Tuesday, 23 July 2013

What do you see?

I can't work out if I'm different or something? 

Its becoming more apparent that I tend to allow things to happen that other parents wouldn't. I've got stick before now for it. I've had eyebrows raised at me. Comments made to me and about me. 

I'm the one that "lets her kids do things".

Now before I write this I want it on the record that I'm not comparing myself to you. Yes, you, reading this. I'm not passing judgement I'm merely observing that I seem to get some stick over this issue. There is no "Top Mom Award" and even if there were I have very little self confidence in that area I wouldn't enter yet alone compete with you guys. But, and I have a large but, I feel I am owed the opportunity to explain myself (not excuse myself as I feel no excuse is necessary). And if I can't explain on my own friggin blog there's not much point in writing the damn thing!

I let my kids do things. Pretty much anything within reason. I've written about it before several times you can read about it here, or here if you like. And I've gotten plenty of stick over it. I'm prime candidate for Supernanny, reserve my spot in House of Tiny Tearaways because I'm a sucker where my kids are concerned. If you wanna go all educational, clinical, behavioral psych on me (and I've had them all sitting on my sofa at one point or another) then their files probably say I'm an overbearing mother, attachment disorder, emotional bonding problems, needy, lack of self confidence and discipline issues, the need to be loved, reinforcer of bad behaviours and most probably lazy. I've been categorised by the government as a troubled family at some point and professionals like to beat me with my own self esteem.

But, hang on, it's not just the professionals that like to have a pop at me. It's your average Joe Bloggs to. I'm either mad, bad or sad..probably all three. I'm holier than though. I'm a loud mouth. I'm a self professed expert. I clearly don't give a shit about my home, my marriage, my finances or making my kids anywhere need civilised human beings.

To those who cast judgement I say this. UP YOURS!

You don't live my life. You can't comment on why I do something or why it happens that way. Christ, half the time even I don't know! 

Of course I want my kids to love me but that isn't why I let them "get away with stuff" that others parents would cringe at! 

Of course I say "no" to my kids, I'm not fecking stupid, I just don't walk after them screaming "no, don't touch that, no don't go there, no don't eat that, no don't take your clothes off in Sainsburys" cus that just not who I am. It's nothing to do with lack of discipline I just think theres a better way of doing it than screaming in your kids face or slapping wrists. Distraction, you heard it hear first! (and I heard it from my mother!)

My house is trashed..it's rented anyway so who gives a toss! But I think you'd be pleasantly surprised to find that only two walls have drawing on them and its a big house! sure theres a lot of toys but they're all put away in alot of boxes! So I don't consider myself in the league of those on "Hoarders" just yet.

Let me show you something....
part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4

part 5

part 6
part 7

part 8

If you look at those photos theres mess, there filth, theres "trashing", theres enough cleaning up there to last us a month. It went everywhere. On every inch of floor. There were toys covered in paint. my clothes were covered where Jesse kept climbing all over me while she was covered in paint. Cody smothered lee back in blue paint. Windows, walls, floors, nothing was sacred. Why the hell would she let them do that to her house and her?

Now look again.

Part 1: We got the paints out on a wipeable mat on the conservatory floor. We enjoyed mark marking by putting the car wheels through it.

Part 2: It very difficult to get autistic kids to indulge in messy play but its a new found love of Jesse's which she is now discovering. Jesse often doesn't engage in adult lead activities so we encouraged her by adding more paint and letting her put her hands in it. 

Part 3: She follows instruction by answering my "high five". Therefore great listening and responding appropriately. This showed her that it was alright to get the paint on your hands and she's not naughty for doing it because mommy does it too. We also have some wonderful yet rare eye contact here as she looks for mommys big smile to reinforcer that this is ok.

Part 4: Rarely do Cody and Jesse play in the same room yet alone together. So when Cody see's Jesse having fun he wants to join her. This is great as he initially backed away from the activity when Jesse came over. We did some turn taking and some sharing of cars through the paint. We laughed at each other and tried to make each other laugh too. Great relationship building.

Part 5: Encouraged by her enjoyment I showed Jesse that the messy play was fun and nothing to be frightened of. I painted my face like her idol Mr Tumble by giving myself a red nose and feckles. I touched a spot on Jesses tummy. She liked to see the colours on her skin and moved her belly towards me again to physically show me she wanted more. I did what she "asked" and eventually we did the makaton sign for "washing our bellies" and painted Jesses tummy with blue "soap"!

Part 6: Eventually Jesse really indulged her sensory enjoyment by lying down in the messy play. She was being "funny" (she said) and kept pretending to fall over in it. This was making Cody laugh and he drew closer until they were both playing the "falling on our bottoms" game.

Part 7: Cody poured out some more paint by himself and started to paint some flowers (he said) on our window. He was concentrating really hard to create the same movement of pattern for each flower so they came out looking the same. Completely unaided he got one hand of red, one of yellow and mixed them together. When we asked him what colour he had made he said "orange". This was a completely self orientated activity.

