When Summer isn’t all about making memories

The consensus across the sentiments I see expressed on social media, is that parents have spent a lot of energy this summer, relishing the time they have with their children, and working really hard to make it as special as they can, so that they never look back and say they wasted these young days. That when these days are over they will miss the chaos and the muddy knees and the laughing and trips to the beach. And I don’t doubt it. But while you may have adored the summer holidays, being with your children and making wonderful memories, for me eight weeks without barely a break has been too long.

And that makes me insanely jealous.

Our summer holidays started well. Oscar began happily enough. I loved not having to get up and dressed in time to walk the miles a day to take him to preschool. It was enough. But within a few weeks the iPad had taken over our lives and try as I might to set up activities at home, mostly I felt like I was whistling in the wind. I had to take him out of the house, to the park, or to the shops on errands, just in order to get him away from the screen. Cause when he falls into the vortex that is Youtube Kids, I may as well not exist.

It’s my fault of course. I gave him the damn thing in the first place. Downloaded the stupid app in an attempt to stop him googling pictures of trains, which would lead to videos of trains on real Youtube, which lead to videos that weren’t wholly (or sometime at all) appropriate. I can’t blame anyone but myself.

But unlike last year where he spent a large portion of the summer hols watching Team Umizoomi on TV, which seemed to improve his language no end, this summer, his language seems to have stalled. And in the last few weeks the echolalia is back; repeating scenes from YouTube videos over and over. He hasn’t done that for so long. At least he now brings me into his script, teaching me what to say and when. For example:

Oscar comes over to Mummy: “Mummy (say) Oscar, what you talking about?”

Mummy: What are you talking about Oscar?

Oscar: It’s a ghghghghost train drive here last night

Mummy: Where?

Oscar: Last night (something I cant quite make out) made my wheels wobble

Mummy: You are a silly engine, I’m not afraid of ghosts

Over. And Over. And Over.

A friend with older autistic children has suggested this could be his attempt to make order out of the chaos. That for him, not going regularly to preschool (his established routine) is starting to make him anxious. It could be. I thought we were doing OK, but his behaviour has started to suggest he’s not doing quite so great. No full on melt downs yet, but lots of resistance to doing anything. And an obsession with anything Thomas related. He’s always been a fan but this summer he’s taken that to another level. Again, I’m assuming it’s familiarity in an unfamiliar routine. An attempt to make sense of our world.

We have had a few nice days. We went on our Day out with Thomas, he’s been to Challengers twice (which he loved – I hear. He never tells me of course), we’ve had the paddling pool in the garden and sojourns to the swings. But there have been no day trips out out. Because I don’t drive if it’s not on a train or a bus I can’t do it. But even if it was on a train line, the thought of taking him ‘out out’ alone scares me. We have been to our local children’s centre a few times this summer, which has been mostly lovely (although it’s hardly LegoLand right?!) Anyway one day he had a good time but started to get stressed towards the end and I knew it was time to go. We went to the toilet before we left, when he started to cry and fight me. I had a banging headache that day and I ended up sat on the floor of the loos, trying to hold the tears in, just completely unsure of how I was literally going to get him home. Because everywhere we go is under my own steam and I seriously wasn’t sure I had any left.

I did get him home (he calmed down as soon as we left), but that’s how I feel this summer has left us both. With little resources left. Somewhat frayed at the edges.

I’m not sure this is the best frame of mind to start school is it? Surely it would be better to be rested and raring to go. But I’m pretty sure that’s not how he feels. At a guess I’d say stressed, bored, lonely even. Probably sick of my face. I’m hoping our short break to Moonfleet Manor next week is a good idea. He’ll have so much to do and lots of new things to play with. I doubt he’ll remember our last visit so I’m making him a visual reminder. But I am hopeful that we’ll all come back a bit more…. if not rested, then more ourselves.

Because this summer has left me like my Woody and Florence AUTISMMAMA bracelet.

Worn thin and ready to break.

Worn thin and ready to break

Worn thin and ready to break

Comments

  1. Such a heartfelt post honey. I want to send you a big hug. It’s really tough sometimes and when you feel low it makes it all even harder. You really are doing an amazing job as Oscar’s Mummy, so sorry that the second part of the summer has been rough on you both. I hope starting school gives your little boy the routine he craves and lessens his anxiety. Also I hope he enjoys it and that you get to enjoy a bit of you time too. Xx

  2. I get this! Every summer ends with me almost at breakdown with’s I kids with autism! We need routine!

  3. It’s hard isn’t it. My son has asd and the holidays have definitely been challenging that’s for sure! He loves the routine of school but I am sad that he won’t be around now 🙁 x #twinklytuesday

  4. Summer is always difficult for us. My son has multiple disabilities and doesn’t cope well with busy places. We also have the difficulty that he can’t use the toilet at many places so we are limited as to how far we can go. I am glad that summer is done, especially as we home educate so can start getting out and enjoying a peaceful world again!

