Sunday, 27 May 2012

A weekend of two halves


This weekend really has been hard-work! A brilliant day, followed by a difficult day. Let me share it with you....
Saturday:
What a lovely day. It’s been really hot, so we headed down the road to the seaside where we’d recently had a break with my mum and step-dad.
We didn’t tell Mini til we were almost parked; in fact, we didn’t have to tell him because he recognised where we were.  We found a lovely spot, near enough to the car park and toilets, but no amusements, chip shops or ice cream vans for the kids to craze for.

Sandcastles were made, names and declarations of love were written in the sand, and seaweed was pulled off the rocks and heaped into buckets. Half the stones on our particular section of the beach were removed and heaped in piles by the groynes by Dollop. And Mini ran back and forth from the sea to various shallow holes he’d dug, so he could fill them with water. He worked out that the water drained down and probably soaked back down to the sea, so he kept running to the water’s edge to see if he could see ‘his bucketful’!


After playtime and a picnic, we headed to the touristy end of the beach for a quick ice cream. Then we headed home where we all chilled out and rested (some of us more burnt than others).

Sunday:
Total contrast. From the minute Mini came downstairs he was in hyper mode, completely unregulated. Nothing was right or good enough for him. He wanted every toy that Dollop had, and then discarded it the minute he got it. He disagreed with everything that was said or offered. He told little lies about all sorts of minor things. He had toddler style tantrums at every opportunity. He made demand after demand. We could tell it was just going to be one of those days.

Unfortunately, today was also the day we’d been invited to a Christening. Not just any Christening, but that of the son of our good friends, and the NC was invited to be Godfather. There was absolutely no question that the NC should and would go. Although not remotely religious, he was really chuffed to be asked. Much thought had gone into our gift too, and we had both been looking forward to it. 

So we had to make the difficult decision of whether the children and I should also attend or not. Mini clearly was not in a state where he would be able to sit quietly – or at all – in a church for an hour. With little sense of danger, would he be able to make the short walk from the church to house on roads with no paths? Could he manage to avoid jumping into the deep deep, yet inviting garden pond? Could he stop himself from running down the long driveway into the road? With other children present, could he manage his feelings if he was required to share…a football? Some bubbles? Would he do what was asked of him? Would he show appropriate wariness of the many strangers who’d be in attendance? The answer to all of these is a massive NO!

With a heavy heart, the NC set off alone to see his friends, become a Godfather, and represent us all at the reception after. Our friends are busy people – he with a demanding, busy job, she with a new baby, so I’m not sure if they read this blog. We certainly haven’t been able to explain too much about Mini’s issues, because Mini is almost always there, and because well, it’s hard to explain things like this, especially to people you care about. So I don’t know if they understood our reasons for not celebrating with them, although I really hope they do.

But I do know that Mini would most definitely have struggled. To other children it might have been a great opportunity to run around and let off some steam, for Mini, letting off steam means kicking, spitting, punching and his latest trick – hair pulling, it means running around and around and around and around with no signs of slowing, it means getting worked up into another hyper state with no chance of self-regulation, it means mummy and daddy are constantly alert to every possible trigger. The mere fact that the NC’s attention would have been diverted for a few hours would have been trigger enough for Mini I think today.

So the NC went, Mini and I chatted over piles of Lego, Dollop napped. The NC returned, and the morning’s behaviour was repeated all over again. Mini is now finally in bed, only an hour late.

And now, there is gin. And a celebratory toast to the NC’s new Godson – here’s to you Baby Smiler!

10 comments:

  1. So much of that reminds me of Bonzo. Especially the paragraph about letting off steam. Though, that said, we have had a good weekend, and Bonzo, apart from one minor (because I jumped on it) tantrum enjoyed the party with his school friends. Though as you say, I was on red alert the whole time just in case!
    Thank heavens for wide open spaces & picnics!

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    1. Glad Bonzo had a good weekend. Thank heavens indeed for wide open spaces...

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  2. Such a shame you missed the christening but clearly the best move for Mini in the end even though it was disappointing for you - I am sure your friends will understand, particularly if you explain in more depth the difficulties. xx

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    1. They do understand...and they've now read this too, so hopefully 'get it'.

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  3. My son would have struggled too it's so hard having a autistic son (not sure if that's your sons problem or not but this is mine) for years before his diognosis I blamed myself it must have been me right, Now I know what's wrong I can work on things that work for him we still have hard days but we have brilliant days too.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. Mini isn't autistic, he has an attachment issue, but a lot of the signs are quite similar. Indeed when he was younger we thought he was autistic, but now know the differences. The brilliant days make the hard days easier don't they?

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  4. Stix, so sorry you had to miss the Christening but think you made a really loving decision to stay home with Mini and Dollop...
    I also loved reading about 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' and your heart-melting moment. We read about this in some of our adoption literature, personalised songs to sing to children about how special they are to us, but you made it come alive with that lovely story.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I'm not sure how loving I felt at the time, but it was definitely the right thing to do for Mini, and also for our friends. I'm quite sure it would have been unpleasant for them if he started to misbehave (albeit uncontrollable).

      I definitely recommend Twinkle Twinkle. Mini and Dollop both love it - but especially Mini who understands the words better. I'd be interested to hear about other songs you might know of that could be adapted.... x

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  5. You might want to try this website to add another dimension to adaptable songs

    http://www.scopevic.org.au/index.php/site/resources/nurseryrhymes

    xx

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  6. My son (now 10) is autistic. He's much calmer now but when younger we always were on high alert when out and about like you and also refused many social occasions as it would have been too much for him and we would not have enjoyed it at all as we would have been following him round all the time and stressing about things like ponds! It took us a while to realise that all the things everyone else did (and we had done with our older 2 children) were not enjoyable for him and a quiet activity with some 1 to 1 attention from a parent was much better than a big social gathering. It took me a while to realise that the weekly toddler gorup wher I had been with his older brothers and met and chatted with my friends was a nightmare for him (big noisy echoey hall with other kids hogging the toys) and he much prefered sitting by the village pond feeding the ducks. Friends did not understand why we turned down invitations but we stood firm and decided that we would not go looking for stress and had to put his needs and the contentment of the whole family first.
    You did the right thing not going as you would have resented him for spoiling it or remembered it as a bad experience.

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