Saturday, 23 October 2010

Cuteness in the garden

Rosie, at 22 months old, playing in the garden. This is quite a cute video and I thought the family in England would enjoy it. She's a right little character now. So adorable though!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Asperger's update

I have been so proud of Barney lately. Last week he celebrated his 7th birthday The changes he has made in the last year have been phenomenal. It was just a year ago that he was practically housebound through fear and anxiety. A lot of this was due to sensory issues that we weren't aware of at the time. He has spent 9 months now taking a medication that the consultant said he would only give him for 3 months. In this time he has had a lot of therapy in the form of schedules, timers, breathing exercises, visualizations etc, from the Autism team. And he has also been attending weekly Occupational Therapy sessions. (see the photo below)

Well, this week has had his review appointment with the consultant; the same person who diagnosed him. He said that he could see a remarkable change just by talking to Barney. He really has been like a different boy, and it has been wonderful to watch him enjoying his childhood, instead of being crippled by fears and worries.
But because he is doing so well Dr M decided that it is time to take him off of his medication. Barney immediately panicked and curled up in a ball on his chair begging the doctor not to stop the medicine. I expressed my concerns that I was worried he may psychologically feel that he can't cope, and perhaps a placebo might be a good idea. He decided to wean him off the meds over 3 weeks. So he is now taking them every other day. The idea is that on the days he is not having medicine he will see that he is coping and gain confidence that he can cope without.
He is on day 4 of this alternating meds schedule and the changes are already causing concern. Thankfully, the anxiety hasn't returned yet, and for this I am truly grateful. But he is once again, very suddenly, a typical 'Aspie'. I hadn't realised that the medication had not only reduced his anxiety, but totally altered his personality. Whilt I love the aspie aspects of this personality, I am also very aware that they make daily life more of a challenge for him; both at home and at school. The staff at school have already called me in to discuss the difference. Then yesterday he went to what was supposed to be his last OT visit. But after seeing the change in him she decided she couldn't end his therapy yet. He was, to quote her words "a different child". He wouldn't listen, wouldn't take instruction, cried and sulked when he couldn't do something, answered me back rudely, had huffs and tantrums, dangerously hit at the equipment and wouldn't co-operate. He was also totally hyper, seeking movement and deep pressure stimulation and generally manic. The OT stood with her mouth open for most of the session and said she had not expected such a dramatic change. I felt like crying when I came out. What happened to the polite, well behaved child that I had been taking to OT for months?
Anyway, things could be a hell of a lot worse, and if they continue like this then we will all cope just fine. But I have a deep fear that things will go right back to the way they were, and I really don't want that for him, or for the rest of the family. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

First supermarket walk

This is just the cutest video. At Centra in Banbridge they have little kiddie sized trollies. This was the very first time Rosie discovered them, and she can now walk well enough to push one around for me. We filled it with bread and milk, and she thought she was a proper little Mummy. What is nice to see is how the eldest two really watch out for her, and protect her.

It's not dye... it's spray!

I post a lot of these wee video clips onto facebook. But since most of the English family don't use facebook, I thought I'd post a few on here for them to watch.

Make up artist Rosie....

Arghhhhh, I was lounging around in bed, thinking about starting the day, when I noticed how quiet Rosie was being.
Turns out she is quite a talented young artist, as you can see....

Friday, 8 October 2010

A day in the life…


I decided to take an ordinary day and keep a diary of it. If for nothing more than for my kids to see how damn hard I work looking after them. So here it is… a day in the life of a single Mum of 4 kids………


1am – Emily crying. Drag myself out of bed. Stand over cot scratching her back and stroking her head for 5 minutes.

1.15am – Emily crying again. This time I bring her into my bed.

1.15-1.40am – laying next to Emily saying ‘close your eyes, go to sleep now, its night time’ whilst she says ‘No Mummy, big cuddles, play toys, Mummy’.

1.40-2am – Make Emily a bottle and put her back in her cot. Then lay in my bed till 2am wishing to God that she would go back to sleep. She eventually does.

7.30am – Alarm goes off. I feel wrecked. Drag myself downstairs to wake older two kids up. Put kettle on. Shuffle back into bed for 5 minutes.

8am – wake Luke up and realise I am half an hour behind schedule due to tiredness. Run downstairs to make Luke’s packed lunch. Make cup of tea. Nag older kids to get ready faster. Make Emily a bottle.

8.20am – Throw on some clothes. No time to brush teeth or hair! Wake Emily up and give her bottle. Nag big kids and Luke to get dressed quicker. Get Emily dressed and change her nappy.

