Thursday, 18 November 2010


Hi all

We've had a grump week from Callum so far this week! :-(

Now I don't know whether it's because of the weather; because of us being out quite a bit; because he is still slightly suffering from a cold or because I said we should do some work this week. I think it could be a combination of them all, but, boy, has he been grumpy!

Monday I suggested that it was about time we knuckled down and did some serious home ed instead of just watching DVDs, reading books or making origami dinosaurs (well I made one as it was actually really hard and Callum gave up and went and played with his cars. I, on the other hand, wouldn't be beaten by a bit of paper)! I'd managed to download some sheets from the computer and wrote up 10 questions on a book he'd just finished. Wasn't asking a great deal, but he hrumphed and grumped like I'd asked him to climb Mount Everest unaided and be home by teatime! We didn't get pencils flying around the room at least, which is an improvement from latter years. Anyway, he finally decided to do 3 questions of the 10 and wrote down all his answers unaided and without further arguement - yay!! We then got sidetracked by mail that came in and started doing maths!!!??? It was a bank statement I think that prompted it, but can't complain as he was adding up and doing balances - oo er, economics, coo!

I gave up after that as he had no interest in anything, so I went out in the garden and cleared up my courtyard. When I got back in he announced that he'd like to get on with the Christmas cake!? OooooKaaaaay! However, it was now Phil coming home time and it wasn't worth starting until after dinner. He then decided he'd go out with the dog and dad! I was hoping that this bit of fresh air might improve his general mood, but it didn't and he was a grump again when he got home. We finally weighed out the fruit for the cake at 8pm! He loves helping out with the Christmas baking, so I do try and encourage him as much as possible. I think he just likes helping himself to the raisins, cherries and sugar to be honest, but he did well and gave everything a really good stir in the brandy! "Ah, that's Christmas!" he says as I'm pouring 3 very large spoonfuls of brandy into the fruit mix whilst trying to avoid tipping it over his head which kept diving into the bowl for a sniff. Bless!

Tuesday was Chiropractor for me in the morning and then a shopping trip straight after. Oh dear, Callum is grumpier than ever today and tried (unsuccessfully I might add) to persuade me to go to Chiropractor without him, travel home via Chatham, pick him up and travel back to Chatham for shopping! Errr, I don't think so! Anyway, with Grumpy in tow we go off to Chiro. I'm pulled about, he sits outside in waiting room. Back on bus for trip into Chatham. Pop into Game to drop off old games and get points on the reward card. Then he finds a PC game he wants, so back in the queue to buy it. Then just as we are leaving the shop he spots a huge advert (why he didn't see it earlier I don't know) for the game he's seen on TV that he wants. He's had the right hump everytime the advert comes on as it's advertised for the XBox which we haven't got. But, aha, on the big window advert it states that for a limited period it's available on other formats including the Wii, which we have got! Soooooo back into the queue we go to preorder it! I finally escape from Game after being in the queue 3 times and pretty much getting to know the staff personally!

Then off to Superdrug to buy bits for the Shoebox Appeal (moans and groans from C), cafe for lunch (cheerful), toy shop for a look round (also cheerful) and manage to get his best mate's Christmas present, then home! He decides then that it's been far too long a day and he doesn't want to go to Youth Club! Bang goes my idea of popping to Asda with my beloved partner to do a bit of shopping and nose round for Christmas bits. Callum then proceeds to hrumph and grumph on the sofa! Finally agreeing to complete the Christmas cake and get it into the oven. It's 7.30pm and it takes 4 hours. I knew it would be a late night again for me!

Wednesday was haircuts! Now, normally C is badgering me about getting his hair cut, but this time he threw himself onto the bathroom floor and sulkily announced he didn't want to go! "Okay, why don't you want to go?" "I don't want my hair cut." "Why?" "Because I want to grow it!" "Right.....I can always ask if Jess will just cut your fringe a bit and tidy it up, would that be ok?" Some reluctant pouty expressions and some umming and ahhhing. "Yeah, that would be ok!" "Great! That was easy wasn't it? Just talk to me and I'll attempt to sort it out! Now, can we go as we are now going to be late?"

