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Tiny Tyger, Baby Bear and Me: August 2014

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Not on Vegetarianism (Does Tyger Have Asperger's?)

Tyger is already moaning at me for not paying attention to him so we'll see how far through this I actually get before giving up and posting it unfinished (I know there's a 'save' button but if I kept working on posts until I liked them, I'd never post anything anywhere right now).

So, for one thing, the Gro Clock is still working really well.  For a child we very much suspect has Asperger's, it is the perfect visual prompt for bedtime and getting up time.  I'd highly recommend it.

And...I have an upset Tiny Tyger on my lap (I had the audacity to tell him off for spitting his milk out) asking for 'Piggle Piggle' and 'Uh Dezzy' (Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy are two characters from the TV show In the Night Garden, which is like The Magic Roundabout of today.  It's like crack for kids and annoys the hell out of me because of it's weird problems with perspective and...anyway...).

And so the post has been derailed.  I was going to write about vegetarianism and the ethics of bringing up Tyger and Baby Bear as vegetarians (and whether, as parents, the Wolf and I are imposing our lifestyle on them etc.) but my focus on that has been somewhat shifted and I imagine Baby Bear will be awake soon so...


One of my sisters was recently diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (AS).  This is a label no longer used in the US but is often still used here in the UK.  Some people might know it as 'High Functioning Autism', or simply Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) but it probably doesn't matter too much since it is all part of a spectrum, anyway, and one of those labels really tells you what - specifically - my sister has problems with.  A very, very brief overview would be to say she has problems with change or transitions, she has high levels of anxiety - especially about social interactions, she has 'meltdowns' (which mean as a 15 year old she will still occasionally get to the point where she rolls around on the ground or bangs her head off things or can't stop wailing or some combination) when she is overwhelmed, she needs a predictable routine in place and all sorts of other things.  Of course, that doesn't tell you much and there's so much more to it but...Baby Bear awake soon etc. (also, I have to put a chicken in a Fire Engine).

What I was getting at is it runs in our family (my dad also has AS but has never been formally diagnosed and there are diagnoses of Autism on both my mum and dad's sides of the family) and I have a reasonablish knowledge of AS.

So, we're pretty sure Tyger is an Aspie.  Maybe next time or the time after (if I actually write that veggie one next time) I'll actually run through some of the reasons for this.  The health visitors who did his two year check said it was too early to tell (and, hey, he makes eye contact and has a good grasp of language so that's a good sign, right? - nevermind that these are irrelevant when it comes to AS) and will get in touch again in four to six months to reassess and possibly refer him.  And that's fine because you might only get one shot at a diagnosis and right now a lot of his possible 'traits' might just be normal for his age so waiting until he's older and should have outgrown these things really does make sense.

But it feels dishonest to say he has Asperger's when he doesn't have a diagnosis yet and might not for years.  Yet it feels just as dishonest to say he doesn't.

I don't know.  Best wishes.

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Friday, 22 August 2014

Fracking Gro Clock

I decided recently it was time to stop using a baby monitor for Tyger for several reasons, one which being we'll need the monitor for Baby Bear soon as he's getting far too big for the set up we have in our bedroom so will have to go into his own room (sob) in the near future.

Anyway, I bought Tyger a Gro Clock to help with this transition (and largely to help me with it, too).  For those of you who haven't come across these devices before it's basically a digital clock that displays a big star with twelve little stars around it through the night and as the night progresses the stars disappear until it gets to the time you have programmed in as your 'getting up time' when a yellow sun takes the place of the stars (it also glows blue through the night so doubles as a night light).

Well, it was a massive hit.  He loves clocks (or, as he unfortunately pronounces it 'cocks') and generally anything electrical/lit up etc. and particularly likes stars right now (which he calls - are you ready for the Goram cuteness - 'twinkles').  I had some problems setting it up because when your five month old decides there's really no need for sleep before midnight most nights (and still wakes up for at least one feed in the night) and your two year old thinks 5.30 onward is an acceptable time to get up your brain turns to mush.  So, for the first night I did little better than bash the - only three - buttons with my fingers and hope for the best.  I was sort of under the impression you needed to set a bedtime as well as a getting up time (you don't) and actually set the nap time instead and...not-that-long-but-too-long-to-bother-with-here story short the stars stayed on until 7.30 pm.

Anyway, I fixed that last night and Tyger just loves his new cLock.  It actually helps him to stay in bed (before he was fine whilst he got his bedtime story but as soon as you left the room he'd get out of bed, go to the door and scream) because he just lies there and watches the clock until he goes to sleep.  I think he also stayed in bed this morning until the 'sun' came out (6am).

The down side is the same down side we have with anything Tyger likes: he's very obsessive.  It's hard to do anything nice with him because he screams when it's time to stop and it's hard to buy him anything he can't have with him all the time because...well, he wants it with him all the time.  So, all morning he's been telling me he wants me to show him this fracking clock.  He's not the sort of toddler who can be trusted with a run of the whole house (even in a bungalow) so this would involve me taking him through the two separate baby gates and then lifting him up to see the clock (it's on a set of drawers).  Fine, except then he'd scream as soon as I took him away again.  He'd scream if I left him in there by himself.  And he'd even eventually scream if I just let him look at it and didn't make the 'stars' come out and re-enact 'bedtime' again and again and again.

So, it's easier to do nothing and let him get upset about that.

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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

A Cow!

I started writing a blog yesterday but never did get a chance to complete it and the little I did write now seems irrelevant and boring so...a fresh start.

