OK so I tried to post a photo but it didn't seem to want to work. Top Tip is not to leave a 3 year old with autism alone in a room with Moon Sand, even if you have previously told her she and it are to remain on the messy mat. Of course I gave this instruction, wandered off to get a cup of tea and then returned to find a whole room covered in sand - it was everywhere. And I mean everywhere - down sofas, in curtain linings, by (but thankfully not in!) DVD player etc. Over the last couple of days Sasha seems to have returned to one of her 'destructive' phases. That's not really the right word for it, as she is really just making a mess and enjoying it, not intentionally destroying things with force. The day after the sand I had a 4 hour spell of literally just cleaning up after her - full bottle of water emptied onto the floor, all the DVDs out of baskets and out of cases and strewn around, felt tip pen all over the TV, crisps emptied onto floor rather than being eaten.... and the list went on. Followed by another complete bottle of water all over carpet that evening whilst being babysat by her Uncle O. Somehow she still manages to be cute with it, but it is very tiring (and in some cases expensive!).
We've also had to shell out for new clothes for her lately, and clothes shopping for her is not something I enjoy, as lately she has become very specific about what she will and won't wear. Trousers have not been acceptable for quite some time, but we did manage to persuade her to wear leggings. Since summer though, she refuses those too, and would still be running round in her summer dresses if she could. So I've had to search for long sleeved jersey or jumper dresses that will keep her a bit warmer now, seeing as she also prefers to take a coat off the second she is outside, and is still refusing to wear socks or tights. The worst side effects of no socks is the fact that shoes rub her poor little feet until she has terrible red raw blisters or skin missing, and it looks so painful yet she barely seems to notice them at all. So far she is refusing to wear soft furry boots like she did last year - at least with no socks these were just acceptable. So she looks a little odd at the mo running about in new winter dresses and her old summer 'pirate shoes' (red stripey pumps) but most people probably don't realise what an effort it is to get her out of the door in the first place without a tantrum... so of course I care what she looks like but I do have to leave the house at some point!!
Chris and I have been attending a special course to help with parenting a child with autism, and it is good to meet other parents with children with similar attitudes to life. I think it is also making me realise that I do need to face a few more of the battles and sit through more tantrums in order to make her do what we want her to do. It's just so difficult though as the tantrums can last so long and spoil the rest of the day, and of course I'm not sure the mums at school are really ready to see a full blown tantrum just yet :) I guess I'm just secretly hoping that as she gets older they would naturally occur less often anyhow, but of course we don't really know if this will be the case.
Schooling and the thought of it is taking up a large part of my time just now - am trying to arrange to see a few schools in this area just in case she won't go to the same one as Tamsin for any reason. I'm hoping that won't be the case, but I think nursery saying they aren't coping very well with her has made me more aware that a 'back-up' plan might be necessary, and we need to research everything as best we can for Sasha's sake.
Toilet training is still not happening... not pushing too hard just yet, saving my efforts for weekends and hoping she'll just decide to do it by herself one day!