Sometimes you just have to go with the flow around here and sometimes it feels more like I’m swimming against the tide. Bella is a climber and a balancer, it’s part of her feline charm…sometimes however things don’t balance quite as well as she does. Take last week for example, I’m sitting in the living room feeling all smug that the kids are tucked up quietly in bed at 8.30pm (both with tablets, come on I’m not a miracle worker!) When it starts. A whine, very distinctively Bella’s whine which grows in frustration and rises in pitch. “She’ll be fine in a minute” I kid myself. She’s not fine after 2 minutes so I go to investigate. I find her pacing the room frantically, Logan is oblivious on the top bunk watching American children play with toys I won’t buy him.
“What’s wrong?” I ask hopefully.
“What’s wrong, what’s wrong, good girl.” she echoes. This usually means she doesn’t know the words for what she needs so I have to start guessing.
“Where is your ipad Bella?” it’s not an ipad it’s a £60 equivalent from Argos after about 4 ipads were lost to baths, juice spillages or just being dropped on concrete.
“Ipad, good girl.” Bingo got it in one, but where is it? Bella meanwhile is still pacing, from the bed to the window but this time she stops looking out of the window.
Noooo, she wouldn’t!
Thankfully we live on the ground floor so it survived the dive into the flowerbed. But seriously why does she feel the need to balance it ontop of the window which she pushes open? These idiosyncrasies are cute when no harm comes of them. They are less fun when her ‘thing’ is balancing a real Apple ipad on the edge of a full sink of water.
The window is now obviously shut, thank God for winter eh?
Although I will miss these random upside down writing practice I sometimes find.
After two weeks at school you would never know that Logan was a newbie. His school did none of this ‘breaking them in.’ He started on the Monday and boom that was him full time. He took to it like a proverbial duck to water. Some may say that it’s luck, I say it’s down to months of hard work from his nursery prepping him ready for September.
Day one he had a wobble and said he didn’t want me to leave, then he spotted some boys and a box of ’emergency vehicles’ and I was left redundant so I made my exit. At 3pm he bounded out looking so happy. What had I been worried about? Well if we went back in time and removed his transition process I’d probably have a lot more to worry about.
Logan had a full week at school before Bella went back and rocked the boat which is actually a saviour as he was late twice in his second week, had it been his first I think he would have freaked out. Logan is quite the pack animal, he like rules and boundaries and other children to follow so going in late on his own is less than ideal for him.
In someway I think I spent so much time and energy worrying and prepping Logan that I took my eye off the ball with Bella…but who knows. What I do know is that two weeks in he loves it, long may it continue. I’m pretty sure there will be hurdles to approach and tackle but for now I am basking in the glory of my “more typical” autistic child. Yeah…I know that’s not a thing.
You know when a day goes wrong I’m epic proportions? Well that was today. Bella went back to school after 8 weeks off and boy oh boy did she let me know her feelings about it.
After being deceptively compliant putting on her uniform, having breakfast and doing teeth and hair, we were ready at 7.30am. We had no idea what time to expect the car, or what car to expect, or who her guide was. Let’s just say that preparation could have been better.
None of that really mattered, I got more and more stressed as I frantically watched out of the window…for the next hour! 8.30? Well that was unexpected and I’m pretty sure that after an hour Bella had forgotten all about school.
When the car arrived the guide didn’t know how to fit her harness and we couldn’t figure it out either so I gave up and went to get Bella. Or so I thought, what I actually felt like I was doing was trying to bath a cat (have you ever tried that?)…a three and half foot cat wearing the most robust boys shoes that Clarks sell. Bella doesn’t often melt down and gets aggressive even less. Her meltdowns normally involves her sobbing like her heart is broken. This was feral, raw, don’t even try and get me in that bloody car type emotion. After a good few kicks including one particularly skillful karate-style kick to my throat (yeah that one stung) I managed to drag her out onto the street. 5 minutes later and she was still dragging her brand new uniform across the concrete and I was at a loss. At this point her guide tells me that she can’t take her without the harness. What the hell are you still doing here then?? I told them to go and that we’d make our own way. By this time is was 8.55, Logan was going to be late, Bella might make it for lunch time and I was a nervous wreck.
