Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Amazingly the Maize Maze Amazed me.

Marty's parents were over visiting last week and so we took a day trip. Barney didn't want to go anywhere further than 15 minutes drive away which was proving to be a problem. We all wanted to go to the Maize Maze in Castlewellan but he wasn't having any of it! It wasn't until I found that they had a website and that it was full of pics and videos of the maze and activities, showed it to Barney and then he was all set for going! I really need to remember that he needs visual prompts to allow him to really accept new things. It's so simple but I so often forget.

The maze in Castlewellan is one of the few NI activities with a good website. Having videos and photos made it a gazillion times easier for Luke. I wish all family friendly places would do the same so that our autistic children can prepare more for days out.

So we all had a lovely day. Not only did we have a good go at the maze, but there were other things there too, such as a bouncy castle, sand pit, toddlers play area, swing ball, massive slide and football games. It was good because the maze was great for the teenagers and adults, but there was also something for the little ones.

Badger and his Grandad made one team, whilst Marty, myself and Barney were another team. We raced teams through the maze, searching for dinosaur clues. There were points when Barney really wasn't handling the whole maze thing, but a really nice guy who worked there gave him a map and that gave him something to focus on. I think his main problem was not knowing how long we would be in the maze. Time is always a big issue for him, and without his visual timer he is often more anxious.

A good time was had by all. Rosie played football with her Daddy. I beat Badger several times at swing ball, whilst he injured his Dad quite painfully in the family jewels with the same swingball! Rosie played for hours with her Granny in the sand pit. Tarja wasn't there as she was away with friends for a few days.

Afterwards we headed into Newcastle and ate fish and chips on a windy beach. I just love being anywhere where I can see the Mourne Mountains!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Recurring Dreams

This is the second time in recent years that I’ve been experiencing recurring dreams. I have heard that dreams that keep coming to you over weeks, months or years are trying to tell you something important. I used to have the same recurring dream that came about every month, or every few weeks.  It was the same every time. I would be walking around my house (I always knew it was my own house, even though it wasn’t actually a house that I’ve ever lived in) and I would discover a room, or rooms that were not being used. I would come up with all sorts of plans for this room and would feel irritate that it was being wasted.  I knew what the dream meant. When I went through a bad patch my dream changed slightly. Instead of discovering unused rooms and making plans for them, I would notice that my house was rotting, going mouldy and nasty.  Both these dreams meant something obvious to me.

Now I am having a new recurring dream. I have had it before but it didn’t come so often. Maybe once or twice a year. Now its every few weeks.  In this dream I am trying to get to the bottom of a very high rise building. Think of the twin towers. That sort of size. I try to take the lift down. There are always others waiting for the lift too. When the lift doors open everyone piles in without seeming to notice or care that the floor of the lift is made of carpet and is all saggy and coming away at one side. The lift floor is about to fall out.  Either I notice this and won’t go into the lift. Or I go in and then the floor starts sagging and I am left trying to hold on for dear life, waiting desperately to get off at the next stop before I fall to my death! And the other passengers are all chatting away happily.  I either get out of the lift, or don’t go in the lift at all – and start to take the stairs to get out of the building. But because the building is so huge it takes me hours and hours to climb down the stairs. And to top it all off I have extreme vertigo the whole time and am falling all over the place, nearly falling over the stairs sides and down the huge fall to the bottom.  I never make it out of the building before waking up and seem lost in a dizzy place, destined to fall to my doom! I don’t really like this dream, as you can imagine!

I have a fair idea what it might mean too.  I might write another post sometime about what I think these dreams mean, but would welcome your suggestions as well.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Intensive Intervention


Over the course of the summer holidays Barney is undergoing some intensive early intervention, provided by the Autism Intervention Team. ‘F’, the therapist he has been seeing over the last few months is organising this. Barney will be going to see a support worker weekly at the Autism Centre in Newry, whilst F works with us at the same time, in a room with one of those one-way mirrors. Then the support worker will be coming out weekly to the house as well to work with him. Added to that his Occupational Therapy appointments and he has quite a packed summer!

