Werewolves Of London, Weirdly, Was His Idea*

Because I can get in my own way in such an accomplished fashion, I have found myself with something of a log-jam concerning All The Promised Posts. Later in the day that I posted last, I was, in a peculiar fashion, bereaved, and I felt I owed my sadness a post. It has, as usual, taken me longer than I would have liked to write, because, Ann.

My earliest memories contain music. I can still hear the click and split-second static buzz of the radio in the kitchen as my mother, every morning, turned on Radio 2. The sound is filed away in my long-term storage, along with my crystal-clear audio-print of her briskly shovelling bucketfuls of anthracite into the museum-piece water boiler at dawn, followed by the rhythmic yet truly calamitous noise of a violently agitated ash grate section. (I do not know I am born, obviously, what with my fancy tank of oil outside and no frost – inside – the single-glazed windows.) Sounds stick with me tenaciously, is the point I’m making, and are intangibly enmeshed in memories involving other senses, and of other sorts. I don’t know the band, or the year, or the song title, but if they played it on Radio 2 from 1978 to 1985, I can sing you the chorus, likely as not, and maybe a couple of verses.

My parents were young city-dwelling teens at the end of the 1950s. Rock & roll was en route: they watched it arrive. My father, an even worse squirrel than I, still has all the extant 45 singles he evidently spent his Saturday-job money on. Later, they were to queue outside overnight for Beatles tickets, with their parents bringing them flasks of hot drinks and, I expect, mild disbelief at their fervour.

But there was only ever one sound for my Dad, after he heard it the first time. A seamless meld of effortless harmony underpinned with either scything acoustic catchiness or ballads of teenage heart-break; the Everly Brothers’ music had such beat, soul and depth that Dad was caught for life. Graham Nash (Hollies, Crosby Stills & Nash) had a similar epiphany “It was like the opening of a giant door in my soul, the striking of a chord… from which I’ve never recovered”.

everly brothers

The Everlys were the soundtrack underpinning my childhood, and I hear so many of their songs suddenly soar and cascade into my mind whenever I am recalling events of my past. Their songs were always playing, you see: a constant curving weft snugly uniting the warp yarns of my life at all its times, places, and emotional stages. From my earliest time of memory, to now. Every car I have driven, every place I have lived, every year of my life: has heard their music. It has shaped me so very much: I will pause in the midst of the most urgent of tasks if I encounter good harmony, wherever and whatever the musical context. I have an ineffable, perpetual pathway to the comfort, the enjoyment and the sheer musical elation they have gifted me for all of my nearly-39 years.

It brings a smile to my face to think that I was, for several years, the youngest member of their international fan club. I was, and remain, an unfashionable soul. This was a long time before Roots Country and Blues became cool again, I might add, but in truth, Don and Phil were ahead of their time, and the period of their chart success was comparatively short. By the mid 1960s the hits had stopped, but their influence continued, to an extent that is so hard to quantify today. So many pleasingly disparate artists have paid tribute to the influence the Everly’s sound had on their own music. Paul McCartney said that ‘When John and I first started to write songs, I was Phil and he was Don’. Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones duetted on an entire Everly Brothers tribute album late last year.

I had a particular soft spot for Phil.

Phil Everly

I’d met him once: waited for his autograph outside a stage door in Newcastle on Tyne, half a lifetime ago. Exchanged a few tongue-tied words, and melted, utterly, at his voice. All I can remember now is that extraordinarily soft, husky voice, and a glance or two from the far side of a very muffling scarf. (It is always winter in Newcastle, even in July.)

Phil-Everly-Los-Angeles-c.-1976

My parents were fortunate enough to meet with Phil and Don’s family last September, at a private family party-cum-gig for the small gathering of fans who had travelled across the world to meet one another, in Nashville. It sounded marvellous – I was writhingly jealous – and Phil’s wife Patti said how very much he wanted to be there too, but he was just too ill to travel. So they agreed next September, they would Do It All Again.

