Birthday party

The little ones birthdays are a week apart. They’ve never had a birthday party with friends as Popples is too shy and never wanted one and Oliver doesn’t have many friends. They’ve both been to some parties and Oliver understands the rules to a degree and she has become less shy. She asked for a party and I talked through with her that people would sing to her, look at her and give her presents and she’d have to talk and say thank you. She said she could do it and she wouldn’t be shy because it was her party.

Ok then. Where’s appropriate for 5 and 7 year olds. We picked a soft play area I used to take them to as babies. When I went to book I asked about exits, as Olly is a runner. The woman was on the ball immediately on my mention of autism:-“do you need to change the menu? The doors are all button release up high. Do you want no music or it just turned down?” Filled with confidence I booked the VIP party with food and party bags provided. We didn’t need the stress of a that not knowing how either of them were going to be.

Invites were handed out. Popples picked her own guest list, Olly’s teacher helped me out with his guest list, cakes ordered and then we prepared them by countdown and talking about what to expect. There were a couple of no shows but there always is.

Olivers friends really know him. He got some very thoughtful gifts, drawings that were framed, pj mask stuff, fiddle scribble pencils and lots of other things. Popples got lots of art stuff, dolls so she was happy. We had said not to bother with gifts, a card would have been enough and the way Ollys friends have treated him and helped him is worth more to us than anything. And we know that people are struggling in these times. We just wanted the kids to have fun. People are very generous.

Party day-up early and out for a party starting at 10 am. She did me proud. Everyone was greeted, she played instead of sticking tonne like she usually does. Oliver’s friends obviously know him so well that they dumped his present then went to find him to say happy birthday. No way was he coming off the climbing equipment. At food time he sat nicely. Popples kept her eyes on the candle at singing time so she couldn’t see the stares, our coping strategy worked. He had a bite of sandwich then ran off to play. All the food was eaten, they played some more, she handed out party bags then it was home time. 2 hours raced by. Everyone seemed happy, Oliver hadn’t slapped his best friend despite being very excited – in fact he gave hugs as they were leaving.

We wrote our thank you cards that afternoon ready to give out on Monday. Then me and dad finally got a coffee and a sit down. We had prepared for every “what if” and were on high alert but it had gone smoothly. Better than we could have wished for. No tears, no clinging, only tiny bits of shyness, no slapping, no fall outs. It was worth every penny to see them so happy and with their friends. I think the joint party was best as Popples didn’t have sole attention on her and Oliver got his friends too. There’s a minimum amount for that type of party so it worked well.

I’m looking at an outdoor climbing and camp fire party for him next year, if we can get the danger element sorted. But that’s next year.

My children had a party. And it was a success.

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Why can’t we talk anymore?

My country is divided. If you didn’t know we held a referendum on leaving the EU or not. It was a close result but basically split the nation. Since then, well just before, we started to become a nation of name callers and shouters instead of talking, listening and moving forward.

I am liberal, left wing and voted remain. Now I’m loony left and a remoaner automatically, despite no one knowing what I actually think. Brexit voters are branded racist and thick. Insults are thrown on both sides and it’s so sad that we can’t just talk. Recently I was on social media discussing Brexit on a thread associated with a tv programme. Amongst all the mud slinging I managed to have a reasonable discussion with someone with the opposing view to me. It was so refreshing I ended up thanking him for his time and for being so polite in our debate.

When did we come to this? When did we become so intolerant of different views? How can you learn with that attitude? I have people in my family who don’t have the same political views as me but we don’t fall out over it. We don’t agree but we have the courtesy to listen. The people of the uk voted marginally to leave the EU, and there’s the problem, it was marginal. Now I don’t know enough about the potential effects on the economy etc (although no one seems to) but I don’t think the result should be ignored. People are obviously not happy and want out. But even those who voted out – well everyone has an opinion on what that should look like. Those that want to stay in- well a lot are calling for another vote. But what then? Best of 3? What if it’s out again? Keep voting?

It’s been dragging on for years, which has made us very uncertain about our future, as well as dealing with the austerity that is not getting better. In my opinion we need some kind of compromise. Respect the result but if we have to keep some ties with Europe then explain why. Try to unite the country instead of helping the divisions grow.

We have people on zero hours contracts, we have working people using food banks, we have people taking their own lives due to the implementation of UC, ESA, PIP etc. We have teachers providing basics for schools and food. We can’t afford to be spending all our time on Brexit. We need to stop the uncertainty and the government needs to look after it’s people instead of themselves.

There is so much hatred being spewed from politicians mouths, it’s no wonder people think they can do the same. You’re safe behind a keyboard and hey! If they’re doing it, it can’t be wrong can it? I look at the world and can’t help but worry, the rise of the far right, the oppression of women’s rights, leaders tweeting the equivalent of “come and have a go”, civil liberties being eroded, liars and cheats getting away with it, people murdered while they pray, the list goes on.

I may be a liberal lefty but I still believe in democracy. Stop the uncertainty and maybe we can heal. Just do something and then we can tackle the other, very real problems in our society.