The Bean and M1 (There are two girls, both with M names, so I will call them M1 an M2, respectively) had Mad Science Camp on Tuesday. We arrived late, due to the unexpected closure of the parking garage beside the facility. So we had to hike the half a mile to get to camp. This experience was much like how I imagine herding cats would actually be, only a bit more painful. Simply for the fact that cats, while having the ability to meow, do not whine or complain. I am mystified how a child can run rampant in a playground, open field or at an amusement park, but as soon as you need to get them from point A to point B they do not have the energy to propel themselves.
The camp was in Cambridge, at a place called Park Road Leisure Center. Imagine the children's disappointment when they realized they were there to attend a science camp and not to play in the football field size pool complex we had to walk through to get to the activity room where the camp was to take place. There were no less than four pools, a massive hot tub, water slides and splash parks. This was torture. Some organizer should be punched in the throat for making this arena the location for the 'boring' science camp. If I'd had cheese to go with the 'whine', I would have been drunk and there would have been cheese for the children's snack later. (I briefly entertained letting them swim, as we have a second day of science camp tomorrow, but I would rather take a real cat herd swimming than try to keep up with three children with different swimming ability levels in that massive pool complex.)
M1 had a great time, but the Bean - not so much. ASD strikes again! He is just not a 'group activity' kind of guy, but he comes by it honest. His Dad would much rather be poked in the eye repeatedly than to engage in any kind of group activity. So one of the camp staff had to call me to come pick him up early. I half expected as much, but the Hubs thought camp would be a great idea, and I knew that 'Zany Inventions' Day' was not the best choice to keep the Bean interested. No interest = naughty behavior.
M2 is a fantastic shopping buddy. We strolled up to the Cambridge Market Square to see what was going on. I also had a Marks & Spencer gift certificate as a perk from one of the utility companies we signed up with when we landed. I had never been to a M&S, but it was pretty nifty. We had a good time and M2 has some kickin' fashion sense for a 3 year old. I had to giggle and the other shoppers thought I was daft for asking her opinion, but so be it - we had fun! The Market Square has tons of little shops and we stopped to buy a real fruit Icee. It was hot and the cool refreshment was just what we needed. I am still on the hunt for something cool to send my (eek) 16 year old Niece, but always second guess myself out of fear that whatever I buy will be 'uncool'. I see lots of things I think she would like, but I hate to get something she will not wear or use. I think one of those mustache-themed scarves would be fun, but perhaps that time has passed. There are quite a few little dresses I think might be OK, but I wonder if she would actually wear the one I picked out. M2, a chic after my own heart, really like the skull print dress, but for my Niece I am not too sure.
Just before we left the Market Square, I saw this advert for an upcoming exhibit at the Fitzwilliam Museum:
I think we will be going to see this one. This is what I love about living here, there is so much cool stuff to go see. 6000 years of history about the Afro comb? Seriously, check out the exhibit explanation.
Thursday's camp day promises to be better. The Bean is a sucker for Mighty Machines. I am hoping that the topic will keep him interested. If not, I guess I will get a phone call and go pick them up early (again). It still buys me a little, much needed, alone time. This time I will not be strolling along with M2, who has a doctor's appointment that morning. I am going to a new friend's house while the kids are in camp. I am always excited to get to know other people and this time is especially poignant. She is the wife of one of the Hub's coworkers, and they, too, have just recently boarded the ASD party cruise. It's nice to be able to commiserate with another mom who knows, first hand, what you're going through and we get to compare notes and strategies. Her son is a year behind the Bean, but her son's behavior is strikingly similar to the Bean's. It is strangely comforting to know another 'normal' mom who has a son with ASD. It helps relieve the guilt you feel that it was 'something that you did'. They are a nice, normal, salt of the earth, kind of people. I will visit for a while until I need to meet M2's dad after her doctor's appointment and hopefully have a lunch date with the two of them. I have a feeling we will be going to Nando's. If you have never been to a Nando's, if given a chance, GO!
I felt the need to stay at home this past weekend. We rearrange the house (again) and I made the boys go grocery shopping with me. I was not about to take three children to the grocery store. I would have needed therapy. I have to give kudos to the parents of multiple children. I realize that having more of your own children is probably different that watching other people's kids. I get that part. The Jane Goodall in me likes figuring out what traits of the parent are exhibited in the child. I can also appreciate the differences in parenting styles. Boys and girls sure are different. The Bean is exhausted and has really been complacent today playing with his toys and watching a Curious George marathon on DVD. The neighbor hood kids came by and they, too, got caught up in the magic of the curious monkey. (Thanks, Aunt Angie - you hit the jackpot!)
This is the least funny, least amusing post to date. I have to admit I am exhausted. For the past week, I have fallen asleep with the Bean while putting him to bed. Yea, put me in a semi-dark room in a luge-position and I am down for the count.
Well, today is Friday and I am not a happy camper. I haven't had a moment's peace to post this blog, much less the ability to stay awake past 9:30 pm. So far today, I have managed to place yet another call about our boiler, now my kitchen ceiling is leaking, and I half a load of whites stranded in my washing machine. (Which, by the way, take 2 hours and 42 minutes to wash in this crazy British washing machine.) I have had two of the three children complain about sand on their clothes, when on a normal day would have no problem depositing the sand all over my house, and would only survive the day with a new set of clothing. At least two out of three are fully toilet trained.
Oh well, I guess I just need to take a pause and change my frequency. I cannot control the circumstances, but I can control how I react to them. Seems so simple, yet some days it is so hard to find the right wavelength. I need to remember that any day on this side of the Daisy's is a good day. One day, in the distant future, when I need a little internal giggle, I will remember the look on Karma Kitty's face the day the children cornered her in the Solarium, closed the doors, and painted her fur.
I need a nap. Not gonna happen. Tell you about Thursday's science camp later.
Until next time...