Monday, 12 December 2011

Mini Christmas Puds

Quite a number of years ago now my inlaws bought a copy of Colin Buchanan's King Of Christmas DVD (which the kids loved so much we of course had to buy a copy of our own)

And on this DVD there is a cooking segment in which Colin makes Mini Christmas Puddings and ever since then it has become an annual event, and yesterday was the day!

So I think it is only fitting that I get a little Christmassy for this post and SHOW you how to make mini Christmas puds!!!

Step 1...take one bought fruit cake

Step 2...Smoosh the fruit cake
 until it looks like this

Step 3...Add a packet of Nestle Dark Chocolate Melts...melted of course
And then stir and mix and smoosh until it looks something like this
Then Step 4...Roll into balls

And this is where I left them to it, Grub decided that that was the perfect time to wake up and NEED a breastfeed so I just sat back in the dining area and watched them while I fed him
hmmm, perhaps there are some advantages to them growing up...and they didn't do too bad a job either
Top with white chocolate and decorate with chopped glace cherries

...and I would like to take this opportunity to say that it's worth using melts again here.  Woolies had sold out of white chocolate melts so I grabbed some Plaistowes cooking chocolate instead and it melted down really runny which meant it ran off the puddings a bit too much and didn't hold the cherries very well but the kids were really happy with the result and that is really all that matters :D

What do you think?

They turn out a LOT better with thicker chocolate I promise :D

A Year Already???

It's less than 3 weeks until the end of the year now...Which means it's less than 3 weeks until Grubs first birthday.

Where on Earth has that year gone?

I'm not quite sure but it has had me thinking a little bit about his birth...and all that happened after! Now I've already told you a little bit about his birth in A Little Reminder but I wanted to add a bit!

It took a bit of getting started but once I was in labour it only lasted a couple of hours.  This was on new years day...1-1-11 and the Geek was really keen for bub to have that as his birthdate but as it got later and later and nothing was happening I really didn't think it was going to happen for him.  Once I was in labour and it was getting closer to midnight he kept patting my belly and saying come on bub you've only got 10 minutes to go, but I am pleased to say he made it just in the nick of time.

The Geek had mentioned that he wanted to do the "catching" and we ended up with a fantastic midwife who not only let him catch but also suggested that I use a birthing mirror.  I had never been keen on the idea of a birthing mirror but the way she brought it up I didn't really feel that I could say no. thing I ever did.  Having the mirror gave me such a sense of control over the birth because I could SEE what was happening.  It was amazing and I'm so glad that I did.  If I were to ever have another baby I would DEFINITELY want to use one again.

Anyway, skip over the retained placenta and the true tight knot in his umbilical cord...Geek headed off to a friends house to get some sleep and I was wheeled onto the ward to try and get some sleep.

But sleep was not on the cards!

In the wee hours of the morning I had a hemorrhage and bled EVERYWHERE!  I lost consciousness at one point...sitting on the toilet no less...and all I can remember thinking was "Lord, I'm not ready to leave my children yet"

Suffice it to say I scared the living heck out of myself!

The nurses were very professional and got the bleeding stopped and then call the Geek and told him what had happened and that everything was okay and that he should go back to sleep.  One of the nurses told us a few days later that I had scared the living heck out of them too!

I was moved to a private room and basically was not allowed to move.  I had a catheter and an IV and a blood pressure cuff was left on so they could check my BP frequently and I felt like I had tubes and hoses everywhere.  I spent the entire morning stuck to the bed, unable to attend to my baby and completely covered in my own blood.  They estimated that I had lost 2 litres of blood though when I had a transfusion a couple of days later the 2 units they gave me didn't bring my hemoglobin levels up anywhere near as much as they expected so it may have been more.

The Geek didn't turn up until about 11am, and I am assuming that being himself, when the nurse rang at 4 or 5 in the morning and told him what had happened, all he heard was the last bit...that everything was okay and to go back to sleep  and he didn't really realize exactly how serious it had been.  At least that's what I choose to believe, because when he eventually did come in he took straight off with the baby and went to show him off to the other dads on the ward.

I am, I think, a fairly sensible sort of person and in hindsight I can see it for what it was...a simple lack communication, but at the time postpregnancy hormones and extreme exhaustion made it hurt.  I felt like I had almost died and nobody even cared.  I actually struggled with it for quite some months and even now sometimes it catches me off guard and I feel that it took away from some of the specialness of Grubs birth. 

I know that he won't remember that...nor will he remember his first birthday but I feel that I really want to try and make it a special special one. 

His actual birthday will probably be fairly quiet as I think the family will all be here on new years eve anyway so we will probably celebrate then but that will be kind of nice I think.  It will be nice to be able to have a biggish party but also to be able to celebrate with him as a nice little family.

I hope that as he grows up he realizes just how special he really is

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Special Saturday - My Favourite Blogs

As I mentioned in "I'm Back" I've not had a lot of spare time lately for writing my blog...and the same applies to reading other peoples at the moment (though I do go through phases of being addicted to them!)

But there are a few that I have mostly kept up with!

Now because this is a Special Saturday post, it makes sense to start with the ones about additional needs.

And that has to start with Stuff With Thing

The Geek has cyberknown Marita from Stuff with thing for a loooong time!  Since before we met at least.  Since before Marita had children and learned to live with Autism.  I well remember his excitement when she gave birth to each of her children.  And while I am a relative newcomer to the cyber world I have always heard bits and pieces of her life with her girls.  It seemed only a natural progression that Stuff with thing should have become one of the first blogs I started to follow...and I am constantly encouraged by Marita's dedication to doing the best for her girls!

And then there is This Is No Oridnary Kid.

I stumbled across This Is No Ordinary Kid back in May I think...when the blog was only about a month or so old.  I was sitting there with my, then, 4 month old baby boy and I read through that first months worth of blog with tears streaming down my face for the story of Jane's 5 1/2 month old baby who had contracted meningitis and almost lost his life.  Cameron is now 16 and making some very encouraging progress and I have laughed and cried many a time as I have read every single post (although sometimes I get a few weeks behind and have to catch up)...We have also had the extreme honor of meeting the Danzi family and getting to know them a little bit too and I hope that we will always be friends.

