day has gone at school – she will either bolt (bad day of stored-up emotions) or rush at me like she’s bowling and bear hug me (good day) – T will contain his emotions and silently withdraw from a situation and then go and bounce whatever has upset him away on the trampoline.

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He doesn’t cuddle unprompted, if he wants a cuddle he’ll stand very close to me and wait for me to notice and cuddle him. He also never says he loves us, our evening routine is that he’ll put his head on first Hubbie, then me, for separate hugs, we say we love him, he doesn’t say it back and then he’ll say “Night Dad, Night Mum” (always that way round, always) and then he’ll go off to his room.

D and I have the beginning of a song we sing to each other, it’s Joyride by Roxette.

It starts “Hello, you fool, I love you, come on, join the joyride”.

Except when D sings it, it’s “Hello, YOU FOOOOOL (leaning right in to my/Hubbie’s face), I love you, come on, join the Jollyride” and she’ll be laughing away, making a winding motion with her hands. She’ll sing it to me, to Hubbie and we sing it back. It’s lovely.

Here’s the magic moment (finally you think):

We’d been out to the park for a picnic and had lots of fun, lots of family laughter, oodles of fresh air.

We had a pit stop in the coffee shop, freshcatos for the men, water for D (it’s all she’ll drink) and a decaff skinny mocha for me.

T picked up the triangle-shaped menu thingy that was on the table and sang “hello, you fool, I love you” through it to me, giggling.

It was lovely, it was magical, it was fun. It’s something I’ll never forget.

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Happy Anniversary Mr Bluecrisps

Today’s #Prose4T is dedicated to Mr Bluecrisps aka Hubbie. It’s our wedding anniversary today, we went out on our first date 13 years ago today and married two years later – on the same day.

Happy Anniversary

Haven’t the last 11 (or 13!) years flown by?
You’ve made me laugh, you’ve made me cry.
We got married on that bright sunny day,
Freesias covering the fact that our son was on the way.

A ceremony in Jersey, it brought on the tears,
Tears of love, tears of happiness,
The feelings have carried on throughout the years.

And this year they’re stronger, we’re really being put to the test,
You’re a husband and father, you always do your best.

I’ve only got one gripe,
Shall I say it? I ought.
For when your sister said
“You’ve got to like sport..”

I thought she was joking,
I laughed along.
But how, how could I have got it so wrong?

Football – any football – and Sky sports news.
If it’s round, a ball and it’s being kicked,
You’ll sit for hours and view.

And, our son who was in my belly?
Our handsome, clever T.
Is just as obsessed with “the beautiful game”,
Oh “woe is me!”

But we’re a team, you and me,
With our children, in our home.
Together forever, my true blue with me going tap-tap-tap on my phone!

Thanks for the lilies, my favourite bloom,
11 years ago today, we were bride and groom.

Love you, J

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Running Up and Down That Hill!

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I’m linking today’s post in with the Active Family Challenge at oliversmadhouse.co.uk because although we haven’t been splashing, we’ve certainly been active.

It was a gorgeous – but windy – day on Monday and we decided to take a picnic to the park nearby (well, twenty minutes walk away). D had a new scooter to test out too, so that came along.

Hubbie decided to ride it down the slope outside our front door – and nearly ended up in the lavender and clematis. He drives better than he scoots!

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Onto the park and it was a tad windy at the top of the hill that the children decided we were having our lunch at, but well worth the view and great cardio-vascular exercise going up!

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After letting lunch go down, we had some football activity with T/Hubbie down at the bottom of the hill and us at the top, the gradient was quite steep and what with the wind and as I’m a toe-punter kicker, the ball went quite a distance at times!

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It was good energetic fun, all a bit energetic for one certain Hubbie who acts his school size and not his age at times!

He is literally crawling up the hill! But with the aim of making us laugh and it worked.

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And reached the top!

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Scooter fun next, the boys very keen to try out the downhill gravity effects, D preferring a more sedate flat, straight line route:

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It was all really good family fun and certainly blew any cobwebs away.

What did surprise me though, on a sunny Bank Holiday, was the lack of other families. Obviously an ideal environment for my children who have anxiety issues around strangers, but I really thought it would be busier. It was free, the weather was fantastic, ideal conditions.

Something we’ll be doing more of in the coming months.

