Dundee Science Centre

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At the weekend we decided to have a family day out.     We decided to encourage M to get out of the house we needed to plan to do something he would really enjoy.       The decision was made to go down to Dundee for a visit to the Science centre – http://www.dundeesciencecentre.org.uk/, as both boys love the science centre in Aberdeen.

We took the train down, which made the travel part of the day out.      It is only a 45 minutes journey, but after just one stop, we were getting “is this our stop?”    Goodness knows how they would cope with a longer journey!

Dundee train station is under going a major refurb at the moment, so the area was a total mess – I am sure it will be lovely when it is finished, as it is all part of the new V &A museum being built across the road from it.       It is a five minutes  walk to the science centre, and luckily it stayed dry!

The first thing we saw when we arrived was one of the Oor Willie statues – http://www.oorwulliebuckettrail.com/ – Hubby was super excited by this as he his a huge fan of the comic strip.     All three of them insisted on having their photos taken sitting on the bucket next to him.

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The centre had an exhibition about forensics.     It was brilliant.      The boys got their finger prints taken by a police man.     They found out about forensic archology, getting to dig up bones and then identify them  – they were ones purposely buried for the kids to dig up, or I hope they were any way!!!!!

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The best exhibit in my opinion was a mind controlled game.     The player had a headband with sensors put on and there is a magnetised ball and by relaxing you push the ball to the other player.    The most relaxed person wins.       The boys sat for ages in quite a stand-off, before M managed a push towards D and won.     The guy manning the exhibit did asked if they were usually so relaxed, and when I said as an aspie, it was usually impossible for D to sit still let alone relax, he laughed and said he was also aspergers so he understood that one!!!        Hubby and I played off against each other, and Hubby trashed me, which just proves he is used to sitting down and doing nothing, while my brain is constantly on the go!!       The boys seemed to love the robot area.    There were sensor robots that they had to trick, and we spent ages while the boys tried to out think the machines, and were both over the moon when they finally managed it.

We had a really pleasant snack lunch in the centre before heading into Dundee city centre which was a short walk away.

The boys did plenty more OOr Wullie spotting – Hubby has said he wants to go back to find some more!       At some of the statues it was a waiting game while the crowd took their turns to get photos taken.       We then went to see the Desperate Dan statue.

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We told D that this was who we had names him after, and it took him a while to work out we were joking with him!!

The whole time we were walking around the city, M was holding my hand which is something even when he was little he used to refuse to do.     I think it was his way of getting reassurance that being out was not a totally scary experience.     It was a lovely thing, despite me knowing there was an ulterior motive behind his actions.

The boys asked if we could get some munchies for the train home, and so we bought a box of doughnuts in the shopping centre.      I was really impressed with the boys though as there was a stall from a local fruit farm, and the boys asked, or rather begged me to let them get some strawberries and raspberries.         We sat on the wall outside and rather than diving into the doughnuts, they demolished the strawberries – I only got 2, and Hubby doesn’t like them!          While we were sat there, M wrapped his arms around me, and told me what a great day he had had.      It was lovely to see and hear.

We wandered back to the train station, only stopping to see one more Wullie on the way.

The train was crowded but we got seats.    The boys had a doughnut each and then took the raspberries, leaving one in the punnet for Granny!

We decided to pick up fish and chips for tea on the way home   and so stopped at the award-winning The Bay – http://thebayfishandchips.co.uk/menu/     While Hubby got in the huge queue – it is so good that it is worth waiting for, the boys wanted to go into the sweetie shop next door to get something to say thank you to Granny as she had given them some money to get something at the Science Centre – sometimes they can both be so lovely without even trying!    It was a lovely tea.

The boys went to bed totally shattered after a lot of walking around and fresh air.      M told me several more times how much he had enjoyed the day.     I think a day in a different surrounding did us all the power of good.     It was a lovely day.

I do think M had a little difficulty processing everything he had done and seen during the day, as the following morning he was totally withdrawn, refusing any company.    Getting him to go out was a step we had to do, but we know how hard it was for him.     We will continue to encourage him to get back into the world, but doing it a little at a time will hopefully mean he is able to build on each time until it no longer becomes an issue for him.

