Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Following the Pack.

Everybody else does it so why can't I?....

This phrase makes me see red, how about you? 

Sometimes I'm thankful that A is starting to pay attention to what his peers are up to and sometimes I most certainly am not. A's ASD means that he has little awareness of others at times and doesn't feel peer pressure like the rest of us. This is a blessing and a curse. He will always be different and while there are occasions when he revels in this, the times that that this could worry him appear to pass him by. We are relived given that he is fast approaching becoming a teenager, that peer pressure has little or no effect on him but sometimes we wished that he would feel a bit of pressure sometimes. His friends work hard at school, he doesn't and sometimes opts for the easiest and quickest route. His friends are quite quiet and bashful, he is completely unabashed and says whatever pops into his head at any given moment. We have always encouraged him to embrace his individuality but there are sometimes, I cringe and think why can't you see that no one else does this. Take talking to himself for example. Without going into all of the boring medical details, A has SPD or Sensory Processing Disorder, a common side effect of autism. This means that when one of his senses are overloaded he compensates by cranking up another. So, say, when we are on a busy street where there are lots of cars and trucks passing by, his visual senses are bombarded. A combats this by being louder than the noise on the street. This can manifest itself in him singing to himself, or his latest craze which is beat-boxing or just continually talking and talking and talking. I know this is his way of coping and you can't stop him doing it so it elicits stares when walking down the street. I have perfected my oh just fuck off and mind your own business stare over the years but in school, he has had some flack in the past for it. One particular friend who is very academic descends into a rage in class when A does this as it puts him off his work. I say friend because A still likes him and hangs around with him although my opinion of the boy is slightly less forgiving.

Anyway...what was the point of this. Oh aye! The phrase above and it's compatriots; everyone else has one and so and so's mum lets him. I have heard this phrase more times than I care to mention in the last week. We work hard to make sure that A, despite his disability, has the same opportunities as all of his peers and we work hard to make sure that he has the stuff that he wants and needs. So when he says this, I explode and a lecture ensues about  why we have rules in this house blah, blah blah (I cringe sometimes) and all I get is him shrugging his shoulders and saying "soooooorrrrrrrrryyyyy!" and retreating to his room.

So trying to negotiate certain grey areas on the cusp of teenage-dom to an autistic kid can be trying. All kids feel like they've suffered the greatest injustice if they are not allowed something that their peers have but with the black and white thinking that comes with ASD, it is harder for them to grasp just why we have one set of rules in our house when many others have different ones. It plays out just like other kids scenarios do.

A went to a relatively conservative Catholic school where the uniform was strictly enforced and the kids were not really given a huge amount of freedom. There is nothing wrong with this and the austere nature of the school suited him at that time. Now the kids are a high school and are mixing with a bigger cross section of Edinburgh society, the vast majority of parents appear to have had a lobotomy over the summer and have gone from being very strict, to exceedingly liberal. This is making my job very, very hard. Over the summer holidays, almost all of his class have gained Facebook profiles (the age range is from 11 to 13 in the class), Call of Duty: Black Ops, MSN Messenger, touch screen mobile phones. These items are still, in my opinion, far from appropriate for the kids in question given that in comparison to their classmates, they have led sheltered existences so far but it is now entirely up to the parents. Of the five feeder schools who were starting S1 this year, the majority of parents who arrived at the school to collect their kids were parents from A's primary. This is particularly remarkable because we live the closest to the school.

So in light of this recent 360 degree shift, I am now bombarded with questions of why can't I have a Facebook profile if Jimmy-What's-His-Face has one? and Archibald-Hetherington-Smythe's mother lets him play Call of Duty and go on Xbox Live, so why can't I? Sigh....

I very nearly gave in to the Facebook profile at one point, because it is an easy way to get in touch with his breakdancing friends but OD put his foot down and I came to my senses. I cringe when I read some of the stuff that teenagers write on Facebook and their little mini-dramas. The vast majority of his classmates do not have private profiles so I had a nosey. Eurgh! He was also a bit shocked when I mentioned that when he does eventually get a Facebook profile, in no way is he to send me a friend request. I like Facebook (sometimes) and I don't want him to see what I post. I already have some teenage nieces and nephews as friends and that means that I watch what I say, keeping swearing to impassioned political moments. I already have to endure his incessant questions and the daft things that come out of his mouth in real life and so I don't want to see the cyber version too. I did remind him that I would harass him about his spelling, constantly and would probably embarrass him at every turn. I really don't understand why parents want to be friends with their kids online at that age. There are other ways to police their usage without subjecting them to the crap that their parents write. I know quite a few folk who make my toes curl with the nonsense that they post online for their kids to see.

