Sulking. Emotionally wounded all before 9am. 

Mummabear is wounded. Hurt by words. Scarred by her failings and torturing herself with what she assumes other families do on Sunday mornings

Sunday’s generally comprise of Rugby matches in the ungodliest of weather conditions, ironing piles and Roast dinner (the saving grace). Sounds fairly standard I suppose? Except thrown into our normal Sunday routine is what I can only honestly describe as mummabears sulk. It’s not that I don’t like Sundays or rugby viewing in the cold for that matter but something about Sunday seems to mark the ‘you are failing as a parent’ card.

Today it was a pda breakfast protest. But it could have been anything. Sleep deprivation catches up on me…mostly by Sunday so I’m low on tolerance and patience and in mummabears true style I’m also newly determined (as we are embarking on a new week) that ‘ From now on’ we shall not be dictated to by PDA nor shall I allow children (PDAer or biggerbruv) to speak to me disrespectfilly. No ‘good’ parent would right? But of course I’ve decided not just this. I’ve created a mummabear monster who is expectant of not just well mannered children but also for those children to miraculously have morphed over night and comprehend the ‘new rules’ despite having had a late night.

Here comes the first blow. Baby bears wake up foul when short on sleep just like mummabear. Daddybear opts for “I’m not getting involved” attitude sensing mummabears is on a mission and all to knowingly ready for eruptions. 

On first glance mummabear appeared to have things nailed. Delivered clean rugby kits to babybears and giving clear firm instructions (carefully worded for pda’er to avoid instant meltdown) and cleverly informing them that breakfast was not up for debate or negotiation other than they could pick ‘small/medium or large’ bowl of cereal. Normally here would be where I’d insert ‘mega meltdown’ but even pda’er despite initial refusals requested a large bowl of chocolate crisp (not healthy but also not me being demanded of bacon and eggs). We’d agreed a choice of lunches to look forward to after rugby. All seemed well. That’s where I come undone. I allowed myself just briefly to feel ‘smug’, to feel I’d achieved my goal all without the help of daddybear and more importantly without losing my cool. Bonus.

NOT! Bliss is interrupted by Bigger bruv requiring some attention for some cream to be applied to a sore. A sore that I hold accountable for the resulting pda’er meltdown. “Urgh you’re disgusting I can’t eat now” (that’s the mild censored version of what came out of 7 yr old’s mouth) along with lobbing the ‘large’ bowl of cereal and verbally lashing out with unnecessary insults towards Bigger bruv and mummabear. Mummabear at this point is emotionally broken. It can happen that quick. To be so gutted that it’s pre 9am and it’s already cocked up is so overwhelming for sleep deprived mummabear that it’s a red flag to a bull. Children were not supposed to be rude and disrespectful today. Today was going to be different. Crap. I’m failing. Mummabear launches into response without clear planning or breathing (to allow necessary oxygen to reach the part of the brain that acts rationally!) And so we are in battle mode. A quick ‘consequential reminder’ is ineffective with PDA and knowing the strength and stubbornness of littlestbruv, mummabear opts for physically removing him from the room, partly to save Bigger bruv from the onslaught and mostly to get some desired effect (they had a movie on in this room so removing him removed that privledge) but now he’s proper furious and the abuse is hurled full throttle.

Mummabear regains mild control (of herself and the situation) by bringing in the newly purchased tool of a lovely brightly coloured sand timer (I’ve purchased 3 of varying times and I’ve quickly discovered that this means I can assess how much time I need to feel calm again and so use that colour accordingly) and instruct that he was to sit ‘there’ and think about the way he had reacted and spoken to me. He of course threatened to smash the timer but relented when threatened with the longer time frame of the blue timer I had not selected on this occasion!

During the timer break mummabear sips coffee and delivers daddybear his, whilst uttering mildly mad-woman comments like “I’m not putting up with this any longer” and “I will not give in” only to be greeted by the back of daddybear who is probably pretty pissed off to have been woken with this kind of shit again. We go to bed to this kind of shit too so we are all a touch bored of the same shit different day motto. But not today. Today was supposed to be different.

