Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We Merry you a Wishy Christmas

What a great week we have just had. We went away for a week on holidays with the kids to a caravan park. I definitely had some stress and concern about how we would all cope, especially how Jono would do... or is that how we would do with Jono? Anyways, I spent the day before we left packing and cleaning and organizing pets and food so that they would survive while we were gone (many thanks mum who came and fed them for us), and on the day it still took around 3 hours of 'final' packing before we were ready to leave. When we finally got going it ended up being quite a short trip to get there, only 2 hours. I'm fairly sure we went for a swim pretty much straight away and ended up swimming every day.

The first real joy - Jono can swim! All by himself, he can co-ordinate his arms and legs together enough in a dog paddle-type thing to propel himself across the pool, even in deep water. I was free to have a swim by myself without a child holding on to me and without me being on 'guard' in case floaties fell off or someone got caught in a circumstance they weren't sure of. Wooooo!!!

We had the kids all in the one room on a 3 bunk bed. Jono claimed the middle bunk and managed to sleep in it for 3 nights, then started drawing in bed and ended up on the floor with his drawings, his pillow and doona for 2 nights, then back in the bunk. Last holidays we were on years ago we changed the kids beds each night, but this time we didn't bother and Jono wanted the middle bunk the whole time when we offered to change, which was fine as far as we were concerned.

He loves ocean swimming too, I had to be right near him when we went to the bay for a swim as there was a decent undercurrent. It was so great to see how much he enjoyed himself in it no fear, runs out to a wave, gets smashed by it and falls apart giggling, then heads out to the next wave.

On another day we went to a shopping centre (that was packed to the rafters with people) and it had a lot of outdoor fun things for kids to do, little rides, digging machines, a playground, a 'train' which we rode on but Jono was quite uncomfortable about, so Daddy stayed with him, and grandma, myself and the other two took off. When we got back Daddy had him jumping on a car track, and the other two got on with him. The cars on this track where ones that you sat 'on' the roof, and put your legs into the front seat area for the pedals, and the steering wheel was up at roof level with you. We were 'really' unsure how Jono would go, if he would even understand that you needed to put your foot down to make it go, let alone be able to steer. Luckily the track was circular, so it was easy to navigate, and also luckily the cars all had bumpers on them, coz Jono caused a traffic jam at one stage (giggling as the cars crashed into his) but he did really really well! He could steer, he figured out the pedals, and the assistant only had to help him once. Rob spent about an hour after wards saying he was hoping Jono would understand and was thrilled by how well he did.

And once last thing on understanding, Jono now understands money. He understands you need to use money to buy things and this just gives us such hope and joy for his future. The caravan park we stayed in had all the road as shared zones for cars, walkers and bikes. We took down with us a few scooters to be able to zip around, and all the kids enjoyed using these. They got the know their way around the park pretty quick and were comfortable with the surrounds - including Jono. One morning we were fixing up the training wheels on Sarah's Christmas present while her and Daniel were in the Kids Club (Jono didn't want to go in, so he stayed with us), we got quite involved with what we were doing and didn't quite notice where he was for a minute or two. After realizing he wasn't in the cabin I said to Rob I'd better go look for him and headed out the door.

I walked along the road our cabin was on and headed towards the front office and found Jono, on a scooter trying to ride it one handed, with something tucked into his shirt that he was holding with his other hand. I opened up his shirt and there was a can of drink. He had... all by himself... decided he was thirsty, found some money, gotten some transport, headed to the drink machine at the front office, put the money in, chose his drink, and headed back to us.

It's been a very Merry Christmas time this year... some perhaps more merry than others with the sugar laden drinks their parents let them have because they can use money :P

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sea Shells by the Sea Shore

Well... river bed at least.

Yesterday was Rob's work Christmas Party and it was held at a boat ramp with a kids park nearby and bbq facilities, they hired a marquee, and chairs and brought 'tonnnnnes' of food. Great day!

There were quite a few highlights, one for me was waterski-ing down the river (well laying down on a boogie board and holding the rope being dragged behind a boat) Rob went first and found it a little tricky, I saw what he did and tried a few other things, we both have really sore arms today but it was unbelievable fun!

For Jono, he found his fun within the first 4 minutes and 30 seconds. The river was so high from the recent summer storms that it actually came over the top of the embankment and into the kids playground area. 'Just' after we turned up a boat came past and the wash came up even higher... Jono 'somehow' noticed this and went towards it... the next thing we know the kids are saying Jono get out, and he's up to his neck in the river.

We brought swimmers, but no spare clothes, so he spends the rest of the day dropping into and out of the river at random, soaking wet and drying off by playing in the playground until Rob and I go on the boat for the waterski-ing... then we thought we may as well put him in his swimmers.
Daniel and Sarah came on the boat with us, and completely loved the crashing over the tops of the waves, Jono stayed in the river with one of the co-workers nearby and when we came back he was swimming a out into the river chasing ducks, yelling 'look' and pointing at them

So.. what's the deal with the Sea Shells?
For the lunch there was a great range of lovely salads, steaks, rissoles, chicken wings and sausages.. and of course prawns! After a while Jono noticed the prawns and picked one up.. I though he was going to eat it, he took and wandered off towards the river.. I still thought he was going to eat it.. next thing he throws it into the river. We thought he was seting them free... or something like that, he definatelty knew where they belonged. After a while I asked him what they where and he kept on saying Sea Shells.. I think the fish ended up with around 8 friends joining them yesterday.

