Categories
Rants Story

Unabled

This post contains a story about me, but it isn’t really about me. It also contains my #2Son who is autistic, but it isn’t really about him either. It’s a little bit about some of you.*

It’s about the looks and the stares and a bit about what I feel.*

* I guess this is, really, about me, it is my story and my reactions, and how I react to others, so all still me there. But I can make it seem like other people are also involved…right?

(MDK 2019)

A Story

A few days ago #2Son got himself a little anxious. When this happens he can manifest certain behaviours, they aren’t always the same, they aren’t for anyone. But part of it becomes a loss of the ability to communicate feelings and thoughts and a general deterioration in overall control.

Like all of us it results in a wig out, but with no way of expressing the problem or coping with the behaviour in a manner acceptable to all of us in the neurotypical realm it gets fraught.

We were at a Supermarket after being out all day, this was probably part of the issue but there were other factors. Basically a minor wigging out was turning into a complete meltdown.

We have lots of, I guess tactics is the word, patterns for dealing with this, many of them are hug shaped, but sometimes I find that silly games work.

#2Son is seven but he has an older and younger brother and we have always had silly games since he was a toddler (and I still have some silly games with his younger brother and one or two with the older more serious sibling). Games like being swung like a baby in a cradle, or the Sockle Monster who hunts in pairs, or the INCREDIBLE FINGER OF DOOM THAT MUST EAT YOUR BELLY BUTTON (emphasis intentional).

So those are what we did. In the car park, and forecourt, of the supermarket, in daylight, on a busy day. So, of course we got looks…

The Looks

I am not going to discuss whether people should look or not, because of course people can look ffs. I am going to discuss what some of the looks (obviously not all of them, just the types I generally see and some of the ones today) seem to say and how I feel about them and hopefully from that you can think about how we look at people.

The Embarrassed Stare

This one is easy to spot. A stare of surprise and then a quick look away. I get it, something unusual happened, you looked and then you realised that could seem rude so you looked away.

Got to tell you, that’s fine. It’s okay to be curious and we get it, you satisfied polite social norms and all I can say is don’t feel embarrassed or distressed that you may have been rude or seen as rude, you’re not. So don’t feel bad and you can look.

The Glare

This is a hard one to deal with. I honestly don’t know how people who get glared at all the time manage not to go around punching people.

It is the hard stare. The long angry look The look that says what are you doing acting in that manner. How dare you act like that in my presence.

It may be from a mixture of fear or not knowing how to understand. It may be from a genuine distress. All I can say is that if you feel that you have to stare like this then you need to seek some help. Because nothing is going on that is a threat to you or the way you see the world. It is the way you are interacting with the world that is the issue.

The Cold Laugh

This may just be a misinterpretation, but I do see it. The cold stare with a smile that suggest some inner amusement. There always seems to be something cruel about this.

I have to say if there is an element of cruelty, if you enjoy someones distress or differences as it gives weight to a narrative of discrimination you might have, or allows you to enjoy some pleasure at their situation, then you need to seek help.

If of course you just can’t help it and this is a natural response you have then do people a favour and look away.

The Smile

So this one is a genuine smile, seems to be a knowing smile. It is friendly and seems to suggest that they approve of what you are doing. It’s almost like they cheerily called well done for interacting with your child in a manner that they seem to enjoy.

You can tell I like this one. This is what I hope most of us could do. We can smile in a friendly way at each other. Even if it’s not a way in which you’d behave, if the other people are enjoying themselves, be glad for them.

Wrap Up

So in a vague way I come to my conclusion, I am not sure I had a point or roadmap for this post just a bunch of thoughts that I have to wrap up before my reader falls asleep.

There are lots of ways you can look at people, and lots of ways I get looked at when I interact with my kids. I have a long history of being stared at, and sometimes it is when I am having fun being silly with a child and sometimes I am on my own being silly.

