# Arithmetic

Mathematics. Arithmetic, Call it what you want..

I.JUST.DON’T.GET.IT!

And yes, I have tried for years and years to master it but I have recently admitted that mathematics will probably never come easily to me.

I can stand in an aisle at a supermarket and see the 1kg box of detergent next to the 500g box and have no clue which one is better value.

Sure – I have a calculator on my mobile phone, but I have no idea what combination of buttons to push to get the correct answer.

Solution: Buy the prettiest box!

And yes, I’m totally serious.

Lately, Ella has been wonderful though at doing the sums in her head and adopting that “looking at the sky with head slightly tilted upwards” pose before giving me the correct answer.

I hate that!

It amused me no end when both of my elder children received the mathematics award at school!

My 10 yr old daughter NEVER asks for my help with her homework.
She knows that I am THAT BAD!

But guess what.
I know that I have giftings in OTHER areas. So I’m A.O.K. with that now.

I remember as a school girl sitting down at my desk with my long-suffering father looking me straight in the eyes and saying:

“Fiona, it’s SO simple. Why can’t you see that! You just add this to that , borrow 10 from here and then your answer just pops right out at you!”

And I would look back blankly and say: “Hang on you lost me after ‘It’s so simple…….”

One day, during another one of our homework battles, I grabbed my musically challenged father by the hand and led him out to the piano in the lounge room.

I motioned for him to sit down beside me.

After he did, I said to him:

“Right Dad, play me an arpeggio in C minor.”

He looked at ME blankly and said:

“You know I can’t do that!”

I replied:
“Yes, you can” and I played it for him and then said:

“There Dad, it’s just SO simple….

He got the message and we never fought over maths again.

I have recently applied this approach to my own son when he struggles with his handwriting.

It would be like him asking me to name all the characters invented by Nintendo.

I simply could not do that, but I can write and write and write!

I was thinking a lot about this today and it occurred to me that there are a lot of things that I expect from my children that they just aren’t able to do.

Like Ella’s bike. She is 10 yrs old and she still has training wheels and refuses to even get on the thing now.
She has struggled with balance issues her whole life and I am embarrassed to admit that we have nagged her and nagged her to get back on and learn…..

But Ella is fantastic at OTHER things.
She is a maths whiz, she is a fabulous reader and she is amazing at art.

I have finally come to realise that she is meant to be an academic.
She will NEVER be sporty. It’s just not how she’s made.

She absolutely loathes sports day!
She has been hit in the head, stomach and legs with baseballs, knocked over during a game of touch footy and boinked on the head by a basketball!

But….she has won awards for public speaking, she always gets top marks in her assignments and class work and has a reading level far beyond her age.

She reads books that I don’t think even I would tackle!

And Harley – well, reading and writing he struggles with…..but he’s one of the fastest runners I know and he is great at throwing and catching balls (so much for bad motor skills eh!)

He really doesn’t care if he can’t read his aircraft books.

He’s more interested in the fighter jets photos anyway. And he LOVES YouTube!
Searching “Stealth bombers” or “Harrier Jump Jets” is more fun to him than reading about the Cat in the Hat!

Lucas – Well, Lucas is also going to be brilliant at anything that DOESN’T involve sitting still!

Outdoors is his domain and where he gets most of his sensory input from.
He is in his element on trampolines, rock climbing and jumping off high places. Climbing trees and shop fittings is his type of activity!

My kids are all unique, they all excel at different things and if I tried to force them into things that don’t come naturally, it will always be a struggle.

Just like my Dad trying to make me understand maths.

I could write a song or poem and put them to music and compose a musical score but try to get me to work out how many apples are left if you take 65 away….is an excerise in futility!

And Dad had no trouble working out the square root of 6072 but couldn’t possibly understand what every-good-boy-deserves-fruit- means!

My dream is that in the future, schools would recognise that all of our children learn differently and cater to that.

Imagine all our sensory seeking kids having their maths lesson in the playground counting the different types of barks on the trees then dividing that by the number of soft silky leaves that are lying on the ground.

Or the electronic whiz kids are taught to read by C3-PO who uses an interactive whiteboard to spell out D-R-O-I-D!

And children like Lucas would benefit greatly from regular “get up and run around the playground like madmen for 5 minutes” breaks before they are then called back into the classroom to continue their ABC’s.

Yes, I know that schooling has come a long long way over the years and I would hazard a guess that every school in the populated areas in Australia has at least 1 ASD child in it.

I know that there are a lot more special allowances made for our kids than ever before, but I would LOVE to see even more progress..

Just imagine!

Now……Just because I can, here is one of my all time favourite singers Brooke Fraser with “Arithmetic”

# Words of Wisdom….

Not long after Harley was first disagnosed, I used to go on these ridiculous frenzied google searches to all hours of the morning trying desperately to make sense of it all.

I remember finding a litle ditty that I loved so much that I printed it up and laminated it and it’s been sitting on my fridge for almost 2 years now.

I can’t remember where it’s from so if anyone recognises it – please let me know so that I can credit the original source:

“Some episodes are meant to be endured, some laughed at and some wept over.
The only constant in them all is to realise how empty our lives would be without our special kids and to love then no matter what”.

I also have a smaller copy in my purse…

Have a great weekend all

# In print…

I’ve spent the day today writing down my thoughts,
And all my gripes in a very long letter,
I wanted to send it but I know that I can’t,
Because it’ll makes things worse not better
.
I always try to be the best that I can,
As a friend, as a person, and a mother,
But unfortunately , I’ve been misunderstood,
And misjudged and maligned by another
.
It really got me down and I had decided that,
This was the end of all my daily blogging,
I was shutting back down and locking my feelings up,
My character had taken quite a flogging
.
But to my lovely friend, I cannot thank you enough,
For believing in me and talking me through this pain,
It is because of your prayers and your caring gift of love,
That has pulled me up and freed me once again
.
I know I’m not always such a pleasant and nice girl,
I take some things to heart and get real mad!
The way that I’ve been made is to de-fend all my kids,
And my heart breaks up when any of them are sad
.
If they really looked inside me and seached beyond my words,
They’d see that all my motives are pure,
I don’t intend to hurt people and make them feel so bad,
I can help it if others are insecure.
.
So I wrote a heavy poem and I filed it under “hurts”
And vowed that it is never seeing light,
The release I felt from writing it was just the trick for me,
And it will now help me sleep right through the night
.
I’m going to end by saying that I hope that they can see,
That this is all really silly stuff,
I’ve done my best to be God’s child and love my fellow man,
And they might not but HE thinks that’s enough.

****************************************************

# Looking in…

Well, today was my 2nd Friday all to myself.

After I dropped the kids at school and Lucas to pre-school, I went up to the shops for a wander and a window shop.
And wow! ….the whole day was really strange!

I started to notice things from a totally different point of view today.

Like for example: Those mobile photography studios that are often set up in the middle of the mall,  didn’t approach me begging me to have a shoot with my “gorgeous little one” whilst pushing a pamphlet into my hand proclaiming that it’s JUST \$7.95 for the sitting with a FREE photo!!!

It was REALLY nice to have them leave me alone for a change!!

I have had these saleswomen approach me before a few years back whist Harley was with me screaming and flapping in the middle of a massive meltdown.
But the silly woman completely bypassed me and got down to his level and said to him:
“Oh, thats a lot of noise for a little boy……would you like to sit on the shiny red fire engine and get your photo taken”
which was met by MORE loud screaming and crying.

That time I took great delight in saying to her:
“Don’t waste your breath honey, he has autism and you’re not getting through”

She couldn’t get away fast enough!

Oh I’m so evil aren’t I!

