There is a rather lovely word in French (though I very much doubt it’s in common usage): to crapahoot.

To be fair, that’s not quite right.  I have since adopted the word and turned it into English, giving it an additional and entirely incidental alternative life as something to do with bodily functions and owls.  Let’s start again:

crapahuter (v.):  marcher ou progresser en terrain difficile.

To translate into English, read on!

to crapahoot (verb): to walk or make progress in difficult terrain.

Dictionaries translate this glorious word (which has its origins in the military) into “trudge”.  How deeply sad and browbeaten…

Life in my shoes (oh, I just read a rather lovely blog post about trying on others’ shoes… click here for the delightful Dadicus Grinch ).  So sorry for the interruption, my brain is fizzing today.

Life in my shoes, I was saying, has much of the “difficult terrain” about it.  As someone who is fairly straightforward, a little eccentric but pretty neurotypical, living with three Aspies can be a handful.  Add in a non-Aspie little boy who (a) gets on the others’ nerves and (b) has considerable special needs of his own, and the normal juggling act that is motherhood turns into a full blown circus act with flaming, petrol powered chainsaws!

Now back to my words: I am making progress in difficult terrain, I think that much has been fairly clearly established.  Do I feel that I am trudging?  Well sometimes yes.  There are dark days when each tiny action feels like moving the earth and results sometimes in regression instead of progression.  There are days filled with panic at the amount of insurmountable obstacles that lie ahead.  So sometimes, my progress can indeed best be described as trudging.

But overall, I am really quite happy with my lot.  No-one can suggest that my life is boring or dull, I am rarely at a loss for something meaningful or important to do, and on the whole while looking at the big picture I am making forward progress.  This summer has so far been the best summer holiday since our family became complete.  It has NOT been wonderful!!  It has been hard work, and I have trudged through quite a few days and hours, BUT.  When I look at the past decade or so, it has been the BEST one!  Kid number one is in the right train carriage of life for now, at the most wonderful school I could have hoped for.  On the right track, with the right steam engine, driver and guard to support him through that growing up thing he’s trying to do.  A few years ago, I would have thought that impossible.  So you see?  Forward progress.  And if I had to trudge through all that time, all those years, I would be deeply unhappy, bitter and I’m sure my nose would now be green and hooked.

So no, on the whole I refuse to trudge.  I will, however, delight in crapahooting! through this terrain I call life!  For a start, how can you ever think of such an act in anything than bright happy colours?  Yesterday was a bit of a trudge but today was undoubtedly, wonderfully a joyful crapahoot!

Our outing this afternoon had been planned a week ago… nay a few months ago.  It all began with my Christmas present to darling man.  I gave him a diary in which were stapled twelve small envelopes, one on the 25th of each month, to be opened only on that date.  In each envelope was a challenge, a treat, a strong suggestion for the month ahead.  The reasoning behind this gift was not only to prolong Christmas a little, while saving myself the burden of making or buying a gift that was unlikely to be needed or especially wanted, but also to help our family along the road with some couple time, family time and fun (fun does not come easily to us, we need to learn!!).  So… in amongst the date-night challenges (come to think of it, the Valentine’s day one still hasn’t happened) and the couple time treats were family outings: going bowling, taking the kids out for a family bike ride (a wonderful time at Alice Holt Forest) etc.  For the summer holidays, the challenges were very much family oriented: organise a craft activity for us all to join in and a day out involving water.

So!!!  A day out involving water.  With the teensiest bit of nudging, darling man settled on a trip to the seaside.  This is only about an hour’s drive away and so really should be a straightforward day out.  

No, stop laughing.  It should be straightforward!!! Obviously it isn’t, but it should be!!

Obstacles to overcome:

  1. Wrench Aspie boy away from his laptop and Minecraft.
  2. Convince Aspie girl that yes, there will be toilets, no it’s not far away (remind her of a known trip of that distance to compare) and yes she can take her teddy.
  3. Plan to take wheelchair so that Noonie boy will have some energy for the beach.  Don’t take power chair as it won’t get on the beach.
  4. Remember to take normal kid snacks, plus feed and tubes for Noonie.
  5. Take plenty of towels and spare clothes (fairly standard!!)
  6. Check weather, for Aspie dad’s sake
  7. Check tides, ditto
  8. Check route and parking options, ditto
  9. Remember blue badge for parking.
  10. Get half way there and realise you’ve forgotten blue badge… oh well!!

Remarkably small list actually.  What’s not on the list is that gentle balancing act of these wonderful if challenging personalities, plus my anxiety that they might each explode at any moment!  This is the joy of crapahooting!  on the go.  Making progress through difficult terrain.

And amazingly, it went remarkably smoothly.  The weather and tides were on our side, a car parking space was found near the beach, rendering the use of the blue badge far less necessary.  Coffee was found for Aspie dad, and sea and sand were found for Aspie girl.  Noonie boy ran round and round once on the beach and is now crashed in bed looking pretty ill (but hey, the fun!!!).  Aspie boy took his time but eventually left his shoes and socks and splashed around with a smile on his face!

The return journey was as uneventful as we can ever hope for and only small beginnings of explosions could be heard until bedtime.  A special dinner of fish and chips was met by all with cries of glee.

Because even in difficult terrain, you can make progress, and you can do it with a smile and while having fun.  So no trudging in the future please…

Let’s crapahoot!