Another Blog that I stumbled across is The I Love You Song...and if you click on the link you may notice that I didn't link you to the most recent post, but rather to the very first post I read, which REALLY touched me at the was VERY close to home.

There are other additional needs blog posts that I have come accross....and most of them from reading through Marita's weekly Autism Hero Highlights and many of them have been very good but I haven't really kept track of them all.

Now as much as there are days when it feels like an Autism Mum is all I am and there is no room for anything else, I do actually have 6 children and I want to be a good mum to them all so sometimes I need a link to the outside world...where Autism doesn't rule the roost...and that's when I drop into some of my other favorite blogs for encouragement. Jodi's World has given me much inspiration this Christmas and watching Jodi prepare for her first Christmas as a Mum has had me thinking a lot about MY first Christmas as a Mum all those years ago when Ducky was a wee Duckling.

The Mummy Disorder, The Surprise Beginning and Random Ramblings Of A Stay At Home Mum are also good ones for reminding me that it's okay to be human :D

So there you have it, my favorite blogs...but while I'm here I probably should link you to The Geek's blog too...seeing he is my husband and all!  Actually although his posts are a little bit intermittent, they are usually a fairly interesting read so here it is :D


Friday, 9 December 2011

The Christmas Nappy!

As I said in "I'm Back" I have been inspired by the Christmassy posts over at Jodi's World and something very Christmassy in this house at the moment is the nappies!

Now I started the silly season swearing blind I was NOT going to buy a Christmas nappy.  Instead I decided that I would buy an itti bitti Galaxy nappy...

Christmassy but still wearable throughout the rest of the year.

And then Seedling Baby released their Christmas Gift Pack which contained a both a red and green gingham nappy...and I had recently tried a seedling baby nappy so I knew that they were great nappies

Again...Christmassy but wearable throughout the rest of the year..and a bargain at $30 for two nappies!

But then came the penguin!

I was just innocently perusing facebook when I came across this picture...

at Kat's Creative MCN's and Baby Creations.  And it wasn't even all my fault...I showed the Geek and he loved it too!!! (it's a geek Linux thing) so we commented and as it happened Kat was happy to make it into a nappy for us :D

So I had bought a Christmas nappy after all, and I was excited.

And that was that...only it wasn't.

Kat was running a competition for a Christmas Custom to celebrate hitting 600 likers on facebook.

Now I don't often enter these competition things...but occasionally I do so just for fun...and Kat's competition called to write a Christmas poem or song...and I had just written this... and my penguin nappy had just arrived so I couldn't help I wrote...

Twas a month before Christmas
End of year at last
And bubby's first Christmas
Was creeping up fast

Nappies were arriving
In red and in green
But the one with the penguin
Was the best to be seen

From Kat's Creations
Twas the favorite of Mother
And she couldn't deny
She wanted another!

There were some awesome entries but I made it into the final five which meant I had to take a quiz...a fun Christmassy quiz...and all five of us got all the answers right so the winner was random.orged...AND IT WAS ME!!!

Oh I was excited now!  But as a Christian I wanted to get something that honored the real meaning of Christmas...The Jesus story!

So I put it to Kat and this is what she came up with...

But it got me looking at the other ones she had up for sale...bad bad bad.

She had this gorgeous lil pudding embroidery...and since we ALWAYS make mini Christmas puddings with the kids...every was perfect!

Again, it wasn't all my fault...the Geek had a say too...a small say but it just happened to end up in the same parcel as the prize nappy (hehehe)

And they arrived today so I have a new family of Christmas nappies...

and Grub is gonna have one cute little bum come Christmas day!!!

I'm Back!!!

I've been a bit quiet these last couple of's been busy and if I'm honest it's been difficult to keep up. 

Business has been slow but there is still lots to do every day.

The kids have been a but feral, which is normal this time of year.  I've been a Mum for over 18 years, so I know that but EVERY year it still manages to catch me off guard.

And then of course there is Christmas, and I really want to do all the fun stuff we normally do at Christmas.

But it's all good, school is finished next week so mornings will be easier and I am keeping on top of the important stuff

So that's why I've been a bit quiet!

But I've been inspired by all the Chrismassy posts over on Jodi's World to make a bit more of an effort so I'm back :D

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Twas The Month Before Christmas!!!

Twas a month before Christmas
And though it took it's time
The feeling of Christmas
Was starting to shine

The kids in The Zoo Train
Were hyper and bubbly
And hope stirred in Mum...
It was really quite lovely!

The Grub was a wrecker
And the tree was too big
So when Ducky came home
We spangled the twig!

We hung up the stockings
Beneath the TV
And strung up some lights
For everyone to see

The Nativity scene
Had it's own little space
And the recipe books
Were pulled out of their place

Nappies were arriving
In green and in red
They were pretty awesome...
It has to be said!

We hopped the back fence
And plucked a few leaves
Then with a coathanger
Made the first of our wreaths

We've now picked up the bikes
And wrapped are the pressies
So with little more shopping
We might actually be ready!!!


Saturday, 26 November 2011

Special Saturday - Communication

In the beginning Bear was non verbal.  And he didn't have a lot of receptive language either.

When he was 2 or so I took him to see a speech therapist because I could tell that he was delayed.  The speech therapist got the OT involved and together they set about to teach him PECS.

PECS stands for Picture Exchange Communication System!

Which basically means that your teach your child to communicate with you by handing you the appropriate card/s and you can build it up so that the child can eventually hand you a whole sentence.

It also works the other way in that you can use things like visual timetables to show the child what is expected of them or what is going to happen.

To be honest, in the beginning the whole concept kinda scared me, I wondered if, by teaching Bear to communicate with cards, we would be setting him up to never speak with words.

So I got online and talked to some other mums who had used PECS and was assured that it worked well as a stepping stone between non verbal and verbal so we went with the flow and taught Bear to use pictures.

At first he HATED it.  They plugged and plugged away at it but he just DIDN'T get it....and he screamed A LOT!

One day I decided, to hell with it and tried something different...and I brought out the big guns, THE LOLLIES!
That day, he got it!  And we continued to work on it and by the end of the week he had made real progress.

I got BUSTED by the speech and OT for skipping through the process a bit but in the long run, they were really pleased that things were working.