But on 3rd January, Phil – until quite late in his life a smoker – lost his battle with lung disease. I found out, of all places, from Twitter: a sign of my particular times. Duane Eddy, Bono, Joe Elliott, Nancy Sinatra, Paul Simon, Iggy Pop, the Brians May, Adams and Wilson, etc – hordes of ‘em –  all said how terribly sorry they were. By some inexplicable oversight I was overlooked by the world’s media for a quote, so I feel lucky to have this space. Because to the complete nonplussedness of my husband – although notably not to my parents – I was sincerely and miserably grieved. A month later, I still contemplate his loss every day.

I feel a little absurd discussing it, as Phil himself was a complete stranger; my loss is the artist, not the man. Everything meaningful that I possessed of him isn’t fundamentally altered, or gone away from me. I can reach for every song he ever wrote or sang, just as easily as before, and lose myself just as fully. Tonight, on BBC4, I can watch the Reunion Concert again, although it isn’t my favourite show of theirs – this is – and also the documentary that Alan Yentob made about them, years ago – the wonderfully titled Songs of Innocence and of Experience.

But despite all of this, I feel so terribly unhappy that someone so intrinsically special to me no longer walks under the same sun as I, and… well, I suppose I wanted just to say so. And that wherever Phil is, he is undoubtedly making the place sound very much sweeter.

Ignore the visual quality: do have a listen.

*http://rockaeology.com/2011/03/01/warren-zevon-werewolves-of-london.aspx

Apparently I need a title, but I’m tired and going to bed now.

WordPress sent me my “Blogging in 2013!” review earlier today. It appears I managed a mighty three posts last year.

Poor. Very poor. D minus, possibly an E. I feel myself vaguely chastened by it, so Here I Am. Responding better to the stick, not the carrot, as usual. I think I’ve exhausted every narrative technique of blowing away dust, tapping microphones, enquiring about switched-on-ness and ducking the escaping bats on previous occasions, so I’ll confine myself to hello.

How’ve you been?

It’s difficult to know how to keep this space alive. It’s the usual collection of reasons. My anonymity, which I was never particularly scrupulous about, eventually dissolved to the point of cobwebs, so I bit the bullet and shoved the blog link on Facebook a couple of years ago. Reassuringly, no-one cared. Almost no-one I know is even interested in what I put on here, as far as I can tell, but I imagine that might change if they were… mentioned, shall we say.

I am back at work, albeit in a very part-time way. Harry’s situation requires rather more circumspection when discussing than previously, especially considering the aforementioned absence of anonymity. John was never happy featuring here. My own reproductive struggles also seem unsuitable to share if – and there is – a distinct chance they could be related back to Harry via the playground.

Altogether, there seem to be a few too many tulips to render even tiptoeing a viable option.

But I do miss this place. I’ve made lifelong, close friends here.

So. I will attempt a potted history. I will then attempt to update more regularly (I appreciate I have said this before – more than once) even if it’s a pictorial collection of Cake Disasters of the Month.

Harry. What to say about Harry? He is glorious, inimical, comical, affectionate, intrepid. He is himself.

Long-time readers of this blog will remember – because I complained about it a great deal, at length, over years – the pronounced difficulties I experienced while trying to get health professionals to Take Some Notice of Harry’s quirks and motor difficulties.

The motor difficulties eventually got to the point where even the shortest-sighted of them admitted there was An Issue, and when we eventually levered a Physio/OT assessment out of the powers that be, his balance scored on the moderate/severe borderline. He currently has a weekly physio session at school, although budgets and absurd protocols have jointly ensured that that seems likely to cease soon.

The quirks were altogether harder to explain to people. I often felt extremely fortunate to have so very many people in my life for whom giving reassurance felt so nice… for them, and many of whom have had, by a wild stroke of luck, entirely normal children who have had every single one of Harry’s difficulties – worse and for longer – which weren’t actually difficulties at all, apparently.

Maybe I should ask them all what they think about climate change.

I’m not entirely clear on exactly where, during many of these conversations with family, friends and acquaintance, well-meant reassurance ended and thoughtless belittlement began to pervade. (However, I’ve obviously been able to accurately pinpoint the moment where my irritation was about to swell into incandescent fury just fine, as I’ve managed to avoid thumping anyone to date.) I dislike having my judgement questioned as much as the next parent – and, egotist that I am, probably a little more – so my cognitive bias may well have been extra-biassy on the topic. But that’s fine! as, providentially, I can logically reconcile my own gentle cognitive curves much better than other people’s ludicrous mental encrustations.

