Wednesday, 29 January 2014

"Wiggling" the Wires

I wasn't totally sure what to call this post, mainly since I'm pretty sure the phrase "Wiggling the Wires" is another "Thompson Special", and not necessarily in the Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable... but actually, the post title font made it look so right that I went ahead anyway.

We use this expression frequently, mainly when we achieve that all-too-rare sense of calm, the astounding realisation that actually we seem to be on an even keel  (with any or all of the children) and "wiggling the wires" is the one thing you don't want to do. It's geek speak, but let's face it, coming from our family that's really not surprising. The circuit works, so don't. touch. anything.

But sometimes, the very formulation of that thought, the recognition that there is such a thing as a status quo can be enough to rock the boat. You sit in a review appointment and utter those fateful words:-
"It does seem that things are quite stable at the moment..."
and it all falls apart. Spectacularly.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Can your child's Gaming Habit be a Positive Thing?

Steph at "Was this in the Plan" posted about her maternal pride at her son's successes in the gaming world really made me think. You should read her post for yourself, she explains how in this day and age we often need to reassess our concept of "success" and how we parent our teens. The world is a rapidly evolving place and even the youngest of parents finds it tricky to keep up to date with our adolescents. When they are adolescents on the Autism Spectrum it's a whole new ball game....

Parenting in the 21st century is TOUGH, no two ways about it. Parenting teens with AS is incredibly tough. My 16 yr old I can rely on to partition his life sufficiently so the gaming/server hosting/web design doesn't take over completely. (Well I kid myself that's the case!) But the nearly-teen already adolescent Aspie, not so much. He lives his games, and goes in deep..... VERY deep and knows absolutely everything there is to know on his particular game.

Like all those on the Autism Spectrum he's SO visual that gaming really presses his buttons (no pun intended) and fires him up. The visual feedback is so satisfying, and gives immediate satisfaction that persevering at anything else cannot.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

A special moment

I cannot tell you how much this photo means to me.

This is H, doing his homework. That in itself is a major miracle - but this is voluntarily doing his homework. At 4pm, not 9.30pm at night after an hour-long meltdown. One of those very rare and special occasions, when you just look, and smile, breathe deeply and relax because this is a GOOD moment.

Please note the absence of coercive techniques. No bribery was used in this scene.

"Are you *sure* you can't....?"

You know, it's hard enough to say "no" and mean it. I've practised hard over the years, but the truth is I like helping people. Not in a martyr kind of way, I just genuinely like feeling useful, and know how much I appreciate any help - what goes around, comes around, right?

So it's kind of like a kick in the teeth when, just like the wobbly six year old just learning to ride a bike, you are just mastering this new skill when you seem to keep riding into the proverbial brick wall.
Flickr "Creative Commons" photo by David DeHetre

You see, I AM getting better at saying no, knowing my limits, pacing myself (honest!) and only taking on what I can deal with - beyond the usual essential stuff I sometimes feel I can't. (But that's another story...) I am still happy to help, but will say when I can't. I think people genuinely respect you more for being honest, and certainly my stress levels are hugely grateful for this belated maturity in self-expectation. So it is a bit of a shock when an honest "no" is met with "Really? Are you sure?!". Because it is at *least* twice as hard to say no again. You start to question your (new) inner strength and decision making process - are you indeed completely sure that you can't do x, y or z? And it you are not, shouldn't you just say yes?

But at what cost?

Saturday, 18 January 2014

40 "something"

Last year I hit the big 4-0, and like everyone else I received a number of cards which claimed "Life begins at 40!" and "40 is the new 30".  An interesting claim, and reassurance I didn't really need as (bizarrely) turning 40 seemed to me to be less daunting than turning 30.

I hit the end of my third decade with a huge amount of trepidation. Somehow 30 meant I was no longer "young", I had responsibilities and was well on my way to Middle Age. This reluctance to change the digit in the tens column of my age was totally absurd when you consider that I left home at 18, was a homeowner with a mortgage at 21, a mother at 24 and again at 28, married at 26 (yeah ok, ok, I did things the wrong way around) and could in no way be termed "footloose and fancy free" during my twenties.

Maybe that is why at the dawn of my thirties I felt a little as if Time was Running Out on me. I had had many years already of "grown up" existence, and in many respects had never been anything other than responsible. (My college friends will at this point choose to overlook, rather than share the few episodes which immediately spring to mind from my student days!)

So what did I do?

Monday, 13 January 2014

Independence - the Sequel!

Several of you commented that they would like to see an update to my post on "Independence" from last summer. Well, given that it's all about food and cooking I've posted it on my Recipe Blog.

The twins enjoyed getting involved with our "Biscuit Bake-Off" today!

Friday, 10 January 2014


Very often I feel like a mum to four separate children rather than four siblings - which is probably how it should be in many ways... but I do wish they were a bit closer. Obviously the twins are, from birth they were happiest close together most some of the time.

 I LOVE that photo.

The twins are incredibly close, but increasingly more often than not they are argumentative and surprisingly physical with each other. I'm told this is pretty normal with fraternal twins though, and thankfully it's usually squabbling over something trivial which I wrote about a while back.

We've tried to get them together for a photo before now, it used to end up like this:-

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

ADHD Awareness? How about Acceptance and Acknowledgement?

I have read a few posts on Facebook this week about it being "ADHD "Awareness" Week. To be honest I have no idea whether that applies to the UK or the USA but it actually makes little difference. Here, we are aware of ADHD every. single. day. From sun up to sun down - and well beyond. Oh to be "unaware" of ADHD and the impact it has on our family for a brief hour. Such unimaginable bliss.

I've (almost) given up ranting and railing against those who postulate that ADHD is simply "bad parenting".  My "Dear Libby" piece  was written well over two years ago and even the "Horizon" documentary did little to dispel the persistent myth that parents are responsible for this disorder. Society is blind to what it is reluctant to acknowledge, or has no answer for.

You would think the three children I have apparently parented "well" would provide some kind of evidence for those who seek to judge, but no. When H was younger a mum from his class actually had the gall to say to my face that since I "clearly couldn't control my son I shouldn't have been allowed to have more children". I can't see her saying that to the mum of a child in a wheelchair,  but that's the problem with invisible disorders.
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