And I smiled today as I watched other mothers with their prams and strollers try to take an alternate route to avoid being pounced on by these cute little 20 somethings and their pigtails and annoying high pitched chirpy voices.

I also noticed just how many people will NOT move for strollers and prams. Some people just refuse to step to the side in shop aisles to let frazzled mothers past which I must say – I’ve never really noticed before!

It’s like people with prams are a nuisance?!

Then a bit later on, I was walking around in another shop and there was a beautiful little girl who would have only been about 3 or 4 and she was singing to herself and twirling around in little circles dancing up the aisles. She was clearly in her own world and as happy as can be.

She was an absolute delight to watch and brought a huge smile to my face.
It was lovely to see her being exactly who she is and then her mother noticed me watching her and glared at me.

I quickly said something along the lines of:
“Don’t you just LOVE that age, they are so gorgeous”  and she half smiled at me….but THEN when I said: “I was just remembering when my own daughter was that age – she used to be very similar to that”
that the mother’s face relaxed into a proper and full smile and then she actually started a conversation with me.

Afterwards, I wondered about this a lot.

I wondered if there is some sort of affinity that mothers have?

Did I somehow become less threatening because I revealed that I too was a Mum?

I actually found it a little strange to be honest….

I kept thinking of one of my closest friends who is unable to have children.

Does she have to deal with strangers making her feel like a creep for so much as looking in their child’s direction?

Do mothers make her feel like this because she isn’t in “the club”?

I sincerely hope not!

Finding out that she is unable to conceive is already a devastating enough blow, but being treated like this on top of that is shocking!

I had my eyes well and truly opened today. And I think a reality check like that was important for me.

Yes, I have to deal with a lot of not-so-nice things on a daily basis because autism lives here, but I never want to forget that other people have challenges that are just as big if not bigger and there is no worse than, just different.

Maybe the mother in the shop was leaving her protective walls up simply because she didn’t want to feel judged.

Her daughter WAS quite loud and she knocked things off the shelves with every fairy twirl that she did, and I’m sure that some people may have seen that and instantly labelled the mother “lazy” or “in-attentive”.

That would certainly explain why she was so shocked when I praised her little girl.

Today got me thinking also about how the world views my little boys.

They LOOK “normal” (for lack of a more P.C. way to say it) but everyone reading this blog knows that this is not the case.

How quick are society to judge what they do not know?

I was forced to ask myself: How many times have I looked at other people’s misbehaving kids at the shops and instantly made up my mind about what kind of parent they are?

Since having children with autism…..I can honestly now say that rarely do I ever feel anything but empathy for these parents.

Nowadays, I almost always give the benefit of the doubt and remind myself that I don’t know what happened to bring the child to this point.

Maybe, it took becoming a mother of children with special needs for me to fully realise that I’m always banging on about tolerance and making allowances for the my kids- but in the past I wasn’t always so kind.

I thought that today was just going to be a lovely relaxing take-it-as-it-comes days but it seems that I have made another self improvement step in the right direction.

Thank you God for opening my eyes.

# Mixed Emotions…

I have just finished finalising all of our plans for Christmas.

Our plans include travelling up to my Mum’s for Christmas and….(here’s the best part)……after New Year, Mr Patient and I are leaving the 3 kids up there for a whole week and coming back home to spend it together.

YAY!! We have some awesome ideas of what we will do and can’t WAIT to go into total relax mode

Mum with my kiddies

I have mentioned this plan to a few of my friends and have been REALLY surprised by the reactions that I’ve gotten…

Most of them have said things to the tune of :

” Wow, I could NEVER leave my kids for that long!”……

“Are you sure “……

and: “A  WHOLE WEEK! How will you cope”?

These responses have really puzzled me! I admit that I was quite hurt by these reactions, I felt like my parenting was being challenged and that I was being seen as an unloving mother..

So far – only 2 people have shared my excitement and it all got me wondering:

Am I a bad mother for WANTING a week without my kids?……

Why doesn’t anyone else ever feel this desperate to get a break?……..

Should I be more torn up inside about not knowing how I’m going to survive without them?

But I’m not feeling ANY of those things.

I feel happy. I feel excited and I feel ready.

And I don’t think that a week is really all that long anyway.

Some kids go to camps that last for longer and MY kids have already done well over a week without me….and guess what? We all survived!

Like when I was in hospital having brain surgery , I wasn’t allowed home for 2 weeks and at the time I had NO other option anyway?

Besides:  there is no-one on earth that I trust more with my children than my beautiful Mum.

She “gets” ASDs more than most people.

In fact her and Dad saw it in Harley way before anybody else and were the ones that gently nudged me towards getting him diagnosed in the first place.

Like I said….she GETS it!

Also,  I don’t have any family of any description living near me that I can call on for the little things like:

* Turning up to grandparents day / book week parade/ special assemblies/ fetes /presentation night etc at the kid’s school

* Collecting the kids from school because I’m running late

* Asking Hubby to grab me some milk on the way home from work so I don’t have to pile all the kids in the car

* Or anyone to give me the afternoon off so I can go to the Doctor’s, get a haircut or just get a break.

Anything that I need to do or any appointment I have to attend…..the kids come with me. It’s that simple.

Mr Patient’s job doesn’t allow him to be home to help with bathing the kids, cooking dinner or attending school functions during the week so….why wouldn’t I jump at the chance to leave my children in extremely capable hands in one of their favorite places so their mother can refill her severely depleted energy tanks??

Having to do all of those things yourself is exhausting! And throw autism into the mix and it’s off the scale some days.

I’m not bagging my husband at all. Due to his work commitments, he is simply unable to help with day to day life.

And that’s just life I’m afraid!

I realised that I honestly don’t feel bad at all and I realised that other people’s reactions were just them reflecting how “they” would cope onto me.

I prayed about all this and I  really feel like God was telling me that I need to realise that I am unique and not everyone sees things the way that I do.

And also that I need to develop patience for my fellow man and not get so worked up when I think that I am being judged unfairly as I did in this situation.

I REALLY felt like I  needed to defend myself and explain WHY it was ok for me to be so relaxed about this whole plan.

I know that not everyone is as blessed as me to have a mother that will do something so sacrificial for them and I am truly grateful that I do .

I also know that some children wouldn’t separate that easily from their parents either…..another thing that I’m grateful for.

And tonight as I sat down and watched “Evan Almighty” with my kids, there was a line in it that jumped out at me…….” If you ask God for patience……he doesn’t give you patience….he gives you an opportunity to develop patience…..

Hmmmm, Yes God…..I get it…..!

# The world through Harley's eyes. An Interview…

Well, since Harley has been home from school the past few days because he is unwell, I decided to take the opportunity to “get inside his head’ and find out some more of what goes on in there.

My precious little tiger Harley..

The results were both amusing and surprising!

Here is my interview with Harley:

***

“Hi Harley, can Mummy ask you some questions for my blog?”

H: ” Ok, but not too many ok, I don’t want my brain to hurt”.

Me: (stifling a giggle and putting my serious face on) “Ok, sure mate”.

“Right – question 1: “What is your favourite colour?”.………..“Black”.

2. “What about your favourite book?”………..“The Monster at the end of this book”.

3. “And your favourite T.V. show?”……………“Sonic Underground” (rolls his eyes like I’m silly for even having to ask that!)

4. “Now tell me , what is your favourite Movie?”……...”Toy Story 3″.

5. “Can you tell me what Aspergers is?”…………”No, but you and Dad say it makes me special”.

6. “Do you think that you’re different to the other kids at school?”.……….“Um, no but yes”.

Me: ( smiling thinking that this is going to be interesting!) ” OK, what do you mean by that?”

