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What age does it get better?

(46 Posts)
Jimjams Fri 18-Mar-05 11:04:34

Pondering this with a friend. Just curious.

Something that normal people with kids have said to me when they're not thinking properly is "don't worry it gets much easier when they get older" I normally just laugh and say "err no it won't"

Anyway was chatting to a friend the other day about our lives and limitations and I said I thought it would get a bit easier as the kids get older as the younger ones will become more independent (she has a 4 year old as well as an auti dd, I have a 3 year old and a baby as well as ds1). She didn't think it would get any easier as you'd still have the older autistic ones to deal with and they're still going to require constant watching and wil still make it diffiucult to go anywhere, and they will still be demanding that everything is "just right" etc. i think a lot of my difficulties in mixing daily life with ds1 are because I have other young children who require a lot of attention and I can't supervise all of them, so I would imagine once they're more independent I will oce again have the time to give to ds1 and will just have to satisfy his needs.

Any thoughts? Only I'm dreaming of escaping to a blacony overlooking the sea somewhere warm with a g and t right now That may be a long way off but it might be nice to think that a pub lunch or a coffee in a cafe would be possible at some stage!

KarenThirl Fri 18-Mar-05 11:11:23

My initial thought on this is that it WILL get easier because with time we become more accustomed to dealing with our circumstances. The practicalities are no different but coming to terms with them relieves the stress. It makes sense to me that it should be harder the lower you are on the learning curve, but as knowledge and experience increase things should get easier to deal with.

Mind you, I am the eternal optimist!

I'll meet you for the pub lunch whenever you get a window!

Saker Fri 18-Mar-05 11:20:04

My ds1 is 5 years old and very sensible, patient and understanding. He can walk everywhere, fetch things for me and can generally be relied on to behave himself in public without much guidance. Not always but sometimes he will entertain himself for quite long periods with little or no input and encouragement from me, e.g. drawing, playing with his knights, cowboys etc or doing lego, stickers that sort of thing. If my ds2 (3) had developed normally I think they could play together for periods as well also. Your ds2 sounds like a sensible well-balanced little chap so I would imagine he would get easier and once your Ds3 is older then hopefully they will be playing together in not too many years leaving you with a bit more time with Ds1. Also ultimately they will all be at school so you should get some time to yourself. So I think it should get a bit easier BUT I do have the guilt sometimes that I rely a lot on Ds1 to be sensible and he doesn't get as much help doing things that he would like to do like model making and crafts because ds2 always spoils it. The other day he asked me when Ds2 would be able to play properly with him and that made me sad .

Davros Fri 18-Mar-05 11:20:15

I think I had got it off to a fine art but then had DD and that definitely makes things harder although we've settled into our routine and I can manage most of the time. I can even take them out somewhere together as long as we drive there, not just a walk to the local shops, that would be utter madness! I think our older kids with ASD will always be hard work but the other(s) will get more independent and possibly able to help. People I know with older NT kids and the youngest with ASD have a lot of help from their other kids, even just those extra pairs of eyes/hands if nothing too onerous. Having a younger one is definitely harder as I now have two children who can't do much for themselves and need a lot of help and not a baby too like you. The thing that works best for me is getting help in and using local charities for activities etc. This all takes time though and I know you're on the trail but that is definitely worth working at. A G&T on a balcony? Umm, can't imagine that! When I tell people that we've only had one holiday in 8 years all they do is start telling me how to organise it, don't they think I've thought it through?

dinosaur Fri 18-Mar-05 11:22:33

Jimjams, one day not so long ago DS3 and I were in the Starbucks in Borders in Islington. It was pretty busy and we were sitting on quite a large table near the entrance. A woman and her son came in - I was pretty sure he had autism - he was about 15 or 16. Anyway, they shared our table and we got chatting. He obviously had fairly severe autism and she kind of apologised in advance as she said he could be a bit "rambunctious" (good word) but he was absolutely fine. So we had coffee and a chat. He was really fascinated by DS3 (who was about four months old at the time) and stroked his cheek.

So there you go - coffee in a cafe.

She was an amazing woman, btw, but then again so are you.