We also started using a little bit of Makaton (sign language for the disabled) and while he only ever learned to sign "finished" it helped a bit with his receptive language.

But the thing that really got him speaking was Chicken!  Chicken was born when Bear was 3 1/2 and by the time she could crawl she absolutely idolized Bear.  She got right into his face and wouldn't take no for an answer.  She engaged him in eye contact and as she started to learn to use words, so did he.

This was probably around the time that we had the breakthrough with the PECS and once he learned that he could indeed "ask" for something that he wanted he started to use words to do so.  To begin with he only used single words and we ALWAYS reinforced by giving him what he asked for but as he has grow and become more able to articulate we started insisting he used sentences and "gasp" manners too.

At nearly 12 he has gotten to the point where he knows that he has to say "Can I have a .......... please"...though I might add that knowing he has to say it and actually getting him to say it EVERY time are two entirely different things!

This is a BIG thing for Bear, but he still has a long way to go.  These days he can often communicate the things that he needs/wants, but sometimes he can't and it inevitably leads to a meltdown.

He is also incapable of having a conversation.  You can't have an normal conversation with him about what he did today or how hot it is outside.  And you can't explain things to him or reason with him, he just doesn't understand.

If you ask him what's the matter?  He responds by repeating the question back at you.  This makes things difficult as if we don't know why he is upset, he is unable to tell us.

A lot of Bears communication is Echolalia...which means he picks up a word or phrase from somewhere, often a DVD, and repeats it over and over and over and OVER again!  Sometimes he can say the phrase in the right context, (whether by good luck or good management, who can tell)  but most of the time he just says it for the sake of saying it! (or so it seems)

Having Bear able to tell us what he wants, at least some of the time has been a real blessing....he has come so far...but there is still so much further to go!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

My Day

This morning I got up knowing that I had a lot to do!

I knew that I had to finish getting my house cleaned, ready to accept up to 100 people on Friday after the funeral

I knew I had to pack our cases

I knew I had to pack and post some orders

I had some other bits and pieces to do, paperwork and banking and such

And that all of this had to be done by 2pm so that we could make it to Chicken's assembly where she and Tiger were both getting certificates.

And normally all of this wouldn't pose a problem. Normally I can get the house cleaned quite quickly once I really get into it and packing is a breeze if we are only going away for a couple of days. But this morning Grub was cranky...Grub was really REALLY cranky!

He's getting a cold and has been running a bit of a temperature and he is still cutting those 2 top teeth and he is just miserable.

And not just any brand of miserable...the “only my Mummy will do” kind of miserable :(

To start with, I wasn't real bothered, after all Grub was up at around 5 so I still had 9 hours...and then 8 and then I still had 7...and 6.

But when it got down to only 2 hours left I was starting to panic!

I still had the floors to get cleaned, washing to get in, and paperwork to do....and we hadn't even been to the office to pack and post! The case was packed but the car still needed to be loaded. And I was getting stressed!

I hated to do it but I had to let Grub grizzle :(

He sat there in the loungeroom with the Geek and grizzled while I flew around the house and vacuumed and mopped, then I popped him in the swing and grabbed the washing in. I filled in the PATS form and then we chucked everything into the car and whizzed up to the office where we finished off the paperwork and packed up the parcels.

Back via the post office, bank and telecentre we made it just in time for the assembly...which was fantastic, as always!

Oh and on a complete side note...School leaders were announced for next year and Bear is going to be a prefect...this should be fun!

Anyway, after school, we loaded up the kids...and my sisters kids whom we had to drop off...and off we went. We had to stop in Katanning to put the PATS form in and pick up some fuel vouchers...then stop at woolies and grab a few things, by which time we decided to grab Chicken Treat for dinner because the kids were going to be starving by the time we stopped at Williams for a break.

It's been a LOOOOONNNG day. And it was hot and sticky...Bleeeerk!!!

I am sitting here in the car typing this...yes the girl who never even had a mobile phone 8 years ago is now lost without her laptop...and I am encrusted in sweat and feeling very windswept and completely horrible....And the kids are going nuts in the back!

BUT...Guess what???


That's right, I'm sitting here, encrusted in sweat and feeling very windswept and completely horrible, with the kids in the back being totally abominable...and as the warm breeze flies in the window and I watch the sun sinking low over the golden brown paddocks, I finally feel that feeling, that the most special and joyous time of the year is just around the corner and I'm looking forward to it!

Whether or not that feeling will remain through the rest of the week, I'm not sure!

Doctors appointments and the trip home and of course the funeral may very well kill it for me, but right here and now, it feels like Christmas and I have no doubt at all in my mind, that if I lose it again, then it will return very soon and we will have a wondrous Christmas after all!!!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Special Saturday - What are you thankful for?

What am I thankful for?

Anyone who has followed this blog from the beginning may have noticed that I always try to finish on a positive note, and always try to find something to be thankful for!

Okay so I might have failed a bit last week but I usually try :D

This being the case there are many many many things I am thankful for. 

I am thankful that Bear's disability is not life threatening and that we live in a town where he is not put at extreme risk of being put in danger because of his disability.

I am thankful that we have a fantastic, integrative school and a great neighborhood where everybody understands why our household is as noisy as it is.

I am extremely thankful for our half acre block which means our house is not butted right up against the neighbors house and the kids have plenty of space to run around. 

I am thankful that although he is autistic, Bear has always been affectionate...I have heard of so many autistic children who are incapable of showing their affection.  And thankful for that smile that can light up even the darkest corners of my heart!

The list goes on!!!

But what am I most thankful for?

That, my friends is very very very easy to answer...


Let me tell you, that even almost 3 years after we finally convinced Bear to poo on the toilet and am still extremely extremely grateful for it.

Now I have six kids so I have changed my fair share of pooey nappies in my time...and I would love more kids if I could so it's not that I can't deal with poo!  But Bear used to poo at least 10 times a day!!!

And yes I also know that babies...especially newborns...poo 10 times a day too...would I complain about that too?  Not at all!

But I can tell you that there is an EXTREME difference between newborn poo and 9+ year old poo...and I know that there are some of my readers who can vouch for that and still deal with big kid poo on a daily basis...I can only hope and pray that one day you too will know freedom from this.

