Water Baby

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An important part of any holiday for the boys is spending time in the swimming pool.     We have tried to get them lessons but one on one sessions are very limited in our area, so we have taught them to swim ourselves.   Neither of them have very good technique but both can manage themselves in the water.    D is far more confident than M and will happily swim around where as M would rather just splash about in an area where he can touch the bottom.      D loves slides.    As soon as he sees one he has to go down it. M on the other hand would much rather be waiting at the bottom to cheer him on.      
The pool here at Haggerston has a small but fast slide that D adores.    M has never shown the slightest interest in going near it!    That is until yesterday when with no prompting he joined the line to go onvthe slide.    Yes not only did he wants to go in the slide, but he also went and queued up to door so!
The smile on his face when he came out of the water was a picture.    Ok he had come down with his goggles on and nose pinched tight, but he had done it and loved it!      He wanted to go straight back up and go again.   Well, 20 slides and slashes later, he decided he had done his quota for the day.
It is always amazing to see when the boys make up their minds they can do something and go for it.    After so many visits here we had given up asking him if he wanted to try so maybe that took the pressure off and so he thought he would try.
After been told we were really proud of him, his only response was “do I get a prize then?”

Water Baby

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An important part of any holiday for the boys is spending time in the swimming pool.     We have tried to get them lessons but one on one sessions are very limited in our area, so we have taught them to swim ourselves.   Neither of them have very good technique but both can manage themselves in the water.    D is far more confident than M and will happily swim around where as M would rather just splash about in an area where he can touch the bottom.      D loves slides.    As soon as he sees one he has to go down it. M on the other hand would much rather be waiting at the bottom to cheer him on.      
The pool here at Haggerston has a small but fast slide that D adores.    M has never shown the slightest interest in going near it!    That is until yesterday when with no prompting he joined the line to go onvthe slide.    Yes not only did he wants to go in the slide, but he also went and queued up to door so!
The smile on his face when he came out of the water was a picture.    Ok he had come down with his goggles on and nose pinched tight, but he had done it and loved it!      He wanted to go straight back up and go again.   Well, 20 slides and slashes later, he decided he had done his quota for the day.
It is always amazing to see when the boys make up their minds they can do something and go for it.    After so many visits here we had given up asking him if he wanted to try so maybe that took the pressure off and so he thought he would try.
After been told we were really proud of him, his only response was “do I get a prize then?”

Preparing for hols.

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Tomorrow we head away for our Easter break. We are going to Haggerston Castle again, having been there a couple of times before – http://jas2jar.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/haggerston-castle/. It is a Haven holiday park, so there is plenty to do there, but being a smaller site, it isn’t too busy for the boys. Like many things with our ASD boys, you do something once, and it is scary and there is great resistance to doing it, but do something a second time, and it becomes the norm, and therefore what we must do. Haggerston has therefore become what we do at Easter and during the October holidays, although we do also go to Haven in the summer – last year we went to Primrose Valley near Scarborough, and to be honest the site was too big for the boys. Being bigger, it was much busier with far more people, and they therefore struggled to cope with the shows and group activities. We learned our lesson and have opted for a smaller site for the summer this year, and are heading to the Lake district, a part of the world that both Hubby and I love!

The boys are half way through their Easter break from school – they go back to school on Easter Monday, but don’t get me started on how terrible I think that is, and we have kept busy this week. It is a fine line we walk between giving them the freedom to chill and enjoy their down time, but keep them mentally and physically occupied so they don’t become too frustrated with the lack of routine. We have therefore had something planned everyday so they have had something to fill their time, but they have also had plenty of time for going on the trampoline, seeing their friends – well D’s friends that M attached himself to, and just slobbing in front of their video games! I think for once we have pretty much managed to keep them on a fairly even keel most of the time!

Today though is another story. It is the day before we go away. We have written lists during the week, jobs that needed doing, things to pack, etc, and today we executed them. The problem is what to do once everything is organised! Everyone has been brilliant doing their share of the preparations, and the car is packed waiting to head off first thing tomorrow morning – we like to head off in time to get as far as Edinburgh for a breakfast at IKEA – another thing that the boys see as a normal part of the holiday! The boys have had their hair cut – all three of them. M moaned and groaned the whole time, but looks really smart when I take the shaggy bits from around his ears – he really hates having his hair cut which is why we had to give up taking him to the hairdressers, and I learned to cut a straight line, luckily his poker straight hair works really well in a bob!!! He had his lollipop as a reward once it was done! Finger nails have been cut. We even have about a hundred cuddly buddies checked and double checked waiting to go away with us.

But what to do with the rest of the day?

D and Hubby watched the footie – not the result they wanted and so Hubby is now in a foul mood. M is pacing. It wont make time go faster but it helps him. There is too much nervous energy going on to sit nicely and watch a movie, and the sky looks like it could open up at any moment so playing out wont last long.

