Saturday 5 August 2017

A Big Bold Move

Well it would appear that we are spectacularly shit at 2 year plans. At the beginning of this year g and I decided to begin saving for the big move, with the hope that we would be ready to relocate in Summer 2019.

The universe had other plans. Some serious saving and a brilliant run of overtime means that we will be living in Forres in September. As in next month!

Our house sold in a matter of days and the house which we saw online weeks ago waited for us and our offer was accepted the same day we viewed it.

I'd love to tell you all about my beautiful new home. But unfortunately, in our infinite wisdom we have bought a smelly, minging, old ladyfied mess of a place. We will of course be moving straight into and attempting to live in it, with a toddler and a pre-teen with Asperger's, while we make it the beautiful family home I know it will be, eventually.

There is just the small matter of a new kitchen, 2 new bathrooms, new floors, the complete decoration of every room and the whole heap of other things including stoves, decking, patio doors and the like. The to do list thus far runs to four pages of my A5 notebook.

I am beyond excited. Terrified and daunted but mainly excited.

I'm hoping that inbetween all the cleaning, DIYing, haemorrhaging money and probably tears over our pig headed stupidity that I might get to write about the process. Well if I'm walking headlong into a probable breakdown it might be fun to bring a few spectators along for the ride.

Saturday 19 November 2016

Read the small print

Facebook is responsible for all manner of evils and I must admit that I've only kept my account open so that I can be a member of the Tatty Devine fan page where all the best acrylic jewellery gossip is to be found - I'm not going to mention the sales page because I am trying to forget that I know about this and stop spending every penny that comes into my bank account on plastic jewellery.

I honestly couldn't tell you the last time I updated my status on there. Once in a while I'll have a scroll down my newsfeed and be a bit nosey.  I normally just end up upset that the Mum who I thought I really liked from puff's toddler group is a raging fascist or struggling with conflicting feelings reading PR'd statuses of how perfect someone's life is when you know all is far from perfect and who are they trying kid?

It was on one of my periodic, this programme I'm meant to be watching on tv has got boring but I can't be bothered committing to doing anything else, newsfeed scrolls that I came across a friend's post about a free Autism course. Brilliant I thought, this friend also has children on the spectrum and I read a bit about the course, the provider and was impressed enough to sign up, without really reading the small print at all, let alone carefully.  My programme had probably got interesting again and I do have a spectacularly short attention span.

So the next time I saw my friend I thanked her for sharing the link and asked her if she too had received a rather hefty package containing the course materials.  Through her mirth she explained that she had read the small print and was canny enough to realise that committing to undertake the course within the timescales set by the college or receive a bill for the cost of the course (a quite hefty bill I might add) might not be in her best interests. I on the otherhand was going a particularly fetching shade of green at the thought of the wrath of g if I received a bill from the college for not handing in my homework.

My grand schemes of completing the course in my one time or even of just accessing all the resources and not bothering with the pesky assignment stuff have been scuppered, spectacularly so. I am now studying to a timetable for the first time since university - which was a long time ago!

To add insult to injury the course is no walk in the park.  It is really indepth and requires me to find a quiet space and dedicate some proper time to it. Not an easy task when you have an ASD tweenager and a hooligan toddler on the rampage.  That said I quite like it.  I have had really positive feedback from my tutor for my first two assignments and in a recent meeting with smudge's school shut the headteacher down instantly by speaking like someone who knew exactly what they were talking about, that felt good!

I will be making sure that I stay away from Facebook, it just raises my blood pressure anyway. I'm also resolving again to read the small print. But really this is turning out ok.  I would never have committed to doing to the course had I known about the financial implications of not completing it on time but I kinda like using my brain in this way again and learning more about a condition that smudge will have her entire life can only be a positive.  Even though I could do without the side order of panic at when I'm going to get it all done.

Monday 1 August 2016

Summer Holiday Blues

This is a post that's been rumbling around my head for a while.  Since maybe the 27th of June, the first day of the Scottish summer holidays!  It's a hard one to write, I feel disloyal to my girl.

ASD is a bitch in many ways but she bites us the hardest during the summer holidays.  Smudge adores school, the routine and structure it brings to her world, the carefully monitored social interaction with her peers and the stimulation.  Smudge is clever, far more so than she yet realises.  The loss and structure and routine means the summer holidays are far from the relaxed lazy affair I envisioned pre-kids.

This is far from a cry for the summer holidays to be shortened.  By the time June rolls around smudge is exhausted.  She manages to keep a lid on her ASD for the main in school.  Presenting as socially awkward, more comfortable with adults and very rule focused.  Which in some ways makes her a model pupil.  Unfortunately, the trade off for these wonderful report cards is a home life that sounds like we react mediaeval battles in our living room.

