Wow…. What a day!

I purposely planned nothing for this morning so Dinky would be fresh for the Circus trip.

We were invited to the circus by the lovely mum on a parenting website that opened my eyes to PDA.
We had met up before with the kids, her son (who is 4 months younger than Dinky), is funny, bright, charming and has a diagnosis of PDA. It is where I became confident that my dinky fits the criteria, as it was scary how alike they are!

I liked meeting them, the mum is someone who was not only a non judgemental person at heart (and I mean about everything, including the homelessness), but also when it came to Dinky’s behaviour. It wasn’t instant strategies I should be using, try this and that. It was ‘do what works’.

As we were leaving for the circus I put Dinky’s badge on, it says

I am not naughty

I have special needs

I got this because I was sick and tired of the same things happening when we were out. Dinky would get looks even behaving for being on the wrist reins.

“That kid looks too big for wrist reins”

“Another young mum who cant control her offspring”

It is not just me who hears it. Dinky does too, and it has caused a number of meltdowns. Then when she does have meltdowns, or runs, or wrestles me for the reins. Again the comments. Although I am getting used to them, and now that I have an idea of why she behaves the way she does, it bothers me less, they just don’t know.
The worst is people who think that they have some kind of right to tell dinky off. Which doesn’t work for a number of reasons. I hate it and it only serves to cause more issues. I do not see why these people think that a one time interference actually could change a child’s behaviour. Especially if it was considered to be parenting.

Since we got the badge, people give us distance, instead of comments about my parenting, I hear comments about how not enough help is out there for children with special needs. No one butts in when she kicks off. I can relax which makes it easier for both of us.

People may think I put it on her to label her, or to excuse her, but what is fairer on dinky?

I wont lie, we had one rather amusing incident (obviously in hindsight, at the time I had no idea what to do!) regarding the badge. Dinky is a very good reader. It is her biggest academic strength and although her comprehension isn’t tip top, she can read the words. Well, normally I would very happy with her practicing her reading skills, except on this occasion!

We were out and about and Dinky had her badge on. We were in the shop getting her an afterschool treat as I hadn’t had time to go home after an appointment. We were going to the park so I put the badge on because other kids don’t always understand her. Anyway, in the shop she deliberately pushed something over. I asked her why she had done it. her response…

It wasn’t my fault, I am not naughty, I have special needs… see!

And pointed to the badge. Needless to say I tool the badge off and we went somewhere quiet so I could attempt to explain the difference between being allowed to be naughty on the say so of a badge and the badge explaining that sometimes she might appear naughty when it isn’t her fault. I tried to explain why I got the badge in the first place but at a level she could understand. However it seemed I couldn’t reach that level, as she just didn’t understand. So we didn’t have the badge for a while, and when I reinstated it I told her that it is only there to stop other people saying things to her, not an excuse to misbehave. Any deliberate misbehaviour and the badge would go away again.

So far so good. No more deliberate badge related naughtiness!

Back to today.

We got the bus to the train station with only minor issues which were easily resolved with talk of the circus.

At the train station everything was fine, until the three tone information sound was blared from above dinky and then a fast train pelted past the station making a very loud noise. Dinky grabbed my hands and put them over her ears shrieking. I calmed her only to have to do it again a couple of minutes later.

(The woman who took me in, and her family, used to joke about my deprived childhood after they made me watch all the crap… sorry, I mean ‘classic’ films I had escaped…. sorry, ‘missed out’ on when I lived with my mother. The circus was another of those childhood things I never did, or at least if I did with my dad I was too young to remember. So this was my first time at a circus too.)

I started to get worried. What if dinky couldn’t handle the noise levels at the circus? I didn’t know what to expect, how noisy they were, my only knowledge of a circus are animal ones, and I didn’t think this was an animal one, and that is only from Dumbo and curious George. I guessed there would be clowns and trapeze but really I was just worried about how Dinky would cope. Although saying that, the lad we were meeting has PDA, and we had talked about sensory issues, and if he could cope, maybe she would be ok. The great unknown!