H: ” Well, no because *Tahlia in my class is an ‘ice-burger’ (sic) too and yes because everyone else is not”.

Me: “oookkaaaayy!” ( giggling)

7. “ Why don’t you like to look in people’s eyes darling”……..”Well, because it makes me scared. Some peoples eyes are too bright and some peoples eyes ask me questions and I get confused and I forget what their mouth is asking me….Also, They make my eyes all prickly”

(This particularly interested me because of my friend Laura describing making eye contact herself as an aspie in her blog as “scratchy”…)

8. “And noises…. why do some noises upset you?……” Because they make me angry and I forget what I was thinking and then I have to go back to the start of the thought and then people get mad because I go too slow for them and then they ask me another question before I’ve even answered the first one

(Very animated hands here and lots of raised eyebrows- this is obviously a very big issue for him)

9. “So what makes you sad?”………….”When I don’t have my teddy with me at school, and when I get into trouble for doing what  *Jacob tells me to….And sometimes the teacher makes me answer questions fast and I can’t , because I can’t think that fast and then I feel all squidgy.” ( big sigh and sad face).

I then realised that I needed to quickly take his focus of the sad things and move him onto happier questions…..

10. “It must feel good to talk about that, now, can you tell me what makes you happy?” ( putting on a huge smile and talking in a high pitched “fun” voice)………..“Yes” ( his face lights up again)….” I feel happy when you let me play the Wii or my DS…..also when you pray for me at night  and when Lucas plays what I tell him to and lets me be in charge!”

I explode into laughter!

11. “So….tell me about school”……………” Well, I love my friend *Jacob, and *Daniel and * Joshua….but sometimes we are naughty and get into trouble…I love it when we play on the computers – I’m really good at them Mum, did you know that?”

Me: “I’m sure you are mate” (smiling and ruffling his hair) “Anything else you want to tell me?”

H: “Yeah, I hate it when we have to do handwriting because my hand hurts and I can’t do it so I get all squidgy again and mad…..Sometimes the classroom is noisy and I can’t hear the teacher so I guess what I think she said so I don’t get into trouble, and then I do the wrong thing and get into trouble anyway” . (another big heavy sigh)

Me: “Well maybe you should just ask her to say it again and tell her that you didn’t hear her”.

H: (sighs again) “Then everybody will think I’m stupid”….

I make a mental note to go and talk to the teacher about this….. “It’s ok mate, I’ll help you sort this one out”.

(Relief washes over his face).

12.” Can Mummy and Daddy do anything to help make your life a little bit easier?” .……………” Just don’t yell at me, and don’t get mad at me if I ask you to say something again because I didn’t hear it”.

Me: “Sure, ok darling” ( thinking that maybe a hearing test is in order!)

13. What are your favourite things to do? …………..”Playing the Wii and Ds, Watching Sonic or Shadow on TV and watching Stealth bombers on You Tube”.

Me:(amused) “Do you like to do anything that isn’t electronic?”

H: “Ah….no, not really!”

14. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” ………”A policeman so I can have a gun (!!!!)….Or a Stealth Bomber pilot so I can drop missiles on baddies (!!!!) ”

Hmmmm….Violent much son?

15. “Where is your favourite place” ……….” Grandma’s house and Questacon”…….”And I really want to go to Disneyland one day” .

(yes son, you’re not alone there!)

16. “Do you know that I love you to the moon and back?”……….”Oh Mum!” (rolls his eyes again and giggles) “You CAN’T go to the moon –  you don’t have a rocket silly!”

Me: (smiling) “Ok then, I love you THIS much” (opening my arms as wide as they go )

H: “You forgot to say go, go gadget arms!”

# Brothers in arms…(and by that I mean cuddles)

Firstly……yes, I changed my blog theme……WordPress have a new theme called “Spectrum”.

And with a name like that,  I simply HAD to try it

***

I don’t know what it’s like for other bloggers: But I know that for me, almost everything that happens in our lives can be somehow turned into a blog if I let it.

And our lives flip-flop between…good thing, bad thing….good thing, bad thing…….

I wonder how to keep the balance between celebrating the great achievements that my children make or writing about the issues that we face daily and the trials that constantly present themselves to us.

Most of the time, I am able to find good in all situations, though sometimes….I do struggle.

Today, I only have good things to write.

I feel so very blessed in my life at the moment.

Sure, there are still a lot of not-so-pleasant things going on and it will always be that way but I’ve made a promise to myself that I will try my best to tip the *good thing bad things* scale in favour of the good things.

It’s the only way for me to be.

***

Last night, Harley had a shocking night sleep, he was in our room several times complaining that he was having nightmares and couldn’t get back to sleep.

The first few times, I calmly walked him back and prayed with him and laid down on his bed next to him for a few minutes before leaving again.

Then Lucas woke up crying with a shocking cough. So I went in and gave him his asthma puffer and then when he started to get a fever, I gave him some medicine to bring it down again.

(Yes, Lucas is sick AGAIN! A nasty cough, a runny nose, a fever….the works *sigh*).

So, I went back to my own bed and ten minutes later – Harley walked in AGAIN!

I knew that Mr Patient had a long drive ahead of him in the morning and by now, I was completely over it and sent Harley back crying and sobbing to his own bedroom.

Lucas wakes again and I ended up asleep in his bed therefore over-sleeping and being half an hour behind schedule for the next morning! Ugh!

Solution……keep Harley home from school.

Well, he is coughing (I justify it to myself) and having had little sleep – he’s not exactly going to be a prize student today is he?

So I threw the boys into the car still in their pyjamas and dropped Ella off at the school gate in plenty of time.

Her head teacher walked over to my car impressed that I managed drop-off this morning (knowing that with Harley’s issues this is rare!) and then she spotted Harley in the backseat .

I felt the urge to start explaining why I was keeping him home and then his little voice pipes up “Mummy is keeping me home today because I’m tired because I had to sleep on Ella’s floor last night”…….

WHAT??!!! I swivel around and look at him aghast at this revelation and smile that ‘I’m gonna get you for this’ smile that mother’s save up for times like these……

**

As we turned out of the school car park – I pulled the car over and undid my seatbelt so I could face him.

I asked him: “What’s this about you sleeping on your sister’s floor last night?”

“Well, you and Daddy didn’t want me in your room, and I know Ella loves me , so I asked her if I could sleep in her room”…..”She gave me her pink blanket and I had my own pillow and teddy” he told me matter-of-factly!

Ugh!

Instantly, I’m gutted….So this is what he thinks?????

I tried to explain to him that it’s not that we don’t want him or love him but that grown ups REALLY need their sleep.

He then looks me STRAIGHT IN THE EYE and says “It’s alright Mummy, Lucas needed you more than I did,he was coughing and wheezing last night.  I understand”……

Tears filled my eyes as I’d witnessed this amazing show of empathy in my little boy and the waves of pride that were washing over me  threatened to drown me!

Not only did he manage to articulate his feelings, but he was able to consider his little brother’s needs and put his own after that

WOAH – that’s REAL progress right there!

And my noisy boys……?

Well, presently, they are both in the lounge room snuggled up together watching Lunar Jim…..I just don’t get them sometimes?

# How to get your kids to eat veggies…..

Ok, so that was a trick heading…..

Truth is…..there isn’t a way .

Not in this house anyway.

The only way my kids eat them ….is if I manage to get away with hiding them in their meal.

Like the time I cooked spaghetti bolognaise with vegetable juice added to the tomatoes.

Or the time I crafted home-made chicken nuggets from scratch and added puree squash and peeled zucchini (courgette) to the mix. (The breadcrumbs hide any tell-tale signs of the nasty “v” word!

