Well, hello there.
Let me introduce myself. I am a flaky friend, distant family member and a soft/terrible parent… Or am I?
I am a planner, working at Portsmouth dockyard for BAE Systems, I eat sleep and breath football, love anything comic related(which now means I’m with the cool kids, unlike when I was a kid) and I love fantasy, be it through books or computer games, I love things that aren’t ‘normal’. My wife is a very successful self-employed Babysitter and Nanny, she loves her football, loves her soaps and always has to be out and about, ensuring no one is bored.
My wife and I, have two beautiful children O and C. O is 6, very bright, loves his football and is a very popular child. C is the brightest bubbly 2 year old you will have the fortune to meet, he is cheeky and has a sense of humour beyond his years. O has been diagnosed with Social and Communication difficulties, Autistic traits and is awaiting a formal diagnosis for Autism, C is hypermobile in every joint and as such it impacts his daily life by making seemingly normal tasks; walking, holding cutlery, climbing stairs etc. a lot more difficult than they should be. On the surface you can’t tell… most of the time. Anyway let’s put my case forward that I am not what I have said at the top of this post.
As you have probably guessed by now, life is just a bit on the busy side so my blogs could well be like the contents of my head, bit here, bit there, bit everywhere, I will see how they turn out and may find some structure at some point
Everyone knows Facebook is the rose tinted view of life, everyone puts out the fantastic stuff, things we’re proud of, celebrations, great photos etc. What we have to do in ‘real’ life is somewhat different. Highlights of every day that you don’t see on Facebook include some of the below.
Our day, or how it will pan out all depends on how O wakes up. If he wakes up in a good mood, happy days, all is sweet with the world. If he wakes up in a bad mood, oh dear! O normally wakes up between 0530 and 0700, if you ever mention this in his presence he will tell you of a time when he was three, he woke up at 0713, it’s a story he finds very amusing, it cracks him up every time he tells it, I’m guessing you aren’t laughing right now so I didn’t do it justice with my delivery, if you ever have the pleasure of meeting him ask him to tell you the story, he tells it so much better than I do, once he’s stopped laughing himself, I can guarantee you will laugh. Depending on whether he fancies a walk across the hallway(after he has already got out of bed, gone to toilet and gone back to bed) we will either get a gentle shake or be bellowed at from his bed, letting us know he is hungry. Once he is up, he is up, those eyes open and he is awake, going back to sleep is not an option. We often have the conversation(by often I mean, pretty much every single day) that he can’t have breakfast before 0700, we often leave out a snack to tide him over just so he doesn’t die of starvation but that is never enough. You may be wondering why we have this 0700 rule, simply because we are trying to set the precedent that we will not get out of bed until 0700, to try and get a bit of rest at some point. I wake up at 0530 for work so I try to get some rest at weekends, it’s been a few years, he still hasn’t accepted that yet. A very funny example was just a week or two ago, we had something on, I can’t remember what it was now, but I said to him the night before to not wake me up until 0715 and then I would get straight up and we can get ready etc. At about 0545 he kindly gave me a gentle shake and let me know that it was an hour and a half until he was coming to wake me up. I was about to drop back off to sleep when he gave me another gentle shake letting me know that in just over an hour it’s time to get up. This carried on until 0715 when he woke me up, happy in the fact he did everything he was told to and hadn’t woken me up until when I said even though I had been up since 0545.
But as I was saying, we do our best to stay in bed until 0700 just so we don’t have to go downstairs to make O breakfast. Why don’t you just send him downstairs to get his own breakfast? My 6 YO makes their own breakfast, I hear you cry. Well, here’s another of O’s quirks, he will not be on a floor of the house without anyone on the same floor which means that rather than going down and fixing his own breakfast he will continue to complain and protest that we are starving him.
We do stand our ground but on those bad mornings he will get louder and louder and eventually wake the sleeping C, which of course as you can imagine creates the need for more damage control.
When we do get downstairs and get to breakfast, most of the time there isn’t an issue as long as everyone and everything ‘sticks to the plan’. When it comes to eating, O is a delight, he will eat anything and everything you would imagine a 6 year old will eat and more, C is the picky eater and it drives us crazy, but thankfully O will eat anything. Breakfast is a delicate time as we have to run through a checklist for the cereal; Milk or no milk? Warm or cold milk? That’s easy, when remembered, when we’ve had enough sleep. Oh and the other ‘rule’ is that he must have 3 different things for breakfast, not a problem most of the time, an issue can be just before shopping day, running out of cereal or bread too early, is not worth thinking about.
That’s almost all the fun and games we have in the morning but the other one we get occasionally is related to his not wanting to be on a floor alone and that involves getting ready to go out. Normally there is only one of us about(parents) and two of them(children) so at some point we have to obviously concentrate on C to get him ready and hope that O will do something for himself and on a bad day, issues galore.
O is very, very stubborn and if dealt with carefully most situations can be dealt with, without an explosion. Sometimes he is looking for a fight and no matter what we do there will be a meltdown, sometimes, through tiredness or frustration we are the ones who cause the meltdown, if a meltdown occurs anything can happen. The red veil that falls over his eyes when a meltdown occurs there is no reasoning with him at all, the best thing to do is to walk away and let him calm down naturally as any contact increases the intensity. As you can imagine there are many situations where this just isn’t possible or he himself doesn’t allow you to walk away.
O has gone to school in his pyjamas, walked to school barefoot in the rain, played with his feet in his room because he has had all his toys taken away and we can’t take his feet away, he is unbreakable. There is nothing you can take away(or threaten to) to get him to do anything he doesn’t want to do. He can be fully raged one second and calm the next with almost no memory of the previous mood. He rarely shows remorse for anything he does, as far as he’s concerned he is in the right and will not hear otherwise.
I could go on and on, but I have just noticed just how long this is already, so I’ll cut off with just how tiring life is before 8am every day and that would not be the end of it and I haven’t even gone into talking about C. We wish we had more time to talk to friends and family or more energy to do so, O has been seen out and about in pyjamas/barefoot, we try our best to keep confrontations calm whether at home or out an about. We may often find excuses to avoid family situations or drop out at the last minute down to an incident with O.
Am I a flaky friend, a distant family member or a weak/soft parent? I would like to think not, but it’s not up to me to determine what you think of me, it’s just up to me to present myself in the best possible light and raise my children to the best of my ability. I have 2 wonderful boys who I could gush about on a daily basis and I will be using this blog to do so as well as whatever comes into this overactive head, so please come back and I’ll have something new for you soon.