8.40am – running round house like a lunatic looking for Emily’s shoes. Didn’t find them. Bundle big kids out of back door, and little kids into car. Drive to Luke’s school realising I still haven’t brushed my hair or teeth and resemble a yeti.

8.50am – Take Luke into school. We are running late. Carry Emily to classroom where we have special permission to get Luke settled before the other children due to his Asperger’s.  Emily plays with classroom toys whilst Luke puts his lunch, coat, bag etc away. Then we chat or read stories until the other children come into class. I hug him goodbye and leave. This is massive improvement on last years shenanigans.

9am – usually Emily walks back to the car which takes about 15 minutes. But since I couldn’t find her shoes we don’t do this. She is not impressed. Distract her with stories of weetabix and yoghurt for breakfast when we get home. Drive home.

9.10am – Home. Put Emily in high chair and turn TV on for her. Make her yoghurt and toast. Make myself toast and tea. Check emails and facebook. Not much happening there.

9.20am – realise I left all Luke’s plastic bed sheets on line over night and it’s been raining. It’s going to take bloomin ages to dry them now. Queue up some music on Spotify to get me through the morning.

9.30am – Put a load of washing on. Spend 5 minutes hoaking through deep freeze looking for pastry and feel like I’ve got frost bite on half my fingers. Find one roll of pastry but probably isn’t enough.

9.40am – waste a few minutes playing guitar before getting Emily out of high chair. Whilst drinking tea. Learning ‘In A Darkened Room’ by Skid Row, ‘Call Your Name’ by Daughtry, and ‘Iris’ by The Goo Goo Dolls.

9.50- 10.05am – Luke’s Autism Therapist phones to see how he is getting on. Talked for ages about the improvements he’s making and how his OT is going. She is absolutely delighted to hear about his reduction in anxiety and panic. She tells me I’m one of the strongest women she knows which makes me choke up. Then I realise Emily is still in her high chair. Poor wee girl.

10.10am – 10.20am – Kitchen – Load dishwasher, tidy breakfast stuff away, spray work tops, clean high chair, wash saucepans, wash baby bottles.  Little Emily thinks she is helping by opening and closing the dishwasher door. Bless her.

10.20 – 10.27am – clean fish tank, with help from Emily who thinks it is hilarious that the fishies are in a jug.

10.30am – set Emily up on kitchen floor with a big bowl of water and some spoons and jugs to play with. She sits on a towel. Will probably be soaked by the end, but at least it will occupy her long enough for me to fold a load of laundry.

10.33am – fold one load of freshly laundered washing.

10.35am – finally get around to brushing my teeth!

10.38am – tidy downstairs bathroom. Toys are still in bath from Emily’s bath last night. Put these away, clean sink and toilet. Find Emily’s shoes in here.

10.40am  - Put the Lion King DVD on for Emily in the hopes that I can have a bath. A luxury I have been planning all week! Emily stands at side of bath and play with the bubbles. She washes my hair and back for me. Cute.

11.20am- Got out of bath to discover Emily had found the pot of Sudocrem (again!) and painted the DVD player, sky box, telly and sofa with it. Plus herself. She was sat there saying ‘bad girl, bad girl’. Arghhhh. Spend 5 minutes cleaning it up.

11.20-11.40am – get dressed, dry hair, notice Emily has ruined my favourite lipstick. Make my bed, tidy my bedroom, tidy shower room, clean toilet, collect dirty laundry up, tidy Emilys room, take laundry and bottles downstairs, take sheets and duvet cover off Luke’s bed to be washed.

11.40am – read emails, check facebook, read an article about the health benefits of Watercress. Make a cuppa and think about lunch.

11.50-12.10 – Make lunch for me and Emily – Banana, bagels and brazil nuts. Eat lunch and have cuddles with Emily whilst watching Balamory.

12.10-12.35 reply to emails

12.35 – put Emily down in her cot with a bottle in the hopes that she has a nap. Unload washing machine. Load tumble drier. Load washing machine again.  Bring in sheets which got rained on and try to dry on radiators. Clean kitchen again. Wash more baby bottles.  Re-tidy bathroom as I trashed it having a bath. Clean cooker hob top.

1pm – prepare and roast vegetables to make roast veggie quiches later for the wedding party tomorrow.

1.15pm – make one pastry case for quiche. Cook.

1.20pm – sweep and mop kitchen floor. Sweep and mop bathroom floor.

