Sunday, June 6, 2010

Less is More

"We have tested and tasted too much, lover
Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder"
(Patrick Kavanagh, Advent)

...or if a fellow Monaghan citizen may be so bold as to can get too much of a good thing.

So over-indulgence of wonderful things can become ordinary and they lose their magic.
Lemon cupcakes and Shiraz spring to mind.

Those lines made me think of Christmas morning when we over-indulge our kids with plastic and electronics, and they inevitably ignore them and play with the boxes.

As many of you know, I'm not a sackcloth and ashes kinda gal, but I can see the wisdom in fasting and spiritual retreats.
OK, maybe I'd have trouble with the hunger and the God stuff, but I can imagine it would make all the good things we take for granted seem fresh and new again.

It made me think about the distress our autie kids feel when they are overstimulated by a constant barrage of TV, laptops, Nintendos, iPhones etc. addition to the sensory insults they feel at the light, sounds and touches we don't even notice.

I've started to make a conscious effort to tone down on the in-your -face sensory onslaught that has become a constant white noise in the background (to us), but may make a significant change to Bob's peace of mind.
I don't intend stripping our home back to monk-cell austerity, but switching off the TV now and again, putting the laptop on the shelf  for a while and switching off lights when no-one is in the room could make a subtle, but effective, impact.

That said, my 10 year old daughter's birthday party yesterday was a prime example of how NOT to embark on a sensory diet.
We had a bouncy obstacle course the size of a small planet, many children who consumed their own body weight in sugar and e-numbers, and surprisingly seasonal June weather.
Caffeinated, sugar-buzzed kids were returned to their parents alive and with a full complement of limbs, but the party continued into the witching hours with three of my dearest friends (although Dee had to leave a little earlier with her crew...thank God one of us is a good parent). My Inner Silliness was in good company last night, and it was good to give it an airing.
(Wine may have been consumed...sshhhhh)

But, back to the austerity thing.
My feeling is that simplicity is where peace lies.
Now I'm off to drink tea and build a kitten jigsaw with my daughter.


  1. Ha ha! I love the comment about retreats minus the god stuff and hunger. I'm with you on that though - I like the idea of them. In principle. Must be something in the air, but I wrote something about simplifying our lives this week. It's here:
    What you said about autism and using less electronic equipment gave me food for thought though. I wonder how my son reacts to our laptops being on all the time. Will look out for a reaction.

  2. I wish I read this before I let WiiBoy back on xbox for some more over stimulation just before bedtime!!

    Glad the party went well....10 year old birthday parties are the best time for outing your Inner Silliness!xx Jazzy

  3. @ Sandrine...haha...boy am I glad someone else is on my wavelength!
    @ was truly great...and silly

  4. Totally agree on the minus hunger and God observation lol.

    As someone just back an hour from an electronic deprived weekend in the wilds of Wexford I can see the advantages of what you are saying. We did have a lovely time BUT I did also notice HRH stimming more and I do think he was trying to entertain himself as he really missed his computer. No meltdowns though and we all enjoyed the lack of gadgets (well ok, maybe I felt a bit lost but I am back now!!).

    Sandrines post on simplicity was brilliant btw, everyone should read it if they get the chance.

    Ok, I am rambling a bit now, the excitement of being back in the virtual world must be getting the better of me!! Delighted the party went well:)


  5. That's great about your weekend must have been in a cold sweat without your laptop lol!
    I must look up Sandrine's post asap.

  6. I know what you mean about too much noise and stimulation, Buster does laps of the house including the TV's, Play Station, Wii and Pc (usually while carrying Nintendo or IPod or both).. Ive started quiet time half an hour before bed and insist on turning it all off and drawing / colouring / reading / snuggling (even deprive myself of corrie, well till later anyway).. defo calms it all down !

  7. @ Our Sue, I think it really makes a difference...I just have to keep reminding myself to do it XXX