And not forgetting the countless times that I have served them mini pizzas that I made myself and spread them with a mix of puree tomatoes, capsicum (red pepper) and onion (and just enough tomato sauce (ketchup) to hide the taste of the capsicum!

They still to this day think that they are only being made to eat a Hawaiian pizza. Cheese, ham and pineapple

I have spent 10 years now trying to allure them by steaming, roasting, stir-frying and  char-grilling every type, every colour and every variety of vegetable that exists.

All of these methods are commonly used in menus all over the world to entice diners into ordering the tasty dish that they are served with.

But not kids.

Uh uh.

So….what to do?

Well, I went to a dietician years ago who told me not to worry about it.

Um, excuse me???? I hear you ask?

Yep. Forget about it. Don’t force it, don’t belabour the point and as long as your child is growing steadily and reasonably healthy, it’s not a problem.

Fruit.

She told me fruit is the secret weapon.

Ooooh…kayyy? I answered slowly…..( secretly scanning the room for a quick escape route and thinking she had seriously lost her marbles).

I mean…..all the do-gooder magazine articles and countless healthy living books out there tell you that fruit contains too much sugar. And isn’t sugar what we’re supposed to be weaning our little ones OFF???

Well…Yes,AND no, she answered.

Yes, it’s not good for a child’s diet to consist ONLY of fruit, (tooth decay, obesity etc etc), it’s also an often overlooked source of nutrition and vitamins for them.

She told me that as long as my children were eating from all the other food groups, (whole-grains, cereals, etc etc) then eventually it will all even out in the wash.

She told me to introduce them to those fruits that hinge on the border between fruits and vegetables like avocado and tomatoes and that eating your typical plate of meat and 3 veg is not necessarily what she means.

She applauded my efforts in making my own tomato paste sauces with REAL tomatoes and rewarded me with an excited YES! when I described the avocado (guacamole type) dip I make with just avocado, garlic , lemon juice and a DAB of sour cream.

She explained that these are the ways that children eat vegetables in the way they are designed to be enjoyed.

Not with all the preservatives, additives and processed junk that is in store-bought convenience foods these days.

Now……I am definitely NOT a cook. In fact, not only do I not enjoy it, I would even go so far as to say that I literally CANNOT STAND cooking!

But I do it. I do it because a) we have to eat and b) it’s ACTUALLY cheaper in the long run and with all the food intolerances that are rife in my family – it’s easier too.

Tonight we had a simple meal.

Actually……Let me SHOW you,

See this here chicken?

Ten bucks already cooked at the supermarket , Five bucks if you buy it frozen and roast it yourself.  Me - I already told you I loathe un-necessary cooking!

Well…..cut it up, whack it on a plate with various colourful fruits , cheese and salad and you have a meal in less than 10 minutes.

Ok…..you got me…..yes, that is a piece of processed cheese that you see there on the plate. Hey….I never SAID I was perfect right?

So…..do they actually eat it?    ****   Well……judge for yourselves……

# Uh- oh, she's at it AGAIN!….. :)

Ok, some bloggers love ‘em, some bloggers hate ‘em.

Personally, I’m in the former group!

I LOVE these kinds of lists.

This idea came from a wonderful new blog called Living with Aspie lad and the man.

The author Beeque, described her aspie sons delightful way of describing his emotional love tank by coining the phrase Love Petrol.

It’s a fabulous little story and her follow-up post is called : A little more love petrol.

Make sure you go and have a read of these 2 gorgeous posts.

Here’s MY list

1) Playing my piano, I have been playing since I was 5 years old and although I have had many years without even touching it at all (thanks to having children and therefore having all my time used up) lately, I have found great therapy in writing songs and playing.

I have re-aquainted myself with the gorgeous dark wood piano that Mr Patient bought me as a wedding present 12 years ago.

Side fact: I took Musical composition as an elective for years 11 and 12 at school and it took me years to get over the fact that one of the girls in my class completely plagiarised my piece and handed it in before me thus making the Music teachers believe that I was the one cheating….

.

2) Writing….Who’d a thunk it?

Writing was never something that I thought I would get this in to. I wrote a lot of poetry as a teen and kept a journal throughout my youth (and read it again years later but ended up burning them all because of the painful reminders that reading all this brought me – this is an action I now regret).

But since I started putting my feelings and emotions and thoughts into print, I seem to be able to get over things faster and Mr Patient has commented that he’s noticed a more settled wife.

I only write for fun and have found something that works for me. So that’s why I continue to do so

.

3) Sewing……LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!

Though sadly, like my piano playing – it is something else that has had to take a backseat since having children.  My machine still gets pulled out occasionally when the kids need a costume for school etc.

And here’s an interesting fact for my school friend readers……. the reason I never took it as an elective for my senior years at school was because the teacher (remember HER!) wouldn’t believe that the suit I sewed was my own work. Because my Mum is a dress-maker – she accused me of getting my mother to make it for me.

PAH!

Then there was the run in I had with my Maths teacher when he made an example of me IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE CLASS belittling me for not knowing the answer to a question and telling the whole class that he was also teaching my YOUNGER sister that year and that SHE knew the answers and the laughed at me!

Or the Social science teacher who argued evolution with me and told me that God is not real…..Seriously……Don’t go there with me, it’s not worth your time!

Anyhow, I digress…….!! And I now know WHY I need to write!!

.

4) My hilarious friends…..you all know who you are.

Laughter truly is the best medicine.

***

Proverbs 17:22 (Amplified Bible)

A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones,”

***

I love to get together with friends and laugh until I cry.

Sometimes, when reading other people’s blogs I laugh so much,  Mr Patient thinks I’m slowly losing the plot!

I actively SEEK OUT funny blogs because I always feel so wonderful after a good belly laugh.

Here a couple of the non-autism blogs that I regularly read because they put a smile on my face and make my day

.

http://lady-mama.blogspot.com/

http://www.rantsfrommommyland.com/

http://drgrumpyinthehouse.blogspot.com/

http://1000awesomethings.com/

http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/

http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/?page_id=9798

.

5) Saturday date night.

OK….So we stay in, but Mr Patient always wanted to be a chef or….do what he does now so in his spare time , he learned how to cook

And can I just say…..he is fabulous!

We have had a tradition (that we have been slack with lately but are attempting to revive) where every Saturday night, we would put the kids to bed and he would find a new recipe that he’s never cooked before and buy a bottle of wine to compliment it and we would spend the night “in” together and watch a DVD.

We are hoping to have a chicken dish this weekend and foxtel has some great box office movies on at the moment!

And ……

-

I’m only writing 5 things since I have already filled a whole post!

Hmmm – Interesting!

Now…….I want some of YOUR lists either in Beeque’s comments or on your own blogs!

Come on peoples……What is YOUR love petrol?????

# Silence please!!!

Lately, I’ve really been struggling with my two boys and their constant activity levels.
It’s been absolutely exhausting and brought a lot of tension into the house.

While I have been taught countless methods by health professionals such as OTs and speech therapists of how to help them regulate themselves, I find it near impossible to implement with 3 kids and 1 adult.
Mr Patient is rarely home before 9pm or he’s away interstate.

My beautiful friend Lisa has helped me to remember how much release I used to get from putting my feelings down in poetry…

So….here’s another one

Raising boys can be quite rough,
And challenging at times,
Sometimes I think I’ve had enough,
And they cross too many lines…

They seem to think that no means yes,
And push me til I break,
When it stops is anyone’s guess,
So what’s it going to take?!

The constant noise is over the top,
They run and flap and jump,
My days are full and I don’t stop,
Meanwhile….my house becomes a dump!

