Monday, January 25, 2010

Cracking The Sads.

I am going to follow Alex and take a little blogging hiatus. After a wonderful school holidays surrounded by those I really enjoy being with, the reality of having to return to a school where I have to see unpleasant people on a daily basis has hit me hard.

A new school year is difficult enough, especially the first few weeks with Boy 1, but having to deal with this nastiness... Well, it has me worried. A few weeks ago I don't think it would have phased me, but learning someone was questioning my integrity and mental health, spreading innuendo and lies... I am really upset about it. Normally if told of something like this (especially about 5th hand) I would go to the person and try to find out the truth. After all, we all know how chinese whispers can distort. But having been close to her and in her confidence I am very aware of how she dealt with the last person (deny, deny, deny), and it would serve no purpose. 

The end result will make her happy anyway, I now wonder what she has said to whom, and who believes her. I consider myself a pretty good judge of character and she had me fooled for a hell of a long time, so I do not doubt she will spin a believable speil to many.

And so, I need to take some time out to concentrate on me and mine. It may be a day, a week or a month, I have no set time frame in mind. I am not deleting this blog, merely stalling for a little.

Until I feel in a better place I cannot spend time here. It shows you how much the betrayal of a friend can screw with your life.

Big Boy thinks I need to stop wearing my heart on my sleeve, I think he may be right and I need not to care about others as much. It is too damn painful, and it can be used to hurt.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Well, it's like this...

I have been tagged, for a meme. Now my first reaction is what the flick is a meme? Is it a moi, moi, look at moi sort of thing? What the hell do I have to do? Thanks to Dr Google, I now know a little more:

In the context of web logs / ‘blogs / blogging and other kinds of personal web sites it’s some kind of list of questions that you saw somewhere else and you decided to answer the questions. Then someone else sees them and does them and so on and so on. I generally consider these to be actual questions and not some multiple choice quizzes that determine some result at the end (what color you are most like, what cartoon character are you, what 80s movie are you).

I must admit also, as it is a happy meme, that I am finding it difficult due to the sad announcement that Alex over at Whoa-Mumma has decided to give up her blog. She has her reasons, but like all self-focused people all I want to do is grab her and shake her hard whilst crying snotty tears of WHAT ABOUT ME?

But I am a big girl now, and am pulling on my XL panties, giving her a cyber pat on the back (mixed with a little self indulgent shoulder squeeze) and sadly saying "I understand."

I also know I need to follow through on two awards: the one from Mel, plus a new one from kakka.

But since this little black duck had a very early start, this will all have to wait until morning. Sorry peeps, too damn tired to even add photos. See you tomorrow, but please... not TOO early!

A Quick Link

to my creative writing blog.

Just in case you want it.

Madmother: Little Woven Words

When did I start rising

with the sun?

I have never been a morning person, not even in toddlerhood. My mother takes great delight in telling all and sundry about her constant battles to get me to sleep (she is an early to bed, early to rise advocate), and her endless mornings trying to get me to wake. I was one of those kids whose parents stumble past their bedroom on a wee hours wee run to find said child with torch under the covers still reading. At 2am.

My body clock was thus perfectly synchronised for my teenage years and twenties, even into my thirties. Late to bed, late to rise, late for work, sleep in the compactus and hope no-one went looking for files (have you seen those massive metal filing monsters? I could have lost weight in a very dramatic fashion, not that I needed to in those days). Ah yes, the party days. I was known at Uni for stumbling into my 9am lecture, complete in the black lycra and leather (photographic evidence here) and promptly falling asleep in the back row. And snoring.

Marriage, babies, well the broken sleep was not pleasant but the late night/very early morning feeds... pfft, no worries! Was not so impressed with having to wake at a decent time to feed the little buggers again, but followed the rule of when they sleep, you sleep and revelled in the daytime napping.

But my forties seem determined to change me into an early morning person. In the last six months I have awoken when the sun comes up (as early as 4.30am in Queensland) more often than not. Something is going seriously skewiff with my system! I am not a happy morning person, noooooo. I am a very grumpy, mumbling sort of early riser, the type that people avoid as they wander aimlessly around in pyjamas muttering curses under their unbrushed teeth bad breath. To make matters worse I do not drink coffee. Or tea. And it feels unseemly to imbibe coke at 5am, just not right, you know?

Something is very wrong in my world, and I think God is laughing at me! I know my mother definitely is... Payback is a bitch, right?

Friday, January 22, 2010

One Little Voice

1. Write something to say thank you to some who has made a difference to your life,
- Inspired by the Moiderer’s ‘People I’d like to thank‘

Sleep is for the Weak - Wednesday Writing Workshop Challenge.

Those of you who follow my blog have seen the thank you shout outs to my family, friends, and professionals in my life. This one is a little different, so please bear with me.