 

 

 

 

 

School Holidays.

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Last Friday saw the end of term for the boys.        It has been a challenging year fro them both.    M’s problems I have talked a lot about recently, but for D it has also been tough.

The year started with the class being rejigged shortly after the announcement of teacher and kids.     D was heart-broken when one of his closest friends was moved to another class, convinced they would never see each other ever again.      Needless to say, the other boy is still one of his nest friends and spends many play hours at our house, and D at his.      However, this start D on the wrong foot when he was already convinced school wasn’t worth it without the teacher he had loved for the previous two years – he still sees her as the ultimate teacher!         His new teacher has been brilliant with him though, bringing him on leaps and bounds.    I think it has done him no end of good, having been in a composite class with children the next age up.      D is a clever boy, but finds it hard to apply himself if he doesn’t see instant success – he is a perfectionist through and through.       Then the class grew further, and being a composite there is a limit on the total number of pupils to teacher ratio, so a second teacher was assigned to the class.     Again a change like this seems simple, but to D it changed his relationship with his main teacher, and he found that difficult to deal with.      There have been a few incidents of bullying towards him, and it is sad to say, he is getting used to it.       He has to be really badly effected to say anything about it, so I do wonder how many occasions he has tolerated it.    As a child who was bullied relentlessly for my size, I put on a tough outer skin so the bullies couldn’t see how much they were hurting me, but inside I was a mess as a result.    I therefore totally get where D is coming from with his behaviour towards the people who think it is acceptable to hate someone because they look and behave differently.       I was just the fat kid, but D is that, plus aspergers, plus being clever, so probably suffers three times as much as I did.            D’s biggest concern all year, has been that his best friend since nursery has been very poorly, and therefore missed a lot of school.     D is a sensitive boy, and worries about those he does allow close enough for him to care for.     He has therefore been really worried about not just the health of his friend, but also how his education was suffering.       D didn’t really understand how to handle the situation and went for self preservation.     It is sad to see their friendship not as strong as it was on the whole, but when the 2 of them are together, it is just like old times.     I am sure they will get through this, and their bond will continue to be solid, but this wont be helped by them being in different classes after the holidays.      With M missing so much school in the last few weeks of term, D has found it difficult to come to terms with.   He has thought it unfair that he hasn’t also been allowed time off, but having said that, he has been supportive towards his brother.

So the holidays are now upon us.       It is a difficult time for my both boys.     The lack of routine can be rather disturbing for them.       I therefore do a fair bit of planning to find things happening in the local area for us to do.      There are always a lot of activities organised for additional needs kids at the sports village, although D isn’t too keen to attend anything year after breaking his arm during a trampoline session with them last summer!       We are also lucky enough to have several National Trust property within easy reach of us.     These often have interesting events which are ranger led – we have booked up for walks, and a bat hunt so far.        Many things have to of course be weather permitting, and being in the north-east of Scotland, that means we can have all seasons in one day.      We therefore have to have contingency plans, and some times a second contingency plan, just in case!          Now, having said all that, the last thing I want the boys to feel is that their holidays are a regiment affair.    It is after all their down time when they should be recharging their batteries.      They will get their time on their games machines, and computers, as well as ad hoc trips to the park at the bottom of our road.         With the Olympics happening this summer, we have decided to hold our own.    Ours isn’t half as energetic as what will be happening in Rio, but instead we will be having a competition on the Wii-U on Mario and Sonic at the Rio Olympics – The Mario and Sonic Olympic games are really funny, as they are a strange take on the regular events.   After three events, D is in the lead, with me in second, and M in third, but there is plenty of time for all that to change!

So far this year, D has found the transition into down time harder than ever.    He has been extremely volatile with plenty of blow ups when he has become confused by the changes in daily life.      I am sure in a few more days he will have settled.

I love having both my boys about, and to be honest, I wouldn’t change them for the world.   Sometimes though when D is going mad at M it is challenging to give them both the support they need.        I try really hard not to blow up at them, and openly admit, I don’t always succeed.

Roll on the 17th August!!!

The domino effect.