I do wonder how I used to cope, because I was one of these people who would pack weeks in advance so as to make sure everything was ready, but now leaving it all - well as much as possible, to the last-minute makes life so much easier – I do write my lists so I feel I am getting organised though.

I just hope this year the Funstars – what Haven call the entertainment staff, are as brilliant as last year.    While I think in an operation like a holiday camp everyone is equally important from the garden and the laundry room worker to security, and management, it is the entertainment staff that are the face of the company.     They are the people the kids latch on to, and happy kids means happy parents and therefore a happy holiday.    The boys do enjoy a lot of the activities that are organised for the children so they need a person they can relate to.

The boys are excited at the prospect of swimming every day – but trying to get them into the pool when not on holiday is so difficult, and of course spending their saving in the games machine arcade – they go for the machines that spew out tokens, and then they cash them in at the end of the week – last year they did brilliantly and came away with a lot of quite nice booty – they could probably buy the things for a lot less, but the winning the tokens and cashing them in is an important part of their holiday!

Fingers crossed the weather isn’t too bad for although we aren’t outside much its going from caravan to entertainment centre that could get us soaked.

Maybe today I could just send the boys to bed early, very, very, early!!!!!

Lunch Playdate.

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M is growing in confidence. There is no denying he is at last beginning to feel more confident with some people. Now, I’m not saying he’s able to hold a conversation with somebody he doesn’t know, but he can now make occasional eye contact with people he sees me with on a regular basis – I am talking about the Mums, and Grandmas we see at the school. There are a chosen few, that I talk to regularly that he is at last coming out of his shell with, and it is beautiful to see. One in particular, he has been happy enough to walk home with, and even stop into her house. It is a major leap forward in his development. One that being honest we were wondering if would ever happen!

A few weeks ago, the Mum of one of D’s friends suggested her son and his chums had a boys night at her house – tea and playing. D was very excited at the prospect. M looked put out, and as usual we explained to him that when D gets an invitation, it doesn’t always include him – he sometimes gets quite upset when not being included on party invitations, which is why for D’s impending party I have made sure siblings have been invited. He wasn’t having that, he knew the boy to speak to and his Mum was in his circle of adults he was learning to trust, but it still came as an amazing shock when he out right asked her if he could go too!!! I was horrified that he could be so forward as to invite himself, but my over-riding feeling was one of great pride that he had wanted something that he knew was attainable and just went for it. He had spoken to an adult unsupervised, and it was wonderful to see. The Mum said he could go, and hadn’t invited him as she wasn’t sure he would cope – they only live at the other end of our street, so I said if he was finding it difficult, just send him home! They both had a lovely time, and came home well fed!

My boys then asked if they could have some friends over during the holidays. Of course they could. To be honest, I would rather people came here to play as it give M the freedom to have a familiar safe spot if it gets too much for him, and therefore we pretty much have always had an open door policy for kids popping in – I do however have to know their Mums before I let them in as I don’t want any trouble!

The boys though didn’t just want a playdate, they wanted a play day! They invited four – 3 boys and 1 girl,  of D’s chums – M is more comfortable with them than his own peers, and their Mums/Grandmas – I thought if they are going to wreck the house I at least want a gossip and a coffee!! The boys then went ahead with planning the day! Everyone was to come over midmorning so they could play before having lunch – lunch was going to be pizza, and then they could play again afterwards! It sounded a perfect plan. I suggested that if we made dough then everyone could make their own pizzas. The boys like the idea.

I then threw a spanner in the works, and said they had to tidy their bedroom and the toy shelves if they wanted visitors!!! After much grumbling, they did it, and did a brilliant job of it on Monday.

Yesterday morning, I was in the kitchen making the dough – I had to make different sorts as D’s best friend has wheat and milk allergies, so I am learning how to adapt recipes, and I heard the cleaner going. I thought Old Person was putting it round - I know hard to believe, but no, M had decided he should clean before his guests arrived, and D had the polish and was cleaning the table! I should definitely invite people over more often if it gets this response from them!

The day was great fun, and all the kids were so well-behaved.   The pizzas all looked lovely, and were consumed with gusto.      Luckily the weather was good, so they were in and out to the trampoline as well as the little play area just out of our back garden.    Much time was also spent playing The Lego Movie Video game, and they all agreed it was awesome!

The house was a bomb site after they left, but no more than it is usually with my two, and it was just toys that needed putting away, and nothing more disastrous!

The boys were good hosts, and played nicely letting others play with their stuff – M has sometimes in the past had to be told to let others use his toys, but not today.       I think the only time I had to raise my voice during the day was when they were all at the dining table eating, you’d have thought they were each a mile apart that they had to scream a conversation!!!

My boys of course want to do it again, and will definitely during the next holidays.       I am very proud of how well they behaved, not just with the children, but with the adults, as M was very gracious when complimented on the flapjacks he had made!

