My name is Annabelle and I am a mother and parent carer for my son Vincent (5 years) and daughter named Vala (11 months). Whilst he is still on the waiting list for a diagnosis assessment for the second time, he has been characterised as Complex Special Needs. Just like any regular parent, you do anything you can to help your child. But in our household, it can mean anything from helping him dress, reminders to eat and being gentle with his baby sister. Every day is different, whilst it can mean the same routines and reminders, it can also hold hope and a new possibility. Even when we struggle with his behaviours and traits at times, we still wouldn’t have him any other way.
Today I’m sorry to say ended up being a tablet day. And no, it wasn’t to keep Vincent busy or babysat before those thoughts cross your mind. Usually he’ll only have the tablet at dinner time for an hour. I had to go to town to grab some shopping, we were starting to lack in items like meat, vegetables, fruits and nappies. But whilst Vala and I were out shopping, I thought it’d be nice for Vincent and daddy to have some time together. So, when we arrived back, yes, Vincent was on the tablet. But it was because Vincent loves watching daddy play Farming Simulator, and daddy downloaded a version for Vincent to play alongside him via the tablet.
It turned into most of Vincent’s day being on the tablet because he was having so much fun being on it – who am I to destroy that smile on my son’s face?
I think the only time it didn’t sit right with me was during dinner time, he barely touched his food. We give the usual reminders, but this was more than the average. He was most insistent that he was full though.
Do I feel guilty for having allowed him on the tablet for so long? No, it was bound to happen at some point. It most likely occurs with all children at some point these days. And as I said it’s not an occurrence that usually happens.
Whilst I was on the Challenging Managing Behaviour Course, they said that sometimes you can use this time to have a break for yourself. It’s not cheeky, lazy or un-parent like to hope for a break when you have a special needs child and if they have siblings too. It is exhausting at times! Especially when they are very full on.
And it is important for children, for themselves, to know when it is time for a break.