Toys and Stuff

I have just hauled a massive bag of toys into my bedroom (home of many random things). I’ve done this to reduce the madness with all the gifts that Christmas brings.
So we are down to a low-ish level of stuff without depriving the three boys of things to do and read and play with.
Because, in another corner of the room, not very far away is a massive great pile of presents. They are starting to tower over the tiny Christmas tree I’ve been using for years.
I’m not a big traditionalist when it comes to Christmas. We most certainly celebrate it and enjoy the time with friends and family but our Christmas is a little different to most.
When possible I try to help the kids have time with their families on or very close to Christmas Day. That might mean meeting in a park for a play on Christmas morning, or packing them up for a sleepover on Christmas Eve. In this way their families get to have this special time together.
It means something to me to be able to help make that happen. It also means that Christmas Day is a little different as I don’t always get to gather my little boys together to share this day. This year the two older boys will be off with their families and I won’t see them till Boxing Day. Other members of my family will not be around this year so me and the baby are heading down to Byron Bay to spend the day with friends who live right near the beach. We will be having a lovely time with swims, playing on the sand, some great summery food and wonderful friends.
Have a great Christmas everyone.

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Video Didn’t Kill This Radio Star

OK, I really should have called this post the ‘Kids in Care Christmas Appeal’, but I couldn’t resist.

Last week the Kids in Care Christmas Appeal was launched statewide here Queensland, Australia. I probably don’t need to spell it out for you, but just in case…they have a goal of providing every child/young person in care with a Christmas present this year.

Typically Christmas time is very busy in child protection. A lot of children come into care and foster carers, agencies and government services are under the pump just to provide or find safe places for these children to stay, even if it is only temporary.

Anyway….I was asked (along with a couple of other wonderful carers) to participate in helping with the promotion of the appeal by doing an interview and recording a few bits and pieces for our local public broadcaster ABC 612 in Brisbane.

So here you go folks…enjoy listening. For those who live in Australia – sorry I sound like SUCH a Queenslander! For those who live in the ‘rest of the world’ enjoy our accents!

Of course, if you are in Queensland, it would lovely if you could donate a present too.

You can find out where you can donate presents here. Presents should be valued at $25 or less, be new and unwrapped for children/young people of any age between 0 and 17.

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.