Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Unusual language - Sasha isms.

For the past 5 years I've been meaning to write down all the funny things the girls have said, which are probably along the lines of what makes every parent giggle, but of course there's never been enough time and the words are all too quickly forgotten.

Now instead welcome to the wonderful world of Sasha language. 

Sasha's language has improved massively since she was first diagnosed with autism, and I think even those people who say 'but you can't tell she's autistic' would have to agree that she has an unusual turn of phrase sometimes. She's a keen Spanish speaker (she regularly greets her friends with 'Hola, +name') and currently favours the word 'sure' (as in, 'are you happy Sasha? Sure am, mum' or 'it sure is a lovely day today'). I'm not quite sure (no pun intended) where she gets this from, although I wouldn't be surprised if it's from Dora, like the Spanish...

So I have finally started to jot these examples down, more for my own records than anything, as I guess sometimes you just have to BE there to understand why they're so funny. But you never know, they might make amusing reading for one person (a bit like Michael Rosen's poems, which send Tamsin into fits of giggles!). So here goes:

Breakfast time chat:
'I want to help mummy and daddy find a new car.' (we are going to buy a car at some point in the next few weeks, but haven't talked about it for a while)
'OK Sasha, that would be lovely, thank you.'
'My favourite is the one without the top on it.' 
Me, laughing 'oh, a convertible you mean?' (no idea where she got that idea from)
'Yes that would be good. But we would get very wet wet wet.'

'Mummy, I love my new trainers SO much that I will NEVER take them off at bedtime.' 
Thankfully she forgot about that one.

Standing by the sink, brushing teeth, about to get into bath...
'Mummy, is it night time or day time?'
'Night time, darling.'
'But mummy' shrieks Sasha, 'I don't want to have my hair washed!!'

Conversation at bedtime:
'You've been such a good girl today Sasha, thank you.'
'Have I been really good mummy?'
'Yes, Sasha.'
'So can I go to the chip shop then?'
'Maybe tomorrow.'
'Oh really?'
'Have you got enough money?'
Me, laughing, 'maybe!'
'Is that yes, or no, mummy?'
At this point I had to laugh and agree that yes, we have enough money for it, and so Sasha snuggled down for sleep happily.

'Poor Sasha.' (she said with a big sigh at bedtime)
'Oh, why?'
'Everything. I've forgotten all my thinks. And my yes-es and nos and maybes. I'm sad.' 

Randomly, in the middle of the afternoon:
'Yes Sasha?'
'I love your lunch, but I don't like it.'

At bedtime:
'Mummy, are you feeling alright?'
'Yes Sasha, I'm fine. Are you feeling alright?'
'I'm feeling a little bit alright Mum.' Pause. 'Mu-um, are you feeling a little bit alright?'

On holiday, whilst out one evening:
'Mummy, it's half past bedtime!' 

As our two friends were about to leave after playing on the DSi with Tamsin:
'Thank you boys for coming to see our new holiday home.'
After they had left the flat:
'They're such nice boys aren't they mummy?'

On our way back in the taxi after our holidays:
'Here we are at the Homeworld!' 

Whilst driving home at bedtime:
'Look mum I can hear the moon! Sounds like the clouds are going back to their cloud homes now.'

There will be further updates I'm sure... just wish I'd been writing all of this down from day one!

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Thursday, 23 August 2012

The best value haircut ever and a fab day.

On paper, today wasn't going to be one of the easy ones - haircuts for both girls, followed by trip to the library to hang about and talk to an assistant about the summer reading challenge (yawn), and also getting some passport photos done for Sasha.

Both my girls have had to endure several wonky home cuts. I did take Tamsin to my 'grown-up' hairdresser last year, but after paying £21 for the privilege and then Tamsin taking the scissors into her own hands the next day (yes, I wept), we haven't been back. 

I've never thought that Sasha and hairdressers would be a good mix (sitting still and hairdryer noise spring to mind as two reasons why), so I somehow managed to persuade her that haircuts in our bath were 'de rigeur'.

Well somehow I recently found out about Sharkey's Cuts For Kids and I am beyond impressed (apart from the incident where the hairdresser put a clip on Tamsin's ear by accident and made her cry.... but let's just forget about that and thank the lord it wasn't done to Sasha...).

It's apparently an American franchise, and if I win the lottery I am going to start one up in the town where I live. We only had to drive 15 minutes to this one, which was well worth it, but I think every town should have one!

The set-up is that there is a choice of 3 cars for the kids to sit in whilst their hair is being cut - a pink Barbie Jeep, a blue Mini and a Lightening McQueen. In front of them are large flat screen TVs, where a DVD of their choice is played to distract them from the snipping. Tamsin sat in the pink jeep and watched Barbie, and Sasha chose the blue mini. Originally from the website pictures Sasha had picked the red McQueen as her favourite, but when we walked in Peppa Pig was playing in front of the blue car, so that swayed her. Of course we explained that the DVDs could be played anywhere, but she couldn't quite grasp that, so we were lucky there was no-one in to take up the third chair!

For the back view, pop over to my 366 pics blog by clicking here!

Their hair was sprayed wet and then cut very expertly whilst they enjoyed their programmes - Sasha was a little perturbed that she kept having to lower her head for the girl to get a good straight cut as it interrupted her viewing, but thankfully she didn't complain too much as the overall experience was so fab. We skipped the hairdryer bit on Sasha's request, which is fine as their hair dries so quickly anyhow (well jell, I am). Once hair was finished, they got to pick a nail varnish colour and have their nails painted, and then it was time to choose a lolly and take home a balloon. If only my trips to the hairdresser could be full of so much 'pamper'!

