Sunday, 26 June 2011
Last weekend was so a major milestone for Afro Boy! He turned 18! On his birthday, every time I thought about the fact that I was the mother of a young adult I could feel a lump in my throat and I just wanted to cry! I was shocked by just how emotional I would get and found myself sneaking into the bathroom and having a little weep! I am very proud of my boy! No mother could ask for a kinder, funnier son! He brings such joy to my life, even during the times I need a miners helmet and a bulldozer to get into his room!
Being the hip and trendy mum I am ( no sniggering please), I thought it would be a fab idea for him to have a house party! 'Invite a few friends!' I cheerfully chirped! 'I'll even provide beer and have pizza delivered'!! These were my first mistakes!!! Lovely AB invited 30 people! Thankfully only 14 agreed to come! 'ARE YOU MAD'!!! all my friends screeched at me! It'll all be fine I thought! What could possibly happen? Mistake number 2!!! Naivety!! Now, I am sure there are some people reading this who totally disagree with me regarding the party and providing alcohol. I knew my son was going to want to celebrate his birthday in style, aka drunk, and I was happy for him to do so in the safety of his own home.
So, the evening in question came around! The Fashion Diva was deposited to my mother in laws for a sleepover and I decorated the house with balloons and banners. I bought a wheelbarrow type thing and filled it full of ice and beer! Hubs and I were going to a friends birthday party so it couldn't have worked out better!
A small group of grubby teens arrived just as OH and I were leaving the house. On my way out the door I shouted over my shoulder, 'I have only 2 rules.......no smoking in the house and no puking everywhere!' and, with that I tottered on too high heels to a BBQ in the rain! My life is so rock and roll! During my time at the soggy BBQ my friends kept asking if I was worried about handing my house over to teens and then began to regale me with stories of police having to be called to parties, arrests made, people getting pregnant and someone's hedge getting dug up! I think there was also mention of goldfish in the washing machine and a drunk dog! I just kept wondering why I never got invited to this sort of party! Anyway, at midnight I could stick it no more! I wasn't sure Humphrey the Hamster could hold his booze! OH and I decided that we would sneak into the house grab some booze from the kitchen and hide in our bedroom! However, the reality was very different!
Upon pulling the car into the driveway we noted a group of girls on front door step. Then I noticed the look of fear on their faces when they saw us! 'Are you the parents?' one asked. When we confirmed we were they quickly went pale. Walking up the steps I noticed that someone had deposited their dinner there! Lovely! Upon entering my house I was met by another pool or 3 of vomit! The house was a mess. It looked like Glastonbury in the middle of a nuclear holocaust! And, in the midst of it was my son. Drunk as a skunk! This is the teen who has never been drunk! Thankfully someone had the common sense to take his glasses off in case he fell on his face! Some other genius had rolled up my living room rug! I just prayed there was no body in it!
Walking into the kitchen I was greeted by some 'dude' with long hair and a beard who I'd never met before. Beside him was another long haired hippy wearing a Russian hat! 'hey mrs mum!', they greeted me, giving me the peace sign! I was thinking of other hand signals at that moment but refrained! 'Is that my Rose wine you are drinking straight out of the bottle'? I asked. At this point the 'dude' produced a receipt from Lidl and I directed him to a glass! Next I was greeted by some giggly girls, one of whom told me she really wasn't a lesbian despite what her mother thought and that she loved my son! Oh dear!
Closer examination of my kitchen revealed a balloon in my microwave and all my knives hidden? Hmmm. A quick check of sons room revealed one of his mates passed out and yet more vomit! There was pizza in the bathroom and booze in the bath! Big deep breaths! The anxious looking teens waited with bated breath for my reaction. OH grabbed a beer and hid in the bedroom waiting for me to go all Kill Bill!!! But noooooooooooo! I took the most surprising course of action imaginable! The most unpredictable course of action.............. I NEVER SAID A WORD! Instead, I woke son up and fed him a gallon of water! I looked suitably cheesed off enough that the 'dude' cleaned up most of the vomit and I got the passed out mate from the bedroom and sat him on the sofa with a basin! He later became known as the Vominator as he just kept filling that basin again and again! I've never seen anyone go that shade of green before!! I cleaned his mouth each time, gave him water and wrapped him in a blanket. I then informed the rest of the partygoers that they could continue the party and that taxis had been booked for them at 2.30am! And then, I partied with them! I'm now known as the 'babe' mum who didn't do the predictable parent thing! Well you're only 18 once! The giggly girls, some other random teens and the 'dude' and his Russian hatted mate left in taxis as planned and the rest of the gang stayed the night. I eventually went to bed at 3.30! At 7am I received a text from son informing me he and his mates were locked out of house. Apparently they went to McDonalds for breakfast! Oh to have the stamina of the young!
