Sorry I've not been around much lately. The past 9 months have been pretty hellish all round and I'm still not through it all. Hence the reason for just review posts. Which isn't what this blog was supposed to be solely about.
One of the biggest things I've been dealing with lately is coming to terms with my eldest daughter's autism. I've had suspicions about her behaviour for a long time but it has really hit home over the last year. The meltdowns, the tantrums, the hiding of food (and that's just me lol!) have all made her autism all the more real. For a while it was something I could just forget about most of the time except for the odd occasions it reared it's head. But now it's with us nearly every minute of every day.
Probably the behaviour I've found hardest to deal with is the 'inappropriate urination' to use the posh term. Basically, when she's stressed, she wees in the wrong places. On people's lawns, on the settee, at the playbarn etc! At first it was usually a signal that something was wrong but would stop once the problem, whatever that was, had been removed. But after me and my husband split up in September it became an intermittent problem until the beginning of this year when it became a regular occurrence. It is mostly limited to her bedroom but it's been so frequent that her room just stank like a urinal. This weekend I ripped her carpet up and have replaced it with cushion floor so it's easy to clean up. I just wish I understood what makes her do it. Unlike 'normal' children where it would be a bid for attention, this is almost a compulsion for her. I'm not sure if it's part of OCD, where she has to wee in her bedroom else she can't settle, or if she does it for the sensory input. I wish I knew. I wish I could get in her head and work out what goes off in that overworked, confused little brain of hers.
Meltdowns are a part of every day life now. She has an obsession with the TV. She wants it on every minute of every day. Before I realised the obsession I showed her how to change the channel to one of the children's channels and she very quickly learnt all the numbers for all her favourite channels off by heart. Unfortunately, in her hurry, she doesn't always hit the buttons right meaning that a couple of times I had to wrest the remote off her and hurriedly change the channel from one of the adult channels that Sky sticks on. Fortunately there was never anything too bad on and I quickly worked out how to disable those channels so there's no chance of her doing it again!
The Girl comes home from school, demanding the doofer (remote) and 'her TV' and there are major meltdowns if there is any reason why she can't watch TV. Heaven forbid I should want to watch something of mine! I can see us having battles over the next fortnight while Wimbledon's on! She squirrels the doofer away so no-one else can change the channel, having learnt that a 19 month old baby sister is very effective at finding the buttons and doing things to the TV. Unfortunately she has also realised that you can pause channels, so the TV gets paused if she needs the toilet, or for tea, and she's also discovered the +1 channels so sometimes we have to watch the same programme twice. And every so often, for some unexplained reason, she will watch a programme and then half way through rewind it back to the beginning and watch it again. I love my Sky+ but sometimes I wish I could disable it!
Boy and Bug love Ben & Holly and Peppa Pig but they aren't allowed to watch them anymore. We used to be big Dora fans but she's on Nick Jr and we don't like the rest of the programmes on Nick Jr so instead I now know all the words to the theme tune of Jake and the Neverland Pirates, the dance to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Hot Dog song and have learnt about ants on a log from Special Agent Oso (now this one bemuses me. How can a bear who can drive a car, navigate a submarine, operate a boat and various other vehicles, not know to stand on a step next to a table to reach what's on it, how to rake up leaves or any of the other special assignments he's given. It worries me. And how does he reach the pedals in a car anyway. He's only a stuffed bear!)
Of course with the exposure to all this TV, my children are gradually developing American accents. According to the Boy we have garbage. And they play soccer. And jump rope. It's also affecting their aspirations. Most boys dream of becoming a footballer or engineer or a car mechanic or something really cool when they grow up. Who does Boy want to be when he grows up? Mr Bean. Poor kid. He doesn't stand a chance.
It's heartbreaking though. I hate having the TV on all the time. I'm not a Jeremy Kyle mother! When the kids aren't around then the TV is off. I watch a bit in the evenings but I can't stand having it on all day. And if Girl didn't have her special needs then she wouldn't watch so much TV. But it's the one thing that calms her down and keeps her settled at home, and she has major meltdowns without it. Life isn't going to go her way all the time but I have to pick my battles and choose which ones are worth having meltdowns over, and for me, TV just isn't one of them.
This wasn't supposed to be just a post about Girl's TV habits but about how her autism is affecting us as a family every day. I can hear the baby bumping around upstairs - she's awake and has probably climbed out of her cot by now. I'm going to leave this post now and come back to Girl's autism another post (yep that's the baby out of her cot, there will be a little face at the stairgate at the top of the stairs in a minute, shouting 'Mamma, tea-lunch, juice!')
If you've had any experience with autism I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback because at the minute I feel like I'm wandering in the dark.
Thanks for reading.