10 Things HRH wants you to know.

Hi, I am HRH. I am 2.5 years old. I wanted to come tell you more about myself. I haven't written here since my letter to Santa so I thought it was time I stopped by and remedied this. 


A very nice lady, with the initials S.N. gave Mama a book called '10 Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew' by Ellen Notbohm. By now, some of my extended family have read it too and found it very helpful.

I would like to tell you 10 things about me:

1. I am me. I have my own personality, autism is part of me but does not define me. I have likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, just as you do.

2. I have a great sense of humour. Yes, it is hilarious when I break wind, just like it is for all males.

3. I am a very gentle and affectionate child, I love hugs and kisses.



4. When you meet me please do not force me to interact with you. Say hello and give me space. You are new, I need time to adjust and get used to your voice, your perfume/aftershave and other things you won't even have thought of or notice. Please do not take this personally. I will approach you when I am ready, I am worth waiting for. 

5. I cannot talk yet, I only have a few words. I am able to communicate in other ways though, watch me and you will see this.

6. Believe my parents or my big brother if they tell you something about me. They know me better than anyone else in the whole wide world. They are used to my ways and understand me. If they tell you I am tired then I am tired. They are my voice until I find my own voice.



7. The world can be a very confusing place for me. I get scared a lot. When I get scared I might have a tantrum, that is how I communicate my fear. Or I might hide in my Mamas' arms, or run away.

8. When I do have a tantrum it might just be because I am 2.5 years old and frustrated, the same way any toddler can be. Or it might be because I am overloaded with information and can't cope. It is not because I am naughty or spoiled.

9. It is up to you, as an adult, to learn to accommodate my ways until I learn new ways. You also need to make allowances for my fears until I learn to overcome them. You can help me by being patient and understanding.

10. I am not 'slow'. I need to learn differently than you do but I am bright and enthusiastic about my learning. I am not a genius either, like you I find some aspects of learning easier than others. (Oh, and I love my tutor).



Oh, how embarrassing, Mama is trying to interfere with this post and get me to tell you more about how wonderful and gorgeous I am  *stop it mama, go and write your own list.............. oh, ok, ok*

Mama says 'Hi'!

It's the small things in life...........

No, the small things are not my children. I could do a deep and meaningful post about how grateful I am for them, or my husband and my health etc. But I won't because I am just too tired to get profound. Instead I am going to be completely selfish and trivial and tell you what I am grateful for right now this minute, for me and my 'me time' :


1. My fabulous shiny new laptop, which has no sticky fingerprints on it (yet). It arrived a few days late due to volcanic ash and the grounding of flights, but I love it so much I am considering naming it. Any ideas anyone? Not Del Boy please, my husband already suggested that!

2. My childrens bedtime. From about 6pm I start watching the clock and breathe a sigh of relief when bedtime comes around. After an hour of peace and quiet I can remember their antics fondly and get back to 100% love and adoration of my children. They are irresistable when they are asleep.

3. Calpol. Her Cuteness has huge back choppers of teeth on the way and is not shy about sharing her discomfort with the rest of us.



4. My lovely cup of tea.

5. My blog. Well, I am here typing, talking to you, and you are reading it. Anyone who writes a blog will agree with me, it is lovely to have the connection and interaction with readers.

6. My 5 foot bed which has clean sheets on it today. I have just showered and I love that first night in a bed with clean sheets and a clean me, I always seem to get a better sleep for it.


7. My new laptop, yes, it really is worth a second mention. I still need a name for it. 

Thanks to Foodie Mummy for tagging me for this. The timing was good Foodie.

I am feeling a little mojo-less with regard to blogging at the moment. I find that strange because I am feeling so good in myself these days. If anyone finds my mojo please be gentle, I am anxious to be reunited with it.



I am supposed to pass this on but I will refrain and leave the option open to everyone who is interested in taking part.

Instead I will ask you to comment with even just one thing that may seem quite trivial in the grand scheme of things, but brings you great joy in your precious 'me time'. But wait, there is a second part to this, then you must try and do it today, deal?

Chucky Lives!



He climbed up the stairs, slowly, on all fours. He paused every now and again to take in his surroundings, using the knots in the wood as a guide to how much further he had to go. Reaching the top of the stairs he banged the gate and jumped. Too much noise! A knowing grin played on his lips as he raised his finger to mime 'ssshhhh'. The grin said 'don't wake the baby, yet!'. He ran, on tiptoe, into the bedroom. Turning, with a sweet smile, he serenely said:

'DIE NOW'

This was HRHs' first attempt at 'lie down'. Close, you might say, but it had me confused for just a moment. Non-verbal children coming to grips with speech make mistakes, right?