Kelly1978 Fri 18-Mar-05 11:27:31

I had a friend who had a 10 yo with aspergers. It was quite severe, he was in special education. I think his mother had just gotten accustomed to dealing with his condition, and it had got easier for her, she could take him anywhere with him and knew trigger signs exactly and how to keep him calm.

pixel Fri 18-Mar-05 11:36:09

I could manage the G&T with ds, it's just the balcony that might not be such a good idea!

SleepyJess Fri 18-Mar-05 11:42:48

Sorry for going off on a tanget a bit because DS does not have autism.. but I was morosely asking myself (and DH) this question only the other day. It 'suddenly' dawned on me that when we see families out.. people we know or complete strangers.. once their children are beyond the baby stage, how much easier it all is.. especially when they are over about ten! Stupid to realise that 'suddenly' I know.. but I did because I realised that there are certain things we are probably always - or for an indefinite - period.. going to be doing.. certain ways in which our 'baby' may never 'grow up'. Like with taking DS everywhere with us (especially once he leaves school! He is 4 now... so this is an 'advance' kind of stress!).. no doubt pushing him in a wheelchair... even when we are very old and very grey maybe? And then the awful thought about how will/would look after him when we can't anymore..? (Do others worry about this specifically?) But I can't think like this for long.. because I wouldn't be without him for the world.. and he really is pure joy in a very high-maintenance kind of way ()... but sometimes these thoughts do come into my mind.. and I would dearly love a weekend away with DH without any of the kids and I feel quilty for this. And even if it happened (which it never will! Nobody else can/will look after him!).. we would worry the whole time.

Well doesn't all this go to show what incredibly special people we all are and what a responsible special 'job' we have been 'chosen' to do! Let's view it from the bright side

And never say never! Dinosaur's coffee-shop tale is very encouraging Jim-Jams! None of us can be sure what our children can achieve.. or what will change.. or what new people might come into our lives, by whatever means, to lighten our loads and share our highs and lows!

(((hugs)) (Having a warm fluffy moment of solidarity with you all.. hope you don't mind! )

SJ x

Davros Fri 18-Mar-05 11:56:11

I hope you're joking about us being special and being chosen. I'd rather be normal thanks.

SleepyJess Fri 18-Mar-05 12:06:02

Sorry Davros.. I didn't mean it offend anyone. It's just how I try to get my head around things sometimes.. I know this doesn't work for everyone. But I used to find (for me) craving 'normality' wasn't helpful because there is 'other people's normal' and then there is 'our normal', - and however much I might want the usual kind of normal, it just aint gonna happen. And what is 'normal' anyway? The most 'normal looking' family can have really serious issues gonig on that are being masked by the fact that all looks fine and dandy and they have children without disabilities.

Anyway sorry. Will stop rambling.

SJ x

beccaboo Fri 18-Mar-05 12:09:11

This is a tricky one. I'm tussling with this at the moment, we're trying to decide whether to try for another baby. I swing between thinking it would be good for ds to have a sibling and thinking he'll miss out on all the 1-to-1 attention he gets now.

Life has definitely got easier since he's been going to nursery, and will probably get easier again when he starts school, simply from point of view that i have more time to get things done.

I can't imagine how you juggle everything jimjams.
I suppose it will be easier when your younger two are a bit older, but then I guess they will want to have their friends over to stay, need to be taken and fetched from activities? Do other kids miss out because of the needs of their ASD sibling?

That G&T sounds like a good idea. And no, I'm not special either, just tired.

SleepyJess Fri 18-Mar-05 12:11:28

I'm not special either! I'm completely un-special actually! Poor choice of words.. sorry again.

beccaboo Fri 18-Mar-05 12:21:28

Hi SleepyJess. No offence taken . I crossed over with your last message actually, so didn't see it until I'd posted.

Personally I think anything that makes you feel better about things is OK. It's just that particular phrase that gets hackles up, as it's something that is often said by well-meaning outsiders who don't understand. I was told by first homeopath I saw that unborn children choose their parents, and that ds had chosen us because he thought we could help him. For crying out loud!

