SoftThistle Life

Taking Stock: 2013

LifeMarylin15 Comments

My Christmas pressy to myself <3 #newboots It's that time of year when I like to take a moment, put my feet up (oh man I love these boots!), and think about the year that's almost up. 2013 is nearly over *already*. What the actual f**k??

Anyway... Christmas has come and gone.

My boys went to their dad's this year and are now back home where they belong.

I can't tell you how difficult I found it, not having my boys here.

You know all those Doctor Who jokes about counting down to the Christmas episode, rather that Christmas Day itself?

Yeah, that was genuinely me!

But as it was just the one day, I'm not going to dwell on it.

All in all, this year has been absolutely fantastic!

I mean, it really didn't start off that way.

Max's sleeping was non-existent, his behaviour was getting worse and worse as a result, and I had completely reached the end of the proverbial tether.

But then we got a sleep counselor.

And introduced his PECS (visual cards) at home.

And the unbelievable happened!

My little dude has been sleeping through since Feb 1st (yes I remember the date!) and it's changed all of our lives!

He called me Mummy for the first time.

He's said "love you" without any prompting.

He's even asked "Mummy whatsat??"!

He's adoring school all in all, and is generally being a wee star.

That's not to say we haven't had our difficulties.

But they are far outweighed by the progress Max has made!

And with his progress, has come some much needed time for me to finally be able to get out of the red-alert way of thinking, and relax, recuperate and have fun!

Our summer was gloriously lazy, with many memories made.

I got to go to the MAD Blog Awards and meet both old friends and new.

I've actually been able to even go out of an evening as Max is now able to be put to bed my someone other than me!

Zack and I have been on adventures to Glasgow and Edinburgh this year. We've been able to do more just us two, which has helped to keep our bond strong, even when he has to sometimes take a step back so I can be there for Max when he needs it.

This year has been pretty bloody fantastic all in all.

So much more progress has happened than I thought possible in January.

So many more happy times and laughter and a genuine feeling of HOPE.

And it's only going to get better as we go into 2014.

The year Max will start going to school full time (probably around March)!

The year my boys will turn 9 and 7.

The year I will turn 30!

So now it's time to say goodbye to 2013, raise a glass, cuddle with loved ones, and make the most of bringing in the new year with my beautiful boys.

I can only hope that next year is as good as this one has been!

It's Christmas time!

Autism, LifeMarylinComment

Sponsored post. Also a story about Max's reaction... Our Christmas tree :)

For as long as I can remember, our Christmas tree has always been put up the weekend before my Dad's birthday.

It's one of our wee traditions. Dad's birthday on December 17th, so the tree goes up, then we celebrate his getting OLDER (haha, sorry dad!), and after that it's Christmas all the way!

This year, John Lewis were kind enough to send us a new tree and some gorgeous decorations to go with it, which has been very well received, especially considering our previous tree was most definitely on it's last legs.

Christmas time can be a bit tricky though, for Max.

His autism dictates that he needs to know that a "surprise!!!" is coming, and he needs to *see* it happening, if not join in, or he'll find it difficult to deal with the change.

Our tree arrived just over a week ago, and so it began.

Max has still been having breakthroughs, despite his sleep being a bit skewed, and he is much more inquisitive than he's ever been before.

So when he noticed the (rather large!) box sitting in the hallway, he looked at it, desperate to know what was inside.

So much so that he actually *asked*!

"Mummy! Whatsat??"

I showed him a photo of the tree on the website and his wee face lit up.


Of course, he insisted that it be brought out immediately.

It sat au naturel until this weekend, thanks to me seeming to have endless headaches and also a lovely sore stomach. Ah the joys!

So yesterday afternoon, once we'd tidied up a bit (sometimes he helps, and sometimes he doesn't, yesterday it was a "no, I don't want!" sort of a day), it was time to start decorating the tree.

It's so lovely seeing my boys doing things together.

