Sunday, 30 November 2008

I've been messing around ....

with colours and templates. Just thought I'd tell you in case you hadn't noticed .. fat chance!!

I don't really like it 'cos I can't do anything about that horrible title but I'm too tired to play any more tonight so apologies to all those who don't like it either! I'll sort something out tomorrow ... or the next day ... or maybe even the day after that ... in other words, when I've got the patience to play again.

Good night all!

And a 'good' time was had by all!

For those who haven't been keeping up, my work Christmas party was last night and despite all the politicking, backstabbing and whingeing in the lead-up, it actually turned out to be a good night.

It was supposed to start at 7pm with dinner being served at 7:30, but due to the horrendous task of finding parking and having to stop twice so Mina could go to the toilet (that will teach her to drink four cruisers in an hour!), I was late. Because I had the money for the bar tab, no-one could have a 'free' drink until I got there. The bouncers out the front were asking everyone who said they were from Big W if they were Donna .. how embarrassment!! (Sorry, just channelling my inner Effie there!) At least it got me a good welcome when I finally got there .. "Yay, Donna's here, bring on the beer!" (Mind you, that could be taken two ways, couldn't it?)

During the course of the night, there were a few complaints and negative comments, but as soon as I heard them, I very quickly set the whingers straight. To quote Rhiannon: "Drink a cup of concrete and harden up people!" It makes you realise who your 'friends' are when you organise something like this and I'm glad to say I have more of them than I thought.

There were also a few hassles with numbers, as there seems to be every year, but that was resolved with a minimum of fuss, leaving me to have an actual alcoholic drink or two, instead of my usual lemon,lime and bitters. The look on some of the younger one's faces when they saw me with a Jim Beam and cola bottle, was absolutely priceless. Then when I had a Bailey's after dessert, they were all worried I was going to be too pissed to drive home! I know I'm not a big drinker, but even I can handle two drinks in 4.5 hours!

I"m sad to say that even though the kids were at Mum's for the night, I was still home and in bed by just after midnight. That's the trouble with volunteering to be a taxi for other people to make sure they get home safe. I don't think I'll ever the hang of this party 'til dawn mentality!! Oh well, it was a good night out and I got a decent night's sleep too .. what more could a girl ask for? (apart from a house cleaner, a cook, a chauffeur, a big lotto win, world peace, etc....?)

Now all I have to do is find my camera and print out the blackmail photos and I'll be set!

Friday, 28 November 2008

The end is near!

No, not "the end of the world as we know it" (REM anyone?) .. just the end of this very long week.

Long for all the reasons listed in my previous posts. (Five boys. Count them with me: one, two, three, four, five boys! I honestly don't know how anyone with more than three boys survives daily life.)

Long because of the children being awake at 9:30pm and wanting to play because it's still light outside. (Have I mentioned how much I hate daylight savings?)

Long for all the days of dealing with the "same old, same old" at work. (Not even going there because I'm sure blogger has a limit on how many times the words moron, cretin, imbecile and plain old dumbass can be used in a single post. If they don't, they should, just for people like me dealing with people like 'them'!)

Long because of all the people asking me "is it too late to pay you for the Christmas party?". ("Um, yeah. The last day was last Friday. I can see how you may have missed the bright red sign with font size 60 stating the date of last Friday as the last possible date for payment. You didn't see it? That's odd because it's stuck to the side of the sign in clock .. you know, the one where you clock in and out every shift.")

Long due to the waiting for said Christmas party. (Roll on Saturday night .. woohoo!!)

Thank goodness the end is near! I don't think I could have survived another day ..... without being carted off to a mental asylum anyway!


In all seriousness though, this week hasn't been too bad with the kids. It is certainly different having an extra couple of bodies in the house .. ones that aren't related to me in any way, shape or form. I'm fairly sure the novelty has worn off for both lots of kids judging by the number of niggling arguments and fights in the last couple of days. Just a wild guess, but I think the visitors will be glad to get home into their own space and my boys will be glad to go back to the usual two on one fights, instead of the four on one fights of this afternoon. No-one ended up with broken bones or is missing any body parts so I think we can call my foray into home long (there's that word again!) daycare a success.

Work, on the other hand, could not be called a success this week. I was 'this' close to telling them all where to stick their attitudes and guess what people, the sun doesn't shine there! Each of the three main offenders could have been handled on their own but putting them all together is a recipe for disaster. Each of them excels at delegating their jobs to other people and then claiming the credit. Of course the flip side is that they are also experts at shifting blame for the things not done. I'd finally had enough and starting saying no and meaning it (apparently that makes all the difference!) and they all got a very rude shock when I walked out on time today having finished my job and none of theirs. I'll probably pay for it next week but right now, I don't care .. insert childish singsong voice here .. na-na-nana-na!

