The boy and his music

The boy is fantastic at music and musical instruments. 

In Grade 1 he started learning the Violin and he picked it up very quickly. Because he has Aspergers he decided after two years that he had learnt it all and gave it up. His teacher nearly cried…

Then he decided to learn the Flute. Same thing again – the teacher was amazed during his first lesson that he had never played before. Fast forward twelve months and again he gave it up because he had learnt it. 

The trumpet was the next instrument to be given a whirl. By now he was teaching himself to play songs via ear and youtube. 

After another year of this (and of being sent up to the back fence to practise where I couldn’t be deafened – sorry neighbours!) he gave up again. 

There has been no more requests to learn any more instruments but it is a waste of talent. The only music he does now is at school.

Which brings us to the music concert at school last term. His class had to show off their learned talents on the glockenspiels much to the delight of us watching parents. What better way to spend an evening!!! 

Whilst every other student was concentrating hard on their notes, the boy was looking around the room, shaking his head at me taking his picture and not looking impressed at all and generally not concentrating on what he was doing, and he did it all without missing a beat.

Last week the boy came home from school with an Academic Award! Just one.

In Music.

He is not impressed. 

Guess what….

I may be back.

Who knows…. I might not stay either.

It’s been a long time. A few years in fact. The boy is now 13 and the girl is 15. Where does the time go?

I am still full of anxiety, still waiting for the explosions to happen. Still waiting for something to happen all the time.

I am still trying to figure out this parenting teenagers with Asperger’s lark.

The girl is a talented singer, writer and actor. When she wants to be. She says she wants to be an actor or an author but when her agent calls her up to say she has an audition she has a meltdown and won’t go. Why? Because she might not get the part! She doesn’t get that by not going she is definitely not going to get the part.

The the next audition she is fine. I don’t understand!

I scream internally (and externally) a lot….

She doesn’t get it.

The boy makes things. He will find a picture of an item, usually a weapon used in a film he has just seen and make a 3D replica of it. He is quite talented there but it makes for a messy house with paint and glue and bits of foam spread all over any available surface.

Apparently I love mess.

The birthday from hell

Today was my birthday.

And I cried.

It was decided that we would go out for lunch to celebrate, just the four of us……I don’t know what I was thinking!

After an hour or two of kids stuffing around and still not getting dressed, or whinging that they didn’t have a plan white top to wear (the girl) and getting upset set when I said I couldn’t just materialise it out of thin air, and the boy not putting his shoes on and cavorting around the house annoying the dog, the man and I walked out.

By ourselves.

By the time I had reversed the car down the driveway both kids were standing outside the house with their shoes in their hands ready to go.  The boy was very apologetic about making me sad and the girl was whining about her socks being dirty.

The kids were excited as we were having pancakes for lunch and they love pancakes. They liked the sound of the pancakes that came with chocolate syrup, ice-cream and sprinkles, but the girl was unsure whether she would like it on a pancake, so I got them to put all the side in separate jugs on the side of the plate. The waitress must have thought we were mad!

As predicted – the pancake tasted different and the ice-cream tasted different so both went uneaten by the girl. But she managed to eat all of the chocolate syrup with no problem. That would have filled her up!

Back home we went where the girl promptly asked for something to eat as she was hungry.

Then it was time to go to my mothers house for dinner. As predicted, the kids wouldn’t cooperate. The boy was playing with a ball in the hall and wouldn’t do anything he was asked and the girl was flapping around doing whatever she was doing. The man had the audacity to raise his voice which caused the boy to shut down completely.

At this point I burst into tears (again) and left the house. I drove to my mums house crying and had a birthday dinner without any of my family. My Mum, Nana, Sister, Brother in law and my niece and nephews were on hand to sing me happy birthday but not my own family.

I got to watch normal kids do normal things and it just made me feel worse. I felt very sad and worn out by it all.

I know that the boy and the girl can’t think of anyone but themselves but I do wish they could. It is not nice feeling very unimportant all the time.

I will get over it and move on, but today I am sad.

 

Scarred

The boy and the girl see a Psychologist on a regular basis and the last time that she was here she was having a chat to the girl about learning to like Aspergers.

The girl was saying that she didn’t like telling anyone that she had it because she had been scarred by a friend a couple of years ago. The girl had told her friend that she had it and swore her to secrecy but of course kids being kids this friend told the rest of the class. Now I doubt a class full of nine and 10 year olds actually knew what it was, but it was fun to tease the girl about.