DSCF9957 DSCF9958 

A lot of the work seems to be based on organising schedules and routines. The idea is that these will calm him and help to reduce his anxiety.  They have made up all these laminated schedules for him to work from, based on a Spongebob theme, as that’s something that he really likes. We have to schedule the entire day, from breakfast through to bedtime. Every time it is time for him to move onto the next task, I give him a Spongebob token and he sticks it to his chart and takes the next activity off his schedule to complete. Each day he has three therapy cards to complete as well. The therapies he can chose from each day are on the ‘Choice Board’. Each time he completes one he gets a star, and if he manages 3 stars a day for a week then he gets a surprise.  Therapies range from deep massage, pressure therapy, deep hand and wrist massage, trampolining, resting under weighted blankets, to simply time out in a quiet place.

Our hallways is fast becoming a notice board for all things laminated and velcro’d.  It’s actually not that easy to get used to. Having one of the most unorganised women in the world as his mother doesn’t aid the process either!  We did half a day of the schedule today and then I totally forgot to keep updating it, and it wasn’t until bedtime that we realised we’d neglected it.  Doh! 

Friday, 9 July 2010

Dear Friends,


Dear Friends,

If you matter, then you already know the details. It’s good to have friends. Good friends always know the right thing to do. They don’t swarm overhead like a pack of vultures. If you are a close friend then you already know that I am happy, and that Marty is happy too. Sure we have our ups and downs. We are only human after all, and life is never perfectly blissful happiness. And if it was I’m sure we would all be boring nitwits. A bit of a challenge here and there can be very character building.

Marty is the most amazing person I have ever known. A very selfless person, witty, romantic, charming, energetic… amongst so many other things. He has helped me through the toughest times in my life, and shared the happiest moments as well. His boundless energy is inspiring. The man is like a machine! He loves buying presents, and springing surprises on people. Once he took me to New York for a surprise. He has been my dearest and closest friend since the age of 16. He has saved my life on more than one occasion. We will always be the best of friends. That is something people find hard to understand, or believe.

Why do people think that separation only happens when life has gotten too awful to bear? Maybe it is that way for most people. I guess the majority of people are scared of change, fearful of making mistakes, full of ‘what ifs’. Why do people let life get to the stage where it is too awful to bear? Why do they keep plodding on until both parties absolutely hate each other and can not spend a single moment in each others company any more? Isn’t it more sensible for the sake of everyone involved to sort things out whilst both are still friends?

I’m sure people have all sorts of opinions on the subject, but I just don’t really care for anyone else’s opinions. People will say that if things aren’t that bad then you should remain together. That’s their opinion and I don’t agree. And since it’s my life and not theirs I choose to do what I think is right; not what is least shocking for others. And I don’t ever want to get to the stage where we can’t be friends; where we have to drop the kids off in each others driveways without any communication, for fear of an unsightly scene or row. Now surely that would be worse for the kids?

The facts of the matter are that I grew up in a totally warped cult church. Looking back I have no idea how my parents were able to live that way. But they did, and so we had to as well. There are many aspects of that church that are totally f****d up; one of which is their dating policy. As a 16 year old I was only allowed to date if it was with someone I would consider marriage with. If marriage wasn’t on the cards after a few months, then the relationship was ‘advised’ to end. Not that it was possible to actually have a healthy relationship with the opposite sex. Alone time was not allowed, chaperoning commonplace; it was virtually impossible to tell if someone was good marriage material in that sort of situation! Many young girls in that church got married whilst still children. I was one of them. Fortunately for me, my fella turned out to be a real gem. Others were not always so fortunate.

At 16 or 17 years old you are still a child. Why on earth do people let kids get married? Are they really so fearful of sex outside marriage leading to eternal damnation that it is considered the better option to marry the children off? They might not be married to someone who really suits them, they might never have lived on their own or have any experience of adult life, they might not know who they are or what they believe or where they want to go with life – but at least they wont commit fornication and thus burn in hell forever!

As one of the lucky ones I have had 16 wonderful years married to the most awesome person that I’ve ever met. And I don’t regret a single day that we have known each other. What I do regret is that I never had the chance to learn about myself, be myself, express myself as an individual, and to grow. Marty understands this. He knows how I feel. Do you have any idea what it must be like to know that the life you are living was never really your own choice? That people or organisations forced you to follow paths that you would not have chosen if you had had freedom of will, self identity and security? You feel trapped. You start to get bitter and angry.