Right?


How embarrassing is that!

I have been dared to tell a really embarrassing story about myself and take part in the meme at Urbanvox.net.  To be fair I have picked probably the most embarrassing one ever, I am  surprised that I am even considering telling you.




I grew up on agricultural research farm. My sister and I spent a lot of time on the farm and used to play various games in the milking parlour. My Dad taught us all kinds of things, like how to know there was cow dung in the grass (so my mother wouldn't kill him or us) by watching for taller, greener grass. We had great fun and learned all kinds of useful things, including 'cows playing'.

When the cows played one jumped up on the other. My sister and I used to be quite worried about this because we were afraid that the cow underneath would get hurt. My Dad always assured us that it was ok, the cows were just playing. As we got a little older, and more reliable, my Dad would get us to sit at the edge of the field and watch the cows. If they started playing our job was to call him. He would rush out and take down the numbers from their ear tags and then go back into the office. We were quite happy to do this 'job' and we were very careful not to sit on any grass that was greener and higher than the rest of the grass!



By now you have probably figured out what the cows were doing, but I never did! I was 11 when we moved from the farm and hadn't worked it out. In fact (gulp) I didn't figure it out until I was 19 when I saw two dogs 'playing' and then understanding crashed into my head. By this time I wasn't living with my parents so I rushed home to phone my Dad and begged him to tell me if it was true. The cows hadn't been 'playing' for all those years?

My Dad couldn't stop laughing long enough to answer my question!



By the way, I did say nineteen, that wasn't a typing error. I got married when I was 27 and that was the first, and only time, I have ever told that story, until now. I have butterflies in my tummy!

Consider yourself dared, go on, you know you want to!

Love is....................

I was at a wedding a few weeks ago and one of the readings was 'Love is patient, love is kind'. I had the same reading at my wedding. At the time I thought I understood the meaning of the words.

Let me just explain. Patience has never been one of my strong points and I have never managed delayed gratification well. I have worked hard over the years and I am sure I have improved, ask my mother ask my father. I inherited this trait from him so he is the safest fairest judge of it.



2 days ago HRH held his arms up to me and said 'han'. I didn't understand so he said it again. He walked away and came back to say it again, and again. He held up his arms again and I lifted him up, still not understanding. He said 'dow' so I put him down and then he held up his arms and said 'han' again. I was lost, so held out my arms to him and he took both of my hands (duh me!!). He held both of them and started to move and I realised he wanted to play 'ring and ring a rosy'. You should have seen the relief on his face when he realised I understood.

As I sang the song I was just bursting with excitement. Honestly, this was such a precious moment. Two new words and a verbal request to play with him. He never broke eye contact, smiling at me until we got to 'all fall down' and then he ran off, happy.

This is when I realised how much I have changed over the last 7 months, since he was diagnosed with autism. I have found reserves of patience that I genuinely didn't know I had. HRH does little things every day to amaze me. This was a big event and it will keep me going until the next 'big thing'. I have thought about it going asleep every night since and I smile while thinking about it first thing in the morning.

I can be patient and wait for the next 'big thing', it will come and it will come in his own time. I didn't know I had it in me!

Love is:

Photo Meme

Marylin from Pure Unadulterated Softhistle tagged me for a photo meme last week. Thank you kindly, Marylin.

The rules are as follows:

1. Open your first (oldest) photo folder in your computer library
2. Scroll to the 10th photo
3. Post the photo and the story behind it
4. Tag 5 or more people to continue the thread

This is my photo:



This is a photograph of Firstborn, aged 4, in 2006. We took him to Alton Towers just after his birthday.

It was his first time on a plane and he was so excited. After we landed we saw a row of 2 seater Cesnas 'parked' off the runway and he said:

'Are they the planes you pick up and throw?'. The Pilot was standing nearby, greeting passengers, and heard. He laughed so hard and thought the comment was worthy of a cockpit visit.

The above, and this photograph are my strongest memories from this trip. This photo was taken in Alton Towers and it is the first time he ever tasted a doughnut. Do you think he liked it??

I now pass this on to 5 other great bloggers:

@itsamummyslife Its a Mummys Life

@himupnorth Blog Up North

@Nickie72 Typecast

@Peabee72 Battling On

@jumblyMummy Mellow Mummy

I know for a fact that at least one of the above has a few *cough* outstanding memes. If you are behind, feel free to ignore the tag, but please do accept my compliments for your wonderful blogs.

If anyone else wishes to take part, please do. Let me know so that I can come and visit.