They had been *so* patient with me and waited until I had put the lights on first.

[aside: there's a WAY to decorate the tree, amiright?? Lights, tinsel, *then* baubles, and lastly, the angel or star at the top. Right?]

We put on some Christmas music and got to work.

Zack's verdict: "this is the best tree EVER!"

Max's verdict: "yeaaaaaahhhhh!"

Mine? It finally feels like Christmas time in our house!


I was compensated for this post with the tree and decorations, but I had been going to write something similar anyway! And hey - a new tree! ;)

Famous last words, and feeling supported.

AutismMarylin10 Comments


It’s really rather lovely to just be dealing with regular parenting problems these days, instead of how it used to be! - posted on Nov 22nd.

Ah I had to jinx myself, didn't I?

Since I last blogged two weeks ago, things haven't been quite back to normal around here.

Max's sleeping was out of whack on and off and still is (last night it was 2am), he's been quite grumpy on and off partly as a result of that, and partly because I'm now at the point where I feel confident enough to not let him away with as much, meaning he's being told off, youtube has been blocked on all out devices, and he's NOT getting his own way all the time, which has had a bit of a knock on effect at school.

And I've had migraines on and off (mostly on) for the last 2 weeks, had an icky stomach bug (oh god I'd forgotten just how horrible nausea is... I am *never* doing pregnancy again fyi!), and managed to hurt my neck when I stopped myself falling down the stairs.

It can only go UP from here, right?

On the other hand, my little man came up to me last week and said/signed "love you" to me completely unprompted.

I cried!

He's also trying to talk a *lot* more, and singing along to Christmas carols seems to be going down a treat.

And after a Very Screamy Monday, he seems to have accepted now that he can't get away with throwing/hitting/screaming without being told off.

It was always going to plateau, this fantastic progress he's been doing - I'm just amazed it's lasted so long before running into a wee bump in the road!

And despite it sounding like things aren't going so well here at Chez Softthistle, I'm handling it quite well.

Yes there are moments when I vent on twitter (there's only so much screaming one person can handle on a monday!), but there are people there who have given me strength by sending their love and understanding.

My dear friends have been helping me out when they can (thank you Tammyyy!!), and my parents have been a solid support for me as they always are.

And today something happened that I was really not expecting!

Last week on Friday I was asked by a teacher if I could pop into the head's office for a chat.

Alarm bells are ringing - oh god, it's because of his behaviour, it's Zack acting out, no, wait... how many days off did they have over the last few days?? You can imagine - when the head asks for a chat, it's never going to be a good thing, is it?

We kept missing each other until today.

Here we go, I was thinking. Must stay calm.

And it turns out I needn't have worried.

We sat down and I asked what was wrong.

Nothing, she said, she just wanted to check how I was doing as the staff had noticed that I'd not been my usual cheery self the last couple of weeks, and with Max's behaviour having been off, she was worried I might be feeling overwhelmed.

I'm paraphrasing of course (I wish I had a better memory!), but the basics of the conversation were that Max is such a different boy these days, we want to make sure he keeps taking steps in the right direction, and we want to make sure that you are feeling supported.

I almost cried, I was so shocked!

I explained about the migraines and the hiccups with his sleep after he'd been unwell, that I'd already emailed our (ex) sleep counselor for tips, and have started a sleep diary again.

I have never felt *so* supported as I do right now.

I know that there are many places where kids and parents alike don't get the right sort of help and support, especially those in our position, but there are some out there who do, and we're lucky enough to be in a place that does it right.

I know the reasoning behind each of the 5-6 sleepless nights over the last couple of weeks, and that makes a huge difference, and the last couple of days have shown a marked improvement in my wee man's behaviour. So hopefully that gradual incline will keep coming and we're back on the up.

Either way, I know that I have the people and the tools to make sure that we are able to get the right help, advice and support that we need. And I'm actually using them.

Now excuse me while I go for an early night... I have a new mattress to try out! ;)