To find out about the Mark Warner activity month, please click here.

#MagicMoments – Adding to his trophy collection

The last week has whizzed by, it’s Monday and I’m linking up with Jaime at oliversmadhouse.co.uk for #MagicMoments.



My Magic Moment to share this week is when T, my football-loving little man, won a divisional championship trophy with his team. He plays every week in an under 10’s local team. Here he is, looking very, very proud at the presentation evening.

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Football is his life, his obsession. From the time he could pull himself up, he was bouncing on the balls of his feet. At the age of 18 months, he could name all the Premier League badges and he basically lives for football – playing it, watching it and writing his own little match reports.

We walk past a house every day on the school run that has a window sill packed with trophies and T always looks at the window as we go past, wondering who all the trophies belong to. I always say to him that he’ll have his own little trophy cabinet one day and he will, I’m sure.

As well as being passionate about wanting to know everything about football, he’s a very good little defender/mid fielder, left footed too. He plays to support his team and will anticipate which position he needs to be in in advance, which is pretty good for a ten year old.

Did I mention that T has high-functioning autism? Children on the spectrum can have issues around turn-taking and team play. T, because football is his obsession, takes his game very seriously, sometimes a little too seriously but he does his absolute best.

We all went along to the presentation evening and although D was a bit over-whelmed by the amount of people and impatient to see her big brother get a trophy, we clapped all the other presentations, the little happy faces telling their own proud tales.

T’s team finished top of their league, in Division Two. An evening to remember for all the boys and I’m ordering a commemorative print from the evening for T, in the form of a personalised magazine cover. He absolutely devours his Match magazine every week so he will love it!

And he’s started his own trophy and medal window sill too. He doesn’t like to close his curtains now. It’s not as full as the sill in the house we walk past every day, but T is only 10, he’s got a good few years to catch up.

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(I should mention that Hubbie is a coach for T’s team, extremely proud and reliving somewhat of his youth through the team!)

Very proud of our little man. We all are.
Thanks for reading Jx 😘

Family Days Out offers with MoneySupermarket.com

Another Bank Holiday and half term break is looming and, like many parents, I’m thinking where and how to amuse the children next week.

An important aspect, in this current economic climate, is cost and this is why I was pleased to receive this information from MoneySupermarket.com which contains details of money saving offers for Family Days Out all over the country.

Here’s some information:

With the Spring bank holiday weekend looming, it can be hard to make your mind up how to keep the family entertained for that extra day with an exciting trip.

With family budgets stretched further than ever, it can be expensive taking the family out for the day, so we’ve come up with some great offers to help you make the most of Spring bank holiday without breaking the bank!

In the below infographic you’ll find a variety of suggestions for great days out all over the country to help you find somewhere for that perfect family day out. We’ve also revealed the results of a survey we carried out in which we asked over 70 parenting bloggers about their family habits for days out.

To get the great deals featured in the infographic below, or for further information, visit our Deals and Vouchers channel (click here).

Obviously, as a special needs family, we are limited to where my children will feel comfortable going – their ideal scenario is an attraction with zero queuing and not many people – but the money-saving information was too useful not to share!

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Enjoy the bank holiday!

Blogging and personal boundaries

Sometimes I feel constricted by my blog. At other times I’ve grateful for it.

I’ve chosen to blog relatively anonymously for my children. I include pictures to demonstrate that autism cannot be seen, one of my first and favourite posts is The Camera DOES lie, it demonstrates that point effectively (even though I say so myself!). I refer to them by their initials to protect their privacy, as they are growing up, I’m limiting the pictures I do use to mostly head and shoulders shots.

And even though I do so relatively anonymously I received feedback early on from people I knew saying I shouldn’t be including pictures of the children etc, etc. People who might know us but didn’t understand autism. I chose to ignore.

Sometimes there are situations I want to blog, but don’t. Sometimes I feel I NEED to blog, to get that therapeutic release, I don’t. Because it’s not appropriate. I know my personal boundaries.

We received the news late yesterday that a family member is ill, very ill. It’s occupied my thoughts tonight and today. I can’t go into details primarily because it’s early days and also because I’m respecting their privacy.

I’ve been thinking today of implications and timescales, something you automatically do when news like this reaches you. I know I’m being vague but it’s intentional.

