Time and effort. Today’s post is about ‘Time’ and ‘Effort’. It means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.
I remember when I was a kid (doesn’t seem that far back sometimes, others it feels like many, many lifetimes ago) my childhood seemed interminable. The school day seemed soooooooooo very long. I remember sitting in class in primary school willing the minutes away so that I could go outside and play with my friends. In high school I was waiting to get home to close my bedroom door, listen to music while I hurried through my homework so I could curl up with whatever book I was reading at the time. I remember school holidays seemed to last longer too, I would be looking forward to getting back to school to see my friends and not have to bother with all the jobs my mum had left for my sister and I to do around the house (folding washing, cleaning the bathroom, nothing too major but not things I wanted to be doing when I was supposed to be on holidays). Time just seemed longer.
I remember in my 20’s time went a little faster, but some things, like holidays or special events, took forever to come around and they would last longer too. During pregnancy it all went quite fast really, up until that last trimester of course when time makes a snail look like a McLaren F1 on the autobahn. But after the delivery, time went haywire! I think it started using crack actually because it sped up and there seems to be no stopping it! Hours didn’t just turn into days anymore, they turned straight into months without a hint of slowing down!
Here I sit with GG staring down her 6th birthday and BB will be 5 a few months after that and a few months after that he will be starting Prep! Where has that time gone? A couple of years ago they were only babies now they are heading off to face the world.
A couple of weeks ago I went to the Travel Expo with my beautiful big sister who bought me a cruise! “It’s almost 4 months away, you’ll have plenty of time to get ready for it” she said – this time in 3 weeks I will be on that cruise! Where has THAT time gone?
Did I mention it’s May already? Only a couple of months ago it was Christmas wasn’t it? Hang on, what year is it again? I don’t know sometimes, I honestly don’t. When people ask me how old I am I have to stop and think about it and the thoughts go like this: “I can’t tell you, I really don’t know. Hang on, I remember I turned 30 at some point, but BB wasn’t walking then, so I must be older than that, right? Hang on, what year is it? Let me check my phone. I was born in ’82, I know that. I can tell you what my kids weighed at birth and what age they first walked, but I can’t remember how old I, ahhhhh it’s 2016! Uuuuummmmm what was the question?” Usually by this point the person has stared at me disbelieving and says “You don’t know how old you are?” by which time I remember what year it is and what year I was born and can say “I’m 34! Hang on, wait, what month is it?” Then they tell me the month and I reply “Right! Sorry, I’m 33 still”.
This was embarrassing the first time it happened a couple of years ago, but I am immune to it now. I try to explain that I am an Autism Parent and that the things forefront in my mind are all the things that I need to remember when I am out and about with my kids, things like avoiding large clusters of birds as, en masse, they usually terrify GG (although she is getting better with them) and sometimes even BB if they happen to all take off in unison unexpectedly, these are the things that have the potential to set off a panic that can initiate a flight/fight sequence (no pun intended) that can result in them injuring themselves, each other or me as I try to prevent the former and the latter, or running away.
It is especially intense if they simultaneously experience a flight response, both experience a fight response (once they both concurrently hit me on either side of my head so hard that I actually saw stars and was worried I was going to black out) or even more interestingly one flies and the other fights. This has happened more than once and takes quite a bit of effort to manage it. I have had to pick the fighting one up and be pummeled as I ran after the other usually catching up with them just before they ran on the road and then try to wrangle them both back to the safety of the pram or car, all the while stopping the fighter from injuring me/the flyer and attempting to calm the flyer down enough to prevent a full blown meltdown.
Another one is places where loud noises can erupt unexpectedly when my kids haven’t got their noise cancelling headphones with them. They are both at an age now where they don’t want to appear different and wearing their headphones makes them look different and it embarrasses them, despite how effective they are. Places like construction sites, street performances, places with a lot of motorbikes or trucks are a potential hazard. These sounds can also initiate a flight/fight response or it skips straight to a meltdown.
I think being neurotypical myself the biggest “problem” when taking my little cherubs out and about is that I don’t experience the world the same way they do, which means I don’t always encounter the things that set them off and often the reaction comes straight out of the blue. I spend so much time and effort on the lookout for potential hazards to avoid or prepare them for, but the irony is that despite my best efforts there will be times when I won’t be able to pre-empt them.
On occasions when I am out and about on my own though I find my brain just shuts down. It’s almost like it has spent soooooooo much time and effort on the lookout and devoted to the welfare of these little people that when they aren’t with me my mind just hangs a big GONE FISHING sign up and vacates the building. I frequently find myself at the checkout staring blankly at the operator not having processed the question they asked, or passing people I know but not seeing them only with a tap on the shoulder can they drawn my attention or sitting at home to have a little break as I fold washing only to realise that 4 hours have passed, I have watched 4 episodes of Suits and the washing is still in the basket but it is now time to pick up my daughter from school.
Now that I am a grown up time most definitely has changed. The previously perpetual school day flies by. There is no ‘waiting’ for holidays to roll around, they come charging at me and arrive before I am prepared (yes, prepared – but that is a story for another day). The school terms are really, really, really short! Special events come around far too quickly and are gone apparently without the opportunity to fully experience or savour it. School holidays are gone in the blink of an eye and because Mary Poppins still hasn’t taught me how to play ‘Clean The Nursery’ it takes me a couple of weeks to get the house in order after the chaos of disrupted routine has ceased. I close my eyes for a second and the phone rings telling me I have missed the monthly psychology meeting even though I am sure we only had that 2 weeks ago, didn’t we?
My post-cruise mission will be to become more organised so that my time is better spent and my efforts aren’t wasted. I think after I have recharged, alone, on my 10 night cruise (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) I will be a force to be reckoned with, or at the very least I hope to prevent myself from turning back into a Mombie!