Davros Fri 18-Mar-05 12:26:04

Sleepyjess, I understand that this is how some people with children with SN feel and its a nice way to think, I'm just not nice enough to think thay way! I don't crave normality as I agree with you, what is that? and who really has it? I'd just love not to have to "manage" autism all the time. That's one of the problems, we all get our strategies and techniques off to a fine art but its hard work, especially if you've got a child who can have a lot of "challenging behaviour" like my DS. But then I go to our horse riding session every week whcih has children with mixed disabilities and I realise how much he can do and how well we get along and actually feel grateful!
Beccaboo, have you got other children? If not I would say go for it because, unless you do, you will never have the opportunity to have a "normal" experience of parenting. We decided to have DD because we just wanted another opportunity, not because we KNEW it would be alright but we knew what the future held if we didn't try.

SleepyJess Fri 18-Mar-05 12:28:15

Well I'm not an well-meaning outsider ..and I do understand.. .. but when I read the sentence back I cringed a bit because it does look like something someone who hadn't a clue might say as a throwaway remark. I get so bogged down sometimes though that it help me to think that perhaps it's true.. and I haven't been given anything I can't deal with.

I would also have thought 'for crying out loud!' and also 'go away and bl**dy well and preach to someone else!' a few years ago if someone had said to me about my unborn children having chose me... but stuff has happened to make me think differently now.. but this is not the place for all of that

Am I allowed to say that I think the people on this forum are special in that we all help/support each other so much? (Except those like me with the feet in their mouth!

SJ x

SleepyJess Fri 18-Mar-05 12:31:08

I'm not nice either Davros. I am a bitch from hell actually (poor poor DH.) But this forum/site often make me feel like a nice person.. brings the nicer parts of me out.

SJ x

beccaboo Fri 18-Mar-05 12:36:55

Hi Davros, yes ds is only child and I'm knocking on a bit now so if we're going to do it we should hurry up . That's what I would like to have, to experience 'normal' parenting too. But of course I fret about how we'd manage if we had a child more severely affected by ASD than ds is.

Davros Fri 18-Mar-05 12:45:03

Oh god, soooo been there Beccaboo! I was 43 when we had DD so I'm 45 with a 2 year old, not too noticeable round here but maybe people are just being polite! It was an agonising decision but I know a few people now who've been in this position and it really is a case of, if you don't give it a go you know what the future holds. At least by having another we had a chance of a different future. Not that we expect child no 2 to look after us and DS, she doesn't have to have chldren, get married or go to university etc etc, but at least she could whereas DS can't. Sorry if this sounds depressing, its not meant to be as DD is so gorgeous. Its a stressful thing and we have worried about her a lot in the first 18 months or so but she's just turned 2 and seems fine. Of course we had to consider the serious and quite likely chance that we'd have another child with ASD but we just took the plunge (litterally )

Jimjams Fri 18-Mar-05 13:09:56

Lots to think about. I think you are riight sleepyjess- there's no point craving normality as its one quick road to bitterness!

I think I may be abit late in working through this, but when ds1 was 2 his problems were so mild and minor- or at least seemed that way- his dx was mild language delay ffs!! He always seemed like he would catch up and its only in the last 18 months that the extent of his disability has revealed itself. he's also gone from being veyr passive- so easy to take anywhere to being a total nightmare/runner and impossible to take anywhere. Challenging behaviour is certainly part of him now whereas he used to be "too good".

We were talking about the others having friends over as well. Is that possible? I can't imagine ds2 and ds3 wanting their friends to stay over once they get to a certain stage as god only knows what ds1 will be doing by then! I can't ever imagine being able to have a lock on the bathroom for example (at least on the inside) although a friend has installed keypads on her kitchen door so maybe it is possible.

I do enjoy the normal parenting experience. DS2 is an absolute pleasure and I'm pleased we have that. Hopefully with ds3 we'll get to see the normal sibling interactions as well.

They are teaching independence at school now though I suspect. he keeps cleaning everything (useful in my house). Unfortunately he hasn't quite got the idea so he's flooded the kitchen twice this week and did a good job of mooping the kitchen table (and everything on it) with dirty floor mop water. nice!

