Saturday, June 30, 2012

Aspergers and Asshole. Not the same.

You know what drives me nuts? When people use their <insert illness/disability/wealth/status here> as an excuse to be an asshole.

We've been talking about this with the big boy lately. Without the term asshole, obviously.

He gets in some trouble does my lad, and we speak often about ways he can avoid trouble and how sometimes the way his brain works isn't like other people's. There are reasons that he reacts and behaves differently sometimes. We are as sympathetic and supportive as we can be.

Where I draw the line is when he uses his diagnosis as an excuse. Oh Aspergers made me do it. No, that was not the Aspergers, that was the asshole.

Something I want all my kids to understand is that even when we are different, we have personal responsibility to try and not be awful to other people. At times everyone does stupid and thoughtless things. It is human nature, as is the ability to forgive. But doing awful things while thinking 'I can do this because I have Apsergers/red hair/a big house' is just not okay.

Some people have Aspergers. They need support and compassion, and every now and then they might behave in really ordinary ways and need reminding about socially acceptable behaviour.

Some people are just assholes.

Not the same.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thankful Thursday: A little list of gratitude

I love that before he leaves for work (which is a few days away each time) the Supertrucker makes sure we have enough firewood chopped and stacked next to the house. He loves us. We are lucky.

My big boy had a mental health day yesterday. He was so delightful to spend time with. He's a different kid when he has a break from the pressures of coping socially with school. Do not care that school hols start on Friday, it was worth it.

I have learned how to make (an Aussie version of) s'mores and they are to die for sugary awesomeness. Plus they give me flashbacks to reading Judy Blume books when I was little. Superfudge anyone?

We had top quality solar panels installed this week! The hippy in my heart is excited about utilizing renewable energy. The Mum with a mortgage is happy to reduce the electricity bill. I adore the sun, now my house will too!

I'm a little bit proud to have been selected as one of the iVoices over at the new iVillage Australia. I'm among some real proper writer types which is flattering and a bit scary! But hooray anyway!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why have kids just to send them to child care?

I posted last week about how my littles have started going to child care once a week, and how that is all going for us.

What I didn't write about, and what has been rattling around in my head, is the sense of guilt I have over it.

The Supertrucker works long and hard hours. He is away for days at a time which is difficult for me but we have adjusted. WHY do I feel on my 'day off' that I need to be 'working' to in order for it to be justified? I'm not talking about just financially (although certainly it is an expensive enterprise and that does linger on the edges of my thoughts) but in order to 'deserve' the time away from my kids?

I don't myself understand the psychology behind it... this underlying feeling of 'well you had all these kids so you and you alone should care for them'. It is such a damaging train of thought but there you have it.

Certainly I've heard things along those lines in the past, and disagreed vehemently when the argument has been used against other women. Obviously though something has sunk in...

As the primary homemaker and caregiver, why do I feel that I need to be 'the best' at it all? The most organised, with the tidiest house and the politest kids (hahahaha)? What strange cultural norm has turned me into this person, especially when I have no such expectations of other women?

I'd love your thoughts on this. I'm stream of consciousness typing here and possibly it makes little sense. I'd really like to clarify my thoughts... How do you feel about 'time off' for stay at home parents? Is it really as simple as that?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Perfect Pikelets for Impertinent People

Impertinent because I don't use measurements. I've been making hotcakes/pancakes and pikelets from this recipe from scratch since I was very young... I'm sure the recipe I use is a derivative of one from a kids' cookbook I had as a child but it is so long ago I'd not have any idea which one it was.

I'll include guesstimates as to measurements, but if you're a person who enjoys cooking as I do you'll likely be able to tell visually if you're doing it right.


- Milk
- Vinegar or Lemon Juice
- 1 Egg
- Sugar
- Salt
- Self Raising Flour
- Butter

What to do:

- Pour a good amount of milk into a mixing bowl. Around 1.5 - 2 cups.

- Add a splash (up to a couple of teaspoons maybe) of vinegar or lemon juice to the milk and let it sit for a while to sour the milk. Go have a cup of coffee or check in on Twitter while you are waiting.

- When the milk looks a bit bubbly, chuck in an egg and give it a bit of a whisk.