Bella instantly calmed down as she got into nanny’s car so I’m not sure what it was that actually spooked her. she went into her new school with relative ease which considering its a brand new building to her is amazing. After numerous discussions with staff it was decided that if there were problems getting her into her transport that afternoon that a teacher would bring her home.
4pm comes and lo and behold home she comes in a staff members car happy as anything singing to both staff all the way home. How this slip of a six year old is defeating everyone (including me) is a mystery but then if you’ve ever tried to keep hold of a slippery fish with your bare hands you’ll get the idea.
Day two comes and starts in exactly the same way. Her entire bus is late due to a 20 minute meltdown and once again we have to drive her in. Again she is happy in school so the problem is simply about leaving the house, breaking the routine of the last 8 weeks.
The day ends better…they get her in (they being four staff) to the car and she travels home well. That is until they decide to bring her home first and get there before myself and logan so have to take her on to the next drop off. At this point she manages to twist and swim her way out of her harness and the long and short of it is that her teacher was called to come and collect her…even though I was 5 minutes from her!
It’s fair to say that night I was stressed, I didn’t sleep well and the thought of the same again was taking its toll on me. The next morning we moved Nanny’s car out of her sight trying to cut down on the problems.
THANKFULLY after only a very minor scuffle at the car door I got her in and as soon as she sat down she automatically put her arms in her straps and started singing. I had to go inside and just sit down for a while as my body was pumped ready for the fight that didn’t happen. After texting family the news of our success…I ended up being late with Logan by one minute. You can’t have it all can you?
If there is one thing that Bella will always do it’s surprise me!
Bella is messy, wildly messy, she leaves carnage in her wake and to make it worse she loves tiny toys which she collects up and then releases dramatically into the wildness of our flat. I can for the most part cope with the toys, the big issue I have is with food. As soon as she reaches a food she doesn’t want (crusts, a funny looking chip) or reaches the end of a packet of crisps for instance. She drops it on the floor. Not on her plate, or the table, not even passing it to me…it goes straight on the floor. This happens in our house, at school, in restaurants and it’s just not cool.
As a single parent I’m not prepared to sit with her while she eats catching everything before it reaches the ground, I have stuff to do, and sometimes I’m eating at the same time so, y’know, priorities.
Every now and again I realise that I am truly and utterly stupid and I have these realisations which hit me like lightening bolts. Our kitchen has a stairgate on it to stop her from getting in and causing havoc. So, even if she knew to put her rubbish in the bin…how could she? It’s in the kitchen. This week I found an old toy bucket and put it in the living room and after she’d finished one of packets of crisps I (picked up the discarded crisp packet and put it in her hand) picked up the bin and said ‘in the bin.’ She obliged quite quickly, I was impressed and also happy that she didn’t freak out.
15 minutes later (don’t judge) she finished her second packet of crisps and LO AND BEHOLD she walked over and put the packet in the bin. Amazed wasn’t anywhere near what I was feeling. This summer her willingness to try and learn new skills has been fantastic. Her (usually titanium strong) will has been more flexible than I’ve ever known it.
The next day I carelessly handed her a packet of crisps in the kitchen and I watched herquickly vanish into her bedroom with them. Parent fail right there, but damn she is fast…and I was tired. Later I (having forgotten about the rogue packet of Worcester Sauce Walkers) wondered into the living room to find the empty packet in the bin. A day later. Unprompted. No reminders. Who is this child and what have they done with Bella, actually scratch that I’m happy with this one!
For too long Bella has ‘got away’ with having more done for her than she needs. Ok that might be a bit unfair but she is, in my opinion, capable of much more than she let’s on or that people give her credit for. I’ve made it my mission this summer to get her more independent and I’m starting with dressing. Everyday she is dressed and undressed as unlike her brother she shows no awareness of even really needing to wear clothes. She does go through phases where she only wants to wear Square Peg hoodies and zip ups but other than this I’m pretty sure if I let her she’d go out in just a nappy if I let her. Continue reading “This is progress.”→