Darling Mummy

backyard fun in summer

Our friend O

We had a great day today. This morning L just couldn’t stop talking. He was copying nearly everything I said to him – words he’s never said before. I was baking banana bread and got him to help me with mashing the bananas.

Me: ‘We’re squishing the bananas, squish, squish, SQUISH!’

Him: ‘Squishing bananas!’

OK, this is good! Maybe we are going to have a good day today. He kept up with all the talking as we went over to visit with our friends and their (non-spectrum) kids. Lots to say, a bit pinchy and pushy, but had a lot of fun and managed himself pretty well all things considered. Ate his lunch. Oh yeah, we are definitely having a good day. Water play – the kids love it cos it’s fun and I love it cos it totally wears them out. An hour or so of running around naked in the dappled sunlight on a warm summer afternoon – happy boy.

Got home after picking up a bargain tray of organic mangoes (L’s favourite new food). Some quiet play, ate some dinner, bath, cleaned teeth and off to bed, all relatively painless. As we are lying on the bed and I’m doing my best NOT to fall asleep, L starts to talk to me.

Him: ‘L a good boy’

Me: ‘Yes darling, you were a very good boy today’

Him: ‘Not naughty’

Me: ‘No, you were good! You had fun with your friends didn’t you’

Him: ‘Darling mummy’

Me: ‘Darling L’

Him: asleep

Me: deep breath – we just had our first real conversation

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Thank Goodness

There are somethings about raising a child with a disability that you simply can’t share with everyone. Not everyone would understand. Certain experiences simply would not elicit the compassion or the kind words, only the recoiling horror, terrified eyes and the truly genuine relief that it’s not them that has to deal with it.

The only people who you can truly share these gory details with are other families in the same situation, who have their own horrible experiences to share. Then, strangely enough you can have a good laugh about it. Thank goodness for that… and for hospital grade antiseptic wash (thanks Abbi).

Laser Beak Man

I wanted to share this video with you. It presses lots of buttons for me – all good ones.

It is a profile about a very special person – Tim Sharp, a young man with autism who comes from my hometown of Brisbane. He has a wonderful artistic talent and has created the character Laser Beak Man. The film was directed by a friend and produced by the government department I used to work for (yes, occasionally government departments do something valuable and special).

Most importantly though, it shows (and gives me hope for my little guy) that we can all have a meaningful place in the world.

By the way, don’t you think it’s interesting that autistic and artistic and separated by only one letter.

AEIOU

This year my 4 year old L has been attending an early intervention centre for children with autism – AEIOU. For me, it was the big push to help him to progress as much as possible before starting formal school in the new year.

AEIOU is a non-profit set up to provide the best possible practices in early intervention. The people who work there are passionate about their work, amazingly patient and caring not only of your child but of the whole family.

This week will be L’s last attending the formal program. He’ll do a couple of weeks of the holiday program and then it’s over and out. It’s going to be sad to say goodbye to the people who have been helping me to give him the best possible start, sad to lose the community we have built up in the time he has been there. I’ll miss the mum’s on a Wednesday morning where we can say anything, laugh like fools at the crazy situations we find ourselves in, shed a tear if necessary, and support each other to keep looking forward with hope for our kids.

I’ll miss some of the kids too. I usually spend about half an hour in the playground each morning when I drop L off for the day. My other two are with me of course. N at 21 months, just loves to hang out there. Some mornings when we arrive, the energy in the playground is absolutely electric – 40 pre-schoolers demonstrating the breadth of the spectrum they are on can be pretty dynamic. But N just waltzes in there like he owns the joint and has a whale of a time playing on the equipment, jumping on the trampoline with the big kids, digging in the sand pit and hitching rides on the back of a trike.

The baby gets a huge amount of attention from a small group of kids, all acting independently, but extremely interested in him and his pram. We’ve all become good friends over the year, I’m lucky enough to get lots of cuddles and the occasional kiss from these little darlings.  Baby J shows what a bit of motivation can do for language development – those kids can’t stop yakking about him! Anyway, we will miss this morning ritual.

I know that next year, there will be new rituals, new Mum’s groups, new teachers, new kids and we will fall into a new rhythm, but till then I’m going to miss what we had this year. So a big, enormous thanks to the wonderful teachers, therapists, facilitators and admin staff at AEIOU. They’ve made a world of difference for my little man.

This is the AEIOU Christmas card – it’s worth having a look at.

Under the Tree

Christmas rolling around again. I’ve been reasonably efficient in present buying this year and have minimised my time in shops by shopping either through N’s child care centre’s fundraising catalogue and also through a little online browsing.  So I thought I’d share some of my fabulous finds.

Fostering babies means that you are responsible for taking photos of them as they grow, keeping all their special little things like id tags from hospital, the outfit they wore home from hospital, any cards or presents they are given and keeping track of all their milestones – just like a regular mother would. However, when it comes to putting it all together in a ‘baby book’ well…I’ve never been able to find a book that really suited their circumstances.

Usually, all you have to do is open the first page and there you find something like – ‘a picture of me inside mummy’s tummy’ or, ‘the day mum & dad discovered I was on my way’. Turn the page and there’s something like ‘My family tree’ …there’s usually way too many unanswered questions for that one. And on it goes. So, no…no baby books for my babies.

Guess what I found?? Oh yes I did! The very clever, sensitive and creative Kate at gadanke makes beautiful handmade journals titled ‘You Are Loved’ and which prompt you to write about so much more than the cold hard facts. So I’ve  got one of these under the tree for J. This will be something he can treasure forever.

Now for that elusive present that you can buy in quantity, not too expensive, unique, somewhat arty and which everyone will have a use for. Problem solved at todryfor . Some of you who read this are getting this present. So shield your eyes, or indulge yourself trying to work out which one I have got for you. No more info – either go to the site and be delighted or don’t. It’s up to you.

That’s it for now. I’m off to a mummy’s night out. Rare, precious.