An exciting visit for everyone!

Hello again! The day after I wrote my last blog was very exciting. Years ago I used to be part of a lovely parenting forum called “I want my Mum’. When it closed down several of us became friends on Facebook and I ended up chatting to a lovely Mum called Clare. We began talking on the phone and found that we could happily spend hours wittering away. We’ve been hoping to meet up for years now but one thing and another got in the way and it never happened. Until Wednesday! She drove up with her two daughters aged 9 and 5 and we planned to spend the day together with the possibility of them sleeping over if the kids got on well. We were both so pleased with how well they got on. We eased the way for them with a bit of ‘giant Minecraft’ (playing Minecraft on our 60” TV) which always goes down well with fans! I think they spend the next two days jumping on and off our giant bean bag whilst singing loudly. They were all very happy, not counting the occasional heart aches of a left out or roughly handled 5 year old which Clare always handled with a lovely sensitivity. I always really appreciate being around thoughtful and kind parents. With the children occupied Clare and I were free to talk and talk and talk and .. well… talk! I’d forgotten to plan extra food into my shopping but luckily I had enough sausages to go round and made a big bundle of mash with lashings of gravy and runner beans and everyone was happy. Well almost everyone – there has to be one child who rejects the greens but I won’t tell who! 😉 The kids decided they all wanted to squeeze into Jessy’s room, so we rolled out the sleeping bags and let them get away with giggling and wriggling for an hour or so before insisting on some peace! Clare and I clearly hadn’t talked enough because we carried on for several more hours until I finally had to call it quits and go to bed at gone 1am!

We meet at last!

We meet at last!

Jessy with new friends.

Jessy with new friends.

The next afternoon all the children were swapping addresses and promising to be Pen Pals and I felt sad to see them go. It’s especially lovely when someone who already seemed lovely turns out to be even lovelier in real life – and that’s a lot of loveliness! Jessy missed Wood School which I wouldn’t usually do, but as I have no idea when Clare and the girls might be able to visit again as they’re not local, and Jessy was so keen to stay home and play I let him do just that!

By the evening I think all the excitement had got to me and I had an awful head ache. I decided that a walk in the fresh air would do me good, a take away probably wouldn’t, but it would mean I didn’t have to cook with an awful headache so we headed off in the rain to browse the local take aways of which there are many! The kids had been so busy playing they hadn’t even got dressed yet. I give almost complete freedom when it comes to clothing choices, however, I draw the line at pyjamas in public. I find it interesting where our own personal lines on these kind of things lie. My son has been out in pink polka dresses, pumpkin costumes with shades, he’s been Dorothy and Superman and all sorts, but for some reason pyjamas are my personal limit! He didn’t want to get dressed so he decided to cover up – with a dalek costume. He now fit my criteria for acceptable public attire so off we went!

031020131756_2

He made a lot of people smile on our brief trip out! We watched another Tribe documentary while we ate burgers, chicken and chips. When I give up on cooking I also tend to give up on eating at the dining table! This episode was quite different from the others, following a nomadic Mongolian Tribe. It looked like a hard life in the cold and snow. A particularly liked how the young children rode in crates stuffed with blankets attached to the horses and said she wished she could try it. On Monday, she managed to not only replace the arrow she lost last week but make several new ones to go with her bow.

081020131767

On Friday A arranged to go and play music with her friend Stan. He’s been learning guitar, largely self taught with some guidance from his Mum, and he recently got a Bass too. A is very keen on playing her keyboard, so they got together to play and compose some tunes. Jessy was going to stay behind with me, but when Dennis arrived he changed his mind and ran off to get in the taxi in his pyjamas. I almost avoided him being out in his pyjamas this week! Jessy came home with potatoes picked from the garden which I cooked and made into mash to go with our casserole. Jessy was very excited that Dennis and co. had grown them, he had ‘picked’ them (his words) and I had cooked them. A real team effort! They were delicious! A went to spend some time with her Mum and I didn’t see her until late Saturday night.