In the moments that follow the timer finishing mummabear receives a half arsed attempt at restarting the battle from pda’er before getting a disgruntled ‘sorry’ accompanied with the disclosure that there was no way i was going to get him to eat anything now. Oh well. I’m certain he’s had a few mouthfulls pre meltdown so that will have to do. Bigger bruv then brings out his big guns opting to also speak to mummabear like the proverbial piece of poo which brings about more stern words and ‘consequences’ because today is different remember. Daddybear chooses to join me on the frontline and reinforces some of my more rational utterings and before we all know it we are somehow all dressed and in the car on the way to rugby. 

Pda’er is showing minimal sign of remorse although he’s complied and is in the back seat as requested so that’s good enough for me. Bigger bruv is conscious of mummabears resting bitch face (see previous blog) and intermittently offers sorry’s and random conversations to try and break the mood in the car. Mummabear and daddybear barely communicate aside from pleasantries because the discussion mummabear wants to have is not for baby bears ears.

Mummabear is wounded. Hurt by words. Scarred by her failings and torturing herself with what she assumes other families do on Sunday mornings.

Although completely pointless  (other than allowing time for writing this blog) mummabear sits in the car sulking instead of joining her boys pitch-side.oh crap. There’s something else to feel shit about. And so with one long sigh topped with a deep breath and a search for a snippet of blue sky mummabear pulls herself together and pursues the supportive mother role in the cold. (Not without grabbing a coffee first… and definitely definitely not relenting on the today will be different motto) 

☆3 positives☆

1) the day is still young and despite a rough start I can choose to write a better middle and ending-  think I’ll go zumba tonight

2) I’m booking some flights later for a much needed short ‘adult only’ break 

3) last night (the late to bed night) we survived (unscathed) a friends party where pda’er would usually have numerous meltdowns

Sporting my best ‘resting bitch face’ we plod on…

My face makes him ask ‘mummy are you cross?’

Monday Monday… the house falls silent. I should be on my way to work but I’m basking in the ‘still’ in the calm and mellowing my own racing heart. I can feel my pout and furrowed brows etched on my face and I’m trying to relax. My resting bitch face appears all too often. Some people naturally look chipper when nothing else consumes them; not I! I have a face that says I’m mad even when i’m not. When sat in thought or idle  boredom my face tells others to not cross me. It’s not intentional. 

Mummagrizzly bear has the face that makes Bigger bruv ask ‘mummy are you sad’ or ‘why are you cross’… littlest bruv doesn’t detect this so well and of course probably assumes that any of the kick offs so far this morning could account for the bitch-face-look I pull off so well these days. I wonder if I wore it pre-diagnosis? Sure, things have been far harder in recent months but did my face ever resemble anything other than a knackered pissed off crazy lady? Possibly not since Littlest bruv was about 6 weeks old! Tough from the start he was. Now aged 7 and causing mayhem despite us reaching that pinicle moment of diagnosis in early January; as a family we are probably in more a state now than we’d ever been without a diagnosis.

Bigger bruv was grateful to get out the door early. A recent tactic employed by mummagrizzly bear in an attempt to save him from witnessing the battles we go through to get littlest bruv safely off to school in his taxi. So dutifully I text to arrange for Bigger bruv to call in on a mates on the way to school and therefore pack him off ahead of the storms. He’s already endured the breakfast battle and the teeth brushing battle and the ‘surrender your weapons’ battle (no I’m not letting littlest bruv go to school armed with daggers and swords no matter how ‘toy’ like they are!) So I’m pleased he’s out the way and sent off for his learning day relatively unscathed. I’m hoping now that I mustered a smile to crack the bitch face look as I waved him goodbye. 

