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!
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!
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!