We walk round to hairdressers and he's ok, quite chatty. But on approaching, he goes all sulky again. He wants me to have mine done first, so I do! He's flopping all over the sofa and the floor behind me. Then he refuses to sit in the chair. Jess, brilliantly, manages to get him in the chair and get his hair done as he wants it. She's fab is Jess. Calm, firm and always manages to make him laugh, even if he is determined not too! Anyway, hair done!

Half way back towards Aldi he decides he needs the toilet. Now this is normally fine, but we are supposed to be going to Aldi's and then getting a bus to Maidstone, grabbing something we can eat on the bus. He then says "We can't eat on the bus, that man said so." "What man?" "The one on Sunday." "Whaaat?" "The man at the bus station on Sunday. He said that as of Monday we weren't allowed to eat or drink on the bus!"

By this point I'm racking my brains trying to think of some bus driver or official that we saw on Sunday that had said anything. But no, it wasn't a bus driver, it wasn't a bus official, it was a very strange man who was wandering around the bus station talking to everyone and anyone! Obviously one of Medway's infamous crazies (not politically correct I know, so sorry). My daughter, who happened to be with us at the time, said that she's never seen him on a bus, but he goes around the bus station talking to everyone and saying all manner of random things. Unfortunately Callum has believed him! So, all the way home we go! Eat lunch there, do the toilet trip and walk back up to the High Street to catch the bus!

Lovely afternoon with a friend. Callum happily playing with his mate! Yay, bliss! Take a wander down into town before getting bus home and am (rather easily I might add) persuaded to go into Game Exchange. Callum wants an old PS2 game and thought this would probably be best place to find it! Do find it! £2. Brilliant. Unfortunately they also have a DVD section, bad move! I end up spending £19 in all, eeek! Back home I'm shattered and Callum is grumpy again as it's a bit late to start playing his 'new' game!

Today, he woke up cheerful!!!!!!!!!!!! Way hey! But then he has decided that he is going to play his game all morning! Oh well, gives me time to tidy up the house, sort out emails and get ready for trampolining. Must admit, he was even happy there too and bounced this week and bounced well.

Am hoping that this new cheerful, less grumpy Callum will last over the weekend. I'm exhausted. So much so that I had a bath, put on my pjs and then realised that I had a meeting to go to. Oh well, dinner eaten, back upstairs to get redressed and off to meeting I went. I think I need a lie down now! hehe


Saturday, 13 November 2010


Hi all

We are still alive, although no so sure on the well. For some unknown reason we haven't been brilliant for a couple of weeks. I'm sure it's just the winter bugs going round, but we are fine one minute, then feel shite, then well, then shite, then well and so on. To be honest I'm getting a bit fed up with it! We are now on daily doses of Echinacea and Vitamin C which does seem to be helping. Callum however, is going into hibernation mode and I'm not far off joining him. Oh well, might get some work done! Hehe.

Anyway. The rest of October was taken up by preparing for our Halloween party. This year's theme was Pumpkins and Skeletons. So, I thought it would be a good idea to start off in the living room as a funeral parlour and then out through the door into the dining room which was the graveyard. The parlour was dedicated to the pumpkin king and so had a brown/orange alter cloth with a twiggy/orange flower cross, pumpkin stained glass window and of course a pumpkin hollowed out as Jack from Nightmare before Christmas. We had lots of candles and a large yellow throw to tie in colours and a Jack blanket hung up to cover the DVD shelves.

The dining room was covered in black bin liners and I made card 'gravestones' for the chairs and made a card statue to cover my unit in an attempt to make a statue.

I then made a skeleton out of card and laid him on the table. The idea being that the food would represent body bits and would be placed on the skeleton in their respective places.

So: prawn and tuna in mayo (prawns used to line bowl) upturned became brains; hard boiled eggs cut in half and painted with edible food colouring became eye balls; a dish of sweetcorn with red pepper strips around the outside became lips and teeth. Placed on the skull.

Celery, carrot and cucumber strips were arm bones. Rolls cut into heart shapes = heart (obviously); hot dogs cut into strips, cooked and mixed with BBQ sauce = intestines. Guacamole = bile dip; tomato sauce = blood; hummus = cholesterol. Then cheese pastry cut into bone shapes were the legs. I also did bowls of lettuce with marmite 'snails' (puff pastry spread with marmite and rolled up) and slime stuffed beetles (dates stuffed with cream cheese and walnuts, coloured green with edible colouring).

