My son is *always* asleep on my arm. I have proof:
While he is asleep, one arm goes dead and so I am forced to sit and think/ daydream about holidays to Paris. When I’m glued to the groove I have created in the sofa is when I usually think of solutions to whatever baffling problem thurston has recently acquired. Some things are simple ‘baby-proofing’ ideas but sometimes a bit of blue sky thinking is required.
Having noticed his penchant for my iPhone and losing 2 iPhones to Thurstons need to give them a bath, I extravagantly splashed out on an iPod touch for him. I uploaded videos to it thinking that if we are in a waiting room or cafe without wifi he can watch Timmy Time or Pocoyo on his iPod. I felt quite proud of myself until i was told in no uncertain terms that only “mummy mycod” was acceptable. Now when presented with the iPod touch it gets a big slap and I get frisked for my phone. So maybe my alternative solutions don’t always work but at least I got a new iPod!!
As well as feeding difficulties, thurston (like a lot of autistic children) has sensory issues around food which makes him fussy to the extreme. He likes food which are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside which basically translates to fishfingers, chicken nuggets, chips, waffles, toast, baby crisps, gingerbread men and hash brown. Not exactly a balanced diet for a 3 year old. I picked up a really good tip from Wagamama. If u cover anything in Panko breadcrumbs and deep fry it then you’re almost guaranteed at least a taste from your fusspot toddler. You can get Panko breadcrumbs from Tesco in the ‘Ingredients’ range and so far it has led thurston to try fresh chicken and fish, carrot, butternut squash and sweet potato. Plus the deep frying gives much needed extra calories to children who have trouble gaining weight. It also feels so nice to give him a meal that didn’t just go straight from the freezer to the oven. In fact the only downside is trying not to eat any yourself if you’re a mum trying to lose weight!
Birthdays, parties and family get togethers can often be stressful for the thurstonator. I’m still coming up with battle plans and ideas to keep him calm when there’s lots of people and chaos around him. These are the things that have worked and that I will definitely keep a note of for next time!
Birthday cakes for people with multiple allergies can be a nightmare. One year we bought a dairy & soy free cake from the supermarket but it tasted like sawdust. Luckily I (well, my mum) found a fantastic alternative. The recipes in Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache all contain a vegetable ingredient and they are surprisingly incredible. The one we used was a courgette cake made with rice flour, so it was even edible for gluten-free guests. So far, thurston hasn’t shown an interest in cake (although he did eat some of my granola bar today which made me giddy with prospects of new snack potential!). However at least with the wholesome, all natural courgette cake I don’t have to follow all my nieces and nephews around with the vacuum like a loony!!
When thurston turned 3, I learned a valuable lesson about how to help him enjoy parties. I realised the only way to let him enjoy parties and gatherings is to leave him be. He finds his own way to have fun; standing in the garden by himself in the pouring rain while everyone waves at him from indoors; chasing disco lights at a wedding; watching playbacks of himself on a video camera. Once the pressure is off and he isn’t made to join in with pass the parcel or singing happy birthday, thurston ends up entertaining all our friends and family by coming up with his own version of partying. He knows best!
If anyone has any more tips or strategies to share, let me know!!