Monday, 27 April 2009


i've lost funny.

i just don't feel like talking to anyone. i seem to have turned into ally sheedy circa the breakfast club era, minus the dandruff and emilio estevez. about a nano second after this occurred to me, a further astonishing revellation dawned- i never really stopped being ally sheedy circa the breakfast club era. i just developed a fear of the silence. gasp. quick- everybody draw a jesus and mary chain logo on their army surplus bag and suppress that buzz of self knowledge.

you see, lest anyone be thoroughly mislead by my earlier posts on shoes and jackets and bewildering working knowledge of the turn-up, i would like to point out that i have never, ever been cool. if i have had momentary flirtations with popularity, they have been sparse and strictly contextual. some people are good at making people want to be around them. i, she said, poking her head out of a georgian handkerchief archive, don't seem to be that bothered.

but this weekend my jock boyfriend built me an actual path, so i suppose every dog gets its day.


Friday, 24 April 2009


i've been walking around with my head in fog for the last couple of days, stuttering, stumbling, and generally avoiding contact. i spent a good two hours in hobbycraft deciding between 4 shades of red DMC embroidery floss. i went with 666 in the end. distracted and foetal whenever possible generally means that i'm processing something.

on tuesday it was formally recognised, if not diagnosised, that my son displays many of the behaviours associated with asperger's syndrome. i came to terms with this quite a few months ago, shortly after his dx of dyspraxia, so that isn't really what's been eating me. what is, is the fact that the doctor mentioned that he felt that my son's symptoms could be exaccerbated by his home environment. i don't think rudy behaves differently than he does at nursery, and, if i may quote myself from the comments section *points down* in response to laura..,

"what i inferred from what the doctor said was that my background and our inherant family culture... may be informing rudy's habits. he has... license to "geek out" (not my phrase) and his myriad quirks are quite normal to [me]."

articulating that has been cathartic. i suppose in some way i have been concerned that i am in some way "enabling" him; but that's ridiculous, and presupposes that something is "wrong" in the first place. i am concerned, as with my daughter, that any future unhappiness my son may encounter will be in some way my responsibility. but maybe that shows a naive approach to parenting. in tuesday's post i reproduced a quote concerning 'asperger's as lifestyle' in which a 'real napoleon dynamite' reacts angrily to the labelling of his way of life as an illness. i don't really do outrage, but i can relate.


Thursday, 23 April 2009


who knows what makes us what we are.

this is a papercut piece called "speak flower" by kako ueda.


Tuesday, 21 April 2009

blessed 2 (two); culture

today, my son was reassessed. and, according to the consultant community paediatrician, he displays a good deal of the symptoms first described by one dr. asperger. well, y'know... yeah.

given today's findings, a further meeting will now be coordinated with the primary school that he is starting in september to discuss rudy's individual differences; a gameplan that takes into account what he will need for educational and pastoral support in this new phase of his education. at present, it is acceptable that all rudy wants to do is watch, construct and take dismantle robots. shortly it won't be, so the transition is to be made as smooth as possible. for this measured approach i am extremely grateful. and also for this... no formal diagnosis. and the reason for this, despite this long list of typically aspergic behaviours, is because, and again i quote, it is not in his best interest at present to do so. he's four.

i have been made very aware that this may not always be the case.

the paediatrician proclaimed that, unless his keyworker (also present) is significantly downplaying rudy's apparent differences, he is quite a different child at nursery than he is at home. i don't think that this is the case; i just think that there are different stimulii, and that rudy is by nature an easy child that does not attract attention of the sort to cause problems. it was conceded by the nursery staff that he behaves in obsessive and repetitive ways, and often plays by himself. it was noted by the doctor that he is, and once again i quote, exceptional ... precocious in his ability to engage with adults. his occasional verbosity was noted. the doctor, asking me a number of questions about myself, our family set up and my background, wondered aloud whether rudy's aspergergic tendencies may be - broadly speaking- attributed to his environment. he seemed intrigued.

this reminded me of this post, in which i blogged about the napoleon dynamite phenomenon, specifically this, in which a "real napoleon" responded to bewildered rumination of the character's cult status:

"the "cool" kids label the "geeks", but tell me again, who calls it a disorder? if you had [victimised me] i would have become abnormal....I suggest you... meet the family... and learn about ancestors and traditions before you go calling comeone's behaviour an illness; because one day the asperger's geeks will be labelling your lifestyle a disorder".

i have no anger from this meeting. some people already have reacted to the outcome of today's meeting with enraged confusion (the whole gamut, from "but there's nothing wrong with him!" to "why not just get on with it and diagnose him?", *big sigh*). i am pleased with the way that my son is being handled by the medical and educational bodies that he is encountering. i am proud of him, and also the way that they are working together to ensure his best interests. i have no problem with my son, or indeed my daughter, or indeed myself, being identified as "different".

but i am still processing the doctor's implications in regards to environment; more of this anon.