The Psychologist was getting the girl to list all the good things about it and to try to break down her negative perception of it, and of telling anyone as otherwise she will still be hung up on this incident in twenty years, unable to move past it.

It got me to thinking of a few incidents in my life that had happened, and still upset me if I think too hard about them.

The first one was when I was in primary school about Grade 4 and I was singing in the Choir. I loved singing and had fun being with my friends. A girl near me in the row told me I couldn’t sing, so I left the Choir without telling anyone why and have hated singing since.

The next memory was and still is a painful one – one that has caused me much grief and sadness and stopped me liking a single moment of the last 2.5 years of high school. I was in Year 10 and I had a nice group of friends, or so I thought. One day as I approached them at recess or lunch time I saw them look at me, talk to each other and then run away.

I was devastated!

I had no idea what to do next, and any smidgen of confidence I had in myself had now gone. There was no way I was going to attempt to approach them again, and I don’t think I spoke to many people at school for the next two years.

I always had an outlet in the way of sport. I have played or done a sport of some kind all my life, and at one point used to compete in Cross-Country Skiing. I had worked my way up the rankings and had been invited away with the National Team on one of their training camps. I wasn’t in the team as such, just a few aspiring skiers had been added into the camp. I was so excited, being away in another state and getting the chance to ski with some great athletes.

On this one particular day of the camp we all set out for a training run. One of the scheduled breaks was at a hut in the middle of nowhere, but it had a guest book in there for everyone  to write down a message in. One of the girls who was slightly older than me, and someone I looked up to, wrote a message on behalf of the whole team. I can’t remember most of the message but she signed it off with

‘……from the National team and loser hangers on’.

I still remember being so crushed by that. I felt so unworthy and stupid for thinking I could be a great skier. Who was I to think I could ever be good?

I slowly withdrew from the skiing world, again not telling anyone because of the shame of having to repeat what I saw.

It’s funny how remarks or actions by people can really define who you are and who you become. If I knew then what I know now it would be such a different story. I wouldn’t stop anyone from pursuing a sport I loved, or not have given up singing, and I would have had the confidence to ask these girls why they ran away from me, and I would have made new friends.

But I guess that comes with age and wisdom.

Don’t throw out the wine!!!

Sometimes I have a laugh about the search terms that bring readers to this blog.

A lot of them feature teeth brushing problems, which is normal as Aspies hate the taste of toothpaste and feel of the toothbrush in their mouth.

Obsessions with paper is another one which is normal, as is sleep – or lack of sleep. There are a lot of sleep deprived parents who keep the caffeine business going.

One of the more interesting search this week was ‘little girl boy brushing teeth girl puts toothpaste and sprinkles on boy’s head’…..

Hmm not sure what was going on there – were they sprinkles that you put on bread? And did the little girl think the boy was a snack?

Another one from today was ‘when he gets angry he throws out all the wine!’  What the…?

Not sure why anyone who searches for wine would land on my blog! 😉

And why would anyone throw out good wine, regardless of whether they were angry or not!

That’s just kooky talk!

Head hurts tonight!

The girl dances on a Friday night. She loves dancing, and she looks so free and happy when she does.

Tonight she came home hungry. Not unusual as she is always hungry, but she didn’t know what she wanted to eat.  The problem is is that she only eats about four things and she didn’t want any of those.

Pasta? No

Weetbix with Vegemite? No

Toast?

Sandwich? No

All options exhausted then. Cue tears….

I put one option on the table – the one she hadn’t finished from before she left for dancing – and told her to go sit down at the table. Once she saw what it was she started crying that she didn’t want it, but couldn’t tell me what she did want. I said that if she didn’t want to eat then she should have a bath and go to bed, as she was obviously tired.

Apparently eyes hanging out of head and tears doesn’t mean you are tired! Just so you know…

I lost it at the point and said it wasn’t a restaurant and she was out of options. Cue more tears and collapsing on the ground this time.

I left her to it and went into another room to cool down.

A few minutes later she stormed past us to go to her room, where she proceeded to collapse on her bed this time, conveniently bypassing the bathroom and ignoring the fact that I’d told her to have a bath if she wasn’t going to eat.

