Career Opportunites for the ever so slightly deranged

Today I am also over “here” at “5 Minutes for Special Needs Mums.”

I sometimes think that I missed my calling as an air traffic controller. So many of the campaigns around here are premised on the scaffolding of visual aids. They used to be mainly PEC’s, writ large but these days anything goes.

Not so long back I would send my little darlings to school with a whole collection of aide memoires, dangling from their back backs. From the Incredible 5 Point scale, to talismen, many and various, as well as other clues to help them cope. I do believe that they looked like Christmas trees out of season, all the year round. They needed them to be physically available, as visual and tactile work well together for some children, especially mine.

It’s all about helping them to express themselves, sometimes in a socially acceptable manner but now they all talk, they have trouble taking turns with their announcements and questions. Currently, they believe that the best way to get results is to shout. They have naturally adopted the ‘squeaky wheel’ policy, figured it out for themselves, with ear splitting results. It seems to be a case of ‘he who yells loudest’ will ping mum into action. Thus far, it’s working rather well as I dart around fulfilling the latest request.

However, I plan to retire from my post as ‘short order commando cook’ and implement yet another new campaign, roughly along the lines of ‘how to take turns.’ I have yet to polish off the details.

I either need to print all the rules on a serviceable T-shirt and adopt it as my new uniform or alternatively make up a sandwich board to include the never ending list of ‘how to’s’, reminders and cues.

Pop on over and enter your “name” for a thoroughly free review of your blog.

In my next life I’m coming back as a sheepdog as I already have fabulous herding instincts.

Lastly, coming soonishly = lucky numbers.

Any requests?

Cheers dears

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Laundry – try tackling it Tuesday

Tackle It Tuesday Meme
Try This Tuesday

In a household of “7” filthy people, there tends to be a lot of laundry, my sole responsibility. Each step of the laundry process, and we all know that it is a many step process, is just fine with me, except the last step, the ‘putting away’ step. It is not uncommon to find all seven of my laundry hampers full to busting at the top of the stairs. For some unknown reason, probably mere inefficiency on my part, this is my perennial stumbling block. The very best thing to do with stumbling blocks is to blast them into outer space.

Personally, I’m sorely tempted to convert the garage into a holding pen, fill it full of racks and shelves, and house everyone’s clothing in one spot, right next to the washer and drier. This would streamline matters considerably. Since the average American already uses the garage for storage purposes, with cars parked out on the hard drive, we would just be that little bit ahead of the curve and start a whole new trend.

I think it would also foil burglars who would break and enter through the weakest safety point in the average house, the garage, and would then be distracted from the task at hand by a tempting display of clothing. It’s a trick used by most store keepers, put the most attractive items near the entrance to lure in the punters. By the time the burglars have picked out just the right size, style and colour, the police will have arrived and the game will be up.

But I digress.

Here is where the art of delegation comes into play. What is the point of having children that create work if you can’t tap into their ability to contribute towards the smooth running of the family unit? Call it child labour if you will, but if we ever hope to develop independence in our children, it’s a step that’s hard to resist.

Here I must confess my main objection to teaching my children independence, namely, that they do not meet my exacting standards when it comes to putting away the laundry. This is why a few little visual pointers can help them navigate the way and keep them on the right washing line. Labels my friends, labels. If your children can read, then all well and good. If not, then little icons or PEC’s help smooth out the bumps and indirectly save on ironing. Folding is well beyond our current skill set but hangers work well.

I’d like to don my environmental hat and cut down the laundry, wear clothes more than once or dab off stains like my mother used to do whilst the occupant is still inside. I’d like to curb the three or four changes of clothes whilst they attempt to approximate the costume of their favourite characters, but at the same time, I am also dumbstruck by this extension of pretend play. Suddenly they’re happy to attempt dressing. They’re motivated enough to overcome some of those fine and gross motor challenges. Do I really want to choke off and stifle such tender new growth?

Sadly, although we started this new campaign over 18 months ago, what with one thing and another, I have let matters slide. However, that’s no good reason why we shouldn’t start again, renew the campaign and continue to tackle our own particular mountain, or failing that, “regroup” and take “cover.”

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Sweet dreams

I arrive just as spouse is tucking them in to bed. “Right, so no pull-up then!” he announces in a booming tone. I stop dead and pout. No pull-up? Who is he to determine withdrawal of pull-up privileges? Is he responsible for the laundry? The inevitable carpet cleaning? Now there's a man who is totally out of line. I think about pulling rank. I decide to keep my own counsel instead, and content myself with thoughts of the following morning's 'I told you so scene.'

The nerve of the man!