I have two sons, Boy 1 and Boy 2, but there is another boy who holds a very special place in my heart and this is his story.

The first time I ever laid eyes on him is ingrained deeply into my mind. Big Boy was in the childcare centre swimming pool with Boy 1 (aged three, approaching four). Boy 1 was clinging to his father scared, unsure, only knowing that if Dad was there he would be alright, wouldn't he? This was not the first of his lessons, in fact it was about six lessons in, not counting those baby classes which he tolerated with disdain. In walks this skinny, tanned little bloke who looks over the class in the pool, breaks into a toothy grin and bellows: "L - maaaatey. Yer in the pool, look at ya, yer in the pool! Good one! Maaatey"  Boy 1 begins to smile. He must be okay, his best mate just said so. And so begins our life with C. And one of the most incredible friendships I have ever seen.

At daycare they were inseparable, and in the early times there was a third boy. The three musketeers. Well, more like a slightly nervy, nerdy Woody Allen support group, but still strongly bonded. The three of them trundled off to Preschool (Qld system, now prep or kinder in southern states), with big reservations from Boy 1's daycare teachers. By this time we were well on the diagnosis trail. Boy 1 was attending speech therapy, and in the midst of multiple assessments by other professionals. All information was passed onto the school, but even a pre-prepared Preschool was a huge challenge for Boy 1. I often think that he would not have survived that first year if it had not been for C.
C, oh what a glorious friend to have. One day I was dropping off something to the school later in the morning. By this day, the third musketeer had moved interstate and another little man was trying to break into the friendship. Sadly, he did not want Boy 1 as part of the package, and was doing his best to drive a wedge between C and L. Totally oblivious to my presence I was able to watch, invisible to the participants of the little scene. The new friend was grabbing C by the shoulder and saying "I want to talk to you." C put him off with a "I'm talking to L, just wait." as he shrugged off the hand. He then took both of Boy 1's hands in his, calming the flapping arms, bent forward to catch L's eye and said: "L. Look at me, come on, look at me, Now breath slowly. That's it, look at me, I want to tell you something."

I nearly cried. To watch this gorgeous little man, wise beyond his years, communicate so perfectly with my autistic son. My heart swelled. So many times has this child amazed me, so much wisdom and compassion packed into such a little package. When Boy 1 repeated Preschool C sat me down for a very serious conversation. It went like this:

"Madmother, I need to talk to you."
"Okay C, how can I help?"
"I am worried about L repeating Preschool, I don't know how he will be without me to help him." Huge, wide brown eyes gaze sincerely into mine. Lips tremble, oh so slightly - his as well as mine.
"Oh C. You know how you can read and write so well? Well L can't and needs to stay in Preschool to learn."
"MM, I've been thinking about that. If he comes into first grade with me I can help him, and I can teach him in the breaks. I can teach him to read!"
"Oh sweetie, that just wouldn't work. It will be okay, you will still be friends."

What an old head on such young shoulders. I could tell you of many scenarios like that one, I could let you know that they plan to flat together when older, to be best men at each others weddings, to be friends, and I quote, "until after they die."

In nine years of friendship they have never fought, not one cross word. Yes, they are still friends. Even through different grades, different schools,  and with C moving out of the district. I now believe they will be friends forever. Boy 1 is doing well, way beyond what anyone expected in those early terrifying years (other than his parents, of course) and C accepts and supports him quirks and all. They are still very different, but so close. It is one of the most relaxed friendships I have ever seen, both seem to just let all the stresses of life go when they are together. I think L would never have come so far without C. And so to him I say thanks. Thank you for being my son's friend. Thank you for being a part of our lives. As L's teacher aide commented in the repeat year after I lamented the fact that Boy 1 had not made a new friend like C...

"MM, most people never have a connection like L and C do. A friendship like that is a precious rarity to be treasured. Everyone would love to have a C in their lives, their bond is the true definition of best friends."

Nothing more to be said.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

5000 Question Survey? Ah, no...

Found these over at E.'s Whining at the World: (see, I do read your blog!)

51. Make up a definition for the following silly words...

Fruitgoogle: Fruit which has a special internet connection so you can google while out and about. On the plus side it is biodegradable and can get thrown away once you have eaten the fruit.
Ambytime: A time to amble. Which is like wandering only more constructive because with a specific time frame.

Asscactus: Really annoying person who thinks they know everything.

Now, there is no way in the world I would have the attention span to post all those answers in that list, but I do love a good confuddle! So my definitions are as follows:

Fruitgoogle:  When you eyes pop out of your head so far they look like grapes on a stem.

Ambytime:  A deadline. A colloquialism of am getting it completed by this time. "Is a 5pm ambytime okay with you?"

