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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Aspergers, pancakes and what to give up for Lent

Totally unrelated to Aspergers but just need to begin with a quick rant - just to set the tone...
Snoring. What an awful, awful noise that is. Especially at 2am when you've nearly tipped over into sleep a few times just to be pulled back from the brink by a big old snort from the sleeping lump next to you. And then, even after a few kicks and nudges when the snoring does stop you still can't sleep because,  subconsciously, you're waiting for it to start up again. I'm shattered. Any tips? Other than the obvious - since being in bed is about the only together time that Ethan and I get without the kids these days...
So, snoring aside. Today is Pancake day (as I was reminded by Ava at 7.50 this morning as she requested pancakes for breakfast - she got Shreddies instead. Pre-school run is stressful enough without throwing pancakes into the mix!) But pancake day today means that Lent starts tomorrow. Traditionally the start of the season of giving something up. I toyed with the idea of giving up lattes - but I just can't. Instead, I've decided I'm going to give up criticising and trying to change Ethan.
For thirteen years (since we got married), I've tried to change him. And it hasn't worked. And I know that I am far to quick to criticise and that, sometimes, the good in him is hidden behind a cloud of negatives that I can't see past. Criticising and moaning and nagging and hassling has not improved things at all. So I'm going to try a different tack. For the duration of Lent, I will actively search out the positives and the good in Ethan. And, instead of trying to change him, I will try and change myself. Because living in a healthy and happy relationship - not only when there's Aspergers in the mix - is as much about me adapting (my expectations, my view of how things should be done, my reactions) as it is about Ethan changing what he can, to make life work for us both
For anyone who read yesterday's post Thank you Einstein my point was illustrated brilliantly when I tried to put our new hamster cage together after school yesterday, surrounded by three excited kids. The excitement dwindled as I struggled and sighed and frowned and pushed and pulled and realigned and pushed and pulled again. What was left of any excitement abruptly stopped when a small piece of the 'mezzanine floor' (this hamster has a better house than us) snapped off. My cue to put it all to one side and wait for Ethan to get home. Which is what I should have done in the first place. He had it erected and kitted out and bedded in in a matter of minutes. And the kids were delighted to have him home. Ethan's practical, single-focused mind saved the day. See - I'm seeing the positives of his unemotional, strictly practical brain wiring already!
And one final thought in this rather jumbled blog, is that today is the 20th anniversary of James Bulger being tortured and killed. Just a few weeks before his 3rd birthday.
The thought of what happened is so abhorrent and hideous to me that I can barely think about it. Particularly with my youngest son, Oliver, being pretty much exactly the same age that James was. But what the thought of what happened to James does do for me is remind me of how lucky we, our family, are to have each other: whatever challenges we may face and irritating behaviours we may have. We're all here - and we're muddling through life together and supporting each other. And we don't have anything near as horrendous to deal with as James Bulger's parents do (James' dad, Ralph, talks about living with his grief 20 years on on the BBC website:  The suddenness with which life can just stop - in the most cruel of ways, reminds me to cherish the people and the time that I have. Lofty aspirations, I know, and hard to live out when Ethan is being blunt and insensitive, the boys are fighting and Ava is stropping at me for packing the wrong thing in her lunch box. But I'm going to try...
A week into this blog, I've made the decision to write an updated post two or three times a week. It'll give me time to appreciate my family more, and to read those books an Aspergers that keep arriving from Amazon with my name on. Also, the floors really need hoovering. And I've got to stop feeding the kids beans on toast!
So, enjoy your pancakes (I will be making them for the kids tonight - for anyone worried that the kids have a horrible pancake-averse mother). x

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