Saturday, 31 December 2011
And so, it is almost upon us.............2012! Gosh, where has 2011 gone? I find it increasingly scary at how fast my life is zooming on at break neck speed!!! Is it an age thing? I don't know. I do remember, as a child, thinking that time moved so slowly and things just didn't happen fast enough for me. Now of course, I'd like to slow it all down! Actually I'd just like to pause it for a while to give me time to catch my breath! So, what did 2011 bring to the jontybabe household? Well, I suppose the biggest thing for us has been a change of school for FD. After a lot of fighting and arguing with those in authority, FD finally got moved out of the horrible school she was at and into a wonderfully loving school where she is a cherished member of the school community. To see her blossoming in school has been like a breath of fresh air.
2011 also however saw a huge and dramatic change to FD's health and behaviour. Her health has deteriorated quite rapidly during 2011 as her spinal condition has deteriorated. She is now a sickly, weak child who has little or no energy. She suffers from a lot of aches and pains and has slowed considerably. She has gone from being a very active child to one who gets tired walking from the car to the shops. Naturally, this has had a profound effect on her behaviour, although I suspect we would have eventually hit upon these behaviours sooner or later anyhow as they seem part and parcel of her turning into a young woman. She has become very aggressive, weepy, emotional, angry.........I could go on and on and on. She hurts herself and is now beginning to become aggressive towards me. One or both of us will eventually end up injured at some point. However, its not all doom and gloom. We have taken action and have enlisted the help of appropriate professionals so hopefully we will get some form of support around all this.
I suppose 2011 has thrown its fair share of trials and tribulations at us but I am hopeful that 2012 will be a good year! FD will finally get her long awaited spinal surgery and we can begin the long journey towards recovery. It will be hard at the time but not impossible! Here are some things I'd like to see happen in 2012 and I plan to make most or all of them happen! Resolutions / plans / challenges. Call them what you want. But I would like to see at least half of them happen!
* As I have said, surgery for FD.
* My son WILL pass his driving test, even if I have to bribe the examiner. How many driving lessons can one person have?!!!! Seriously son!
* I will lose another stone in weight - even if it means wiring my jaws up! I've been using my slimpod and its been pretty successful so far. One stone off and another to go!
*I will get my house organised and de-cluttered!!! Its driving me insane! I like order! I need order! I think this is what happens when you live with an autistic person. You become autistic by proxy! My OH just says I am anal but we won't listen to him!
* I WILL go to the gym at least
three times twice a week. I've been paying gym membership for nothing at the moment! I could be buying wine books with the money I have wasted on gym membership! I am due to complete the Race for Life again this year and am determined to do it in under 30 minutes this year!
*I will get a new job. This one might be harder to achieve but I will try. Ideally I would like to stay in social work but this may not be possible. Watch this space. I might end up working in Tesco! Good honest work!
* I will get a lovely new bookcase for my ton of books! I have enough books here to build a house with!
* I will blog more often - I know I can do it. I did brilliantly in November so theres no stopping me now is there!?
So, what would you like to see happen in 2012? Do you have any New Year resolutions or plans? I'd love to hear about them!
Tuesday, 27 December 2011
Tomorrow sees the arrival of my lovely step children. Dynamo Boy and The Princess will be arriving nice and early tomorrow morning for a week! So, in preparation, the house has been cleaned within an inch of its life. Of course, within ten minutes of arriving, Dynamo Boy will have the place trashed and The Princess will be leaving shoes, handbags and nail polish all over the place! FD has been prepped, re-prepped and triple prepped for the week ahead! She has given assurances that she will not try to rip her step brothers head off or throw him out a window. However, in the interests of safety and my sanity the pair will never be left alone too often! This is the reason that I am doing so much housework so that OH and myself and effectively be bouncers in our own home, managing potentially explosive situations and trying to keep the peace under fire!
As I have previously blogged, FD and The Dynamo Boy have a bit of a love / hate relationship. Though mostly hate! FD struggles to cope with his presence in the house. Autistic children just do not cope with change and there are just some things that seem to set them off. Unfortunately, one of FD's triggers is Dynamo Boy! Like every 10 year old boy Dynamo Boy can be a bit hyper (as the name suggests) and a bit on the cocky side (just like his father)! He is hyper intelligent which totally confuses poor FD and can be the most sarcastic little monkey which just enrages her because she doesn't understand what he is talking about! He is a wind-up merchant and can be a total pain in the backside! But, he's MY pain in the backside and I will rip the head off anyone who dares to cause him harm or says anything bad about him! However, having a younger, hyper child in the house causes FD so much stress its crazy. Its not Dynamo Boy's fault. He's just a typical 10 year old boy trying to fit in around a not so typical 13 year old girl with enough hormones to drop kick and elephant over a 6 foot fence!