Monday, 20 April 2009

and for good measure

five in an occasional series in which Id compiles a list of ideal houseguests...

moss "the spider is now upon my person" the it crowd.


Sunday, 19 April 2009

the big bang poster child. and as usual i'm about 2 years late.


part four of the occasional series in which Id points out the likelihood of a ASD diagnosis for a leading light of popular culture.

this weekend, whilst staving off a migraine and plundering my sky+ archives, i came across an episode of "the big bang theory" that my boyfriend recorded. i can't tell you how enthiusiastic he is about this programme, but it is usually part of his evening when i am taking one of my marathon baths with a margherita and a stephanie meyers book. i pressed play, with a limited throb of curiosity.

within five minutes, i was sitting bolt upright on the sofa, joyful tears of recognition streaming down my cheeks, made happier than i ever have been by a sitcom since rachel gave birth. if you haven't seen it, and god knows, as usual, i'm incredibly slow on the uptake, the show revolves around some physicists, at least 3 of which display aspergic behaviour, including sheldon. sheldon. oh my. sheldon. like at least three of my family members combined and covered in equation sprinkles, sheldon knocks all other spectral tv characterisation thus far into a cocked hat. spongebob? chloe off 24? watch and learn. he's like a definitive guide. i thought this was a given, but

"Are these things Asperger's?" he asks. "I don't know."


i can see a number of reasons why the show might want to distance themselves from the asperger's issue. issues to do with pr (not wanting to be seen "getting a laugh at the expense of someone with a disability" by the more reactionary media outlets, thereby potentially alienating a good section of the show's audience); but, maybe, more enlightenedly, a genuine empathy for the alternative "normal"s that enrich our communities and a reluctance to be part of the great big labelling machine. perhaps, though, unless the creator can truly plead ignorance, or rather naivety- and this is feasible given one of them has a computer programming background that he says informs much of the characterisation on the programme- the asperger's denial seems a little churlish.


"The writers say no, he doesn't. ..." Parson shrugs in his response, "[But] I can say that he couldn't display more facets of it."


Friday, 17 April 2009


it is a universally acknowledged truth that a single woman in possession of some children, some inadequate locks and a sky+ box, must be in want of a dog.

where i live, that dog is invariably a staffordshire bull terrier. equally, i could think about a rottweiler or an alsation. but i don't want one of these dogs. i want a badass whippet.

i'm thinking that maybe a whippet might charm a burglar so much that he has second thoughts about robbing me, and does some washing up instead.

that is all.


specialist subject

much has been written about the likelihood of those on the spectrum having a specialist subject. mine was passed down to me by my (dyspraxic, borderline aspie in my opinion) father- fashion.

there are some great stories my mum tells about my dad spending all their money on custom clothes from the king's road when they were first married. ah- malnutrition can be so romantic. he always had to look the part, she says. back when i worked in fashion, the tailor at one of the companies i worked for asked for a picture of their wedding photo, which he then blew up and it went on the inspiration board. so, next to bryan ferry circa 1980 and brad pitt in armani, were my parents outside an islington registry office in 1971- mum smoking (in both the literal and new fangled sense) in full length ice blue crushed velvet and a black crochet shawl, dad in platforms and the slimmest cut suit you've ever seen, each of them rocking a 25" waist a good 20 years before ephedrine was even invented. it remains one of my style keynote images. one of my hugest regrets is wearing dad's custom leather jacket into the ground over the course of ten years- even to a wedding, once- and abandoning it in a skip in east london in 2001. damn.

mum talks about my always knowing what i wanted to wear, but the obsession didn't really pick up pace until life suddenly got a lot harder for me at around the age of 13-14. i was the girl poring over french elle at the back of the class. i couldn't seem to do much else, but i could identify alaia at 100 paces, name dolce or gabbana by the backs of their hands, and i always had the right shoes, even if i had to have them for christmas and birthday combined. letters were sent home about the way i wore my uniform. i went to girls' school, rife with bitchery and competition, but looking okay just became what i did. i hid behind it, immersed myself.