After physically dragging her off the bed and into the bathroom, I then had to undress her, which is quite difficult when she is trying to put her clothes back on at the same time. I picked her up and dumped her in the bath (so so glad she is little!) and walked away… after saying that if she was not careful she would have to go and live with another family because I can’t look after her anymore.

Five minutes later she is calling me from the bath.

‘Now I’m worried that you are going to get rid of me’.

After reassuring her that I didn’t mean it and I was just frustrated by her behaviour, she got out of the bath.

And proceeded to get upset about everything else that was going on in her world. Like her body hurting everywhere, and her knee hurts as well, and the German Teacher at school is convinced that all kids with Aspergers are going to try to run away like a girl did in Prep who has it, but don’t ask her how she knows this because she can’t tell me. And she doesn’t want the German Teacher to know she has it because she will tell even more people about it, like her best friend in Year 4 did after promising to keep it a secret then telling everyone who then proceeded to laugh and point at her. And there is a mean girl in the Softball Team at school who keeps picking on her but she is in the Year below her and she only knows her first name but she is really mean to her and she is really missing her computer game and when can you get a new computer so I can play it and it’s not fair….and can I have some Tuna please?

This was all told to me in about two minutes flat, such was the speed of her talking.

I know that she holds everything in until she feels she is safe enough to tell us and then she erupts, but we have to go through the meltdown to get to what is upsetting her.

Hurts my head and now I need a drink. And chocolate. Or both….

What a week….

The girl looking very happy! Apparently…

We have reached the end of a very busy week and a half. The girl was in numerous dress rehearsals and then four concerts of her Year 5 and 6 concert of Beauty and the Beast Junior. She played the role of a ‘Silly Girl’ which the man and I thought was very apt. The last concert was on Thursday night and as we were all tired both the boy and girl didn’t go to school on the Friday. It was lovely not to have to rush out the door in the morning for a change.

The make up and hair for all concerts was a challenge. She hated the smell and feel of the foundation and the hairspray was a challenge to get near her! I only had to put her foundation on at home, the rest (including the false eyelashes) was put on by the make up team. I am so so grateful for them. We also had many tears and squirming whilst holding a curling iron…

On Sunday morning the girl had a final rehearsal for her Ballet Presentation Class (exam) which was to be held on the Monday. We were both up and out early to get there by 8.45am. Not on a Sunday!!!!

I picked her up from school early yesterday to get her to her exam on time. Luckily I didn’t have to fight to put her hair in a bun, I was able to leave it to her ballet teacher.  Of course because I wasn’t doing it she didn’t fight and argue about it! Typical!

Now we can all relax for a few months until the Ballet Recital at the end of the year…Phew!

Sitting in the hair chair!

The morning and the tiredness

I am exhausted.

It is only 8.30am but the girl’s morning antics have worn me out already.

She has choir at school at 8am which she loves and refuses to give up but she doesn’t help us get her ready to go.

Yesterday I gave her the day off school to give her some time to unwind after a really busy weekend and she was awake at 6.45am. Today when I need her up early I had to wake her at 7.20am and she still refused to get up. Sounds normal I guess….

Three different drinks were tried before she finally settled on a hot chocolate (with added ritalin). She didn’t want the orange juice that she asked for, nor the apple juice because it had lumps in it, so a small amount of chocolate milk was finally a winner.

I had dressed her as I yanked her out of bed because sometimes that is easier than fighting the flailing limbs when she is finally ensconced on the couch, so all I had to do was get her to eat breakfast, go to the toilet and brush her teeth. Easy!

Except we had 0.56 minutes to do this in.

After asking for an apple the girl sat and looked at it for 10 minutes before talking a microscopic bite out of it.

Telling her it was time to leave made her run and hide on her bed because I was being mean and was scaring her! Dragging her out of bed again and shoving her shoes on her feet I asked her to get in the car, at which point she went to the toilet.

Banging my head on a convenient wall nearby and counting to 500 did nothing to help me…..

After five minutes of sitting on the toilet the girl finally comes out and dawdles to the bathroom to brush her teeth. Luckily that doesn’t require too much time because the ritalin has finally kicked in and she is doing what she is told.

I love ritalin!!

Finally at 7.59 she is ready. Did I mention that choir starts at 8.00 and it is a 10 minute drive to get to school?

And what has the boy been doing in all of this?