I wonder if it is just me,
That struggles with my lads?
Do other mums of boys agree,
Are you also going mad?

Some people say that they will grow,
Into some fine young men,
But there’s still one thing I want to know,
Can someone tell me when?

If I had to choose the thing I love,
The most about my boys,
It wouldn’t be the fighting or
The ever present noise,

It would just plain and simply be,
The way they make me melt
When they hug me tight and then kiss me,
And I’m thankful for the hand I’ve been dealt.

Mummy loves you both even though you drive me batty!!!

# Ella's lifeline…..and her mums!

“In primary school, these girls often cope by finding one good friend. This friend is often kind and motherly, and her friendship is a lifeline to the girls with Asperger’s Syndrome.

In fact, if she moves away, it has devastating consequences.

Another way that young girls cope with their disorder is by playing with boys. Male games are rule-oriented and do not require as much social and emotional understanding as female interactions do.”

The above paragraph is partly taken from a web page that you can find here. I have changed the word elementary to primary as is in Australia but other than that it is verbatim.

Now….Can I just start by saying……I am SO thankful that we live in an age where we can access information like this at the click of a button.

Yes, I know Lauren's face is blurred - it's not my place to put her face on the internet

We had a great weekend.

No , actually, it was FABULOUS!

Let me tie this all together and explain……..

If you have been reading this blog for a while you will be aware that:

a) We believe that Ella is on the autistic spectrum as are her brothers though she is not formally diagnosed and

b) that she has endured some pretty heavy-duty bullying for six years straight.

Ella has made a great friend this year called *Lauren.

Lauren only started new to the school this year so she is unfamiliar with what the other yr 5 girls think of Ella.

Lauren has an older  brother with Down Syndrome so she understands how it is to grow up with something a little “Different”.

So……(this is where the good bit starts) Imagine my delight when Lauren invited her over for a sleepover on Saturday night.

Lauren and her Mum *Trish came over Saturday afternoon to pick her up and stayed for a coffee and a chat. And then Trish revealed some AMAZING things to me that I NEVER knew before now.

Apparently, around the time that these dreadful little girls were taunting Ella at the beginning of this year, they also started to pick on Lauren BECAUSE she was with Ella.

For no other reason than that.

Just because she was friends with Ella.

Charming aren’t they!

Anyway, Trish was telling me that when this first happened, that Lauren came home upset and told her what was happening and Trish told her daughter that she had to make a choice.

She told her that she needed to choose whether to leave Ella and therefore taking away the reason for the girls to taunt her as well, or stick by Ella’s side and stand up for her.

Obviously, Lauren chose the latter.

And I started crying!!!!

I did (of course) start to wonder what would have happened if Lauren had have chosen the first option and turned on Ella too – but further on into the conversation with Trish, I got my answer.

Trish told me that she was raising her children to learn tolerance and kindness. And I believe that Trish wouldn’t have given Lauren that option if she didn’t know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she would make the right choice.

And God bless her – she did!

Trish also told me that the “staff in the positions that are in charge of Ella and Lauren”  (can’t give away job titles) had a meeting with her and Lauren about the events that had taken place with Ella and the bullying shortly afterwards.

(I had written an email to 4 staff members describing the events that Ella had told me) and these staff members were following my allegations up with them.

Part of me was pleased that they’d delved deeper into this than I had thought, but another part of me was disappointed that I’d never ever been given any feedback or follow-up to these events. As far as I knew – nothing was ever done about it all.

(Just as I have never received ANY feedback from the documentation that I took up to the school regarding Harley recently.) Hmmmmm…..

Anywho, The next line of this paragraph also peaked my interest as it rings very true for Ella.

In fact, if she moves away, it has devastating consequences.

Sure – there have been instances still where the girls get Ella on her own and start picking on her again, and there were the “fat” taunts recently , but interestingly enough – EVERY SINGLE one of these events have happened on a day where Lauren has been absent.

Lauren is on the student council so often gets called away but now Ella has been accepted as part of a 4 person little group and the other 3 girls include her when Lauren isn’t there.

I’m just so thankful I could burst!

And lastly,

Another way that young girls cope with their disorder is by playing with boys……Yes, yes, yes!….When Ella was right in the thick of the bullying, she would often play handball with the boys because they accepted her for who she was.

So, you see – there is a big warm fuzzy feeling washing over me for the first time since Ella started school almost 7 years ago, and I like it!

Most afternoons, Ella and Lauren are on Skype even though they’ve only seen each other a few hours before hand.

It’s SO cute hearing them discussing all those amusing little tween things.

And thank goodness…….BOTH of the girls think Justin Bieber is annoying and overrated!

LOL!!!

# Pea Stool

PEA

STOOL

Friday was Lucas’ first day of pre-school .

He calls it Pea Stool..….!

I actually googled “pea stool”  to see what kind of amusing images it would bring up and after seeing the Japanese stool that is purpose designed for a man to kneel on to pee in a urinal………I decided to go with 2 separate images instead LMHO!

And Lucas was SO excited! He grabbed his new Thomas backpack and lunchbox early in the morning and repeated “Pea Stool” over and over again in a beautiful sing-song voice.

As soon as we arrived, he ran straight over to the other kids and waved goodbye to me.

Not even an ounce of hesitation.

None.

And, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. Out of all my kids, this one has never had anything even CLOSE to separation anxiety.

I did however find it hard to believe when I realised that although I have been a parent for 10 years now, this is my FIRST experience with pre-school!

Ella and Harley both went to a family dare care setting in a lady’s house when they were younger and then “Prep” which is the year before school when they were 4. (Prep is the year before school here and is in the same school setting that the rest of the school is at).

So it’s basically pre-school but they wear a uniform and it’s more “school like” than pre-school.

Lucas simply wasn’t ready for that.

And I worked when Ella and Harley were both little. This is the first child that I have been able to be a full-time SAHM mum to.

Go away Mum….

At pre-school, he has been given an aide for one of his days which is just FABULOUS!

She implemented a communication book and has written in already!

Im so impressed!!! I love that they are so willing to help me with Lucas.

They even told me that they will help me to get him toilet trained. I am hoping to get him fully trained during the Christmas school holidays (which run from the week before Christmas to early February).

So that’s going to me a wonderful help!

As we got out of the car, I popped his hat on his head and went to take a photo…as you can see – he didn’t want to play ball…..

I decided that because it was my first official child free day in years (yes, I’ve had others but they have always been because I had an appointment or  something – not just a “Do-whatever-you-feel-like-day!” – I would I take myself off to the hairdressers.

I decided that I was fooling myself and simply couldn’t pull off the blonde look anymore with my skin tone so  I went back to brunette…..with a few highlights of course!

I LOVE IT!

I feel like the “real Fi” is back. I look in the mirror now and recognise myself!

This change of heart actually came about whilst looking at baby photos of the kids recently and seeing myself “natural” !

Here’s a sneak peek……⬇

Afterwards I went window shopping and indulged in my favourite lunch…….Tuna and avocado Sushi with a LOT of wasabi. In fact, I may have gone  overboard on the wasabi because both my nose AND my eyes were watering!

Then off to get a coffee from the best little coffee shop in my area and more window shopping.

What an amazing day I had – I could definitely get used to this!!!

Still a little disappointed by Lucas’ refusal to let me get a decent photo of him that morning, You can imagine how thrilled I was when I arrived to collect Lucas that afternoon and I was handed this wonderful laminated collage of him that one of the awesome teachers made for me  …..

It truly was a wonderful day for all…..

Now I have to go and finish writing YESTERDAY’S (saturday’s) post that I didn’t get around to finishing…..*sigh* lol!