Asscactus:  The change in diagnosis for puberty onset mood complications in a male with Asperger Syndrome, also known in this house as arseburger syndrome. From tasty little arseberger to prickly asscactus - the teenage ASD years. And yes, HE thinks it is hilarious (but this is a child who "got" Monty Python at five years of age).

Oh, and confuddle? Means to confuse with blatant bull! See why I win at Balderdash?

A Quickie

A very short blog entry just to let some people know... There are times I read your blogs and don't leave a comment. Not because they don't affect me, but because they move me so much. The strength of some in the blog world just amazes me, and what some of you have lived with, and what some are going through even now... well, you leave me speechless and without the words to express my awe and admiration. Do not ever assume I do not comment because I don't care, there are times I just cannot.

Found One - but I think there was another...

Or maybe not?  And how crap do I feel, my only excuse is that whole holiday passed in a bit of an insanely manic bubble of time. Thank God for Google.

So sorry. It was the wonderful Mel, my muse and inspiration...

I will be back to spread the love after my self flagellation is completed.

Okay - Seriously Blonde Moment

I know someone gave me an award whilst I was away on holidays with limited internet access, but I can't for the life of me remember who or what for...

My humble apologies, I know I commented my thanks on your blog, and am off doing some serious searching, but if you read this could you please post me the link in a comment.

I am so embarrassed and humiliated. Just think: I was once an organised, intelligent, articulate woman. Well, that sure ain't so anymore!

A Bit of General Chit-Chat and some Ho-Hum Stuff

I cannot believe how fast this year has taken off, it appears 2010 will pass by in a blur much in the same way as 2009. Our family is hoping this year will be our year of change, the stress of the past decade let go and life moving into a more pleasant sphere. One can only hope. We have made some big decisions to facilitate the switch and now must put them into action.

For me, one of the amazing things at the beginning of this decade is how fast the number of followers of this blog has increased. I notice each and every one of you, and yes I do take the time to follow your links and read your own blogs. The traffic flow of readers has also multiplied, yesterday over 100 individual hits by my counter. Makes me all gooey and fuzzy inside. Okay, maybe it is more like a witch cackling over her crystal ball frantically muttering "...more, MORE, I WANT MORE!"

The comments always keep me moving forward, and I love the wit and style you guys use. (Don't you hate that phrase you guys, comes from having two almost tween boys). I am still a bit of a technophobe though, and have to ask a few questions from you experts (and I am in awe of those of you who constantly change your blog layouts - I am too terrified of stuffing it all to even attempt it)...

When you win a blog award, but you do not have html code for it, how do you put the picture into the column at the side permanently? Those I have included have been via layout, add a gadget, add html.

And where do some of you find the incredible photos you post? I spend of lot of my time wiping the drool from my crazily salivating mouth.

Also thought I'd quickly mention how impressed I am with the calibre of blogs I keep stumbling upon. And inspired. And daunted. Hell - you lot scare the crap out of me, I'm always wondering about grammar, punctuation, phrasing and content. My school English lessons have long since lost any impact and I know my editing skills do leave a lot to be desired. Please, feel free to slam critique my badly written prose, after all, how will I learn (again) if I am not told?

Okay, rambled on enough. Happy blogging!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Blogies!

Yep, another blog award, this time given to me by the wonderful Skipper. I am naming this one a blogie, you know... after the logies.

I guess I better do the acceptance speech thingy.

"*sniff* *sniff* You like me, you really like me! I never could have dreamt I would win this prestigious award, I didn't even know I had been nominated at first. To be recognised by one of my most respected peers... well, I just don't have the words to express my gratitude.

I am so flustered, I knew I would forget someone so I wrote a little something just in case...

A few short words of thanks, now let me see... *flip* *flip* *flip*, just bear with me for a minute. Oh, here it is.

Sending out my love tonight to

  • My mermaid girls. Mythical or not, I adore your quirkiness, strength and beauty. You know I love you all. Sometimes I so wish I was one of you hiding under the waves. Wouldn't need calm blue ocean if I was under it.

(yes, these are above my desk)
  • The professionals who have helped my family over the years. The speechies, OT's, psych's, aides, teachers, principals, lawyers (apt right now), doctors and anyone I have missed. We owe you much more than words can express, you have done so many amazing things for us.
  • My cat. It is years since I owned an animal that was solely mine. Flower, I love you as unconditionally as you love me. I even forgive the fleas.

  • My family and friends. This last year I have learned some hard lessons about people and their duplicity, about loyalty and betrayal. To those who are honourable, steadfast and true, I love you all. And thank you for your honest words and support. My family, well, you all know how much I worship all my family. My amazing kids, wonderful husband, incredible mother. Enough said.

  • The blogs, oh all the blogs who have entertained me, made me laugh, cry, write. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And on from this, I am passing this blogie onto a further five talented bloggers. Without your inspiration or support I could never have achieved this.