    • mrssavageangel says:

      I remeber when Oscar was younger, I couldn’t wait for the children to go back to school, so we had the streets to ourselves again. I bet you cant wait! Hope you have a great new term xxx

  5. It sounds challenging! It all sounds like you’ve coped really well. Day trips aren’t the be all and end all, although it’s hard when you see it all on social media. Hopefully getting back into routine will help him and at least you will get a break yourself.

  6. Our Summer was challenging in so many ways, so I do sympathise. Although we have made some lovely memories, most of the time our days out have ended in disaster, arguments or tears..usually mine!! Hopefully getting back to school will see the return of some easier times, I am so looking forward to getting our routine back on track! #sharingthebloglove

  7. Sorry to hear you had a hard time, I hope school settles things down again, maybe next summer you plan a special routine with his input? Make it a family activity? Just thoughts based on what a friend of mine does xx #picnmix

    • mrssavageangel says:

      That would be awesome – getting his input has been hard up to now, but who knows what school will bring out of him 🙂

  8. Aww I’m sorry the holidays have not been great for you. Hopefully you will all have a nice break at the Manor and feel a bit better. I guess the break in routine isn’t ideal for lots of families out there. Good luck with back to school xx #picknmix

  9. Such a well-written honest post which highlights the issues faced my Mum’s of autistic children. I’m absolutely no expert but friends who have autistic children have always stressed to me how important routine is. I so hope that things calm down now that school has started. You have coped brilliantly with a difficult time. XXX

  10. Lisa I can totally identify with everything you have written here Hun. This is why hubby also takes 3 weeks holiday during the school holiday. Then we can be a tag team. Then you can have a break. Then the 6 weeks can be broken up. It is HARD! Big hugs and always here as a listening ear! Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

  11. Aww I’m sorry that you aren’t able to enjoy it like others do. I know that autistic children love their routine so it must be really hard to know that you have to start another one only for it to change again a few weeks later. I hope things get back to normality now. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

  12. We were definitely ready to get back into a routine. Whilst I have loved this summer, there have been days that have pushed me to the edge. It’s a long time to be without the daily routine that preschool and school brings, a long time for everyone!!! Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove X

  13. Sorry to hear the holidays have been so tough. I know from friends who have kids with autism how tough they find the holidays and any break from routine, so you’re not alone. I know I’m guilty of letting my son watch too much tv too, I admire anyone who doesn’t feel that way, but I think we pick our battles in these situations! I hope things are easing back to normal now that school is back in swing. Thanks so much for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove – we’d love to see you back next week!

  14. I had a really tough time over the summer too and am so glad normality has now resumed! There’s far too much pressure to make the holidays ‘perfect’ I think! #ablogginggoodtime

  15. As a teacher I love school holidays, however they go; but it’s different now with being a mum – still better than term time. I find sorting out our routine during the Summer challenging and whilst I enjoy being outdoors, I find them really tiring sometimes. I can’t imagine how it must be coping with change when you make sense of the world in a different way than others do, and indeed the effort and energy it takes to support someone who sees the same things differently. You’re doing a fab job! #TwinklyTuesday

  16. Nodded along to this post. Our children do find the out-of-routine hard and I’ve thrown frosty looks at iPads here too.
    Hope now that school has returned that things are smoother for you.
    Thanks for linking up with #SSAmazingAchievements

  17. Does sound like a really tough summer. I hope that the routine of school has helped things a bit.

  18. Oh hun I struggled this summer too, the three of them all with varying needs was too much some days. It must be really hard to have a totally different routine, one that he is familiar with change. I hope things have settled down again a bit for you both. Thanks for linking to #PickNMix
    Eilidh x

    • mrssavageangel says:

      Blimey I’m not sure how I’d cope with three – you must be a juggler supreme! Hope back to school’s gone well for your guys!

  19. From your pictures and posts on FB I know you had a great time at the Manor and I’m so pleased for you. Don’t feel bad that it has all gotten too much at times, I can’t imagine it is easy and you are a fantastic Mum. I presume he must be due back at school this week or next so I really hope that getting back to routine helps you both.

    Stevie xx

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