# Ella on living in the Madhouse – 20 questions……

Ella and I both love to talk and we often have really interesting conversations.

I asked her if she was interested in writing something for my blog and her eyes lit up.

But then she started to get worried, she wasn’t sure that she would be able to write a whole blog post on her own so I suggested that we do it in a 20 questions format.

So here goes….an insight into the mind of a 10 year old girl in 2010.

1.What is your favourite colour?….Purple.It’s not as babyish as pink and its also Grandma’s favourite colour.

2. What is your favourite song?….Fireflies by Owl City

3. What is your favourite book?…..The secret diary of a wimpy kid

4. And your favourite TV show?…...Victorious

5. So, what movie do you love the most?…….Runaway Vacation.

6. What do you think Aspergers is?……That their brains are wired differently and they get confused a lot. I think it makes people with aspergers feel like they are different to other people and that makes them sad.

7. Do you think that you have aspergers?…..Sometimes yes I do.

Me: “Like when honey?”…….Well, when I read books and stuff that you have on aspergers and it feels like I’m reading a book about me.”

“Also mum, you know *Jessica from school” ( a girl in yr 12 that’s been mentoring Ella who is diagnosed with aspergers)

Me: “Yes”

“Well….I’m like her too.”

Me: “How do you mean?”

“I don’t know how to make people like me and I don’t understand what they talk about. And sometimes they pull faces that confuse me.”

8.” How does it feel to have 2 brothers with aspergers?”……..”Well, sometimes it really sucks.”

Me: “Can you explain why?”  ”Harley is always so loud and embarrassing, especially when he has a meltdown at school or the shops.”

Me: “Yeah, that’s hard for me too”

“And it gets really annoying when he won’t shut-up about Sonic or Stealth bombers *rolls her eyes*

9. Do your brothers sometimes do strange things?…..“YES”!  (giggling at the thought),

“Sometimes they cover their ears and cry when it’s noisy but then other times they are the ones making all the noise. It’s like…..make up your mind boys, do you like noise or hate it?” (grins).

Me: “Thats because sometimes they are more anxious than others and react more, that’s all.”

“And also, they always play the same stupid games over and over again, its SO annoying. Like stupid Sonic…”  *another eye roll*.

Me: (laughing) “Yep, sometimes I agree” .

10. So what do you LOVE about Harley?……”He is really smart and REALLY funny! – He tells the dumbest jokes that don’t even make sense!

11. “And what about Lucas, what’s do you love about him?”……”I think he looks up to me and that’s so cute – and he is always smiling and he runs everywhere! He never sits still and it’s so funny!”

12. “Is there anything about your brothers that you don’t like?”…….“Yes, Harley’s meltdowns. They are embarrassing and he always butts into conversations. He talks about Sonic too much and he always makes you sad and takes all your time.”

Me: (wiping a tear from my eye)…”Well honey, he is still learning how to deal with things in a less angry way, we need to help him by trying to understand when he isn’t coping.

And he butts in because he hasn’t learnt yet that he needs to wait his turn. He thinks that he’s the only one with something worthwhile to say. I’m working with him on this one ok?”

(understanding creeping onto her face) “Ah….ok Mum” (smiles).

13. “So, I’m guessing that there are times when you feel sad being in this family?”……“Yes, I wish that the boys didn’t take so much of your time and make you so sad.”

Me: (nodding)”Yeah, me too sweetheart. Me too.”

14. “So what can we do to help make it better for you?…..”  ”Well, I like it when we have those Mummy / daughter days….Can we have another one?”

Me:” Absolutely! Let’s plan the next one.”

15.” So how do you cope when things get hard for you?”…… “Usually I go to my room and pray and read or draw. Sometimes I hide under my sheets until I feel better.”

(There’s a typical flight response if ever I heard one!)

16. “What’s something good that you hope for Harley’s future?” …..”That he makes some good friends and that he learns how to cope better.”

17. “And what about Lucas. What do you hope for him?”…..That he learns to talk and sit still!

(I giggle).

Me: “Well Ella, I hope all of those wonderful things for you too, I know that you will be successful because you are so smart and kind”

(Ella blushes)” Thanks Mum ” (smiles)

18. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”……”A cartoonist or a graphic designer. Actually, a chef would be cool too!”

19. “What are your favourite things to do?”…..”Play my guitar, read, draw, cook, listen to music”

20. “Do you know that I love you to the moon and back?”……”Yes, and I love you more Mum…”

( I sniff and dry my eyes).

Isn’t she a gem? Or am I just TOTALLY biased?

LOL

# Blogging about your children. Is it right or wrong?

google image

Since I started blogging, one of my favourite things to do is check out the wordpress homepage.

For those non-wordpress users and the non-bloggers, they have a section called “Freshly Pressed”.

Freshly pressed is a selection of other people’s blogs, that are selected by wordpress because the post is interesting, different or unique. They are updated regularly and it has helped me to find a number of interesting blogs that I may not have ever come across otherwise.

There are now at least 8 blogs that I have subscribed to and receive updates regularly.

Last week on freshly pressed, there was however, an article written by a woman about parents who blog.

Interestingly (or  rather – not surprisingly) she doesn’t yet have any children herself.

She started the post by describing  an event that occurred in her own life as a teenage girl.

The story goes that one day, she was snooping through some word documents on her mother’s computer and came across a letter that was password protected. She cracked the password and went onto describe the horror she felt as she read what her mother had penned as a spoof Christmas letter.

The letter was a tell-all account of the bratty behaviour that her daughter had been displaying and various other tidbits about the family. It described the hormonal hell that she was putting her parents through and the misdemeanours of other family members.

The writer was shocked and angry. She felt like her mother had betrayed her.

Ok, I probably would feel a certain sense of betrayal too. But ……as a mother myself now, I can see the other side of the coin.

I can see that sometimes…..mothers just reach breaking point and need to get it out!

Personally, I think that if the mother had this letter stored in a password protected file, I doubt that she really sent it out at all. I think it was intended as a tongue in cheek letter and more of a personal venting post than anything.

Even the writer says that she doesn’t know if her mother really sent it out or not.

But then she went onto compare this situation to the thousands of parents who  “are going public with their children’s personal lives every single day”.

She commented on the daily updates from parents on social networking sites such as Facebook - with status updates such as “Can’t wait to get away from the kids on the weekend” and the blog posts from parents detailing the issues that their children are having at school, and writing about  “the shackles of parenthood, and various online comments about how boring it is to be a stay-at-home parent…

She wrote that it is wrong of these parents to put any of this out there on the world-wide-web and that one day in the future, our children may possibly stumble across one of these articles and feel the same sense of betrayal that she did when she broke into her mothers word file and read something that was never intended for her eyes.

In the last paragraph of her post, there was another line that got my back up…. ”I certainly wouldn’t tell a 4-year-old that his tantrums drive me to drink an extra glass of wine….”      So…..this is the part where I give MY opinion…..

Yes, she has made some very valid points, I suppose that there is a possibility of children feeling betrayed in the future if things are read in the wrong light.

But there’s also a possibility of me saying something nasty to them in a heated moment when I don’t take control of my tongue and say something without thinking through the consequences.

Of course, I try to NOT let that happen, and take all measure to keep my cool in stressful situations and be the good example that my kids need.

But guess what?   ….I’m human. And so are all of you reading this.

Sure, anyone that is a parent whether you are raising NT or special needs children ARE going to be under pressure

A LOT OF THE TIME!

It’s all part of the job description!

And now onto the blogging debate.

I can only speak for myself and MY family……..my husband and children are all aware that they are the main characters in my blog.

In fact, they all (bar Lucas) chose their own pseudonym names.