  1. Pink Patent Mary Janes. I swear this poor woman must think I am a crazed stalker with the amount of comments I leave her. I wallow in her blog, drool over her photos, just enjoy the whole thing really.
  2. Barrel of Monkeez. Straight talker, no holds barred, tell you like it is gal. Love it!
  3. Whoa-Mumma! Alex makes me laugh. A lot. And she only lives a drive away - one day we shall do a blogger meet!
  4. jemikaan. Yes, I know I give her lots of awards, but she writes the way I think, and we have the same journey to follow. Hers is just a few years later than ours.
  5. Ignore Reality. Vicki makes me think, giggle, smile. A new discovery, but one I am enjoying.
And that brings me to the end of my speech. The producer has been frantically gesticulating for me to wind up for the last five minutes, and I thank you all for your patience. God bless the Bloggies!"

Back to School - The Aspie Way

After reading jemikaan's post about K's psych appointment and the preparations for first day of school I thought I'd dredge through my very iffy memory and see what where the things that helped Boy 1 back in those turbulent early days.

The first day of school for ANY child can be a daunting prospect. The first day of school for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder can be terrifying for all. We are lucky to have had an incredible Grade 1 teacher (which here in Qld back then was where formal school began). These are just some suggestions which may help:
  • First day arrange to arrive either earlier than the masses or later when the noise levels are not so overwhelming. Plan with the teacher what they would prefer. We arrived early, showed him his seat, talked him through the classroom rules, settled him and waited for the others to arrive. We also had a full time aide back then, he had already met her in the calmness of his home so she was a familiar face in a sea of confusion.
  • We had created a folder full of information. Boy 1's photo on the front. Practical information on the inside. List of sensory triggers (insects, noise, smells back then), explanation of how we dealt with each. Sadly each year the new teacher chose not to read notes, preferring to make an unbiased assessment of each child. Could have saved both teacher and child a lot of angst if only they had realised. Usually a very stressful first few weeks for all involved. Not a big issue now as all know him at the small school.
  • On the noise factor: ear plugs. We use the plasticine type ones which you can split into smaller for little ears. He still uses these at nearly twelve; perfect for assembly, sports carnivals, storms or anywhere the crowds are raucous. He also had those tradie ear muffs in his younger days. Was considered cool, and all the boys went home requesting them.

  • Buy a plastic upright cutlery container. You know, the type that has four sections and a handle in the middle. Place velcro on the bottom, stick on corner of desk for pencils and scissors, erasers, etc. Perfect for all littlies not just ASD kids. This one was from our lovely teacher - thanks Mrs Morrow.
  • Have a quiet corner organised. Somewhere the child can withdraw to when sensory overload hits. Somewhere only THEY and their supervisor is allowed.
  • Have some sensory calming tools. We used stress balls shaped as a globe. Great for fine motor issues too. He would squeeze these as a sensory release.
  • Have a laminated emotional thermometer on the desk. Scale of one to ten, ten being blast off meltdown. Give the child options at each level. For example when things were reaching eight for our son, his aide took him outside and he did star jumps to get rid of the tension and energy build up. Discuss with the child and let them choose the activities which help them.
  • It is proven that these children, in a formal desk setting, learn more if seated at the front of the class on the right side of the board. Something I learnt at a Tony Attwood conference, and yes it worked.
  • Read the Ben and His Helmet series by Nelle Frances. Perfect children's books to help the other kids understand. We even bought a set for the school. Nelle's boy is Ben.
  • Colour code your subject books, you can use this for the rest of school.
  • Ask the teacher how they want you as a parent to be involved. Do they want a communication book for all: teacher, parent, aide, SN teacher, SEU to utilise? Do they want a quick drop-off or do they want you to settle and calm the child. Make sure they know to pass on all issues, no matter how small they seem for other children they can build into mammoth proportions for these little ones.
  • Take the opportunity to educate other parents. Don't lecture, smile, be charming, inform. Take away the fear.
  • If your school does not already advocate this - ask for a buddy system. An older child - in our case it was Year seven, who can help your child, mentor them, be their friend and supporter, teach them the ways of the school world.
  • Always remember that if you alienate the teacher your child will suffer. Keep the big guns hidden unless absolutely, unavoidably necessary.
  • Brain Gym was a big help in our early days. Look into it - it may assist.
  • WATER WATER WATER - the more hydrated these children are the better their coping skills. Explain to the teachers and staff, if it means more toilet runs, then so be it.

If I think of anything else I will edit and add. Good luck, any questions, please ask. Boy 1 is heading into Grade 6 this year, the little boy who we were told would NEVER be capable of learning has achieved much. Academically, he does well. Socially, it is getting harder as the kids' (and I must admit some parents') attitudes change.