Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas Tree is up!!

Last night we finally put up a small christmas tree on our windowsill and hopefully we have found a compromise for everyone.  Ludo, our puppy can't reach it, so is unable to pull it over or eat the decorations.  Our two older children are satisfied that a tree is in place for their presents to be put underneath and our youngest son has a smile on his face as 'a small tree makes me happy, but a big tree makes me angry'.

It was wonderful to see the three of them working together and putting the decorations on the tree.  This may be a huge step forward as it is the first year that there are just christmas decorations on it.  Previously we have had soft toys and boxer shorts!!  Who knows what will happen next year.

Merry Christmas to everyone and remember, it is important to do what makes you happy as a family, not what is expected by everyone.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Tis the season to be tired, ill and stressed!!

Don’t get me wrong I love Christmas and have since I was a child, but unfortunately this time of year no longer seems to agree with our family.  For the past few years, I have crashed at this point due to a build up of viruses taking their toll on my body.  This year, it is the turn of our youngest son, who has been on a nebuliser twice since Thursday, is now starting his second lot of antibiotics and appears to be in a constant state of anxiety.

Things that he can normally cope with doing like going to have his hair cut are causing him a heightened level of stress.  He is digging his heels in far more often than normal about not wanting to do things.  In his words, ‘life is not normal’ and he wants things to resume a normal pattern as soon as possible. 

Fortunately, the stress of performing in his class Christmas play has been removed this year and instead of rehearsing he has been doing a project on pets, which he is enjoying due to the recent arrival of our puppy, Ludo. 

Putting up our Christmas tree has not been discussed yet – it doesn’t normally occur until the kids have begun the school holidays, but with Ludo chewing everything in sight, it is unlikely that a tree will go up this year.  I don’t think I can take the stress of removing an ornament/tree branch from Ludo’s mouth every few seconds of the day!  We may compromise and have a small tree on the large bay window sill we have in the living room, so that our other two children are happy that something is up.  They are concerned there will be nothing for their presents to be put under!!  Our daughter has had a Christmas tree in her bedroom since the end of November and is a good way to ensure her youngest brother does not enter her room.

Visually, our youngest son is getting a lot of pleasure from the Christmas lights that are being adorned on people’s homes and loves to take a drive in the dark to see the lights.  It would be a different story if they were in our home, as he would not like the change to the outside of our house, but he is happy to see other houses lit up, which is a step forward.

Each year we will make small steps like this and although we may not have a conventional family Christmas – we don’t have people visit over Christmas, our youngest son prefers not to have his presents wrapped up, presents are spread over a few days, rather than all being given on Christmas Day, Christmas dinner will consist of whatever everyone will eat, rather than conforming to turkey – we are happy and slowly building up our own family Christmas traditions.  As long as our three children have a smile on their faces and enjoy Christmas in their way, we can’t ask for more as parents.  

Do what works for you as a family, rather than doing what you think the world expects you to do.

Monday, 1 December 2014

The Lego Show

A birthday treat for our eldest son was a trip to the Lego Show on Saturday at the Excel Centre in London.  It is rare for me to spend a whole day with him, as like many families with special needs children, we have limited people we can call on to babysit.  Therefore, we have to juggle the activities of all three kids and find some time where either my husband or I can take one child out on their own for some quality time.  We feel it is important to have 1:1 time with each child, as well as spending time together as a family.

Saturday gave our eldest son the chance to relax without worrying about the demands of his ASD siblings.  It didn’t matter that the train and tubes were busy, as he could cope with standing up and being in close proximity to others.  Queuing for 45 minutes to get inside the Lego Show (and that’s with tickets that we had already bought!!) didn’t faze him, as he was happy to chat to pass the time.  When we had finished in the show, we decided to be spontaneous and go sightseeing.  These may all seem little things, but they are not easy to achieve when we all go out as a family as we need to prepare our ASD children for what we will do during the day.  From a sensory perspective, a day at the Lego show could cause them sensory overload with the volume of people, noise, people brushing past them in queues, visual distractions etc. 

After a day of looking at fantastic Lego constructions and seeing what was on offer at the various stands, our son came away very happy with his Ninjago Lego kits and Lego Xbox games.  I had hoped to buy some Harry Potter Lego, as it’s hard to come by these days.  I thought I had hit jackpot when I found a small box on a stand with Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy figures on their broomsticks.  I queried the price as the box had been opened and was shocked when I was told it was £45!! 

Instead of buying the Lego, I’m going to use the money to go on another day out and enjoy some quality time.  After the success of Saturday, I’ve set myself the goal of once a month, I will find time to have some 1:1 time with each of our children, as well as a day out all together.  It will need some careful planning to suit everyone’s needs, but seeing the pleasure on their faces like I did with my son on Saturday will make the effort more than worth it.  I want our children to have fond memories of spending quality time as a family, like I have of my childhood.  It doesn't have to cost a fortune either, what is more important is the time and attention you give your children.