Jen

Go on, say 'WOW'.





 
I am going to make you say WOW. Really! The first part of this post is a film clip 1.11 mins long. When you have watched this the rest of my meanderings will make sense.




I am going to employ some of my well known fuzzy logic to solve the problem that you have seen above. Yes, maybe you went 'WOW' and were really impressed that a 2.5 year old child can operate a mouse, but this probably isn't all that unusual. What you didn't see is that he is also able to open browsers, new tabs, close them and requests 'google' verbally. (This is a big deal for a child with autism who is non-verbal!) These are just a few of his computer talents, I won't list them all.

This might be a good time to add that HRH does not like the Twitter notification sound and shuts down Twitter on me as often as he can. In fact, when he starts the 'cleaning up' of his own open windows he also closes everything that I might have been *cough* working on.

Now, do you see my problem? This is my laptop and I don't get to use it often enough.


I have solved the dilema and, being a mother willing to sacrifice for her child, I am giving him my laptop. Yes, you heard correctly, I am giving a 2.5 year old a laptop. He will share it with his brother and sister whenever the pigs fly I am sure of it.

I am going to buy myself a nice, new, shiny laptop, because I'm worth it!! *flicks hair*

If you have a better alternative don't tell me, I really like this solution.

If you said 'WOW' and want to learn how to apply fuzzy logic in your life please email me and I will guide you through the process. It really works!

Making Little Friends.

The incident I am going to tell you about happened a month ago. I didn't blog about it because I didn't want to get ahead of myself or get too excited. But, for that, I haven't blogged much about HRH because this is holding me back. So, out with it!



Firstborn made his First Confession a month ago. To be honest, I was dreading it. I really wanted to attend the service for Firstborns sake, but a crowded church is not the ideal place for a toddler with autism. Nor is it the ideal place for his mother, who has to manage a baby alongside said toddler. In the end we went and I explained to Firstborn that if HRH became too stressed that we would leave.

It went well. It went more than well, actually. The church was busy, but not packed and we set ourselves up at the back in a quiet corner. HRH played on the floor with his cars while Her Cuteness had a bottle. When it was time for the confessions people started chatting. HRH started to wander about a bit. He went over to a small group of children who were playing, jumping up and down on the kneeler at the very back of the church...........and he joined in and copied them.



I was enthralled. I stood where I was and clapped for him, smiling and encouraging him. I couldn't go over to him because I had to keep an eye on Her Cuteness. However, I was so enthralled that I dropped the ball there and didn't notice that she had climbed up on the 'dispose of used candles here' bucket and managed to fish out some unused candles from the stand.. By the time I got over my admiration for HRH, Her Cuteness was happily munching on several candles!

I only had to do one, athletic, sliding tackle manoeuvre on HRH. He made a break for the Altar when Firstborn was with the Priest, but I can assure you I was very graceful and discreet. Far more discreet than when I had been clapping for and encouraging him earlier.


I have been slow to blog about this because I didn't know if it was a once off or the start of something. A month later and now we know. I have been giving him every opportunity I can to meet children and he usually joins in with them, even just for a little while. He runs around after them, climbing up steps and just generally having fun.

One little boy that he plays with nearly every day in the school yard said to his Mum 'I don't think he likes me, he won't talk to me'. I wasn't offended by this at all, quite the opposite, to me it is a sign that HRH has a little friend. The Mum handled this well by the way, she told her little boy that HRH is still small and can't talk yet, a line I will use myself when required.




This is a HUGE development, as far as I am aware. Mixing, joining in and imitation are skills that do not come easily to children with autism (joint attention) I did not expect to see this behaviour from him any time soon, I hadn't even thought about a timeframe for it or decided when we would 'work on it'. I need Hammie or Petunia to explain why this is such a big deal, they could probably do it in less than 100 words and make a lot of sense. 


It is not often words fail me, but they have now because I just cannot describe how amazing it is to watch him running around and laughing with children. So now, it's out and it's good news. It also looks like this behaviour is here to stay.

Does this mean I have to go to that awful Mother/Toddler group again? *groans*

The Tumbling Tardis



"What I want to know is, if you had access to the Tardis and were able to tumble through time and space to visit a younger version of yourself, what advice/words of wisdom/fashion & beauty policing would you pass on?"

This was the challenge set by Paula at 'Battling On'. Am I one to shrink from a challenge? Nope! I am going to go with the words of wisdom bit and, because I don't want to get into trouble with Paula for hogging the Tardis, I am going to write about one incident only.