It is lovely to see the hard work of teaching social skills does sometimes pay off.     D was overwhelmed by everything from the day, and I do think it was possibly sensory overload for him, as he spent an hour sobbing his heart out in the evening, for no apparent reason.   I think he just needed to release all the controlled emotion from the day, and crying is a lot safer than his usual thrashing and screaming.       He was asleep within minutes when he settled down, and hopefully had sweet dreams about his successful day.

Matthew’s Trip to the Vet!

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jas2jar:

Today he has taken the responsibility of holding him while he had his drops.

Originally posted on The World of Neil:

In our house we have a number of pets. The more exotic of those (no
disrespect to the boys’ fish) is our 3 turtles. This week though Jane
noticed that one of them had swelling around the eyes, and had them closed
all the time. There was no getting away from it, it was time to head to the
vet. Fortunately there’s a vet’s surgery in Portlethen, so it was on the
phone to get an appointment. Despite phoning at 4pm or so, they had a free
appointment at 420pm that afternoon. So it was a bit of a rush to get a box
for the poorly little guy and to get out. As Matthew was dressed, Jane
asked him if he’d like to come with me. He was given a big job – to look
after the turtle in the box and make sure he was safe.

Now, Matthew…

View original 427 more words

The Lego Movie Video Game is Awesome.

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A few weeks back, the boys were lucky enough to have been awarded a grant from the Family Fund -http://www.familyfund.org.uk/, for a games machine. I do feel guilty getting help with buying things for the children, and sometimes feel they have too much for children of their age – both boys have their own tablet computers thanks to Family Fund, and it has help both off them with their fine motor skills and their hand/ eye coordination, but when you hear of their peers parents complaining their kids want I-pads and the likes, it makes you realise how blessed you are that someone has helped give my boys something that not only helps their personal development but also their educational as they feel so comfortable using technology – I have lost count of the times I have asked for help from one or other of them when I get stuck!!!

The boys both have bonding issues with people around them, M more so than D – M has nobody he would call a close friend, where as D has two children that he couldn’t survive without – I would describe D’s ability to make friends like the ripples a pebble dropped in water makes, he is the pebble and those close to him are the immediate ripple and his bonds become more diluted as the ripples become wider. M and D love each other very deeply, and this was seen very clearly when D was in hospital earlier in the year, but they often have problems showing it, to the point of very physical violence when they don’t respect each others personal space. I say to them, that I would never force them to be friends, but they are brothers, and therefore will always have a special bond, because you can’t choose family, and sometimes you just can’t get on however hard you might try!

One thing that has united them though is their love of games on the wii, especially the Lego games. D loves to play them, but gets himself very upset if he isn’t perfect within seconds of playing – we have to set limits of play time, but even then it often results in me switching it off and having him go for a major outburst that is short-lived rather than him simmer into amazing meltdown. Some games M likes to play, such as Skylanders, but on the whole, he would much rather watch D play, and can sit for hours observing rather than participating.

The wii though was getting old, and it was becoming hit and miss as to if it read discs, so the grant from the Family Fund was a godsend, as time on the games console is very much time they spend together. We thought about what system to get them and decided upon the wii-u because it will play the original wii games so we wouldn’t have to buy other formats of those they love!

We didn’t tell the boys about it until the day it arrived, luckily a day Hubby was working from home, so he was able to spend his break setting it up! The boys went mental! They were so excited and couldn’t wait to switch it on!!! That was them for the rest of that day!

One game they were desperate to get was The Lego movie Video Game. They had wanted it since seeing the movie. One of M’s obsessions is watching a guy called Zac Scott on Youtube. He plays various games, and talks through the game play and how he finds the play. He is no expert, and therefore makes mistakes, and shows ways to get out of things. M loves watching him, to the point of if I hear is strained girly laugh, and the expression “Oh my God” one more time, I might just explode! We had ordered the game from a company on Amazon, at the same time as the console, but the game didn’t arrive. Hubby contacted them after giving them the maximum time stated for delivery – 2 weeks seems a ridiculous delivery period when it’s from the UK, and they stated it had been dispatched but lost by the courier!!! Why they couldn’t contact us to say this, or send out another copy,  I don’t know, it would have saved D’s daily screams of anger directed at the postman. Anyway, they refunded our money. When I told D what had happened, he went mad, to the point of not being able to hear as I explained that as they had refunded the money we could go to the shops and buy a copy.

I doubt the staff in Argos have ever had 2 such over excited children in their store! When the lady handed it over the two of them cuddled the box!!!! They took turns to hold it on the way home!

The game went on!

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The smile on his face says it all, as he took up position to watch D play.    M rarely has such a natural smile, and even less often keeps it on his face when he sees me try to take a picture of him.    He was so genuinely happy that he glowed.    It was an awesome sight!!

As D played the game, M offered advice from what he had seen Zac Scott do and soon the game was in full swing.

They might not be playing together in the traditional way, but they are bonding in their love of something that means little to me but everything to them.

In our house, as far as all things Lego Movie are concerned, everything is awesome!