It’s a curious feeling, the moment you discover that your offspring is taller than you. Genius Brat and I noticed yesterday for the first time. So strange to see my little boy gradually turn into a man, yet still so far from really being one, and still dependent on me and needing guidance from me (not to mention pocket money, shopping, cooking, washing and all the other stuff I do for him).
Next milestone: when his feet are bigger than mine? (I suspect they already are and that he urgently needs new shoes); when he starts shaving? when he stops having spots? Perhaps when he gets taller than his dad – but he’s got a way to go yet on that one.
On my way to the therapist this morning, I was really early (like, about 40 mins) so instead of sitting in a hospital waiting room all that time, I got off the bus a couple of stops early and walked through a park I have only ever seen before from a bus. It was a bright blue-skyed day and quite warm in the morning sun so I sat on a bench and contemplated for a bit. Meanwhile a young autistic man came past with his carer – I could tell he was autistic by the way he kept clapping his hands and picking up tiny things from the path and holding them really close to his eyes or nose to see or smell them. I thought about how very lucky I am that Genius Brat only has Asperger’s, and is doing so well – in fact is generally a delightful young man when he isn’t yelling at us (well, he is 14…).
Later, after an OK therapy session, I bussed back homewards and met for lunch with a group of mums my Pakistani friend has got together, all of whose kids are at special school. At first I felt quite out of the group but today there were only four of us and it was easier to talk. Finding that both the other mums (along with my friend) have kids ‘on the spectrum’, we discovered quite a lot of common ground when talking about the difficulties of communication, meltdowns, kids belonging to the National Society for the Prevention of Clothing for Children, etc. It was good to be with a group of women who know the score. Though I have to say the food at that particular Indian leaves much to be desired (a ‘buffet’ with only three dishes, one of which is meat and so no good for me – basically I had rice, dhal and potato curry, not the most nutritious or enjoyable lunch I’ve ever eaten).
Do forgive the long radio silence. It’s been half term, and so nothing of any significance has happened – apart from Genius Brat going to a sleepover at his girlfriend’s, thus giving The Grouch and myself a night out without need of babysitter. I probably had some profound thoughts at some point during the week but if I did I’ve already forgotten them.
Instead I’ll just note that this morning I received a charity mailing in an envelope which bore the legend, ‘HELP THE AGED DRAW’. Obviously collecting for easy grip 4B pencils…
..not as I do! I was very amused, and slightly proud, to hear my son (13) in the back of the car, coming back from swimming, giving his little friend (8) a serious lecture on the importance of SATS and GCSEs and how they can affect your future life. I think I’ll quote him back to himself next time he is reluctant to do his homework…
I’m already frazzled, and we haven’t even reached Christmas Eve yet! I think it must be the effect of having to fight my way through Waitrose on a Sunday morning to pick up all the stuff I failed to get earlier in the week at Tesco due to the presence of son distracting me from my purpose. And I still don’t have dates, because Waitrose is so posh they only do dates in stylish bags that you can’t reseal, rather than the bog standard ‘Eat Me’ ones in a box that everyone else does. Maybe our corner shop will have dates. Is it possible to have Christmas without a box of dates?
Also I made the mistake of inviting my mother to join us for church lunch and carol service today. This considerably lessens the restorative effect of being with my church family. Besides which it was freezing in the big draughty church hall we rent for worship.
When I was small we had a card nativity set with a background scene into which you slotted all the characters – a bit like Pollock’s toy theatres but much more kitschy, with rather Sunday schoolish art and bits of glitter. Unfortunately somewhere back in the mists of time we had lost the baby – he was after all the smallest piece. That’s how my Christmas feels just at the moment. We’ve lost the baby. Amidst the sprouts and the crackers, the tree and the parcels, the culinary slip-ups and the disappointing purchases, can I find him again?