Part 8: We eventually washed all the paint off in a large paddling pool in the garden that was filled with Gelli Baff, a messy play substance with the consistency of jelly. At first neither Cody nor Jesse would touch it but after the fun they were happy to follow mommy into the paddling pool and played for a further 30 minutes really indulging in the sensory experience. it also meant that we had washed the paint off before moving through the house and going to bed. We did have another bath upstairs though to get the paint out of our hair!

So, you see...its not all as it seems.

Still want to know why I let them cover my conservatory, themselves and me in paint?

Because of this smile. 


Because You Two Chose Us As Your Family said...

I really don't see what the fuss is all about. First of all, you have to have a heart of steel when it comes to other adults and their opinions. If simply saying "Thank you for your concern" doesn't work, then try "fuck off."
A person gets slack for being a bad parent if they spank, if they let their kid stay up late, if they let their kid eat a poptart....I mean come on, let's focus on real abuse, physical abuse. What is so bad about a child painting?? So what if it gets on the floor or themselves. What is the point of play if the child cannot play? I think you are doing a great job. Try and harden your heart to criticism. Page or no page, it is YOUR page. If they don't like it, then they can delete themselves. Keep up the great work!!

Nannyviv said...

I know a certain school where today they are having Sensory training for staff.......this blog would be a perfect presentation....and you could probably charge at least £200 for your input. Your insights as to what each step is ACTUALLY achieving are better than I've ever heard from professional education experts over the past 30 years in education. I think you should send this to Autism Uk/west mids it would make a great feature for their parents workshops

S + J =B, D, P & W said...

thank you for this. it helped my day get much better

Julie said...

I usually find that the parents who do the tut tut and judging are the ones who have the worst weans that the dear lord put on this earth!
My 23 yo son has a genetic abnormality, learning disabilities, traits of autism..............
There is a reason for the way he is, but it is not carte blanche to do as he pleases. One of my in laws kids came in and jumped over the couch, tried to steal (and I choose my words wisely here) Bertie the Bus. I am SURE the constant "that is not yours it is mine and you can't have it cos it is MINE" was what made the brat put it down, but no apology from sis in law, who just kept saying Peter was too big for Thomas (eyeing up the uber huge tub of wooden train stuff, hoping I would give it to her! Aye, right as we say where I live!!!!)
Funnily enough, the 2nd son (spawn of something!) of this girl tried to take a toy that didn't belong to it. At another autie's house. On being told NO, her hubbie got the threat of kneecapping from the mother and told that her delightful child could take anything he wanted!
Had to love my son's honesty and I would not change that!!
The moment when they DO join in something, or tell you something you never thought they would, or when you get that hug or slobbery kiss.
Yes, I would like my son to be "normal", but for what - so I can have a different life? Heck - this may not be a path I have chosen, but been led down and I have met some great people who have accepted Peter for being him and I have got rid of some who couldn't hack it.
Enjoy the paint and the mess, because there will come a time that it might not happen again

Anonymous said...

I have been in a similar situation as yourself but for different reasons. My son has high functioning autism and generally can not cope with mess or dirt and everything has to be in its place. However hard as it is to belive he races quads and comes back covered in more mud than is on the race track and yet can cope with it. I was criticised not only by people who didn't have an autistic child but also by parents of autistic children who thought I was irresponsible for letting him race. Whats even worse is when he beats other so called normal children their parents have a go at them telling them they can not belive they let a disabled child beat them. Iv'e decided that I am not going to take any more shit off people who think they can pass judgement on how we bring up our son, the only important thing for us is that he is happy and if the racing makes him happy then to hell with all these people who think they know it all and haven't got a clue what goes on in our lives and how we deal with things. You seem a wonderfull parent and I know how hard it is to make your child happy, and nobody should have a right to pass criticism on us for doing just that.

Anonymous said...

As a homeowner who rents her property out, I have to say I am disgusted by your attitude that it's okay to trash someone else's home.

Do you think that landlords are some wealthy people like Donald Trump? Most of us aren't and are making a slim profit on the monthly rent, most of it going to pay the mortgage. Any repairs you need done to the home also comes directly out of that profit.

In a case like yours, if your landlord was able to make a few hundred bucks a month profit, and not have to spend a bunch on repairs, he/she MIGHT just have enough money to fix the damages you've done to their home. Or they might not.

It's disgusting to me the way that people disrespect others. My renter left me a horrendously damaged house that will cost 3-4 TIMES his security deposit to fix. And you think that's fine and dandy, because it's not his house, right?

People like you are the reason that landlords are strict about who they'll rent to, and why people don't like to rent to families with kids. Have some respect for others and teach your kids to do the same. Someday, the shoe will be on the other foot, and someone will greatly damage something of yours. And, when that happens, I doubt your attitude will be "that's okay cause it's fine for them to destroy something that doesn't belong to them."

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