I’m not usually one for posting selfies. But this week I’ve managed TWO of them in our instagram stories, of which one was this image, where my hair is ‘enhanced’ by the branches of a tree behind me… I didn’t realise that while I was taking the picture. Oh well!
Anyway, I posted that picture in a story and asked you all for questions about myself or Penguin, as I felt it was time for a new ’introduction’ of who we are. It’s been a long time – and about 1000 new followers! – since I last did that kind of post.
I received 7 questions to answer, and have now done so below (also posted as in a trilogy of grid posts on instagram). It’s quite an eclectic mix of questions, but a good one, I think. Anyway, here goes:
Q1: How old was Penguin when you started homeschooling?
He was 9, approaching 10, so that was a little over 4 ys ago now (time flies, doesn’t it?!). Before then, he was attending school – and before that nursery – in Sweden, where we used to live. (I’m originally from Sweden myself, while hubby is English. Penguin was born in Sweden & has dual citizenship.)
Homeschooling is sadly not an option in Sweden, so when when we reached a point of school not working – as well as nothing else in life running smoothly either – we made the decision to move across to England. The fact that Penguin is nonverbal also played a significant roll in this, as it was becoming increasingly problematic to work on communication while being bilingual. Now we can focus on communication in English only – still complex, but a whole lot easier than having two languages on the go at once.
Q2: How do you cope on the hard days?
Because I know the person who asked this, I’m taking ’the hard days’ to mean days when Penguin is having a hard time. As in being unhappy, distressed, having meltdowns, being ’out of control’… Thankfully – touch wood! – we haven’t been experiencing too many hard days in recent times. We do a lot of prevention, to reduce overall stress in life (homeschooling helps a lot in this, for us). When a hard day does happen, I have to confess that I don’t always cope very well… But music helps. It has always been my ‘drug of choice’, along with coffee. On a tough day, music can help shift my mood, make me feel stronger, lift my spirits, give me something I can relate to, etc.
Getting outdoors can definitely help too, although I’d say it’s more important to us as a daily thing to help prevent stress, anxiety etc, than as an actual coping strategy on hard days. If it’s a ‘wobbly day’, yes, then getting outdoors can definitely be the thing that saves the day. But if Penguin is having a *really* bad day, we stay at home, with all home comforts at hand.
Q3: What’s the first time you ever remember hearing The Cure?
Continuing on the theme of music, coping and mental health, this question is from a friend I’ve made online through our common love of/obsession with The Cure . To be honest, my memory isn’t all that clear, but I *think* the first time I heard them was on a Swedish radio documentary about the history of pop/rock. I believe I was 14 at the time. The song ‘Boys don’t cry’ came on and went straight to my heart! Around the same time, someone said to me that because I liked Depeche Mode I should like The Cure as well. That encouraged me to search out more of their music (no streaming back then you know!) and I’m so glad I did.
Q4: What brings you joy?
Well, as I’ve already mentioned, music is an important bringer of joy for me (including The Cure, in case anyone doubted that). And nature too – the sea in particular brings me joy, just being close to it, or in it. Other things that bring me joy are seeing Penguin laugh or smile, or watching him engulfed in an activity he enjoys, or listening to him sleeping peacefully. Which leads me nicely to the next question…
Q5: Does he sleep well – and has he always?
Ha. No, is the short answer. Though to be fair, he does actually sleep well most nights nowadays. The problem now is mainly that his preferred time to fall asleep is around 3am… As we homeschool, it’s not a massive issue, since we can start our day later and just do everything later than most people. (Hubby goes to work though, so follows a separate ‘life schedule’ from ours.) It can be an issue when it comes to taking part in any kind of events, group activities etc, as mornings are generally a no-go for us, but so far it’s not really been a problem.
Sleep – or rather lack of it – was a massive issue for us when Penguin was younger. He’d usually fall asleep quite late in the evening, then wake up in the small hours, often upset, and stay awake until it was almost time to get up to go to work & nursery (and later school). And he seemed to run ok on about 5-6 hours of sleep, while I need around 8 really, to function well. It was a nightmare… So in comparison, sleep is mostly good now.
Q6: Do you have plans in place for Penguin if & when?
Again, the short answer is no. And I haven’t got a better long answer for it either… This is a very difficult thing, isn’t it? I have to admit, I’m often burying my head in the sand when it comes to the hardest questions for the future. Recently though, I’ve found the LOMAH podcast (link opens in new tab), and listening to that is helping me begin to approach some of those issues, at least taking a few steps forward mentally. The podcast is all about preparing for the future of a disabled child who will likely have life-long support needs. Not only about ‘putting things in place’, but also about ways of helping them become more independent.
Q7: How are you both? I hope you are keeping well x
Thank you! I’d say we are both doing well. Penguin is healthy and generally a happy person most of the time. I’m almost always some level of tired, and have little aches and pains (mainly a sore foot at the moment), but nothing too bad. And life feels manageble, actually very good most days, with plenty to be thankful for. So right now, we’re happy and well!
There are some things in this post, such as the sleep issues, thoughts about the future, why we homeschool etc, that I’ve written blog posts about previously. Please have a read, if of interest to you!:
Thank you for taking the time to read, and for being here x
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