Happily for those of a nervous disposition, I can permanently scotch any lingering possibility there may have been of my running naked through Stratford. (I was reasonably confident from an early age that Harry’s Diagnoses would be forthcoming: see here and here.) I eventually shouted loud enough to be heard – by the wrong person, aktually, but the wrong person referred us to the right person. 9 months of bureaucratic sorry-we-have-no-money-at-all-don’t-you-know-the-UK-is-broke? and 2 months of Judicious Action by a Very Clever Psychology Team followed. In October we finally received a lengthy report that nailed him absolutely perfectly. Harry decoded.

As a result of the last round of DSM tinkering, Harry’s diagnosis de jure is High Functioning Autism, but, not withstanding his significant speech issues, Asperger Syndrome is the diagnosis de facto.

Other labels are in the pipeline, although it’s the understanding beneath them I want. All labels get us is the chance of Moar Input. Sensory Processing Disorder has now apparently gone the way of Asperger’s, but as Harry quite evidently has it, I wait with interest to see what they will term it on the assessment paperwork. You can’t have dyspraxia and Autistic Spectrum Disorder – in theory; diagnosing protocol generally dictates that ASD is a pervasive developmental disorder and thus an Official Trump Card, robustly ousting all other difficulties to whatever nail-parings of the Venn diagram they can cling onto – so Harry is having to get used to hearing it termed Gross & Fine Motor Difficulties instead.

Unsurprisingly, given his diagnosis, Harry is quite interested in his diagnosis.

Harry’s assessment finally shed some light on why his needs were so opaque to The Reassurers and the Deniers – and, to some extent, his Parents. Harry’s difficulties with behaviour, mobility, social issues and communication are explained easily enough by ASD; he also has capabilities which some of his peers on the spectrum do not – abilities that seem to contradict an ASD diagnosis if you were to only, for example, skim-read a few websites and come away with a one-Sheldon-Cooper-fits-all idea of Aspergers. *ahem*

Harry orientates to and reads faces well. He likes change and new things! (Except when he…doesn’t.) He is entirely compassionate and sensitive. (Except when he… isn’t.) Superficially, he gives a convincing appearance of understanding the general flow of things (for ‘understanding the flow of things’ I THINK I mean ‘theory of mind’, but tbh, I’m still grappling with the psychology underneath it.) but what we are actually seeing are extraordinarily unusual coping skills (innate, I expect, although I have tried very hard to help him Decode Stuff) coupled to a sharp intelligence. It took a clinical psychologist to ascertain to what extent Harry is frequently utterly nonplussed by Life.

We are fortunate; Harry is fortunate, albeit living within a context of frequent struggle and frustration. He has many of the positive abilities associated with his disorder, and a comparatively very mild helping indeed of the negatives. Everyday life is frequently difficult for him, and consequently for us, but our difficulties are truly minor in the special-needs scheme of things. It taxes our patience and ingenuity as parents, that’s all; finally understanding his likely mental make-up has been enormously useful to us. I really feel fortunate, I don’t just think it.

I was darkly amused to note that immediately following Harry’s diagnosis we were offered enrolment on parenting support classes, because – shocker – children with ASD are occasionally a tad tricky to parent. Ha! Where were they when Harry was 2 years old, and then 3, and still completely voiceless, and OhDearGod Being SO ImfuckingPossible because he just didn’t GET this INEXPLICABLE world full of assaulting sounds and textures and intrinsic confusion?

I wish I could have a conversation with the 30 year-old Me. But don’t we all?

Home is fine. School worries me a little, although I am fundamentally satisfied or he wouldn’t be there still. However, I feel they dropped the ball quite badly last year, although, given that Harry’s ASD is not necessarily obvious, I can’t altogether blame them for mistaking adequate academic progress with No Special Need. Harry’s intelligence means that he has made reasonable strides, but it is all shot through with difficulties. He CAN read, but lacks fluency and hates doing it. Dyslexia is a distinct possibility. Writing is utter purgatory to him, both physically and cognitively. Concentration and sitting still are… not his thing. He’s holding it all together, kind of – but we’ve lost his one-to-one Teaching Assistant now. This, I wanted to fight – when did I not? – but School, Bollock and Drop, etc. We have a new Headteacher now, but the fact remains that funded help is far easier to keep than obtain afresh – think rocking horse shit –  and I’m not optimistic we’ll ever get funded help back for him. There just isn’t any goddamn money. The budgets are broker than a broken thing sat on a broken chair, and Harry just isn’t failing spectacularly enough to qualify under current Austerity Measures.