They all know that they are allowed to read my blog whenever they want to.

It’s all part of the thing called “ honesty”  that I’m trying to teach my children about.

And this keeps me accountable….. Knowing that my children might read what I’ve written about them helps me to remember to choose my words carefully and to not go off on angry tangents.

At this stage, only Mr Patient and Ella CAN read but I have read posts out to Harley whenever he’s asked me to.

( N.B. I’m still being careful in the respect that I won’t be reading out the posts about the early days of diagnosis to him just yet because they are filled with raw emotion and he’s too young to take that on board, as he wouldn’t understand that it’s not his fault……)

They like being the subjects of my blog and often whenever something funny happens here – one of them inevitably asks “Is that going on your blog Mum?”

My children KNOW that underneath all the emotional writing and outbursts that I love them unconditionally.

I don’t have secrets in this house.

Of course, there are things that Mr Patient and I DO NOT tell the children because a) it’s too “grown up” for little ears or b) it is information that they don’t need to be burdened with.

But that all comes under basic common sense anyway.

Ella has had girls at school say to her “We saw your artwork on your mum’s blog and we love it!”

She got a real boost from that!

And I know there are a lot of mothers from school that read my blog because I’ve seen the changes in them since I started writing about my family and our struggles with autism.

I notice the different and more understanding looks that they give Harley when he’s pitching a fit and I notice the number of parents that go out of their way to say Hi to him…just because.

I’ve seen other the other uglier side too.

I’ve endured the stares from judgemental parents, I’ve noticed some parents purposely avoid me now and had one of them ask me how things are going in my “madhouse”……. Interesting choice of words from a mother who barely speak to me  don’t you think?!  :)

In conclusion……I understand the point that this writer was trying to make, but as a non-parent I think she was being a little harsh judging that which she has never walked through.

Out of all the parenting blogs that I have read , they all contain the good, the bad and the ugly.

But if you delve deeply enough into any of these blogs and read more than one post…..you will see that the underlying theme in them all is…..unconditional love.

These parents care SO MUCH about their children that they want to write about them and boast about them. But life isn’t only made up of wonderful, gooey, fuzzy moments.

And my children KNOW that all whingeing and moaning aside……they are my everything. And that’s good enough for me.

# My different child *rolls eyes*

Has anyone else ever had one of those mornings where you feel on top of the world but it only takes one small thing to bring your whole world crashing down around you?

Well, I had one of those moments this morning.

It is a beautiful sunny Spring day here and everything just seemed to go perfectly to plan.

We left ON TIME for school, the children got ready without a fight (well, it is a dream sequence so I can embellish a bit yes?), the traffic lights were all green and I thanked God in the car for my precious children and this glorious weather.

The children only had 4 arguments in the car which is SO MUCH better than the usual 10-15!

I decided to walk the children in because it is such a lovely day instead of doing my usual drop and go.

Lucas actually walked beside me holding my hand, (for a bit) and I was filled with a gooey feeling. Nothing was going to rain on my parade today.

Except this……

I was chatting to a lovely lady ( I don’t know her very well) and we were laughing and chatting about nothing and everything and then her gorgeous 2 yr old son came over to her and tapped lightly on her trouser leg and said in a perfectly clear, perfectly enunciated, gramatically correct voice:

“Mummy, I need to go to the toilet please”

Ugh… my heart sunk into my boots. It was a double whammy heartbreak for me.

Lucas is 4.

Well, actually, he’s closer to 4 1/2 which makes this all so much worse.

You see:  the longest intelligible sentence I have ever heard Lucas utter was jam packed with semantic pragmatic errors and incorrect word usage that it was actually funny.

He walked into my bedroom on his (4th)  birthday this year and said:

“Happy morning Mummy, I am number 4, and it’s my day of cake”!

Cute – yes, but oh so wrong.

And here was this adorable 2 yr old getting it perfectly right first attempt.

Lucas often extends his sentences that usually only contain 3 or 4 correct words at the most by adding babble or made up words which actually makes him sound worse.

**

And part 2 of the heartbreak was realsing that this 2 year old is toilet trained and I cannot get my 4 yr old out of nappies no matter how damn hard I try.

And it’s not because I’m a lazy parent, no, I have been trying on and off for 2 1/2 years now.

And it’s not because I don’t know what I’m doing. I have already trained a boy AND a girl. And they were both trained at 2.

It’s because this child has absolutely NO idea what goes on down there???

He will happily sit in a dirty nappy unaware that he has done anything until I smell it.

I sit him on the toilet and he sometimes goes. So I put him in underwear and within minutes they are soiled.

And this child often goes several times a day.

I got sick of having to throw out so many pairs of dirty underpants that I got tired of cleaning, soaking and having to change his whole outfit several times a day that I put him back in pull-ups after weeks and weeks with no success.

I’m at my wits end with this.

I’ve read piles and piles of literature stating that some autistic children take longer than usual to train but I’ve never experienced this before and I’m all outta ideas…..

*sigh*

Yes, my child is different.

AGAIN.

I’m sick of autism today…..;)

# Um….what?!

I was tucking Harley into bed tonight and I pulled up his blanket and kissed him on the forehead.

I said to him: “I adore you sweetheart”

And he looked at me strangely and said “Whats that mean Mum?”

So I explained that adore means that I  REALLY REALLY LOVE him!

“Oh” he says straightening his pillow.

I walk towards the door and reach for the lightswitch when I hear his little voice call out to  me…

“Mummy”

I turn around, “Yes Darling?”

“I abhor you too!”

# My ratbag boys!

I wrote this a few weeks ago when my 2 mischevious little boys decided to climb over our front gate.

The fence is about 2 metres high (about 6.5 feet) and they had to climb onto the wheelie bin (outdoor trash can that’s about 4 feet high) to reach it.

Pretty impressive for a 4 year old I think. But like most boys – they will do anything of another boy dares them to!

Oh me Oh my,

Oh please! Oh why?

I’m feeling rather tense

.

My boys were found

Not making a sound while

Climbing over our front fence.

.

They jumped the gate,

I was too late,

To stop them falling down

.

On the other side,

They tried to hide

From the neighbour’s angry hound.

.

They’ve never learned

That awkward squirms,

Could promptly seal their fate

.

So across the road

To our humble abode,

They ran towards our gate!

.

Their mischief thwarted,

Their mission aborted,

And scared out of their heads

.

They came inside

All hyped and wired

Claiming they were “almost dead”

.

So they went and played,

Being LOTS more staid

They fiddled with their toys

.

I smiled instead,

I knew in my head

That boys will ALWAYS be boys

*****

I doubt that they will attempt that fence climbing escapade again anytime soon!

google image

And yes…….they DID escape the dog but only to taunt him again from the safe side of the fence!!!

# A grown up day and an uncomfortable encounter..

Well, I had a wonderful girls day out today.

Our surprise was going to a very posh hotel for “High Tea”.
It was absolutely beautiful and very grown up and civilized!

And Debbie even ordered a gluten-free platter just for me so I was very touched.

There were 8 of us all up including her. I only knew one of the other ladies there and recognised another whom I have met before through Debbie though I don’t really know her.

So there were 5 ladies there that I’ve never met before. They were lovely.

But one of them in particular got me offside rather quickly when she described her teenage daughter and told me that I had no idea what I was in for because my kids are still young.

I think she actually said I was “lucky!!!!!

And she’s probably right to a degree.

It’s true – I can’t comment on raising teenagers because I haven’t done it yet and I know that there are a lot of really wonderful parents that still end up with wild teenagers that are no reflection on their parenting skills, but when she looked at me and said:

“Parenting children is SO easy when they’re still as little as yours” …….. I had to sit on my hands so I didn’t punch her!!