FD does of course feel much more comfortable around her step sister and idolises the 17 year old Princess who is the epitome of fashion and trendy! She is a quieter, gentler child and FD does not feel any stress around her. The Princess, is a total daddy's girl but is not as demanding of her father's attention as Dynamo Boy is. Therefore, FD does feel a little twinge of jealousy as the man who she has had all to herself for a period of time is suddenly monopolised by a bouncing 4ft something child! So, as you can imagine, the next week is not going to be easy. We will have extra family members calling to the house to see my step children and we will have extra family days out to ensure they have a good time while they are here. The fun and games kick off tomorrow with dinner at my mother in law's house, followed by 11 of us heading off to the panto!
So, this is an extremely anxious and stressful time for FD and by extension OH and myself who will be like a parent tag team for the week. I intend to spend the week as drunk as possible. (JUST KIDDING!!) (Maybe) Who said being a parent was easy!!!??? As I have been doing so much housework I have washed and tumbled all my Superwoman knickers in preparation for the week ahead! Wish me luck!
Posted by JB JOHNSTON at Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Friday, 23 December 2011
I'd just like to take this opportunity to wish all the followers of the blog a very Happy Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. I'm sure 2012 will bring plenty of blogging opportunities and I hope you all enjoy all future posts. Without the support of everyone who reads the blog it would not exist. I hope the blog has gone some way to educating people about Autism, making you laugh and cry and generally entertaining you in some way.
2011 really saw the blog take off and saw a real commitment from me to develop the blog and make it what it is today. It originally started off as an online diary for me and then became all about Autism. However, it has continued to evolve and now has many new angles. I hope you have liked these changes. I have made so many friends through the wonderful world of blogging and hope to make many more in the future. My lovely friends and those who have supported the blog have given me lots of lovely advice and guidance during times when life has seemed difficult. You have all cried with me and laughed with me. I am so glad that the madness of my life has cheered you and made you smile. That is one of the biggest intentions of the blog. I hope that Its A Crazy World will have your continued support in 2012. Many thanks once again and remember..............BE GOOD FOR SANTA!
Posted by JB JOHNSTON at Friday, December 23, 2011
Monday, 19 December 2011
Just for one weekend I would like no drama!!! Of course without drama I'd probably be bored silly!!! Here's how my weekend went.
On Friday I arrived home to an empty house. My husband was away visiting my step daughter for her birthday and the Fashion Diva and Afro Boy were visiting the Sperm Donor (their father) at his mother's house. He was in town for his twice yearly visit. So, I had the rare treat of having the house to myself! I think the last time this happened was in 1999! Oh I had such plans. I was going to make a light dinner for myself, light the fire, light some candles, watch Its a Wonderful Life and wrap Christmas presents! It was going to be perfect! Of course I hadn't reckoned on the mad puppy! Every time I sat down to wrap a present he attacked the wrapping paper and barked at me every time I pulled at the sellotape!!! I was so close to wrapping him up! There very nearly ended up a doggy shaped present under the tree!!!
When the kids returned I half expected a mega meltdown from FD as she would not be seeing her dad for another 6 months and she often didn't handle him leaving well. However, when she came through the door she practically fell asleep within 5 minutes. She just about made it up the stairs to bed! Result!!! Too tired for a meltdown! That was a first!!! I was loving it!
On Saturday we met with my best mate to go get my god son a Christmas pressie. FD remained calm throughout, despite the hordes of Christmas shoppers who were driving me mad!!!! She did talk incessantly though!!! She remained calm all the rest of the evening and I thought it was too good to be true. It was.................................
On Sunday I had a lovely lunch planned with 5 close friends. Its a tradition we do every Christmas. The girls go out for Christmas lunch in a lovely hotel - its actually the one I got married in. I love it! So, I decided to glam up for the occasion!! Any excuse!!! So, after my shower, I thought I would put on a little bit of instant tan! I wanted a nice glow rather than the sickly milky white colour I usually am! So, despite being completely double jointed, (Yes I know! Its a true gift), there are certain parts of my back I still can't reach. Cue my lovely husband. I asked him to help me out! After fighting off his octopus type advances I convinced him to actually put the sodding cream on my back! Just as he was doing so, FD came bursting into the bedroom in hot pursuit of the dog who was having a mad blitz and running riot! She took one look at OH rubbing cream into my back and screamed, 'I CAN'T BELIEVE IT! YOU TWO ARE MAKING A BABY'! She then stormed out, almost taking the door off its hinges. No matter how much I tried to explain to her that nothing inappropriate was going on, she simply refused to listen. She threatened to phone Childline! I'd obviously not explained the facts of life properly to her! If making a baby was as easy as rubbing fake tan on your back I'd have 100 children!!! And so the screaming went on, and on, and on ............................................