TBH part of me does crave normality and perhaps that's my problem.

SJ- I'm triaing to be a homeopath and rest assured I will never say that!!! I've been told it before (not by my homeopath!- she's great- says the kids are lovely and handsome but seems to understand how hard it is).

Eulalia Fri 18-Mar-05 13:14:08

I think it will get better as the younger children will be more understanding. I'd guess that any problems may be more complex and there may be resentment at the amount of time you have to give your oldest but they'd be used to that anyway. I am finding this stage quite hard as ds is copying a lot of dd's typical toddler behaviour. However I am seeing that dd is becoming more 'sensible' and I'd think that in a year or two I'd be able to rely on her to look after herself. In fact she has to do this a lot anyway eg at the swimming pool last week when I had to watch ds like a hawk as he kept almost jumping on top of the other swimmers.

You'll have more time to do housework etc when the younger two are at school so that will free up more time to spend with the children.

My thinking is that this baby will be a friend for dd and they will play together and I can concentrate on ds. However with the age gap it will be awhile before that happens.

Dingle Fri 18-Mar-05 13:39:50

I live in hope, but know the "problems" won't go away,they will grow and change as DD does. Any parent with children of 5 and 3 is stressed out at times-I know that.It's just our lifestyle has had to adapt around dd and her SN. Things that other families do without a thought could take so much organising and effort I feel that sometimes, they just aren't worth doing!My diary has to be consulted before I do anything,just to make sure that I don't clash appointments. By the time you juggle all of this you don't often have that quality time (or any energy!)to spend doing the fun things in life.

I know I am going off at tangents here, but;

This morning I went to a friends house for a coffee morning. I had to leave just early to collect Amelia from mainstream nursery. My friend said that I was more than welcome to bring her back after collecting her. I left it open and despite her being in a foul mood- I decided to take her back,despite knowing the possibility of her being a little horror and into everything!
When waiting at the school gate another mum was commenting about her childs behaviour and that she wouldn't take him anywhere. I am not aware that this child has SN but I feel that I would never judge, having a child with SN yourself I would like to think I try to be open minded.
With Amelia, it is up to me to help teach her what is right and wrong, it is harder to do than most 3 year olds, but if I don't try, she would never learn!
BTW Amelia was an absolute angel-so much,that I may even take the kiddies to the park after collecting ds from school! Something that I dreaded doing last year!

As the children grow, hopefully I will grow in confidence and experience too.

Keane Fri 18-Mar-05 13:52:01

I am most probably in the minority, but for me things have got easier. I think the main reason is I have a much thicker skin than I used to have. My daughter goes to a great school and I feel i get alot of support from them and it makes my life easier. My son is at nursery 5 mornings a week and is happy and I have gone back to college. I grin and bear it and take my dd out to most places. i couldn't care less anymore that people are staring at us and commenting, they can go to hell for all I care Infact we go to a pub round the corner with both the kids and the manager glares at us EVERY time we take dd, but as I have said to my dh, dd will be coming out with us for meals for the rest of our life most probably so we had better get her used to it (!) or more realistically get other people used to it. We arent hiding away and I dont see why we should have to.

I know this is most probably different when your child is autistic, i dont know. my dd is a very complex child.

Must add, i am in quite a flippant mood today

Keane Fri 18-Mar-05 13:53:52

Mind you appointments and tests dont really get any easier

Keane Fri 18-Mar-05 13:54:19

well appointments arent too bad in general

beccaboo Fri 18-Mar-05 14:02:02

Davros, it's brilliant to hear that it's all worked out so well for you - inspiring. We are due for the genetics 'chat' with the paed soon, so I'm deferring decision until after that.

I must admit though (guilt guilt shame) that I've been sneaking onto the conception message board to find out if there are ways of making it more likely to conceive a girl. . I suppose there are no guarantees in ANYTHING in life, but I don't mind stacking the odds slightly in my favour if I can.

Jimjams, I realised that homeopath wasn't the right person as soon as I walked into her room, it was full of pictures of gurus and burning incense. Fair enough I suppose, but I wanted something a bit more....clinical?

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