We have managed to leave the Facebook thing, with the promise that we will re-open discussions next year but he still finds a million other things to harp on about. This morning it was:
"can I take my iPod touch to school?"
"Why not?"
"Because the last time you took it out of the house, you dropped it down the toilet."
"Yeah but that was a year ago"
"No! You're at school to learn, not to muck about with music." "End of discussion"
"But Muuuuum..."
*I sigh and walk away (I hadn't had my coffee yet).

How do you guys deal with incessant unrealistic demands? How did you negotiate the Tween stage?

Monday, 29 August 2011

Mammy's Monday Music Meme! Week 2.

After the success of last week, I've decided to give it another go. I had a few messages on Twitter et al. from people who were just too busy to join in last week.

I really enjoyed reading everyone's different choices and we even had a contribution from a non-Blogger which was ace!

So all you have to do is:

Write a blog post as short or as long as you like on the theme of music. It can be as simple as you've found a new song that you like and want to share it because it makes you happy, sad etc etc. Or it could be a post on how a particular song has a specific meaning or memory attached to it (wedding, funeral, births etc etc).

I have written a few so far and my inspiration came from a whole host of reasons. I posted a song after an impromptu afternoon out with friends. I posted a song on the day that my eldest son started High School. I posted a song because it moved me and I posted a song because I heard that the band who had written the song had split up

So come on and have a go. Even if you are a reader but don't have a blog yourself please leave a comment below with your song of the day and a reason why you find that song interesting. If you do have a blog please use the Mister Linky Widget below and I'm so looking forward to listening!

Have fun! xx

The links are found when you press this button below. Please check out the other participants posts! And leave a comment so I know you've linked. You can check out last weeks offerings here if you need some inspiration. 

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Silent Sunday - Best Buddies, Bella and Papa.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad. Please excuse any typing errors as my fat fingers and Apple's touch screen technology are not a good combination.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Listography - Last Week.

Last's weeks display of hedonism and debauchery, Kate has decided that perhaps it is better if we all keep schtum for this week's Listography!

So the theme for this week is last week or more precisely, what have you been up to in the last week. In our case this is always a resounding "tonnes!". We lead very, very busy lives so here is a selection of our top five of last week.

1. Had a visit from Jenny and Ethan

2. Ate cake and visited the museum with Kate and Helen.

3. Went to the beach with Papa.

4. Went to a Street Dance Tournament. 

5. Saw Andy Stanton at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. 

This week has been just as awesome and the next week looks especially promising!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Mammy's Monday Music Meme!

It's Monday and that means...

it's Mammy's Monday Music Meme!

Chase those Monday blues away by distracting yourself with thoughts of lovely music.

I will open the link today and close it Sunday night and if it takes off, I promise I'll make it a weekly thing.

So all you have to do is:

Write a blog post as short or as long as you like on the theme of music. It can be as simple as you've found a new song that you like and want to share it because it makes you happy, sad etc etc. Or it could be a post on how a particular song has a specific meaning or memory attached to it (wedding, funeral, births etc etc).

I have written a few so far and my inspiration came from a whole host of reasons. I posted a song after an impromptu afternoon out with friends. I posted a song on the day that my eldest son started High School. I posted a song because it moved me and I posted a song because I heard that the band who had written the song had split up

So come on and have a go. Even if you are a reader but don't have a blog yourself please leave a comment below with your song of the day and a reason why you find that song interesting. If you do have a blog please use the Mister Linky Widget below and I'm so looking forward to listening!

Have fun! xx

The links are found when you press this button below. Please check out the other participants posts! And leave a comment so I know you've linked. 

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Oh Mammy's Song of the Day has morphed into a meme.


Let's see if this takes off.

Ladies and Gentlemen I give you...

Mammy's Monday Music Meme.

The rules are thus:

Write a blog post as short or as long as you like on the theme of music. It can be as simple as you've found a new song that you like and want to share it because it makes you happy, sad etc etc. Or it could be a post on how a particular song has a specific meaning or memory attached to it (wedding, funeral, births etc etc).

