Tag Archives: glad game

One of my favourites…

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myinnerpollyanna_salad_corn_avocado_spicy

Doesn’t that look delicious?  It’s coming into summer, the weather is warming up and it’s time to start thinking about salads.  This is one of my favourites, a spicy corn, avocado and bean salad.  The spice is from the zingy dressing.  It’s chock full of vegetables and is just so yummy!  My kids aren’t fans of anything too spicy and my husband has a limit on how many beans he eats – they’re not his favourite – but they’ll all give this a go… and I get plenty of leftovers to eat for the next couple of days.  It’s so easy to make and such a crowd pleaser… and it’s also a very BIG salad, that’s my pasta serving bowl right there.

Ingredients:

4 corn cobs, husk and silk removed
2 x 400g cans of black beans, drained and rinsed – red kidney beans are great, too
2 small avocados, cut into chunks
400g cherry tomatoes, halved
200g feta, crumbled
5 shallots, roughly chopped
lime cheeks to serve (optional)

Chilli and lime dressing
1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
grated rind and juice of 2 limes
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 tbsp red vinegar
2 tsp ground cumin

Method:
Cook corn in boiling, salted water until tender. Drain, rinse in cold water, drain again.
Slice lengthways down the corn cobs to remove kernels. Place in a large bowl with beans, avocado, tomatoes, feta and onion. Gently toss to combine.
Whisk together all dressing ingredients and season as required, Drizzle dressing over the salad and serve with lime cheeks, if using any.

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I hope you enjoy it.  I’m off to decide whether I cajole the children to eat any or just sit down with the bowl and a big smile.

Ouch, that hurt. Part two.

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I am a fully fledged glutton for punishment.  You’d have thought that after my experience on Tuesday that I wouldn’t go near my local Aldi again… just in case I ran into more people like the ones who upset me so much.  But I did.  Well, I had to.  You see, in an effort to keep it together for the boys and also for myself I completely forgot a couple of essential items when I was in there on Tuesday.

There’s something about Aldi nappies.  They’re awesome and they’re so incredibly cheap.  Master2 is still in nappies (so is Mr7 but he’s outgrown the Aldi ones) and I was running pretty low.  I decided I couldn’t let people upset me enough to change what I would normally do so I slapped on a smile and took the boys back there so we could get the nappies.

My husband had suggested that if I saw those “people” again I should take a photo of them in an effort to name and shame them – or at least shame them.  I had to tell him that in my sheer rage that they would speak to my child in the way they did I couldn’t describe them at all except to say one was male, one was female and that was if they were even human.  I knew one had two children with them and the other had three but that was it, and I only remember the head count because I was trying hard not to let the kids hear too much as I tore strips off their parents/carers.

So there we were, walking into Aldi yesterday afternoon.  It was a warm day and Mr7 was vocal about his relief at Aldi’s air conditioning – he let out a joyful screech and a laugh and jumped up and down a couple of times.  We had only taken about four steps in when I saw this trolley whirl around, a woman grab her bag and hiss at her children “Quickly, we have to go… NOW.” One of the children replied “Mummy, isn’t that the lady that told you off yesterday?” There was no reply that I heard as she slunk out of the store, taking care to keep her back to me so I couldn’t see her face.

I have to admit it, I called her a coward.  Okay, an f’ing coward… out loud… and I used the full f word.  It wasn’t loud enough to disturb other shoppers but I’m pretty sure she heard me.  And that’s okay, she was meant to.

See, the thing is she meant my child to hear the things she said to him and she meant to say the things she said to me but she didn’t expect to get called on it.  And she did.  There is no time or place in society for such things to be said to innocent children.  He was obviously melting down, screeching and sobbing in distress and trying to throw himself on the ground.  All she had to do was either continue to walk past me (and possibly think “Thank goodness it isn’t me”) or perhaps give the universal smile and nod of acknowledgement.  Instead she added more distress to the situation by demanding our attention and saying what she did.

