Tag Archives: life

Shhhh!!!!

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Shhhh!!!  Quiet now, don’t tell anyone… but I’m heading back.  Yep, back to blogging.  I know, I know… yes, totally aware how long it’s been.

It’s been far too long, I’ll admit it.  I got caught up in puppy love and kid stuff and dealing with holidays and then felt bad I hadn’t been blogging, even though I know I enjoy writing.  Then just as I was getting myself sorted life threw up a few massive roadblocks.  Life hasn’t been particularly kind to my friends and I over the past few months but we are all at the plodding along stage and we’re also saying out loud to each other that life is short and you should do things that make you happy.  Blogging makes me happy.

So, just quietly, I’m back.  Well, I’m coming back.  This is the first step… and I know I have a lot to catch up on.  But, yeah, my inner Pollyanna really is as strong as ever – and rather well exercised this year – so watch this space.

xxx

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 three

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Ahhhh… she’s waited ever so patiently in the wings and now it’s time for Miss8 to take centre stage here.

The first baby is always an exciting adventure. As much as you think you know what lies ahead there are so many things that people can’t explain. That first glimpse of your newborn and the sudden rush of emotions and then the terror of what you’re meant to do without an instruction manual. Oh, and that weird feeling as the hospital staff say goodbye and you just want to grab them and say “Are you nuts? Why are you letting me take this child out of here. I know nothing, absolutely nothing and what if I screw up?”

Then you get all those precious first moments. The smiles and giggles, the first night she slept through (which is equal parts exciting and terrifying!), the first roll, the first roll off the couch and so on. Then, before you know it your teeny tiny baby (well, at 8lb 7oz she was my smallest) is toddling everywhere… then running, skipping, jumping and dancing.

Oh, how she loves to dance! She always has, she danced along to The Wiggles as soon as she could stand and her first dress up choice has always been a ballerina. Her third birthday had a ballet theme at her request and her love of dance has never deserted her. She currently does three classes a week and would do more if she could!

But she’s not just a balletomane. She’s also a chatterbox, an artist, a singer, a loving big sister, a giggler and a friend to anyone she meets. She has wild enthusiasms for all sorts of things. She is curious and kind, loving and giving. She can also be stubborn, dramatic and a perfectionist. But most of all she is the one that made me a Mum.

One month to go!

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Not that I’m counting or anything, right? It’s one month til one of my favourite days of the year. Yep, better than Easter, Christmas and maybe even my birthday… it’s one month until the opening day of the Brisbane Good Food and Wine Show!

For the past few years this has been a day to not only try (and buy!) lots of wines and drool over amazing food but also a day to spend with my best friend as we do the things we do best – eat, drink, laugh, find bargains, drink, catch up, chat to people… and have a wine or two. We lead such busy lives and, sadly, no longer live as close as we used to but this day is something we both look forward to. We catch up and laugh and thoroughly enjoy ourselves!

This year we’re going bigger and better with VIP tickets. I’m celebrating a, ahem, significant birthday and I’m not a big “party in my honour” kind of chick. Instead we’ll have the VIP tix and a (wine) barrel load of laughs. We get to see Maggie Beer and eat canapés made by Matt Moran (or at least inspired by him… puh-leeze, birthday gods, let them involve lamb!) and drink wine with whoever is game enough to join our raucous laughter.

Oh! And we get to order our yearly case (can I be greedy and order two?) of our favourite O’Leary Walker wines. Drat, now I’ve told you all the secret of Hurtle I’d better hope they have some set aside for us…

Introductions, part two

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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.

Most definitely not a Vegemite sandwich

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The simple joys of a two year old… ice cream with topping and sprinkles.  Each mouthful was greeted with delighted anticipation at the taste and the feel of the cool ice cream, the slippery topping and the crunchy sprinkles.  I think it was totally worth watching him get a mini brain freeze (something his older brother is well renowned for!) to see the pleasure and joy he had with the ice cream.

It’s been a gorgeous spring day and we decided to really enjoy it, the husband and I took the two year old out for lunch at one of our favourite pubs where you get a water view and can watch the flocks of pelicans waiting for feeding time.  The fish and chip shop saves all their scraps of fish heads and goodness knows what else and then every afternoon they emerge from the shop with a large white bucket and start to handfeed the pelicans.  Kids are encouraged to give it a go and any adult who sounds interested is quite often told “Grab something and try it” as well.  Such a great way of getting rid of their scraps, delighting everyone around them and having everyone grab for their cameras.  I’m sure it doesn’t hurt their business, either!

Lunch was great with the most divine ribs.  I’m not entirely sure why they gave us a steak knife (I didn’t order them last time and drooled over my husband’s plate of them, I was smarter this time and ordered them as well!) with the meals, these ribs practically shimmied off the bone as you picked them up and they just melted in your mouth.  Team them with some great chips and a salad – oops, I didn’t eat it! – and it was a fantastic meal.  We’ve been trying to get out to lunch for well over a week and we finally made it and thoroughly enjoyed it. We have so many different things on our plate on a day to day basis that it was nice to actually get to sit and enjoy the time together.

Of course, tomorrow’s Vegemite sandwich is going to look rather lame in comparison after today’s lunch.  I might have to jazz it up a little… perhaps a slice of cheese and some shredded lettuce to give it some crunch.  Yep, that’s as fancy as I get!

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?  😀