But what we should all probably try to do, is be happy for each other and think of how best to show that. Because you don’t know the story of the person you see being strange or different to you. You don’t always know the manner in which to interact. You may not no what the social convention is…who really does?

But you can be forgiving of their behaviour and glad for their joy.

Categories
Sarcasm writing

Do You Drink?

In pretty much every medical conversation I have had over the last few years the same question is always asked, ‘do you drink’. The same set of answers appear in my head but I never use them even though I really want to. I always answer fairly plainly and honestly as the flippancy will not help.

However the conversation that should happen is there in my imagination so I thought I’d share with you how it goes in my head.


Them: Do you drink Mr Keating?

Me: Yes. I have 3 children under 10, of course I drink.*

Them: How often?

Me: As often as I can.

Them: Really? How often do you actually drink?

Me: The moment I am not responsible for them.

Them: So every night?

Me: It doesn’t have to be night.

Them: Do you drink during the day?

Me: One of the kids is a toddler.

Them: So, no then.

Me: Are you joking, as long as I don’t have to put the little fucker to sleep I am straight onto the gin.

Them: So you drink spirits?

Me: I’d drink petrol if it was in a cocktail. I have 3 kids under 10.

Them: Seriously now.

Me: Good point, Petrol is expensive. You can get turps at Poundland.

Them: You should really have a few free nights a week without drink.

Me: I think the same about my kids.

Them: Well you made the life choices and need to deal with them in a sensible manner.

Me: I do. I told you. I drink.

Them: Excessive drinking can reduce your lifespan.

Me: I have 3 kids under 10, I’ll drink to that.

Them: How many units of alcohol a week are we talking about here?

Me: I find it best not to count, but a safe number is to add the children’s ages up and times by 10.

Them: Best medical advice is to have fewer than 14 a week.

Me: Kids or drinks?

Them: Units of alcohol, you need a different strategy for children.

Me: I had a vasectomy.


However none of this actually happens… maybe next time


*NB This is all just in jest, if I really need to say that. I love my kids. They are not the reason I drink, they’re the reason I get up and run each morning so I am more alive each day to enjoy being with them.

Categories
Benjamin Diary

Pleasantly Surprised

I really want to start with some long rant, a diatribe, a gripe about being forced, nay obligated, to watch my child murder some popular hits and showtunes as part of some gods-this-cost-how-much event.

But I can’t.

Crap.

I enjoyed it.

Over six thousand children makes an impressive choir.
Over six thousand children makes an impressive choir.


‘Some context if you please, Darling’.

Tonight I attended the Young Voices Choir event at the MEN Arena in Manchester. The event saw 6,000 school children perform hits from films, shows and popular chart. My eldest child was a singer so Leigh and I attended.

I am not normally a huge fan of the music, I don’t actively dislike it, I just don’t run towards it with any level of enthusiasm. Leigh kinda likes it a lot (she is a fan of both show tunes and movie musicals) and for her it was also mega level karaoke (of which she is also a fan).

So Why did I Like it?

Well for a few reasons to be honest.

  1. The atmosphere was good. Parents were having a good time and everyone seemed chipper.
  2. The kids were very enthusiastic and clearly they had practised a lot. In fact they blew the roof off with their performance, real seat-rattling fun.
  3. They had a dance troop to do some in-between pieces that were very well presented.
  4. They had stars, someone from Britain’s Got talent (don’t watch the show and don’t recall their name which I feel slightly guilty about), Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet and Sharlene Hector from Basement Jaxx all came on and belted out tunes with the kids.
  5. They got the audience up and dancing and involved which really changed my mood.
The light show was also very impressive
The light show was also very impressive

So I ended up enjoying it far more than I thought I would. the light show was also impressive and the sound was very well balanced for a stadium level show. There was a lot to like.

The best part of all of this is that #1Son seemed to be having a great time. I am writing this as I am on the coach with the parents returning home, the kids coach is meeting us there so i cannot yet confirm that. I will update this post before I publish it so you will not know the difference…

The edit…

Categories
Analysis Benjamin Word Usage

What Words to Use?