So if she’s going to abandon her shopping part way through (and I checked, there wasn’t any refrigerated or frozen stuff in there or I would have alerted the staff) and slink out of the store like a whipped puppy then I’m not going to feel sorry for her.  My response obviously made an impact if just seeing me 24 hours later can cause a reaction like that.  I’m actually quite happy about it, it means that perhaps my words are having an effect on her.  I know my words were cutting… but maybe they’re cutting the poisonous part of her that thinks the way she did and clearing the abcess from her soul.  Or maybe she’s just ashamed.  I’m okay with either of those because what she did was not okay.

Ouch, that hurt.

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As much as I look on the bright side of life there are times where I am totally human and get dragged down.  This afternoon was one of them.

Mr7 is in vacation care quite a bit during school holidays, he is the kind of child that needs a certain amount of routine and his vacation care is at his school which is a place he adores.  The last couple of days he’s not fared so well and I have had phone calls to come and collect him as he’s been having meltdowns all over the place.  That’s fair enough, they’re a disability service vacation care but they’re not set up for one on one like he needs in meltdown mode… and it can be so sad and scary to watch him.

Today I got the call at around 1pm so I knew it hadn’t been a good day and was going to be a difficult afternoon.  We struggled along at home for a while and then he and I had to go pick up Master2 from kindy, visit Aldi to get a few things and come home.  The kindy pickup was difficult but manageable.  And then it all went to crap.

As the parent of a child with multiple issues I am used to the fact that we’re “on display” and apparently represent “Team Disability” and should therefore not only be happily willing but also able to answer anyone’s questions no matter how inappropriate the question or their timing.  I’m not happy about it but I do my best to understand it and if it means that someone else doesn’t have to deal with it then I’ll suck it up, smile and do my best.

But the one thing that hurts beyond belief are the nasty comments.  Not just unkind or thoughtless but truly, truly nasty.  We walked a 600 metre stretch of pathway and Mr7 was trying so hard to control his emotional meltdown but he just couldn’t.  I could see him struggling with it and was doing my best to reassure him as we walked along, talking quietly to him, holding his hand (and pushing the pram with Master2 in it with the other) and it was obvious to anyone that it wasn’t a silly tantrum but a real issue.  It still didn’t stop two people from saying the most horrible things to us.

How do you cope when a complete stranger suggests that you should have killed your child when you realised he wasn’t normal, like an animal does with their babies?  Or when another complete stranger says that if it was her kid he would be spending a lot of time chained up in the doghouse until he learned to behave like a human being and not a feral animal?

As a person who is usually looking on the bright side of life and finding the positive in everyone I have to say this was one of those situation where I was completely and utterly human and that I tore shreds off them – up one side and down the other, in fact.  I’m not exactly proud of how I reacted but then I can’t understand how they’d think what they said was something to be proud of either.

I’m great at seeing silver linings in clouds and rainbows in oil slicks.  Today I looked at the cesspit of humanity and I hope that the little sparkle I saw was simply a reflection of something good from me and not just another shard of glass under the grot and mud.  Surely those people have some redeeming features?  I know that Master7 was having a crappy day and I guess they were too… because why else would they say such horrid things to a child and a parent struggling to get through the next few minutes?

Fortunately I know that a quiet night at home and a good sleep means I’ll get up to face whatever tomorrow throws at me with a smile.  Here’s hoping it’s a brighter day all round.

PS  No pic for this post.  I could have resurrected my picture of a glass of wine as that’s about to come into play but I couldn’t think of what else to use that would be appropriate.

Introductions, part two

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innerpollyanna_autism_changingfacesInnerpollyanna_autism_play

Always Unique, Totally Intelligent, Sometimes Mysterious.  AUTISM.  No beating around the bush, that is just one of the diagnoses that Mr7 has, or a label he carries.  Actually, given that it’s him he might sometimes carry it, other times he’ll rip it off to explore it and most often he’ll just eat it.  Autism, Global Development Delay, Intellectual Impairment, Sensory Processing Disorder, PICA… or in the disability world it’s more like ASD, GDD, II, SPD, PICA and add in NV and NTT or Non Verbal and Not Toilet Trained.