We accept the inevitability of meltdowns.  Meltdowns are put simply ASD tempter tantrums.  Understanding and navigating life is hard for smudge, her anxiety levels are constantly through the roof and she takes out her frustrations where she feels safest and most secure.

These meltdowns involve a lot of screaming, insults, threats and occasional violence.  They can last for hours and we are yet to find any reliable method of brining her back out of it.  Distraction can work.  Loud music is a double edged sword, it can push her further over the edge or have her dancing and laughing.  Giving her a drink with a straw was a wonderfully effective method until she realised what we were doing and now it's a great way of getting juice thrown at me.

The summer holidays unsettling her further means an increase in meltdowns, as good as daily.  Instead of using the break from school to go off on grand adventures we are forced to make life very small, very secure and very easy for smudge to predict and navigate.

I am exhausted.  Counting the days until she goes back to school.  Pretending that I've forgotten it will get worse before it gets better, settling back into school and adjusting to a new teacher is far from pain free.  Felling guilty as hell that it seems like I want rid of my darling girl.

All I really want for her to be calm and happy.  To not be sat in tears wondering when I last heard her gorgeous wee laugh.  

Tuesday 26 July 2016

When walking the walk involves limping

For years I have been looking forward to being a little old lady with a walking stick.  Bear with me.  I have no plans to be a darling old wifey never without a sweetie to share.  I'm looking forward to being a complete bitch, untouchable because I'm wrinkly.  The walking stick my weapon of mass destruction.  Ideal for sticking into the spokes of passing bikes, hooking 'accidentally' around ankles and bringing down anyone I don't like the look of and perfect for banging on the counter top when I feel customer service skills aren't what they should be.

Well it would appear I should have been more careful with my wishes.  The universe has decided not to make me wait too long before I get my stick and it's looking like I might be practicing my menacing as soon as it turns cold.

Last October I jumped off a rock onto a dry river bed and managed to completely knacker my ankle in the half metre drop.  I knew straight away it was serious.  The crunch went right through my body and the pain was so bad I couldn't even swear!

At A&E I was told that I hadn't just broken my ankle.  I'd broken it in 3 places, with shattering and dislocated my talus.  While my childhood wish of a stookie was coming true it was going to have to wait until they manipulated the dislocated bone back into place and filled my ankle with metal to hold it together. 

Through the fug of morphine based painkillers and anaesthetic I do remember the Consultant telling me what a mess my ankle was and that this wasn't going to be a 6 weeks in a stookie and then skip off into the sunset injury. 

I spent 10 weeks, off my nut on painkillers, in a cast and started physio on Christmas Eve.  I have got lots better since December.  But I still don't have a dull range of movement, I'm still in considerable pain and my ankle still swells impressively when I spend too long limping on it.

I hoped this was because some of the metal work needed to come out.  Unfortunately, CT scans have shown that the damage to the joint between my tibia and talus is pretty extensive and probably won't get any better.  In short arthritis. 

So my ankle is never getting better.  I have to learn to accept that there are lots of things I can't do or can't do the way I used to, running after the kids will be figurative rather than literal and all of a sudden my stubborn inability to give into pain is going to prove very very useful.

There are plus sides.  I am no longer able to hoover the stairs.  My DM boots are still suitable footwear and now I get to wear them with everything and shrug if g questions my dedication to 90's grunge.  But most importantly I'm confident I can totally pull off a walking cane and I've been looking for an excuse to buy a bowler hat for years....

Thursday 21 July 2016

My Joyful Things

As a massive fan of Ninja Book Swap when Bex tweeted about Parcels of Joy I knew it was something I really wanted on board with.  Much as I enjoy getting parcels, I prefer sending them.  Choosing things I think people will love, cracking open the stationery supplies and annoying the Post Office coven by expecting them to help me and refusing to let their scowls erase my "I'm going to beat you into submission with my sunny optimism" grin.  What's not to love?

I'm also a huge believer in spreading a little kindness and the great things that can be achieved with little acts.  J.R.R. Tolkien explains it perfectly:

The things that bring me the most joy are of course people not things.  That said, people come with a side order of stress headaches, or is that just the people I associate with?  So I'm going to focus on the things that bring me joy that could potentially fit through the letterbox and wouldn't object to being stuffed in a box and posted.

I did try and write this in sentences and paragraphs but one of the things that brings me joy is list making.  In the spirt of joy I even broke out the bullet points.