Good news time: Alex got an award at the school assembly this morning. He's in the top 0.5% of students in the whole of Australia for his year level in Chemistry and the award was presented by the head of the WA branch of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. Well done Alex!! He asked me to come to the assembly as he walked out the door this morning and wasn't very happy with me when I said I didn't know if I could but I would try. (just love that 20 minutes notice thing!) I managed to make it, and get photographic evidence to prove I was there because he didn't believe I had made it. I was so glad I made the effort because he was so pleased with me for being there even if he didn't see me. I love making my kids happy with me!

Still on Alex, we saw the psychologist on Wednesday morning and she has basically said the problem isn't him, it's the bullying tactics of the other students. He is reacting in the only way he knows how and then being penalised for it. We are going to continue to see her for some other issues related to things at home, but she has said the school needs to do more to support and help Alex and less 'trying to shift the focus away from the fact that bullying still happens in their school.' I spoke to the deputy principal today and while she seemed a bit put-out by the psychologist's opinion, she is still wanting to put more people and procedures in place to support Alex next year. Hopefully it will make a positive difference for Alex and those around him. (Kind of pointless for the rest of this year, because he's only got 3 days left!)

So now I just have to:
  • get through tomorrow morning with all five boys,
  • pack up two boys to go back to their auntie's house for the night tomorrow night,
  • finish their washing so they can pack to go back to their auntie's house,
  • pack up the other three to go to Nonnie's for the night,
  • find something that's comfortable and looks good to wear for tomorrow night (which will involve shopping, trying on everything in sight, getting frustrated when nothing looks even halfway decent, pulling out my hair and then stressing about how to fix my hair to cover the bald spots),
  • make the house look semi-presentable again,
  • food shopping (or there'll be nothing to eat on Sunday .. minor technicality as I'll probably be sleeping anyway!)
  • catch up on some sleep tonight so I don't fall asleep after dinner tomorrow night,
  • drop the kids at Nonnie's,
  • be at Mina's house to pick her up by 6pm,
  • be in Northbridge by 6:45pm to secure a good table away from all the morons, cretins and imbeciles that insisted on coming to the Christmas party, and
  • stay awake after 9pm so I can actually enjoy a night out without the kids or the hubby!

A girl has to have dreams .. may as well dream big!!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Dear Donna, (Part 2)

Hi! This is the Universe again. Just wanted to bring a couple of other things to your attention to help you get through the rest of the week.

  • Remember some of the tips about the noise and people not using their inside voices? They can be applied at work too. Multi-purpose handy hints .. the best kind!
  • Just because the 'interesting' people at work don't have an official diagnosis, doesn't mean you can't use the same tactics on them as you do on the children. You might even find these tactics work better than talking to them as adults!
  • Do not use the same tactics for the intelligent people at work or they will look at you like you've totally lost your mind, which we know you have, but they don't need to have it definitely confirmed now, do they?
  • Arguing semantics with one autistic child is a waste of time. Arguing semantics with three autistic children will send you insane. Bite.your.tongue. (By the way, Bonjela teething gel would be good to numb that hole in your tongue!)
  • Try to not sound so desperate for adult conversation. The telemarketers have put the word out about you wanting to talk to them, so you probably won't be getting any more calls for a while. Even they have their limits!
  • Locking all five boys in one room to settle their differences, and threatening to not let them out unless someone is bleeding, will do nothing to resolve the issues that sent them in there in the first place and will have everything to do with the fact you now have no bandaids left. (Better put bandaids on the shopping list .. you're bound to need some more before the end of the week.)
  • Be grateful there will not be a full moon this week. A new moon should be just enough to disturb their sleeping patterns without sending them completely loco. That's just me having some more fun because the 'spiders in the bathroom' thing got boring.
  • Pokemon, dragons, Yu-Gi-Oh and farts will always be seen as acceptable conversation by this particular group of boys. Talk to the voices in your head if you're bored. They probably make more sense anyway!
  • Boys, well these boys at least, will not voluntarily take showers. The screaming that would ensue from hosing them down outside would probably wake the dead, so remain firm that indoor showers, in the bathroom, in the shower cubicle, with the shower curtain closed and the water turned on, with them using soap and actually washing and rinsing themselves, must be done on a daily basis. Do not use the word 'regularly', as once a week is classed as 'regularly' and that is somewhere you really don't want to go.
  • On that note: be very, very specific when issuing instructions and explaining rules. I realise it is tiring to have to think of every possible interpretation of what you're saying, but for the sake of your sanity, please think it through from every angle. "Yes, you may have some biscuits" is not a good idea if you were planning on having a biscuit with your cup of tea after they've gone to bed, or at all in the next five days. A better suggestion would be: "Yes, you may have 2 biscuits, no more, and they must be eaten before 5 o'clock while sitting at the dining table. Even if you finish your 2 biscuits before 5 o'clock, you may not have any more unless I specifically say you can. This answer applies to you and you alone and is not transferable to anyone else. This answer does not give you the right to tell anyone else to have biscuits or to offer them biscuits. Any arguments and your right to have 2 biscuits can and will be terminated without further notice. If you argue with me about the biscuits, the offering of the biscuits or the place and time of consumption, and you have already consumed said biscuits, you will forfeit your right to have any tomorrow. The day after tomorrow is still negotiable. I reserve the right to make any changes to this answer that I deem necessary and will not be held responsible for there being no biscuits left should they all be gone before you get yours. Now leave me alone with my chocolate. No, you may not have any because it is mine .. all mine!" (maniacal laughter fades out to an ominous silence ...... )

