Exercise, therapy and/equals holidays?!
Does anyone else put butter on their all-butter croissants? And on their digestive biscuits too? Eeeek, I should be the size of a bus but, am astonishingly not (need a 'lucky cow' type imoge here) and even more so since there has not been an awful lot of exercise going down in the past how many years? Just looking at Davina McCall posts makes me tired these days...and I used to be that exercise freak, and I loved it and I miss it, sort of.
This brings me to the all-important topic of 'where is the therapy for us caregivers/parents of children who have autism then, huh?' I have learned so many new therapy words since my sons' autism came to light such as SLT; OT; Ed psych; RDI; ABA; Intensive Interaction, CBT etc. etc. and what has there been for the main caregiver, yours truly? Not much I tell you.
A few book recommendations and film or TV recommendations but, when you eat, don't sleep and breathe autism 24/7 the last thing you feel like doing is reading about it or watching something about it. Admittedly, when I have read a recommended autism book or watched a film, I have loved it but, again, that doesn't happen too often. And have you seen how thick that 'Neurotribes' book is? I'll never do it, I know it.
My own therapy for the past few years has instead tended to be an ice cold beer, or a gin at the end of each day and lots of coffee during each day until that beer or gin and then way too much to drink with my girlfriends at book club once a month! Are you spotting the toxins into the body theme here? The only healthy therapy I really think about for myself these days is sleep, more sleep.
I am not a spa, pamper and massage type person, at all, I think I would turn into a blob of jelly and crumble and lose my ability to get up again. For me, it's always exercise that has been my regmaaker as they say in Afrikaans (literally translated as my 'right maker' and most often referred to when discussing hangover cures from my youth...I digress), and the more strenuous/hardcore the better. Just ask my husband Paul what it's like to play tennis with me. He describes it to friends as something along the lines of facing an enraged bull whose only intent is to smash that ball into complete oblivion, repeatedly, and without concern for where the lines of the court are, or where the opponent/husband is!
My pre and post the first two children preferences used to be things like the gym, aerobics, swimming, squash, running and then I evolved over time and with age and a third child and autism and a general lack of time and fitness blah, blah to my absolute favourite (and worthy of its own blog in my opinion)...Bikram yoga. How often do I get to attend my beloved Bikram yoga class (that strictly speaking should be done at least 3 times a week if not every day, Ja, right)? Here-in lies the rub for all of us Mums...about twice a term!!
Arrrgh, it's a never-ending cycle of school start, sick bug, half term, end of the term, holidays, sick bug, school start during which everything goes on hold. When you have an autistic child the average smooth no interruptions number of weeks per term totals about 2 because it takes them two weeks to adjust and settle back into school after each term end, half term, sick bug.
School is out, the summer holidays rapidly approach and those plans to get fit and toned before the children break-up and we go on holiday have flown out the window so, thoughts about perhaps this time I will do some exercise while on holiday creep in. Yes, I must, this time, and I will pack those trainers and gym kit again because this time I will do it, I must. Does it happen? No, of course not, and as the holidays draw to a close, thoughts turn to how I will now turn over a new forest as soon as the kids return to school and I will get back into the beloved exercise that I need emotionally as much as physically.
For all of us living life with autism, I can assure you, we do not return from a holiday feeling rested and relaxed and re-charged either. Oh my, our holidays of years past have been mind-bogglingly shattering for Mum and Dad who have barely seen each other as we tag team taking turns to curate and never take our eyes off Henry whilst still trying to show the other two children a good time and you know what, enough. Stop. No more resort, package, public, camping, mega entertainment holidays for us.
Just getting Henry to the destination is a monumental task in itself taking enormous amounts of planning and preparation and visual charts/simple wording and secret packing and food buying and ipad charging and dreading anything unexpected or new that he may or may not cope with let alone the delightful looks and judgmental stares we will receive along the way. To then arriving at the said destination, checking for safety hazards toddler style but with the physical size and ability of a 7-year-old.
Making sure there are no escape routes, hoping he will eat the food, knowing he will not sleep properly the entire holiday and doing our best to minimise whatever sensory issues come up that we have to guess at because he can't tell us. I have refused to go with the weighted blanket because that would then be another thing to HAVE TO pack for Henry.
Before we all get depressed here, I am actually really looking forward to our holiday this year. France, love it, private, yes, self-catering (but I can dream of having a private and good looking chef one day...and who needs more than pastries, cheese, wine and baguettes anyway?).
Most importantly, Henry has been before, yay! Just saying the word 'holiday' can start to make him anxious so we call it "France House" and we are driving (Henry loves the car) and we are even staying at the same stopover B&B as last year so hopefully, Henry will be better with that this time too.
He also seems to have understood what "tunnel train" means and can sit quite still and more or less cope with that now too. And...drum roll, he can now tell us when he needs the toilet, whoop, whoop. What a difference this simple little thing has made to our lives, and he says it like it's a question, it's so cute. Henry: "Do you need the toilet?" meaning 'I need the toilet and I cannot believe you haven't noticed and asked me". Hilarious little nutter. We love him so much.
Bon Vacances everyone and I will be logging out and switching off and shutting down for a few weeks now...no wifi where we are going to, could be interesting with the pre-teen and full-on teen...
Here are a few ideas to take on hols...