So, did my son learn anything from his drunken night. Yes he did. He realised that he didn't ever want a hangover again. He may now be 18 but he still came to his mummy on Sunday for a cuddle because he felt so horrible and sick. He learned that his mum is wonderful, despite the fact that for the last week she has made him clean the house and fork the bill for anything that got broken or ruined. The Vominator learned that you lose your street cred when your mates mum has to clean your vomit covered mouth! The poor bloke came to house a few days later with flowers and chocolates for me!
What did I learn? I learned that I have more patience than I thought. I learned that sometimes you have to smile through the pain of your superwoman knickers working their way up your bum. I learned that some battles aren't worth fighting as true to my son's personality, he was very remorseful, apologetic and grateful that I didn't go thermo nuclear when I was perfectly justified to do so! I learned that we sometimes have to let our kids make mistakes and screaming and shouting at them teaches them nothing!
I also learned.....no more teen parties in the house!!!!!
Saturday, 18 June 2011
This week has been a very sad week for FD. On Friday she went outside to feed her rabbit Jackson. A few seconds later she came bursting into the house, threw the bag of food at me and collapsed in a heap at my feet and began to wail! When I managed to translate the sobs and grunts it transpired that Jackson had popped his clogs and had gone to the great big carrot patch in the sky! My first reaction was 'oh bollocks'! Not a very good reaction I grant you. Once FD had told me off for swearing, I hot footed it to the back garden to see poor Jackson lying in his hutch, legs a kimbo! This was not a good look! Then I ran back indoors to comfort poor FD who was semi hysterical at this point! She began shouting at me, "you killed him with those out of date strawberries!" "No I never"! I shouted back, "you ate them and you aren't dead"!!! Oh dear I wasn't handling this well. Not my finest mothering moment. Total mummy fail! It was 6.45am and I am not at my best at that time. What can I say.....I'm not a morning person! She wailed louder!
At this point I realised that FD was not going to be in any fit state for school so I promptly text her bus driver to let him know FD was ready to throw herself under his bus with grief! I then text my boss to let her know I would be into work a bit late! I couldn't leave the child until she had calmed down enough for her brother to look after without him fearing for his life!
So, despite my mummy fail at the start of the morning I was Determined to make amends! I made us tea and toast and we had a chat about what had happened to poor Jackson. Poor FD was concerned because she thought he had died because she had not looked after him properly. I reassured her that she had looked after him brilliantly and he had loved her very much! For goodness sake, Jackson had a 2 storey house, lavender scented saw dust and regularly had dental work done! He was looked after better than me!
Next, we had to have a chat about his funeral. We have a selection of small furry animals and goldfish buried in the garden. But, for some reason, FD did not want Jackson buried in the garden. It's been 2 years since her last pet died and in that time FD has suddenly realised that burying her pets did not mean that their bodies floated up to some magical place! She was now suddenly freaked by having Jackson's body in the garden. She asked if we could take him to the vet to bury because he loved the vet. I hadn't the heart to tell her that Jackson probably hated the vet cos she regularly had him in a head lock as she trimmed his teeth! But, I agreed. (The poor child is still convinced that her grandfather was cremated with his wheelchair!)
