One More Day

I’m notoriously bad at organising things to do for the holidays. It’s not that I don’t think about it. It’s just that they come around so quickly and I haven’t really worked out what we will do. That has to change!

We are at the end of our two week holiday. One more day to go. It didn’t start out too auspiciously with some severe meltdowns in public places (me) and at home (my boy). But as you do, you find a rhythm to the day and you do you best to relax into it. Before you know it you are here, at the end of the holidays.

So here is our holiday in pictures and a few words.

The chickens definitely came before the eggs!

 

fun at the local pool – we’ve been getting there before nine, home before 11 = happy, sleepy, relaxed children

Bubs has started climbing everything. Two seconds later he was dancing on the table!

he’s a ham!

We spent the long weekend up at the property (where we have stayed before) with Chris & Karin. It’s ‘boys own fun’ up there. Wonderful!

Plus Chris had the best calendar ever!

L discovered that he could play music on the ipad – big progress!

We had friends over and went over to friends. M & O sure know how to feel the beat!

We couldn’t believe our luck when the neighbours started to have their deck built. We are down there with ‘the guys’ every morning talking about what they’re doing, which tools they’re using and what ‘that noise’ is. Best & cheapest fun!!

Bubs going to sleep. Not quite sure how my hair became his security blanket, but it is, so there you go. Note also my glasses are broken. I got down to having no arms on them by the end of the holiday and L is up to pair #4 for the year!

One more day people!!! ONE MORE DAY!

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A Taste of Summer in Winter

We set off in the pouring rain, heading north to our beachside destination. Three little boys in their pj’s and a mum trying to keep her stress levels down and energy up for a three hour, post rush hour drive through the night.

When we woke up bright and early the next day it was still raining but the excitement levels were high. We were staying with our friends and the kids all get on pretty well so they were very happy to see each other. There were short gaps when the rain stopped long enough for us to dash out for quick walks. We also dropped into the new local library where they had some great toys and a play area. The kids were occupied enough to keep them out of too much trouble. L’s screaming and circle running rev’ed the other kids up a bit but it was manageable.

N’s favourite book – cup cakes – YUM

Day two and the clouds were still there, but breaking up. We were hopeful. My friends and I usually tag team in the morning so that at least SOMEbody can get a lie in. So after an early breakfast I got the kids all organised and we set off on our morning walk, down to the playground which sits on the sandy cliff behind the beach. The running, walking and playing was followed by a little hot chocolate morning ritual at the cafe – something we did each morning to the delight of all kids.

My friend caught up with us at the cafe and we decided to risk taking the kids down to the beach. We didn’t have any supplies with us but oh well, let’s live a little dangerously…off we headed, down to the beach.

Oh the joy on getting down to the beach! The kids were leaping and bounding about like little puppies. They explored the rocks that had been exposed by all the rough seas. They got dirty, they got wet and as the sun started peeking through the clothes slowly came off. Soon they were all running around in the warm morning sun, bursting with the vim and vigour that a little outdoor freedom and a big horizon will give you.

It was so lovely to be able to see them so happy and free. In town you are always trying to keep them close (especially L who is a ‘runner’), but here, you could sit back and let them run, let them jump, let them feel some independence.

We weren’t the only ones who ventured out into the fresh, warming morning. The people who walked past us were all delighted by the happiness and exuberant whoops as these beautiful kids burnt off a ton of energy.

We were there for a couple of hours. I used every last tissue, wipe, nappy and clothing I didn’t know I had hidden away under the pram. We got back to the house just in time to feed some hungry little beasties followed by some post lunch snoozing. Ahhh! holiday bliss.

Late that afternoon we headed back to the playground. It was full of big boys, playing like boys do – lots of screaming, wrestling, commando moves, code words etc. Enter my boys. L had worked out a little circuit for himself that involved climbing up a ladder to the top deck of a play ship, then down the slide and around again. The smallest of the 10 or so boys who were there was playing up on the top deck as well and thought he’d make friends with my boy. He was probably about 6. This will be interesting, I thought.

Sure enough, as he realised that L was not responding to him in a predictable way, he started yelling at him ‘I can’t understand what you’re saying’. L, totally unfazed just kept moving through his circuit. The boy watched, and so did I. It could go either way at this point. Then he plonked himself down at the top of the slide so that L could not complete his circuit. L was being really good – making a bit of noise, but no hands, no pushing, just trying to get around this obstacle.

My friend made her way over to the bottom of the slide, just to be more of a presence. The boy was just starting to raise his hand up to L to push him away when her 8yo daughter suddenly appeared on the scene. She knew something was going on…’I’m onto it Mum!’ Within a few seconds she’d sorted it. The kid went down the slide, followed by L. It was resolved.

