Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Innocence of Language

At this stage we probably all feel that we've gotten a pretty decent grasp of the language we speak every day. It's taken time to develop from when we were toddlers, into the school years, teenage years and into adulthood where, if we are to be honest we're still learning. Admitting it may be another story. Like some people still don't know what a tracker mortgage is??


Anyway this is a throwback to those wonderful moments where grammar really doesn't matter and the basic concepts of language will do just fine. I'm sure all children experience the same development possibly at a faster rate but I can only speak for one and we're enjoying tipping through the minefield of the simple English language.

The Lodger is just gone four and is learning to speak. He's finally decided it's time. We are glad he's finally made the decision. The sounds started a long time ago, followed more recently by the one syllable words and now we're deep into the rambling sentences of untranslatable pigeon English. Sometimes directed at you, sometimes at the invisible farmer minding the cows in the corner of the sitting room. Near where Bob the elf lives if you can picture that.


The early days of learning this new language created little gems for us which after a few weeks and more refining he's decided to join the rest of us and drop from his vocabulary. 

We see it as a positive phase to remember these developments so it's more enjoyable seeing how far he's come over time.

It probably started with the doorbell, the "ding" orgininally, then the "ding ding" and now finally the "ding dong". Followed quickly by "open door" We now spend a lot of time opening doors just in case there might be someone there. And knocking at doors so we can open the door again to see if someone us there. There is generally no one there. But we keep trying.


There are two interesting parts to me here. Firstly the simplicity of words and phases that the Lodger has learnt and how he has decided to develop for himself just like the ding ding above.

The second is the sheer annoyance and shock when we say everyday things we probably take for granted that to him just don't make sense. Generally the lodger is right. Because innocence and logic cannot be argued with.

The Lodger now helps to make his meals. Obviously the simple, not near the hot cooker ones. So together we get the pitta and we get the hummus and we explain that we are now going to butter the pitta....which begins the shock. Probably because he doesn't know what butter is. So he insists that we hummus the pitta. So we do and he loves his hummused pita. As I've said all very logical and impossible to argue with.

Current exciting words for no reason whatsoever, as well as the Lodgers repetitive nature and unbelievable memory include Gate (we investigate a large number of gates) choo choo  (cause they are just so much fun) house,  haaawp (shop), walk, no car, no bed and if course the standards in the world of PWS, breakfast, lunch, dinner (and strictly only in that order)
You can also learn from the Lodger. Apparently a pregnant woman keeps her baby in a tummy house. And you can't really argue with that. It's a bit early for Uterus talk I think.

The lodger loves saying hello. He spends ever moment of our walks saying Hello man, Hello lady, Hello Cow, Hello Bus, Hello man, Hello man etc on and on.
But then the logic.
Hello dog. Oh look dada more dog. Hello more dog.
I'm not sure what happens if we see three dogs.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

The Great Bake off!

Once we heard that The Lodger had Prader Willi Syndrome, we very quickly and drastically changed our lifestyle and one of the hobbies I once enjoyed, I felt I could never do again.

I loved baking. I was a big fan of cupcake design and when I was pregnant I looked forward to baking for future birthday parties for my child. On hearing The Lodger has Prader-Willi Syndrome, I packed up all the baking books and put them away. How could I bake, when my little boy would never get to enjoy the creations or lick the bowl which myself and my sisters enjoyed so much as we grew up. 

I was very hesitant about introducing baking to The Lodger. I was thinking about it all morning before I made the final decision, weighing up the good and bad. Would it be a disaster? Would it increase his anxiety? Would he able to resist having a taste? When he's older, will it cause stress? 

I got everything ready, the bowls, the aprons, the weighing scales, the ingredients and the spoons... and I went to talk to The Lodger. If something new is going to happen, if we are going to change activity or go somewhere, The Lodger likes to know in advance. It makes transitions from task to task much easier. We set the timer to 5 minutes to activity change and he's content to do the next thing on the list. 

I told him I was going to bake and would he like to join me. Yes, was the resounding answer.

It couldn't have gone better. We made Banana & Porridge bread together. He helped mash the bananas, helped weigh out the oats and had a great time shaking the cinnamon into the mixture, he loved stirring in the coconut oil and helping me scrap it all into the baking tin. 

I popped it in the oven and he went back to play. It was a success. 




The Lodger is almost four now and every morning, he helps to prepare his own breakfast. He carries the milk from the fridge to the counter, he gently pours his milk and he carefully mashes his wheatabix. He often helps to prepare other meals too, unless he's too busy playing.


I won't lie, I watch him like a hawk but so far, so good. 

When we got the diagnosis of PWS, we automatically started thinking of all the things The Lodger wouldn't be able to do.... can't do this, won't be able to do that.. or that... or that... but in the last almost four years, he's shown us what he can do...

Eat out in restaurants/cafes - Yes!

Go to birthday parties & family celebrations - Yes!

Learn to bake,cook and prepare food - Yes!

With a few tweaks, he can join in and participate. 
The Lodger has taught us that anything really is possible.....