I'll open the link on a Monday morning and leave it open until the Tuesday night. Please repost this so we can get a heap of fascinating song related tales.

Get your thinking caps on...

Silent Sunday A style

Silent Sunday

One of those days...

I love my life (I think I have said this before) but sometimes disaster strikes. Sometimes it is through my own fault, sometimes, an act of the Gods*, sometimes just sheer bad luck. My life goes along swimmingly until I somehow unknowingly show some hubris and then it all goes wrong. BOOM!

Well...it's not my life per se. Some people have REAL disasters and mine are well, disasters of the slapstick sort. Once the dust settles, everything resumes as normal but when I go through a disastrous period, a series of slapstick events occur that really just make you want to crawl into bed, wave a white flag and some out when the vengeful Gods have found something else to occupy themselves. 

Last weekend I was supposed to be taking A to a BBoy competition and I had been ill for the later part of the week. I've no idea what was up but was shattered and feeling a bit gross. I hate being ill and so just cracked on anyway until Friday night where I had to say to OD, I think I'm really quite unwell, followed by a huge pout and sloping off to bed early. So on Saturday he offered to take A to the competition while I stayed at home with B to recuperate. After an entire morning indoors I started to feel better and so took B off to an art gallery and offered to join OD for a coffee while A was at the competition.I eventually fought my way the streets of the City Centre with the buggy (Festival time!) and tried to get into a cafe to settle there until OD could join us. I was feeling rubbishy again and waited patiently to be seated only to be told by the owner that I could not come in with the buggy. I wasn't leaving it outside and so I left to go elsewhere. For four streets every cafe, bistro bar and restaurant was full and I was contemplating going home when I spotted a new cafe. I wait to be seated and was approached by a leggy European waitress 

"Ow many?" she says. 
"Two please" I say. 
"Huh?" she says
"Two please" I say.
Eh? she says
"Two (holding up fingers). Please" I say
"Okay" she says.
We are shown to our table. "Can I have a high chair please?" I ask. 
"Huh?" she says
"A high chair?" I say
She motions to other waitress, they mutter and the other one says "yes?"
"A high chair? For the baby?" I resort to pigeon English.
"Huh?" this one says
"A. Seat. For. The. Baby?" I say
"Yes, yes" she says and goes off.
Five minutes later: no high chair.
They comes to take my order. I say they because there are three of them now looking expectantly at me. I order and Americano and one goes pfft and goes to make it I presume. Ten minutes later and no coffee. The cafe is not busy at all and now I'm wondering if this is the cause. I'm treated to the sight of a very bohemian French couple talking about art while their toddler plays with a packet of Gauloises, ripping them to shreds to keep himself amused while his parents talked of higher things. 

I cut my losses and run. Well, no. I don't actually run because I'm being completely ignored now. I could turn around and give them the finger before I leave and none of them would bat an eyelid. I don't because I don't do that sort of thing. I'm making my way home and decide to stop at Tescos for some accompaniments for dinner and I'm just about done in the slowest queue in the world and I hear a little grunt come from the buggy. Just a tenny tiny grunt. Then the smell hits me. B has filled her nappy. Bums! Ten minutes later we emerge from the supermarket and go to get the bus. I have no bloody money on me and so I go to the cash machine and try and take out some cash. It declines my card. I know I have money and so I try again and it says thta I can only draw out £20. I start to panic, "where has all my money gone?"** I can feel a cold sweat coming on but decide to investigate later, knowing something technical has gone awry. I get on the bus trying to ignore the smell coming from B and arrive 20 minutes later at my front door. 

But where are my keys? I mentally go through my maneuvers that morning. Oh balls, I've left them in my jacket! (the jacket I forgot to take even though it was pissing down outside). I try to phone OD, no signal and it would be another three hours before they would come out. I go to the local shop and with my last £20 buy baby wipes because I don't have any left in the nappy bag and go to the nearest park to change B. She has diarrhea  It's everywhere and I mean everywhere. I change her and throw her vest in the bucket along with the smelliest nappy in the world and so I feel really bad for the bin men. Just as I'm putting her back together I feel something wet on my hand and I spin around. A dog has just licked me. A bloody dog! I'm severely allergic to dogs and so my hand blisters immediately. B is now overcome with excitement at seeing a dog and runs about wild. I'm trying to gather everything up and run, hoping that the owner (and B for that matter) didn't hear me swear at the dog. 