- Pour in some sugar, a few tablespoons or so will do it. And a pinch of salt.

- Add a half cup or so of the flour and mix it around. Keep adding half cups until the batter is a nice gooey consistency. Not too thick, not too runny. Just gooey.

- Melt a dob of butter in the microwave. I'd say a couple of teaspoons at least. I go a bit heavy on the butter to be honest, because butter is yum.

- Stir the melted butter into your batter.

- At this point you can allow the batter to rest for half an hour, or overnight if you're planning ahead. Or not at all if you are starving. The latter usually applies to me.

- Heat up your frypan or griddle and smear liberally with more butter. Add dollops of the batter to whatever size you like. We do the little pikelets generally because they are good for little fingers.
You'll know from your first batch if your batter is too thick because they won't cook through before overbrowning. If they do add a splash more milk to your batter and work it in.

- When the batter is lightly bubbling turn the pikelets. Once both sides are lovely and brown remove from the frypan. Smear with more butter and gobble them up!

We love our pikelets with bacon and maple syrup. Nom. Other faves are choc chip pikelets, or topped with cinnamon and brown sugar.

If you don't eat them all what is wrong with you? pop the leftovers in the fridge and enjoy cold with jam and cream. Or butter. Mmmm butter.

Do you have any childhood fave recipes?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

When you say...

When you say you are a feminist then deny women the right to bodily autonomy you become a hypocrite.

When you say some women think only of themselves in birth and not the baby, you become condescending.

When you say that homebirth is dangerous and selfish, you deny the horrendous experiences of many women in the hospital system and display your own lack of understanding regarding women's choices.

When you say the baby is the only important thing, you overlook the glaring fact that a mother's mental health impacts directly on that baby. You ignore the incidence of post natal depression/ post partum psychosis/ post traumatic stress disorder as a direct result of traumatic birth.

When you deliberately and repeatedly bait women on emotive issues with sensationalist headlines and no thought to the genuine emotional responses of the women who read your 'news', you demonstrate a lack of empathy and sisterhood that makes me feel ill.

So long as women are willing to harshly judge other women for their choices, when those choices don't match their own, we cannot progress.

People make decisions based on their own research, understanding and personal ethics. Those decisions may not be the same as yours. Respect it, and move on.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Things I know about daycare

My little two are in their third week of daycare once a week today.

Here's what I know about daycare and my children.

The first week (which was a four hour orientation session) my heart nearly broke when I saw my Little Mate's face crumble as I left, but they were both so happy when I picked them up.

The second week I left two screaming, distressed children and drove away in tears. When I picked them up my Little Miss Thing started crying as soon as she saw me, but I know that is because developmentally she is still coming to the understanding that we are two separate people and she was so relieved that I actually came back. My Little Mate was happy as anything to see me and we spent the car ride home talking about how much fun daycare is. Well I talked, he nodded enthusiastically.

This week we have used our personalised social story from See.Saw Visual Aids with my Little Mate. He has carried it around with him this week and tells me about the pictures (of his daycare centre). He has loved it.

This morning my Little Miss Thing was happy to get in the car with her bag. My Little Mate was not. As soon as we pulled up he started crying and it was the hardest thing to leave him. He was so unhappy, and I made the mistake of going to his room first so once his carer had detached him from me and I took the previously happy girl into the toddler room she lost the plot as well, crying for her brother.

Here's what I know about daycare so far. It is important that I get some respite, how important has become very apparent of late as I have been really struggling to be the parent I want to be.

If there was anything really wrong or my boy was distressed for an extended time they would call me, we have that arrangement.

It is far harder for me to leave that boy than even sending my other kids to school for the first time was. Even my little girl. He is different my boy. Some days I wish I could wrap him in cotton wool and protect him from the world forever.

It is important that he start learning to detach from me. It sucks. But it is necessary.

But my gosh leaving him so upset puts the heart across me.

What do you know about daycare?

I'm joining in Things I Know Friday with Singular Insanity. Will you?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Foresight

We're forever talking about the benefit of hindsight. What we'd have done differently. But today I am thankful for foresight. Particularly that of my husband.

Back in January we decided to move to the country. I'd seen a house online that looked pretty good and we went to have a look at it.

Predictably it didn't look like the photos... Not as bright or open. But it was okay.

