It's only the end of week one of the summer holidays and I have read countless posts about how difficult it is for parents during the school holidays and they can't wait for the kids to go back. It's particularly difficult for those who have a child with a disability.
Here I go again being Johnny Opposite by saying, not me.
Usually, by the end of the summer term, Joseph has had enough and so have I. Between September and July, I juggle the school drop offs and pick ups around work and his other social commitments and it's usually taken it's toll on me. The final few weeks of school are a cluster of events which is exhausting and confusing for us both so when the final bell rings, I'm happy to shout "SCHOOL'S OUT, THANK FUCK!" whilst breathing a sigh of relief.
Even though Joseph wakes up early every day, I'm still at work before most people have risen to ensure that I've finished in time to pick him up. The school holidays means that I don't have the pressure to arrive at work early and dart across the carpark in a rush each day to ensure I'm waiting for him at the school gate. The 80mph lifestyle can be reduced to almost 60mph.
At the moment, I'm quite lucky that my parents shoulder most of the responsibility during the holidays so I can continue to work for most of them, allowing me to keep my leave for other times of the year when I need to attend meetings on behalf of Joseph. Fortunately my parents enjoy their time with him and only get the tit on when I'm actually looking after my own child myself.
Through the holidays, I'm not as worried that he's not gone to sleep early enough but still woken at shit o'clock and how that will impact on the day ahead. I'm happy to let him stay up later with the irrational belief that he will sleep in later one day.
The main difficulties we face in the holidays is how everywhere is so much busier. Joseph still has difficulty queuing (maybe a family trait and not related to autism) and we'll avoid certain places for that reason. For him though he's more than happy to hang out at his Grandparent's house each day and is happy to just not have to put his uniform on.
I daren't mention about our family holiday too soon as the word holiday to Joseph means the seaside, beach and a pool and he will mention EVERY SINGLE DAY until we go (likely to be no different to any other kid). He thinks that every day we are together we need to do something and by the end of the holidays he's had such a good time and got into a routine of NOT going to school that I worry about how he will settle back in once September arrives (see Why August Makes Me Anxious).
This year, his school have created him a brilliant timetable to show him each week of the holiday which he can move his own picture along each day to indicate when it's the holidays and when it's time for school. It also includes a mini story about which class he'll be in and photographs of significant people and areas within the school. It still doesn't stop me worrying though as to how he will react on day one of the new term.
And it's for that reason, I'll be the one moaning and stressing at the end of the holidays as I worry how we will both get into the old routine and whether we'll both freak out in September.
I understand that not everybody has the luxuries I currently have but whilst ever this is the case, I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon to piss and moan for the sake of it.
Tina is mum to a nine-year-old boy Joseph who has autism. She recently won the Bloody Awesome Parents (BAPS) SEND Newcomer blogger award. She likes to give an honest (often sweary) account of their lives dealing with autism. You can follow her here on Facebook or her blog here.