Now that it is perfectly clear that I, the Universe, am as crazy as you are, I'm going to go make some more prickles grow in your lawn .. because I can!

See you in the looney bin,

The Universe.

Monday, 24 November 2008

How much????

Remember Alex's little trip in an ambulance? Well, I got the bill today .. $607! Once I got over my initial apoplectic fit, luckily not requiring an ambulance to bring me round, all I could say to that was thank God for private health cover!!

I was going to make a whole series of smart arse comments along the lines of "I didn't realise the piece of cheesecloth they gave him for a sling was made from spun gold" but then realised how petty that would sound. So I decided to stick with "priority 2 call huh? Would they have wanted to perform surgery on me for a priority one call .. you know, to remove an arm and a leg?" until I thought that sounded rather mean-spirited too.

In the end I decided to go with "better safe than sorry" and "thank you very much for being there whenever you're needed" and "by the way, do you accept first born children as part payment? No? Oh well, worth a try!"

The things they don't tell you ..

before you become a mother:

  • The pregnancy and birth are the easiest parts.
  • What you want out of life changes the minute they put that little person in your arms.
  • You can survive on three hours sleep. Admittedly not well, but you can do it.
  • How one little person can require so much of your time and so much equipment too. And if you're blessed with two little people at the same time .. how everything seems to multiply by five!
  • If you're breastfeeding, how the sound of someone else's baby crying can make you leak milk everywhere .. usually in the supermarket, bank queue, or some other suitably public place .. and it will be the one time you don't have any spare breast pads.
  • All, or at least most, of those things you swore you'd never do with your child, go straight out the window once your child is actually here. "My child is not having a dummy/ pre-packaged food/ being rocked to sleep/ sleeping on their stomach/ etc."
  • When they're little, a kiss and cuddle do fix most things. That and a bandaid with silly pictures on it.
  • Even though there are never enough hours in the day, you should always make time for a cuddle.
  • You are stronger, kinder, more patient and more loving than you ever thought you were.
  • Your definition of a good day changes to become one where you get through the whole day without someone else's bodily fluids on you.
  • There will be times when you hide in the toilet just to be alone.
  • All those things you'd never thought you could do without throwing up, you do numerous times a day. Teething nappies anyone?
  • You go from being 'cool' and 'with-it' to being the most out of the loop person on the face of the planet.
  • One day you will be having discussions about the facts of life and where babies come from, and you will need to be able to present the facts while retaining your sense of humour.
  • You will never, ever, ever be cool in the eyes of your teenager .. in front of their friends. Behind closed doors, however, they may admit to you being the best mum .. subject to change at any time of course!

But of all the things 'they' don't tell you before you become a mother, the hardest one for me to deal with is how your heart breaks when you can't just make things all better for them.

“Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart walking around outside your body.” Elizabeth Stone

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Dear Donna,

This is the Universe. I just thought I'd write and remind you of the following things while you look after the two extra children this week:
  • There is a reason you stopped at three children. Do you remember why now?
  • 5 boys in one house = NOISE and lots of it!! Well duh!
  • 5 boys = 'interesting' conversations about things like masturbation, penises, farts and other bodily functions, all at mealtimes. Get over yourself and just eat the food so you can get out of there!
  • 3 boys with varying degrees of autism = heightened frustration levels and lowered tolerance for each other. Suggesting they move the fight outside so they don't get blood in the grout is going to achieve nothing but blood on the pavers. Sarcasm doesn't work .. try to remember that!
  • Bedtimes are not a vague suggestion. Make them law and make it now!!
  • Trying to explain why it is not International Opposites Day is pointless and a waste of your precious oxygen. Save yourself the bother and just hold your breath until you turn blue or pass out. Or even better do both and see what happens. On second thoughts, don't do both. You're still waiting for the ambulance bill from last time.
  • 'Inside voices' are a concept of the past ... and they weren't ever fully comprehended then either. Use earplugs.
  • Even though it feels like it, you are not in a reality show version of 'Lord of the Flies'. If you were it would be worth a small fortune in danger money. Just hide as much as possible.
  • Shopping with two autistic, hyped on sugar 13 year olds is not conducive to your mental health. Shopping with your own three children will not seem so hard in future now, will it?
  • Just because a child has a phobia about showering at other people's houses doesn't mean your bathroom is a cesspool of infection and filth .. especially since you know you just cleaned it yesterday. I'm just messing with you by making all the spiders come out of hiding every time that particular child sets foot in the bathroom. Give me a break .. I've got to have some fun.
  • Any damage you do to their psyches probably won't be traceable back to you by the time they start going to therapy, but try to organise a bulk discount deal with the local psychiatrist just in case.
  • Your tolerance level is higher than you think .. most of the time. For those other times, have chocolate or Bailey's handy.
  • Console yourself with the thought of all the good karma you're earning by helping out a friend in need. Of course, most of it will be cancelled out by the evil thoughts you're having of burying five children up to their necks in the backyard, but hopefully you'll come out in front.
  • You can, and will, survive this week. Whether you'll still be sane is up for debate but then again, so is whether you were sane to start with.
  • You will not resort to medication for either the children or yourself. Oh all right then ... maybe just a little for yourself.
  • They are all good kids .. in the grand scheme of things. Then again, so were George Bush and Saddam Hussein and look how well they turned out. Keep praying!
  • Their parents will be home on Saturday, barring flight cancellations or any other unforeseen delaying tactic, and then you will be back to your 'normal' life ... as normal as it ever gets .. just in time to go out with your workmates to 'the' Christmas party.

Please continue with your happy pills and we will commune again at a quieter time ... a much quieter time ... when the planets have stopped trying to shake themselves out of their orbits to get away from the noise.

Insanely yours,

The Universe

0 0 0 0 0 0 0

(and no, ^they^ aren't hugs; they're some more happy pills .. one for each day left .. just in case!)

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Christmas Party Organisation

Mum sent me this email this morning and as it so closely mirrored what I went through organising my work Christmas Party, I thought I'd share.

disclaimer: I mean no offence to any of the minorities mentioned. I just found it funny and hope you do too!



FROM: Pauline, Human Resources Director

TO: All Employees

DATE: 21st October 2008

RE: Christmas Party

I'm happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on December 23rd, starting at noon in the private function room at the Grill House. There will be a cash bar and plenty of drinks! We'll have a small band playing traditional carols...please feel free to sing along. And don't be surprised if the MD shows up dressed as Santa Claus! A Christmas tree will be lit at 1.00pm. Exchange of gifts among employees can be done at that time; however, no gift should be over $20.00 to make the giving of gifts easy for everyone's pockets. This gathering is only for employees! The MD will make a special announcement at the Party. Merry Christmas to you and your family.



FROM: Pauline, Human Resources Director

TO: All Employees

DATE: 22nd October 2008

RE: Holiday Party

In no way was yesterday's memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees. We recognize that Hanukkah is an important holiday, which often coincides with Christmas, though unfortunately not this year. However, from now on we're calling it our 'Holiday Party'. The same policy applies to any other employees who are not Christians. There will be no Christmas tree or Christmas carols sung. We will have other types of music for your enjoyment. Happy now? Happy Holidays to you and your family.



FROM; Pauline, Human Resources Director

TO: All Employees

DATE: 23rd October 2008

RE: Holiday Party

Regarding the note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking didn't sign your name. I'm happy to accommodate this request, but if I put a sign on a table that reads, 'AA Only', you wouldn't be anonymous anymore!!!! How am I supposed to handle this? Somebody? Anybody? Forget about the gift exchange. No gift exchange allowed now since the Union Officials feel that $20.00 is too much money and Management believe $20.00 is a little cheap. NO GIFT EXCHANGE WILL BE ALLOWED.