Littlest bruv is actually calmer with my undivided attention too and on this occasion gave in to a brief cuddle and a game of catch (ultimate distraction) as we awaited his taxi. Compliantly and calmly he’s set off today. I’ve learnt that  this will have no significant bearing on how successful his day will turn out and think that’s why I find myself Sat wearing the resting bitch face contemplating my day. Mummagrizzlybear has lost her spark for her job since being off for over a month with Littlest bruv out of education. I’m back at work but either only in mind or body, never both together. I feel detached. Incomplete. Distracted by home and yet grateful to be momentarily distracted by work. Over thinking and yet not focussing at all. Feeling behind in all areas of my life. Suddenly the resting bitch face let’s out  a therapeutic sigh and I’m reminded to find my 3 positives before I plod on with Mondays duties.

☆3 positives☆

1) We’ve shared lovely parts of our weekend watching rugby with family with minimal meltdowns

2) Littlest bruv managed a whole day being cared for by my cousin meaning that there are opportunities to ask for help that work

3) Biggest bruv is newly motivated in a maths challenge at school and mummagrizzlybear loves an opportunity to play maths teacher

…Can I get away with another work from home?! Just read a quick blog that sums up why I feel so tired before my work day starts…

http://themword.ie/calling-bullshit-special-children-sent-special-parents/

A flawed system vs parents that coped for too long… Just a normal day navigating ASD and ‘professional involvement’

I crack. I know they hear my tears. I plead. “Who should I tell that we are falling apart?”

First. Just a brief back ground. Until Nov 2016, there had been virtually zero professional involvement as our son had no diagnosis and school were ‘managing’ him. We however were simply existing but painting a good picture. We had a behaviour plan and a support plan; neither of which meant that anything was really changing or improving and for many years we had battled to be heard and get support. We had made it onto the ASD waiting list and had a behaviour support worker linked in with the school who had suggested PDA strategies in handling our son. 

Then came a short fixed term exclusion. Followed by a prolonged period of being let down. Let down by the School, the education welfare system and health professionals. 

Skip on a couple of months and we now have an ASD/PDA Diagnosis. Our son currently attends a short term provision which is 25 miles away because his mainstream school refused to take him back. He’s been there 3 and a half weeks. He’s been excluded twice. Daddybear and I have exhausted our holiday entitlement and sick pay and we now have a council provision taxi and personal assistant chaperoning to and from school.

And so I jump to today. 

Started early. Severe lack of sleep from the 4 night time scream fests in the middle of the night. He’s petrified of his school and the volatile environment even though his behaviour accounts for about a tenth of what happens there (there’s only about 10 kids). Despite voluntarily getting dressed and a minimal amount of support to get food inside him today, he then began to show us just how anxious he was ahead of his transport arriving. The physical outbursts began. The avoidance strategies. The defiant behaviours. The spiteful hurtful tactics. The self injurious attempts. The lashing out. The emotional blackmail. The manipulative stance. All to no avail. You see, I have to go to work. I can’t take him. I can’t stay here. I can’t comfort him. And most of all I can’t make this better. I also have bigger bruv to get to school too. This poor little brave soul who strokes my back in reassurance as I endure another physical attack; the amazingly supportive 9 year old who attempts to cajole and encourage little bruv to conform and he who tries to passify the commotion and comfort his mummagrizzlybear and little bruv. Eventually, with tears, snot and mummabear bruises amidst declarations of love, he’s carted off to school and I deliver bigger bruv to his school gates willing him to have a good day and reassuring him with a strained smile marked by leaky mascara.

On return and in despair I call MARU, knowing this can’t go on much longer. We’re a family crumbling. There was a referral put forward by CAMHS for a disability social worker and we’ve not heard back so I thought that might be worth chasing up. Guess what… they can’t find/see that referral, but they’ll get back to me! I crack. I know they hear my tears. I plead. “Who should I tell that we are falling apart?”

Then I get a call from Early Support area coordinator, calling about the forthcoming TAC meeting and to explain to me their role. Turns out, they’re involved to coordinate the professionals involved. All of the professionals involved have declared they cannot be the lead professional and so I ask, as coordinator,  can they resolve this ahead of the TAC. To this he replied that this might mean that the early support TAC was not going to work after all. 

I crack. I know they hear my tears. I plead. “Who should I tell that we are falling apart?”

