Yesterday my husband and I enjoyed our first Thai meal out in a very long time - at Rim Nam Thai in Hebden Bridge. We had our two year old daughter along, but even that seemed easy. My son has gone to stay at his grandma's for a record three nights, since he's off school this week. Its the first time he'll be away from us for that long, so we'll see how it goes, but I know last month when he went for a night and a day, it was strangely, but wonderfully silent in the house.
We were able to take our son out to dinner in restaurants when he was my daughter's age, and he did fine (in fact he ate alot more than he does now!), and to his credit he still does pretty well, he's not the same as when he's in school, i.e. he doesn't get up and run about and fidget and make loud noises. He does wind his sister up though, and complain about the food, loudly!
I'm currently reading Multicoloured Mayhem, Parenting the Many Shades of Adolescents and Children with Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HD, by Jacqui Jackson and can't help but feel I've got it easy with only two children, and so far only one exhibiting autistic spectrum tendencies. Nevertheless, its never really easy and I notice now (even though I miss him terribly) how much more relaxed I am, the house is, its like when the electricity goes off, and all the hum ceases for a serene quietness. I've cleaned the bathroom and its still clean a day later!!!
I'm not saying that my daughter is completely quiet, she's taking full advantage of her terrible twos, but she is more relaxed as well, and naturally enjoys the sole attention. I worry that she's learning some of my son's (atypical) behaviour, which is definitely not what I want!!! I also never seem to shout when my son is away. I don't pride myself on shouting, and its one thing I thought I'd never do as a parent, but as many parents with challenging children will know, its not always that simple. There are many times when my son just pushes and pushes and shouts at me and at everyone else, and its really hard for me to take a few deep breathes! And I know that my daughter also sometimes unfairly ends up on the end of the firing line.
So why should it not be peaceful etc. while my son is at school for the day? It just doesn't feel the same for whatever reason, it seems the house is still buzzing when he leaves and if we've had a difficult morning especially. We woke up later than usual this morning, without having to have closed the bedroom door for the night (because usually DS is up at 6 am and banging about on his merry way). I understand the need for respite as many people have written about and I am now very grateful that grandma and grandad have taken the step of having thier grandson over for extended periods of time. He's different when he's there too of course, enjoying the attention that he doesn't have to share with his sister, and playing as many video games and watching as much Sky as he can stuff into each day!
**My camera is broken at the moment, so that photo is courtesy of yorkshirelife.co.uk, the canal outside the marina in Hebden Bridge, where we ate and watched the ducks and canal boats, to my daughter's delight.