We run to the Meadows so I can dump her in the sandpit and sit down to rethink our evening. I go to Tescos on the way there to but some water to wash my hands and it's there that I realise that the previous shop keeper has given me change of a tenner and not £20! I phone the shop and they claim not to know what I was talking about or that I had even been in (this is our local shop).


I get to the Meadows, plonk B in the sand pit and sit slumped on the nearest bench. Just then I hear sirens and see flashing lights and a hysterical woman by the enterence to the park. She has been mugged it turns out and I am now being questioned by the police! By now, OD and A have emerged and we get a takeaway (as the food I bought was probably spoiled by now) and bugger off home. I crawl under the covers and come out on Sunday. Which was a very nice quiet day. 

*disclaimer: when I say Gods, I mean the Olympians not the Christian kind. 

**Tescos had charged me £145 instead of £14.50!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Where has my little toddler gone?

Someone has taken her and replaced her with a little old lady!!!

For the last week or so, Miss B has discovered a new sound, the sound of straining. She goes along her merry way grunting and groaning throughout her day.

Lifting toys, books, juice cups, chairs is now a massive effort usually accompanied by some noise escaping as she straightens herself up!



She uses gestures and noises to indicated her needs and her wants. Now if she wants something moved and it's far too heavy for her to lift she looks at me with pleading eyes making this noise ten times more exaggerated.


As funny as this is to watch I wondered where she could possibly have got this from. I consider myself to be reasonably spritely and have plenty physical energy and then I realised that this behaviour coincided with her Father's annual holiday leave.

Make of that what you will...

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Oh Mammy's Song of the Day.

Today was a lovely day that ended up with myself and a few dear friends take Miss B to the museum to watch her look at everything. The wonder and marvel she exudes is so potent!

You might not be so surprised to hear that there isn't a great deal of songs written that focus on museums but this one springs to mind. I love Donovan!

I drink sweet wine for breakfast, I slept about an hour or so
Smiled a little in the silence deciding on where to go.
"Meet me under the whale in the Natural History Museum,"
I think that's what she said, a little bit sad about having to leave them.
Yawning in the sun, like a child I run.
But don't do it if you don't want to, I wouldn't do a thing like that.
No, don't it if you don't want to, I wouldn't do a thing like that.
How little do you speak of beauty, isn't it a shame, what ho
Maybe you should go get a power ring, you'd make all your troubles go.
There she stood in drag, just-a lookin' cool in astrakhan.
She's lookin' just a little wiped out, she said I looked like Peter Pan.
Yawning in the sun, oh baby, like a child I run.
But don't do it if you don't want to,
I wouldn't do a thing like that.
Oh no, no, don't do it if you don't want to,
I wouldn't do a thing like that.
Don't do it.

Nom, nom, nom...

I haven't posted up a recipe in a while and thought I'd share one from a dinner we held last week.

While I sit here going through the drudgery that is our weekly online grocery shopping and dreaming up this weeks delights, I was reminded of one dish I made last week that was mouthwateringly taste-tastic (my attempt at sounding vaguely  Nigella-esque has me sounding more like Smashy and Nicey!).

I digress. Last week I was entertaining my vegetable-arian BFF's and I hit upon this deliciousness. I adore butternut squash at anytime of the year and have a number of recipes in my arsenal (much to the dismay of OD when I go through a squash phase) and I thought I'd play around with some flavours that I had been craving that day. I had fancied something spicy, salty, sweet, crunchy and sour. 

so here is my spicy, sweet butternut squash, puy lentil and feta salad. 

500g peeled butternut squash, diced into 1-inch (in old money or 2.5cm if you prefer) pieces

100g green lentils, preferably French puy lentils
60-80g feta cheese, crumbled
4 tbsp chopped fresh mint
4 handfuls baby spinach
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sumac
Pinch of ground cayenne, to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Sherry vinegar or wine vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 220C. Bring water to boil in a pot. 

2. Toss the butternut squash with 1 tbsp olive oil, the cumin, and a little salt. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer and put in the oven. Throw the lentils into the water. 

3. After 15 minutes, the lentils should be tender but not mushy. The squash should be tender and browning slightly on the bottom. Taste both components and if they are not done, cook for 5 more minutes. 