Fortunately he has time and hears me. He says he wants to help. However an intervention/support he has in mind needs approval by a manager who isn’t available until tomorrow and he doesn’t want to get my hopes up by telling me what this may be just in case it’s declined. In addition, should social care disability team become involved this will prevent this teams engagement with us.

Through the day I am contacted by the transport company who feel for me after watching each daily ordeal to get a very scared little man in their taxi. She says “you shouldn’t be sending him there “… thanks! I know this is wrong for him but it’s all we have. She recommends some provisions that other children she has transported went on to attend. She also recommended some support agencies she has heard of. This is a taxi driver who cares, doing way more than the council pay her to.

So I call. The recommended provisions sound nice. They sound accommodating and much closer to home and as though they can meet our sons needs. But they are full. They also require an EHCP, something, although promised and finally acknowledged as necessary, nobody has applied for at present. The mainstream he was excluded from still holds all the cards and refuses to follow protocol and make the required referrals (nobody is prepared to hold this school accountable for their lack of action/support in initiating the TAC/ Applying for the EHCP or referring to the County EP). The mainstream wished to wash their hands of him and have done a fantastic job of isolating a family in need. Without the EHCP I can’t even begin to talk to the specialist provisions about securing him a place in their full schools. It’s endless.

I called and spoke with the recommended support services who needed the social workers details… Guess what… We don’t have one (yet) so this agency cannot help us at this stage but referenced their amazing package of care available if our ‘needs assessment’ (which we haven’t had) indicated that such a package was necessary. 

I called and spoke with the temporary provision alerting them to the issues we had through the night and this morning’s antics and asking for ideas about how we can help him feel less scared. It’s pretty fruitless. The staff there are supportive but stretched and have to pick their battles between achieving a day where minimal children destroy their setting or striving to offer a learning environment to the few in a state fit for learning. As they are temporary they will not act as a lead professional at a TAC.

The family worker we have (who eventually initiated the TAC) is due to ‘close’ next week having completed her piece of work with us. 

The social emotional behaviour support lady who worked with our son in mainstream is due to close because her services are not normally required once a child attends the type of provision he is at now.

The autism support team (education focussed) have accepted the referral but cannot offer support until April/May. 

CAMHS have been helpful and we saw a Psychiatrist within 6 weeks of this referral being accepted however they are not available to lead a TAC.

I crack. I know they hear my tears. I plead. “Who should I tell that we are falling apart?”

The laughable thing is today was a work day. These calls and emotional heart wrenching hours that have passed have done so whilst I’ve tried to work. I called in and said I needed to work from home and fortunately have a role where on occasions I can get away with this but it can’t go on. It’s not a solution. My work is suffering. My health is suffering. 

If we hadn’t have ‘coped’ so well,for so long, would help have stepped in? How bad does it have to get? How many people should you tell? 

In true mummagrizzlybear fashion.. I’m tired and bedtime is still to come. But as ever I’ll end on finding my 3 positives… some days it’s hard but it’s quite probably what keeps me going.

☆3 positives from the day☆

1) I have a flexible job and was able to recuperate at home

2) A friend called in just because she detected that I wasn’t 100% reminding me that I’m not alone

3) Bigger bruv  had a good school review report from teacher and littlest bruv actually kept it together all day despite the horrid start 

Forgive me an irrational ‘bedtime’ post…

Mummagrizzlybear don’t like him much;  the good night punch to the face kind of cements that fate really. I don’t really like a lot about our evenings to be fair and I’m pretty certain that doesn’t help any of us. 