Please bear with me Jx

Pettiness amongst proudness

As regular readers will know, last night the family attended a presentation evening hosted by the East Berkshire Football League, in honour of the season just ended.

It was a busy, packed room – as you can imagine – with 7 divisions in the Under 10’s age group to be honoured, Champions, Runners Up and Fair Play awards for each division.

For every player attending last night, it must have been very exciting. Certainly T has been counting down ever since his team were announced as Champions in their league, and even beforehand, as he’d been working out the permutations of every game. A time for pride, a time for players, managers, coaches and players families to enjoy the evening.

The vice-chairman opened the evening and after an intro detailing the numbers of teams and players involved, he mentioned the Respect code of conduct.. Aimed at the children, he emphasised that anyone boo-ing would be asked to leave, some parents would have been wise to take heed.

They didn’t boo, oh no, they weren’t that obvious but the ones sitting behind us made little petty remarks and digs at all the other teams.

On just a player and manager going up to get a Fair Play award…”haha, couldn’t anyone else be bothered to turn up then”.

On a team who had made the decision to all attend dressed in shirts, trousers and club ties (they looked very smart)…”haha, look at them, some have short sleeves, some have long sleeves, they couldn’t even get that right”.

On a team who had very bright kits…”haha, look at the colour of that”.

Now, maybe they’d “enjoyed” themselves too much in the bar beforehand, maybe they were tired, maybe the dreadful weather outside was annoying them but was that showing Respect and Fair Play? I don’t think so.

All those players were deservedly there for a reason, they’d played in the snow, wind and rain, often Sunday and weekend games to complete the fixtures and they earnt every smile, every round of applause, every trophy.

My little man had his trophy next to him on his pillow last night, it stayed with him on the sofa until the school run and they’ll be reunited at the end of end day. He’s proud and justifiably so. I’m proud of him too and every little man who stood on that stage last night. Wish others felt the same.

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In the grand scheme of things….

With everyone that’s gone on this week, it’s quite insignificant really…a blocked washing machine filter isn’t it?

Let me see..there was T’s diagnosis on Tuesday, the confirmation that we have two children on the autistic spectrum – one severe, one high functioning – and then yesterday, an afternoon where D was poked, prodded, blood tested and x-rayed. Challenging enough for anyone, but throw her anxieties and learning difficulties into the mixture and it was a long afternoon.

So, really a washing machine malfunction should be a breeze, shouldn’t it?

Not so, when it occurs at the end of a long, stressful week. Not so when you know that the shirt T is expecting to wear tomorrow is stuck inside, Not so when there is water to manually drain, a kitchen to clear up. It all takes time and has to be done before the children get home, before they notice that something is adversely different, before they worry.

I thought today was going to be calmer, I thought I’d be able to spend it thinking of ways to drum up votes for the BiBs, something that I need to do justice, I’m the only autism blogger in there. Here’s the link to vote btw, I’m in the Commentary section.

But I haven’t. I feel like I’m on a tightrope today, trying to get across. Various things keep trying to knock me off but I won’t let them.

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There is no answer but to keep going, appreciating the positive, forgetting any negatives. Grabbing any little bits of respite as and when. Hoping that the blooming machine gets sorted out later and – for the most part – keeping calm and carrying on.

My Little Dreamers – #Prose4T

I’m linking up with Vic Welton for #Prose4T. Have a look at the posts linked up, there’s some lovely diversity on there.

My contribution today is one I wrote for last week but didn’t get around to linking.

It has been, and continues to be, an absolute Rollercoaster of a week this week.

My two children may now both have autism “labels”, this doesn’t mean that they don’t have wishes and dreams like everyone else, just theirs tend to be more pronounced.

My Little Dreamers

My sleeping children, sometimes faintly snoring.
What are you dreaming of, I wonder?

My sports-mad T will dream of GOALs!
Playing as a team, passing, scoring.
Putting on a shirt for England, that’s his dream.
Running out at Wembley, with a proud beam.

My lovely D dreams of flying.
Flying like a butterfly, soaring high.
Dancing over fields of daisies and flowers.
Soaring without a care, in a bright blue sky.

But all too soon the night passes.
Sleepy heads rise, to start another day.
Dreams are forgotten about for the moment,
The school run beckons, off on our way.

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