Twenty minutes before I was due to be collected I was still sitting in my pj's crying my head off whilst FD was screaming her head off!!! I couldn't possibly go out to lunch now. Or could I? Sod it! I was going to go, despite the fact that my back was tan and the rest of me was snowy white! I was like a patchwork quilt! So what! Who would know! A fashion adjustment was called for! So, my original outfit was thrown back in the wardrobe and a fancy top and a pair of black jeans was chucked on and off I went! OH would just have to deal with it....................once he had finished arguing with the dog who was dragging all the presents out from under the Christmas tree!!!
And so, off I went and didn't come home for 4 hours! I consumed far too much wine and promptly fell asleep on the sofa. FD was very apologetic and conceded that babies could not be made using fake tan! With Christmas happening next weekend I dread to think what will happen then!
How did your weekend go?
Posted by JB JOHNSTON at Monday, December 19, 2011
Wednesday, 14 December 2011
As mentioned on my loveahappyending page on the blog, the wonderful Janice Horton is launching her book today (14th December), Reaching for the Stars! Go on! Check out the page! When I read the book I will be posting a review there!
As the book is about a celebrity chef who goes into a self imposed exile, the theme for the launch party over on Janice's blog is Wish I was here. So, as part of the launch party on Janice's blog we have been asked to post a picture or a photo of where we wish we where.
So, here's my contribution.
This cabin is in Vermilion Peak, cabin, San Juan Mountains, Colorado. Now I have no particular desire to go especailly to Colorado. I just have a desire to visit somewhere like this. Could be anywhere in the world. I don't mind. I just love the idea of disappearing for a while to a log cabin in the mountains. Can you imagine the peace. The tranquillity!!! Of course I would be there without any children! A rare treat of me time! I can picture myself inside this lovely little cabin with a big fire roaring in the fireplace! The sound of the logs crackling in the fire and the smell of a big yummy dinner cooking in the oven. There would be no TV. Just me and some books. Lots of wine and a giant fluffy sweater and big bed socks! I'd have a king size bed in there too with fur blankets! Total cosy! I might just let my husband come to visit! Just to be able to visit a place like this every so often would definitely help to keep me sane. My own little retreat away from the harsh realities of life. How perfect!
Where do you wish you where?
Posted by JB JOHNSTON at Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Sunday, 11 December 2011
This week I took FD to her schools Christmas party. This is FD's first Christmas at her new school and so far so good. She seems to be really enjoying it and this has made such a difference to her.She is so much happier than she was in her old school. By extension, we are are much happier.
The Christmas party had Santa's grotto, tombola, face painting and party food. It also had a disco for the kids. The new school seems to actively encourage get-togethers between the parents and seems to host a ton of parties for the kids. It even has a parents coffee morning once a week and some of the mums meet up for nights out! This is so new to us. As those readers of the blog who have special needs kids are aware, being a parent of a special child can actually be very isolating. We don't get the same chance to stand at the school gates with other parents and have a chat every morning and afternoon. Our kids are usually collected for school on a bus and brought home on a bus so there is no opportunity to meet other parents. Our only interactions seem to come from the never ending tirade of appointments. Our social circle seems to consist of speech therapists, OT's or psychologists. Our contacts list on our mobile phones have more professional phone numbers than friends. So, to suddenly find I am having lots of opportunity to spend time with other parents of special needs kids and to actually socialise to an extent with teaching staff at the school is actually lovely!
At the school disco FD didn't dance. She doesn't do dancing in front of other people. She wouldn't even dance with me! But, she was happy to sit with me and watch some of the other kids from her school and their siblings dancing the night away. She took it all in and seemed to really enjoy herself. That was the one big thing I noticed at the school disco. Everyone was so relaxed. Even the parents. There was one little girl however who screamed her head off every five minutes. Now, those of us who have experienced the full blown meltdown in public will know about the disapproving looks from passers by and the tut tut tut comments we sometimes get. People sometimes avoid us like we are carrying bubonic plague! However, the most extraordinary thing happened though. No-one cared! No-one batted an eyelid. Her mother didn't even look remotely hassled! Of course she would probably rather her daughter would calm down and enjoy herself instead of having a full blown meltdown. But the woman just took it all in her stride! Other parents came over and chatted to her despite the fact that her daughter was screaming her head off. No-one avoided her. Other people simply brought her over cups of tea and some party food! Someone even came and sat with her daughter so the woman could have a bit of a break. I was bloody astounded!!!
