Sunday, 9 June 2013
Whilst in work the other day I received a phone call from FD's teacher. She informed me that FD had won a prize in a colouring competition run in conjunction with one of the local banks. She had come joint third for a picture of the Daleks and Dr Who. I was thrilled! To put the icing on the cake............the prizes were being presented by a local MP who FD just happens to adore! As those of you with kids on the spectrum will know, obsessions are a big part of autism. FD is obsessed with this particular lady, mainly because my first husband, FD's father, used to work for this lady's husband. Every weekend we drive past her house and wave. The woman must think we are bonkers! FD has looked up every bit of information about her and uses Google earth to zoom in to her backyard. I think its safe to say that our local member of Parliament is well and truly stalked by FD.
And so, the day of the award ceremony came about. Myself and OH took some time off work (in other words I sneaked away) and met FD and her classmates at the venue. FD was super excited and then the MP in question walked into the room. FD nearly passed out with the shock! I'd been given strict instructions that morning by FD to bring her diary with her to get signed. So, off I went, diary in hand for an autograph. The woman must think I am bonkers. She was very nice though and when I explained the reasons for FD'd obsession she was very accepting of the fact that she has a stalker. Of course I never mentioned Google Earth! I thought that was a step too far!
It was the time for all the children to be awarded their prizes. There were probably about 30 children in all receiving prizes from mainstream schools. My daughter's school was the only special school there. Our lovely MP spoke to each and every child. When it was FD's turn to collect her prize she almost bolted out of her chair. We have a lovely photo of her receiving her prize from her heroine. And what a huge grin she has on her face. It was a proud moment for us. She even let her put her hand on her back! I sat with bated breath waiting for FD to punch the poor woman. But, thankfully she didn't. I could just see the headlines now............'autistic child floors MP with right hook.'
Later that evening at home FD must have asked me a thousand times if I was proud of her. And, a thousand times I told her I was. Yes I'm proud of the fact that her picture won a prize. But, what I am most proud of is the fact that she got up in front of lots of people and the press and collected her prize. She didn't have a meltdown and she didn't punch anyone. She did something she'd never done before and for that, I'm extremely proud. She never fails to amaze me. My own little Superwoman.
Posted by JB JOHNSTON at Sunday, June 09, 2013
Sunday, 26 May 2013
Last Saturday night I had a lovely night out with all my girlfriends. We don't get out together as often as we should due to family and work commitments. We have all been having quite a stressful year in one way or another dealing with grief, cancer, job worries and a general feeling of exhaustion. For me, getting organised for a night out has to be planned with military precision, although I'm pretty confident that all parents go through this for a night out and not just us special needs parents? Don't they?
I used to try and plan them for when FD was in respite but then figured that was a waste of a 'date night' for OH and myself. I mean how often do we get any alone time. Errrr hardly ever! So, in the run up to a girlie night out a number of things have to be done. Here are my 6 vital things to do for getting ready for a night out.
1. Book a hair appointment - this has to happen when there is someone to look after FD whilst my hairdresser tries to perform miracles with my hair and knock 20 years off my looks by making me look like a supermodel. OK, yes I know it'd take Harry Potter, Merlin, whatever God you worship and the Hounds of Hades to make that happen! A girl can dream can't she? Anyway, I digress. Should FD want or need to come to my hair appointment then the ipad has to be packed along with drinks and snacks. I have to be sitting in a particular chair in the salon so I can see exactly what FD is getting up to as she often likes to wander into toilets just to check out what they look like and perhaps shove all the toilet roll down them!
2. An outfit has to be sourced weeks in advance along with a backup outfit just in case I pile on the pounds or FD spills or chucks some food / drink over me before I manage to escape out of the house. Then of course if I am going to insist on two outfits then that's double the shoes and handbags required! Yes I know it seems like a lot of hassle for a night out but I still live with the horror of having a bowl of cereal chucked over me just as my taxi was pulling up outside the house, or realising that after I had taken off my shoes to relax before getting collected that the dog had eaten one of them!
3. Start to get ready for the night out at least 2 hours before I am due to leave the house. Yes I know this seems like a silly amount of time but honestly, out of the 2 hours I am probably only spending 20 minutes getting dressed! The reason for the 2 hours? Well, as soon as I step into the shower FD will bang on the door wanting the answer to a question. So, shower is stopped. As soon as I finally have my shower and begin painting my nails, FD comes in with another question or just to have a chat! Usually 45 minutes have passed at this point. FD will keep talking for a while longer taking me up to 1 full hour having passed and I'm still not dressed. Once I finally get dressed FD will come into the bedroom again and either tell me I look fat in what I am wearing or just not say anything about it which is worse as this means she really hates what I am wearing! So, I have to make the decision to change into the backup outfit or keep it hanging in the wardrobe just in case. On one occasion I had finally managed to get dressed with five minutes to spare. I was sitting on the bed, giving my nail polish another coat when FD came bouncing into the room, jumped on the bed and landed on a tube of body cream which had no lid on it. The result was a projectile of goo hitting my lovely new outfit before I had time to throw myself onto the floor and do my usual stunt woman roll! Anyway, as I am getting dressed FD will keep coming in and out of the room for little chats which inevitably delay me. So, 5 minutes before my taxi arrives I am usually just putting on my shoes, if the dog hasn't eaten them, and throw myself on the sofa totally exhausted before I leave the house. At this point, my rather tall 5ft 8inches fifteen year old decides she wants to snuggle into me before I go out. The dog follows her cue too. The end result - a very crumpled mummy! At this point I just don't care as I bound down the steps and into the waiting taxi!
4. All medications left out along with snacks and drinks. FD can be a fussy wee sod when the mood takes her. What she will like one day will not necessarily be the thing she still likes the next. So, in order to avoid any meltdowns that OH might have to handle in my absence, everything the child wants or might need snack wise is there! FD will also want to know exactly who I am going out with, where I am going, how long I am likely to be, and whether I intend to get drunk because I really should remember I am almost 43 and need to act my age! Gee thanks! This will be repeated at least 6 times before I go out.
5. Mobile phone must be fully charged for emergencies and I need to sit somewhere that I have good network coverage. FD has been known to have a seizure when I am not home and this usually results in vomiting that would cause even the most hardened vomit cleaner upper to stand back in horror! So, if this happens I'd need to come home as its not appropriate for OH to be showering FD after such an experience. Yes FD is one of those children who manages to vomit over her own head! Don't ask me how she manages it but she does!
6. My husband is well trained in how to handle a very tipsy and potentially tearful wife when she returns home. He makes me tea and toast and painkillers before putting me to bed. I have a bottle of water beside the bed to deal with the tongue that feels like Gandhi's sandy feet! Next morning its breakfast in bed before dealing with what the day has stored for me - usually a meltdown or a blocked toilet! My life is so rock and roll!
Do all parents have this much hassle for a night out?
Posted by JB JOHNSTON at Sunday, May 26, 2013