  • Purple Its been my favourite since I learnt the word and I am still as determined to make everything purple as I was when I was 3.  My bike, favourite DMs, satchel, purse, best fountain pen, hair, youngest child's buggy and lots of my other favourite things are all purple. 
  • Stationery Actually this is probably an addiction, but an addiction which brings me lots and lots of joy. Bring me all the notebooks, washi tape and pens. I won't actually use them I will just hoard them and go look at the hoard and feel happy and content.  Then maybe a little guilty that I haven't used anything, but that passes quickly.
  • Toadstools no idea where this mild obsession comes from.  I have quite the collection spread around the house, from salt and pepper shakers to fridge magnets. Need them all.
  • Salt and Pepper Shakers Love me a bit of kitchen kitch.  One of the all time best things g has ever bought me is the Cookie Monster and cookie jar set - he will probably never understand me but g knows how to make me smile.
  • Wonder Woman my heroine.  When I grow up I want to be Wonder Woman, the only thing holding me back is my inability to grow up.
  • Sunflowers My wedding flowers.  I never fail to smile at their sunny yellow amazingness.
  • Fairy Tales Adore Red Riding Hood in all her guises.  But also like the weird and wonderful and because I'm a patriotic wee soul traditional Scottish tales of Selkies, Kelpies and the like.
  • Rainbows This list does nothing but demonstrate that I am basically an overgrown toddler and of course rainbows and all their pretty colours appeal.  The fact that they also go hand in hand with puddle jumping may be something to do with the attraction.
  • Knee High Socks A completely practical new obsession.  After knackering my ankle I can't really do ankle socks.  Unfortunately, I have a calf girth that only an East German shot put champion would envy and it is a struggle finding any that fit.  Also where are all the pretty knee high socks? I can only find boring and plain ones.  I like my socks with a side order of mental and enough colours to counter the fact that every other stitch of my clothing is black.
  • Coffee I'm not sure I can put it into words.  Without coffee the world is a bleaker place for me and also for everyone who has the misfortune to come near a decaffeinated me!
  • Capybaras They just make me happy in a way that I really don't want to understand.  I do love them I do!
I could go on.  I haven't mentioned stars, zombies, celtic mythology, maltesers or acrylic jewellery. This might be why the Post Office coven can't dull my sparkle, there really is quite a lot of joy to be found.

Sunday 17 July 2016

It's been a while

So, I haven't blogged in a wee while.  Is there a cut off point for when a wee while becomes fecking ages? Does 12 months class as a wee while or fecking ages?

Life has been getting in the way of living somewhat.

Recently I've been missing putting my musings somewhere other than my notebook.  A couple of months back I had decided on a new direction, title, theme, etc before something got in the way and distracted me.  The idea is still floating around and I might change, but for now I'm going to see how this goes again.

Who knows, I might even blog again before Christmas... 

Tuesday 14 July 2015

Hitting the reset button

Well I've been a bit quiet for a while!  With 2 it's a lot easier to pretend that I'm far too busy. Of course I'm only fooling myself, and then only because I have my fingers in my ears singing 'la la la' to drown out the voice of reason.

I seem to have bought into the delusion that being a good Mum means completely sacrificing my needs and desires. With one child this is lunacy. With two children and an 8 year age gap it is dangerous. I'm not daft, I know this. So why has it been so easy to slip into these bad habits?

I am the first to preach that a happy primary carer is more important to a child's well being than anything. More important than the sex or sexual orientation of that primary carer, whether the child was breastfed, looked after while parents work or what the latest Daily Mail scaremongering is banging on about now. A happy (in this case) Mummy makes everything else possible. It's just when it comes to practising what I preach it goes a bit, ok a lot, wrong.

I haven't been making time to do many of the things that make me feel good. Spending the days catering to the every whim of two tiny tyrants at the expense of me. So when the kids are finally tucked up in bed I'm spent and then vegetating in front of the tv. Binging on trash. I'm not saying anything against trash tv, my love of it runs deep. So deep that I managed to watch an entire season of Once Upon a Time in 3 days. Whilst still being that 'no tv during the day' parent. Yep that's 22 episodes and approximately 17 hours of tv crammed into 3 evenings. Well, I say evenings but there were some pretty late nights going on there.

This morning I had a bit of a revelation. Unfortunately, it was less of the sun breaking through the clouds and more me completely loosing the rag with smudge. Not proud of this. Still falling victim to the tingly nose and wobbly bottom lip when I think about my shouting. But that's the killer about focusing completely on the kids. When they are little shits there is no way to explain it all away. 

Because, lets face it little shits they will be. Sometimes rarely, often not for very long. Sometimes because they have ASD and it's the summer holidays and plans change they can be quite spectacularly big shits. 

Even then I don't want to be 'ragey mama' I want to be calm and zen and floaty hippy skirted, lentil weaving mama. Except I'll probably stick to jeans and I'm still not sure I actually like lentils.

So I'm going to be a bit more selfish. I'm going to float through the day by remembering to take 15 minutes in the morning to meditate. I'm going to look dreamily at the clock and panic about what to feed everybody with because I've spent the afternoon lost in a book while the kids go feral. And I'm going to blog about all the fun I'm having and how much better family life is when I look after me.

And when I get it all wrong and scream like a banshee. I can blame all the time I spent neglecting them. Rather than feeling like a complete mug.