I kiss my children good night, hide my pout and return downstairs to smolder. What could he have been thinking, to change the rules in such are arbitrary fashion? No preamble, no warning, no carefully implemented campaign. The man must be completely barmy? I can think of no rational reason why he should have chosen tonight to turn the bed time routine upside down. I froth, stew and steam. [translation = voodoo dolls] I won't have time to do an additional load of laundry tomorrow. The knock on effects could be earth shattering! No spare bed linen. Bare bed. More upset to bed time routine. No sleep for anyone. Curse the man!

In between fumes, I consider my own plan. It's not as if we haven't attempted this 'dry at night' campaign before, it's just that it has yet to be successful. There's no reason that we shouldn't implement a new campaign, we just need careful thought beforehand. How can I have 'beforehand' if we're already after? [translation = failure at the first fence is not a good reinforcer] All campaigns must be orchestrated with the finesse of a conductor. I suppress a growl. Spouse looks across at me. He is unable to detect the steam coming out of my ears, “are you alright love?”
“Anything wrong?”
“No, nothing. I'm fine, just fine!” I do my best flounce and depart. [translation = high dudgeon] I swear he the most annoying person on the planet. Who does he think he is? Why is the other adult in the household such a complete nit wit. The venom and bile accumulate, but are well leashed.

I debate whether I should lift him later before we go to bed ourselves. Should I haul 56 pounds of sleeping boy onto the toilet? I decide to delete. I stomp back into the family room, because flouncing more than once in any one day, decreased it’s impact. “You’ll be o.k. lifting him later?” I announce rhetorically. He blinks in my direction, “er, sure, if that’s what you want?”
“Me? What I want? And how exactly do my ‘wants’ suddenly come into the equation now?”
“Hmm what?”
“You asked if that is what ‘I want,’ but you weren’t concerned with my wants when you pulled the pull-ups!” I snap with the perfect enunciation of the truly incensed.
“Pulled? Pull-ups? What are you on about?”
“You told him he didn’t have to wear a pull up, without us talking about it first!” I squeak. [translation = and inadvertently spit at the same time]
“Ah! I see.”
“Well what?”
“What do you have to say for yourself!” [translation = Lummy! I’ve turned into my husband’s mummy]
“Well, I er, didn’t have much choice really.” I wait. I wait a bit longer. I suppress a sigh. “Why did you have no choice?”
“Well, it was him wasn’t it.”
“What was him?”
“Him,… I mean…, he said it, he asked, er, he said he didn’t want to wear a pull up any more…… now that he was a big boy, although……those weren’t the words he used………but that’s what he meant,…….I think, yes, that’s what he meant, I’m quite sure.”
“Well why didn’t you tell me that in the first place! That changes everything!”

Moral – before you flounce, feel free to ferret around for the facts first.

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Campaign Consolidation

I determine to return to my former self, the efficient, 'plan ahead' self. A decade ago I would plan the year in advance, set goals, note all birthdays and anniversaries well ahead of time. [translation = allow for the vagaries of the international postal system] Then, all of a sudden, a whole slew of babies descended upon us. [translation = fertility increased due to imbibing American water and breathing American air]

I decide that baby steps are the order of the day and therefore limit my planning to 'Summer.' Nevertheless I am determined to consolidate and co-ordinate campaigns to date, in a seamless trajectory towards the goal of 'progress.'

During the Summer we with reduce our footprint on the planet in a few fundamental ways. Firstly, laundry shall be minimized. [translation = instead of changing filthy clothes after each meal consumed, we shall dispense with the need for clothing] Furthermore this campaign will be co-ordinated with outdoor eating to reduce cleaning. [translation= the birds will benefit from the crumbs, clumps and other debris and spills] Bodies are so much easier to wash than clothes. As I have no plan to tumble dry my children after washing, this will further reduce our electricity consumption. In an effort to cut electricity consumption, living outside a hot house, will negate the need for air conditioning. Everyone will be cooler if not burdened by clothing.

Now what have I left out? [translation = missed.]

Now I'd be the first to admit that there are a couple of stumbling blocks in the great plan. It's not that I've forgotten that I have 'inside bodies' rather than outdoorsy ones, but that little bump in the plan can become part of the plan. [translation = further desensitization to 'outside'] All elements of the plan can work together harmoniously. Their education will be considerably enhanced through nature studies. [translation = mother nature and all her little pals are our friends not the enemy] We can practice a whole slew of new vocabulary. [translation = greater than Venus flytrap, bee, lizard and locked gate]

I refine the plan and mine for details that I might have missed when spouse appears. I tell him the good news, that the campaign is nearly ready. I advise him of all pertinent elements.

“All this to save the planet?”
“And you're sure you've thought this all through?”
“Absolutely! Faultless! It is the perfect plan.”
“It has a familiar ring to it.”
“It does?” In what manner?”
“Naked screaming children in the garden – isn't that precisely where we were four years ago before therapy started?”

It's just as well that someone has a functioning memory bank.

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