Pudding was worms in green jelly (brown jelly worms arranged in half filled bowl of green jelly, another layer placed on top, left to set and more jelly worms strategically placed on top and poked in). Dessicated coconut coloured green and sprinkled on as grass. Plus a variety of ghoulishly iced cakes care of A Zombie Ate My Cupcake by Lily Vanilli (brains, gravestones and mummies) + a concoction of popcorn, M&Ms and melted marshmallows which tasted fine, but looked remarkably like vomit - coooooool!!! Unfortunately, the food got devoured before I got to take photos - hey ho! Must remember to be quicker next time.

Games were equally ghoulish with spider web 'dart board; musical gravestones; pass the coffin; balloon relay; scary story (blindfolded children, one spooky narrator (my daughter) and various bits and bobs to represent the dead man in the story's body bits = suitably freaked out kids); bobbing for worms (more jelly worms in squirty cream and having to be removed without using hands - very messy) and, of course, bobbing for apples! Callum loves bobbing for apples and there is always a bit of family rivallry going on between him and his 22yr old sister! She just beat him this year by 1 second. Watch out Terri, he'll beat you next time!

Callum joined in for the majority of the games this year. I think age has helped and that he has been included in the arranging and ideas. He wouldn't do the scary story though, but one game out of seven isn't bad! He also loved having the trick or treaters at the door (I give out cakes, not sweets or money) and he even wore his costume (see above). All in all a successful and fun party - well I thought so anyway, haha!

The following day we had to go up the high street and Callum took great delight in spotting all the cake cases or half eaten cakes, commenting "one of ours" at every one he saw!

Our next big event was last weekend. We had tickets for Top Gear Live with MPH Show at Earls Court on November 5th. Was a long day, but worth every penny. On booking the tickets way back in whenever I discovered that (in the small print) a carer could go free. I had to fill in an onscreen form and one of the ticket sales team rang the following day to find out more details. To be honest I wasn't holding out much hope as I assumed it would be more for the wheelchair bound rather than ASD Spectrum, but on explaining Callum's problem he stated that we were indeed entitled to a free ticket. This meant that the money I'd put aside for the show would now get me an upgrade to Gold tickets! Am soooooo glad I took that advantage.

The Top Gear show itself was brilliant. Lots of stunt driving, the boys doing silly stuff, etc, etc. At one point during the Cool Wall section Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson came up into the audience and were literally standing in front of us. I was extremely happy and Callum's face was amazing. They also made his day as they did car football which is always his favourite section in the series on TV. He said to me for ages afterwards that it didn't seem real and that he felt like he'd watched the TV prog in 3D. Took him days before it set in that he'd seen it for real.

The MPH show was brilliant too. Loads of cars on show, loads of stalls, lots of stuff to do, but not many places to sit down and it was extremely busy. This is where having the gold tickets came into its own. We were allowed access to a special area where there were tables and chairs and a separate place for drinks and eating. It meant that everytime Callum felt overwhelmed we had somewhere to take him that was quieter and he was able to calm down. Best parts of the show for Callum were the Bugatti Veyron (yep it was really there) - he took loads of photos on his DSi, the Lambogini (don't ask me which one) and the Peel P50. He actually got persuaded to have his photo taken in that one and hopefully that will be coming in the post soon.

We picked up Tshirts, free magazines, posters, pencils and other bits and bobs, so he came home a rather happy, but tired, little chappy. Would definitely go again and would definitely go for Gold (might even upgrade to Platinum).

The following day we went to a firework display and on the Sunday we had our own at home. Callum actually had sparklers this time and went outside!!! Best thing I did this year was buy proper ear defenders for kids. Edx Kids, bright red. Callum loves them. I bought them for Top Gear as the sales guy said it would be noisy and they worked. He wears them for everything now if he feels it may be too much. It has meant he has been able to join in so much more over past couple of weekends, I wish I'd bought them before although I'm not sure if he would have worn them before.

Anyway, since then, as I've already said, we've been a bit up and down healthy wise, but we are getting there. Needed the rest though - haha.