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Raising little Westies, and life as parent of a special needs son
There’s just something about a fire. Fire brings people together, and gets to the core of being a bloke.
Over the weekend we had a pretty full day lined up – footy, too far away to get to, then another game of footy, lunch and a post-lunch get-together with some kids footy friends. The kind of day any autistic kid could be excused for not handling at all.In all, a massive first weekend for the school holidays (which have arrived just in the snotty nick of time).
That’s right, we were taking our little autsie off to a whole new place. A private house. Where there are… let’s just say more than a comfortable number of people sharing what us Westies would say was a house on the smaller side of the scale. Incredibly, the multi-generational thing just works for J & her family. I don’t know how they manage it, and truth be told I’m not too keen on experimenting to see if it would work for us! Something tells me that the house would become dramatically smaller if we were to throw an autistic 5 year old into the mix.
As luck would have it, the youngest boy there just adores Bob the Builder’s biggest ever fan. He hasn’t stopped to notice the whole autism thing, or to have to meet the gap between ignorance & intolerance – he still accepts that “people are different“. The Magpie, and Princess P, are likeable enough to fit into any gathering and showed that to be the case again.
But all parties need a theme. And this barbeque kept coming back to “the fire”.
They had, for whatever reason, done the kind of household cleanup normally reserved for an episode of Hoarders. But there was a fair bit of stuff left behind. Apparently this was reason enough for a bonfire in the back yard… no, it wasn’t that big, let’s stop at a “fire” (we did a reasonable job of restraining it to fit inside a wheelbarrow they no longer wanted).
If you think the kids were fascinated, you’re right, but UG! it was nothing on the blokes (myself included of course!). What could we chuck on there? How much better is a marshmallow once it’s been toasted – and why? Why is that wood burning so much better than this, and who on earth put those pieces on there in such a thoughtless way… they should go like THIS!
Still, something at that party must have clicked. Because our few extra kids managed to stay under the radar all night, even when they were shooting arrows at the host, or zooming around on ride-on cars which – lets face it – were never intended for a five year old. Autistic or otherwise!
Here’s hoping, there are more fireside moments in the offing.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe“. Abraham Lincoln … or “It’s all in the planning”
Here at Westie Central, life can be a bit of a whirlwind. Yesterday was a fine example of this, with me going to work, the three kids having school, Bec off to visit a friend who has had a suprise childbirth (more later), then footy practice. In two different places? Who comes up with these ideas!
We worked out a plan: Dinner was on before I got home. She really is a wonder-mum! I was late, oops, but off we went. Me with the two boys: Magpie, the middle child, and his younger spectrummy brother got dropped off at the first field while Mum & Princess P went to the other field (too far to walk!) for her age group (yes, Princess P plays footy… Auskick is at playafl.com).
It was a great practice session for the boys though: our new home ground has just had lights installed, and to celebrate, the under 8’s had a special training session with the under 16’s, and at the end of it the under 8’s got their Auskick kit bags – not a bad backpack, football, and a few other bits and bobs.
Hmm, but what’s a spectrummy 5 year old to do while his brother practices footy?
Luckily a team-mates mum and little brother were also in the sidelines. Quite a bit younger then BTB Fan, but just the right stage to talk at much the same level and to happily chase each other around the swings, on the monkey bars, and RUN! Thanks J, it was a great way to spend training.
At the end of that though we settled down in the stands to watch the last bit of training. A cup of tea helped keep my little boy sitting in the stands (damn it was cold, and drinking tea is perectly normal for a 5 year old isn’t it?), as did the good old Nintendo DS.
One uncertain moment in the clubhouse, again sorted with the DS. Uh, how hard are we allowed to lean on those things? Anyhoo, his mate was also playing games on an iPhone so…
However. At the end of the night there was a scare. People going everywhere and “someone” thought that the pitch dark night after 7pm was a great time to wander off to climb trees. Thanks again to J, because, while I went running to the playground… J tracked my boy down.
It took about 3 seconds. Seriously, between me knowing where my son was – and not – was 3 seconds. So glad he was found within a minute, because well… finding a 5 year-old in the mainly dark around a footy field would not have been a good way to spend a night.
After which we set off for “somewhere” to meet up with Mum. Walking, in the dark (hey, it’s an adventure walking in the dark with your dad isn’t it? And if dad’s right there, you’re ALLOWED to climb the trees)!
Someone tell me again, where was the “planning” in all this?