Archive | January, 2009

10 honest things about me.

31 Jan

Thanks to Ellen over at ‘To The Max’ for this call out.

OK, so here’s 10 honest things about me.

1) I love coffee, even though I get far too much of a buzz from it, as well as indigestion. AND it worsens my breastfeeding son’s eczema. Even still, once a month or so, I treat myself. This means if I get anything other than a GREAT coffee at that time, I am devastated.  I have no hesitation to return a coffee in  a cafe if it’s not done just right!

2) I met my husband while trekking to see orangutans in the Sumatran jungle.

3) I am trying to conceive, right now. And even though I tell myself, and everyone else that should I fall pregnant, I really don’t mind if our third child is a boy or a girl as long as he/she is healthy,  in fact, I really, really would love a little baby girl. To get even more honest, I already have a secret stash of little girl clothes – just in case!

4) I have a degree in professional writing and literature. I love reading and read all the time, but this blog is the most writing I have  done in 5 years. I think I was a much better writer 15 years ago than what I am now. I really hope I have the time, confidence and  motivation to go back to my passion for writing fiction some time in the future.

5) Relates to 4 – I love studying. I am currently completing a Masters, part time (very, very part time). There’s nothing more exciting than finishing an assignment or essay right on the deadline. I just wish had more time for it.

6) I worry about my health and I google symptoms even though I know I shouldn’t. Dr Google only gives the very worst case scenario.

7) I have a birth mark on my scalp, similar to Gorbachev’s only smaller (I hope I never go bald!).

8) I crave organisation in my life, yet I am terribly, hopelessly disorganised. I wish I had a personal assistant!

9) I love travelling and adventure and I used to be very brave. I once skydived over the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and I used to regularly rock climb. These days I get a little scared and dizzy if I stand on a chair to get something off a high shelf…

10) I often dream about BC walking, talking, running and jumping. It used to make me sad, but now it gives me hope.

I am not really sure how to go about passing on this sort of thing or who might like it passed on to them, but feel free to share 10 honest things about yourself and link it via my comments ;-).

Why?

31 Jan

It’s not often I comment on news events, but over the past couple of days,  2 crimes involving parents killing their children have deeply saddened me and left me wondering ‘why’?.

First, the mother who murdered her daughter when her partner gave her an ‘it’s her or me’ ultimatum.

Secondly, and much closer to home, the father who threw his 4 year old daughter 60 metres off a busy city bridge in peak hour traffic in my own city.

I am sure in both cases, there are complex and confounding circumstances.

What saddens me most is that for whatever reasons these crimes were committed, the perpetrator chose that path. Is it because we don’t offer enough support in our society to people in need? Do we not care enough about each other and fail to notice when someone is being pushed to the brink to consider the unthinkable? Or is it simply a case that evil really does lurk in some hearts?

Today, on my way home from work, by chance, I drove past the school where the little 4 year old girl was supposed to start school on the day she was murdered. A big sign out the front welcomes the new school year. What a waste of a beautiful young life. I hope she rests in peace. And I hope as a society we can learn something from this kind of tragedy to avoid such things happening in the future. I will be giving my two little boys an extra big hug tonight.

Too hot.

28 Jan

It’s too hot right now. Too hot to sleep. Too hot to eat. Too hot to sit at the computer and write. It’s 10.30 p, and it’s still 35 deg c (that’s 95 f)…..

We’re experiencing what they are calling a ‘once in a century’ heatwave. It’s only day 2 and I am already melting. Apparently it’s going to stay ridiculously hot until the end of the weekend.

On the plus side, we’ve just got back from a few days at the beach. It was divine.

BC’s walker got it’s first work out on sand. We learnt quickly that it doesn’t cut it at all in the dry sand, but on the wet sand it went like a dream. We also learnt that the site of a little boy in  a walking frame on a beach full of families is equal to the interest level of seeing a dolphin splashing in the shallows. We got a LOT of attention. Even though I’m getting more and more used to it, and know it’s mostly well meaning, geez Louise I wish it wasn’t such a novelty for people.

BC did really well splashing in the shallows and had a ball trying to beat the waves. He got knocked down quite a few times, but I have to say, he falls very well. He managed to get himself up above the water very quickly each time. He loved most of all walking out into the water with his dad and also making (and then destroying) sandcastles.

The little Bean, who hasn’t seen a beach since he was a crawler, was quite scared of the waves, but learnt to love them pretty quickly. We had trouble getting him OUT of the water by the end of the day!