I learnt this morning that Tyger needs not only his pants completely off when he uses the potty (fair enough) but also his socks.  I haven't been putting him in socks as it's been hot and he often just seems to find them uncomfortable but I was in the kitchen this morning preparing his breakfast and feeding the multitude of cats (three - two ours and one our parents/my old cat from living at home as a child) and heard him crying in his bedroom.  Normally he's quite happy to play in there until I get him so I went to investigate and he had managed to shut his sock drawer on his arm (why he didn't just open the drawer with his other hand is not clear but then two year old logic is often shaky at best).  This was quickly rectified by me opening the drawer and releasing him but it obviously reminded Tyger of the existence of socks and he asked to wear them.

However, socks and going to the potty are not compatible in Tyger's world and he's needed them taking off both times ('a-sock-a-off').  I'm still elated he's making such good progress with the potty (excepting one spot of wee in his pants we've had four dry/clean days in a row) so am happy to comply.

Another Tyger quirk, worthy of note, was his episode with the horse yesterday.  He has a small rocking horse in his bedroom that he likes to be brought through to the living room (as well as a huge cuddly dog) at some point in the day.  Yesterday he asked for his horse as usual and I went to get it.  I appeared in the hallway with said horse and exclaimed, 'Look, what's Mummy got?'  To which Tyger replied, 'A cow!' and proceeded to throw a tantrum.  When I tried to bring the horse further I was told 'no' and Tyger pushed the poor horse away.

I'm not sure I'll ever fully understand his little mind.

In other news entirely, the demon husky caught a pigeon the other day.

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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Oh Dear, Chicken

I haven't fully thought through what I'm going to write about today but I didn't want to get into the habit of leaving it too long between posts (you know, what with all those imaginary people clamouring for me to write more - those people also being the ones who told me I won the lottery and that Nathan Fillion wants me to divorce my husband so I can marry him instead).

Potty training is going far better than I ever dared hope (which still means Tyger went through at least six pairs of pants yesterday) but I won't talk about that today.  For one thing, I'm fed up of dealing with and thinking about other creatures' waste (one of our cats pooped in the bath this morning.  Of all places, it was easy to clean up but still WTF!?) and for another, I'm going to talk about The Small Toys.

Yes, The Small Toys are the smaller plastic animals from Tyger's farm set.  Specifically, the rabbit, duck and swan, though he also has a turkey and cockerel and had a hen (more on that later).  Tyger is not very good at remembering where he put things but he is very good at putting things in/behind/under all sorts items of furniture and such.  This means every day includes at least 10 conversations along the lines of the following:

Tyger: Where's it duck?
Me: I don't know.  Where did you last have it?
Tyger: Where's it duck?
Me: I'm not sure.  I'll look for it.
Tyger: Where's it duck?
Me: Is it behind the radiator?  Under the sofa?  In your kitchen?
Tyger: Where's it duck?
Me: Is it in your spaceship?  Behind a cushion?  Under a speaker?
Tyger: Where's it duck?
Me: Look, here it is!!  I've found it.  Here's duck.
Tyger: Where's it rabbit?

This is one of the infuriating issues with The Small Toys.  The other is connected to our husky.  We have two dogs: a black (technically 'blue') German shepherd who is clumsy and has a tendency to eat her own poo (again with the poop) but is generally eager to please and pretty trainable (as per the breed), and a Siberian husky who doesn't give a flying frack what anyone wants her to do ever (as per that breed) and chews up anything and everything especially if it looks like a children's toy (or your child's first pair of shoes - not that I'm still bitter about that).  You can probably see where this is going.  Basically, the hen now looks like this:

Obviously, this has at least taught Tyger why he can't give his toys to the Devil-husky and has given him a greater respect for his possessions.

Of course it hasn't.  This morning I had to rescue a spoon from his toy kitchen and no doubt many more toys will meet Chicken's fate.  As it is, I had a donkey minus it's hooves and face given to me one morning with the phrase, 'Oh dear horsey,' repeated over and over.

Ah, the joys of pets and children.

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Sunday, 10 August 2014

Potty Training the Tyger

We are on morning two of potty training the Tyger.  We are also on pair 11 of underpants and three teeny, tiny spots of wee in the potty (but, hey it's better than nothing).

You know what's fun about potty training a toddler you suspect has Asperger's?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  It sucks big time.

He's actually doing better than I'd thought he would.  The number of pairs of pants is about what I thought (my sister with Asperger's went through 10 pairs a day for a while and my mum - who thought she was a dab hand at this potty training business having already trained me and my brother - was shocked but her surprise has led to me being prepared).

Talking of pants, you know what pisses me off?  Stupid gender stereotyping.  When it came to buying pants for the Tyger, I wanted to get him ones he'd be excited about and what film does he love right now?  Much like many kids his age he adores Disney's Frozen.  But he's a boy so of course you don't get any underwear for him with Elsa on the front or Anna...not even Kristoff or that annoying snowman.  So, we got some Peppa Pig ones because the Tyger likes watching Peppa Pig whilst I make lunch every day.  The pants don't actually have Peppa on, though, because you know she's a girl and she's pink!  That's dangerously close to being girly.  So, they have her brother George and his dinosaur toy on them, instead.  George is still pink but at least he's a boy and has a dinosaur (a nice acceptably masculine toy) so it's okay.  Now, as it happens, the Tyger does like George and his dinosaur (dinosaur, rarr) but it still seems a shame that boys aren't allowed the main character of a kid's show on their pants if they like.

So, where was I before I got sidetracked into a rant about gender stereotypes?  Ah yes: potty training sucks.  I am already dreading having to potty train Baby Bear (though, I expect he'll be easier than the Tyger who has been...shall we say 'a challenge' from pretty much the get go).

I should actually go and try to coax the Tyger onto the potty - even though he'll sit on it for about five seconds without doing a wee, get off and then probably do a wee somewhere else - because it's been a while and I don't want him to wet his pants (today Mickey Mouse since George and some truck ones were all used yesterday).  Wish me luck.

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