In any event, we will now await input from the Sensory OT, specialist ASD SALT, and a decent Ed Psych. And then I will fight if I think I can win. The oil tanker steams slowly onwards.

Harry started riding with the Riding for the Disabled Association in June, because it targets his weak core strength beautifully. His balance and co-ordination is always going to be an issue, but he is trotting confidently now – if not yet fluidly – and he had his first canter last month, most successfully – albeit on a horse with no legs. His instructor is a most deserving MBE for her RDA work; she has asked Harry to ride in displays at the Game Fair and Blenheim Horse Trials. This was, you might say, greatly assistive with his overall confidence – although not initially to mine, as I was obliged to man a microphone (I am just visible as a clipboard-clutching background splodge) and explain what benefits riding with the RDA was bringing to Harry.

Image

We sent him round the ring lugging the charity bucket afterwards, and I was admittedly charmed by how many £20 notes the child managed to extract, particularly from elderly ladies of a horsey persuasion. Plus, despite possessing a baseline of fear or, at best, indifference to almost all animals, he is slowly thawing on the concept of having Pony Friends.

Image

So. Let’s talk about MEEEEEE!

I’m happy. Apart from being 39 next month and frustrated with my weight, but you may justifiably consider that Situation Normal.

I work – and volunteer – in the local heritage sector, primarily guiding, which suits me. I can rattle on a bit, if you haven’t noticed yet. I still co-Chair our PTA, although I’m intending to hand the baton on after this year.  I’m involved with my local am-dram group. I have 3 hens – at present. (I noted the other day that local poultry keepers always seem to enquire after each other’s flocks with variations on the phrase ‘How many do you have left?’)

I am learning the piano – slowly, badly and accompanied frequently by my screams of vexation at my inability to distinguish a blob on the line from the blob tucked underneath the line. Grade 1 is a shining castle of Proficiency in the far, far distance, although thanks to my mother, I acquired a shiny digital Roland for Christmas, which is an indescribable advantage. I salvaged the lovely burr wood from my former piano, before consigning the remainder to John’s tender mercies.

He took it away and burnt the bugger. The piano tuner had pronounced it a Dead Piano years ago, and he wasn’t wrong; many a time I had threatened to torch it under a blasted oak at midnight. But it DID have a life, and possibly a soul, and I saw it go with mixed feelings. I have kept with great pleasure the pieces of Black Cat cigarette cards I found as washers under the keyboard section, the gold paint as vibrant now as it was in 1917 when they last saw the light of day.

Given that I’ve been in a riding school regularly, I have started learning to ride – again, from scratch. Thanks to a pony-mad youth, I could already manage to stick on for a canter juuuust about adequately, but with the equestrianship and grace normally manifested by a large sack of spuds. My attempts are now being ruthlessly de-constructed back to the very basics, and I am discovering that it is possible to pilot a horse without the assistance of reins, stirrups, or very pointed digs in the ribs, which were my exclusive navigational tools previously. My progress is slow: I am so, so not a natural at subtle balance sports – as John once found out when we went skiing somewhere far beyond my ability, namely, a mountain exhibiting a slope greater than 5 degrees.

What else? Lemme see.

I have these

Photo: I'm not 100% sure of the species, but it looked fairly widow-ish and, crucially, was in MY house. I have, woefully for the arachnid kingdom, declined to continue this state of affairs.

in my garage, and it’s making me Nervous. If you are a botanist and can tell me they are not false widows, then I will fervently bless you.

I did my annual Cake Thing in November. God, I do love cake. The usual people were lovely and very generous and I felt humbled and so rewarded for a few days of work, as I always do.

