Our Favourite Five – October

Once again I’ve been caught unaware by the end of the month. Why is that? October has been a whirlwind of happiness and some sadness. An explosion of activity, with a sprinkling of relaxation. I’m exhausted from trying to keep up with what’s been going on. So this is a great place to recap on the things that have made us happy this month.

Without further ado, here are my family’s faves

Pumpkins

I’ve mentioned before that we have a big garden, but this year we finally accepted that, for the moment, our garden is Oscar’s domain and trying to keep him from trashing playing with growing plants is both frustrating and futile. So at the beginning of this year, Ben took an allotment and alongside the potatoes and French beans decided to have a crack at something a bit different. Which is how we ended up this month with four home grown pumpkins.

This came in handy for decorating our Autumn window, but even more so for carving at Halloween. We haven’t bothered carving a pumpkin for years, but look at this beauty Ben did this year. Isn’t it fab?

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And I’ve discovered Pumpkins aren’t just for carving (especially when you’ve grown them yourself). So far I’ve made pumpkin chutney and discovered the boy adores salt and chilli roasted pumpkin seeds! There’s so much flesh in these beauties that I’m now looking into other recipes. Soup maybe? Or how about Pumpkin Brownies?If you’ve got any recipes, let me know!

Salt & Chilli homegrown pumpkin seeds - the boy's new favourite

Salt & Chilli homegrown pumpkin seeds – the boy’s new favourite

Mirror

I decided a few weeks ago that I was sick of checking my appearance in the glass panels of the front door as I leave the house. I realised what our lounge needed was a mirror. We don’t have a hall so it would need to be something that fitted with the room. Of course I had something in mind straight away and couldn’t find it anywhere. Actually that’s a lie. I did find one I liked. An old season Pottery Barn one on a Pinterest type site. Typical. I want something that no longer exists. Hmmm.

Then one day I found myself in Haslemere, childless and with time. I stuck my head in The Ark, an antiques shop (or as Ben calls it an upmarket junk shop) I’d never dream of going in with the boy. And there she was. Hanging on the wall, peeping out from behind cabinets and covered in dust. You know when something catches your eye and you do a double take? That. She was a bit more ornate than I pictured but she was perfect. I put her aside and we collect her with the car the next day. And she’s already made herself at home 🙂

Isn't she gorgeous? I added the candles and I cant wait to decorate her at Christmas

Isn’t she gorgeous? I added the candles and I cant wait to decorate her at Christmas

Winchester Science Centre

Ben took a week off work this month, to spend time at the allotment and with us. I’ve already written about how fantastic that was and how nice it was to have the opportunity to do stuff I’d never be able to do on my own, but I couldn’t not include Winchester Science Centre in this month’s faves.

We had soooo much fun. The exhibits are all hands on and while the two floors of buttons and levers was enough for Oscar, older children (and parents!) would also love the exhibits. The Centre also has a Planetarium, which we didn’t go in (he’s not ready yet), but I really would love to one day. The Centre seemed to have a good understanding of Autism, with detailed floor plans and social stories available on their website. As Oscar’s carer I also got in for free, which was great. I had no idea how he was going to react and had it not worked out, and I’d had to pay full price, that would have been an expensive experiment!

As it was, the boy loved it and I cant wait to take him back!

Oscar at the controls!

Oscar at the controls!

Yankee Candles

If you follow Mrssavageangel on Facebook you’ll know this month has been all about Yankee Candles for me. I love a good Christmas candle and last year I revelled in their Red Apple Wreath scent for months. However, this year I wanted to see if there was one I liked more, or at least as much! There isn’t anywhere local that stocks all the fragrances so instead, I decide to buy a load of sample candles to burn at home and see for myself. Its been so much fun, I’ve really enjoyed having different fragrances every day and discussing them on Facebook. I’ve not found a Christmas fragrance I like more than last years Red Apple Wreath, but I have discovered Pain au Raisin. I’d wear that as a perfume! Not particularly christmassy, but definitely a new fave. I’m a bit sad all my samples have been burnt now. I may have to buy some more 😉

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Soup

I love cold weather. I means I can legitimately eat stews and casseroles (I mean I’d eat them any time, but people think its weird eating stew in June!). Yum! I’m not usually a soup person. I always felt they left me bloated and made me feel uncomfortably sleepy. However this October I’ve been giving them another try. My favourite so far has been homemade Ham and Lentil. Delicious! And now we have so much pumpkin, I need to give that a go too. Filling, nutritious and warming, homemade soup has been a revelation for me this month.