FROM: Pauline, Human Resources Director

TO: All Employees

DATE: 24th October 2008

RE: Holiday Party

What a diverse group we are! I had no idea that December 20th begins the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which forbids eating and drinking during daylight hours. There goes the party! Seriously, we can appreciate how a luncheon at this time of year does not accommodate our Muslim employees' beliefs. Perhaps the Grill House can hold off on serving your meal until the end of the party - or else package everything up for you to take home in a little foil doggy bag. Will that work? Meanwhile, I've arranged for members of Weight Watchers to sit farthest from the dessert buffet and pregnant women will get the table closest to the toilets. Gays are allowed to sit with each other. Lesbians do not have to sit with gay men; each will have their own table. Yes, there will be flower arrangements for the gay men's table too. To the person asking permission to cross dress - no cross dressing allowed. We will have booster seats for short people. Low fat food will be available for those on a diet. We cannot control the salt used in the food so we suggest those people with high blood pressure taste the food first. There will be fresh fruits as dessert for Diabetics; the restaurant cannot supply 'No Sugar' desserts. Sorry! Did I miss anything?!?!



FROM: Pauline, Human Resources Director

TO: All F***ing Employees

DATE: 25th October 2008

RE: The F****ing Holiday Party.

Vegetarian pricks .. I've had it with you people !!! We're going to keep this party at the Grill House whether you like it or not, so you can sit quietly at the table furthest from the 'grill of death', as you so quaintly put it and you'll get your f***ing salad bar, including organic tomatoes. But you know tomatoes have feelings too. They scream when you slice them. I've heard them scream. I'm hearing the scream right NOW!! I hope you all have a rotten holiday, drink drive and die.

The Bitch from HELL!!!


FROM: John Benson( Acting Human Resources Director)

TO: All Employees

DATE: 26th October 2008

RE: Pauline Lewis and Holiday Party

I'm sure I speak for all of us in wishing Pauline a speedy recovery, and I'll continue to forward your cards to her. In the meantime, Management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and instead, give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd December off with full pay.

John Benson

The verdict is in ...

We had the meeting with the principal yesterday. Peter was still home so he got to get the information firsthand instead of filtered through me for a change.

Overall she's prepared to keep him at the school (actually she said she would prefer that he stayed) but if we have another incident this term (only two weeks left) his school year would be regarded as finished. He is welcome to come back next year but there has to be significant changes in his behaviour or they will have no choice but to 'exclude him from the school'. If he has an incident at any time in the next semester, he's out.

I've had a chat with him about the results (he wasn't allowed into the meeting) and he has to see both the principal and vice-principal next Monday when he goes back to school. Here's hoping something sinks in!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Not again!

Had another call from the school today to say that Alex has been suspended for fighting again. (I'm sure they have my phone number on speed dial by now!) Another three days of sitting at home not having to do any work .. is it really a punishment?

It appears to be another incidence of Alex 'snapping' and fighting back against the admittedly non-physical bullying and I have explained (again) that violence is never the answer. The scary part this time is that the whole school principal wants to see us tomorrow to 'discuss the situation.' I hope that means she's going to be a bit more involved and make the school psychologist get off her high horse and come to assess the situation at the school, instead of dispensing her wisdom from her comfy little office far, far away.

We have an appointment with an outside (non-school) psychologist for an assessment (and possibly some anger management techniques) but of course that's not for another two weeks and even then, she wants to see me first to decide whether or not she thinks she can help Alex. (I'd go somewhere else, but all the psychologists who deal solely with autistic kids/teens are booked out until the new year.)

He knows what he did was wrong and is currently very worried about what the principal is going to say tomorrow. I hope he gets some sleep because I know I probably won't!

Hope everyone else's day was better than mine!!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

It is only the fifteenth of November ..

.. and yet we have been listening to Christmas carols at work for the past week!

Having worked in retail and more specifically stock ordering, for the past four years, I had thought I was used to having to think about occasions like Easter and Christmas in advance. Yet every year I am still astounded at how much earlier the decorations go up and how the managers still can't manage to learn from last year's mistakes.

This year our official Christmas Launch day (today) is later than last year but only by a week. The Christmas carols don't usually start until the official launch day and luckily it's usually only one song in four for the first week or so. Some morons .. oops I mean the radio marketing people .. obviously forgot to tell the other nincompoops .. oops I mean radio programmers .. what the actual launch date was this year. It probably wouldn't be so bad except for the fact that they have only managed to find one even vaguely Christmassy song to play so far. "Do they know it's Christmas time at all?" (aka "Feed the world"). Whilst I appreciate the noble intent behind the song, hearing it played at least once every 30 minutes for the past week is driving us all up the wall. Mind you, it is infinitely preferable to hearing "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" when it's 40 degrees outside!