1.40pm – wake Emily up from nap so we can pick Luke up from school. Just about to leave when I notice her nappy has leaked. Change her nappy, and trousers, which makes us late leaving for school.

2.15 – back from school with Luke. Rush to kitchen and remove roasting veggies from the oven.

2.20-2.30 – whisking eggs, making first quiche, putting in oven.

2.30 – empty tumble drier and fold clothes into piles, unload washing machine into drier, hang up sheets. Cuddle a miserable Emily and give her chocolate.

2.40-2.50pm – cuddles with Emily. Snuggly wuggly cuddly.

2.50 – finish first quiche. Roll pastry for next quiche. Put that one in oven. Prepare whisked eggs and roast veg.

3pm – 3.20 – cuddles with Emily who is very grizzly and miserable.

3.20pm – make a cup of tea. Feel absolutely shattered and still have so much to do. Draining.

3.25-3.45 – finish making quiche. Luke breaks and whisks eggs for me. Emily has been crying for an hour and won’t let me put her down, so I am now cooking with a baby in arms.  Then was up roasting trays, bowls, utensils and cheese grater, spray and wipe work tops. Still trying to drink the tea I made half an hour ago.  Put a bowl of water and spoons down on floor for Emily to play with in the hopes it keeps her quiet for 30 seconds.

3.45pm – Jude gets home from school and I say ‘thank God you’re home’ and ask her to take Emily out in the garden for 5 minutes before I lose my marbles. Then I…. swallow down cold tea, change light bulb in my room, put mop and bucket away, carry lukes toys on stairs back up to his room, realise lights still dont work after changing bulb and that fuse must have gone.  Contemplate how I am going to get to fuse box in garage, and how the hell I will know what to do when I get there.

4pm – Jude stands in my bedroom looking at light. Luke acts as call boy and stands at front door, ready shout ‘it’s working’ when I get the right fuse. I crawl around in garage changing fuses until I hear the call. Work out which fuse isn’t working, but don’t have a spare fuse to change it with. Nuts. No lights for me tonight!

4.15pm – lie down on my bed with Emily. Trying to work out why she is so upset and grouchy today. We play with a shape shorter and I phone Steve to ask about fuses.

4.30pm – Emily and I put the photos from Luke’s birthday onto the computer. Have a quick chat with a friend on fb chat about Banbridge Rock show. Give Emily a bottle.

4.30-4.50pm – accounts for nothing. Zombie time. Sat on the bed staring at facebook, looking at photos and recharging my batteries. Should have had a cuppa with me!

5pm – cook dinner and make cuppa. Whilst dinners cooking Emily plays with water again (her theme of the day) whilst I have a strum on the geetar!

5.30-6pm – eat dinner. Feed Emily.

6-6.10pm – fold more laundry from the drier.

6.10pm – 6.35 – ironing in utility room.

6.35-6.50pm – hung ironing away in wardrobes, put all clean laundry away in bedrooms. Then put clean sheets and duvet cover on Luke’s bed.

6.50pm – asked Jude to unload dishwasher so I could load it. She very sweetly loaded it as well, just to help. Bless her. She also sprayed worktops and cleaned the high chair without being asked.

6.50-7.10pm – wash up saucepans, baby bottles and bowls used for cooking dinner. Put previous washing up away. Put fish back in fish tank. Change Emily’s nappy. Pick up todys from around the downstairs.  Empty and wash Luke’s lunchbox.

7.10-7.30pm – tidy living room. Put Emily’s PJ’s on. Make Emily a bottle. Sweep living room. Again. Find spare fuses and so go back to the garage to fix the fuse box. Voila, have light again!

7.30pm – Give Emily a bottle and tuck her into her cot. Really hoping she goes to sleep first time tonight, but not expecting it since she’s been pretty bad at bed times all week. Time for a cup of tea now…

7.35 – can already hear Emily calling from her cot. Damnit, how can she not be tired? I am wrecked.

7.35-8 listening to Emily shouting to me from her cot. Talking to Luke.

8-8.30pm veg on the sofa watching Eastenders with Luke.

8.30 So seriously tired that am contemplating actually going to bed once Luke is asleep.

8.30-8.45 messed around on facebook. Really I’m just staring at a computer screen waiting for something to happen. Must give Luke his melatonin and get him ready for bed. Jude is cooking shortbread in the kitchen.  Must remember to pee at some point.

8.45-9.20pm – cuddles in bed with Luke. We went on his facebook and said thank you for his birthday messages. We had giggles and cuddles and I scratched his back. Then we laughed and listened to A Brimful Of Asha because he likes the ‘everybody needs a bosom for a pillow bit’. 