Ham & Lentil soup

Ham & Lentil soup

What have been your families favourites this month? I’d love to know!

 

Proud

We recently realised we don’t really take Oscar to many places. It’s not that we consciously avoid taking him out, but I think him being at preschool most of the week and me not driving has meant we’ve fallen into a bit of a rut of keeping everything to what we know. Park, town, shops, farmers market, Cecily’s house. It’s not a vast list is it? Maybe we have been avoiding taking him out. And that’s not fair. Because actually I think we’re more frightened of what might happen than anything that actually has happened. And what’s the point in being afeared of the thought of something?

Anyway last week Ben had the week off work. It was during term time, so Oscar was still going to preschool in the mornings, but buoyed by the support of another adult and access to a car gave me the courage to suggest we try some new stuff. And I’m so, so glad I did.

Last Tuesday saw us meet with the Educational Psychologist who is going to be assessing what kind of support Oscar will need when going to big school next year. We haven’t had the report yet, but as much in our lives, I was more worried about what the meeting would be than what it actually was. To celebrate the fact that it was done and that particular ball was rolling, we decided to try taking Oscar out for lunch straight from nursery. This was a pretty big deal. We used to eat out quite a bit but haven’t since he became too big for being strapped into the highchair. We went to ASK in Haslemere, a restaurant he always loved in the past. Much as with everything at the moment, we went expecting the best, but totally prepared for the worst.

And he surprised us all.

This. Exactly this.

This. Exactly this.

 

Sitting. And eating.

Sitting. And eating!

 

Lying down is the way ahead

Lying down is the way ahead. As is holding hands with daddy.

Don’t get me wrong, we were on the edge of our seats the whole time we were there, but boy oh boy did he do bloody brilliantly.

So following this success, we decided to do something we’ve fancied for ages. On Wednesday afternoon we went to Winchester Science Centre (previously INTEC). Its a 45 minute drive from our house and of course he fell asleep in the car. Balls I thought, well this isn’t going to work now is it? Turns out I should shut up and stop making assumptions. We woke him up and carried him in, a little bit dopey but not once did he get upset. And when he saw just how much stuff there was to touch. Well, that was it, he was off. He went from one thing to the next to the next, pulling levers and pushing buttons. It didn’t matter to him that he hadn’t a clue what any of it was about. He could play with it and that was enough. And we just tried to keep up.

Oscar at the controls!

Oscar at the controls! Gawd save us 😉 !

We were there for an hour and a half. And he didn’t stop. But when it came to leave, we told him what was going on and he came with us. No arguments, no melt downs. And he walked, holding my hand, all the way to the car and climbed in. It. Was. AWESOME!

My champ!

My champ!

But the best part of the day for me was that he came running up to us three times in that hour and half and said to us “happy”. Oscar’s language gets better and better as the weeks and months go by and he can tell us when he’s “sad”, but rarely does he verbally express joy. It was worth going just for that.

I know I need to be braver. My instinct is still to avoid busy times (such as the holidays), but I need to face up to the fact that sometimes it’s going to work and sometimes it won’t and be comfortable with that. I’m doing him a disservice by keeping him from trying things just because I assume he won’t enjoy it. So this week (and while I’ve had the back up of a visiting friends), we’ve been doing just that. Being brave. And he’s getting better and better at waiting, holding hands, sitting and eating.

Of course I say ‘better’. Maybe he’s been able to do it for ages? And that makes me feel a little bit bad. But really that’s outweighed by how awesome I feel looking at these pictures. You might get excited by trying new and exciting days out and activities. For me, my heart leaps when he can sit. Autism will do that to you.

Sitting in Dylans, eating an enire ice cream and COLOURING! His artwork is now hanging up with the other childrens :)

Sitting in Dylan’s, eating an entire ice cream and COLOURING! His artwork is now hanging up with the other childrens 🙂

 

A trip to Sainsburys. BLew. My. Mind. Waiting, holding hands, eating cool calm and collected. Phew!

A trip to Sainsbury’s. Blew. My. Mind. Waiting, holding hands, eating. Cool, calm and collected. What a guy!

I know not every outing will end so successfully. I’m not niave. But these did. And I want to shout it from the rooftops.

I’m so, so proud.

 

Diary of an imperfect mum