21/4/17 Last Friday.

I am one of those women who, according to Hatie Hopkins haven’t got their shit together enough to go out to work (quite where this statement places childminders, I do not know).

Nevertheless, by the second Friday of the Easter holidays my house was a bit untidy. My pathetic excuse for this was that I had spent several days immediately prior to the holiday sitting at my dining table pretending to be a proper functioning adult by writing stuff for money. I then took on some more paid work for delivery during the holiday, because, bizarrely, although I haven’t got my shit together enough to have children and go out to work, I do have the ability to do work and look after children at the very same time. But as I still hadn’t summoned sufficient intelligence and executive functioning ability to do something constructive like question my life choices whilst sobbing into my gin-and-tear-soaked duster, I decided to completely waste the day playing games with Freddie. How completely bovine and feckless of me.

We played several hands of ‘Go Boom’, in which you can only play a card that is either of the same suit, or the same value, as the one that preceded it. Freddie’s hands aren’t yet big enough, or quite grippy enough, to hold his cards in a fan so that only he can see them, so I don’t hold mine like that either. Since we can see each other’s cards, I’m trying to teach him t play tactically. He’s not quite ready for poker yet, but if we kept going I’m sure he’ll get the hang of it (actually, I think you could class this as  a constructive activity – if all else fails he can become a professional gambler: that’s one step up from his mother, who was ‘just s housewife’ and devoid of any ambition or ability whatsoever).

We also played snakes and ladders, or at least, a bastardised, discount store, Fireman Sam version of it (since, of course, I’m too lazy to go out and earn the money to buy him proper games from WH Smith). Freddie was a jolly good sport about sliding down the hoses. But, then, I would fondly imagine that, wouldn’t I? I mean, it couldn’t possibly be that he has learned about fair play, or that he’s just a really nice little boy. No: it would have to be because he can’t understand about winning, wouldn’t it?

After a couple of rounds of that, we had a snack, then did some more work on our Lego car/caravan combo.

If this is how I indulge him, it’s no wonder his life skills, fine motor skills, and concentration still need work. What a good job he’s going back to school on Monday! There’s hope for the poor boy yet, even if his useless mother can’t get her act together. Is she really so bovine that she can’t see how shit her life is?

Disclaimer: This post is was written in the spirit of sarcasm, and should be interpreted accordingly. No responsibility will be accepted for heads getting wedged up arses due to any readers misunderstanding of the concept of ‘tongue-in-cheek’

3/4/17 Pie.

Freddie was reluctant to eat his cottage pie at first, perhaps because he overheard me explain to Daddy that it’s called that because it’s ‘thatched’ with mash and it tastes like wattle and daub (and probably has a few spiders in it, like the thatched cottage we stayed in on holiday). When life gives me lemons I make lemon cake, provided there’s any left – most of my crew like to peel and eat them like oranges. Apart from that we’re a nice, normal family (as far as anyone knows).#downsyndrome #downsyndromeawareness #mummyblogger #SENblogger #post40blogger

Conscious Coupling.

This old post, written in the early days of my blog, popped up as a Facebook memory today. Reading through it I am reminded not only how lucky we are that Freddie sleeps so well, but also how quickly time passes – our eldest is now at University and rarely at home, the second eldest has her own life, studying, working, volunteering, and keeps different hours to us. Above all it has reminded me of how important it is to remain creative in carving out bits of time for ourselves, to be Tim and Kerry rather than just Mum and Dad, for the health of our relationship:
CONCIOUS COUPLING.
Getting quality time alone together is a challenge faced by many parents. Factor a child with additional needs into the equation and the problem increases, especially if, like us, your babysitting options are limited.
Tim and I inhabit the same space a lot of the time; but I can’t say that we spend a lot of time in each other’s company, because we rarely get to speak to each other, except to make purely functional requests. The moment we attempt to say anything more than ‘do you want a cup of tea?’ Freddie inserts himself into the conversation, loudly and persistently trying to turn our attention back to him. He has to be taken to the toilet, supervised while he eats, and even while he plays, as he is inquisitive, mischevious (typical third child), has no sense of danger, and views rules as a dare.
Although he’s in bed by eight and can be relied upon, most nights, to sleep until at least 6am, as his brother and sister did before him, we don’t really get any respite. When our older two were little, evening was our time. Once they were tucked up in bed we knew that they were unlikely to disturb us, and if they did need anything they’d shout rather than come down, so we could shut the living room door and enjoy some time as a couple.
But not any more. Our once well-trained, obedient older children are now teenagers straining at the leash. They don’t have bed times. They come down and raid the fridge, invade the living room, take over the YouView box and snaffle our peanuts, or any other treat we’ve got. Since the eldest turned eighteen even our beer isn’t safe.
Yes, we have a bedroom with a door, but they rarely remember to knock before they come galumphing in demanding a note for P.E. or more toothpaste, shower gel or hot chocolate powder. Or we hear a sudden howl of anguish from downstairs, because someone has exploded something (not neccessarily food) in the microwave, or is trying to sort out a most unfortunately blocked toilet with a coat-hanger.
And so our previously redundant bath-tub, made obsolete by that ‘Johnny-come-lately’ the power shower, is enjoying a new lease of life as a place of recreation. Not least because we can lock the door.
The whole thing takes on the air of a midnight feast: we take up wine and nibbles, and borrow Freddie’s spill-proof portable DVD player. We fill up the huge tub, add some Matey bubble-bath (you can keep your grown-up ylang-ylang and aromatherapy nonsense — Matey gives the best bubbles ever), and light candles. Then we can enjoy the luxury of, not just relaxing in deliciously warm, scented water, but of talking to each other, having our treats, watching something, all without being disturbed.
There is still the occasional rumpus from downstairs, but the threat of us hurtling down the stairs, naked except for a few bubbles, is generally enough to make the teens decide that manning up and sorting it out themselves is probably the lesser of two evils.