We wandered around the property. I had a freaking out Little Mate all over me so didn't take a whole lot in. It was a big property (5 acres) and again I was fairly nonplussed.

As we walked out the agent asked what we thought. Without hesitation the Supertrucker started talking offers. I was blown away (and more than a little furious) that he was launching in based on my 'yeah it's okaaaayyy' and not having had a conversation about it at all.

The drive back home was tense, to say the least.

I looked at the pictures online again that night. I noticed some things I had overlooked while we were there. Good things. Things that made me happy.

Time passed. We survived the sale of our own house with our sanity intact (just) and we moved to this house that I was not so sure about.

And it has to be said, my husband is a genius.

He saw the potential. He envisaged our life here and saw how it could work for us. While I was bemoaning the lack of a dishwasher he was seeing a far bigger picture.

This move has been amazing for us. Our house feels more homely to me than any other has, after less than two months here. It is large but cozy. Room for everyone to have their own space (and then some) but with a central heart that holds us together. Even the godforsaken millions of rosebushes haven't deterred me.

The Supertrucker saw this. He knew I would be so happy here, even when I was unsure. I am so thankful that he knows me so well. I am thankful for his foresight.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Organ Donation: Could you save a life?

The following post has been written by a very dear friend of mine. She is without question one of the most inspiring, caring and loving people I know. She is also one of the bravest.

Renee has faced adversity beyond anything many of us will ever experience in our lives and come through it with grace, gratitude and love in her heart. I am privileged to know and love their family, and proud that she has allowed me to share their story here.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

This time ten years ago I was pregnant with triplets.  This time ten years ago I didn’t know whether my husband was going to live or die.
July 18th will be the tenth anniversary of Mark's heart transplant, a 17-hour operation that gave him a second chance at life.  We are so thankful for that chance.  Our lives would have been so different, and so empty without it. 
In May 2002, I was three months pregnant with triplets, and Mark had been waiting almost two years for a new heart.   Every day he was getting sicker and sicker. He couldn’t do anything. He couldn’t work anymore and even walking to the end of our driveway was a big effort for him. We were seeing the cardiologists and transplant team regularly.  I remember sitting in one of our appointments seeing the doctors and having them tell us that if a heart didn’t become available for Mark within three months he would die.  How could I possibly live my life without him? How could I raise triplets on my own? Our situation was desperate and I was scared, so very scared. 
On July 4th I was put in hospital on strict bed rest due to complications with my pregnancy. At 8pm on July 17th, Mark received the phone call from the transplant coordinator telling him that a heart had become available. He rang to tell me the news. A short while later he came into the hospital to kiss me goodbye. He was taken into theatre at midnight and put under anaesthetic at 1am on July 18th.  17 hours later the surgery was finished. 
I doubt that the mix of emotions I feel over all of this will ever leave me; perhaps it is a good thing that I carry these feelings with me. I wish that I had journalled all that had happened during the year of 2002. I wish I had a written record of what I felt during the moments leading up to Marks transplant, and the hours that I waited and waited to hear from the doctors at the hospital. 

I remember them calling me several times, saying “We can't stop the bleeding. The heart is in, but we can't stop the bleeding, his chest is still open”. Horrendous things to be told when you are aching to be at the hospital where your husband is, but stuck in another hospital knowing that if you get up you are risking the lives of your three unborn children. 

I am grateful that my obstetrician conceded and allowed me to have a single one hour visit with him as long as I remained lying down. I am grateful for the liaising between hospitals to make that possible. What a sight we must have been, him lying in his ICU bed and me lying next to him in the recliner chair.
I will never forget the first thing I noticed about him lying in that bed. Even looking so weak, with tubes and lines going everywhere, he still looked better than he had looked in months. His lips and his fingers were pink, no longer blue.  Ten years later his lips are still nice and pink ;)
Ten years on he is active. He is healthy. He is the father to six children. He is working full time and he is fit.
Last year he did the 5km run for “Run Melbourne” to honour our donor and donor family and to raise money for Transplant Australia. 
This year he is doing “Run Melbourne” again, but this year he is doing the 10km run. 10km for the 10 years that he has had his donor heart. If you would like to sponsor him in this run you can donate here. 
Ten years ago there was a family somewhere else in Australia who were grieving the loss of their son, but who had seen beyond their grief enough to give several other people another chance at living. To that family I am eternally grateful, and today I remember your son and cry for him and for your loss. Today I also remain thankful because ten years on and six kids later, my precious husband is more full of life than he ever has been before. 

