In the lottery of life I pulled four straws all labelled "reflux", "gut allergies", "hypermobility", "ASD" and "ADHD", (and more, but the straws kind of ran out of room at that point... ) four straws - children - with many talents, gifts, personalities which enrich my life hugely on a daily basis.
Except first thing in the morning.
Mornings, are without a doubt, the most testing time known to parents. The knowledge that you are solely responsible for getting your brood to school with all they need, looking
My children are not all at the same school - that would have been cheating, (far too easy!) and contrary to popular opinion this is due more to accident than design. It means my morning and evening school runs are staggered, and require Advance Level Planning to coordinate. I am now at Expert Level in the art of School Run Juggling, using the additional ten minutes gained when H started at High School eighteen months ago to indulge in a morning cuppa before heading out. Utter indulgence - and something I've *really* missed this week.
You see, in the roller coaster that is life with kids who haven't read the manual, sticking to the plan was never going to happen.
With a child on the Autism Spectrum, the moment they find a friend and they "click" is hugely significant. It transformed my son, and the past few years have been helped enormously by his increased social happiness, and confidence - particularly in school. We've worked hard to support his burgeoning social life, and indeed last summer it seemed that we had it cracked! He had a lovely group of friends and was becoming a little more independent and confident. Not for one day did we take this for granted, and we fervently hoped it would last.
H's salutary, if clumsy social efforts not to exclude any in his new group seriously backfired. One of the newer friends decided the group would be a better place without my son, with all his quirks and idiosyncrasies, so he was eased out. But the complete lack of explanation from these former friends, giving him no understanding as to what he might have done wrong has been devastating. Gone is all his social confidence, his independence and school is once more a trial and challenge on a daily basis. It's truly heartbreaking to see.
Frustratingly, rather than being able to focus on this issue with the others neatly playing ball (I'm sure there is a page in that manual about only one crisis at a time?!) two others decided it was a perfect time to fall apart. Of course it was! So to cut a long story short, my school run is no longer the straitforward single trip with one child walking to school with friends. It's multiple drop-offs and collections starting earlier and finishing later. This is mildly inconvenient at best, (there is a good reason I have avoided the twins' school car park for the past five years) seriously stressful at worst and most significantly my cup of tea slot has now evaporated. There isn't even time for an espresso.
So I'm currently living in a chaotic, have to make this work, no other options kind of haze, fuelled by the caffeine I should never have attempted to give up and sufficient determination a mother lion would be proud of. Writing of any sort has taken a back seat for now, although I do sometimes idly consider writing my own tongue-in-cheek manual for those with children with additional needs. After all, humour is the best medicine and those chunky books are good coasters.
So huge congratulations to my brother, and here's hoping your little one has at least a passing familiarity with the manual... If not, it's a total waste of time buying a copy yourself, unless you want the (not insignificant) satisfaction of chucking it out of the window and flying by the seat of your pants.
After all, life's never dull that way!
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