4. Drain the cooked lentils and toss with the squash, arugula, mint and cheese. 

5. Whisk together 2 tbsp olive oil, the vinegar, the cayenne and the sumac in a small bowl and mix this with the salad.

Simples! If you don't have sumac or cumin, use whatever woody scented spices (cinnamon, ginger, paprika) you have lying around and it will still taste awesome!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Oh Mammy's Song of the Day.

Oh what a day!

My beautiful boy has gone off to high school. So I dedicate this song to him.

The Circle Game by Joni Mitchell.

Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star

Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like when you're older must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game *

Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels thru the town
And they tell him take your time it won't be long now
Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

Wordless Wednesdays - First Day at High School.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Oh Mammy's Song of the Day.

Here is Edinburgh the weather is very changeable today.

Ranging from torrential rain to clear blues skies in one day. This is a bit pants when trying to plan activities but today we're having a chilled day in preparation for A starting high school tomorrow (Eek!). We went out and had a nose around the city, stopping for his favourite lunch and a visit to new French patisserie for some delicious tarte au chocolat that has opened up in Broughton.

So in the spirit of the relaxing day we're enjoying, here is the wonderful PP Arnold: Angel in the Morning.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Oh Mammy's Song of the Day.

My offering today is dedicated to the sun. Not the newspaper but that great big fiery ball in the sky. Here, in Edinburgh, it is trying it's hardest to burst through the clouds and so I thought I would try and help it along. But please don't blame me if it rains...

Enjoy this. Toots and the Maytals: Funky Kingston.

Listography - Top Five Guilty Pleasures...

Mmm... I do guilty pleasures like no other human I know, as I profess to be rather snobbish at times about food, literature, media and culture.

Holding myself to such high standards, my guilty pleasures seem all the more sinful.

When I saw that it was this weeks topic I was thoroughly excited. There are a few friends out there that will piss themselves when they find these out...

Guily Pleasure #1: I love Gossip Girl. 

This is the biggest load of nonsense to ever grace my television screen.

It's a cheesy drama about a bunch of sickeningly good looking over-privileged, spoiled brats. Despite these facts, I love it.

The silly drama of it all, the ridiculously expensive couture paraded across the screen by stick insects, the sexual tension. She loves him, but he loves someone else and she got drunk and had sex with so and so and so and so's parents have cut off their credit card... You get the picture.

I'm feeling ashamed already...

Guilty Pleasure #2: Kentucky Fried Chicken

I love food and I love cooking. I love sourcing local, natural organic produce and I love making every meal from scratch. Despite this I can on occasion be found in Edinburgh hiding behind the partition of the seating booths in my local branch of KFC.

I might as well add in the interests of full disclosure that I engage in this activity without the kids as I would never allow them to eat this crap with the frequency that I do. This is clearly not my fault but the Colonel's as demonstrated in the following clip:

Guilty Pleasure #3: Sweeties.

Again something I do not condone in my own children but my own childhood of chasing the ice-cream van has left me with a greedy streak. Recently, I'm very much ashamed to say I found out that my local branch of Blockbusters was closing and I went in with the kids to look for some cheap Blu-Rays. I emerged after 40 minutes disc-less but with an entire JanSport rucksack full of half price Pick n' Mix, Galazy Minstrels, Haribo sweets, popcorn, Milkybar buttons and the list goes on and on.

They lasted a few nights until I had scoffed the lot (I did receive a huge helping hand from OD). I even made a return trip but the store had closed. Boo!

Guilty Pleasure #4: Films that contain spontaneous dancing.

As I child I used to while away hours learning dance routines and in the absence of any formal dance lessons, I used to copy them from films.

Any film where a character spontenously broke into dance was immediately my favourite and summarily taped off the telly or purchased on VHS. I used to love Footloose, Saturday Night Fever, Jesus Christ Superstar, West Side Story, Dirty Dancing, Flashdance, Singin' in the Rain to name but a few. I still remember the moves, just ask me when I'm drunk.

Guilty Pleasure #5: Clothes for the kids.

I spend an inordinate amount of money on clothes for the kids, Miss B in particular. Money that could best be spent elsewhere. I get bags of hand me downs and I don't use them. People comment on how wasteful it is without even knowing the price of them. It's actually a cheaper exercise than spending money on clothes for myself. I justify the amount for A seeing as he's going to high school and is influenced by the choices of others and I justify those for Miss B as she's my last baby and just gorgeous. I seriously don't give a crap!