Finally! I have found somewhere that is totally accepting of FD. A place and people who don't care if FD is dribbling or babbling nonsense. The sheer relief of this is totally overwhelming! It is such a shame that not all schools are the same. Its terrible that mainstream schools don't choose to be as welcoming to our special needs children as special schools are. Thankfully after such a long struggle to find the right school for FD it is with such relief and tears in my eyes that I can now finally relax and be super confident that my daughter is being looked after properly by people who recognise the importance of looking after the parents too. Happy, well supported parents mean happy children. Finally we don't feel quite so alone.
Posted by JB JOHNSTON at Sunday, December 11, 2011
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
FD is 13 years old and has NEVER had a sleepover. She's never been invited to one and she has never hosted one. Her best friend in school won't do sleepovers because she has toileting issues and is not comfortable sleeping in someone else's house. Well, we were asked to have my husband's nieces overnight to allow their parents to go out for the evening. We reluctantly agreed, but told them we could not guarantee their girls would come back in one piece as we know that FD is not altogether comfortable around small children, particularly this pair as they are as mad as a box of frogs! They are aged 6 and 8 and looking after them is about as easy as herding cats! FD can usually only tolerate them for a couple of hours due to their unpredictability, mad running about and their capacity for noise! So, typical kids! So, overnight was going to be a challenge!
After some preparation, FD felt that she could cope with the girls coming to stay. It was only one night so that was manageable. In order to cut down on FD's stress, the girls, or affectionately known by my husband as Bit and Bot, came already fed with dinner, so I didn't have to worry about rushing in from work and start finding something to eat for them as they can be picky eaters. One picky eater in the house is more than enough thank you very much! Granny, (my mother in law) who has recently realised that she didn't know as much about autism as she should, has been furiously reading books on the subject and was well tuned in to how FD might be feeling about Bit and Bot coming to stay. So, she volunteered to deliver them to our house , mainly I think so she could give them a mini lecture about being considerate to FD's needs. Good on granny!!!
Now, Bit and Bot are the type of children who usually run riot no matter where they go. They are uber enthusiastic about life! They scream with excitement about stuff and are generally super noisy! Hyper excitable children. Probably not the best children in the world to come and stay, but family is family and we love them dearly. Combine this with our over energetic super excitable puppy and my head was ready to explode 10 minutes after they arrived! Not their fault. They are just kids but I could see FD get more and more stressed. But, to her credit, she remained very calm and sat on the sofa with her ipad. She didn't scream once or try to bounce anyone's head off a wall, which is always a bonus! Once the girls had settled down a bit it was pyjama time and a movie. This would keep them quiet! It was Alvin and the Chipmunks 2! I could see poor OH visibly pale when this was suggested. He hates that bloody movie! But bless him, he gave a valiant 'Yay' when the girls said this was definitely the movie they wanted to watch! FD has seen the movie at least 100 times so was able to commentate the whole way through it!
After the movie I stupidly hit upon the idea of having a disco in the living room! Bit and Bot were mega excited as Bit is a very keen dancer! So, the dancing got underway! To Christmas music! I was told that I had to dance too. Which I did. The lovely man that is my husband recorded the whole thing on his phone and sent it to his sister. Unfortunately my belly was hanging out of my pyjamas throughout so not a good look for me! What little street cred I had died that night! After about 20 minutes of manic dancing, it was clear that FD was now struggling badly. She had not wanted to join in with the dancing but had agreed to watch. But by now she was lying on the sofa with cushions over her ears. It was time to put Bit and Bot to bed.
I took the girls up to bed and played a few games with them. We chatted about silly girly stuff and I talked to them about the importance of not going into FD's room in the morning when they woke up and about being nice and quiet if they woke early, which they were guaranteed to do! I thought to myself that I was talking on deaf ears. There was not a snowballs chance in hell that they wouldn't be bouncing into all the bedrooms at the crack of dawn!