Because I'm such a generous spirited person, here's a few hints on how to get the most out of your shopping experience in the time leading up to Christmas:
  • Saying things like "You must get sick of those Christmas carols pretty quickly" does nothing to improve our spirits and will earn you nothing but an eye roll because it reminds us that we are stuck in the purgatory that is Christmas in retail.
  • Asking "Why are you putting Christmas stuff out in October/November?" in the tone that implies it is all our own personal decision to do so, is probably going to get you very little customer service of the good kind thereby prolonging the agony of shopping during Christmas in retail.
  • Yelling at the poor staff member who just happened to walk through your line of vision when little Johnny or Suzie changed their mind yet again about what piece of useless plastic they absolutely must have for Christmas, is not going to improve your points with the big guy (depending on your beliefs either God or Santa) or get you any service from the rest of the floor staff suffering through Christmas in retail.
  • Bringing little Suzie or Johnny shopping with you and allowing them to wreck the toy section while you browse through the book section at the other end of the store will get you paged to the service desk and earn you the undying hatred of the toy section staff member struggling to survive one of the worst sections to be in during Christmas in retail.
  • Implying, or stating outright, that we are all stupid, brain dead idiots who couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery will not get the item you are looking for found any quicker. If anything, stating this will probably result in your item being' lost' in the abyss that is the back dock area during Christmas in retail.
So here's a little request from a woman teetering on the edge of a massive Scrooge-bah..humbug-tantrum-hissy fit-cart-me-away-to-the-mental-institution-meltdown, please be patient with all of us enduring Christmas in retail. Thank you and we look forward to serving you soon.

(Now please excuse me while I go choke on my own sarcasm!!)

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Sometimes ..

.. I wish I could go back to the beginning and start over

.. I don't answer the phone especially if I know who is calling

.. I would love to understand what goes on in people's heads

.. I take a 'mental health' day from work

.. I wish I could just wave a magic wand and make it all better

.. I wonder if my medication is working

.. I kick myself when I run out of medication and then realise that yes, it was working

.. I really don't like my children

.. I wonder if that makes me an evil person

.. life is just too hard!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Eight principles

Found this on someone's blog a while ago and then re-found it today so I thought I'd share.

Warning: Don't watch if you have a migraine because it won't help it!!

I'm thinking I might have to get the posters and stick them up somewhere I'll see them every morning.

Let me know what you think!


As most of you are aware, my eldest son, Alex, has autism. Officially he 'is' a high-functioning autistic with a co-morbid diagnosis of ADD (and I have the certificate to prove it!)

But that's not all he is. He is also:
  • just a boy
  • a 13 year old going through puberty (with all the associated angst)
  • a teen with an interest in maths and science but who hates english and social studies
  • a caring brother
  • very helpful around the house (sometimes! He is a teenager after all!)
  • intelligent about some things and very naive in others
  • a loyal friend
  • creative and messy
  • a loving son

However, he isn't:

  • a savant
  • obsessed by routine
  • ultra-tidy
  • retarded
  • superior or inferior to other kids (just different, but aren't we all?)
  • condemned to a life of being unemployable
  • unable to form lasting relationships
  • 'suffering' from a horrible condition
  • faking it just to get his own way
  • unlovable
  • incapable of loving others
  • the result of something I did wrong
  • going to 'grow out of it'

The only reason he has a 'label' of autism is that I wanted to understand how to help this child of mine who seemed to look at the world through different eyes. I felt there was something that wasn't being processed in the 'normal' fashion and when it was explained to me as "his brain is wired differently", everything made so much more sense. It has helped immensely in our interactions and with helping him to make his way in this often difficult world. But just because he is able to make eye contact, hold a conversation and give hugs doesn't mean he's faking it. Autism as a diagnosis covers a very broad spectrum of symptoms and as such, not two autistics are ever completely the same.

There are so many labels floating around in the world today and honestly, I think some of them are pushed for by the parents to explain away some of their own feelings of inadequacy (and yes, that thought has crossed my mind in relation to my own situation). Yet other parents seem to want to turn it into a battle of "my child is more defective than your child." It's not a competition people .. it's our children we're talking about!! The fact that my child doesn't have a physically obvious 'disability' doesn't make him any less worthy of help.

Like most parents, all I want for my children is for them to be the best they want to be and to be happy. So all I'm asking is, if someone has a label, be it ADD, autism, cerebral palsy, diabetes, muscular dystrophy, schizophrenia, depression, etc., please treat each person as an individual. Of course, allowances and accommodations may need to be made, but let go of your pre-conceived ideas and get to know the person underneath the label.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." (Plato)

Monday, 10 November 2008

There's three in the bed ...

and the little one said:

"You can't come in here 'cos there's no room .. ha ha!!"

