Friday, June 24, 2011

Sweating the Small Stuff

This week I took a few baby steps into the realms of learning to sweat the small stuff, and left the Big Questions to be decided in a cosmic punch-up between Richard Dawkins and the Pope.

I have an annoying tendency to worry about Life, Death and What's It All About, but I think it's time to leave those questions to the professionals.
To this end, I have decided that a boxing match between Richard Dawkins and the Pope will settle all matters and maybe I can get to worry less.

I imagine this is how the fight would go, but it's all in my head so please sue my unorthodox imagination and  not my suffering bank account.  And in fairness, the Pope is at a disadvantage. His pointy hat and flowing gowns do not exactly lend themselves  to boxing.

So as I decided last week, I've scaled back on the Big Dreams and the Big Questions and I'm focusing instead on the smaller, more pedestrian goals.
It's not cosmic and it's definitely not sexy, but already the small steps are yielding results.

In the last few weeks Finian has mastered swinging on his can see by his face that he kinda likes it.

Meanwhile, in the garden, anarchy reigned
The  rebellious blackcurrants laughed in the face of the Irish summer and ripened regardless.  They seized the three minute window of fabulous sunshine and commanded their little purple armies to ripen now!   Blackcurrants are nothing, if not opportunistic.
The intrepid James took Finian and Ellen to harvest them, armed only with a bucket, a hat and a shed-load of patience.

Rockin' the hat look

Checking the merchandise

I got a few opportunities to go walking during our unseasonably nice Summer weather, and sometimes I forget just how breathtakingly beautiful it is where I live because I'm so accustomed to it.  

"You talkin' to me?"

I bought some wool and knitting needles and have resurrected a hobby I used to enjoy years ago, before the onslaught of rowdy kids terrified me into getting rid of all sharp objects.  I had visions of children falling into my knitting basket and emerging looking like overgrown voodoo dolls.  
Knitting ain't rock n'roll, but it's relaxing and is a healthier hypnotic than skulling a small lake of wine during the week.

I snatched an hour in a lovely bookshop yesterday and disciplined myself to avoid the science, psychology, educational and self-help sections.  
And philosophy.  
And the medical and sociology sections.
I came out with three actual novels under my arm that made me laugh out loud at their first paragraphs. They won't unlock the answer to life, the universe and everything, but they will make me laugh. And that's a much more achievable goal.

It would seem that babies know what they're doing when they learn to crawl before they can walk.  
Who knew?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dream Diet

Adapting to life with autism is a dangerous business, and I used to enjoy  indulgent little moments when I'd believed I'd cracked it.

I've read the dreamy books about the autie kid who progresses from being a screaming dervish of poo and vitriol to being a calm, (non-poo flinging) auto-bot who says "please" and "thank you" and definitely never, ever dips toilet roll in the loo and eats it.
That would never happen at the end of these stories.

Dreams like this are seductive, but have no place in reality.
It's just too painful to wake up from them.

They're like having a sneaky hot chocolate (with a flake on the side) when you're on a diet.
Gorgeous at the time, but the rest of the time you're starving yourself and yet still have a fat arse.

Or fantasizing that you're a size 8  genetics professor (who finds a cure for autism) with washboard abs and absolutely no cellulite...who also runs marathons for fun and has read Ulysses and the entire works of Dostoevsky.
In Russian.
This is a lovely little reverie until you open your eyes and realise you're an over-caffeinated special needs parent with breakfast in her hair and barely enough mental energy to focus on the RTE Guide.

Or picturing yourself chatting to strangers about your kids and almost forgetting to mention that your youngest boy is autistic, because autism is no longer a dominant feature in your life.  You would laugh blithely and say "oh autism, that's sooo last year".

These are happy little fantastic interludes, but are utterly counter productive.
Because I wake up and wonder "where did my life go?".

My life is so alien compared to what it could be if my little boy was born without autism.
I hardly need to point out that I adore Finian with all my heart (as I do my 3 kids) but four years on from his diagnosis, I am beginning to see that my goals for him and our family are unrealistic, and therefore heartbreaking.

I have to stop dreaming about family holidays, having a family Sunday lunch in a restaurant or (perhaps most tragically of all) wearing heels anytime soon, as I have to be in constant readiness (and therefore Reeboks) to sprint after my lightening bolter.

Dreams can be dangerous, and my feet touched the bottom of a big black hole when I woke up and smelled the coffee.

Four years on and my house is still a triple-locked fortress.
I still have to exercise extreme caution when washing Finian, just in case it's not chocolate spread smeared across his cheeks.
I am not getting any younger, while Finian is becoming bigger, faster and brighter at a dizzying pace.
I'm finding it hard to keep up, and all my big dreams of four years ago now seem naive and romantic.

But out of the ashes, new dreams can flutter.

I am hopeful that when we get our assistance dog  that we will manage to enjoy family walks in the park.
I will never run a marathon, but most days I can escape outdoors for a walk around the Monaghan hills.
I can read a book, chapter by chapter, and enjoy it for what it is and not as a job I need to do.

These are all tangible goals that will not break my heart.
And one day I WILL wear heels.

(p.s I've decided to "out" Bob and give my son his real name...he's not quite as besotted with Bob as he was so it seems a little more grown up)