All posts tagged play

Bless you Mummy

Published July 25, 2013 by thefamilyof5

I sneezed today and there was no chorus of ‘bless you mummy’.
It was lovely.
No I haven’t gone insane.

The girls had an awful day yesterday, spiteful, rude, cheeky, willful, abnoxious the works.
They all had an amazing nights sleep last night. So yesterday was clearly due to tiredness.

Today they were so busy playing they didn’t notice me sneezing, 4 times!!! They’re relaxed enough today to just play. I’m looking forward to a day of not being under the watchful eye of 3 hypervigilant girls that notice, comment on and react to my every move and sound.

All because no one cared that I sneezed!


To Play, or not to Play…………………………

Published March 29, 2013 by thefamilyof5

‘Play’ is a topic that often fills me with frustration and despair.

You’ve heard the saying 2’s company and 3’s a crowd, well its never been truer than it is here. Remove any one girl from the equation and the chaos and competitiveness of their play departs and calm is restored.

But dynamics isn’t the only issue with play that we struggle with. There are many difficulties around play in general for my girls, mostly because the leader of their little pack, the one that they all look to for guidance and reassurance, has very few play skills. I’ve no doubt that big girls ASD plays a big part in her lack of ‘play’ skills and imagination, but as the eldest, her younger sisters are following her lead.

Baby girl has a wonderful imagination, she can play for hours with something as simple as a cracker toy and loose herself in an imaginative world of fairy’s and unicorns. She’s expressive and fun and imaginative.

Middle girl also has a good imagination and great concentration skills, she will focus on her task/toy and immerse herself in whatever activity she’s chosen. She’s determined, eager and passionate.

Big girl has the attention span of a gnat and the play skills of a goldfish. She has no interest in games as these require turn taking and playing fair. She lacks the imagination to be able to play with toys and is generally only happy when she’s ‘in charge’. This means most of her play is based on learnt behaviors/roles. For example she’ll play ‘teachers’ providing she is the teacher, or ‘mommys and babys’ providing she is the mommy. She also struggles to entertain herself which means she constantly manipulates and controls her sisters in to playing what she wants to play.

The end result of this is that baby girl and middle girls ‘playtime’ is suffering. They don’t get the opportunity to use their own play skills often because they become sucked in to big girls version of play whereby they become bossed around and treated as inferior beings whilst big girl dominates over them.

I’ve tried everything to free them from her grasp, I’ve separated them and made them play alone but big girl really struggles with this and will require 1on1 attention from us, which if she gets, evokes jealously from her sisters thus distracting them from their own play and defeating the object.

I’ve assigned specific activities, but again big girl will struggle with this and will manipulate her way in to their activity or entice them in to hers, honestly you have to see it to believe it.

I’ve even removed big girl from the equation, she attends an after school club for an hour a week, but its just not enough time for it to be of any real benefit to her sisters.

We have every toy you could imagine in our playroom, there are piles of toys gathering more and more dust each day, we have building and making, dolls and tea sets, cars and horses, books and puzzles, arts and crafts, music and films, dressing up and imaginative play. But with big girl not having the skills to use these items, or the ability to learn the skills, we may as well have nothing, for in the playroom, she is the leader of the pack.

Baby girls 1st play-date

Published February 19, 2013 by thefamilyof5

Today was all about play-dates, and this is all about baby girls 1st play date.

Baby girl had a school friend over to play today. She was very excited as this was her 1st play date. I hadn’t structured any particular activity because unlike her older sisters baby girl has a brilliant imagination and great play skills. I noticed early on that baby girl was feeling quite anxious that her friend did things differently to her, for example she might have put something away ‘wrong’ or put something in the ‘wrong’ place. Its important to point out that baby girls friend didn’t do anything ‘wrong’ it was just different to how baby girl would have done it. So I reassured her that she didn’t need to worry and it was ok to put the dolls in the box before the horse and it didn’t matter that the doll had the crown that went with a different doll and that she should just enjoy playing and worry less.
Then there was the ‘zoning out’ at the tv and not noticing her friend who was happily playing, so I reminded her that she could watch tv any time but her friend was only here to play for a short time (I didn’t turn it off because it was actually the friend that had requested a dvd and baby girl was quite adamant that I leave it on for her). Throughout the entire morning I sensed baby girl was struggling with control, her friend was quite confident and happy to just get on and play, but baby girl was more insecure with the situation and uneasy about being led. Don’t get me wrong, the play date went really well, both girls enjoyed themselves and played lovely.

It was when we got home that things started to change, she’d held it in all morning and was now starting to unravel. It began with provoking and picking arguments with her sisters. She very quickly became totally dysregulated so I pulled her close and kissed her, cuddled her, showed her eskimo kisses and told her how much I loved her but it wasn’t enough, she continued to unravel. It ended with a full blown temper tantrum because she couldn’t get her own way, in other words she couldn’t be in control, control is very important to baby girl, she wants it, but when she has it, it scares her.

I pulled her close again and we sat and read a book. It was then that I realised what a difficult place she was in, according to baby girl everything in the book was ‘dead’ or ‘dying’ ‘or had been killed’ or ‘had killed someone’. It was obvious that she was feeling totally terrified and overwhelmed.

The happiness she’d experienced that morning just wasn’t something she understood and it scared her. She understands fear, loss, chaos and that things leave, that’s what feels most familiar, so that where she feels safest.

They listened at last.

Published March 2, 2012 by thefamilyof5

I kicked up a fuss at parents evening last week. I told them how worried I was that my big girl still has no friends and that the school don’t appear to be doing anything to support her. I suggested that as they don’t seem to be able to do anything to support her and instead are just leaving her to feel insecure, lonely and scared on the playground at lunch times, and that perhaps they should be finding ways to keep her off the playground and giving her something else to do at lunch time such as clubs or perhaps even letting her spend the time helping the younger children in the nursery. They decided today to take action. I’ve only been asking them for 15 months!

They’ve decided the following

Mondays my big girl will ‘help’ the school senco with some of the younger children in KS1 at morning play time and play some games with them. This is in the hope she will learn ‘how to play’ from ‘helping’ them, so they’ve acknowledged that she doesn’t have the skills to play, at last!

Wednesdays she will attend a teacher supervised lunch time art club and they will encourage her to interact with the other children.

Fridays’s the senco will support her on the KS2 playground at lunch time and try to encourage socialising.

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday lunch times there will be buddies and squaddies (older children) on the playground to keep an eye out and step in if she needs support.

I’m not convinced about some of these options, but I am glad that they’re finally listening to me and taking action. Maybe it was because I subtly suggested at parents evening that they might not be the right school for my big girl, or maybe they’re just fed up of me going on at them, either way, they’ve acted at last.



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