This question recently plagued me when I reviewed in my head a conversation I had with Ben.

‘Daddy, what’s that?’

‘It’s a chimera.’

‘Oh.’

‘Do you know what a chimera is?’

‘No.’

‘Can you say chimera?’

‘Camira.’

‘Close enough, a chimera is an amalgam of two or more creatures.’

‘Oh. Why?’

‘Well sometimes you have to represent more than one facet. Do you know what amalgam is?’

‘No.’

‘It is a mix.’

‘Is it a mix creature?’

‘Yes.’

So part of my dilemma was should I have used the word mix creature to start with. But a small conversation with myself later and I realised a couple of things:

1. I was using terminology that he will benefit from knowing and understanding.

2. We drilled down to a meaningful state for him, which is deductive steps, another useful skill.

3. He created the term mix creature, I referred to the amalgam as a mix not the chimera.

So the word usage broadened a range of skills, and basically I worry too much and over-analyse everything. Still, advanced stuff mix creatures for a child under four.

Categories
Elliott Images

Imprint

This unusual image is the coliuration and imprint on my arm caused by my youngest son sleeping on it in the same position for two hours.

image

This specific post was created using WordPress for Android on a mobile phone. This explains but not excuses any incorrect or unusual typography, brevity or formatting.

Categories
Holidays

Happily in Happy Mount

We got back from a fortnight of traveling yesterday in which several countries were passed through[1] and several theme parks also[2]. We had a great time but now we are safely back home and in our home environment.

Today is turning out to be a bit of a scorcher, sun is out, sky is mostly blue and the kids need airing and entertaining, so we have come to Morecambe and Happy Mount Park.

A little of the Park’s recent history
A few years ago Lancaster and Morecambe Council in their infinite wisdom decided to run a deal with the bouncy-blond-basta… Television personality Noel Edmonds and build a theme park in Morecambe. So they cut a beautiful park in half and built Blobbyland. It was a total, expensive, failure.

The people of the district were not happy. They never wanted such a silly thing and it had destroyed a once magnificent public space. The fiasco meant there was less funds for parks available.

But the council and the people of Morecambe were not to be beaten.

Thanks to the efforts of volunteers and some local representatives who would listen, time (quite a considerable amount of it and it is still on going) and some money was put back into the park. The result is the space we now have.

Happy Mount Park is once again a treasure for the local area and people. A large space with several free park areas for children of varying ages and some low cost areas as well.

Free:

  • The grounds and gardens
  • The Adventure play area
  • The fields and forest walks
  • The Splash Park (which is awesome)
  • The small park
  • Tennis Courts

Low cost (prices where known):

  • Pitch and Putt
  • Deckchair hire
  • Bowling
  • Racket Hire
  • Large Swings (2 pounds)
  • Under 7s park (1 pound per child) – filled with cars and tractors and bicycles and enclosed within a gated area
  • Train – three loops for one pound per rider

Happy Mount also has a cafe which has a children’s soft play area where parties and events can be held in a comfortable space.

As I previously mentioned a large amount of the maintenance of the park and its evolution has been a partnership between the local authorities and the volunteers of the region. This has led to a wonderful park, it is a fantastic place to bring children of all ages. It is a testament to the fact of a need to have a wroking relationship between the community and the authorities where there is not just ‘having a say’ but being able to ‘make a change’. This feedback loop creates areas that are desired by both and appropriate for the greater enjoyment of everyone.

I should also say that the small cafe outside of the park, in front of the golfclub and next to the car park on the prom[3], does a mean line in low cost snacks and a great breakfast/brunch bun. Make sure you order the tea and not the coffee!

[1] We went from England to Paris, to Germany to Romania and back by various routes, some of us driving and some of us flying.

[2] Disneyland, Paris and Chessington World of Adventure were both visited.

[3] Turn left as you exit the park.

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