I might also add that the year before we finally convinced Bear that "poo goes in the toilet" I had 4 kids in nappies and would have changed more than 15 dirty nappies every day so it seemed at the time to be all tat I ever did!  So it was like a sweet release when 3 of them all finally cottoned on to the idea in fairly quick succession!

I also want to add that we still have a ways to go...Even 3 years later, we still wipe his bottom and he still gets a lollypop and he still wears a nappy to bed, but even if those things remain the same for the next 30 years, I will still be thankful for poo in the toilet!!!

And also that only one of my 6 children took 9 years to toilet train :D

Friday, 18 November 2011

Where Is Christmas?

I love Christmas!

I really really love Christmas!

Most years I am really really organized and have the pressies all wrapped and the stockings stuffers all stashed away by now and I'm planning all the great things we are going to make with the kids and generally just making plans!

Most years I am eagerly awaiting the putting up of the Christmas tree by now!
But some years I just can't seem to get it together, I just can't seem to muster up the Christmas spirit, and it seems that this year is one of those years!

Yes I know there is still 5 weeks away and I don't really need to be feeling the Christmas spirit just yet but I usually am and I just feel like it's missing.

I'm not sure whether it is the recent death in our family (the last time I had one of these years was the year my Dad passed on)...

Or perhaps it's just sleep deprivation (that last time was also Monkey's first year of life). 

Maybe it's the stress of starting up a business (It had also been a pretty stressful year)

Or maybe it's all of the above!

But I've decided it's time to put an end to it!

Tonight I changed my facebook profile pic.

And we have had Christmas carols playing...actually they have been playing intermittently throughout the year because they are on the playlist on the ipod.

The other day we put Nigella's Christmas Kitchen on, and before that The Twelve Words of Christmas by Louie Giglio...This is a must see if you are having, or have ever had a difficult Christmas.

And I just emailed my Mother in Law about getting a recipe for a gingerbread house...since she usually comes down before Chrissy and does that with the kids (this year they are not coming til afterwards)

We also took an evening off the paperwork and wrapped all the kids pressies so we could see what else we have to get and we only owe about $80 on the bikes so we are nearly organized.

Whether or not we end up with a puppy by Christmas remains to be seen!  We just got the rego for the little car and there are not too many pays left between now and Christmas.  And the fact that we need to be a little bit picky about the kind of dog we buy means it's probably not going to be cheap.

But we've come up with an alternative.

The other day Bear and Monkey were having a royal barney about a soft toy I remembered that Bear just LOVES soft toys!  He has a pile of his favorites piled in a nice neat stack at the head of his bed, and woe betide anyone who moves one out of place.

So at least he has something that he will love!

Oh I have NO doubt that we will be getting him a puppy in the near future, but he has a birthday in early February, so that would give us a little more time to get ourselves organized, while still getting a puppy fairly soon!

Right now, however, it's 10.20pm and I have to leave at about 6.45 in the morning to set up our market stall..that and the fact that the Geek is having an 80's music marathon at the moment...I'm off to bed!

Nighty night!

(and maybe Christmas will sneak up on me while I sleep)

Thursday, 17 November 2011

I'm An Idiot!!!

Did you know that I'm an idiot!

When I first started writing this blog and was trying to think of animal names for my children I talked to the Geek and we decided to call the oldest a penguin...because she is always talking about penguins. 

Now the primary reason for her always talking about penguins is that that is her nickname for her boyfriend.  I knew that but it still seemed like a good idea at the time.

Some time last year she posted as her status on facebook something to the effect of..."I am tired of humanity and have determined to live the rest of my life out as a duck!  Quack" 

She made a big thing about it (in fun of course) and we often had facebook conversations that went something like...

"Quack quack quack"
"Quack quack quackity quack"

We even went so far as to have a t-shirt printed up for her with a little duck on the front which said "I am a duck" and on the back it said "Quack"

How could I have completely forgotten about the duck?

I can only say it's been a busy, full on year and my brain is having trouble functioning and I was only reminded this morning when she posted this picture on facebook...
She does love her penguin!

So from now and forever more (on this blog at least) she shall be called Ducky!!!

And I do love my Ducky :D

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Special Saturday - Christmas Traditions

When I first saw that the topic for Special Saturday this week was Christmas Traditions, more specifically Christmas traditions which have developed because of your child with additional needs, I didn't think I would have much to contribute. 

Oh we have plenty of traditions all right, but most of them revolve around baking with the kids, and it's really just because I like baking with the kids.

But then I got to thinking, there are a lot of things we have learned to do to make Christmas bearable for Bear.

I think our most important "tradition" is to do away with tradition! 

We decorate the tree and put up lights and all that kind of thing...we do have other children, and Bear does get excited about those things but all the other stuff...not so much.

We don't go out much because Bear doesn't cope too well with that and we also have to be really careful about what treats we give him. 

As I've said before, routine is a very important part of Bears life, it gets him through his day...but he's no fool, if he really likes something, you only have to do it once and he will decide it should be in the routine!  And woe betide anyone who tries to take it out!

Another thing we do is to stay home for Christmas...AS OFTEN AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE!!!

Now that is not always possible!  We do have extended family.  In fact we have lots of extended family, and we love them all.  But for the most part they just don't get it and would take offense if we just decided to hide in our own little hidey hole EVERY Christmas!

Something else we do (and it actually took me quite a long time to convince myself to do this) is to NOT buy Bear many Christmas presents.  He just doesn't cope with lots of Christmas presents! 

Actually if I'm truthful we do buy him as many as we buy the other kids but anything like clothes or beach towels that are not going to be that exciting to unwrap, we just give to him in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and we don't make a song and dance about it...just put them in his cupboard or on the shelf. 

His stocking is fairly empty :(  I get rid of all the underpants no tooth brushes or 2 buck shop crap...just a couple of things that we think he will get excited about....And the first year we actually bit the bullet and did that was the first year he actually didn't freak out at the mere suggestion that he open his stocking.

There are more...probably many many more and I know I will remember them as they come up but at this point I couldn't recite them all because we do them every year without thinking.

I'm not even sure that any of them even qualify as traditions, but doing away with tradition is about as traditional as we get!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

I Need To Vent!!!