However, they next morning they woke up at 7am and were very quiet. They did as they were asked and the house was an oasis of calm! Well, apart from them trying to beat each other to death with a hair brush during an argument over a hair band but we'll let that one pass! OH made the girls a ginormous breakfast and then I painted their toenails the brightest orange I could find! Their mother would be pleased! FD eventually got up and still remained calm, had her breakfast, which she never usually eats, and went back to her room for a while as she was not ready to cope with them at that moment. Not long after that the girls were collected by the ever efficient granny who arrived with a box of chocs and a xmas plant for me!
All in all I think it was a pretty good experience. I am extremely proud of FD for trying so hard. This was a huge thing for her and she coped as well as could be expected. She didn't have one single meltdown but did stick to me like superglue. But that's OK. She wore her Superwoman knickers with pride! Who knows what we will try next!
Posted by JB JOHNSTON at Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Sunday, 4 December 2011
Today my daughter was in a school nativity concert. I know that thousands of these things are happening all over the world at this time of year but this was a special one! Not only special because of the fact that the entire thing consisted of special needs kids, but special because my daughter was in it!
This is to be her first Christmas at her new school. Its a school for children with severe learning disabilities. Most of these children have very complex needs - Physical and learning disabled children. The concert today was in a local church. So, off trotted I, the Atheist (with a hangover from work Christmas party) to church to watch the concert. I had Afro Boy, OH and my mother in law in tow. I knew my daughter was going to be in the band and was very nervous about the whole thing. Imagine my surprise however that when we arrived at the concert, there was my daughter at the front of the stage with the rest of her band mates. I wasn't quite sure what to expect today because in her last school she always had very low key parts in the nativity plays. She was always an 'extra'.
Well, the concert began and immediately I lost the plot! My daughter was on stage playing the tambourine!!! She was keeping perfect time with the rest of the band and appeared to be enjoying herself! There she was in front of hundreds of people! On stage!!! In a band!!!! My daughter!!! I half expected her to walk off stage at any minute in full meltdown! But she didn't! I was in bits!!! As the concert progressed, various other children graced the stage. Beautiful, wonderful children. Special Children. Just when I was losing control completely of my emotions down the centre aisle of the church in came a small child dressed as an angel. And he was on a walking frame. He struggled down the aisle towards his wheelchair. His little halo wobbling about on his head. By this point my mother law was sobbing and couldn't even make eye contact with me. I was blowing my nose into my scarf!
And so, the concert proceeded in much the same theme. Lots and lots of very wonderful children playing their part in the concert. My daughter and 'her band' played lots of lovely songs. And then, as if that wasn't enough, she got up with the choir, which I hadn't even realised she was in, and began to sing!!! Why oh why hadn't I brought tissues with me. But then, towards the end, my daughter was part of a trio who were playing a tune on chime bars! Oh crikey! This had the potential to go horribly wrong!!! I hadn't expected her to have such a big part! As she played, note perfect, I sat chewing my thumb. A nervous wreck! When the song had finished my hands were sore clapping so hard!!!! My wonderful, talented, and special daughter had been braver than I ever could have been!!!!
As you can imagine I am immensely proud of my FD's wonderful achievement today. I'd have been just as proud if she had played every note wrong. I was simply proud of the fact that she tried. The love that was in the church today was wonderful. I've never experienced anything like it. As you know I'm not a religious person but the bringing together of such wonderful children and their families was definitely a miracle of some sorts. Every person there was overwhelmed with emotion and pride in the children. Auntie's, uncles, grannies and grandads were clapping like crazy! Big brothers and sisters were proud of their siblings. My heart was ready to burst!!! Despite their many and varied difficulties, these wonderful children were fantastic in this concert. Yes some of the angels took off their halos and chucked them at people in the front row. And yes, some wandered off the stage, but that's what made this more wonderful. Children just being themselves without fear of being ridiculed. Children allowed to just be Special Children. No-one cared that they weren't 'normal' and no-one stared at them because they looked or sounded different. The love and dedication of their teachers was inspirational. I am truly thankful for these wonderful people in my daughters life. It was truly magical.
After the concert we all went out for a special dinner to celebrate and let FD know how proud we were of her. My mother in law had bought her a little gift and we all had a toast round the table at her great achievement. I was definitely starting to feel all Christmassy now. As we got up to leave the restaurant it started to snow. Unfortunately it didn't last but my goodness what a special day. FD loves snow and thinks it was there just for her because she had wished for it. I may not have too many happy memories as a child but as an adult today was truly one of my most memorable days for all the right reasons and I am therefore truly blessed.
Posted by JB JOHNSTON at Sunday, December 04, 2011