Biggestbruv is tucked up but been out of bed 3 times to check I’m ok because the screaming from littlebruv scares  him into dreading the worst, so he’ll drift off to sleep reassured by only my fake smile. He shouts out only to get me in to the room to tell me he loves me and in the heat of everything else going on I’m shit and only tend to him for the briefest of moments which in silent calmer moments I’ll reflect over and promise myself i’ll find a way to make it up to him … something that fellow bloggers have touched on in posts such as

https://pdaparenting.wordpress.com/2017/02/19/pda-thoughts-recognising-the-challenges-faced-by-siblings/
Meanwhile daddybear is doing the only thing he knows to work and that’s to lay with the pda’er until he reaches a level of calm despite my pleading for ‘us’ to ignore him given the violence and obscenities being hurled. Logically I know daddybear just wants peace to fall over the household and the sooner the better for all of us.. Irrationally, however, I’m angry that despite lashing out (& even though I accept that bedtime causes extreme anxiety and avoidance) he’s now being pandered to. Secondly I’m furiously concerned that neither of us know what we’re doing wrong, so I over-analyse our chosen tactics and fear that we’d be torn to shreds by any parenting expert. And thirdly all I keep wondering is how on earth are we supposed to determine if these new meds are helping?! What defines ‘things improving’?  

I’m tired and tomorrow is back to the dreaded school/work routine. Selfishly, I love my job, I love my ‘get out’ where I can put another hat on and focus on others. Well at least until recently I loved doing this. More recently this hasn’t been so straight forward for me and tonight I sit worried that my work- heart isn’t ticking the way it used to. Then there’s the school debacle. The taxi will come. He’ll either ‘compliantly go’ or with a fight; neither seems to influence whether or not he’ll have a good day and whilst I’m at work I’ll await a call from school or be distracted into researching something or other that might make things better. Amidst all of this I’ve another brave little man who will undoubtedly go off to school the conventional way trying his best to not be affected by whatever challenges are thrown into the mornings mix!

I started writing 2 hours ago. Since then I’ve taken my turn attending to the little monster who has gone through the  full range of emotions from full blown shitty and foul in his anger about bedtime to petrified and screeching in tears on hearing things that are not in his room. The only difference I’ve noted with the new meds is that the battle is a tiny bit shorter and there comes a point where he’s easier to reach out to and comfort… tonight he held my hand as I stood aside his bed reassuring him once more. And there it is… the most irrational part… with the tiniest sign of love and affection he’s forgiven, I’m mildly recharged and I’ve mustered the strength to keep going. I love him with all my heart and wish things could be different for so many hours a day…but in that moment… that very short few seconds I’d not change a thing, because those little connections with Roo are few and far between.

On his last ounce of strength he let out one more terrified scream and at my wits end I resorted to exactly the tactic (of daddybear) that drove  me potty only a couple hours earlier and so I scooped him up and I lay with him and with the help of meds and just a 2 hour battle he gives in to sleep… in my bed!

Upon reading it back I note I’ve already ventured into ‘whinging blogs’ which was not the intention, so without hesitation I force myself to recall 3 positives from the day (no matter how small) as these little glimmers remind me it’s not all doom n gloom!

☆3 positives of the day☆

1) Both boys enjoyed their rugby matches and we survived a family outing unscathed because at times we’re a frickin awesome team

2) Daddybear and I both said ‘yes’ to monopoly and for at least the first hour everybody enjoyed a technology free family game before an ‘erruption’ which was successfully navigated and overcome by a yummy chicken casserole (approved by all!)

3) Bags are packed, the ironing is done, the house is relatively orderly despite daddybear using every kitchen appliance and accessory to make homemade scotch eggs this evening… which are also yummy *but not slimming world friendly!

PDA vs Mummagrizzlybear

I’m sat in the back of the car alongside littlest bruv. Eldest son and daddybear share the front of the car listening to the kerrang cd (not child friendly) and making small talk. Bigbruv is capable you see of noticing the tension and has the social skills required to try and passify mildly pissed off parents. Littlest bruv on the other hand wrote the rule book for being able to ever so sneakily push parents closer to the edge of bat-shit crazy and this joyous Sunday morning has been a fine example. 

