Friday, May 25, 2012

I will remember...

Our last baby is well past the baby days now. She is the most delightful 18 month old imaginable.

She stomps around the house in her too-big Converse that once were her brother's, because she has a thing for shoes but also has a thing for taking shoes off and they are the only ones with laces.

She pouts like a champion, puts her hands on her hips and stamps her feet. If she's particularly angry she throws herself to the ground and rolls around shrieking. Which may not sound terribly delightful but when your son never reacted emotionally like that, and at the time you didn't yet know that anything was 'wrong', you have a new appreciation for the toddler tantrum.

She talks and talks and talk and talks. And sings. But mostly she talks. Her vocabulary is quite amazing and I adore having conversations with her.

Her latest thing: if I sit on the floor she backs herself up to the farthest point in the room then flings her arms wide. As soon as I do too she comes hurtling towards me at breakneck speed and launches herself into my arms for the world's biggest cuddle. I melt.

She is forever looking out for her little big brother. If one of the big kids are bothering him she goes to town on them and cuddles our Little Mate. I could cry for how that makes me feel. He will be loved and protected, our small boy. His sister will make sure of that.

Her curls are not so curly as her hair is getting longer, but they bounce back up after a shower or if it is humid. Her eyes sparkle with mischief and she has the longest lashes. Her legs have lost the last roundness of babyhood and are strong from so much activity. She is getting tall and lean, less baby and more little girl.

She never stops. It is go go go from the moment she wakes until her head hits the pillow at night.

She holds my heart, this last babe of ours. And she makes it sing.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thankful Thursday: NDSL

Which of course stands for NO DSL. Still. Getting boring right?

So why am I thankful?

Because the past few weeks without the ability to jump on my laptop for hours on end seems to have crossed over into other parts of my life as well.

I've not been around Twitter anywhere near as much, and I'm only Facebooking when I actually have something to say or want to share my Photo a Day.

And you know what? It's been kinda nice. We've been busy unpacking and settling in anyway, and it's not like I'm completely offline thanks to my iThing. But it FEELS a little like it.

I'll be extremely grateful when we're finally connected and I can get back up to speed with some work and the Autism: In Our Own Words blog. But for the moment I'm going to quit the whingeing and appreciate a little bit of disconnection.

And while I'm being grateful I'm going to admit that the comment parties the past few weeks have been loads of fun, and I've found it so easy to pop over to all of your blogs! I'm going to predict that we will finally be back to normal next week, but for this last week I'll ask you to share your Thankful Thursday post in the comments here.

Don't forget to link back to this post and of course pop over to some of the other brilliant blogs that link up. Loads to celebrate and be joyful for every single week, it makes my heart sing!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dear Tooth Fairy. Best cash in your Super...

My little mate is gonna send you broke.

For reasons unknown, my boy has massive problems in his mouth. Specifically eleven (of twenty) teeth with moderate to severe damage. As best we've been told this is due to him having no enamel on them at all, so no protection from bacteria. (And if you feel like ranting at me about tooth brushing and oral hygiene at this point, I've heard it all before and please tell your story walking. I am not stupid and I am not neglectful).

Anyway we've just been told that his surgery appointment is being scheduled for the near future. The dental hospital have been wonderful so far. They are quite au fait with special needs kids and are trying to make things as comfortable as possible for him.

I am not feeling so comfortable. I know families deal with far far worse things, but I've never had a child go under a general anaesthetic before and it is upsetting. Along with the fact that eleven of his teeth will be either stainless steel capped or pulled out (they've indicated they will save as many as possible).

He will feel and look different will my boy. He who does not like change. Or his head being touched. And who can already chew through masses of clothing without steel reinforcement.

I'm grateful that the hospital have been so caring and supportive, and so glad we have access to their services. But why did it have to be the kid who already faces the most challenges?

Have your children needed specialist dental care? Any tips to help make the day less stressful for both of us?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Things that are stupid.

We met our little mate's kinder teacher for next year last week. She is just wonderful, the setting is lovely and both my little two ran amok and had a great time as we chatted.

They aren't inexperienced with autism, and she was very reassuring and lovely throughout. My boy even made eye contact with her on the way out, impressive yes?

But here's the thing. There will be say 24 children in the group. Two staff. There will be no aide for my son unless he is deemed violent or aggressive to other children (which may well happen if he is not coping). This child who has no intrinsic idea how to behave in social situations. For three five-hour sessions each week.

