All in Your Head

I saw an incident yesterday that left me totally moved. Now that’s not to say I don’t find other things difficult but this for was deeply unsettling.

The Incident

Johnathan and I had been to the doctor and we came outside to see an elderly gentleman being told to get out of the car. He was protesting that he needed help. The younger couple in the car with him ended up having to help him up. They then sat him on his walker for a little rest. Then she told him to get up and walk in as he was late for an appointment.

The elderly gentleman was obviously distraught as he continued saying he couldn’t do it and she was insisting that he could! I called over and the younger man came towards the car window I had pulled down. I said to him that he could get a manual chair from inside the doctor’s surgery.

He assured me that he could walk because it was all in his head. They all knew he was just lazy. He had been lying in a hospital bed for 9 weeks and now he refused to walk because he was lazy and didn’t want to help himself. The doctors had said there was nothing wrong but he was choosing to be like this.

I think the difficulty comes when people don’t understand what “all in your head” actually means.

You see, it didn’t matter if it was in his head or not. The fact is that he believed it so his body was doing it.

As we were leaving Johnathan asked me why an old man would choose to be lazy and I explained to him that it wasn’t what he chose to do but his brain was telling him he couldn’t do it.

It actually made me stop and think how fortunate I was when this happened to me 9 years ago.

I had an understanding husband who supported me. And a physio who also did and basically taught me how to walk again in the 8 weeks I was in the hospital.

Without that help and support, I would not have coped with life and I’m sad to see that things like this still go on. What do you think?



Johnathan & The Disco

Johnathan had a really big day. He went to his very first disco! We had never even suggested he should go to anything like that because we really didn’t feel he would be able to cope with it.

Having said that, we were proved wrong.

He loved it! He was absolutely delighted with the evening, except for 2 things. One, we hadn’t given him enough money to spend to get a drink. Two, he was disappointed that he didn’t win the best dancer in the room. Considering he is in the first class of primary school and has never been to a disco, we were not surprised!

Now that I think about it, he loves music.

And stuff that I personally find a bit head-banging. In fact, his music has become too loud for me. So we have set up a system where he is locked into downloaded music on an ipad. We use it for when he is in the car as he hates the car noise and the sound of rain on the car.

Also, he was able to perform in his nursery graduation. We didn’t think he would manage it but he did. We have decided that now we will just give him the choice. If he hates it, we can always go and pick him up.

So the Disco, for Johnathan, shows just how much he has overcome in the six years of his life.

I am amazed and proud of my son for tackling something I never thought to see him do.

Yes, there are still more areas where he needs help to flourish, but we can do this. I had a meeting with the deputy head. We talked about everything he was facing and how he was doing. Even a few months ago, I didn’t believe he would ever be a boy in a normal school, but he is.



Watching New Skills Emerge Through Chess

I have never understood the game of chess and thought it was really complicated. Of course, it can be – going up to the international level. But you don’t have to be at that level to play the game.

Obviously, everyone has to start somewhere.

Today my son was at a playdate and the four-year-old he was playing with suggested they play chess. Now we had not introduced the game to Johnathan. But he plays on an equal basis with my husband on a number of different Wii games and when we play snakes and ladders with him, he is never given any chance to not play properly.

Learning to Play Chess

Anyway, they wanted to play in the sitting room with us. My friend positioned herself so that she could help Johnathan who didn’t even know what each piece stood for or the moves they could make. She also said it would be amusing to hear her 4-year-old teach someone else as she had no idea if he could do it or not!

The four-year-old actually did a comparatively great job of explaining it to my son. To my surprise, the beginning level wasn’t as bad as I remembered. And I understood the basics of how the game was played as explained by her son.

My friend Becky was not needed as much as we had thought. Even though Johnathan is intelligent, he has never attempted anything like this. I had no idea if he would manage to or not.

To my surprise, within a very few minutes, he had actually learnt all the pieces and their moves.

Long before the game was over, he was already talking about strategy and plotting how he was going to win!

To me, this was quite amazing that he managed so well. I managed to get the moves in my head. But as far as strategy went, other than the initial move in front of me, planning long-range ones expended more thought than I was ready to use this morning.

The wonderful thing was that I discovered the versatility of my son’s brain. And just how quickly he can learn things and develop strategies that leave me gasping. I had no idea how he was going to cope but he did better even than my expectations.

I learnt that a game I had closed my mind to for many years, could be played at a basic level which I understood.

Yes, there are international players, but in the beginning, you don’t need to make it complicated. Even a four-year-old can not only comprehend it but explain it to another child.

So next time you close your mind to something because you think it too complicated, take a second look and see if it really is. This can happen in so many areas but you can understand the basics at least even if not the more complex things. And in case you were wondering, Johnathan actually managed to bring the game to a draw.



Sports Day & Johnathan’s Surprise

I love the beautiful little things that can happen sometimes in life, even when they are unexpected. They make your day and bring some light to your life. The beauty of these beautiful little things is that you never know when they are going to appear. When it was coming up to the Sports Day and the teachers started talking about it, Johnathan spoke to Kevin and I and announced in a VERY determined voice that he was NOT going to partake in this event.

He was so insistent and upset that I spoke to the teacher about it. We decided between us that the aim was just going to be getting Johnathan outside at least. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. There was only one time before he had been upset like that and refused to even leave the house to go on the trip that was planned with the nursery.

So previous experience of him being like this was not positive.

Anyway, we got to the day and I was rather dreading it. Johnathan’s father and I deliberately did not mention the fact that it was sports day and got him ready for school and out the door with ease, but it still didn’t reassure me.

I didn’t know if he would refuse to even go outside or not.
And I certainly had no expectation of him taking part.

Came time for Johnathan to come and Kevin went to get him and he walks in with a first sticker on him as though it were nothing. I asked him what it was for and he said flippantly “Oh just the egg and spoon race which I won today.” He said he didn’t win the other three races.

I was astonished!

My son had entered races that he was so adamant he wasn’t going to! And he had even won one! The surprise about this was that he wears insoles because he is so clumsy and has perception problems.

So Mummy and Daddy really started praising him for taking part and his only gripe was there weren’t more races! Talk about the opposite thing happening. I hadn’t prepared for it at all! In fact, nothing in his past had ever pointed to him even making the attempt to do it.

I hadn’t gone to Sports Day because I hadn’t known how he would behave if he saw me and if that would make him want to leave. He even asked me why I hadn’t been there to see him win. Um, yeah. Seriously?! How do you go from that to this in a few hours? It made me think about races and, actually life.

Because life is a race or a journey as well.

Sometimes people sign up for walks or runs that they are in no way fit for. They have to take the time to train and prepare for it before it happens. And them talking to Johnathan about the races and the race day and how it would all work, I believe was what was needed for him to agree to take part in the event.

We come to life or work and sometimes we think we are not prepared for it. Probably at the time, that’s ok. If you need to get ready for life or the race, and need to then get the resources after, that’s alright. Don’t feel that everything has to be in place the very first time you hear about something, want to do it, or others expect you to be able to.

Take your time and get it right.