So there you go, Oh Mammy's guilty pleasures. If you feel the need to humiliate yourself and to share you own versions do check out the very awesome Kate Takes Five blog and join in. Go on...you know you want to.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Oh Mammy's Song of the Day.

I had planned on including this song at some point and it has a fascinating story behind it.

I discovered this lovely lady while seeking out videos for another band I admire, Mersault and I realised that this particular video was made in a juice shop where I happened to be with Miss B at the very moment of filming. In the middle of my smoothie I heard this and B absolutely loved the song. This artist is on the up and we wish her the very best in her bright, bright future.

Rachael Sermanni: Sleep.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Oh Mammy's Song of the Day.

Honestly, I will never tire of this!
I'm going to post up a weeks worth until I figure out how to make this into a meme. We all love music in one shape or form and so I'd love to hear what inspires, moves, motivates, saddens and lightens you all.

Today's offering is a sad one. Not least because of the song itself but that the band who produced this wonderful piece have now split up. Ladies and Gentlemen...I give you The Middle East: Blood.

Recent Hospital Visits.

The result of some recent hospital investigations is that Miss B has something commonly known as Toddler's Diarrhoea.While this is not serious, after her major weight loss after birth, her tongue tie, her reflux and now this, we seem to be battling with or at least worrying about her weight again.

Toddlers Diarrhoea, if mild enough can go untreated and the consultants seem to be happy enough with her diet. Toddler's diarrhoea is a diagnosis of exclusion when all other diseases have been excluded. It is very common in children between the ages of 1 and 5 years of age and is of no consequence. It simply is a reflection of the increased speed of transit of food going through the gut. As long as the child is growing well and has a good appetite and no other symptoms then this is most likely to be the diagnosis. It also goes by the name of "Peas and Carrots syndrome" where often food particles are seen in the stool and up to 5-6 loose bowel motions per day can occur. Sometimes it can be helped by decreasing juices in the diet, increasing the amount of fat and decreasing the amount of fibre. More information can be found here.

We've discussed her diet and there isn't anything major we can change. She doesn't consume the stuff that makes it worse and she has a great balanced diet. 

The only thing I'm particularly worried about is, now that potty training is nearing, my carpet!

Has anyone else had experience with this? How did you cope with potty training?

Friday, 12 August 2011

Oh Mammy's Song of the Day.

Hi Folks,

In a desire to have this blog really reflect my some passions as well as my ranting opinions I have decided to run a regular feature entitled Oh Mammy's Song of the Day. I have quite a few muso friends as well as a deep seated passion for all things musical and I'd love to share this with you. Living in Edinburgh, it has just an eclectic and vibrant music scene as well as the rest of Scotland. I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by people who are just as passionate about music as me. My own music taste ranges from Baroque Opera to Norwegian Death Metal!

I may even try a linky tool if I get enough of a reaction. Hmm...Mammy's Music Meme anyone? Leave a comment below if you would be up for a meme. 

So here goes. These guys are Admiral Fallow. Enjoy.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

What would you do with a child-free weekend?

30/I don't want your freedom
I don't want to play around
I don't want nobody's baby
Part-time love just brings me down
I don't need your freedom
Girl all I want right now is you

OD and I have the prospect of a child free weekend at the end of the month. Are you thinking wayhey! freedom! Well, I'm not. I have no idea what do to with such freedom.

Cue pointless, spiraling ponderings... 

As I sit here Googling potential activities, holiday destinations, hotels rented by the hour, I find these song lyrics creeping into my mind. I am suitably horrified that I am (internally) singing Wham!because, of course, I am far too cool for such things. However, the words ring true for me at the moment and the prospect of a child free weekend has me asking am I that sad that I don't relish the thought of getting rid of the kids? Or am I just safe in the knowledge that my relationship with OD rocks so much that we don't need time alone on this scale? Could it be that after years and years of being more than just a mother, balancing a multitude of things on my shoulders, that I now am completely unchallenged by being just a mother? Or do I just have a shitty imagination?