Some context… both boys have rugby matches to get to, we have to leave by 9, mummagrizzlybear had kits out and ready last night (sorted that during the sleep stand off, see previous post), unexpectedly we all slept through and daddybear and I were woken with cuddles in bed from Roo. So far so good. Cue getting PDA Roo ready to go somewhere he does actually want to go. ‘Normal’ families won’t get this… at worst what they’ll have is hyper excited kiddos but in our house the avoidance and anxiety starts. First hurdle is overcome by just getting him dressed instead of requesting he perform this task independently. Second hurdle, although very familiar, always stumps me; he refuses to eat. Or more accurately, he refuses to eat anything I offer and makes demands for things I’m not prepared to make on this occasion because we want to get out the door and to be quite honest I’ve engaged in a mummagrizzlybear vs PDA battle. Damn it. I’ve locked horns. It’s another stand off. Daddybear distracts and takes littlebruv with him to walk the dogs. Biggestbruv compliantly eats the breakfast on offer (despite probably also wanting to request an alternative but socially aware enough to not dare) and we await the return of Roo, which will be when we start trying our array of tactics, because every mum knows, it hurts more to see your kiddo not eat than it does to cut your own arm off. What is it with our need to feed to feel competent? Yes, he has a rugby match to play and this would undoubtedly be better with food inside him but on the other hand he is seriously not wasting away and I know myself (with a logical head on) that when I’m anxious I don’t fancy eating. But nevertheless we try to encourage food  intake. At one stage daddybear pulls out the relationship cock up card of offering to surrender to his demands for a cooked breaky alternative after I have made it quite clear I’m not in the Sunday funday mood to be dictated to and manipulated by PDA (for today anyway!) Then after some mild mumbling between adults I try the most recent tactic which has been helpful, telling him he can ‘beat his pda’, ‘ show it who’s boss’ and eat even though his pda is telling him not to. It almost worked. Now we’re approaching needing to leave so I pull out the big guns and suggest we leave without feeding the urchin, but throw in the ‘threat’ of no kindle for the car journey. In a mix of panic, frustration and anger littlest bruv then finds himself presented with a bowl of cereal (the very cereal he demanded I buy only 2 days previous) and so long as no one actually congratulates him on being compliant, he verbally refuses it whilst putting the spoon to his mouth. And that’s how you get PDA Roo to eat before you take him somewhere he wants to go. Wait for the entry on when it’s somewhere he DOESN’T want to go! We’re now almost late so just for added effect and to punish me for winning the battle, an object is lobbed across the room knocking the full beaker of juice across the lounge floor and as I mop up silently refusing to engage in this battle (because let’s face it we have to leave) he climbs into the back of the car making threats to hurt biggestbruv… Cue a rialled mummagrizzlybear who gets into car wanting apologies… And sincere ones at that…fat chance!

So, we’ve arrived. Roo still glued to the kindle games (well he did eat in the end!)  Biggestbruv is nervous (excited) but at least not car sick (hence his shot gun seating). Daddybear announced we’re early  (ha!) so I continue to blog hopeful that without communicating about it daddybear will instinctively know that I want him to take charge of littlest bruv so I don’t engage in any further battles! P.s. I feel car sick in the back… nothing to do with blogging as we drive!

The sleep stand off

I wish I’d started at the beginning but for that to be so, I’d have needed to know back in 2009 that a) the difficulties would not pass and b) that in years to come I’d wish I’d have kept a log and c) that in 2017 I’d be wishing more people understood what we are going through and be regretting not feeling able to bring you up to speed!

So instead I’m starting where we are now. It’s not entirely new to us. It’s the sleep-war. I.e. we’ve gone through a robust evening routine and attempted to settle our littlest into bed but he ‘fears’ sleep, actively avoids anything remotely connected to giving into ‘rest’ and will resist and avoid so much so, that daddybear and I have recently consented to the psychiatrist prescribing some meds to ‘help’. I say help but he had those meds nearly 3 hours ago and is still not giving in, although he’s a lot more mellow than without. He’ll up the anti in a mo and we’ll go through the  various tactics we know to get him back into bed. Over the years we’ve been quizzed by professionals on our parenting because surely with consistency all children ‘learn’ the right way to behave yea? Well the eldest is tucked up asleep, conforming to the text book type routines and ‘learning’ from the consistency we offer him… and then there’s Roo, who breaks all the rules and numerous times a day forces me to utter (in my head) phrases such as ‘I can’t keep doing this’ or ‘I’m gonna kill him’ or ‘right that’s it I quit’. But that’s the thing, I can’t quit, no one else is going to pick up the pieces, and so we’re  here, enjoying our Saturday evening where one parent or the other attends to Roo and we sarcastically find something we’ll watch together on the telly, pour 2 glasses of wine and then ignore each other all nite whilst taking it in turns to creep ever so close to the edge of insanity.