Yesterday’s plans (for Christmas tree purchase etc) went missing in action as Genius Brat was sent home from school with a stomach ache. He still has it today, so it looks like I will be in my usual scenario of not getting the tree till about two days before Christmas. Oh well, that makes it more Austrian – in the land of my fathers, the tree is normally decorated on Christmas Eve.
He only has half a day of school tomorrow, during which I was hoping to write my last Prayer for the Week. I think he’s fairly determined to go in tomorrow as his ‘girlfriend’ has a Christmas present for him (yikes, does that mean I am supposed to get a present for him to give her? Oh the challenges of parenthood! I’ve only just given her a birthday present on his behalf..). Then it’s the holidays, oh frabjous day – two weeks of trying to entertain a grouchy boy and keep him off the computer.
On the plus side, my Polish* window cleaner wished me a holy Christmas. Now that I like.
*I feel a whole series of puns coming on: he must be a window Pole, my windows are now Polished.. oh, make your own.
Is a perfect excuse for not attending almost anything*. Genius Brat has been down with a nasty cough, headache and temperature since Thursday night, which is one reason I’ve not been blogging.
I did however manage to write our annual Christmas letter, a letter I hope breaks the mould of ‘little Johnny has just finished grade 8 piano and will be going to nursery next year’, ‘Anna is writing up her PhD before her gap year’ and ‘Look at these photos of our fabulous Thai holiday and our enormous growing congregation, and here’s me with the Archbishop’.
Our letter usually aims for a certain level of honesty about the struggles we are going through. This year it also has the added extra of an explosion – The Grouch’s dad and stepmum had a gas explosion in the (unoccupied) flat beneath them about a month ago, and had to be evacuated in their nightwear along with everyone in their block. Most of their windows were blown out, all glass in their cupboards was shattered, and their balcony is hanging off. (Fortunately they escaped with only cuts and bruises). This makes for a more exciting Christmas letter, not to mention a more exciting life for them (they are 83 and 73). They’re now back ‘camping out’ in the flat, after staying with Grouch’s sister for a few weeks.
*(although in fact I have spent a very intellectually and spiritually stimulating day today at a seminar on ‘An Anabaptist view on the emerging church’, leaving coughing offspring to hubby to look after. This is modern motherhood.)
Thoughts on Tractorgirl’s blog about teaching religion have reminded me that this morning at breakfast son started telling me about what he’d learned about the early chapters of Genesis in RS. In particular, about characters such as Adam and Eve and Methuselah living 900+ years. I was holding my breath waiting for him to ask about how literally we were meant to take this, but it turns out the subject of the lesson was different interpretations of texts, so I guess he’s already been introduced to the question of symbolic readings (phew!).
He went on to tell me about the symbolic story he’d written in class, to express the concept of the Fall. It was very clever and funny, all about people walking backwards off a cliff to get the gold that was at the bottom, but dying in the process; while all the time there were pots of gold available on an easily reached platform but they didn’t see it because they were walking backwards. Rather profound, really (how can I work that into a Bible reading note?), and impressive for a kid who’s supposed to have Asperger’s and therefore not be good at symbolism. But it’s a very tentative diagnosis anyway – though I don’t mention that when there are any potential benefits from the diagnosis! (Such as queue-jumping at Legoland…).
…than finding the last but one packet of age 12-13 underpants in Woolworths, just when you’ve discovered all the pants your son possesses are in the wash. Yes folks, that’s how to be a slummy mummy!
PS 1 down, 3 to go – I now have only three weeks left of ‘notice to work out’ with my therapist. I am sorely tempted just to pay and not turn up…
…not. I was supposed to be on the final mile of the Christian Aid Cut the Carbon march today, with two other people from church. But son threw a huge wobbly when we got him out of bed for school. He is currently sleeping it off, and I will have to stay home. And tomorrow we have to get him to school at 8.00 for a trip to Thorpe Park (it’s a technology outing, believe it or not). If he sleeps now, he won’t sleep tonight, then he won’t want to get up tomorrow morning… oh well, the prospect of Thorpe Park might just rouse him.