While it will be nice, I'm not particularly excited by the idea of having a child free weekend. I have plenty of friends who moan about their kids and read plenty of bloggers who yearn for break from their kids. Being constantly regaled with tales of how other people, while absolutely adoring their kids, are driven up the wall by them, suffocated even, I have been under the impression that I should be acting like this also. But I don't feel like this and it confuses me. I don't feel overwhelmed by my kids, or their schedules, or mine. Is it because I have an adventurous spirit, that I don't let the kids hold me back from anything that I don't crave alone time. Sitting here thinking about what activities we might have possibly been saving up for a time when there is no kiddies around, I have drawn a complete blank! I always take the kids on my wild adventures and so I am REALLY struggling to think of anything I actually can't do when the kids are around.

So far here is my child-free activity list based on activities we can't actually do when the kids are around:

1) Walk around naked in the daytime.
2) Get pissed during the daytime.

Sound exciting. No, I thought not. 

I've never been much of an exhibitionist and really, if I got drunk during the day, I would need a lie down and would probably have a hangover by 9PM.

So I am wondering if there is something wrong with me? Or am I not working hard enough at life or at raising my kids in that I don't need time off constantly? I am perpetually shattered and there are evenings when I am exhausted and unable to write for work or for here but I get up in the morning with a smile on my face and renewed energy. I don't moan about my man or my kids, perhaps because I am not internally unhappy. If, on the rare occasion that I do get hacked off by something or someone, they are told straight away and the issue is immediately worked through and resolved. Then I go along my merry way. I enjoy every minute of my life with my kids. 

Nevertheless, I will take up the offer. I do really need to come up with something better than naked daytime drinking...

30/08/2011 UPDATE: 

So it is official...OD and I have an entire weekend free from children this weekend, well our own ones anyway. It's not as if we will walk onto the street and all of the children will have disappeared in some sort of Danny Boyle-esque film.

Okay, I'll admit it now that Miss B is nearly two and has never spent a night away from us and it's going to be hard. It's just how we roll in this family. We are incredibly close and enjoy our time together. The kids are growing so fast that before we know it, the time will come when we only get weekly phone calls and the occasional dinner when they are in the city, so our time, to me, is precious.

When I said to OD "what are we going to do this weekend?" he said "probably spend the entire time wondering what the kids are up to!"

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Getting Ready for High School.

The school holidays have flown by so quickly. Checking my calendar today I've realised that there is only seven days until goes back to school, seven days until he starts secondary school.

This is a huge step for him and I've pondered this long and hard over the holidays (yeah, that hard I forgot it was happening next week!) because while high school is a huge adjustment for other kids, for ASD kids it's a tougher adjustment.

All wants to do is fit in and so we try our hardest to make this possible. At times it works, when people often remark to us (the extremely annoying although well-meaning) "Oh, he doesn't seem THAT autistic, does he?" and at times it doesn't, like at his breakdancing lessons where he tends to stick out like a sore thumb. So with the spirit of fitting in in mind, I've had to go and buy school shoes and a school jacket.

At his primary school they were incredibly strict with the uniform policy with the full set including blazer. Just as was arriving at the school, the even instituted a school jacket so outside of ordering the expensive wool blazer and Gore Tex jackets we really didn't have to worry about what he wore. When we approached the High School about uniform, I was taken aside by one of the administrative staff. In her experience with ASD kids she has noticed that the more high functioning kids want to fit in and so she filled me in on the realities of the high school uniform and the dress code. There is a full uniform, blazer and all but only a select crowd wear it (I'm being diplomatic here) in the junior section and only prefects, in the last two years. So she said not to bother with the full regalia and just to buy a tie and make sure he was in black and white. She also advised me to check out what the other boys were wearing as they took every opportunity to express their individuality through this.

So since then I have been stalking teenagers in the area to see what is popular and trendy and based my decisions on that mixed with A's choices. It's been a bloody expensive mission too.

Anyway, the real point of this post was to share a document that was emailed to me from a Scottish based charity Enquire on tackling a new school with a disabled child. I've tried to find this online to link to but haven't so I'm cutting and pasting here as I found it incredibly helpful and it is written with discussing it with your kids in mind.

Going to a new school?
An Enquire guide for young people

All the advice “in quotes” comes from young people.

How are you feeling?
Looking forward to a new start?
Not sure what to expect?
Sad about leaving your old school?
Worried about making new friends?
Scared of the older pupils?
You’re not alone! A lot of people have mixed feelings about going to a new school.

We hope this guide will help. If you’re worried, talk to your parents or carers or your teacher.

And remember – Enquire is here for you. You can call us for advice and info.