We lost our collie to a heart attack a couple of months ago, and have a new 8 week old puppy arriving TOMORROW, God help me. There is much cuteness about the puppy (even Harry is looking forward to her coming), much blurriness about my photos,

Image

much controversy over Her Name, and much trepidation about the Howling At Night and All The Shit. I am exceedingly worried about All The Howling and All The Shit. Send newspaper & earplugs. My spaniel suspects nothing, poor lad.

I have about 2000 plaintive words about my Summer Of Catastrophe already written (see! Stick, not carrot!) (lucky, lucky readers!) but I’ll tuck them away for later.

You know, in case I peak too soon now I’m back. *wry face*

Bavers, by Sir Rat

I am slumped in my armchair, suffering from Viral Plague. Possibly. I am markedly improved on yesterday, which eventually saw me gulping desperately at a bottle of whiskey in search of Blessed Oblivion. I have mucus that you could carve – if the mood took you that way. My armchair is hard back against the wall because that’s where the violence of my sneezes has sent it. (I am probably not ill nearly so much as a peruse of this blog might imply; merely that these are the times that I am confined to the laptop; limp, querulous, running out of people to bleat at…)

I have been watching the Six Nations with a most uncharacteristic lack of interest in burly chaps with Little Shorts, particularly now Wales have just handed us our arse in some fashion. I was at Twickenham for England’s glorious trampling of the All Blacks last December, and, frankly, the boot hurts quite a bit more on this foot.

Earlier this evening, Harry slightly surprised John & I by telling us that the capital of France was Paris, and that the River running through the middle was the Seine. We told him we were impressed with his excellent learning, and how had he known? He replied that the school have a painting that all the classes are doing some project work on. I duly invoked Google, and asked the painting title.

‘Bayvers!’

‘Eh?’

‘Bayvers!’

‘Can you spell it for me?’

*cogitation*

‘B A V E R S’

*Ann Googles: finds Iranian village of Bāvers*

‘Lovey, do you know the artist?’

‘Sir Rat!’

‘Eh?!’

‘Sir Rat! It IS, Mummy!’

‘Ummm. ‘kay.’

*Ann Googles: finds various pugilistic rodents, but instinctively senses a Wrong Turn has been taken*

*stops to put her Harry-speak hat on*

*cogitation*

*Googles again*

‘Lovey, is this it?’

‘Yes! Yes it is!’

Anyhoo! I just thought I’d say Hi. How’ve you been?

Hairy Farmer

As part of the drawn-out and tedious process of disengaging from our current broadband provider, I attempted to register for @gmail and @hotmail accounts earlier today. I attempted to register, natch, hairyfarmer@, because that is ME, dude! Or, rather, US –  if John is standing within earshot of me. He nicknamed himself so first, but I rather feel I’ve made it my own since then.

Imagine my sensations, therefore, when I discovered that some officious busybody had – prepare yourself for something very dreadful – beaten me to it. Registered both already. Done deal. I was offered hairyfarmer0 @hotmail.

The indignity of it. Me! THE hairy farmer, damnit! HOW VERY DARE THEY?!

And then it struck me whom it might possibly be.

A little while ago I became aware (belatedly, as I’ve not seen stats for months: my version of IE refuses to display WordPress stats, and crashes if urged) that there was another.

And how.

I remember vividly that the last time I featured a link that was ohh-so-fundamentally not safe for work, Betty unwittingly opened it on the train, so let me preface the following with a strident warning: this one is slightly more risque than a young lady with a labial piercing.

If frisky, hairy, boisterous gay porn is yo thang, or you simply fancy a trip somewhere different in your head, then google ‘hairy farmer’, ignore the ones that are obviously me, and select the hairy farmer tumblr account that seems like it might be me – until you notice the beards (love ‘em!) the leather mankini-things (love ‘em!) and the genitalia (Hmmm. Is he…? No. Yes. Yes, he is.).  By which time you may plausibly have forgotten all about me, especially if you find the photo with the All. The. Cows.

Happy-looking cows, to be fair.

And there are plenty of photos of people just holding hands, which is adorable. Adorable Cheerful Hairy People! My favourite! And everything altogether seems really quite welcoming, albeit in a highly specialised fashion.