I'm not sure who this is most unfair on. Him, the other children, or the staff.

And so it begins, the idiocy of measuring the immeasurable.

We work so hard through early intervention and therapy to help our children become verbal. But then when it comes time for their funding/aid assessments we need them to not be verbal, to not have showed gains, in order to access help for them.

I've read and been told many times that it is so important to stack the assessment days. By filling them with sugar. By waking them during the night. By scheduling for after a stressful event (and for these children any event involving new people or places can be stressful).

We hope that they fail so they can have some amount of support in the classroom while our hearts break at that 'failure'. It is not possible to privately fund an aide in state schools (in Victoria) even if it were affordable.

My greatest fear is that my son will fall on the borderline.

His initial assessment indicated an IQ well below the cut off for mainstream schooling, although we are beginning to suspect he has something like a photographic memory.

His language is improving a little, and we hope it continues to. But not on that day that decisions are made.

The idea of sending him to a mainstream school with little support fills me with trepidation. Realistically it is more likely that he will qualify for specialist schooling. But even then there are ongoing assessments and children can be wrenched from that safe environment and sent to a mainstream highschool to fend for themselves, at a time when physically they are going through changes that are quite traumatic enough.

Here's what I am beginning to think. Whoever makes these decisions should come and live our lives for a week. For a month. For a year.

Maybe that is what it would take to make them understand that the hard fought for language development is not indicative of any sort of 'recovery'.

There is no recovery. As parents we have to accept this as hard as it may be. The ability to speak does not mean our children are able to understand social nuances or emotional situations any better than they previously could. The ability to hold it together by a shoestring through the school day does not mean there is not massive fallout once the child gets home.

And the need to pigeonhole children with a disorder as diverse and far reaching as autism benefits no one at all.

It will be interesting to see what changes happen once the DSM-V (diagnostic criteria) is released. Rumour has it that Aspergers will no longer be considered a separate diagnosable syndrome, but be reclassified as autism, and that the criteria will be more stringent and definitive.

And I wonder what this means for those 'borderline' children in terms of help and support.

Time will tell.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Lazy Gene

I am a bit of a fan of laziness. I have a far greater appreciation of it now than I did before kids, when there was actually some chance of BEING lazy. These days sitting down is apparently an open invitation to be climbed all over, which is lovely mostly but hardly relaxing.

I think that is why I am such a systems junkie. When things are running smoothly there is more time for laziness. And lately there has been the enforced lazies of a back injury. As much as the pain has been horrendous on and off, having a reason to lie down with no guilt has had its upside as well.

My children are not lazy. They are busy and active and go go go. All but my big girl that is. She seems to have caught my lazy gene.

Don't get me wrong, she loves playing and running around too. But given the opportunity she would happily park herself in front of the TV and stay there all day. She hasn't got quite the same drive to keep moving as the others.

Both the big kids are a little horrified that since the move they both have set chores and an expectation they will be done. As someone who has never been a huge fan of reward charts I now understand the appeal. The kids earn their Friday lunch orders and pocket money depending on whether they get all their jobs done.

I'm not asking them to polish the tiles with toothbrushes or anything either... They need to tidy their rooms, brush their teeth and they alternate tidying the playroom and drying the dishes each night.

My boy has responded relatively well. He tells me he doesn't like it, I point out that endless washing, hanging, folding, cooking and cleaning aren't necessarily my favourites either and he gets on with it. Seeing the visual rewards on the chart helps him a lot.

My girl is another story. Ohhhh but she is sooooo tired! Her legs hurt! Her arms hurt! Just after this show/song/game! Motivating her is far harder so if anyone has any tips I would love to hear them!

Do your kids do chores around the house? Do you offer rewards or is it just part of your expectations of them? Do YOU ever get to be lazy?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thankful Thursday: The Voices

Happy Thursday!

I'm still net-less (boo hiss) but thankful nonetheless.

We've been pottering around and getting to know our new area and unpacking bit by bit, all those things you do after a move.

And as sometimes happens with little people after a big change, my Little Miss Thing has made some big developmental leaps.

She is 18 months old now. Already. What?

In the past couple of weeks her language has changed so much. She is clearly repeating absolutely everything that we say. When Little Mate gets his echolalia on it sounds like we're in an echo chamber!

She asks for what she wants, calls out to her siblings across the house and asks for 'tisses' and 'nuggles'. It is the cutest thing ever.