Lucky Sea Shells :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

School's out... for... EVER!! Untill next year at least.

It's the end of school, and this week has had some very slow starts, Jono still had his late night escapades and wakes late in the mornings. He's decided he doesn't really want breakfast most days, and as he usually gets up somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes before we have to leave I've decided not to force the issue.

The big exciting news is that next year he gets the same teacher, which I am so completely thrilled about, with her he has grown soooo much, and it also means school will be familiar when he goes back. He is however getting a new classroom, I mean like a 'new' classrooom, they are building it over the school holidays! His teacher has been chatting with him about when he comes back he will go to a new room and it will be 'there', and she points to a grassy area, he seems to get it.

Looking back on the year (as we often do when things come to an 'end'), he has just grown so unbeilably much. We started the year on the school bus and without a school unform... somehow they always seemed to end up over the fence in the neighbours yard, to go through to not coping with the bus at all, to riding in the car with Mummy and wearing the uniform, to taking the uniform in a bag and changing at school.

He's learned to write this year, and he actually wrote Merry Christmas all by himself on the little end of year take home bag that he made for his parents. His counting is outstandingly better, his interest in words has grown again, and he can read small books, and his comprehension of his family and friends is much better. If something happens that he thinks his siblings will want to know about, he will actually call their name and walk around the house looking for them.

He has started being socially friendly as well, he will regularly call out 'hello' to random people on the street (good and bad), and on the last day of school we walked in past his classmates and he waved at them... like he recognizes them for people he knows, and realises he should do something in welcome to them... amazing!

So we have 6 weeks of holidays, we have some time away, in a caravan park with Grandma, we have Christmas, we have parties, we have day care on the days where Mummy and Daddy still have to work (oh summer as a kid, they just don't know how good it is), we have renovations to move on with, and who knows... we may just find some time to wash the alien off the wall in the toilet... we may even get someone to help with that one :)

School Holidays.. Woo!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Does this site exist? Highly doubtful, but I am sure we all know what it means. Advertising is so powerful, even a child with limited vocabulary and social interaction is not only aware of it but also capable of writing it... In permanent pen, on the kitchen clock. So the clock has a new look and we went to mcds for dinner the other night .com.au

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Good Therapy

I was talking with my husband the other day about how little I've posted here on the blog this year, and said I started the whole thing for a little 'self-'therapy', a way to have an outlet for myself about what I was going through and how I was coping.

With how little I've posted this year, it looks like this year I'm coping!

It's been a long walk so far, 5 years since finding out and time of grieving, loss of dreams, loss of ability to do 'stuff' normal families do, restricted outings, shortened outings, not sitting down when going out type outings... seeing family and friends has been hard, not because he's 'naughty' but because he's curious, and tactile and has to explore, and feel and touch.

He's older and he's better now, he seems to have grown out of a lot of it... and I think we are just better adjusted to the lifestyle. I think Daniel and Sarah are coping a lot better now as well. They both offer to help him with different things and look out for him more.

A few weeks back we were in the city at a park, and Sarah was holding his hand as they walked along, directing him and watching over him. Just a few days ago we went to a local park, and the three of them took turns on the flying fox, Daniel kind of took charge and said whose turn it was next and made sure it was fair.

Yeah.. I think we've all grown this year, why 5 years to get to this stage? No cotton picking idea, but I'm very glad we've reached it :)

Friday, October 31, 2008

It's Art Week!

Well, that may be what Jono is thinking at least.

This week so far we have lost 2 bottles of shampoo and one of conditioner down the sink, a can of shave foam, a can of hairspray, 2 bottles of nailpolish (all over the polished timber floorboards) and had a dozen balloons blown up filled with water and thrown outside... unfortunately one came inside and went down the stairs causing a rather large puddle at the bottom - fortunately not near anything electrical.

So, I've given him a few exercise books and some textas and he's doing some amazing drawings, spaceships and planets and night sky and all that kind of thing... then he found one of his brothers paint sets.

Now behind the toilet door is a large picture on the wall, that takes up around half the wall is a painting of a 3 eyed alien, with hands and feet, and a moon crescent behind it.. it really looks amazing, and yes I took photos.... the funny thing is just last week I commented to my husband.. I'm going to get a large bucket of water and some gumption and clean 'all' the walls in the house soon, before I have to get to repainting... looks like I just may need to repaint sooner rather than later.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Its 'almost' Christmas

Well.. getting close enough now anyways.
We've had a truly amazing year so far. After my last entry I got a 'job' painting Rob's work office building - 2 storys, just the inside. After 4 months of doing that it was time to start lokking for work, so I did up my resume, sent it out, got a phone call 20 minutes later, went to an interview 2 hours after that and started work the next day.

