It's a quiet moment in the house. Unusual when there are four kids about the place. Rosie is napping, Tarja is watching TV, and Badger & Barney are making a cafe out in the kitchen. Badger has been great with Barney since we talked about autism with him. Today I found him out in the garden teaching Barney how to play football so that he could mingle with the boys at school better. I was so touched.
Yesterday Barney was invited to 'Cheeky Monkeys', an indoor soft play area in Newry, that I didn't even know existed. He was too frightened to go on his own with his friend and Mum, so I said that I'd go too. He was happy enough with that. But I forgot to tell him that we would be going in his friends car. He was all excited about the trip out until he found out about the car. When Marty mentioned at the last minute that we were getting picked up Barney went into utter panic. He was upset, scared, anxious, worried, angry, desperate. It dawned on me that we are going to have to be much more careful about how we plan things, and inform him of every detail. Had he known we were going in a friends car in advance, he would have been fine with it. It's just that it wasn't what he had pictured in his head. The only way to calm him was to drive there in our own car as expected.
I was a nervous wreck at Cheeky Monkeys. Fortunately it was a quiet time of day and there were only four children there. Barney didn't play with his friend from school, even though they had gone together, preferring to explore the place alone. When it got a bit busier at about 5pm he got more worried and it was time to leave. On Monday his class is going on a school trip to Cheeky Monkeys, and I am going with them as a helper (but mostly just to be with Barney really). I'm not sure how he will cope in that sort of environment with that many other children. I'm a bit nervous about it to be honest. At one point on our visit to Cheeky Monkeys, Barney was in the middle of a spider web type climbing thing when about 8 other bigger children turned up and came screaming through the web. He was utterly terrified. I was stuck at one side of the web, unable to get to him or help him, while he screamed for help and curled up into a ball of panic. All credit to him though, when the big kids moved on he carried on climbing through the web and made it to the top (albeit with a nervous wreck of a mother at the bottom!)
At the end of our play at Cheeky Monkeys, Barneys friend asked if they could go back to his house to play. I immediately said 'not this time', as we were all shattered and Marty was cooking dinner for us at home. Barneys response to this was to cry and scream the entire journey home. He said it just wasn't fair. He wasn't so much upset that I'd said no, but that in his mind there was no logical reason for me to say no. Every reason I came up with for not going was met with a counter reason from him. Then he started shouting at me that I just couldn't understand him. I was surprised at this, coming from a five year old. By the time we got home my nerves were shattered from the stress of driving with a screaming, crying child, and a hungry baby. I had to take myself off to bed for twenty minutes peace and quiet whilst Marty talked Barney down. He came and apologised at the end and was very happy and cuddly again.
Having said all that, I'm feeling much better this week. I've had some energy, enthusiasm and been pain free for four days! So I'm delighted. Hopefully I have recovered from the Hepatitis quicker than expected. I'm feeling more positive about things in general, and more able to cope mentally and physically.
Here are some photos that Barney took and edited himself. Barneys photo art.
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