He got up and ate his breakfast and got dressed and brushed his teeth and was packed and out the door and waiting in the car for the girl.

In his words  ‘what are we going to do with her?’  He cracks me up!

Is it too early for wine?

 

The boy and his tennis

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What a morning!
The boy was supposed to have tennis today.
He loves playing tennis, and I love him playing tennis because it uses up some of his copious amount of energy….although he has usually fully recharged his tank by the time we get home.

This morning it was just not happening. I had already left home at 6.50am for a running session at the local track for an hour so by the time I had got home at 8.15am I was hot and tired. The boy just didn’t want to go along with the plan.

I asked him to get dressed a few times and he just buried himself into the couch and frowned.

He wouldn’t tell me what was wrong. Not then and not either of the 375 times I asked him after that.
I am embarrassed about how I lost my temper and ranted at him and quite possibly made him feel worse. I just wanted him to speak to me and say WHY he didn’t want to go.

I had a voice in my head telling me that he doesn’t speak when he is stressed, that that is how his aspergers comes out, but I couldn’t calm down.
It. Drives. Me. Crazy!!

Anyway, I finally told him to write down what was bothering him and he wrote this message.

Finally, an answer! When I asked him why he couldn’t have told me before the lesson and avoided all this stress for us both he couldn’t tell me. I (tried) to explain to him that is there is a problem he can tell me and I can try to do something about it, instead of having a massive meltdown about doing something he loves. And yes there was a boy that was awful to him a few weeks ago, and really upset the boy.

It’s all part of the syndrome! There is no hope for us then. Perhaps 10am was a little early to start drinking but it certainly was tempting!!

Always and forever

The girl had a major meltdown last night.

She had not had a good day at all.

It started in the morning when she was dropped at school. She was a little earlier to school than normal because the boy had basketball training before school so it made sense to take them both at the same time. It turned out that she sat outside her classroom until the bell went, even though she had asked to play a game with the other girls in her class who were there early as well. She would have made player number 9 and apparently the game only needed 8 players. These girls didn’t want someone to be ‘out’ at all times, so it was decided that it was easier if she just didn’t play at all.

She wasn’t even allowed to watch the game!

She then told us that a boy from her class walked by her and grabbed her arm and threw her to the ground, then teased her for having Aspergers. She said that he always teases her and he says that ‘she will always have it, so haha!’

My heart broke as she sobbed about how different to other kids she was and she didn’t know how to fit in.

I have contacted the school to let them know that this in not good enough and I want some answers now. I know exactly who said it and I do think it is ironic that his older brother has Aspergers as well.

The Year 5 students have buddies who started Prep this year. The girl has a very lively little girl who is very strong willed. Yes it sounds like a perfect fit as this is what the girl is like, but in reality the girl doesn’t need this. She uses her recess and lunch breaks to unwind and can’t do that at the moment. This buddy of hers drags her around the school yard and won’t let her near her own friends. Yesterday the buddy was so demanding about going to the library at lunch time that she threw the girls lunch into the bin so that they would get there faster. She rips books out of the girls hands and throws them on the ground if she thinks she is not getting enough attention…. and it goes on.

She also doesn’t like a lot of contact, or it has to be on her terms, so to have this buddy hanging off her and pulling her in every direction is just enough to tip her over the edge. The teachers say that they have to be firm with them, but that is easier said that done, even with a ‘normal’ person, let along a 10 year old girl with her own issues. If this is trivialised then this mummy will be on the warpath!!

After school she happily went off to her dancing lesson. She has been asking us for years to do dancing but until now we thought she wasn’t ready to go, between her arthritis and her lack of social skills. But she is giving it a good go now.

She cried coming home from her lesson because she said that she just got shouted at the whole lesson. When we clarified what she meant, she said that the teacher would be on the other side of the room shouting at the girl to hold the barre correctly, for example. Now I will be going back to the ballet teacher to explain (again) how the girl cannot comprehend the tone of her voice, that even if she is NOT angry/mad/exasperated the girl will interpret a loud voice as any of these. Then she gets stressed and then makes more mistakes which in turn makes the teacher ‘yell’.

My heart is breaking for her, I want to be able to fix it all for her and just keep her home where she is safe. The world is just too confusing for her at the moment.

No wonder she was upset last night, we let her cry and get it out and gave her heaps of cuddles and love.