It is bittersweet in some ways. She is doing all the things that her brother didn't and doesn't. But she adores him to pieces and now that she is older and more fun to him they disappear to the playroom for ages together and all we hear are these bursts of laughter followed by chatter chatter chatter. She likes to talk does my girl, and it brings out the talker in the little boy as well.

But my favourite favourite thing right now... She sings to herself. As she stomps around the backyard or wanders the house we hear her chanting and singing and it is just beautiful. Her big sister does it too, and it fills my heart to bursting.

It's a comment party again this week, and let's all hope next week we're finally back online and I can SHOW you our new place!

Please leave a link to your Thankful Thursday post in the comments, make sure to link back here (and feel free to pinch the button over there on the right) and please try to pop in and comment on the commenters directly before and after you. More if you have the time! Because these posts will put a smile on your face for sure and sharing the love is awesome :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Done and Dusted

Yesterday steps were taken to ensure that the baby days are over for our family. And even though given our circumstances it is the wisest of all choices, still I feel a little sad at the finality of it all.

I do feel our family is complete, and I know I am incredibly blessed in my beautiful children.

But I will miss that first moment. That purple ancient looking brand new babe in my arms, eyes barely open, and the rush of amazement that came with it.

I will miss the newborn stage (no really, I know many do not love it but I truly do) where they sleep and feed and have eyes only for Mum.

I will miss that wondering who they might look like, then knowing the moment they are born that they couldn't possibly look any other way.

I will miss that feeling of invincibility post birth (although I will not miss pregnancy, labour or birth itself... SO not my favourite).

I will miss getting to know and love another new person in the world that we created.

I love watching my babies grow up, and they are all such amazing people in and of themselves. I love the ages they are, the relationships between them and just everything about this stage in all our lives. Yep, even the hard bits.

I know the sad part will fade, and quickly too. But for the moment I'm allowing myself a little melancholy as we farewell that part of our lives forever.

Are you done and dusted? Or is your journey just beginning?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Am I not pretty enough...

Every now and then I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror as my day rolls by. Today was spent indoors by the fire doing housey stuff and as such was declared a pyjama day. I showered, whacked on clean jammies and a headband, put none of my face on and slothed like a proper sloth does.

So when I passed by the hall mirror at one stage I gave myself a little fright. Hair all akimbo, wrinkles undisguised, lashes invisible. Au natural at its best.

It surprises me sometimes that I am aging, and that my face shows it. Inside I am eternally 24. I do not know where all these kids came from or how I'm meant to be a totally grown up adult type person. So where did the crows feet come from? (The smartarse answer is of course as a result of the four children. Duh.)

I'm a vain creature. I like makeup. I do my hair if I am leaving the house. I like to feel like I look nice.

I have googled IPL as I have some fairly heavy duty skin discoloration. I would live to tell you I am all good with aging gracefully etc etc, but the truth is I don't know that I am. I am a product of my society which prizes youth and beauty above all else. I KNOW how stupid that is, I'm forever telling my kids how it is what is inside that counts and I believe it too.

And yet if someone offered me a free go of Botox I'm not convinced I would say no... Just for the angry wrinkle on my forehead... Maybe.

It feels like I have warring factions in my own head on this stuff. I have strong views on so many things, and yet the want to look a certain way is strong within me even though I hate that a person's appearance even factors in to anything at all.

Do you enhance surgically or otherwise? Would you? Could you?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A blogger's heart

is not made of stone.

It beats just like yours. It feels fear, and joy, and sadness. Just like yours.

What you see here is not all of me. I am very aware that the Internet is public and it is forever. I choose my words carefully and I am selective with what I share. If this gives you the idea that my life is the most fabulous of all that is because it is. The bits I show you anyway. When I look back on this blog in years to come I want to see the amazing parts of our lives. I want my children to see that too.

Sometimes I get very angry and very sad. Very occasionally I share that here if I feel I need the support of the blogosphere or if I feel it may help others. Very rarely do I share those things that hurt my heart the most or that are not mine to share no matter how deeply they affect me.

Last night I shared the inner workings of my heart. It was possibly a lapse in judgement. That post has now been deleted.

Some brave soul chose to comment anonymously on that post. Someone who apparently knows me in real life but does not feel comfortable addressing me privately. Someone who felt the need to call me out publicly here, in what I consider my own safe space.