Because of this remarkable gift we have an amazing life together. Mark lives every day to the full and we can never take it for granted.  

Life truly is a gift.
Our donor family asked us many years ago to wear red on the anniversary to honour their son.  As the years have gone on family and friends have joined with us in wearing red to honour our donor and to celebrate the gift of life.  If you want to join with us on July 18th then we would love for you to wear red too!
You can register online to be a tissue and organ donor here. 
Recording your decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register is voluntary and you have complete choice over which organs and/or tissue you wish to donate. You must be 16 years or older to register.

The Donor Register lets authorised medical staff who have permission from the Australian Government check your donation decision anywhere in Australia, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They can then give that information to your family if you die.

Family consent is always needed before donation can go ahead, so remember to discuss your decision with your family and those close to you.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fair suck of the sauce bottle...

The debate has raged for ages.

When I was growing up the sauce (or ketchup for my American friends) was kept in the pantry. The pantry was the proper place to keep it. If you visit my parents and look in their pantry, the sauce will be there.

Then I met the Supertrucker, who insisted the proper place for sauce is the fridge. At the time it felt like one of those arguments not worth having. I put the sauce in the fridge with a roll of my eyes and allowed him this little victory.

Over time, I have become so used to the sauce being in the fridge that I cannot fathom keeping it in the pantry. I have no good reason to think it should not be in the fridge any more.

So tell me. Fridge or pantry? Which is the correct way? And by the way, Vegemite belongs in the pantry not the fridge. I will hear no argument on that one.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The war of the roses.

At our old place there were six rose bushes along the driveway. Not the pretty bushes with their lovely ball of flowers atop a thornless stem, but those old school tree type ones that'll take a finger off if you go near them.

I do not like roses. Sure they can be kind of pretty, but they've got nothing on the glory of an iris or gerbera in flower. So in my rose-ignorant way I asked the supertrucker to chainsaw those buggers to the ground.

He gleefully agreed to. I thought the glee was due to an excuse to saw stuff up, but it turned out he knew a thing or two about roses. A couple of months later they were back, pricklier and more eye gouging than ever.

I gave up and relegated rose related duties to him.

When we moved to our new place I didn't notice all the roses at first. I thought we had one or two bushes.

We do not. In fact there are around 30 of the assymettrical rip your clothes off if you stand too close fu....nny things around the place. Yes symmetry is an issue to me. Do Not Judge!

My Mum came to prune some of them the other day, and taught me how to as well. Gee that's a fun sport.

To date:
Roses 73648
Kate's face and hands: -12

I've been convinced to prune them hard and give them a season to see how they go. A season I will give them, but if I lose the other arm I will burn them to the ground.

Roses. Do you love them? WHY?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Bound for Glory

Many years and two children ago I had a different blog. It was a lovely little place where I posted lots of photos and wrote for my friends and family.

I was in the midst of my Tupperisation of the universe back then. To this day I am grateful for the confidence Tupperware gave me. I joined, became a manager and was given a brand new car in the space of less than six months, purely because I believed I could and I wanted to. Back then I truly felt I had the world at my fingertips. I was invincible.

I posted this song on that old blog. It was on a playlist my sister made at my request. It was how I felt about myself, about my life.

Then I fell pregnant with our third child. Being the worlds whingiest, sulkiest, most miserable pregnant person ever my Tupperdays rapidly drew to a close. I remember wondering to a friend if this babe wouldn't be a massive introvert as that pregnancy turned me into a complete hermit, much more so than any of the others. Kind of ironic now I think about it.

Yesterday as I baked up a storm, this song appeared randomly in my playlist. For just a moment I remembered how I felt five years ago. How anything was possible. For just a moment I grieved for those days when we had all the hope in the world and no expectation that any of our children would deviate from typical development. Who sees that coming?

I'm happy I had those days. That fleeting time where I had young children and I had freedom as well. Something that seems a near impossibility to me now.

