The Blog

Brace Yoursens, Winter Is Coming

Every other child I know is getting up later because it's dark in the morning and despite the pitch black surroundings in his room, Joseph begins to get up earlier and earlier and my language starts to get worse and worse.

The moment the temperature hits 24 degrees, I'm the person that will be moaning it's too hot; the person you want to kick in the teeth.

I convince myself that I'm a winter person and I'll feel better when it's the time of year when you can wear bright scarfs and snuggle under the 10.5 tog duvet. 'I hate it when it's too hot' explodes out of my mouth on far too many occasions.

I dislike running in the summer as I can't regulate my temperature and feel like it's too hot to run. I tell myself that once the winter comes, it will be much easier to run further and faster.

I look at what day the clock change falls on and cross my fingers that it falls on a night when Joseph is with his Dad because I know that usually it means me getting up earlier. And once they clocks have changed, my promises of getting out for longer runs are made much more difficult as I avoid running in the dark because for everything else I am, I'm not completely stupid.

The moment everyone starts to get excited by snow and your facebook friends are under the impression that you have no windows; people get overexcited about the coca-cola truck and the John Lewis advert, you know that the time is approaching when the immortal words will soon leave your lips....'I hate it when it's cold. Can't wait for summer'

The cold air starts to burn my lungs when I run and I have soon convinced myself that I run better in the summer and I won't be able to run as much now it's dark AND cold.

And without the obvious temperature changes, a life with autism during the winter brings about its own challenges.

Ever since Joseph was first diagnosed with autism, the professionals have hounded me with questions about Joseph's sensory issues. I never believed he had any as I initially thought sensory issues purely related to him not liking a noise, smell, texture or taste. In fact it's quite the opposite in Joseph's case and he is under-sensitive in most areas. He thrives on extreme noise levels and doesn't feel the cold or pain.

So whilst I am dressing like I would be at home with the Eskimos, Joseph will be happily peeling the layers off and wandering out onto the back garden half dressed, like it's the most natural thing in the world. I've always been told I should pick my battles and I feel that trying to prevent my son from dealing with a bad case of hypothermia is one to fight. He takes the coat off, I make him put it back on; it's what winter is all about isn't it?

And as the season of goodwill draws in, I am only just over the summer schedule of parents evening, summer concert, summer fayre, sports day and the more recent harvest festival. Now the calendar is filling up with concerts, shows, parties, nativity plays, Christmas dinner, jumper and bobble hat days (yes indeed) in addition to the Armistice Day & Children in Need days. Whilst I am pleased that my son has an enviable social life in and out of school, it tests my organisational skills to ensure that he is in the right place at the right time and in the right outfit.

There are days when I am bundling him from one event to the next, dressing him, undressing him, expecting him to be compliant. He looks at me with his beautiful big blue eyes and if he was able to articulate what was going on his somewhat muddled thoughts, I am certain that it would be 'What the fuck is going on?'. Of course he would be thinking that because he is my son and I have no doubt he has the same thoughts running through his head as I do mine.

We go through the motions of 'What do you want for Christmas Joseph?' knowing that he doesn't quite grasp the concept of what it's all about. That's probably true of some adults too in all honesty, me included. I desperately hope each year that he'll be too excited to go to sleep or get up in the middle of the night (I'd let him off with that one if it was for the right reason) or that he asks me constantly each day, 'Is it Christmas yet?' but I know that we aren't quite there and wonder whether we ever will be.

Every other child I know is getting up later because it's dark in the morning and despite the pitch black surroundings in his room, Joseph begins to get up earlier and earlier and my language starts to get worse and worse.

On the occasions I manage to drag my shit running body out for a run and my lungs don't burst, my endorphins are in full flow and my inner self tells me that it's only around eight months until I don't have to warm my toes on The Keeper's little legs.

It may only be a change of season to most, but for us there is usually a change of behaviour on both our parts as Joseph becomes older and more headstrong. I wonder where that comes from.

But as with everything else we do in our lives, 'We go forward. Only forward.'

Photo by Tina Medlock

.......As with every good series, I was late to the Game of Thrones party but I'm all over it now and it was obviously going to be Yorkshirefied.