Jelly bean tears

Overheard, from the front room:

“Can you get our sweet day sweets when you go out Dad?”
“No. You had them yesterday.”
“No we didn’t! We didn’t get any in the end!”
“And we haven’t had them for weeks.”
“Tom, we’re like getting a bit old for “sweet day sweets” bro…”
“Well it ain’t “sweet day” now.”
“You’re 19 and saying we’re too old for sweets when you had them till you were at least 16???”
“Yeah. Well, come on, you did get a lot of added benefits being the youngest…”
“Yeah, like playing ’15’ games when you’re only THIRTEEN..”
“Yeah! And the rest!”
“Er, what you doing Tom?”
“I need some tears.”
“Eh, what?”
WHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA… I need to test my tears.”
“I need to test my tears for sweet stuff. Kids’ tears should taste like jelly beans. And sweet stuff.”
“Not vegetables.”


But I’m right back with Willy Wonka… singing Pure Imagination.




It’s funny when you have a learning disabled child. The whole experience is drenched in so much unnecessary crap, and focus on deficit, that it becomes difficult to disentangle the important bits from the baggage that is thrown at you. It also takes time to step outside of the rigid, inflexible, structure of ‘normal’ child development to accepting the dude you have.

In the early toddler/pre-school days, instead of celebrating the progress LB made, I had a feverish, obsessional focus on what hadn’t happened. I wonder now if there were some thoughtful professionals along the way who tried to point out progress, but were met with a frazzled, semi-hysterical woman who found the fact LB was no longer going quite so crazy ape-shite when I reversed the car less relevant “THAN THE FACT HE AIN’T SPEAKING A WORD YET DESPITE HIS GROMMET OPERATION!!!” All very stressful, distressing and ultimately unproductive.

As years go past, those markers of normal development become more and more meaningless and I chucked em out along the way. I suppose, with hindsight, I wish someone had let me know gently and effectively early on that his would be a different path, with different milestones. I suspect that some professionals thought they were. The paediatrician sort of tried but failed spectacularly with her statement, when he was about three, that we should expect nothing and come back to see her when he reached adolescence to talk about respite holidays. I couldn’t get out of bed for about two days after that appointment.

Anyway, I’m thinking about this today because LB’s progress has shone. First, he spontaneously said “Hello” to us this morning when he got up. Second, he opened the front door to Tom this afternoon and said “Hello, Tom. How was the cinema?” Tom looked as surprised as I felt. I filled Rosie and Owen in with these happenings this evening.

“You going all posh on us LB?” asked Rosie.


LB came home with his Individual Education Plan today. The first target is;

I will introduce myself at the beginning of a conversation with new people.

“Ooh, that’s a good first target, LB. So what are you going to say when you start a conversation with new people?”
“Dunno Mum.”
“You’re going to introduce yourself….”
“… how about me and Mum show you, LB? Pretend we don’t know each other and we just bumped into each other in a shop….”
“Hello, I’m Sarasiobhan.”
“Hello, I’m Tom. Pleased to meet you.”
“Your turn, LB. You bump into me in a shop. What do you say?”
“Hello Mum.”

Saturday morning

“Morning LB! How you doing?”
“Good Mum. Very good, Mum.”
“Cool. What did you do last night when I was out?”
“Went to bed Mum. I was tired Mum. I was sooo knackered Mum.”
“Wow! What time was that?”
“9.30 Mum.”
“Did you sleep OK?”
“Yes Mum. After all the girls left.”
“The girls, eh? That’s good. What do you want to do today?”
“Bit of youtube Mum. Bit of DJing.”
“What would you have done before youtube was invented I wonder…”
“Why Mum?”
“Well youtube’s only been around for about five years.”
“Dunno Mum. Be sociable Mum. Talk to people Mum.”
“What sort of people?”
“You Mum. Is Stan fat Mum?”

Suing the dishwasher

“Er Mum! Can you come here? LB won’t help do the dishwasher. He says he’s going to sue it.”
“Get on with it, LB. Stop behaving like this.”
“Mum, I DONT want to do it, Mum. I NEED my downtime. I HATE doing the dishwasher. I’m not doing it ANYMORE!
“You’ve got to do it. Don’t be silly.”
“Why, Mum? Why do I have to do it, Mum?”
“Because it’s your job. You and Tom empty the dishwasher. It’s good for you to help out. ”
“Why is it good for me, Mum?”
“Because it’s good to do jobs. And help out in the house.”
“I disagree Mum.”
“Eh?! Wha?”
“I disagree Mum. I need my downtime, Mum.”
“Oh. Really? Well what about if I decide I need downtime and stop working?”
“You get made redundant Mum.”
“And what do we live on then? If I haven’t got a job?”
“Benefits, Mum.”

Yenworthy and Simon Mayo

“Mum, am I going to Yenworthy, Mum?”
“Yes, LB.”
“Mum, I love Yenworthy Mum.”
“I know, LB. Do you know how I know?”
“Because I’ve told you 25,000 times, Mum.”
“Yes, LB.”
“Mum, when am I going to Yenworthy, Mum?”
“In June sometime.”
“Mum, am I going on Monday, Mum?”
“No, not this Monday. But a Monday in June.”
“Mum, when is June, Mum?”
“In about two months time. We’ve got April and then…”
“…March, Mum.”
“No, then May, then June.”
“Mum, I hate Simon Mayo, Mum.”
“I know you do.”
“Mum, I think he should get sacked, Mum. He’s so boring, Mum.”
“Mmm.. Where would he work if he got the sack?”
“In Tesco’s Mum. On the checkout Mum.”
“Yes, LB?”
“Mum, do you like Simon Mayo, Mum?”
“He’s OK. A bit boring sometimes.”
“Yes, LB.”
“I love Yenworthy, Mum.”


The anti-vegetarian cookery class

Where to begin with this one?  First no names, probably. So…I went to a vegetarian cookery class on Saturday with mate, Gina (pseudonym). Two previous classes had been fun, hands on, chatty with nosh and a glass of wine at the end. All good. We thought.

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