i've blogged before about how dyspraxic the fashion world is, but when i got there, i was surprised (naively) by how brutal it is. so, in a way, i had to get out to preserve it as an escape. dad doesn't spend all the money on clothes anymore (he can't, they have horses), but he speaks with regret about this, and can match me in a forensic analysis of a collar or a back vent. i find observing the above shoe as spiritually nourishing as a two week holiday, even with its borderline stripper platform and convex heel echoing the calf curve nonsense. you always need something a little off for something to be truly, truly cheeky.

i mention this because it was my dad's birthday this week, and it passed by without contact between us. we have this strange relationship where we are essentially estranged but on the rare occasions that we are together, we pretend that we are not. its easiest for both of us that way. happy birthday, dad.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

turning it up to 11

about 20 times in any given day the inhabitants of or random visitors to my home experience noise so alarming that they have cause to throw their hands up over their ears, and run in fear for any kind of availible underground cover.

the reason for this is not some kind of time loophole which means that accessing the bathroom immediately transports one back to the second world war (although i might start saying it is), but my daughter experiencing any sort of difficulty. this might include grazing herself against a door handle, being unable to use exactly the right shade of purple felt tip (because she left the lid off earlier), or, just now, being unable to satisfactorily fashion a mermaid's tail out of a 6ft square bright pink fleece blanket. any of these, or indeed myriad other inconveniences make her bellow like a harpooned bloodhound. or twelve harpooned bloodhounds. through an amp. turned up to 11.

the volume that she manages to project is staggering. as both her brother and i are sensitive to noise, we can sometimes spend the day in a state of perpetual aural anxiety, which of course is nothing to the state my little girl gets into at every tiny little injustice of life. her outbursts and the verbal attacks on me, her brother, or any inanimate object in the vicinity that inevitably follow, contrast sharply with her usual sweet, witty and heartbreakingly cute demeanour. this routine is often followed by an attack on herself in which she regrets her actions and chastises herself harshly. calming intervention is inneffective at curbing this ritual bashing of self.

and then- snap- back to normal. her confidence and normal sense of entitlement seems entirely unnaffected, and she takes nothing from what just went down, which is relief in terms of her self esteem but frustrating in that she has learnt nothing about careful deportment around door furniture and/ or stationery care. the same things trigger the same bellows, over and over. its all compulsive, all the time. she has zero physical boundaries and is often jumping on or wrestling others in affection, causing further problems. fortunately, her brother has an incredibly high pain threshhold and an indulgent streak.

beyond my concern for her, i struggle with how much responsibility i need to take. how much is down to her environment and untraditional upbringing, and how much is neuroligical. i know she picks up on my mood when at her most anxious, so i work hard at remaining calm, which is hard at 4am when she is screaming because her duvet has moved 3 inches. i need to know how much guilt i should rightfully claim, because at present i'm overloaded.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

no crystals here, people

yes, i'm probably coming across as a bit stupid here, but can i just honestly say that i had no knowledge of the meaning that some people give to the word "indigo" when i changed the name of this blog?

and that when i think of indigo i think of the dye that is made out of actual human wee and fades rapidly in sunlight, but is ultimately a colour that i find flattering?

i'm going to have to say its tongue in cheek and i meant to do it now. so don't tell anyone. just play along.

warning- contains mild teen drama references.

in march, i thought, "oh! it'll be bliss, the easter holidays. i'll be able to rightfully reclaim some functional sleep patterns and catch up with my sewing/ correspondence/ decorating/ outstanding work in garden/ cv tailoring/ freezer cooking/ father."

i thought, "the fun we'll have together... myself and the kids... as we craft together, bond over our favourite taxidermy exhibits at the museum, bake whimsical easter treats, and shop for new school shoes."

i thought, "how wonderful it will be to do all this over a hazy, blissful carousel ride of two neverending weeks, bathed in the warming yellow sunshine so typical of bristol in april."

i thought, "things will be different after the easter holidays; i can feel it."

and today i thought, "well, clearly i am a delusional idiot."

it rained. at some points it thundered. i spent the grocery money taking the children to see "monster vs aliens" (official verdict- "meh."). we came back to find that there was no heating and nothing to eat in the house other than a large slab of maya gold green & blacks chocolate. but, hey ho. could be lots worse. i just wish i'd stop setting myself up like this.