“I was bullied at primary school, so it was good to have a new start.”

What can I do to get ready?
Before you leave your old school:
b Visit the new school to see what it’s like.
b Find out when you can meet the teachers and pupils at the new school.
b Find out if you need to get any school uniform, books or stationery (things like pens, pencils and
a calculator).
b Try out the journey you will take to school.
Then you won’t feel so worried about how you
will get there on your first day.
b If you are disabled, the new school should make sure you can get to your classes safely and easily. Visit the school to see how well you can get around. If it’s difficult, tell someone.

“I went to visit the academy before I started.
It helped me get used to the school.”

Starting at secondary school? What will it be like?
Secondary schools are normally bigger than
primary schools.
You will have a different teacher and
a different room for each subject.

Keep your school timetable with you. Then you’ll know which classes you have each day.
“You’ll get used to your timetable - don’t worry.”

Each lesson will have its own set of books and homework.
Tell your teacher if you find it hard to keep up with the homework.

There may be extra help you can get.
“If you get tons of homework, you can ask for
more time.”

What if I get lost?

Don’t worry. Ask a teacher or pupil to help you find your class.
“The teachers will understand if you’re late because you couldn’t find class.”
Getting extra help at school
If you’ve been getting extra help, you should still get it at your new school if you need it.

Your new school should have been told what help you need.

Remember though, you know yourself better than anyone else does. If you need something or don’t feel you’re getting the right support, tell someone.

There are lots of reasons why you might need support. Here are a few examples:
b home life making it hard for you to do your work
b difficulties with reading or writing
b being bullied
b feeling depressed or worried
b not having the equipment and books you need.
For more info look at the Enquire guide
‘Need extra help at school?’ (Download it from www.enquire.org.uk/yp or contact us for your
free copy.)

Have your say
Adults must listen to you when they help you plan your learning and support –it’s your right.

You can have your say at meetings with your teachers, parents or carers and other people who support you.

You may feel worried about the meeting.
Remember you can take someone along for support
if you want to.
“Know your rights!”

“Don’t be afraid to speak up”

For more info look at Enquire’s guide ‘Going to meetings’ (Download it from www.enquire.org.uk/yp or contact us for your free copy.)

People who can help
If you’re worried about something, it’s important to tell someone. Don’t feel alone. There are lots of people you can talk to. Here are some examples:
b teachers or other people at school
b your parents or carers
b a social worker or health worker
b someone at the youth club you go to.

And don’t forget! If for any reason you are finding
it hard to learn, you can call or email Enquire for advice.

Also, check out our website for young people – there’s lots of helpful info on it.
“Tell someone you trust.”

For more info look at Enquire’s guide
‘People who can help you in and out of school’
(It’s on www.enquire.org.uk/yp or you can contact us for your free copy.)

Don’t put up with bullying
You have the right to feel safe. No-one has the right to bully you.

Being bullied can mean things like people:
b pushing you
b calling you names
b making up stories about you
btaking your stuff or spoiling it
b hurting you or threatening you

If you get bullied by someone at school, don’t put up with it. Tell someone you trust. Ask them for help.

Remember you can talk to ChildLine about any problem at all. They will listen and help you work
out what you want to do. Call them for free on
0800 11 11 or visit www.childline.org.uk to have
a 1-to-1 chat, send an email, and get advice.

Stuff to do in school
A lot of people worry about making friends when
they start at a new school. One thing that can help
is getting involved in clubs and activities at school.

What are you into? Sports? Music? Drama? Computer games? Ask your teachers about fun things you can
try out.

If you can’t find something you like, you might be able to start your own club. Talk to your teachers about this.

Another thing that can help is having a buddy – an older pupil at school who is there to help you settle in. Ask your teachers about this:

“Give it time. Find people who are into what you are into.”
“Buddying helped me make new friends. I got to hang out with people in my lunchbreaks, watch tv, play computer games.”

Stuff to do outside of school
If you are looking for things to do after school or at weekends, check out Your Area on Enquire’s website: www.enquire.org.uk/yp
You can find out about youth clubs and services
near you.

“See if you can join a group or forum of young people who have the same interests or needs as you.”

Contact Enquire

Enquire can give you advice and info by phone,
by email, online and in guides.

Helpline: 0845 123 2303
Email: info@enquire.org.uk
Web: www.enquire.org.uk/yp