So, off Afro Boy and I went the following day armed with rubber gloves, a shoe box and a shovel to remove the now very stiff Jackson from the hutch for my OH to take away. Once in the box it was obvious that Jackson was too long for the box so poor Afro boy did a bit of manoeuvring with Jackson's legs as I stood there with my hands over my eyes! Once he was in the box, I asked FD if she wanted to say goodbye to her beloved Jackson. Instead she just screamed at me so I took that as a no! So, me and Afro Boy waved goodbye as he made his final journey to the vets which is code for my sister in laws wheelie bin! Sorry! Did u think I was gonna pay a small fortune to have the thing cremated at the vets? Cos of Jackson's intensive dental work I am pretty sure that woman only drives her sports car because of me!
Sunday, 12 June 2011
Its been a very interesting last few days. I've been on a training course in relation to suicide intervention. Heavy stuff and at times its been stressful and thought provoking. One of the main features that came up was the need for caregivers to take better care of themselves. To find something 'life preserving'. Now I'm just not talking about carers of those with specific needs, but also all types of mums and dads. Do you run about like a demented meerkat on LSD, cleaning snotty noses, wiping bums, picking porridge out of your hair and generally running around at the speed of light from home to school & work and then do the whole thing all over again!
So, just what do you do to take care of you? Do you grab a bottle of wine and chocolate as soon as the kids go to bed? Do you have a sky+ marathon and watch about 4 hours of soaps? Or, once you have a few minutes, or a few hours to yourself do you end up doing ironing, cleaning the oven or washing the dog? Or, like most of us, is that the time you realise you haven't been to the toilet all day? Or that you haven't even had a cuppa!
As people who care for others we are very bad at looking after ourselves! I know that particularly those in the caring profession are the main culprits and end up burning out! I've seen that happen to a lot of social workers!
When the kids were younger and all hell was breaking loose around me, I'd often sneak into the cupboard under the stairs with a cuppa and a bar of chocolate. I knew, sitting there on top of the Hoover that my life was never going to be glam but those 5 minutes of solitude worked wonders at recharging my batteries!
When I'm in work up to my arm pits in foster kids, having someone rip reports up in my face or being thrown out of client's house, I often day-dream about what it would be like to have lots of 'me' time. I imagine myself either swinging on a hammock between 2 palm trees. Cocktail in one hand and a good book in the other. Or, lying in a wildflower meadow on a lovely sunny day, and just dozing in the long grass! Yes I know it's a bit cliched but Hey ho!
For me, the thing I look forward to most is settling down on a Friday night with Afro boy and watching a good movie. I stuff my face with Doritos and dip until I am ready to puke. Then on a Saturday night I have 'date' night with my hubs! Takeaway and a bottle of wine! Followed by Nutella and strawberries! Total bliss! in between I try to read, zumba and blog! Occasionally i get an odd night out where i dance like a lunatic ( you should see the huge blister on my big toe today!) Without these little treats to look forward to I am Pretty sure I would be a raving lunatic, trying to eat my superwoman knickers instead of wearing them!
So.......what do you do?
Thursday, 2 June 2011
Today, (1/6/11), was the first step towards my daughter getting her spinal surgery. My daughter, the Fashion Diva (FD) has Scheuermann's Kyphosis, which is a congenital deformity of the spine and requires very invasive corrective surgery. I went through this whole process with Afro Boy 3 years ago. The whole process, whilst not easy for him, was pretty straightforward. He was 15 years old at the time and does not have any of the complicating factors that FD does - autism, learning disability and epilepsy. Thankfully Afro Boys operation was hugely successful and apart from the scar which goes from the base of his neck right down to his bum, no one would ever know he'd had anything wrong with his back. He does occasionally beep when going through the airport security though!
So, today Fd had to have an MRI scan. The purpose of the scan is to give the surgeons a better view of her spine and the deformity and to determine if there are any underlying difficulties that would hinder the operation. The MRI scan will guide the way the surgery goes and help the surgeon to determine how quickly the disease is progressing and whether FD can wait too much longer for her surgery as this type of spinal deformity does effectively begin to impact on her breathing, as the lungs become crushed.