So, if I know about them: Magnus and pals must know about me. Perhaps it might be best if they continue to steer clear of my particular corner of the internet, and I shall promise faithfully to do my best to steer clear of theirs, because I feel I can contribute very little of specific interest to them, unless I send them a photo of John in the shower. Or… we could have a bloggy cultural exchange? Like town-twinning, but with… actually, I have no idea with what – yet – but it would be bloody interesting, I promise.

Carnivorous Rabbit

I keep promising to do better and Achieve Things here, don’t I?

Ah, well. I make the same promises at Weightwatchers every week, and I haven’t shifted a single pound since October. Or, leastways, I have – all the 10 pounds I gained in the festive interim. Christmas represents, in the weightloss battle, a bloody big snake. I’ve clawed my way back up the ladder to exactly what I weighed last time I mentioned it. I have re-joined the gym in a mutinous fury, ostensibly with my own metabolism, but knowing full well that the problem is my congenital sweet tooth coupled to my engrained belief that a meal should overflow the plate all around the rim.

I have some vague intention this morning of delivering a Hairy update, so I could then – theoretically – resume blogging without having to retrack and explain things. 

 So. I have seen a near-perfect job advertised, and am oscillating madly between brooding gloomily what my chances of getting it are, and telling myself that if this one doesn’t pan out there Will Be Others. The pay is atrocious, naturally, but I think John would just be delighted to see me doing something. I was chuntering on about the parlous state of my personal employment nation the other morning, and he said – fairly kindly – ‘Yes, but you’re a wordy eccentric who can’t get up in the mornings.’

Sadly, he is bang on the money. Or, more precisely, on the reason why I will never have any.

Neither will he, much, if this agricultural year continues on its trajectory towards Noah’s flood. We have planted almost nothing, which is virtually unheard of in living memory. Whatever did get drilled, locally, rotted forlornly in the ground. So, already in the red for seed and tractor diesel (both for sowing it and ploughing the ground up again after it failed) Midlands farmers are looking likely to have a quiet year. Potentially this means John will have an unprecedented amount of free time this spring/summer, but it will doubtless be too soggy to take the caravan anywhere. I feel meteorologically Picked On.  

Harry continues to be Ace, with a huge side order of Impossible. I spent a humiliating 40 minutes sobbing in front of the Headteacher and SENCo a fortnight ago, trying desperately – and futilely – to mentally regroup after they warned me that Harry’s funding (which buys him 10 hours a week of one-to-one teaching assistant time) will dry up like spit on a stove at the end of March. The school have promised me – possibly to save their carpets from saltwater damage – that they will continue the input from their own budgets until the end of the summer term, but the thought of the next academic year makes me panicky. I am PTA chair (and, of late, an unpaid TA when teachers are under the cosh): I regularly hear things about the school budgets that depress me.

My belief that Harry’s overall trajectory will be a fiery trail of glory remains undimmed, but he does, currently, blatantly present several overlapping Specific Learning Difficulties to us. The Educational Psychologist that could unpick the exact nature of these issues is charged by our County to the School at £250 an hour. The school feel that £250 is better spent on TA time than psychology, and I broadly agree with them: whatever Harry’s diagnosis and recommendations, all the school are likely to be able to practically implement is similar to what he already has: targetted individual learning time to maximise his concentration and progress.

Of course, they don’t altogether see what we see. School are confident that, although failing a little (Harry is ‘below expectations’ in nearly every area) he will continue to make good progress. They highlight his high scores for IQ and reassure me.  I know they think there are other children in his class who need individual help just as much as Harry does, or possibly even more – and don’t get it, because they aren’t statemented, and Harry currently is. (Only for speech, alas, which is why he is losing it in March. We can’t shut the bugger up.) They expect he will overcome his difficulties with learning. I share their long-term confidence, but he is becoming rapidly disaffected with learning now, this minute, even with help, because learning with a SpLD means working twice, three, four times as bloody hard for a poorer result – and I’m grimly aware that next year, with no external funding, the battle will be between me and the school. He is my super-special-precious-snowflake, and I am not as sanguine as they are. Hence, I feel that we are likely to obtain a privately funded EdPsych report before next year, to tell me exactly what I need to pester the school to provide for him – in the sinking knowledge that they have to share scant resources among many pupils with need, and I will be the squeaky wheel expecting grease. Which feels wrong, but else can I do?

