it’s been a while 🙂
Life has been busy.
Well, when isn’t life busy?
But the muse hasn’t really been upon me. For no good reason, actually, since there has been plenty to talk about in Teddy’s world.
(This may be a little long-winded. It may be a little rambly. Mostly, I’m just going to try to let the pictures do the talking. Bear with me).
He has just finished his first year of school.
Let’s just let that sink in a little, shall we?
He has just finished his first year of mainstream school.
Look, I’m not staring any of those tricksy gifthorses in the mouth, but to be able to say he did a year is already more than we knew to expect.
Of course, it does help that he goes to (sure, we may be a teensy bit biased) the loveliest primary school in the whole wide world with the most compassionate, empathetic and downright blooming loving teachers… but he did it. And they’re happy for him to repeat his Reception year this coming year to give him a REALLY good start. After all, he doesn’t actually turn 5 until a couple of days before he’s due to go back!
A little reminder of that first day… Man… He was tiny.
And look at him now!
Yes, that was the day he wore the helmet and took the scythe to school. Good job they get him 😉
He’s been up to the stage in assembly to accept his certificates. Hell, he actually sits through assembly. Without shouting “Zombies” any more. (*snort*) Albeit on Mrs D’s knee, and with lots of distraction should it be necessary. But he does it. It’s easy to forget how much can change in just a year.
He now walks in to school. Holding hands. It’s a little stop/start occasionally. And sometimes he gets a little teary about leaving the comfort of home. But once he’s out in the elements and especially once he gets through that school front door, he doesn’t look over his shoulder. And that is a far cry from the small boy we used to have to drive or carry…
School has been, without a shadow of doubt in our minds, an unmitigated success. It has far exceeded our expectations (not that we had any, or at least, not that we knew quite what expectations to have, but had we had any… if that makes sense). Still, we must temper it with “We don’t know what the future holds, but….” so far so good!
Let’s have a brief look in pictures of the last little while.
We’ve had plenty of sit-down protests, when things aren’t going quite as comfortably as Teddy might have hoped, but they have become far better-natured, and far less meltdown-oriented than previously:
In fact, some have quite clearly just been time for a little think:
We’ve had experiments with space – “How much Ted can you fit in a small bucket?”
I’ve had a helper making (but mostly eating) pancakes:
We’ve had the dreaded chicken pox:
We’ve had experiments with dealing with too much sunlight while you’re watching a film:
We’ve discovered a deep and abiding passion for Oliver Jeffers and The Very Hungry Caterpillar (which is a godsend when it comes to having a quiet coffee in a cafe):
We’ve had lots of coffees in lots of cafes (now doesn’t that make a change?):
We have a new friend, though she’s a little bit too bouncy and yappy to be very autism-friendly just yet. But we’ve made quite a lot of progress with barking commands back at her 🙂
We’ve discovered dandelion clocks:
And walks in the woods:
But these pictures from yesterday describe rather perfectly how far we’ve come since the initial diagnosis had us holed up in our house and afraid to go anywhere for fear of judgement and meltdown. Here we go. Sitting at a big table, in a bright and noisy cafe, eating lunch with Mum and Dad.
Ted did lots and lots of walking. Hell, my feet were blistered! And apart from the occasional (and hilarious – much to the amusement of several passers-by) pause to put his hands on his knees, head bowed, like a little old man taking a breather, he just Tonka-trucked on.
We went to a few shops, and there were no demands or meltdowns because he wasn’t allowed ‘stuff’. He just held our hands and got on with it.
We paused for a bit of sensory downtime. When, apparently, the best course of action is to lie on the floor with mum’s jumper on your head, in the total dark, feeling the stones beneath your hand. Just for a little while. ❤
And we visited a museum. Where we saw butterflies and beetles, reminding me of the Beetles, Bugs and Butterflies episode of Charlie and Lola that Ted so loves, but which makes him completely hyperactive…
And a T Rex.
Who we taunted.
Just a bit:
All through the day there were potential balloon dramas.
Have you ever noticed, pootling around town, how many damned balloons there are? EVERYWHERE?
And of course, we have had meltdowns over balloons, we have gone to enormous lengths, in the past, to bypass, distract and sneak past balloons, in order to avoid such meltdowns.
Well, yesterday, we walked past many small children with balloons, many shops with balloon displays, and Teddy said “Balloon…” somewhat wistfully, with a half-hearted attempt to go and get them. Until, in the museum, as I was taking a picture of some beetles, he put his arms firmly around a small boy’s big, green balloon.
I looked down at said little boy’s small, bewildered face, looking back up at me in rather desperate appeal, as I gently removed my fabulous son’s arms from around it and he made no fuss whatever and returned it to its rightful owner.
“He has autism.” I explained to the small boy’s parents. “And he really loves balloons.”
They smiled sweetly. No judgement. No fear. No awkwardness. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is when that happens! We had our fair share of funny looks yesterday, when Teddy suddenly charged forwards, or made unexpected sounds, or… but they are so very much like water off a duck’s back. The only tricky reaction they invoke is sadness for Ted’s future. Right now, he lives in a world where the people he has to interact with accept and love him 100% and he is a very happy and trusting little person. One day, inevitably, that trust won’t be merited. I dread that day.
Anyway! When we got to the place we were having supper, there, outside the restaurant, on sticks for anyone to help themselves, was a whole great bunch of balloons.
Can you imagine a better-deserved reward?