I have never, ever, lived as a single person. I have never had a chance to know myself or to spend time with myself. Without going into details, that has given me ‘issues’. My good friends know exactly what I am talking about. So no need to go into it here. But Marty, being the wonderful person that he is, understands. We need space from each other. We need time to grow. We need a lot of things that being together can not provide. But we will always love each other, and we will always remain close. We will be in and out of each others houses and lives daily. Some people might not understand this. How can a separation be happy? The fact is, that it is, that we are and that we hopefully always will be.

Dear Vultures,


Dear Vultures,

What would you like to know? Would you like me to spin you a tale full of heart ache, trauma, lies and deceit? Would that fill your hunger for juicy gossip? Shall I tell you about how bad things have been, how unhappy everyone is? Would you like to revel in our misery and make your own sorry lives seem better for a while? Oh, yes, for things must have been absolutely awful. It must have been hard to carry on. Perhaps there were days when I thought it would be easier to end it all than to continue living this awful life? Perhaps every morning I would wake with that dead feeling in the pit of my stomach, wondering how I would get through another day? You tell me that I hid my misery well, that I appeared to be happy and that you can’t quite believe it. You want to know the details; what actually HAPPENED. You haven’t kept in touch with me for many, many years. You don’t contact me during the happy times to say ‘thinking of you’. So why now, when you think that my world is ending, are you so suddenly overcome with a need to tell me how sad you are on my behalf? Could it possibly be because you want to know the details? Or better still, why not just contact my real friends and ask them what’s going on? Perhaps they can feed your hunger for a while.

Would it excite you to think that I had locked myself away in my room, unable to cope, unable to eat, sick with heartache, eyes puffy with tears? Perhaps I could take to the bottle and drink myself to numbness for your titillation. Would you like to know if people are around me, supporting me at this time? You must think I am totally alone, for it appears that I must need your assistance, despite the fact that you barely know me/do not actually know me/don’t ever speak to me. In fact it is not even your assistance that you are offering. You just seem to think you have a right to know “what’s going on”. Perhaps you are one of the ones that think it would be better that a parent actually died than split up, for the sake of the children? Oh yes, I have heard that said. Shall I tell you that my children are distraught? That they may never lead normal lives again because of the horror of the things they have seen? Will you be there for the children now that their parents have totally lost the plot? No? Oh, I see you just want the details. Ok.

Rest assured that your words of disappointment, sadness and disbelief do pierce my soul and pain me. They have not been wasted.

I hope Karma bites you in the bum.

Monday, 5 July 2010

It was only yesterday that I was 15

 14 15

Ooooh the horror! Yes, this was me aged 15. Fifteen was my goth year. I started so innocent looking, and got darker as the year went on.

I am posting this because my first born son turned 15 last week, and I really just can’t quite believe it. When I look at those photos of me at that age and remember how things were, it’s quite scary. I thought I knew it all! I thought I had the whole world sussed out!  I loved my friends to bits, studied quite hard, but had a hell of a lot of silly fun too.  It’s a bit scary to think that Jimmie was born just three years after those photos were taken.

But enough about me. My Jimmie is now 15. The poor lad is the youngest in his year and so all his mates are turning 16. He is forever playing catch up.  Jimmies birthday always marks the end of the school year and the start of the summer holidays here in Northern Ireland.  To celebrate it we spoilt him rotten with presents (a newer, better phone with a camera, a big man size punch bag, weights, gym equipment, a new watch, clothes, chocs etc) and took him horse riding with his Aunties, Uncle and nieces.  I think he had a good day. I think he was pleased with his presents. The punch bag is certainly getting plenty of use. As is the phone!

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Friday, 2 July 2010

Almost walking....

At 18 months Rosie is following in the shoes of her eldest brother and sister who all learnt to walk at this age. She has just learnt to stand alone and is loving it! But she has her own unique way of walking - rather than actually taking real steps! haha. I don't think it will be long before she's toddling about though. What do you think?

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