Anyway, we got to our destination with only a few more tunnel and train noise related issues. We went to their house, where Dinky went up to find the lad, who was hiding to give him the little gift I couldn’t resist. I met the lovely mum’s other half. We were all talking PDA while the kids played. It was nice. Dinky came into the kitchen and was shown the gift the lad had picked out for her. In typical dinky fashion she wasn’t shy about letting everyone know she wasn’t interested at that time. “I don’t want to” she said, and walked off again to find the lad. It was so nice to be with people who just understood.

The kids had a snack, and dinky again refused to even look at the sticker book. I wasn’t about to force the issue.

We made our way to the Circus. I didn’t want to put dinky on the reins as I thought that she would get upset if the other lad got to run down to the entrance. So I told her she had to stay by the lad. Which she did, they just both ran quite far!

We got in and in the entrance part there was cotton candy, popcorn, and a sweet and a drink stand. Of course both kids had to have cotton candy! Both myself and lovely mum knew neither kid would eat it, but I also knew dinky wouldn’t share one, and she has this licking thing which probably wouldn’t have been the nicest thing for the lad to have to share. So they got one each and predictably they both ended up partially eaten and in the bin!

We had ringside seats, and were sitting right in front of the ring. Someone was selling some flashing light toys, so I nipped off and got one each for them.

When the show started I was drawn in by the kids! Dinky was so excited and happy, she barely knew how to contain herself! She was jiggling and jumping and laughing. The lad was deadly quiet and still mesmerised by those in front of them. Up until the interval I was astounded at just how well both kids were handling themselves.

The interval was ok, dinky and the lad were using their new toys to fight each other. I am so used to telling dinky to stop because she is extraordinarily strong and she is a sturdy build too, she normally bulldozes other kids. So I feel like I am forever telling her to be careful and play nice. Not many parents are as understanding and so many are the opposite of lovely mum. Normally parents say that she needs to learn to calm down, not that their kids aren’t as fragile as I may think. I am still getting used to being around people who treat dinkys behaviour as part of her, and that are used to it.

Dinky said something I only half caught and she ran off back into the show. I had to bring her back. Then when we did go back in she went off again, but I found her easily enough. They had moved our chairs as they needed to put the safety netting out for the trapeze and dinky got confused. We found our seats and sat. I let the lad paly with my phone as dinky sat on his dad’s lap. I cant exactly remember what set them off, but dinky wanted the phone back and tried to snatch it. I was telling her no and trying to get her to let him have it. The dad in the end just took the pair of them off to get ice cream. Problem solved!

When they came back dinky made me laugh! She was eating the cone bottom to top and was so engrossed in her ice cream that she was missing the show! She had already said that the lady on the highbar was her favourite so far, (she also said she was her sister! Which was funny!). So I couldn’t believe she was missing it to much her ice cream. Actually, yes I could!

Toward the end I think dinky had had enough. She was playing up trying to hang over the edge and I could feel the rise in her, but she also wanted to stay. In the end we left a little early, only a couple of minutes.
The dad went off to get the car as the heavens had opened. Dinky and the lad were starting to get at each other and it was a good place to end it. Dinky had definitely had enough. She was holding my hand and kicking my legs and head butting my hip for no reason. It was a relief to get in the car.

The dad was very kind to drop us home after. Dinky was tired (I am not surprised given that she barely slept last night and was up at the crack of dawn this morning), she lay on the sofa for an hour and a half just chilling out watching Netflix.

I was very grateful that we had been invited out. We don’t get many invites due to the way dinky can be. Even the mum of the child she has known for 4 years doesn’t invite her to parties or days out anymore, (also for someone with a child diagnosed last year with high functioning autism you would think she would be more accommodating and understanding). I guess it doesn’t work like that. I guess I am just happy that dinky enjoyed herself and I didn’t have to constantly apologise for her behaviour, or for things she said. Also I think the lad is pretty cool and very adorable!

Tomorrow she is off to watch all stars with the special needs group at the cinema followed by mc Donalds. It will be the last day of activity as my dad still isn’t 100% so the weekend will be an indoor, sticking, Netflix,… basically whatever dinky wants to do weekend.

As for her homework. I have tried a few times, but I just end up as pencil target practice and she ends up under the table.

I will give it one more go each day. If she does some, fine, if not, I wont push once she goes under the table.

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