Category Archives: autism

Being a step parent is hard

Being a step child is hard too. But there are rewards. Step parenting should not be undertaken lightly. You have to do everything you would do for your own kids, but more to win them over, then yours are jealous…

This means cooking their favourite foods to be told their mum does it better, crispier, softer, with lemon, without. 

Washing all their clothes including skidded pants, and yes they will use every item of clothes in the cupboard and give you more to wash after one weekend than your own kids do for a week. 

Putting the clothes away as they are not back for two weeks. 

Changing endless bed sheets as the spare room is overtaken with sweet wrappers and nerf bullets.

You will not feel like a luxury bubble bath after hearing that they’ve accidentally poohed in the bath again. 

You will worry they’ve used your toothbrush again. 

You worry if it’s appropriate that they climb in bed in the morning for a cuddle.

You have to learn to cope with their little of big problems from autism to fear of spiders.

You will buy them clothes or suffer other people judging that you’d let your kids out in ……. Fill in the blanks or unsuitable clothing.

When they behave badly you can’t tell people they are not yours. 

Your weekend will be centred around them as you only have them two days in fourteen. 

They will sit in your favourite chair and you won’t say no.

You’ll watch their choice of TV.

You’ll buy them birthday or Christmas presents to watch them toss it aside to say they have a better one at home. 

You won’t be able to discipline them or they’ll hate you, run to dad or mum and say how evil you are. 

You will be their carer but not welcome at parent school meetings, or sports days or family celebrations, anything important in their life.

You won’t get a Mother’s Day card for all you do for them but you will help them make one for your partners ex.

They will assume you have to do all the things you do for them and not realise that actually you don’t. 

You will lose them if you split with your partner. 

You are a parent with no rights. 

You will get close to them yet have no say in their upbringing. 

 

It’s all worth it when my partner comes back from sports day and says his son asked why I wasn’t there (I  would love to be but wouldn’t want to upset his mum) but he missed me and that makes me feel like I’m doing ok. 

 

Shades of Grey, Bitter Lake, Actions and consequences

My last blog documented a mini melt down, but I’m calmer now and I see things clearer. My son is 18 and I have to let go, for want of a better way to say it I have to care less, I can’t change the the love I feel but he’s not my responsibility any more.

My partners son who has some learning difficulties fell off my off road sidecar yesterday and has a sprained ankle. When I say fell, it was more of a step, and today I have resolved to renew my campaign of ‘actions have consequences’ with him. My partner was driving and feels guilty but the truth is it’s the lads actions of stepping off that caused him pain. Because of his condition too much is let slide and other people suffer the consequences of his actions. This time he is. For example I have to clean up when he spills sugar all over the table at breakfast, when actually he is quite capable of cleaning up himself or taking more care in the first place. His condition isn’t black and white, just because he has a few problems doesn’t mean he can’t do anything and he needs to be taught by his parents that actions have consequences. But I too need to remember that my actions have consequences.

I watched a brilliant film (twice) recently called Bitter Lake, it attempts to explain the mess of Afghanistan and that area. It talks of how past politicians presented ‘the problem’ as black and white, good and evil. It seems to me a lot of war is cast in this light, whoever we are, whichever side we are on, we are sold a war, or reason to war as we are the good and they are evil. My divorce too became like that. I’m certain it was for my ex too, I’m sure I was demonised as much as he has been, this demonising enables us to act in a way that would previously have been unthinkable. We need to keep in mind that there are so many shades of grey in any conflict and it’s not so simple as black and white, good and evil.

Damage Control, Autism and step children

I’m being made to feel grumpy, and I don’t want to be. Every other weekend we have my partners autistic son to stay. I brace for impact, he’s very loving which I’m thankful for and can be great fun. However the physical stress is quite demanding, I find myself hovering constantly trying to initiate damage control.


We work hard on getting him to do things for himself, poor a glass of juice for breakfast seems a simple task but in reality this means when he takes the carton out of the fridge other things just fall out. That he chooses a pint glass and fills it to the brim overflowing – waste and mess. The lid is then just lost. It costs me so much energy to manage each simple task. I can’t afford to waste a pint of juice, that I end up fighting the urge to do everything for him or becoming a tired nag.


It’s hard making constant judgements on whether this is his condition or is he just being thoughtless and lazy.


However I’m determined not to raise a child that expects to be waited on hand and foot when I know he is capable. I did a simple test to check what he could do, I bought him an app game he really wanted and said if I find poo covered boxers on his bedroom floor and not in the wash basket again the app would be deleted. For 6 months now the boxers have made it to the wash basket. So I’m being tougher on the other stuff and I’m coming across all nasty. Yes I need to talk to his dad about it, we do, but he suffers divorced dad guilt and like so many dads who go through divorce are completely in their kids hands.

Autistic Christmas

An autistic Christmas is a little different, you realise that your ten year old will open two presents then be bored, no excitement to open anything else under the tree. That gift you’ve saved for and dreamed of their pleasure will be discarded unappreciated as they slip into the loop of needing a normal day.


You dread trying to create a ‘normal’ reaction for the rarely seen grandparents who just don’t understand, they expect appreciation, gratitude and a keenness to enjoy their educational gift. It won’t happen. A day of bearing up to their worried anxious comments about their only grandchild as we try to shield them from the truth of this condition or explain how he just doesn’t ‘get it’. Whatever ‘it’ is.


As I clean up from the last episode of IT incontinance, mend the curtain pulled off – by accident, pick up the hundreds of discarded things so that they are not all broken by accident and plan the day with lots of exercise I feel a bit tired. A bit tired of accidents. But maybe this year he’ll be a little more aware, feel a bit of magic. 

 

An autistic Christmas

My partner has bought his autistic son a beautiful and barely second hand mountain bike for Christmas. My partner is so excited about it, reminiscing about childhood bikes and his first tastes of freedom pedal power gave him.

However we both know that when his darling autistic son finds the bike it will register on his face as massive disappointment, the anticlimax of the year. Obviously he would prefer some iPad/Xbox/ play station/Wii thing that my partner flatly refuses to give into as the lad is drawn in so addictively he becomes IT-incontinent.

Any ideas on how to make a second hand bike the present of the year to a 10 year old autistic lad?