At the moment we are having a tough week...a really tough week. 

As I've said before Bear is being horrendous...he was good after gym yesterday but woke up in a DREADFUL mood this morning.  Oh my Lord.

Yesterday Penguin rang and was in a terrible state.  She had something in her ear...some sort of insect...and hadn't had any sleep.  She needed to go to the doctor but couldn't face going by herself.  And I'm 350km away so I couldn't take her.  I rang my cousin and she is taking her this morning but yesterday the thought of not sleeping for a whole nother day, and having this thing crawling around in her ear was just too much for her.  She did eventually get some sleep, thank goodness.

Grub is CRANKY!!!  He isn't well and there is a top tooth lurking just under the gum and giving him curry.  And when he does let me put him down for 5 minutes he is into EVERYTHING!!!

I really need to get on with my spring cleaning...I normally have it done by the end of October but I have barely started.  We did have an emergency foster placement last week and that gave me a bit of a boot in the bum and I have at least cleaned out the spare room...(otherwise I would have had no where to put these kids)  But I started in on the boys room yesterday...let me just say it is NOT a one day's going to take me the rest of the week.

And then there's the slow start to Rascal Rumps.  Now I never really expected it to be full on orders from day one, and we are getting orders,(on average around one a day) but with this and everything else going on yesterday, by the middle of the day I was starting to despair a little...okay a lot!

And then came the clincher! The thing that will determine the rest of the week to be a tough week (unless of course there is a miracle)

Around 16 years ago my parents fostered a severely disabled 4 year old girl.  She was born with hydrocephalus and, among other, things has epilepsy. She is now 20 and still living with Mum.

She is Mums whole life.

Yesterday evening she took a severe fit.  She had to be resuscitated, intubated and flown to Perth.  This morning Mum rang and told me that she is not going to make it.  Once all the appropriate paperwork is done (The public trustee, rather than Mum is her guardian) they will be switching off life support and she will be gone :( 
Mum has already buried one of her children and it's less than 5 years since we buried my's going to be a tough week...a really tough week.

I usually like to finish on a positive note, to try and see the bright side of everything...Well I'm really hoping it shows itself soon cause right now I can't really see it

Monday, 7 November 2011


At the moment Bear seems to be in a state of almost constant meltdown!

7 or 8 hours on Saturday!  Yesterday not so bad since we went swimming, but this morning he was cranky again and this afternoon he walked in the door after school screaming and kept it up until we put him to bed at 7 oclock (in desperation)  Even then it took him about an hour before he stopped.

It started about a week into term and we laid the blame firmly at the feet of Gymnastics.  Bear loves his Gymnastics and Trampoline class every Tuesday of the school term but it had been canceled for the first 3 weeks of term due to the Katanning Show being on at the same venue.  We were pretty sure that it got to a week into the school term and Bear realized that he hadn't been to Gym and he should have been.  In fact I know he did because when we picked him up everyday it was only after he realized that we were heading home and not to Gym that the meltdown would start.

Is that all?  Well it could be and I guess we will find out tomorrow when we head off to Gym for the first time this term. 

I'm starting to think maybe it's not!

I've heard from several other mums of autistic boys that school years 6 and 7 are the worst and Bear is in year 6...towards the end of year he's right in the middle of that time frame.

He's had pimples and blackheads for some years now and in summer he has a distinct Body Odor rather than that sweaty kid smell.  And there's hair where there never used to be hair.

So I think it's pretty safe to say that puberty has arrived.

Now I'm not so old that I don't remember what I was like when I went through puberty...I was a little older than 11 when I started but I was horrendous.  I pity my poor mother.

So is it possible that he is just being a horrendous teenager?  That the hormones are just getting the better of him? 

I think so!

Sure a disruption in the routine, like the break in Gymnastics has probably made it worse, but I think he's probably also struggling to cope with what his own body is doing to him.'s hoping that the other Autism Mums were right and it really does start getting better towards the end of next year :D

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Special Saturday - Christmas Gift Ideas - The Solution!

I wrote this post earlier this week and had it ready to go for this morning.

But this morning during a "Big Bear Meltdown"  which, I might add is still happening, something occurred to me.

Let's get him a puppy!!!

Now I KNOW I'm going to regret ever thinking that! 

We have a beautiful weimerana named Gandalf.  We've had her for just over 8 years now and Bear loves her...and she takes everything he dishes out but she's getting older now and she isn't as playful as she used to be.

I DO NOT want another dog...we CAN NOT afford another dog...but I'm pretty sure Bear needs another dog!

Confirmation of that came when I very cautiously mentioned this to the Geek (who is not a dog lover by any stretch of the imagination...and it's him that has to clean up after the dog) and he AGREED with me...he wasn't supposed to AGREE with me!  For heavens sake he was supposed to squash the idea and tell me I was crazy!

But no, he agreed with me and even offered to get on the net and do a bit of research.

We both agree that if we get a puppy it WILL be another weimerana.  When I was a kid we had a weimerana and it took everything my younger brother dished out and of course our Gandalf  takes everything Bear dishes out so I am confident that they are the right breed of dog for us.  We have also even half jokingly NAMED this potential new puppy...Frodo!  if you've got a Gandalf you absolutely HAVE to have a Frodo!

So now my only problem (aside from how to pay for it) is how to keep it a surprise until Christmas...

But oh what a surprise it will be!!!

Missing You Penguin!

It's been a little over 12 months since Penguin spread her wings and moved to the big city.

When she first went I worried like crazy and cried almost every day, I missed her so much. She was not in a great place emotionally either so I worried about that too.

As the months went by, and she got closer to her 18th birthday I was able to see that she was doing a little better and really she was almost an adult so I worried a little less.

And when I hemorrhaged after giving birth to Grub and almost died, it took me a long time to recover, and with lack of sleep and this whole Rascal Rumps thing I had other things that I worried about.  I still missed her and I still worried about her but it wasn't ALL I thought about anymore.

I still cried now and then but it wasn't every day.

Today (and yesterday) I am feeling the effects of being away from my baby girl for so long.  I am missing her desperately and I know she is going through a bit of a rough patch at the moment so I wish I could be there for her in the flesh.