The great thing has been with this company I'm getting to do Graphic Design, which I am confident about, and I get to work school hours only. If I am running a little late due to 'stresses' they aren't concerned, and I have flexibility.. in fact last Friday morning I found out it was a student free day the following Monday, and they were great in giving me the time off to be able to take care of the kids (late notice to find someone).

So anyways, Jono this year.. is going great, his teacher is bringing him so much out of himself, he knows all the family by name and will call out for us... tonight a show came on that he knows his brother likes, so he sat calling out over and over.. Daniel, Daniel... Daniel was already busy watching the show that Jono had just abandoned (2 tvs = good and bad),

We've also had Jono in respite house this year, he goes from Friday arvo to Sunday arvo.. the first one, we took some time for Mummy and Daddy, the second weekend we took the other two out.. movies, dreamworld, iceskating, the things Jono doesn't cope quite so well with... and he went swiming and shopping and such.

We are also currently renovating, which means we've had bedroom walls pulled down in our room and proper ones up to the cieling in the cathedral ceiling area.. he's gotten into all kinds of mischief and I think I'll need to do a full house 'sweep' to see the things he's found and where he's put them.

All in good time, along with painting the walls of the reno's, clearing out the garden for summer, planning the outdoor landscaping, having bbq's and 'stuff'... there's always things to do :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Back to School

Its been an interesting start to school this year.

Sarah's first year, and she is thrilled to pieces, Daniel's in grade 4 and 'over' school. Jono in grade 2 at special school, and it's a little different - classes, teachers etc, but still the same - same bus, same drivers, same assembly to start the school day.

In his first week - 2 days were great, then 2 days of tears... we 'think' he may have been tired. His second week was more settled, and this week he's going great.

The extra special thing about this year, he is actually looking at me when the bus pulls out, instead of in the air or at the trees. I've been able to wave goodbye and blow him kisses, and he gives me eye contact, and even blew a kiss back and waved.

I tell you, warm fuzzies all over the first day he did that :)

Today is his swimming day at school, and I got him to tell him, he gave me eye contact and listened well, and I told him - Today Swimming day, at School. So he reached out and gave me the biggest hug. I really wasn't expecting that kind of reaction, but I think it was his way of saying thank you.

He's an awesome boy.

We are normal!!

Ok, odd title, especially as I haven't written for a while - life, school holidays (3 kids at home for 6 weeks *pulls hair out*), etc.

I've had a few people at our house after the kids have gotten back to school, and they have commented on the general lack or order that is going on.

Our house is currently fairly trashed, I was sweeping up every day, some days multiple times when the kids were home, depending on how many things got thrown on the floor. It may have been food that felt wrong in the mouth, milk that looks good when you pour it on the floor, a hand cream that makes a great paste to write on the walls with, a glass cup that makes such a great noise when you smash it, that its worthwhile to grab another one and smash it before mum catches you.

After the kids have gotten back to school I've made myself a task set of things to get in order, but I'm tackling one at a time, with no time pressure, I'm expecting to take 1 term to get it back in order. The kitchen is generally clean, and hygienic, though the dishes may sit for a day before they get washed the floor is generally tidy enough to have some room to walk on, but some rooms are just 'ewwww', but I refuse to stress about them.

I tackled Jono's room, and gathered the 'things' in his bed, then realized it was taking such a long time to pick up the pieces of lego, puzzles, toys, broken chalk and textas in his bed that it would be easier to simply sweep his bed clean. As I was doing that I thought to my self - yes, you know you are a mother of an Autistic child when you are actually sweeping their bed to clean it. I got a lot of toys and books away, tidied the floor, remade the bed, and said - that will do.

When a child takes 20 minuted to make 2 hours of cleaning, and if you have a shower you know you'll need to come out and get the broom for the next mess, coz your back was turned you reach a point where the mess in and of itself gets ignored, and left for a day when it gets tackled wholesale.

Currently, he has also drawn on his bed, and on his bedroom walls with textas... I'll clean it off, later.

So.. why are we normal?
I saw an article in a magazine by a family with 6 autistic kids, and the biggest thing that got me besides the fact they get glared at in public, run after children with no sense of boundaries, who can't sit still to eat, eat of strangers tables, hum and scream for no apparent reason, and bolt for the door if daddy isn't looking, all of which I all related to and have experienced personally.. but a picture of one of the kids bedrooms. They have no sheets on their bed, the walls where covered in scribbles, paint stripped away in patches, no curtains, and chains and locks on cupboards and doors around the house.

This is me.
I face this daily, and people have no idea, this picture was me, my family, and the things we face, but in an exaggerated fashion to where we are at currently, having only 1 child with autism.

I admire this family greatly, the simple fact they are still married with everything they have going on speaks volumes about their strength of character.

Anyways here's some links to them and their stories.. and I think I'll be buying a few of their t-shirts :)

http://www.deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,660226195,00.html - scroll through the pictures on the right.

http://www.autismbites.com/index.html - their home site.