After dinner Jessy and I had to rush to pack his bag for Cubs Camp. This one was an Activity Camp where they did canoeing, climbing, abseiling, rifle shooting, back woods cooking and archery. It seemed like a lot to fit in in two days!

I had a free evening on Saturday which coincided with a ‘Womb Yoga’ event a friend had told me about. I felt a bit nervous at the last minute going on my own to a place I’d never been to before to do something new, but I plucked up my courage and went. I was so glad I did. It was a beautiful evening and felt very nurturing. Uma, the lady who ran the session was so welcoming, not just to me but to my unborn baby too. I was the only pregnant woman there and she even included my baby in the welcoming ceremony. The part that touched me the most was when we were doing a practice to transfer energy from the heart into the womb and then back up into the heart. Uma explained that when you are pregnant you also have a heart within your womb, so the energy goes from heart to heart as well as from heart to womb. It was a wonderful way to connect with my baby. You can read more about Womb Yoga here: http://www.wombyoga.org/about/

It was just A and I in the house on Sunday. A had brought her PLay Mobil toys from home as she’d like to sell them on EBay. We spent quite a bit of time talking about the different stages of selling something. She began by sorting out all the different sets and checking to see which bits need a clean. It was Jessy and A’s friend’s birthday party in the afternoon so we went to find some presents for her. We were happy with what we found and came home to wrap them. There was nearly a disaster when I was wrapping and wondered why I kept getting whiffs of cat wee. One of the cats (no doubt Naughty Nimbus!) had weed on the wrapping paper!! Luckily I hadn’t actually wrapped it around the present yet and we had just bought some spare paper!

I’d arranged a lift for A to and from the party as I had to stay home to pick up Jessy from Cubs Camp. He came back full of very enthusiastic stories about all the activities he’d done and told me exactly which order he did them all in. He had to work it out in reverse order first which he said was easier! He’d lost his spending money (I found it in his bag) but a kind friend had given him a couple of pounds. He’s managed to buy enough sweets with that so I think it worked out for the best!

Today we went back to Circus Skills. A was quite anxious about doing the trapeze again, but today they focused on juggling and spinning plates instead. Jessy struggled at first, but with a little extra focus and reminders to concentrate he got the hang of it in the end! We currently have a loose gerbil in the living room and I’m hoping someone manages to catch her before the kids go to bed as she keeps making me jump! I’ll leave you with a lovely bunch of flowers my sister sent me. I call them my ‘Dragon Flowers’ (they are actually Gladioli). The colours look a lot more fiery in real life.

081020131766

What lies beneath & Musical Manchester

It’s a good job that I have complete faith in autonomous education as the ‘learning’ continues to seem less intensive in obvious ways at the moment. We’re busy and active and getting lots of fresh air and good company, but to a casual observer it would probably look like we’re just on holiday. To be honest, it kind of looks that way to me! As I said last week though, we’ve both had a lot to think about and work on lately. Underneath the relaxed surface my mind is buzzing! I’ve not talked much in the last few weeks about the thoughts that arose after the ‘Sinking: Quicksand and Beyond’ week. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it. It’s difficult to write about something when I don’t feel ready to be this public about the exact nature of my thoughts. I have shared my ideas with people close to me, and the staff at Wood School where Jessy goes twice a week. I’ve had mixed reactions. Those who see him most often or have known him longest seem to agree with me. Others have told me they blatantly disagree. The staff at Wood School seem keen to just take people as they are but are also open to new information. One teacher in particular seems keen to prove me wrong but I think her intentions are good. I’ve gone up and down about going to the doctor. In the end I decided to wait until I’ve finished my Shamanic Women’s course as I feel that each part gives me a new insight and I’d like to feel I am making a decision from a rounded perspective.