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I think we are probably all aware of what the domino effect is, that one event causes the next, then the next etc.       This is kind of how life in this house feels at the moment.      It seems that we all are prickling against each other.    Nobody is to blame and nobody is the ultimate cause, but we appear to be going through a period of annoying each other.

To say I am worried sick about M and what he is going through, would be an understatement, and I suppose it hasn’t meant when things I see as not being immediately relevant it has made me annoyed when they take priority.       He is my baby, and like any parent, I want to take his pain away and make it all better for him, and when I can’t, I feel I am failing him.     I know this isn’t rational, but a parents love for a child isn’t rational, it’s an absolute.         I feel helpless.    I do however know that he is probably also feeling pretty helpless with his life at the moment, and we have to work at his speed to travel this tricky road he is on.

D is just being D.     He is full on with life, although when he hits his downers there is nothing to do to stop him.     He believes that he is a total waste when he hit bottom, telling everyone in the house how he “sucks at life”.      It’s hard to hear a child say that, especially when they do nothing of the kind.      D is a strange being – stop laughing, he is full of love and life most of the time, and is the most caring child.      I love him to bits, but he has this  darker side that his aspergers brings to the for every now and again.     He is a perfectionist.    He expects everyone to give 100% in everything they do, and gets quite annoyed with anyone who doesn’t – he often comes home from school saying he doesn’t like someone, and it’s not that they have hurt him in some way, but instead its that they stopped him concentrating in class.    The worst part is, that he expects more for himself.      He gets so angry when he doesn’t achieve the first time he tries something.     I have often had pencils thrown at me while he does his homework, and dodged games machine controllers flying across the room when he plays a new game for the first time.      Treading on eggshells is something we all do at times when around him.      It does tend to be M that comes of worse.     A lot of it is  the usual sibling rivalry, and I do see that as a fairly health thing that they love each other enough to banter – it’s when it turns violent I have a problem with it.      D doesn’t really understands M not being overly concerned when things aren’t perfect, and it annoys him – M isn’t living up to Ds unnaturally high standards.

Old Person, has good days and bad.     She is in pain, and that’s horrible for her.      Being stuck in the house isn’t good for her mental health, but since M has been off school I haven’t managed to take her out for more than doctors appointments.     She wont go to any clubs, or groups, because she doesn’t like old people!!!!     She does the ironing for the household, but when talking to people, she is quite happy to spin it that I sit on my backside all day while she an old disable woman does everything.    I think she sees it that she is joking, but I find it very hurtful that she could even think of saying that to anyone.      I wonder how she would cope if I went on strike!

Hubby seems happy at work after his time off last year.       I envy him getting out of the house every day, even if it is to go to work.     What I wouldn’t give for the half an hour sat on the bus being able to read or listen to music twice a day.      I suppose because I am stuck in the house I do expect him to take time when he gets home to do stuff in the house, which after a busy day at work, understandably isn’t always what he wants.        I suppose his love of football is part of his release from everything going on around him, and with the European championships going on at the moment, he has become totally engaged with it.     I am pretty used to being a football widow, but the times these games have been on, mean they have kind of been forced on the household.      He also doesn’t really get my lack of passion about politics just now, with the country falling apart.     I have tried to explain to him I have bigger things to worry about with what is going on in our own four walls, but he thinks I should also be getting on my soap box about everything else.     I can’t spread myself any thinner to do that, and have to draw the line about what takes my priority.

I spend a lot of my life going between biting my tongue and wanting to cry.       It is a feeling of drowning in my world.     It’s not about going out and being with other people, but about trying to make sense of keeping it all together for the people I care about most.     It is my place to steer this ship of madness and try to keep the individuals off the rocks.     Sometimes though I just need to take a deep breath and turn on auto pilot.      This however is something I find really difficult to do.        I spend a lot of time not remembering who I am as a person because of what I have to be for other people.      When I do get 2 minutes to sit down and do nothing, I really have no idea what to do with it, and so end up worrying about that – it’s a good job the hair dye I use covers 100% of the grey!!!!

Life is good.      I have 2 wonderful children, I have a hubby I adore, and a Mother who I am lucky to be close with.      It is just at the moment we are all rubbing each other up the wrong way.     I know this time will pass and there will be less stressful times ahead, but it can be difficult to imagine that at times.