One day when I was 4 years old my 3 year old sister and I were playing on the cattle grid at the end of our driveway. I have no recollection of the game we were playing, but probably something like 'tight rope walker'. My sister slipped and her leg got caught between the bars and she couldn't get it out. A tractor was coming towards us, and kept coming. 

I ran out in front of the tractor to get it to stop (oh, it must have been doing all of 10 miles an hour!) but it didn't stop. I started jumping, waving and screaming hysterically because I thought it was going to drive over my little sister. She was screaming even louder than I was by this stage. The tractor kept driving. There were three men in it, we knew them. It pulled right up to the cattle grid, stopped and the lads jumped down from the tractor, laughing, and helped my sister up. I brought her up to my Mum and then had to admit that I went outside the cattle grid to stop the tractor. We weren't allowed outside the cattle grid, but I didn't get into trouble because this situation was different.



The tumbling tardis has arrived and I can go back to that moment in time. What are my words of wisdom?

There isn't much I would say to Little Jen, except maybe not to play tight rope walker on the cattle grid. BUT I would grab the three men by the scruff of the neck have a gentle and wise word with the three men. Yes, of course they had seen Little Jen and her sister, they were driving towards the little girls to help. But the little girls didn't know that. 

I would gently remind the lads that children do not see the world as adults do, this is why they have parents and adults to protect them. I would be a bit annoyed with them because Little Jen was massively afraid of cattle grids for about 25 years after this event and refused to walk over one, not even on the concrete bits that were safe! I would also point out that Tractors are HUGE when one is 4 years old.

I have to admit I can see the humour in the situation now too and would probably have a laugh with them about it, after I had set them straight!

I now hand the tardis over to:


Mandie@ Maddies Ramblings

Jean @ Planet Outreach

Patricia @ The Odd Adventures of Dr Destructo

and YOU!

What are, or were, you afraid of that might seem unusual? C'mon, don't leave me here on my own with the cattle grid! That is a general question to all readers, the tardis challenge can be about anything at all.




Happy Easter and Autism Awareness Month


I have a picture of blue easter eggs for a reason. April is also Autism Awareness month and is represented by the colour blue. I hope this blog has gone some way to raising awareness of autism, this has always been my goal.

This little video clip is less than a minute long. It shows my gorgeous son and the two things he is most interested in (after me that is!): His big brother and letters.


video


Many of my readers do not have children with autism and I hope I have helped, in some small way, to give you insight and confidence for the day you meet a person with autism.

Thank you to all that read my blog, I truly appreciate your kind support and feedback, more than I can say.

Happy Easter, I hope you all have a lovely day.

Jen.



Will you be my friend?



There is a lady I have seen a few times in our Doctors surgery. She has a special needs child. We have exchanged smiles and nods, she seems lovely. I really want to chat with her. I don't know anyone in my area with a special needs child and would love to have a friend close by who 'gets it'.

I am afraid though that the words 'Will you be my friend?' will burst out of me and I will look like an idiot. That question works for children but as an adult I need to be more graceful. After all, she might not want to be friends! I also need to be considerate because her child is visibly special needs, mine is not. She may be offended that I am approaching her on this basis when she may not be able to immediately recognise that my child has special needs.



Jean from Planet Outreach started this wild rumour recently 'there is more to life than autism'. While I know Jean is telling the truth, it is a truth I am having difficulty coming to terms with. In the last 6 months, since HRH was diagnosed with autism, I have found that our lives are taking a very different course to that of my 'old life' friends.

I am not complaining here, but I find it increasingly difficult to be with people who feel sorry for me and say things like 'you have it so hard, I feel sorry for you' or 'you poor thing, you have so much on your plate'. I need to be able to talk with people who understand I am not complaining when I let off a bit of steam. Everyone lets off steam, it just happens that what I talk about has a scary name, autism. At least, it seems to be scary as far as most people are concerned, but it's not, I promise.




I am so lucky to have my Facebook friends, an online support group for parents of children with autism. I met up with some of the Mums earlier this week. I had only met one of these Mums in person previously. It was lovely to just sit down and chat with these women. I felt like I had met them all before and it was so relaxing. I am still enjoying the glow I got from just that few hours.

It was meeting them that has convinced me I should approach the lady in the Doctors surgery the next time I see her.




So back to this lady then. I suppose it doesn't really matter what comes out when I open my mouth, it is more important that I just do it. I might try waving the PECS folder about a bit first, in a white flag kind of way. I must remember that she may not be as desperate needy enthusiastic about this as I am, but I have nothing to lose either!

Has anyone any suggestions of a line I could use that is a bit more grown up than 'Will you be my friend?'