the future, in my mind (beyond june and its inevitable robot/ ape takeover *taps nose*), is always bathed in warm yellow light. i weigh 120lbs, and have become inexplicably wealthy. i never clean, i have infinite time to get all my important work done and also indulge in the myriad hobbies i choose to persue, whilst making a positive difference to the lives of others along the way. essentially, i believe my future is an episode of the o.c., only with less angst, more small children, more falling over, but roughly the same number of my little ponies. incidentally, my brother is the spitting image of adam brody, so i am not being completely insane here- he is enabling this bizarre delusion.

so, really, i need to have a word with him about that. and in the meantime we haven't done too badly this easter. we aquired a new "octopus" prime toy which my son is now heavily involved with, and which i just saw advertised at 250% of the price i paid; my man and i broke our nuptials doom-spell; my daughter hasn't fallen off anything and had to go to accident and emergency even once *touches much wood*; we discovered some religious imagery on the crust of a fish pie; and on easter day we had much tabbouleh and a really big bonfire. because that's just the way we kick it, as the good man sandy cohen might say.


Tuesday, 14 April 2009

*sweeps threshhold*

hello, hello- come in, and especially if you made it here from enchanting orrechiette, the olden blog, then please excuse the smell of cats and have a slice of simnel cake. do please find yourself a seat amongst the boxes. yeah, just shove that one on the floor- its full of stale promotional pasta. and yes, there are no capital letters here either, although i may yet get some if they are to be found on sale at laura ashley. yes, it has been an impulse move, but the schools are better here and the children have bigger bedrooms. are you warm enough? i'm just trying to air out the cat smell, there's a cardigan in that box marked "xmas decorations". yes, it has a reindeer on it but it contains cashmere (hence the moth holes, but that's the way we roll here).

this move heralds a new identity, not just a new home. for years, i have been known on the internet as anything, sweetie (flashback to 2002... me to friend: "what should my profile name be here?", i took the answer literally). unbeknownst to me, anything, sweetie was believed, for some time, by some sections of the intenet, to be a gay man. anything, sweetie saw me through tough times. when she started to be shortened to a.s., it coincided with my growing awareness of the autistic spectrum and so we grew together. but, in the same way that i cut two feet of perfectly good hair off last year to escape its history and because it somehow seemed too "permissive", i now bid farewell. like a badly executed witness protection programme, i am now indigo doll- or more excitingly for anyone with any knowledge of freud whatsoever- id.

indigo doll was a reletively unknown comrade of rainbow brite, the avenging angel of colour and shortlived kids cartoon of the 1980s. i knew that eventually when i changed the blog name it might reference this show in some way, given my likening the autistic spectrum to the colour wheel (which incidentally i now realise isn't my metaphor, but more of this another time). indigo doll was quiet shy and bookish, apart from when she was in her particular element. she favoured shades of navy and grey, and as far as i can see prefers flip flops to the rest of the gangs' snow joggers, perhaps because of her preternaturally sensitive feet. her sprite was called iq. i note with a satisfied superstitious air that the first episode of rainbow brite aired exactly twenty years to the day before my little boy was born. in short, it feels right.

hopefully this move won't be too clunky, business will resume forthwith, and that cat smell will clear. thankyou for coming with me.

p.s. having trouble importing comments from enchanting orrechiette, which is upsetting me no end. i am working on it.

Monday, 13 April 2009

a.s. sets her stall out

it appears to some that i am now dyspraxia/ ASD mental. perhaps, i have become something of a bore. i do have this tendency to get all obsessive about certain subjects and try to gather as much information as i can, utterly immersing myself in facts and data and trivia and boring people to death with it.... well. quite.

but i know that, actually, i know next to nothing, and recently, i found myself attempting to articulate to an interested party why i haven't been reading all the heavyweight neurological tomes which are availible to enquiring minds, as might be expected. my response was something like this: easy now. i am not ready to submerge myself in autism academically. i have been through a stage of realising, with something like horror, that lots of little things that we do here are in some way "spectral", and it was traumatic not because it was in someway "abnormal" or "autistic" but because it stopped being "mummy" and "poppy" and "rudy" and started being "symptomatic". look up at the sky. look around you. how long have you got? really? yes, i know what i score on the aq test. you? well. i got a 39, and? attempting to unravell what biological quirks lead to our being wired a bit differently is not the best use of my time and energy. no denial, no resistance, just acceptance, absorption, and when we can, a laugh. there is more to me than this. and if there isn't, then let me just kid myself for a while longer, with the sun on my face and caffeine coursing happily thorugh my veins.

and so to the name change. remember a kids show called rainbow bright? this seemed appropriate. well, more so than a tongue in cheek pompo-blog title about magical pasta.

it was another good weekend.