I love her for that moment. Beautifully handled.

The next day dawned and it was cool and clear as a bell. We had an absolutely beautiful day at the beach. The kids were in heaven. Their appetites for food and sleep went through the roof.

We had one last day there on Sunday (another corker) then headed home after dinner and baths.

What wonderful experiences for my kids.

One more week and we are back to school. Term 3. My grandmother taught in infant school for most of her career and she always said that Term 3 was when first year kids really settled down and started to learn. I’m hoping those words of wisdom are true for us.

Escapology

Day 15: Autism Awareness Blogathon (half way!! and happy birthday Judy Sharp)

I come from a big loud, rambunctious, opinionated family. My four siblings and I were brought up in the days when we’d get sent out of the house during the day and wouldn’t be back till it was getting dark. We’d manage to entertain ourselves one way or another and got up to all kinds of shenanigans our parents never found out about.

There was no fence on our yard and we lived on a reasonably busy road, a block away from a very busy road. My littlest brother was a cheeky little daredevil who got up to all kinds of naughtiness and one strong memory I have from when he was about 2 was opening the door to a policeman holding my baby brothers hand. He was stark naked and had been found wandering up the street. I saw the blood drain from my poor mother’s face. None of us had realised he wasn’t in the house.

These days I live on a small street that runs between two busier streets. Unfortunately a lot of people use my street to zip between these bigger streets. I’ve been living here for nearly seven years ( yes…people who know me….seven years!!!) and have been slowly fixing my little house up.

After planning it for several years with my neighbours, a couple of years ago we both put in a new front fence and a fence between our properties. Before that our joint backyards had been referred to as ‘the park’ by visiting kids.

I’d been getting more and more concerned about my boy and his gleeful sprints in the opposite direction whenever I called him. He had (and still has) no traffic sense at all. He couldn’t tell you if he was on the road or the footpath. He likes cars. He loves their badges and used to have to touch every car’s badge as we walked through a car park. More recently he loves the exhaust pipe. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell him that they are hot and not to touch, he is compelled to touch them.

So this is not a good combination. We had a couple of close calls. Once when we were in the front yard he took off as fast as his feet would carry him, straight out onto the street in front of the house. I can still see his excited and thrilled face as he turned around to look for me. I ran towards him my hands waving madly at the oncoming traffic to slow down/stop. Luckily, there was only one car coming, but if they had come about three seconds earlier – this is my nightmare.

When we finally made the arrangements to have the new fence put in it was an enormous relief. I went for a 6ft high fence and my wonderful luxurious automatic gate for the car. Now he will be safe, I thought. He couldn’t reach the latch for the pedestrian gate, he couldn’t open the gate for the car. Contained! I could relax a bit more when we were downstairs playing in the yard.

One Saturday morning earlier this year I had been cleaning up the morning chaos when I heard a knock on my front door. It was my neighbour from across the road. He could see my boy at the end of the street flicking his ribbon and watching the traffic whizzing past. He didn’t want to approach him as he was afraid he would run – good decision. I ran as quietly and quickly as I could towards him, but had to make sure he didn’t turn around to see me coming. If he had, he would also have run – and not towards me. Luckily I made it to him without him realising.

With a million thank you’s to my neighbour, I got him inside. The adrenalin was coursing through my body like a raging torrent.  Somehow, he’d got out of the house and unlatched the front gate and walked about 50m up the street. I had to find out how. Had someone (or I) left the gate unsecured? Was there somewhere he could get through that I didn’t yet know about?

A couple of days later we were in the front yard again and, to test the situation, I casually asked to him open the gate. Over he went to the gate, got up on his tippy toes, pointed his finger towards the latch (this is a kid who NEVER points) and jumped a little to flip it up so that he could pull the gate open. His OT & Physio might have been impressed, but I wasn’t!

I just stood there shaking my head in disbelief. At least now I knew how he’d got out. Of course the security has been a lot tighter since then, but I hate that. I want him to have a yard where he is safe to roam around, find some fun, wander through the garden, ride a bike and push the laundry trolley to his hearts content and not need me peering anxiously over his every move like some paranoid helicopter parent.

I haven’t done it yet, but I’m about to get some kind of alarm system that goes off when someone enters or leaves through the front gate. I already have a sign on the gate asking people to close it, but I think I have to up the ante there as well. I’m also thinking about some personal tracking system and/or some kind of medical id that he will allow to stay on. I may also have to put some kind of extension onto the front fence to give it some more height at some point. Luckily he’s not too much of a climber, but things change. I want to be ready for that.

Autism Day by Day has some great suggestions for making your home and more importantly, your child, safe.

image credit: autismdaybyday.blogspot.com.au