I do not begrudge where we are today. It may not be where we once imagined, in many ways it is so much better than that. But I have to make peace with what it has all meant for ME... For my own future as well as my children's.

I still believe I'm bound for glory. It may not be the kind of glory that sees you confidently speak in front of one thousand people like it once was. It may not be the kind of glory that showers you with gifts and gives you a confidence you could never have imagined posessing.

Maybe it will be the quiet glory of knowing I've tried to be heard... To find support and acceptance for my child and hopefully other children as well. Maybe it will be the glory of knowing I've done all I can. Maybe it will simply be the glory of seeing the love of my children in their eyes.

It is enough.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I am.

I am a walking contradiction.

I do not love playing with my kids, but I love my kids.

I am loyal and true, but if you cross me I do not forgive easily.

I am tired. Bone achingly exhausted. I stay up late because what is the point in going to bed when you won't sleep anyway?

When I had my first baby I knew and was right about everything to do with parenting. Three children later I know nothing and what is right anyway?

I am desperate to be liked. I try too hard. Except when I don't care.

I am an addict. Caffeine, nicotine, sugar... These are my vices. I hold on to them for dear life, even though some of them could kill me.

I am brave and strong. I raise my voice to change the world for my son in particular. I am scared of confrontation and criticism makes me cry.

I am all the light and hope you see here. I am so sad I can't lift my feet.

I am honest in this space. I do not show you everything.

Who I am today is not who I will be tomorrow.

I am.

Edenland's Fresh Horses Brigade

Friday, June 8, 2012

Overheard conversations

Upon waking -

Little Mate: Goot morning Baby!

Little Miss Thing: Goot 'orning Goot 'orning Goot 'orning

Little Mate: Have a goot sweep?

Little Miss Thing: Goot sweep!

Little Mate: Franchestic!

I hope I never forget the beauty that is my babies in the morning.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Pay it forward - I am awesome.

So I've been a bit low of late. Nothing terrible, just flat and tired. No doubt to be expected now that we've recovered from the excitement of the move and settled into everyday life again. Not helped by the fact that Winter came early this year and my annual case of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) along with it.

It's really easy to be hard on yourself when you're feeling low. I've been beating myself up about my parenting, my motivation, my future... none of which define who I am. And of course thinking about them doesn't actually change anything anyway.

I know I'm not the only one feeling like this at the moment.

So today, I've decided to talk about how awesome I am. I've had an idea and I hope some of you might like to join in too.

The idea here is to push modesty aside and talk about three things that are awesome about you without fear or guilt or any sense of self promotion - just an honest account of why you rock.

And then you get to choose three other people, state why YOU think they are awesome and tag them so they know about it. Hopefully they then might want to join in as well!

So me.

I am awesome because:

- I am optimistic. Even when I am feeling low I'm always looking for the silver lining. I believe in the power of positive thought and I make amazing things happen as a result.

- I am determined. When I want something to happen I make it happen. I see opportunities and I run with them. I don't give up easily and I am loyal.

- I am grateful. I practice gratitude daily and it shapes my life every single day. I am appreciative and I say so. I take care to notice the little things as well as the big and give thanks for them equally. I am lucky, and I am thankful.

And you...

- I'm tagging Becky from Becky and James. She is a warm hearted, caring and loving woman. She always has lovely things to say about everyone and is friendly and generous. She is too hard on herself, and I hope this exercise might help her recognize some of the beautiful aspects of herself that we all see.

- Zoey from Good Googs. Zoey is one of those people that you know online but wish you could spend time with in your real life too. She is creative, clever and thoughtful. She is brave enough to speak her mind honestly and respectfully, I have so much admiration for that. I just think she is awesomesauce.

- Kelley over at Magneto Bold Too. Kelley is the ballsiest blogger you'll ever read, but under the tough template beats a heart of gold. She has loads going on in her own life, but still finds time to make sure others know she cares about them. She is so giving of herself and I am grateful that she is my friend (because she'd be a terrifying enemy. Heh. ;p). Love her longtime.

So your turn. If you're already linking up a thankful Thursday post consider sharing your own awesomeness and paying it forward during the week! And make sure to come back and tell me when you do so I can stalk you pop over and read about your awesomeness too.