Hello. I’ve missed you. I’ve missed my blog, I’ve missed my Facebook page and Twitter feed, I’ve missed other people’s blogs and social media, forums. I have missed the internet.
I hate moving. Not just because of the disruption to internet, though that’s certainly a big part of it. Moving’s one of those things that’s always listed as being super stressful (alongside bereavement, getting married and getting divorced, which makes it seem like living in those little individual pods in The Matrix with no contact with anyone else would cut down on a lot of stress (you know, if you took the Matrix part of The Matrix out of the equation) frack, even the battery pod people in The Matrix had access to the internet…sort of) but moving is particularly stressful for autistic people.
It’s a big change. Change of place, obviously, but also possibly change of people you’re around, change of routine, change of layout of possessions, change of GP/local shops/school/nursery, change of which floorboards in the kids’ bedroom creak, change of how long the toaster takes to toast (much longer – seriously, I could make and drink about five cups of tea in the time it takes to make a round of toast). Just, lots and lots of change. You probably already know this but people with autism typically don’t cope well with change. Yep, really.
Autistic people also struggle with executive functioning, which is the ability to set goals, organise and complete tasks. As you can imagine, that’s not super helpful when you need to pack, plan moving, unpack, sort out a new nursery, register with a new GP, change your address with banks and pet insurance providers etc., sort out council tax and all the other things I’m refusing to acknowledge right now. Throw in a big dollop of anxiety over phoning people on top of that and…I’m just going to go and watch a few cat videos on YouTube to calm myself down.
Then there’s a lot of sensory stuff, too. Do you know how loud parcel tape is?? And the visual chaos of all that stuff and the boxes. And when most of your stuff has been stored in a garage for two years there’s also a lot of dust and everything smells…wrong. And the new house also smells wrong and has new sounds and new lights to get used to.
It’s all just one big headache, really (sometimes literally because I get headaches when I’m stressed).
But I’m an adult, at least. I was very worried about how Tyger might cope with it all. I had a look on the NAS (National Autistic Society) website and found an Usborne book they recommended about moving house.
Tyger really liked it and insisted on having it as one of his books before bed every night for the week running up to the move, which brought home just how much of his anxiety comes from not knowing what to expect (or what’s expected of him).
I also finally used the week-long visual timetable his lovely outreach worker made for him and drew very artistic and not at all crappy pictures of packing for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday then a picture of a removal van for Friday so he knew when the move was going to take place. Despite the less than masterful drawings he liked the timetable, too.
So, the day of the move came and the men with a van we found online disappeared for over two and a half hours with all our boxes of stuff (on a drive that should have taken about an hour) leading me to worry a tad that they’d run off with a load of our possessions. It transpired they’d had a detour to dump a mattress they already had in the van because…that’s a totally reasonable thing to do in those circumstances, and our boxes made it safely to the new house. It turns out we have a LOT of stuff, though, so the two van loads we assumed would be needed turned into three over two days.
Whilst that was inconvenient, it wasn’t the end of the world but we still needed to move the cubs across to the new house.
Tyger gets car sick.
Tyger gets very car sick.
I will not give a full account of the journey across to the new house but suffice to say there were delays, Tyger did not have a pleasant time and my mum’s car window wasn’t in a good way and it’s just as well the seat had a seat cover.
But we all got to the house in one piece (can’t say we’ve stayed in one piece between Bear having a run-in with the coffee table resulting in a black eye and both boys having peeling fingernails as part of the knock-on damage from having hand, foot and mouth a bazillion years ago). The cubs seem to like the new house and we’re settling in. Hopefully, that means I’ll start to write blog posts on something like a schedule again.