At the end of the day, it’s all guesswork with a level of frustration and huge dose of humour.  We can only guess at what he can and can’t understand but we know that he responds to love, music, laughter and food.  Oh, boy, does he respond to food!  My second baby but my biggest at a very healthy 9lb 11oz which was quite a shock, the doctor was suggesting I’d be lucky to get an 8 pounder and that was at the appointment where we set the induction date.  I try to keep that in mind – he doesn’t do what is expected and quite often manages a rather interesting surprise.  When it comes to birthweight or well timed displays of cooperation in public that’s great.  When it comes to eating something I’d really rather he didn’t (and let’s not gross you out by going into that further!) or redecorating his room with the contents of his nappy… I’d far rather pass, thanks!

As difficult and frustrating as life can be, it is also a huge adventure where things can be looked at in so many ways and the world is just waiting to be explored one sense at a time… although it’s usually taste and sound.  Taste is obvious but sound… well, he can’t verbalise words but he can do the “Ahhhh” and “Eeeee” noises and he also likes to bang his hands against everything to see what sound it makes.  And when I say everything I do mean everything – walls, doors, his baby brother, the TV, the ground, me… the list goes on.  He’s also really, really curious at what is on the other side of the door, any door, and will open them and wander through to explore.  This means that we keep all doors locked when he’s home to keep him safe and to keep him out of mischief.  I still haven’t quite gotten over the day when Master2 was a newborn and I suddenly realised that Master7 was nowhere to be seen or heard… and we were the only ones home at the time.  Racing around the neighbourhood with a newborn clutched against me, phone in hand, frantically screaming his name… I swear I got at least 30 new grey hairs from that five minutes of pure terror.

Still, it’s not all hard work.  He is so loving and affectionate, cuddling up and giving little smooches and batting his very long and thick eyelashes over those big brown eyes… he’s learned that’s really quite effective on most people.  He has also learned to play with his siblings, even if it’s just taking turns on the slide or jumping on the trampoline with them.  He has relationships with people other than family and they appreciate him for the loving, unique and valuable person that he is and that’s something that I’m so grateful for – they look at him and see a small boy, not a collection of diagnoses.

A lifelong devotee of The Wiggles, someone who enjoys music and plays his own drum track wherever he goes, an apple connoisseur, a giggler with a very ticklish spot under one arm, someone who knows how to use his charms to the fullest, a paper shredder far superior to any cross cut shredder you can buy, mischief and joy and noise… all in the shape of a seven year old boy.  He might not be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

Bedroom or playground or something in between

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It never fails to amuse – or, more accurately, bemuse – me.  We’re in week nine of a ten week school term which means my normally early risers are sleeping in later and later.  Master7’s bus arrives at 7.25am and so he needs to be up by 6.30am to eat his (massive) breakfast, brush his teeth, get dressed and go.  Miss8 leaves at 8.15am so she doesn’t normally get up until just before Master7 leaves.  And Master2 leaves at 8.15am on his kindy days but he gets up at the same time as Master7 – they share a room.

Normally the boys are up at 6am but I’m finding more and more often that I’m waking them up and getting sleepy grumbles from them.  You know the kind where they are practically whining “But I was asleep… you wouldn’t like it if someone woke you up from a good sleep.” Yeah, I know, I laugh… I can’t remember the last time I woke up when my body was ready instead of an alarm – either the one on my phone or one of the three small ones we have running around the house.

Silly me, I thought on Friday night “Well, they’re in sleep mode so I should get a bit of a sleep in tomorrow, yay!” Really silly me kicked back on the couch with a book and a wine (okay, several wines) far later than I would have normally in anticipation of the sleep in I’d be getting.  Yes, sucks to be me as they invoked Murphy’s Law… they were up at 5.15am instead.

On the bright side they were happily giggling and I couldn’t hear too many disastrous sounds coming from their room so I did lie in bed for another 20 minutes, but I really could have done with another two hours sleep!  Turns out that my early rising boys are also mischevious boys and I wasn’t even game to go have a shower and leave them unsupervised as they were just a great example of siblings working together but not for the greater good.