And I just really enjoyed getting away. It wasn’t quite long enough, but still. I feel a lot more relaxed.

And I was shocked to find myself realising as we drove home this afternoon that I am really, really looking forward to the start of term – kindergarten, early intervention, horseriding, swimming, rolfing, point percussion, osteopathy, chiropractics, exploring ABR, etc etc.  I am really looking forward to the whole thing. Which is great, because everything is starting up afresh very soon.

So bring it on!!! I am ready and looking forward to it all – but please, oh please, turn down the heat!! just a little. It’s just too darn hot.

at the beach

Sleep School and Dating

23 Jan

A while ago, I wrote a part 1 post about sleep. I never got around to writing the second post, so this is really part 3. Will fill in part 2 some day.

I could also have called this post ‘Never ask me for advice about sleep and kids because I am rubbish at it’. Which I am.

I love that we coslept with BC until he was 2.5 (and he still sleeps in a toddler bed in our room) and I have been loving that we have done the same with the Little Bean. BUT there’s lots of limitations when you allow your children to become dependent on breastfeeding themselves to sleep. I wouldn’t really recommend it, even though I LOVE LOVE LOVE the closeness that is brings.

So this week, we headed off to Sleep School for the week. BC graduated with flying colours from the same place less than 2 years ago, but I know my little Bean is a different person altogher and I knew we were in for a struggle.

And it was. We’re home now and he’s asleep. In our bed. And yes, I breastfed him off to sleep. Sigh!

It wasn’t a complete waste of time. We learnt a lot about his sleep issues and I have realised just what an impact his eczema has on both his sleep and his behaviour.

And so now, the guilt has set in a little too. Guilt that I haven’t taken him to see an allergist to properly have his skin issues explored. Guilt that I didn’t realise the extent of the problem and just how stressful it is for him. Guilt that the REASON for this is because I know that I get preoccupied with BC’s needs, which are so much more obvious and which always take precedence. I have so many zillion appointments to keep for him, I realise I have let the Little Bean down in the meantime.

But on the plus side, we had the most amazing 5 days together on our own, really getting to know each other. And I mean that literally. It was the first time we’ve ever spent so much time with just the two of us and I learnt so much about him. We hung out in the park, read books, playing games, drew pictures – all of which we have done before – but never on our own. Always with BC there as well. And it was lovely. Liberating. Stimulating. I feel like he’s just been born all over again – that feeling of wonder and amazement at everything he does.

So now, we’re going to sort out his skin, once and for all (and his sleep!) and we’re going to start going on dates.

Dating your kids is a concept introduced to me by a friend who has 3 kids, one with special needs. Every three months, she takes each child out on a ‘date’ on their own. They choose the location (eg a park, a movie, the beach, a cafe etc) and for 2-3 hours, they have mum’s undivided attention. A date.

Ever since she told me about this, I’ve known I’ve wanted to do it, but I always thought it was for later. When they are older.

But I have realised now, that even at 21 months, my little Bean is not too young for dating. In fact, he’s well and truly ready. So I’ll be planning dates with each of my boys over the next few weeks. I’ll let you know how it goes!

‘My favourite room in my house’ (a ‘meme’)

17 Jan

This is my first ever ‘meme‘. Thanks Ellen at ‘To The Max’ for introducing me to the concept.

My favourite room

The topic is ‘your favourite room in your house’. So here is mine.

But now, I have a confession to make. This is NOT my house.

And a further confession: I can’t post a pic of a fave room in my house because honestly, I don’t have one.

As a follow up to my post earlier in the week about working, the fact that I haven’t worked since BC was born (and my husband is still not fully qualified for his job) means that we don’t have much money. As a result, we don’t own our own home.  We rent. And we rent a very ordinary 2 bedroom unit that has threadbare carpets, a broken griller, a shower door that doesn’t close properly and a living area that is an oven in summer and a refrigerator in winter.

It’s not all that bad. It’s clean and it’s very well located and it’s a very good price for the area we live in. But it’s absolutely not where I would choose to live if I had a choice. The house in the pic above, is.

I’d love an open plan house and my ideal room would look like this photo: a sunlit living area where I can relax and read books. I’d love it to have French doors that open out onto a patio and into a decent sized back garden where the kids can play. I’d like the kitchen to be within sight of the back doors so I could watch the kids while I cooked. The lack of doorways and steps would suit a little boy in a walker and a mum who likes to know where her kids are and what they are doing at all times.

