Radical Unschooling

#100 Days of Home Ed…Day 3

And the third member of our little band of Crazzy is the newest…my beloved Cookie Monster.

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Yes….PanKwake painted Cookie’s beard PINK!

After five years of struggling alone as a single Mom when I placed my ad on OKCupid all I was looking for was a good friend to do the movies, museums and adult conversation with. I certainly did not expect to find the love of my life.

But Fate and my goddess of love had other plans.

From the very beginning, I threw Cookie in the deep end. That Sunday May Day morning, we met for coffee. I got lost…to the coffee shop that I picked. I was an hour late…but he waited. All the way there, I complained…if this guy had not come all the way to London from Swansea I would just go home. I am NOT going on a second date with this man.

Things got a bit better when I got there. He seemed just as sweet and gentle in person as that geeky pic that had gotten me to break my own rule. Oh yes…re-wind. I am very old-fashioned about some things. One of them being…Women do NOT chase men. Not once had I been the one to send the first message.

But when his profile popped up as an 83% match… Well, I was disappointed when he did not message me. He had the kindest eyes! So I went and read his profile. I read about his wife who had died…and thought…I wished someone loved me even half that much. Then I read his disclaimer…while he did not have a problem with single mothers they needed to be local to him in order to have the time for a relationship. Oh so that was why he did not message me! So I did something I never had before…I broke my own rule and messaged him.

After about 10 days of emailing, he was coming to London…and coffee. What I only found out months later was the man had THREE dates that weekend…and I was by far the least promising one.

But I had told him there was no point in us starting to like one another then me introducing him to PanKwake for him to simply go….sorry, I can’t handle this. So after coffee, we headed back to my house for lunch to meet my beloved little terror. And Mere-Mere.

Cookie’s first encounter with our Crazzy-ness was PanKwake chasing Mere-Mere around our tiny flat with a can of fake poo. Yes, I said…a can of fake poo…shit.

He not only stayed for lunch but when he started looking for hotels because it was getting too late to go back to Swansea…I felt so guilty that the poor guy had come so far to see me that I offered to let him stay the night. But I made it clear…nothing was going to happen.

Now you should understand….NEVER in five years had PanKwake seen me with a man. I had tried the occasional fling when she was with her dad, but only twice had she even seen any of those…in passing for less than five minutes. And certainly NOT sleeping in Mommy’s room. So I had no idea what was going to happen…she took it all in stride (she had though seen her dad with his girlfriend).

Since that first night…Cookie and I have spent less than a week apart in nine months. He jokes that we went from…emails to ‘hey she’s kinda cute’ coffee to living together.

11227888_1013308788726266_1746212417406037491_oThing is that unlike other men in my life…there were no instant sparks with Cookie. Oh, I liked him. He was really smart. And just as kind as he had seemed. But hear me now, oh stupid women of this world, I could have easily missed the best thing to ever happen to me by putting this wonderful man in….the FRIENDZONE. Thankfully, I was mature enough not to make that silly mistake.

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That moment when I KNEW I loved Cookie…poor GI Joe!

But even then…PanKwake was such a part of it all. I remember the night that I knew I loved this man. We had been seeing one another a couple of weeks…and I knew I liked him by then…but love? Anyway, we were laying in bed talking…it was the only place besides the kitchen table that we could, folks. PanKwake had taken over both her Pink Palace and the living room in that tiny flat. She was playing with her Barbie dolls in the Pink Palace. She came in to show us what she had done to poor GI Joe. Cookie laughed and was so incredibly patient with her autistic questions…What do you think? Why do you think that?

And like a lead feather it hit…you love this man.

We have been a family ever since.

On the beautiful rainbow spectrum that is autism…especially Pathological Demand Avoidance…life is not always easy…and certainly NOT perfect. But Cookie has stood by us through it all.

I remember the first real ‘test’ of our love. It was our first visit to Swansea…to see how things went. We were going back to London the next day…and any autism parent will tell you…transitions are the worst. Our kids do not know how to manage change. Do not have the words to express their insecurities, thoughts and feelings. So a meltdown is what happens…and this was a BAD one.

To make it worse…the next day something came up that delayed him coming back with us. I thought for certain that after THAT last night it was all just an excuse. I would get back to London and receive a text or email…I’m sorry this is not working out. When he went to the extra effort to make the last train of the day to be with us…well, I have never cwtched anyone so tightly as I did him that night.

We have been through too much to even talk about. I tell people that as a ‘romance’ writer if I ever wrote our story…no one would believe it.

And PanKwake? Oh…I have told him…even if I wanted to ‘let him go’ for his own sake, I could not now. She and the cat love him as much or more than I do. Oh the hours of Minecraft…the mods he has downloaded….the diamond armour he has given her.

Cookie may not have fathered PanKwake…but he is the Daddy she has looked for her whole life. And my incredible partner…someone as dedicated as I am to ‘saving’ my child…to giving her the best possible chance at reaching her full potential. I never though such a thing was even possible.

And part of that is Cookie’s dedication to our lifestyle of #HomeEd. Never once has he questioned our unusual ‘choice’ or my methods. He has though brought his own wonderful techie, geeky perspective to it.

Not only has he gotten up in the middle of the night to download a Minecraft mod to prevent a meltdown…bought a new house that is more ‘kid friendly’….and defended home ed to friends…he does his own bits like getting PanKwake her own Echo Dot to help her learn since reading is still an issue…and he kids her loads. That may not seem nice, but one of the things with autism is that they don’t get things like jokes and sarcasm the way other people do. Sometimes when she does finally get it, she will say…that’s not nice. And he will explain that he does it so she will begin to ‘get it’.

A few weeks ago I thinking about all the progress I have seen in PanKwake in the past few months. I have always known that my radical and ‘crazzy’ methods for managing her challenges were right. And I have seen steady progress over the years…if slow. But not like the past nine months. I realized then that Cookie Monster has made all the difference to her…as much as me.

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On the roller coaster of life, #HomeEd, and #autism…there is no one I want to hold onto more than my beloved Cookie Monster.

I did my best as a single Mom…and probably better than some two parent households…but having a partner in this #HomeEd adventure makes all the difference to her…as well as me.

We love you, Cookie Monster!

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