You’d think I’d learn from this and so I went to bed earlier last night and wasn’t disturbed until just before 6am.  When I finally rolled out of bed at 6.30am I discovered the giggling and squeaking noises were from them adjusting how Master7’s mattress was on his bed and turning it into a slide.  It explains the “squeak, giggle, squeak, giggle, thump!” noises I’d heard – they were giggling as they rolled or slid down it and the thump was Master7 hitting the ground, Master2 is lighter and didn’t make as much noise.  Well, not on landing but he sure out-giggled his brother!

Sometimes quick is good…

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… and when you’re talking about a P&C meeting then it’s great!

Yes, I’m one of those people that trots off every month to my local school to put in my two cents worth and hear what is happening in the school.  In this case the school is our local special school (school for kids with disabilities for those querying the term) and my seven year old son is a pupil there.  He absolutely adores his school – he bolts down the driveway to get on the bus in the morning and holidays are not his idea of a good time, we’re far too boring compared to school!

This school is particularly awesome, we moved to this area so he could go there.  When we were looking at schools we had so many things in mind and I had the fun job of ringing every special school in South East Queensland and talking to them about the programs they run, about our son and about how they thought he would fit in.  It can be quite demoralising having that kind of conversation over and over where you say that your child is non verbal, is permanently in nappies, has severe autism and a global development delay, has a sensory processing disorder and PICA and all the other bits and pieces.

His school was the first one that made me feel comfortable, that made me feel like he would be valued and respected as a person and that they weren’t just going to “warehouse” him but actually do their best to help him find a way of communicating with us and the wider community.  It started right from the very first phone call and how the administration staff made me feel welcome and continued right through the enrolment process.  It is a slightly different process than enrolling in your local state school and involves a rather horrific verification process – I’m yet to meet a person who has left that meeting with dry eyes.

And yet through it all the staff and administration have been welcoming and encouraging and always enthusiastic.  They truly know how to celebrate the smallest things and the fact that they enjoy their job is visible.  It takes a special kind of person to become a teacher or teachers aide… and very, very special people to work in the special education field.  There isn’t a lot that we can do to show our support as parents except turn up to book week parades and things like that, so my couple of hours a month at the P&C is a great way of giving back and supporting them all.

And now I need to go and write my list of people buying raffle tickets for our latest fundraiser.  Anyone want a ticket?  😀

Introductions, in reverse order

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Adventure

On her seventh birthday our daughter blew out the candles on her cake and wished for a baby brother that could talk.  Not that she expected him to emerge with a vocabulary to rival hers, just that he would be able to hold a conversation with her, unlike our second child who is non verbal.  Although we laughed wistfully at her wish we didn’t realise just how good a wish it would be… almost exactly nine months later we made her dream come true.

A curious and adventurous child, this one is our absolutely oh so typical two year old.  He can tantrum on demand and turn it off in the blink of an eye.  We constantly hear “What’s dat?” or “Mine!” but we do get a fair few “Peeeeeeeease” and “Fank oo” wedged in amongst his constant… requests.  He’s been a diehard Wiggles fan since he was born – not that he had a choice, they’re a staple in this household – and has developed a deep love for Peppa Pig.  Food is something that will always raise a smile from him, he will try pretty much anything but is a complete and utter fruitbat and can devour a punnet of strawberries quicker than you can blink.

To watch him with his siblings is lovely.  He adores his sister and stomps around the house calling her name and expecting her to appear and play with him, he’ll give a pout when reminded that she’s at school or at ballet.  His brother is his partner in crime and they are a force to be reckoned with.  His brother will open the fridge and then we’ll discover a certain two year old sitting on the floor pouring milk into a bowl.  It wouldn’t be so bad if the bowl wasn’t on the carpet and it wasn’t overflowing.  They also like to do a game I refer to as “Egg Bowling” which is pretty much as it sounds – they get a carton of eggs and roll them along the floor to hit something and smash everywhere.

Mischief, joy, charm, giggles, noise, no fear, independent, confident and just a little bit scary… this little boy stole our hearts so easily.  Having a third child five years after our last one may not have been planned but if a surprise is just something you get that you didn’t know you needed so desperately then we got the best surprise of all.