This year, we really really hope that we might finally be able to afford to buy our own home. It’s not likely that I’ll get the perfect room like the one in this picture – given that the house this photo was taken from IS for sale but is more than 3 times more expensive than the budget we will have – but it doesn’t hurt to dream a little. Thanks Ellen ;-).

Working 9-5!

15 Jan

For all those mums out there who go out to work on a regular basis, I salute you. You are amazing, super, incredible and I bet, really really tired!

I’ve been working all this week in the city (on a once off project) and while I’ve loved every minute of it, I have realised just how intense it is working full-time and then coming home to the full-time job of mum that doesn’t stop just because I’m doing another job.

The stimulation of being in a working, environment has been incredibly rewarding. It’s been fun playing at being an employee, a professional, something other than ‘mum’, and weird that it really HAS felt like I’ve been playing it, like I’m dressing up in someone else’s mum’s clothes and heading off on the train with all the REAL grownups, waiting to be found out and sent back home with my Spiderman lunchbox and overripe bananas…

There’s been a few interesting things that working has revealed to me. Firstly, when my colleagues ask what I usually do, I’ve felt embarrassed to say “I’m at home with the kids”. I don’t know why. I know I shouldn’t be. And I’ve resisted the urge to qualify the statement, explain away the REASON that I’m still at home as being because my son has ‘special needs’. Partly because it’s not their business, and secondly, I don’t see why I should somehow make it more acceptable to stay at home. It should be acceptable for whatever reason I choose. For whatever reason anyone chooses.

I thought about this more as I read this article whilst on the train heading into the city yesterday. Being a stay-at-home mum is worth $90 a week – the equivalent of 5 hours working as a cleaner???? I don’t think so.

The other interesting thing has been that it’s given me a lot of perspective, a fresh approach for the new year to come, once all the crazy therapy schedule starts and we’re back to ‘business’.

And that perspective is that even though it IS a crazy, busy time, I love it. I love spending time with my kids and I love that I’ve made that decision to stay at home a few more years so that I can be a part of BC’s therapy and the little Bean’s formative years too.

I totally understand, and respect, others who have taken a different path and are working, for whatever reason they choose, but I realise I shouldn’t complain too much when it all gets too busy. Nor should I feel embarrassed to say that I’m stayng at home. It’s what I’ve chosen to do, what I WANT to do, for now and at least for a few more years.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find some more presentable grown up clothes to wear to the office tomorrow that don’t have paint, yoghurt, tomato sauce, grubby fingers marks etc all over them…and believe me, it could take a while!

Need more petrol.

11 Jan

BC has been using a kaye walker for nearly 2 years now. He’s been more and more skilled at controlling it (he can get up a single steps, maneouvre his way around or over bumps and ditches, do great 360 turns etc). However, his endurance has been improving at a much slower rate. Walking just wears him out.

However, just over this past few weeks, he seems to have notched it up a gear. He is walking longer and longer and making more and more requests to get BACK in the walker after a little break.

All good.

img_1802Yesterday, we went into the city for the afternoon. He walked from the State Library, along img_18381the city streets towards the river. Then all the way along the river to the playground at Birrarung Marr (another great accessible playground!) and then back along the river all the way to the train station. He even insisted on walking on to the train when it arrived.

Once we arrived at our station, he decided he would also walk all the way home (it’s about 1.5 kms).

Just near our station is a petrol station that we often cut through to get home. BC’s dad made a big show of pretending to put a petrol hose into BC’s walker to give him enough petrol to get home.

While he was doing that, I was in the servo buying us all a drink (I knew it wouldn’t be a quick walk!).

When I came out and BC asked for some juice, BC’s dad told him it wasn’t juice it was petrol and asked if BC needed a little petrol to get home?

And so a game began.

Every 100 metres or so, BC stopped dead in his walker and called out ‘need more petrol’ and wouldn’t move on until he got another drink.

He thought this was hilarious, every time.

And so, we finally made it home. And yes, BC did walk the WHOLE way. Something he’s never done before.

He went to bed VERY early last night and slept like an absolute log. But as I write, he’s calling out to me that he wants to go to the park. I best be sure to take enough ‘petrol’ for the journey!

Those who try to get it, but sometimes, just don’t….

8 Jan

I caught up with a good friend a few days ago who I like a lot.  He doesn’t have any children. He’s a great guy and we enjoy spending time with him, but sometimes, he just doesn’t get it.

We were in a park, and BC was walking with us (in his walker) along a path looking at the flowers, the lake, the swans, the ducks – occasionally stopping to point something out to me.