I love you my Penguin, I miss you and I wish I could make it better. 
I hope you read this!
Love Mum

Special Saturday - Christmas Gift Ideas

 This week they decided it would be a good idea to share our Christmas gift ideas for people with special needs!

Well I for one am looking forward to reading everyone else's posts because I'm stumped!

Bear used to be easy to shop for...TRAINS were the only thing he wanted, and then he expanded his horizons and enjoyed diggers and trucks.

Trouble is that Bear wrecks stuff...frequently!  So we very quickly stopped buying him cheaper trains/diggers/trucks and always bought him good ones that are pretty much Bear proof.

Now Bear is nearly 12 years old and there are a fair few Christmases and birthdays in nearly 12 years.  And since most of his trains/trucks/diggers are Bear proof, most of them are still here.  There are only so many trains/trucks/diggers that one child can have!!!

The next problem is Age Appropriateness.  Now I don't really get on the boat that says that my child should play with things that are age appropriate just because it's socially acceptable...he is who he is and we love him that way.  But it does break my heart to see him not fit in with his peers...honestly I tear up at EVERY school assembly and at the Christmas Concert I'm a sniveling mess.  So it is nice if, when other kids his age come over, he has something to play with that will interest them too.

The third problem is extended family...Every blinking time I come up with the ideal present for Bear, my jolly mother goes and buys it for him instead.  Earlier this year the Geek bought himself a remote control helicopter (actually he's bought several throughout the year as he and Bear are a little bit inclined to crash them) and Bear loves them.  He loves to watch them fly and once they get to the point where all they will do is spin around on the floor he loves to have a go himself.  Perfect Christmas present! And it's age appropriate!  So what is my Mum getting him?

Okay so that's not all that bad, it's awesome that she wants to get him something that he loves that is age appropriate too...and if I'm honest, he probably wouldn't complain about getting TWO remote control helicopters for Christmas this year, but I do want our present to be just a little bit special too.

We've got all the other kids a bike for Christmas but Bear will not ride a bike.  The last time we got all the other kids a bike for Christmas we decided that we had to get Bear one too.  When he was in kindy he would ride the little trikes there but he was well and truly too big for one of those so we thought we would try and get a bigger trike.  There is a place in Perth that modifies bikes for the disabled, they are a little bit on the expensive side but we were able to get some funding to help pay for it.  This thing was FANTASTIC!  The Geek reckoned he wanted one for himself.  We were ALL really excited about it...All except for Bear.  It's still sitting outside and it's taken a fair beating over the years but Bear has never ridden it.  (He did take great pleasure in pushing the other kids around on it though so it wasn't a total flop)

Suffice it to say we will NOT be buying Bear a bike this year.

So I said I was stumped, and I am, for his main present! But having 6 kids I have to be at least a little bit organized by November.  So what have I got?

Actually aside from a few stocking fillers the only thing we have bought him so far is a couple of DVD's.  One of which I know he will love because he has borrowed it from my Mum dozens of times, the other?  Well he will probably have to watch it 3 or 4 times before it becomes a favorite!

We are also planning to buy him a new CD player because his is on it's last legs and life without music at bed time is...well quite frankly I don't even want to go there!!!

But what will be that fantastic gift that is going to light up that gorgeous face in a huge grin?

Well...I have 50 more days to think about it!

This post is part of the Special Saturday campaign for raising awareness of special needs!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Monkey's Birthday!

Today was Monkey's birthday. 

Now I would love to go into great depths about all that happened today, it was quite a day...but that really had nothing to do with Monkey's birthday, in fact the birthday part was quite unremarkable!

Oh there were presents and cake and all the usual stuff, he had a wonderful day and he is soooo glad to finally be 5 so that he can go on the waterslide at the Albany pool, but it was really nothing worth writing home about.

So instead I will tell you about the day he was born.

No I won't tell you about the day he was born...Oh I started, in fact I wrote quite a bit and even went to the trouble of finding a pic of the freaky amnio hook that was waiting in my table in the hospital when I got there.

Oh what the heck, I might as well use the pic anyway since I found it :D

But as I was writing it I thought, I'm putting down all these little details that are really going to be boring to any one else. 

So I'm just going to say that I'm really glad that I took the time to remember all the little details today, they are ALL really special to me and I'm really thankful to have shared the last 5 years of my life with my (not so little anymore) Monkey :D

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The Meltdown!

As I mentioned in The Launch, the Bear had a meltdown yesterday.  Bear has meltdowns quite frequently actually...

Okay I need to start again...I got that far before Monkey decided to do his thing with the croup last night so it is now the following Bear had a meltdown on Sunday.  Bear has meltdowns quite frequently actually but this one was a doozy.

Actually I didn't start this post to write about the Sunday meltdown I really started it because while he was having it I was thinking about the nature of his meltdowns...that's right I was actually thinking with this kid screaming his absolute nog off in the background!

And this is what I was thinking...

I remember having a conversation with my father in law years ago where he asked me what had set Bear off this time and I said that I thought it had been building up for a while and that he just had to get it out of his system. I said that sometimes you can just see it coming and you can do things to delay it and maybe even make it not as intense but it's not going to go away till it's over and done with!

And I still think that's true to a certain extent, although I perhaps understand a little bit more about why that is now.  As I said in What Is Your Child's Special Needs Bears head (I think anyway) is constantly full of noise and routine helps to quiet that noise a bit...I'm not talking about literally but figuratively there is a lot of noise. 

So if we stick to our routines why then does it build up to the point where he has to explode?

Because when push comes to shove...WE LIVE IN THE REAL WORLD!  We can keep his routines up every day but there is NO way that we can make EVERY SINGLE detail the same EVERY SINGLE day.  The small details change every day and even if we were inclined to do so we couldn't humanly keep them all the same, especially not in such a large family.  So there is a build up.

And then of course there are the times when there is a fundamental change in his not going to Gym on Tuesday afternoon during the school term, or sending Belana (the dog) back to live with my cousin because we couldn't keep her in the yard here.  Those ones almost always result in meltdown...Sometimes at the time of the change but often the following day or a couple of days later when his head just can't get itself back into whack!

