Monday, December 31, 2012

The best Christmas ever?

Not really relevant, but it is Christmassy!
It worked.

Christmas asperger-style has been a success.

So the big day started early, at 3.30 am, but he actually tried to back to sleep, for an hour and half! That's pretty impressive for a child who has been looking forward to Santa's visit for months.

Apart from my caring duties, there was only one thing I had to do on the day: cook the dinner. And only one thing I wanted to do: watch Dr Who. Both went smoothly.

This is not parenting as I imagined it.  It's not in the parenting books, or even the books I've read about aspergers.  They are all about the need for boundaries, play, exercise, outings, friends: things my son is mostly ignoring.  According to the professionals, video games will make him anxious and angry and unable to sleep. Wrong.

He has spent whole days in his pyjamas, barely stirring from the sofa, while I try to hold my nerve and not worry that he will become an addict.  After all, children with aspergers do have obsessions don't they? And then I can't imagine anything worse than a day without dressing, I only do that if I'm really sick.

But he is as happy and calm as I have ever seen him.  He's been telling jokes and learning new magic tricks.  Interests and abilities that I haven't seen for a long time.

He visited a friend, his choice and he enjoyed it.

And this morning he spread the peanut butter on BOTH slices of toast.  He forgot he couldn't do it.  Perhaps rigid thinking is partly the result of anxiety too?  Perhaps if my boy is chilled he will be able to move forwards with bigger strides in 2013.

So many of my assumptions have to change.  For me a home is a place of refuge, where you (mostly) eat, sleep, and relax, a place to come back to, with real life lived in the big world outside, so much to see and do and experience.  But not it seems for my kids, for them home seems to be a place to live.  Finally I'm starting to embrace this new way of living, and to stop feeling so desperately stuck and trapped.

There was one glitch, but in the interests of "responsible parent blogging" and now that my son is older, I'm not going to give you the details.  It was a reaction, and we've both learned from it.

Still, even my son agrees that spending the rest of his life playing computer games is not an ideal ambition, so what next?  There is one approach that I haven't tried, despite the best efforts of the lovely Bright Side of Life, but a weekend discussion on Facebook convinced me, and an email was sent to the organisation that trains parents in RDI in Ireland.

Because I have to find a way to keep this good stuff going when the holidays end and school begins...

41 comments:

  1. So pleased you had a good Christmas, wishing you a bright and happy 2013. xx

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  2. Happy New Year, glad Christmas went so well.

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  3. I'm glad you had a peaceful Christmas and I wish you a happies and the brightes New Year. I'm actually thrilled you decided to try the RDI. We have been living it for two years - due to financial troubles, we had to stop it in full, but we are trying to do it by what we remembered... I'm sure you will see the benefits from it if you will decide to begin with it.

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    1. I'd forgotten that you'd done RDI, I'll certainly let you know how we get on :)

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  4. So glad it went well
    I have to say both my kids 'live' at home. They find school stressful and are happy in Pjs all day in the hols. I worry they should be 'doing' something but in reality I think perhaps they know what they need better than I do now.
    Please tell me your secret of how to keep it going into the next term?

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    1. You've no idea how much help this comment is :D Not just my house then :D And if I find the secret, I will certainly share it xx

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  5. I'm glad that you had a lovely Christmas..:))

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  6. This sounds great. I'm so happy for you (and all of you) that you had a good Christmas. Happy New Year, may things continue to get better and better. Lots of love, xxx

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    1. Let's hope things get better and better for all of us xxx

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  7. I am thrilled for you all.
    You are such a courageous lady.
    Have a very happy, healthy & love filled 2013,
    may it bring you all, your hearts desire xox

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    1. I hope you have a wonderful 2013 as well xox

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  8. Good for you! And Aspie Boy too. Each to their own and all in as much moderation as we can manage ;-)

    As you know I share your worry about video games...and don't get me started on perceived bad parenting as my boy got not 1 but 2 18 games for Christmas/birthday. I DID resist but eventually gave in, for valid reasons. It is a huge worry though but calmness is nice :-)