I got out of bed on Sunday morning for the obligatory morning comfort stop and went to go back to bed and wait for my coffee and the paper. I kinda figured it would be a long wait but some well timed interrupting of the cartoon shows may have yielded results if they had actually been watching cartoons.

I returned to the bed find three little bodies all making themselves very comfortable and was informed that I couldn't go back to bed because they weren't moving. So I thought to myself that I would get the camera and take pictures of my children being adorably cute for a change. Another idea they soon put paid to.

The littlest one refused to put his head above the doona for me to take a picture because he didn't want me to post it on my blog.

"But Mum! I'm in my pyjamas and I might not like the photo and Mum ... you just can't!!!"

When asked why not, his only response was that some of the mums of kids that go to his school might see it and show their kids .. how embarrassment!!

So now I'm trying to figure out when my most boyish boy turned into a prissy princess!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Foreign languages

Due to growing up in several different countries, using snippets of different languages has never really bothered me. I can't hold a conversation in any of them but know a few words here and there and have used them with my kids too. So it's no surprise to hear Bradley say good morning in Spanish or Andrew thank me for something in Japanese. However, they have a language all their own which I really struggle to keep up with. Some of you other mothers may have heard of it .. Pokemon.

They appear to be speaking English but without actually making sense. OK, most kids have times where they make no sense but this is really starting to take over their entire conversational abilities. If someone, me for example, can't keep up with the talk of Charmanders and Bulbasaurs, they are subjected to the tone one uses when explaining something very simple to an idiot, as well as massive eye rolls and huge sighs.

"OK Mum. Pay attention. Charmander starts as a Charmander then evolves to a Charmeleon then a Charizard. Charizard is the final evolution but is a different type to the other two. They are fire type but Charizard is a fire/flying type."

"All right. So what about a Ditto?"

"Dittos don't evolve .. duh!"

"So what do they do?"

"Ditto transform into other Pokemon to use their attacks."

"What are attacks?"

"They all have different moves to defeat their opponent in battle but you have to earn exp to level up. There are different regions to get Pokemon from and you have to battle trainers and gym leaders in all the different regions to get badges. If you trade Pokemon between players and you don't have the right level of badges your Pokemon won't obey you and will do whatever it wants to."

"Sounds complicated."

"Nuh-uh. It's easy .. you're just too old to understand!"

"So teach me."

"Aaaaww Mum .. not now! I'm in a battle and besides it would take too long. You just don't get it Mum!" (insert big eye roll and heartfelt sigh here).

Entire car trips are taken up with discussing the relative merits of a grass type over a fire type; the benefits of forcing it to evolve earlier than it should; whether it should carry some form of berry or stone; whether they should breed this one to that one or if they can even breed at all; trading between games and players and the fairness of such trades; and on and on and on ...

I'll probably get a handle on it just as they grow out of it but in the meantime I'm regarded as fairly cool by some of Brad's friends because I know the name of some of them and can even identify their pictures in a line up.

Just what I always wanted .. to be the cool mum because of my very limited knowledge of cartoon pocket monsters. My life is now complete!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Quick update ..

Good news!!

I went to the doctor with Mum this afternoon to get the results of her lump biopsies and was told "it's all completely benign .. we didn't really expect it to be anything but we had to check anyway." Given her previous breast cancer history, it's to be expected that they would be a bit more cautious about anything new or different, but it's still such a relief to hear that there's nothing wrong.

She's now happily making plans for her Bali trip next week and Christmas after that. Oh and I think she wants to do some 'together time' in the garden soon ... nnnooooooo!!!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

You know the old saying ..

"it never rains but it pours"? Well it's pouring here at the moment.

When I got to work this morning, all hell had broken loose because 'somebody' (me) had dared to use my own initiative and tidy up the office resulting in 'everybody else's' (my direct boss') stuff being 'thrown out'. After having a quick 'girl look' (ie under things and in her desk drawers), I produced said missing stuff and was left alone again for approximately two minutes before the store manager had a minor disaster with the computer system and froze everyone's computers for half an hour.

While I negotiated with the IT 'Help' Desk ('help' my backside!) for the safe return of the usage of our computers and their files, he managed to break the photocopier too. I was sure I could not be the only person in that place capable of working something as basic as a photocopier but today I was proven wrong time and time again. Anything that could break down today, did so with gleeful abandon, usually after being touched by one of three people (Manager, assistant manager and my direct boss). Just when I started to get on top of things, I had another one of 'those' phone calls (but not about the kids this time).