I honestly believe that when Bear is having a meltdown, he's not in control of what he's least not totally.  I don't think he's doing it for attention or to get something that he wants, he is doing it because he just needs to get it out....I'm sure we've all felt that way at some point in our lives!

Of course we always try and get him to calm down.  And after all these years we still ask him if he wants any number of things...even though it generally doesn't work until the meltdown has run it's course.  "Bear would you like some noodles?", "what would you like to watch?", "shall we make a chocolate cake?" the list goes on!

And every time I ask the question I know in myself that HE JUST DOESN'T KNOW...and yet I ask anyway.  At some point the meltdown will have run it's course and he will accept one of the things I have offered and will calm down (and then often remember each of the things I have offered him and go through them one by one and take me up on it)

Obviously that's not all I do to try and calm him down.  I go and give him a cuddle in his room, I rub his back, I talk gently to him...sometimes I even yell at him because I've had it too.  There are lots of things that I try EVERY time, even though I know that they didn't work last time or the time before.

One day I will find a better way but until then I can't bear to see my child in such distress, it breaks my heart to know that he is just not coping with his world...and that I can't fix it :(

I have rambled a lot in this post...I know it and I'm too tired to be sorry,  too tired to go hunting for pictures and too tired to even proofread it...maybe I can go back and do so tomorrow...
Maybe not :D

The Ambulance Ride!

Last night, a little before 10pm, Monkey started coughing. 

When he gets sick he often gets a bit of a croupy cough but it's been a billion times better and far less often since he had his tonsils out 18 months ago.

So when he started coughing last night I wasn't too surprised that it sounded croupy...just a little surprised that he'd started coughing since he hadn't had so much as a sniffle throughout the day.

After a minute or so I started getting a little concerned as it was starting to sound like he was struggling to breathe so I asked the Geek to go and check on him since I still had Grub passed out on my lap.

The Geek fairly quickly hauled him out of bed and into the bathroom to get some steam happening...standard procedure in our house when dealing with a croupy cough and by the time they got there I could hear that he was REALLY struggling.

So I dumped poor Grub into the bed...thankfully he didn't wake up...and went in and arked the shower up. We decided that that wasn't going to be enough so I went digging for the nebulizer.  I found it fairly quickly as I had a pretty good idea of where it was, and I even managed to find a bowl for it but for the life of me I couldn't find the's been some years since we used it.  Then I dug out the ventolin nebules...18 months out of date

Okay so that wasn't going to work!  Plan B?  Umm...Do we need to call an ambulance?...I asked the Geek...Yeah maybe!  If we are going to call an ambulance do we need to do it NOW???


Okay this is not the actual ambulance that we got...I didn't have the presence of mind to take an actual picture of it at the time!

We decided that the Geek would go to the hospital with him as it would be easier than me taking Grub along as well but that really upset Monkey and of course that did NOT help his breathing.  So we changed the plan and quickly stuffed some nappies and a change of clothes for bub into the nappy bag and I piled in with the baby.

When we got there we had to wait for the doctor, I was told that usually at that time of night there wasn't a line up but we picked a bad night and there were several people in front of us.  However the nurses talked to him and he told them to give him a pulmicort neb which helped immensely.  Coming from out of town though we had to stay in overnight.

We were moved to the ward and once Monkey was settled I was given a chair to sleep in with Grub...I didn't see much sleep happening but we settled down for the night and I eventually dozed off.  The next time the nurse came in (a different nurse) she had a bit of a panic because she thought Grub was going to wriggle himself off me and land on his head on the floor so she put me in the empty bed in the room...PRAISE THE LORD.  That would have been about 2am!  I didn't look at the clock but that's when Monkey was due for his obs.

So I managed to get a few hours sleep but because Grub always gets up at around 5am, my body automatically woke up then even though he was still asleep.

It's now 9pm and I am feeling 7 shades of knackered but I am thankful.

I'm thankful that I have a fairly good knowledge of what to do when my babies get sick. 

I'm thankful for the fact that we are members of St Johns Ambulance so I don't have a ruddy great bill on it's way.

I'm thankful that we live in a country where they even have ambulance services...and a town where the ambulance is quick and reliable (big thanks to Trevor for holding down the fort at our local subcentre)

I'm thankful for a public hospital system that, for all everyone complains about it, we have always gotten in fast when we actually NEED to.

And I'm thankful that Bear coped really well with the Geek being the one to do the breakfast routine this morning...just gotta hope that one doesn't turn around and bite me in the bum :D

Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Launch!

Having pretty much completed the website before our big day yesterday, and also having kept up with entries to our giveaway in a separate spreadsheet I started the day in a pretty relaxed state...After all, my day from hell had turned out pretty good hadn't it?

Our router had died on Friday...good timing I know! But the Geek  had managed to get the local computer guy to meet us after the Show so we could buy another one and we had the wireless "dongle" from the shop which we had been using in the mean time so I wasn't really worried.

After snuggling with the kids for a bit and then making a cup of tea I settled in on my lap top to spam a few facebook walls and just let people know that they only had about 4 hours left to get their entries in and maybe rustle up a few more likers. 

All good...until about 5 min after I sat down my internet dropped out.  I couldn't work out what the problem was and with the Geek still in bed there wasn't much I could do about it do I went and hung the nappies and did a few other bits and pieces.  When I came back in again my internet was working so I settled back in again.  This time it lasted maybe half an hour, but it was moving REALLY slow so I still got almost nothing done.

*Sigh*  Had to wait till the Geek got up so he could sort it out!  As it happens, the Geek was up by 7am (fairly early for him on a Sunday) and got straight onto the job.  It turns out that we didn't need a new router after all but instead our ISP had dropped off.  Being with a smaller ISP...well do you think they were open at 7 oclock on a Sunday morning??? And to make matters worse our dongle was not only being slow but was also spending most of the time not getting a signal. the mean time Bear gets up and he is like...well like a bear...with a sore head!

We are talking big...big, big, big meltdown! 

He still wants to go to Gym so I think that is still the trigger but it certainly wouldn't have helped that we were out all day yesterday...or that it was a long weekend, they usually throw him too!

Meltdown pretty much went full on all morning, except for a slight reprieve when my mum arrived with chocolate biscuits.