All for the price of £12.50 each, and a loyalty card for a half price hair cut the next time we go. We'll be back. My only regret is that I didn't find it when they were younger - Tamsin's knees were sticking out over the top of the car, bless her! They have that covered too - next time I think she'll get to sit in the big girls' chair and play on a PlayStation. Just fab.

Next was the library, where I realised Tamsin has a 'posh' voice when she's talking to other grown-ups (am sure she doesn't get that from me, ahem). Sasha totally surprised me by picking a book and sitting down in the children's book section quietly. I wasn't quite quick enough to get a photo of it, but it really did happen. Then she progressed to picking a DVD, sitting on the picture rugs and running up and down the aisles, herrumph. Still, at least she did it all quietly.

We left to grace the passport photo booth outside with our presence. Cue much hilarity as we realised the chair seat would not screw up high enough to enable Sasha to sit on it AND have her face in the red circle. I improvised with my rather lumpy handbag and Sasha didn't complain once, despite having to jump her on and off and adjust the improvisation several times before she was positioned successfully. Then she understood my instructions about not smiling and looking straight at the camera straight away, and it only took two shots to get what we needed. A small miracle, especially as I've noticed lately how hard it is for Sasha to look directly at you when asked to for a photo.

So all in all another day with my two gorgeous girls that I've really treasured. Maybe I won't send them back to school after all.

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Monday, 20 August 2012

ZhuZhu Pony Gable Stable playset review

We were delighted to get the chance to review the newest addition to the ZhuZhu 'Zhu-niverse' recently - a ZhuZhu Pony Gable Stable playset and pony.

My girls are not particularly horse mad to be honest, but having already had hamsters and jungle friends in the house, I guessed correctly that pretty much anything in the ZhuZhu range would go down well.

The horse itself is interactive, with a cantering action and galloping sounds. It's very colourful, with a long pink mane and tail which can be groomed with the brush provided. Tamsin really loved this, and the stable and accessories (apples, ice creams, carrots and buckets) which come as part of the playset. I think they provided even more role play opportunities than the previous ZhuZhu pets playsets we've had, without taking up quite so much space, so a definite hit in this house.

There are also individual little stable houses for the ponies, and at £9.99 retail I think these make a great gift for any girl who already has a pony. The playset retails at £14.99 and the ponies are also £14.99 each... so keep your eyes peeled for those toy promotions in the long run up to Christmas!

We were sent the above toy for the purpose of this review, but have not received payment. All the views expressed here are our own.

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Friday, 10 August 2012

Boisterous Boys vs Gorgeous Girls?

One of my favourite other blogs to read is written by B's Dad over at Life with an Autistic son. Partly because he goes through a lot of the same sort of experiences as us, but mainly because he manages to find the humourous side in all of it and he never fails to make me laugh.

When I read his latest post 'It's a Boy Thing', I just had to respond. Autism is not just a 'boy thing', although it has been diagnosed more widely in boys so far. There is some evidence to suggest that girls are simply better at hiding the autism, or at least dealing with it to some extent. Does this mean the female species is just 'brighter' all round?!

From my experience, girls on the spectrum that I've met have fallen more in the 'high-functioning' or Aspergers group. There are fewer cases of violent behaviour and more cases of 'mind matters' - controlling behaviour and extreme worries. That is of course, a huge generalisation, just as it is saying boys are more boisterous than girls. Somewhere along the way though, our gender does react with our genetic make-up to produce stereotypes. I'm sure I never told my eldest daughter that girls should like pink, but from a very early age she did.

Having two girls, I've often wondered what it would be like to be bringing up a boy instead....  I'll have to admit though, that it's not something I feel I'm missing out on.

Not wanting to upset anyone, but I like having girls. Before childbirth, I was probably like lots of other mums-to-be, thinking one of each would be nice. After... well, I'm definitely NOT saying that my friends' boys were naughty, or that all boys are the same, it was just that 'they' were louder and had more energy than Tamsin, and a need to climb and explore and run away and and and.... Tamsin sat by my side always, and needed lots of attention, but I wasn't run physically ragged like some of the other mums I saw.

Then of course, I had Sasha. Another gorgeous girl. Only this one had a very different personality. She created havoc wherever she went, was extremely vocal, would run away from me, and was 'into' everything. I felt like we had a little tomboy on our hands.

Her diagnosis of autism at the age of 2 and a half came almost out of the blue for us; we had referred her for speech therapy because her words were not as clear as Tamsin's had been at that age. We knew she was wilful, but hadn't really seen her behaviour as 'challenging'.

I still wouldn't call her 'challenging', and I no longer constantly walk on egg-shells like I did when she was younger, but it still does take more effort to run about both after and before her. I'm sure that is in some part down to the autism, but maybe a lot of it can be attributed to her actual character. She likes mud and playing outdoors, and is in some ways a complete opposite to Tamsin. Yet she can still be girly when she wants to be.

B's Dad wonders if all men are on the autistic spectrum somewhere. I'd argue that all men AND women are on it somewhere; maybe it's just that more men show extremes.

So what do you think? Girls vs boys?!
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Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Phew. It's not so bad after all.

Imagine my surprise and horror when I was given this handwritten note by Tamsin:

'Mummy I know we are young and you may love me but I just can't be with you any more'

If it wasn't for the next word, I'd have been very upset.


I remember when I used to write down song lyrics to help memorise them too  Smiley
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