Thursday, 9 April 2009

june is indeed a far off land

it is now the easter holidays, and my body seems to want me to use these two weeks to slide into a coma- probably to catch up on the thousands of missed hours sleep last term. or escape the omniscient alternate rage/ clinginess of my daughter. however, no can do- there's bills to pay and ironing to iron and a patio to lay and a huge chocolate nigella lawson confection to bake and meltdowns to manage and wall-e related obsessive behaviour to distract from and why is there glue all over coffee table and i thought i might have my hair done. but first let me slump gently over the espresso machine and say this.

i received a letter this morning, concerning my daughter poppy's recent referral to the school health nursing service. we have an appointment. in june. 06/o9. again- june. now correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't june like some far off land with hover cars and roll-up lcd screens, where i hold a driving license and the human race has possibly been enslaved by apes or robots or robot apes? forgive my hysteria, i know how over subscribed these services are. but for the first time since embarking on this spectral adventure i felt something a little like panic. june? i don't know what's going to happen between now and june?

and then i thought well, what's going to happen at this appointment that's going to make everything better anyway? a diagnosis? that's never left you exactly awash with relief before. so, with a big sigh, i just carried on. there was a scene over some face paints and my reluctance to let poppy transform herself and her brother into daleks. there was screaming. i kept my calm. i administered some more fish oil, some more tender, loving reassurance, and some spongebob. and then i turned my attention to my daughter.

in other news- the curse of the grey dress has been lifted and i am currently suspended in romantic bliss, like an anchovy in aspic.


Tuesday, 7 April 2009


my internet generated superhero self...

i might be made of stone, but dammit i feel the cold.


Thursday, 2 April 2009

if i'd known it was international autism day, then i'd have baked a cake

and then thrown it at "the beast", in transit ("sorry michelle! love the belt!"), because that's what you seem to have to do to get any sort of attention around here at the moment.

i honestly didn't know anything about this, and i'm usually pretty on top of these things. i only know it is international autism day because they're doing a very nice feature about a little boy and a horse on "this morning". otherwise, i might have done more.

yesterday, i spent an hour and a half calming my 5 year old hysterical daughter down after she had been bullied by some neighbourhood kids. being called a baby for crying. a gullible and sweet nature being taken advantage of. punching and kicking. brutal kids (and some, not all, are around here, and she doesn't go to the same school) making themselves feel better by picking on the sweet girl. her self esteem was in bits, and even after all that time, she still told me, when i asked her to sit at the table for her dinner, that i was only doing so because i hated her. if i loved her, then i would let her watch spongebob. then she told me i was stupid and slammed the door in my face. she screams, she hits herself, she screams that she hates herself, that she is just a stupid girl who doesn't deserve to have any friends or any fun or a nice mummy. she destroys things, she lashes at her (much more docile but equally senstive) brother.

how these forces out of my control affect her self esteem is shattering, and it is very very hard to control my temper when she tells me that i hate her. sometimes i can't. sometimes, when you put so much energy and love and care and time and worry into someone's wellbeing, and you haven't slept properly in about 6 years, and you're worrying about a hundred million things, and you are human, and there is noone else to support either of you, to be told even that you don't care can feel like the biggest f*** you imaginable. and yet i recognise her frustration, i lived this, and that frightens me. i understand why she keeps going back to play with the neighbourhood kids, even when i remind her (using appropriate words) how damaging it can be for her. she wants to make friends and she can't fathom what makes people mean to her, so she keeps, with optimism, going back for more. and whne she screams at me because i don't want her to go outside to play, i have to weigh up what is ultimately more damaging- keeping her safely under my wing, or exposing her to the real world.

it should be pointed out that until recently it was thought that these meltdowns were entirely to do with her lack of father figure, simply put, but it seems this isn't entirely the case. she is to be assessed by the paediatric team next month. kids got a lot on her little shoulders.

on international autism day, even if my children don't have actual autism, perhaps i should be celebrating all the amazing things that make people anywhere on the spectrum so brilliantly different, so wonderful and inspirational. but i think that i spend the rest of the year doing that. so maybe, today, i'd like to put it out there that parenting this thing, whatever it turns out to be, is often heartbreaking- and i say that as both child and parent. i adore my children. i put a lot of work into making our life lighthearted, fun, positive and cool, and i wouldn't change anything for the world. nothing. but today, coinciding with international autism day, i'm taking the day off from the PR spin. but i might bake that cake.