9.25 – Luke gets ready for bed. He has taken his medication, brushed his teeth and picked a DVD to watch in bed. I’m going to get into bed too and chill for a bit. Usually now I would either veg in front of the telly, or play the guitar in the kitchen all evening.

9.25-9.40pm – finally get Luke into bed. Sam comes home. Show him how to reheat Chilli in the microwave. Pour myself a glass of Southern Comfort and Coke. Now getting into bed.

9.40-10pm – upload Lukes birthday photos onto facebook. Now I’m going to chill out for half an hour and try to get some sleep.

Good night!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Why do people lie?

We’ve all met them… people who breeze in and out of everyone’s lives leaving a trail of destruction and deceit behind them.  Compulsive liars who seem unable to tell the truth even about the simplest things; who lie so much that they seem to have no idea what truth is any more.  From the tiniest lies to the hugest, most devastatingly destructive lies.  I recently met such a person.  Within 5 minutes of talking to them I knew they were someone who was happily light with the truth.  Indeed everyone who knew this person soon became very aware of their inability to tell the truth.  This person seemed to enjoy lying, but wasn’t very good at it.  I remember hearing them claim to have studied 3 totally different subjects at University, for example. A harmless lie. But also pointless. Why do some people seem to enjoy lying to others?  This person not only lied about things that would have saved them from embarrassment, but also about things that were totally unnecessary.  They also told some huge whoppers that actually put the health and safety of others at risk.

A pathological liar is someone who feels compelled to lie about everything – big and small.  These people often lie to look good, or to gain socially or financially from others.   This type of person quite often manages to delude themselves and is often pitied by others. Some pathological liars may have a problem called antisocial personality disorder – in other words, a sociopath. Such liars often entangle themselves the longer they are around people; one lie leads to another; another lie is perpetrated to cover the tracks of a previous lie; and before they know what's happened they can’t remember what they have said to whom.

When a person lies (especially to a friend) they break a certain bond. They break trust.  Coming clean about a lie is the only way to help mend that trust. But if the person refuses to come clean, or is forced into a confession, that bond of trust is very unlikely to ever be mended.

I don’t know if there are just an awful lot of lying scumbags out there, or whether I seem to attract them. But I am certainly getting good at spotting them, thanks to experience.  How can you tell if someone is lying to you? Well, a lot of it depends whether they are a good liar or not. The person in my mind was atrocious at it!  But some obvious clues are;

Avoidance of eye contact (oh this was a huge give away on this occasion)

Change in tone, pitch or speed of voice

Body language; fidgeting, pacing, turning away or hiding face or mouth behind hands etc.

Contradicting themselves

People usually lie due to one of the following… greed, fear, acceptance or habit.  In this particular circumstance I think the person lied for all four of those reasons. Fear of not being good enough, greed in wanting things a certain way, acceptance by the people around them – to feel worthy or valued by friends. But mostly I think they lied out of habit. This person has obviously been doing this for so long, that they now know no other way of living.  Indeed they seem to have totally deluded themselves as to what is acceptable behaviour, or what can even be believed. In one instance they told a ridiculous lie to cover their tracks, and seemed genuinely shocked when people didn’t believe it.  A chronic liar does not need a reason to lie. They do not do it for any personal gain. They simply enjoy it, or can’t help themselves.  They lie for the sake of lying and often they don’t even realise they are doing it. 

Chronic or pathological lying is not characterised in the mental health diagnostic manual as a mental health problem in itself.  However it is often viewed as a symptom of another mental disorder; for instance narcissism, psychopathy, delusional thinking.  I am no expert, but I read a bit about lying after the situation I was in over a year ago with an absolute nutter of a woman (those who know me will know about this, or those who have read my blog).  There has been some research to suggest that SOME people may have a neurological disorder of their frontal lobe. They have highly developed verbal skills, but their front lobe (which acts as the editor in what we say) get confused. They have difficulty distinguishing between reality as it is, and reality as they would like it to be. So often the reality as they would like it to be comes out instead. 

However, for many people this chronic lying seems to serve no purpose more than to massage their egos, make them look better than they really are, or to make them seem interesting.  They feel they can not live up to the expectation of others and so try to make themselves look more interesting, more caring, more understanding, more innocent, more successful, more powerful (you could write an endless list of mores…) than they actually are.  Ironically I have noticed that their own defence when being caught out and exposed as a liar, is to accuse the exposé as the liar instead. 

I’m sick and tired of dealing with such people. 

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