There isn’t enough fucking money, is the long and the short of it. Every parent of a child with special needs I speak to tells me the same thing. All across the county, all across the country. I know three families with secondary-school-age children with specific learning difficulties who have sent their children to private school, at enormous cost, because it was abundantly clear that state-funded education (even in an outstanding-rated school like ours) did not have the resources to meet their children’s need.

Harry is receiving help from other sources, although we are still awaiting for the joint OT/Physio assessment I told you about last June to materialise. Oh, and I am told by that department that there is no-one that can assess his sensory integration issues, either, because there’s no-one trained to do it locally. *pause to smash crockery* It’s absurdly underfunded and, ultimately, failing children. There are kids out there with far worse issues than Harry, from far less privileged backgrounds, from parents with fewer mental resources, and God help ‘em.

Harry’s wetting has nearly stopped. (I am touching all the wood I can politely lay hold of.) We don’t get much warning yet, and there are plenty of skedaddles to the toilet with his fingers firmly stemming the flow, but the pants are seldom sopping wet anymore. He has been dry before and I have celebrated too soon; on this occasion, however, I have successfully moved the underpants drawer from the hall (easy daytime access) upstairs into his bedroom, and he is pleased with his progress.

If I had to put a pin in a venn diagram of SpLDs,

my best guess currently is dyspraxia with some autistic behaviours and a soupçon of ADHD. Regarding autism, it came as a largeish shock to me late last year that Harry’s peculiar array of peculiar peculiarities probably had a name, because I was fairly clueless about the whole business and had thought that his affectionate personality squarely ruled him out for it. Not so, Watson! Of course, rapidly following on from that was the rosy dawn of enlightenment concerning my own peculiar array of peculiar peculiarities. Harry, poor lad, is me – turned up to 11. Anyhoo, we took him for an initial Clinical Psychology assessment last week, and it went well, because they instantly GOT the quirks, without having to explain them laboriously. And the myriad sensory horrors. And the constant, senseless, angry defiance and the endless, infuriating, oppositional behaviour. 

I’m not sure what the plan is, if any, regarding the misplaced sense of entitlement and injustice, coupled to the level of crossness he feels on a frequent basis (which appears like a sabre-toothed carnivorous rabbit out of a blue-skied hat). They seem to feel that they can help him with his extreme sensitivity to mild, mild (mild!) peril and suspense. He can’t even watch cBeebies anymore (the preschooler channel) without running from the room several times an hour, quivering with fright. Tackling that would be nice, because his anxiety really limits where we can take him, and what activities we can expose him to. No cinema. No theatre workshops. No story-telling. Nowhere loud. No, for the love of almighty Christ, fireworks. Unsurprisingly, the kid likes documentaries.

I do wonder if I’m over-analytical (ref: Ann’s peculiarities, above) and thinking he’s worse than he is. John tends to think that all will be well; I tend to think that it’s more serious than he thinks, and we’re probably both right. John acknowledges all Harry’s issues, but considers that he’ll outgrow them. Maturity is certainly something he badly lacks, and needs in order to move forward with many of his issues. I also think that some psychological stitches now will save 9 years of struggle later. At the end of the day he can let his education slide, if that makes him truly happy. I fundamentally want to raise a child at peace with himself.

Whatever: we are inexpressibly lucky, because when he isn’t being thoroughly awkward, he is being a complete delight. We took him along to my cousin’s wedding a couple of weeks ago, and immediately on arrival at the reception, he headed out onto the dancefloor with great intrepidity – and stayed there, in solitary splendour to begin with.

His dyspraxia/hypermobility bit him in the bum now and again, but any evening in which you dance Gangnam Bhangra Style with your Mum & Dad whilst stood smugly atop a speaker has to be a winner.

I think he’ll do, really.

Mine was very nice indeed, ta.

I do hope yours was, too.

xmas 9d xmas 9c xmas 9b xmas 9 xmas 8 xmas 7 xmas 6 xmas 5 xmas 4 xmas 3

The Rumour Is

The Rumour Is

…that I have to go home tomorrow, to where the rivers are all in flood, roads are blocked, and villages cut off.

Dislike.

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