For the MRI procedure, FD had to have a General Anaesthetic, which meant food fasting! Now, for a child who hates hates hates eating during the day, this for some reason did not turn out as easy as I had thought. I think because FD knew she couldn't eat, that was the time she really wanted to. So, she had a very early breakfast of toast and went back to bed in a huff! During one of my routine checks and attempts to coax her out of bed, I managed to catch her just in time as she was about to shove an Easter Egg in her gob! After some rugby tackling, screeching and crying I was able to retrieve the Easter Egg and hide it in my bedroom! Cue a second, third and forth meltdown! Then it was time for me to have my own mini meltdown! The stress for me, rather selfishly, was too much. I had such a terrible fear of this General Anaesthetic because the last time FD had one, she had a full Tonic-Clonic Seizure and took an absolute age to come round. Her body temperature plummeted and she had to be wrapped in foil blankets. We were at the hospital for 12 hours that day - the day before our house move! So, during my own meltdown, I threw my superwoman knickers to the ground and jumped up and down on them. I wailed like a loon! After my rant I took a deep breath, packed away my straight jacket and approached FD's room with extreme caution! Thankfully, by this point she no longer hated me and had stopped accusing me of trying to starve her to death!
And so, off we went to the hospital. Upon arrival, we had to go over some basic questions with the Radiographer who talked like a meerkat on speed! She asked me why FD needed to have a General Anesthetic and I explained the Autism and noise sensitivity. She suddenly piped up 'Oh I've got one of those at home'!!! Well you can imagine my attitude! 'One of WHAT exactly'? I asked through gritted teeth. She explained that her son had Aspergers. I just blinked at her stupidly. She was talking as though we were comparing cookers! She then turned to FD and asked 'So, miss, whats your thing?' FD just looked at me blankly, searching for an answer to the stupid, nonsensical question. The radiographer then directed the question at me. 'So whats her thing. They all have a thing!' By this time I was biting my tongue so hard it might have actually been bitten right off! I understood that she was trying to reassure me that she knew all about ASD and that everything was ok. She was going about it the wrong way however! So, I smiled - well it was more of a grimace - and told her that FD was very interested in cars. She appeared happy with this and it seems that we were officially part of her own private ASD parents club! yay!
Thankfully we were soon rescued by the wonderful DR BOB who just flamboyantly breezed into the room with a huge smile and instantly put FD and me at ease with his very friendly and funny manner. To be honest he was a little over the top but I liked it. He was almost like a clown, but without the big red nose and silly outfit! Once FD got over the shock of him, he took the time to explain, in very child friendly terms, what was going to happen today and gave FD a choice - injection or gas. By giving her this element of control over what was happening to her, he helped her relax a little and she did stop shaking! So did I! Next FD, after getting changed into a hospital gown, had to hop onto a trolley. She was told she had to hold the mask over her face because Dr Bob was going to give her some laughing Gas to make her sleep and in order for the gas to work, Dr Bob had to tell jokes! 'what goes boom, boom!?' 'two elephants falling out of a tree'! 'why did the jelly bean go to school'? ' Because he wanted to be a smartie'! And so it went on until FD could feel herself getting drowsy. This drowsy feeling however only caused to panic her and she frantically started to wave her arms about. Dr Bob encouraged me to go over and hug her. I did this and began whispering in her ear, trying to sooth her. This appeared to do the trick and soon FD was asleep. I have to say, there is no greater feeling of helplessness as you see your child slip into an induced sleep. I just wanted to collapse to the floor in a heap as they wheeled her away to the MRI scanner. She just looked so fragile and vulnerable. A very kind nurse lead me to the waiting area and thrust a glass of water in my hand as I looked ready to go to pieces. At this point I knew I needed a distraction and began to furiously start writing this blog!
Approximately 45 minutes later a nurse came to fetch me and lead me to recovery where FD was starting to waken up. She just looked spaced out and I was worried she was having one of her absences which are a feature of her epilepsy. But this was just her trying to wake up. The MRI had gone ok and there were no complications. I was so relieved! FD had a bit of a temperature for a while so we had to stay for a little longer at the hospital until her temperature came down. She recovered from the whole thing amazingly quickly! On our way back to the car, she leaned in close to me and whispered in my ear, 'Did Dr Bob have a learning disability like me? He was a little strange but I'm glad I'm not THAT strange'! Ah the joys of children!!!!