And when sleep is allowed (his and ours)… we will silently sigh in relief but never entirely relax because we know all too well that the sleep stand off also leads to night waking. Each nite when sleep arrives  I’ll analyse what worked and what didn’t, planning out what tactics to employ tomorrow.

☆3 positives from each day☆

Daddybear and I started the day with a lie in – the type where you’re very much awake but don’t have to be anywhere by a deadline so can be lazy in bed whilst the boys take advantage and play the PlayStation without a time limit!

Today has been a good day; a family outing in the countryside marked for me by the caring side of my boys holding back brambles for each other and asking as we climb fences “mummy are you Ok?”

Today was the day I actually opened the ‘blog’… the long thought about but procrastinated over blog…the blog I didn’t know how to start.. ♡

21.20. He’s asleep!

First blog post  … “So, why am I here?”

Introducing the grizzly bear family

I’ve been looking for a place to vent, a place to track my thoughts and offload some of life’s stresses and in the last few months I feel our little family has encountered more than our fair share of those stresses. I’ve taken comfort in finding and following blogs of inspirational fellow mumma’s and by fellow mumma’s I mean any of us who are just by chance still ‘winging’ it and getting away with it, or driven to maddness or drink (which ever comes first) and equally all those amazingly strong parents fighting for what’s right for their kiddos. I didn’t know I belonged to this community, but I do, and I fit in. My youngest son has a form of Autism (only diagnosed this January) and we’ve just now realised that we’ve all been guilty of trying to fit this little oddly shaped peg into the wrong shaped holes.

I should I suppose introduce us. I’m mummagrizzlybear, 32, mum to 2 fab lads and an outreach support worker for a domestic abuse charity. I love and live with daddybear, my husband of 10 yrs, he’s 35 and works in agriculture. The boys are 7 and 9. Bigbruv is just about text book & pretty much has been since pregnancy, this doesn’t make him any easier to raise but at least there’s always advice out there to help us mere mortal parents to navigate the joys of parenting boys. He’s really into sports, loves to be outside and secretly loves to please us, school isn’t his most favourite pursuit but he’s actually more intelligent than he gives himself credit for and most the time he’s a conformist! Then we have littlebruv who we affectionately call Roo. He’s never been anywhere close to being text book and the truth is I’ve struggled with this. We all hope our children will be individuals and put their own mark on the world but when you realise there are things that you don’t understand  about your child and then watch your child struggle it’s easy to find yourself asking why they cannot be just like the others? Roo loves lots of things bigbruv loves, he too enjoys anything active and being outside, he’s a mathematician wiz and has an eye for details… the littlest details! Roo also has PDA, which seems to be a form of Autism that few people know enough about, and even when you know a lot about it, it’s a really tough condition to live with.

Originally my intention had been to join the community blogging about PDA and the battle to get it understood and help our Roo-peg find a hole where he fits, and in doing so I thought I’d feel less isolated and lost but then I remembered my life isn’t just this… there’s more.

And so all I hope is that I find a release; if I also find others who get where I’m coming from then that would be amazing and if in sharing our ‘normal’ somehow helps another family to learn that they’re not the only ones going nuts then that’s even better!

My blog will inevitably contain ‘blips’…thats what we call parenting fails / PDA meltdowns / sibling wars / relationship cock-ups etc..please don’t judge! I plan to be honest and brutal because I want to capture everything real… everything, even the bits you wouldn’t want social services to hear (ha…yep, they’re part of our lives too now) but generally I’m an optimistic kind of person who is able to stick a positive slant on even the bleakest of life’s shit-bits and most of all I intend to keep the blog nanna-proof as though any relative could be tuning in at any moment so I’ll minimise my effing and jeffing!

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