That person deleted the comment from my site, but did not know or maybe did not care that all comments land in my inbox. As an aside, for those who like to hide behind the 'anon' - there is no real anonymity on the Internet. A pseudonym does not hide your ISP, location or browser. I know all of these without even looking very hard. I see you.

To that person I would like to say I am sorry if I hurt you so badly that you felt a hurtful anon comment on my blog was necessary. If you know me as you claim to, you will know that what hasn't been seen here too much is the fact that the past year has been the hardest of my life. It has been about grieving and heartache and massive adjustment.

I have withdrawn from even those I love the most. Those that love me back have followed me and drawn me out into the world again. I suspect you are not one of them, because they could not judge me as you have.

A blogger's heart is broken just as easily as yours. Publishing parts of our lives on the Internet does not make us public property in any way beyond that which we choose. And all that glitters is not gold. Please remember that before you judge.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thankful Thursday: When it rains...

it pours! And when it is cold, it is about 5 degrees colder where we now live!

I'd hoped to vlog our new place for you this week but we're still waiting on our phone and ADSL connections, hopefully next week. It is worth the wait I promise!

I have so much to be thankful for this week I don't even know where to begin, but given the fact that I'm running out of data on my iPhone at a rapid rate I will say simply this.

Best. Move. Ever.

I love our new house so much. It feels like home. It is warm and cosy and full of love. It is amazing to wake in the morning and throw open the curtains to views of trees and paddocks, not houses. It is so lovely to fall asleep at night to the sound of the odd moocow or sheep, and not traffic. We are busy and happy and blessed.

My big kids are settling into school well. My little mate has coped better than we could have ever imagined with all the changes. The Supertrucker is besotted with his new ride on mower. Little Miss Thing is in heaven, running around all over the place and scaring the life out of me when I cannot find her!

And me, I am just so happy for my family. For my kids. For the life that we will lead here. So happy.

Now because of my netless ways at the moment I've not been able to sort out the linky code for you all this week. I had the lovely Michaela from Five Frogs Blog lined up to host but it all got too fiddly at my end, SO if you'd like to join in this Thankful Thursday we're having a comments party!

Please leave a link to your TT post in the comments, and to make sure we're sharing the love I'd like you to please visit and comment on the blogs linked directly before and after your comment. Good plan yes? Let's do this and help make someone else's Thursday even more thankful!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Five reasons my husband is not useless.

1. When I am dying of death (ie bedridden and sulking due to back pain) he happily entertains four kids and keeps them away from my whinging as much as possible. I'm so used to juggling them myself I sometimes forget he is a competent parent as well.

2. He is really good at outdoorsy stuff and there is loads of it at our new place. He has been blower-ing and mowing and doing stuffy stuff all of the time. Stuff is good. Especially when I'm an indoorsy type of creature.

3. He respects that I am a cold fish even though he runs hot himself, and was happy for us to go and order a wood heater today. It is colder where we have moved to. I DO NOT LIKE the cold. It lingers in my bones and turns me into a huge sooky la la. Possibly that is why he was happy to do this. Don't know, don't care, will be warm by the fire this Winter.

4. He puts up with my freaky la la ideals. Not only that, he embraces them. Ever met a homebirth advocating, full-term breastfeeding supporting, co-sleeping embracing Supertrucker before? No? Your loss.

5. He's about to undergo that one that means no more babies. Which ultimately he will benefit from just as much as I will. But I'm grateful because the woman version would be a pain in the arse (well, not literally) to figure out around all these kids logistically. Plus I'm the one who got to push them all out so comparatively he's getting off easily.

Why is your partner not useless?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The best laid plans...

So I had myself super organised for this move. Had sorted out temporary internet so I'd not be absent from here for too long, was prepared to unpack like the clappers and be all sorted by the time the big kids start school tomorrow.

What I had not planned on was an injury. A fairly severe back injury to be specific, that has seen me fairly heavily medicated and in bed for most of the past few days with a very few hours pain free over that time.

I'd also not expected my internet plans to be an epic fail, leaving me reliant entirely on my iPhone.

So instead of heaps of happy happy joy joy heavily illustrated posts this week of how awesome our new life is, you may be treated to sporadic posts direct from my phone (and the dodgy formatting that ensues) that may or may not make sense depending how smashed I am at the time.

The good news is that my parents are awesome, they came to our rescue and helped get the house in working order. I am SO grateful for their help.