She has obviously (to my knowledge) ever had to raise a child with an autism spectrum disorder or any sensory processing issues!

Because this is certainly NOT easy!!!!! Not by any stretch of the imagination!!!!!

Of course I cannot possibly know what the teenage years will bring for us , but I imagine that most teenagers didn’t constantly scream at, hit, kick and punch their mothers as little children because they were so overwhelmed and couldn’t cope with the stimuli around them.

And if my teenager deliberatly defies me for no known reason…..yep, already had that too!

And I seriously doubt that if she described raising little kids as “easy” compared to raising teenagers , that she ever had to deal with a public meltdown EVERY time she changed routine without forewarning the child.
Or had to spend half an hour reprogramming the child because she forgot to mention a small detail of a seemingly insignificant event.

Or even had to keep calm while her child screamed the house down because his foot was itchy and he couldn’t feel his toes!

When you’ve had to wrestle a child off you that starts rocking and head banging because the foods on his plate were *gasp* touching each other – then you can tell me that parenting little kids is EASY!

Look, I’m sure she is a lovely lady.
And if she’s friends with Debbie as well, she must have some redeeming qualities.
But she was outspoken to me and I guess I reacted badly because a part of me is wondering if this raising spectrum kids thing could possibly get any damn harder than it already is?

And if it does…….I’M MOVING OUT!!!!!

Ro……I value your opinions!!!!

Deep breaths Fiona…….

# Girl power…

As with all households that live with aspergers – it’s been a full on week in the Madhouse.

The usual meltdowns, tantrums, drama, stress and sleeplessness have, applied but this week Lucas has been quite sick.

And I mean REALLY quite sick.

We took him to the Doctors on Wednesday night and were told that he was severely dehydrated and close to needing hospitalisation and an intravenous drip.

Thankfully with God, it didn’t get that far but I did have to sit up all night syringing an electrolyte solution into his mouth in 10 ml lots every 10 minutes.

I did it for 6 hours straight and nursed him back to the little boy we know and love.

He is still recovering but SO much better.

Throughout all of  this drama- I had 3 wonderful expressions of love from my friends.

Firstly, my friend Lara wrote me the most beautiful and touching God inspired poem and kept in constant contact with me, secondly, my friend Debbie cleaned up my child’s vomit while I comforted him. (Now THAT’S true friendship in my books!) LOL

And thirdly, When we arrived home from the Doctors on Wednesday there was an enormous bunch of the most beautiful flowers on my doorstep.

My best friend Hannah had heard through my mum that it’s been a tough week and wanted to bless me.

And they are gerberas. My absolute favourite!

(Maybe she knows that because we used to live together back in the day and our flat always had gerberas everywhere hehehe)

It’s easy to get low when things aren’t exactly going to plan, but I’m choosing to only look at the good things this next week.

And my state of mind and emotions from yesterday can be summed up in three small words……..

MORE SCHOOL ISSUES!!!!!!!

And this time it’s with BOTH of the older kids.

Ugh.

But I’m NOT going to think about it right now.

I have a girls days tomorrow with some close friends and I’m going to damn well enjoy it. We get to play “ladies” for a day.

I’m even wearing makeup and *gasp* a DRESS!

Yep, that’s right, the tracky dacks, and the ugh boots have been relegated to the back of the wardrobe in anticipation of being childless and fancy free!

I might even pull out some heels!

The best part is that the whole location and details of the get together are a “secret”! Ooooooh. We’ve been instructed to wear smart casual clothes and ask no questions!

We are all meeting at Debbie’s house (my vomit mopping friend!) and she is going to take us all there in her minivan.

Woohoo……..gonna be dangerous!!!

Have a good weekend all……

# Fiona gets mad…

I was thinking the other day about something that kids used to say when I was at school.

It was actually quite mean now I think about it but when you’re a kid or a teenager – you don’t think too much about the impact of your words .

They used to say to people in art class – that’s not artistic, that’s more like autistic and it was used as an insult….

Ugh, I still cringe whenever I remember that, but interestingly enough, it was never something that I can recall saying myself…. Maybe I was already being prepared for what lay ahead?

It was used in the same context that kids nowadays say “retarded” or “sick”.

It was also quite common to make fun of the slow kids.

I don’t believe that my school was much different from any other schools in that respect and childhood teasing and taunting seems to part of growing up.

But what is too much….

What oversteps the boundaries of harmless fun and into the area of bullying?

When do you need to step in as a parent and what should you just leave to settle on its own?

Of course the answer to that varies between different children and circumstances but for me, anytime that one of my children is so hurt by comments that it starts to impede their home life means it is going too far.

I have mentioned before that we believe that our daughter Ella is somewhere on the spectrum and we know that she is very different to other girls her own age.

We did start to explore the diagnostic route and some professionals believe that she does in fact meet the criteria for a diagnosis. – However, we stopped going down that road on her request and we will revisit it in the future again if  the need arises.

It’s true that she may just have a lot of autistic traits but not enough to fully diagnose her, and we give her more grace than you would an NT child because we know what we see in her.

And she is a flightier –  she shuts down in times of crisis and avoids confrontation at all cost.

So she is the polar opposite of Harley!

Today at school the children were allowed to wear mufti clothes (casual) clothes if they brought a gold coin donation as a fund-raising event and my concerns were raised when Ella and I had the following conversation;

Me: “Why don’t you wear those lovely denim short-alls that we just bought you up at Grandma’s”

Ella : “ No way, they’ll make me look too fat”

Me : (incredulous as she is TINY ) “WHAT! –  You… Fat- you’ve GOT to be kidding”!!!???

Ella : (with tears welled in the corners of her eyes threatening to escape any second) ” I’m NOT wearing it Mum, I need to look thinner”

Me : “But you’ve only had them TWO WEEKS and they look fantastic on – you wore them a lot up at Grandma’s?”

Ella: “Yes, but I don’t know anyone up there who will tease me”

Me: (starting to see red) “Who is teasing you, what did they say. Did they actually call you fat?”

Ella: (tears flowing now) - “There was a book in the library about weight loss and she said that I need that because I need to lose weight”

Me: “Who is SHE? And what the hell is going on?”

Ella: (sobbing now) “* Kirsten said it, please don’t be angry with me Mummy”

Me: “Oh baby girl (putting my arm around her shoulders) – no-one is angry with you, I’m furious with *Kirsten though”.

Ella: (looking somewhat relieved) “Oh…that’s good. She said it in front of *Megan and they both laughed and whispered behind their hands”.

Me: (grabbing the phone to ring and abuse their mothers and have it out once and for all) “Baby, they are not worth it, they are just being mean girls. Stick with *Emma and *Tina, they are your true friends”

Me : “So, now, what would you like to wear instead”

Ella: “Something tight and fitting so it’s not baggy to look like fat”

****

Ladies and gentlemen…..SHE IS ONLY TEN!!!!!!!

***

And my concerns were doubled when I realised that she had refused dinner last night……and then this morning it broke my heart to watch her pick half-heartedly at her cereal and move it around the bowl with her spoon not eating it.

It’s documented that up to 23% of all girls with anorexia nervosa are later found to be exhibiting the signs of aspergers or some autism spectrum disorder .

You can read more about it here.

And even more troubling - this, article REALLY made me sit up and pay attention.

I know that this is still very early days with Ella but I’m not about to sit back and watch her get ensnared by something this awful and possibly preventable.

I’m praying ferverently about this. It is NOT going to happen in this house.

These girls at school have persistently bullied Ella for almost 7 years straight now. And this Mumma bear has had it.

So……tell me…….do you think this child is fat???!!