I found out that Mum had to have a biopsy done on some lumps she found last week. In typical-mother-trying-to-protect-her-child-style, she said she didn't tell me because she didn't want me to worry. Having her ring me in tears from outside the procedure room at the hospital was much more calming than warning me in advance .. NOT! Love you dearly mother, but I wish you'd let me help you with this sort of stuff and leave me alone when it comes to house maintenance and gardening! I'm going with her to get the test results tomorrow. Thoughts and prayers gratefully appreciated.

Thank heavens I managed to catch up with Jackie for a chat this morning, and left feeling so much more grounded than I had felt going in. I just hope I didn't take too much of her energy with me when I left!! Thanks Jack .. you're one in a billion and I love you for it!

Anyway, it really is raining and pouring outside so I'll take that as my cue to go and get snoring!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

I got 'the call' from school today...

You know ... the one every parent dreads.

"Your child has been injured. We have called an ambulance. Can you please meet it at the hospital."

There weren't many details apart from "he's hurt his arm and it doesn't look right." I'm sure I broke some land speed records getting to the hospital, only to find I had beaten the ambulance there! After pacing up and down and getting steadily more worried, it pulled up and Alex stepped out, calm as you please, as if going to the hospital in an ambulance was an everyday occurrence.

"Oh, hi Mum. What are you doing here?"

Forcibly restraining myself from going all mama bear on him, I frantically checked him over for signs of blood and broken bones while trying to present a calm exterior. No blood, no obviously broken bones, not even any signs of shock. What a waste of my first aid training!

The school nurse, who had followed the ambulance to the hospital, explained that she was concerned that his arm was still numb after an hour and that it had gone a funny bluish colour in parts. That and the fact that he was "too calm" which apparently is very odd in boys of this age .. they're usually "passed out or crying for a band aid" (her words, not mine!)

After getting the details of how it happened and being seen by the triage nurse, we sat in the waiting room for half an hour. During this time, I began to suspect that he had embellished some of the symptoms while at school and that there wasn't actually anything wrong with him.

When we were seen by the doctor, who did all sorts of tests with a sharp implement (to test his pain response and see whether his arm really was numb), she pronounced that he had probably just pinched a nerve in his elbow and that he would be right as rain by tomorrow. Lucky us huh?

At least it got me out of work for a while. Now we just have to deal with the ambulance bill ...


Now even though I'm not particularly in favour of daylight savings, I think this is taking things just a bit too far in the 'misunderstanding how the whole thing works' stakes. Here's some of the arguments we've heard before:

"We can't have it .. it will fade the curtains." (only if you turn the curtains so they're facing out the window!)

"The cows will be confused about when to come in for milking." (Don't think it's the cows that are confused!)

"The children won't go to bed if it's still light out." (Um, hello, who is the parent??)

And now this ...

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

Is it just me, or are you too amazed at how this person managed to make it to adulthood .. chronologically speaking of course!

Sunday, 2 November 2008


In direct contrast to my last post, I have decided to talk about positivity (which probably isn't even a word but I am fine with that!) Here's some of the good things that have happened or been overheard recently:
  • I've changed the header picture to something a bit more upbeat .. tulips in springtime. It was taken at Araluen Botanic Park in September of this year on our yearly visit.
  • When hanging out the washing today, I overheard the neighbours having a sing-along to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. They were half-sozzled and getting all the words wrong and it made me laugh so hard, I had to take a potty break!
  • I got to catch up with Debbie this morning as well as yesterday afternoon and have a good chat. So good to be able to just talk and enjoy her company.
  • Andrew got to have a sleepover at Debbie's last night so I took the other two to McDonald's for a breakfast treat. I even let them have an ice cream for morning tea .... sssh don't tell anyone!!
  • I had a wonderful chat with Jackie last Wednesday and am hoping to see her again this week. It's amazing how we can go so long between seeing each other and yet pick up where we left off. I'm so grateful to have her in my life even if I don't get to see her as often as I'd like.
  • I managed to scrap a page today! Nothing spectacular but I did it start to finish and even did the journalling, which is a big deal for me. That's always an "I'll do it tomorrow" job but this time I did it today! Yay me!!
  • I heard a thump from the bathroom and called out to Brad asking if he was ok. His response was "It hurts but I'll be ok. You get used to pain, living with Alex." Made me laugh! Ah, realism hurts but is funny too.

All little things when looked at on their own, but good things nonetheless. Hope your weekend was good too!