    I wish the best for you all in 2013

    xxxx Jazzy

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    1. Video games is such a source of guilt for us Mums isn't it? But calmness is sooo important. Wishing you a tabby 2013 too xxxx

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  9. merry Christmas darling
    loved your post and the Christmas ornament
    Also this is a fantastic insight- never quite thought of it that way - I am the same way myself - but not my DH or R "For me a home is a place of refuge, where you (mostly) eat, sleep, and relax, a place to come back to, with real life lived in the big world outside, so much to see and do and experience. But not it seems for my kids, for them home seems to be a place to live. Finally I'm starting to embrace this new way of living, and to stop feeling so desperately stuck and trapped"

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    1. And a Happy New Year to you :D Glad you found some of this piece insightful, sometimes writing this blog clarifies my thoughts too :)

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  10. I'm so glad you've had a great christmas. I know what you mean about video games; I also worry a lot about addiction and particularly now that my son has discovered those war games. I also resisted for as long as possible but then the peer pressure built up (ironically via his ASD friends at school) so now I've relented but I do try to limit his play and encourage him to do other things. Anyway happy 2013 and I look forrward to hearing how you get on with RDI. Deb

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  11. I'm so glad you had a good Christmas, we used to find the change of routine was a big upheaval and it's only in recent years that Christmas has been happier and calmer.

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    1. I used to think the change of routine was the problem, now I'm thinking that for my son, holiday problems could be mainly because I insisted on imposing a new routine during the holidays instead of just letting him do things at his own pace...

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  12. Happy New Year honey, and so glad you had a good Christmas. Parenting books, in my opinion, never completely work because they treat every child the same - when they're all individuals. And pyjama days are no bad thing.
    By the sounds of it, nobody knows what's right for your children as well as you do (and obviously the kids themselves).
    Wishing you a bright and happy 2013 xxx

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  13. I am thrilled that your Christmas Day, Asperger style, was a success. What a difference for your son, when he realises that no demands are being made on him. As for screen time, I totally get your angst over it, however, sometimes we just need to give ourselves and our kids some time off! (There is too much of it in our house as well!).
    I laughed when I saw you mention my name and *my best efforts*... hehehe. I wont beat about the bush here... RDI has really helped me and Nick. My boy is severely autistic but his progress (and mine) has really made our lives so much happier. We took him to a New Years Eve supper for the first time ever, no way could I have done that a year ago. I look forward to following your journey. xx
    P.S. I am dying to know all about the facebook conversation!!

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    1. I really hope that my boy benefits as much as Nick, he seems to have made huge strides, benefiting both him and everyone in your family :) xx

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  14. We quite often have a day in our jammies, left to my own devices I wouldn't bother to get dressed unless I was going out1 Home is where the heart is xxx

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  15. Wahey!! Come on with the flexible parenting.....I would trust you much more than any of those "How to" books.....delighted for you and well done!! Here's to "home as a place of refuge" for you all in 2013. X

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  16. Glad you had a good Christmas - now what's your secret on the computer games as my 16 year old son with Aspergers doesn't "see" how he can't just play all the time for life lol

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    1. Well by the time my son is 16 he may be thinking the same way as yours lol

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  17. Happy Christmas, I have just discovered your blog through beadzoid. Will be popping back again soon! A great insight in to the challenges of raising a child with aspergers. I used to work with children on the autistic spectrum and can only imagine how tough it gets at times as a mum but it sounds like you do a great job! X

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    1. Thank you for dropping by! My special girl was extremely premature so we have that in common too! x

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  18. So glad you had a good Christmas . Candi you are doing a great job. My 8 year old with autism is gaming mad he would play all day if I let him. xx

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    1. How do you stop him? My boy does not respond to punishments or rewards! xx

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  20. Hi, I found you through Love that Max. I'm trying to compile a list of special-needs blogs so that people can find them easily. Would you consider adding your blog to http://boynamedsilas.blogspot.com/p/start-linkytools-script-srchttpwww.html? Hopefully it can help get you more traffic as well. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Alana, thanks for popping by and for the invitation :)

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