My big kids are very excited about starting school tomorrow, and my Little Mate has coped with the move better than I could have possibly imagined even with his Mum out of action. That video I posted about recently made an enormous difference I think and I owe Magneto Bold Too (who I can't even link to from here dammit) a huge thanks for that idea.

Anyways it's time for the

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fitness Friday: 12WBT in review.

Source. One day I will get to run somewhere like this. One day.

Wow. It's hard to believe that the 12WBT is ending already. The past three months have flown!

So I wanted to share my thoughts on the program in the hopes that someone else may find it useful. Obviously my experiences are my own and what I say may not apply to you.

From the outset I was very open about my reasons for doing the 12WBT. I did and do not need to lose weight, but I had not exercised regularly in many years and my nutrition needed an overhaul.

I've also been open about the fact that I have had an eating disorder. Anyone who has walked that path knows that even when you are 'recovered', it is always a part of you. For me my eating disorder was related to control and perfectionism issues, as it is with many sufferers.

As such I truly feel that this program is not appropriate for people with similar histories. The competitiveness that is out there fed into something very unhealthy for me. For the first time in a long time I felt loathing for my body. Because even though I didn't want to lose weight, after the first few weeks I stopped losing weight. And I did not like not losing weight that I could not afford to lose. You're seeing the problem here right?

I did not follow the nutrition plan closely. In fact I found it nigh impossible with our particular family circumstances (a shiftworking husband who is absent much of the week, four children one of whom has food issues himself). Also I felt that the allowable calorie level for a breastfeeding woman was not high enough to be healthy for me. We are whole food fans here, I do not buy 'diet' things but try to stick to foods as close to their original form as possible. And the recipes were good for that generally, but my kids would not eat many of them.

So I looked after nutrition myself. It did kick me back into gear with menu planning which was a good thing, and something I need to remain on top of.

I also started the C25K and alternated running days with walking and weight work. To be honest I barely used the training provided, again because I have to exercise with two children in the room and some of it was impractical for that. I figured out what worked for me and for them and did that instead.

The BEST thing about the program for me is that it gave me the impetus to DO something. It pushed me to try. And at the point where the treadmill got packed away last week I was able to comfortably run 4km. I've never been able to do that in my life and I am incredibly proud of myself. I can't wait to get it unpacked and start again, and finally crack that 5k run!

Another thing that concerns me is the stories I've read of people losing their weight, putting it back on between rounds and then starting all over with each new round. To me this indicates that the program isn't providing for a sustainable lifestyle. It is GREAT that people are losing weight that they feel they need to, but after the 12 weeks we all need to live the rest of our lives and the yoyo effect for those who find it hard between rounds can't be good for bodies. There needs to be a healthy and sustainable balance for the happy ever after.

That said, I am well aware that there have been some amazing success stories. People who have literally changed their lives. Check out Ange's blog for proof. And for those people who the program has and does work for I am sure it IS life changing.

I kind of wish I'd listened to the friends who suggested this program was not the right one for me. It is not a cheap investment and I could maybe have spent the money more wisely. But I am SO grateful for the friends I have made as a result, and I know there are a number of new bloggers who I will follow even though I won't be doing the program any more because I love them and am proud and excited for their own journeys.

And at the end of the day, I am far fitter than I was 12 weeks ago, and I intend to continue working on that as a lifestyle choice.

I also intend to continue blogging my fitness journey although this is the last Fitness Friday blog hop Mummy Smiles and I will be hosting. Luckily the fabulous B over at B Being Cool has started her own fitness linky each week and I'll look forward to joining her there. Hopefully you will too!

I'll be starting next week with some goal setting for the future, maybe you'd like to as well?

To the friends I have made over the past 12 weeks, thankyou. You are all just awesome and I hope you are all as proud of your achievements as I am of mine.

For the last time, want to hop along with us?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Settlement

Oh happy day!

As you read this I am either on the road to our new town, at my BFF's place waiting for a phone call or at our new house! Unless you're reading on Friday, in which case I'm madly unpacking as much as I can.

I am SO thankful that everything fell into place with this move. SO thankful to my mother-in-law for helping us make this happen. SO thankful in advance for the life my family will lead here.

It is the most thankful Thursday of all, and I will apologise now if it takes me a long while to get around and visit you all. I'm sure anyone who has ever moved with kids (or even without) can understand just how busy the next little while will be.

So I'm thankful also for your understanding. I'm thankful to every single one of you who joins in each week. I love reading your posts and I am grateful to you for making Thursdays so special.