What I have been doing is a bit of research. Whatever the final outcome of all this speculation, I feel that there is useful advice I can find to help us with specific difficulties. One of my main goals was to reduce the conflict in our home and that has certainly happened. In fact, I’ve been absolutely amazed that a few simple changes can make so much difference. I’m adjusting to talking to him slightly differently when something needs to be done. I’m working on being more understanding over his upset at small changes but I still find myself getting frustrated. This week I’ve realised that he might manage one change, but two is just too much. He got terribly out of sorts the other day because I’d said he didn’t need to put his waterproofs on for Wood School because it looked sunny. (change no.1) It then started pouring down during the journey and he just couldn’t adjust to needing to put them on en route. (change no.2) I really need to learn that it is much easier to have him wear his waterproofs in the morning whatever the weather as we’ve had problems with this one before. On another day our plans changed and then changed back again and it took him hours until he felt ok again. At one point he  just sat under the covers and cried. It’s hard to strike the balance between being understanding and being firm, which often helps him more in the end, even though it can initially cause more distress. We’ve got a big wipe clean weekly wall planner to help Jessy keep track of what we are doing each week. He loved it and filled it all out himself. I keep it on the wall at his level and remind him to check it.

I have talked to Jessy about some of the things he finds difficult and some of the things I’ve noticed about him that are interesting and unusual. In particular I’ve talked to him about his sensory issues as I worry sometimes that he might harm himself so I would like him to be aware of what is happening. Jessy is under sensitive to temperature and mild pain and doesn’t ever appear to feel unwell. He seeks out strong sensations by doing things like putting sticks and stones in his boots and walking around on them all day. He will wear layers of thermals on a hot day but not want a coat on a cold day and although his body shows signs of being too hot or cold he seems to barely notice. He has had throat infections but said his throat isn’t sore. I’ve explained to him that some of the messages from his brain go missing so he doesn’t feel things in the same way most people would. Explaining it makes it easier to give him guidance as I can say for example, “I know that you don’t feel hot but I can see you are red and sweating, so your body is hot”. I’ve been really proud of him making attempts to dress more appropriately for the weather which has often been a problem.

So we’ve both been doing a lot of ‘work’ in terms of learning to understand new things and make adjustments in our everyday lives. I’ve felt like I haven’t been ‘on the ball’, but I think I’ve been playing with an entirely new ball and that’s where my focus is at the moment. I’m already feeling more settled, less anxious and more positive, so the work is paying off. I know that in time, I’ll have more energy for picking up all those little ‘educational opportunities’ again. As I said to a friend today, ‘at the end of the day I think happiness is the key’. The way I see it, happy people are the people who go out and make things happen, happy people are more likely to achieve their goals. Ultimately if I can help him be happy then I think I’ve done half the work for him.

It’s also worth remembering that it’s impossible not to learn. Jessy is still reading and writing every day. Just this morning he wrote pages of his latest story. Manchester city centre this Sunday was like a music festival in it’s own right!

This band played soothing melodies with a beat on African instruments.

This band played soothing melodies with a beat on African instruments.

Native American style pipe playing.

Native American style pipe playing.

A young singer. Jessy liked her so much he gave her £1 of his pocket money!

A young singer. Jessy liked her so much he gave her £1 of his pocket money!

Drummers

Drummers

There was also a guy playing a saxophone. We stopped to listen to them all for a bit and they certainly livened up our shopping trip!

Today we went to the beach on the suggestion of my ever optimistic friend. The complete coverage of grey clouds were giving me a clue as to the upcoming weather and sure enough we had a rainy beach picnic! We all laughed and sung ‘I Will Survive’ although I think my friend feared that my shivery stares might be the death of her! The kids ran and dug in the sand anyway.

Our beach picnic!

Our beach picnic!

020720131449

To make up for the wet day we got doughnuts, candy floss and chocolate belgian waffles. Yum yum!

Belgian waffle chocolatey treat.

Belgian waffle chocolatey treat.