I was having a lovely time. A very pleasant stroll in a beautiful park with my children and a good friend.

Then my friend said with a laugh, looking at BC – “He’s just like one of those old men with their walking frames, isn’t he? Hobbling along in a frame looking at everything and boring people by showing them every little thing he sees”.

I smiled and shrugged, because I don’t much like a conflict, especially when I’ve been having such a nice day.

But I’ve been stewing on the comment ever since. And getting more and more annoyed. I wasn’t bored. I loved that BC was showing me things. And hobbling along like an old man? Really? Is that how he sees my son? Is that how others see my son in his walker?

What should I have done? Is there something I could have said that would have expressed my dismay at his comment without sounding rude? Or doesn’t it matter if I sound rude?

It’s not the first time that I’ve been with someone who TRIES to get it, but doesn’t and I really find these sorts of situations confusing and frustrating. I don’t want to sound oversensitive and I don’t want to sour a pleasant moment or spoil a day out with friends (or worse a valued friendship!), but at the same time, I want my friends to know when they’ve got it wrong.

Any words of wisdom on this fine line?

Rolfing our way into the New year…..

6 Jan

About 9 months ago, we saw a rolfer for the first time. He did a LOT of work inside BC’s mouth and whammo, within a few weeks, he was saying a LOT more. It was amazing.

We’ve been meaning to go back for ages, but we just ran out of days last year.

I usually declare any holiday period to be totally therapy free, but the other day, as I filled in the calendar with what our schedule will be like once term starts, I realised that it was actually in my best interest to break my therapy free rule, just a little, to ease the pressure once we get into the regular grind.

It seems best to do a handful of sessions of this kind of therapy and then take a break.

I love the guy we see.

I love how well he works with BC and how clearly he respects him – straight away, as soon as we entered the room he was down on his knees so he was at eye level with BC, chatting to him, getting him to laugh, praising him.

And reminding ME just how far he has come since our first visits there 9 months ago. At that time, the words ‘mum’, ‘up’, ‘home’ and a hand full of others were pretty much it.

Now, I get sentences like this “I need go toilet”, “where going today?”, “what doing tomorrow?”, “I got rumble in my tummy”.

Yes, he still needs a lot of work on his articulation. Yes, most people can probably still only understand a smallish percentage of what he says. BUT, we’re getting there. We’re making progress. We’ve got a lot of reasons to be confident about how much speech he’ll develop in 2009.

There’s no magic bullet for CP, nothing that’s going to fix everything in one big hit (wow, do I wish there was!) but I love what alternative therapies can offer. I absolutely believe they have their place and just wish there was MORE ongoing research into them.

We’ll keep looking for new things to try, keep working on our busy schedule, and keep seeing people who care about kids like BC and want to help them achieve their best.

So we’re rolfing our way into the New year!!

A truly accessible playground

3 Jan

Today we went to Hay’s Paddock, a playground which describes itself as “the first community playground designed so that all children, regardless of their physical or intellectual ability, can play on an equal basis”.

And, wow. It sure lived up to the hype!

In fact, this isn’t the first time I visited this playground. I visited it about 7 years ago, when it had not long opened, with a friend and her young child.

This was LONG before kids were anywhere on my agenda and I’d actually forgotten about it until quite recently.

This tells you two things. Firstly, that I have a terrible memory, but secondly and more importantly, accessibility didn’t mean much to me then. As I guess it doesn’t probably mean much to many parents whose kids can scramble up narrow ladders and across rope walkways.

But this is no ‘special needs’ playground. Unlike some playgrounds I’ve seen with the larger harnessed swings, this swing is not separated from the others. The accessibility is not pointed and obvious. It’s just really well designed.

There are signs in braille and picture images as well as words. There are lots of things to hit and tap and touch, rampways that take you to the top of slides and lots of lots of lovely soft surfaces for those who fall a lot.

img_1651What struck me most about this playground wasn’t how well it really does cater for ‘all children’, but how well it does so without seeming to.

img_1669It’s just such a natural, asthetically pleasing design that just works, for everyone.

And what else I loved about it was for some reason, this playground seemed to extend that inclusive vibe to all the kids playing there.

img_1637Not one kid asked about BC’s walker. Not one kid even stopped to stare at it. BC was just another one of the kids, having a ball in the park.img_1583

We loved the playground. Both BC and Bean. We would love to see a whole lot more just like it all around the city (no, all around the WORLD!).

5 stars to you Hays Paddock *****

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