So the Geek was madly chasing amnet around (once they opened) with this kid screaming his absolute nog off in the background!

In between all of this going on we also discovered that there were some entries into our giveaway that were awaiting I hadn't put them on my spreadsheet!  So now I had to go through all 176 entries and make sure they were all there and in the right order and that none had doubled up! All before we drew the prizes at 10am! WITH no internet!!!  Grrrr

I was starting to panic relaxed day had completely gone out the window!

Fortunately after 2 or 3 phone calls and much time on hold the Geek got the internet working again so we were able to do the give aways, only about 45 minutes late...with a kid screaming his absolute nog off in the background.

And because we hadn't had enough go wrong today, when we were adjusting the inventory after our sales at the show yesterday we discovered that there were a couple of the totals that were out and that the Geek had added 1 extra of each of those items to the website so now he had to go through the whole list and check the totals! 

At least we now had internet!

I left him to it and after trying everything that I could think of to calm Bear down...because by now he had been screaming for over nearly 4 hours...I eventually got him to settle a bit by moving the trampoline away from the clothes line and letting him loose on it with the hose...

What can I say, he's an odd kid!!!

He has had minor crankies over the course of the afternoon but that was at least the end of the really big one.

The Geek, awesome man that he is, got everything sorted just in the nick of time and we launched our website at 12 noon WST planned. 

And what's more, it works...we've had orders!!!

And now all of the younger members of the zoo train are in bed (aside from Grub who is passed out on my lap ATM) and we are enjoying a well earned cup of decaf and some gorgeous dark chocolate and I'm sitting here thinking "Was it really all that bad?"

Damn straight it was!!!

The Show!

Yesterday we took the shop to the Katanning Show.

I was expecting to have a hellish kind of day.  I was expecting baby to have had it by lunch time and I wasn't really sure that we would have a huge amount of interest...after all at the Tambellup Show we ended up packing up early because of the lack of interest in the afternoon....Only yesterday we knew we weren't allowed to pack up until 6.30pm and since we had to leave at 7am to get set up in time that was a HUGE day for a 10 month old baby.

So we braced ourselves for our hellish day and set off in the morning.  We were running about 15 min later than planned as Bear had gotten up shortly before we left and I thought that the inlaws would have a much more manageable day if I got most of the morning routine out of the way before we left but we still managed to get ourselves there and set up with 10 min to spare.


The morning was a bit slow.  That was to be expected but we were in the pavilion with the entertainment so once that started up more people started coming in.

As we have found at our market stalls before Grandmothers are awesome.  Many of them believe cloth is the way to go and think it's fantastic that we are doing something to bring cloth use back.  They often take a magnet and some info and head off to convert their daughters/daughters in law...and even if they don't it's always encouraging to hear praise for your work.

Our first sale of the day was to a grandmother who wanted to take a little bit more than info and after that there were a few lulls but over all we were kept quite busy until close to 5pm.  We didn't make a lot of sales really (one doesn't go to the local show to impulse buy nappies) but we gave away most of our itti bitti product guides and a tonne of magnets. 

Grub helped out too by managing the cash tin!

One of the most encouraging things that was said to us all day was from a grandmother who said that she had looked for us at the last markets (which we missed for the Tambellup show)  and another grandmother said that she had come in because she knew we were going to be there.

There were also HEAPS of comments on our business name!  Hopefully we will soon be a household name :D

Grub coped incredibly well...incredibly well!  I was so proud of him!  God is good is all I can say because Grub didn't really get cranky at all until it was time to go home.  When we put him in the car he really stacked it!

By around 5 pm I was starting to feel the effects of the long day...probably because I slowed down for a few minutes...and the last hour and a half dragged a bit again but all in all it was a fantastic day. 

At least somebody had the presence of mind to park us right across the way from a lovely older couple who were sugar roasting peanuts and almonds, so while we may have gone home with a slightly lighter cargo I'm pretty sure I, myself, went home weighing about 3 tonne more...they were delicious!!!

Just A Little Thank You!

Well we are about to launch our website and there are just so many people that I just don't think we could have done it without that I want to say a little thank you to you all.

Firstly to the Lord Jesus, who has pulled me through all of those times when I asked myself what the heck I'd gotten myself in to and gave me the strength to keep on keeping on.  Also to our parents who have supported us all the way through.  (and no doubt will continue to do so!)

Thanks to my fantastic children who have put up with a grumbly, sleep deprived and stressed out Mummy, and to my awesome husband for coming along for the ride...even with a grumbly, sleep deprived and stressed out wife. :D

To our gorgeous WAHMs; Leah from Fluff E Stuff, who's comment in a buy and sell group has completely changed the direction of Rascal Rumps.  To Alex from Bear Bottoms, Cath from Tumblemonkey Handmade and Jess from Onesie Bummsies.  
Thanks to Sue and Wendy and the awesome team at itti bitti, Hollie from Bum Cheeks and Farharna from Booroi. To Melissa from Australian Wholesale Amber and Michelle from Sustainable Hemp Products.  Also to Christina and Emily from Rockin Green Australia and Caroline from Soap in a Nutshell.  To all of the suppliers that we still have in the works and hope to have on line soon.
You all have been awesome to work with and there is no way we could have done it without you.

Huge thanks to Peter from Great Southern Web Design...We love our website and we hope you all do to!

Vicki and the team from Great Southern Small Business Centre...we owe you big time!  Also Trevor from the Tambellup Business Centre.

Extra special thanks go to Jodi from MCN Lovers R Us! You do us and everyone else in this industry a huge huge service and I, for one, greatly appreciate it.  Also Jade from Australian WAHM shoutouts.  Thanks also to my wonderful "cloth lovin' neighbor" Erryn who has been my sounding board all the way through :D

A huge thanks to Marita from Stuff With Thing, Lori from RRSAHM and Trae from Where's My Glow for the shout outs!

And of course where would we be without our fantastic customers, you have all been lovely to deal with and we look forward to hearing your feedback about our website and our service.  We are always striving to bring you the best and appreciate your ideas!

And one last one...Thanks to all the grandmothers who come to the markets/shows and take all the info away to share with their daughter/daughters in law.  Grandmothers are awesome :D

Big thanks to you all

Friday, 28 October 2011

Special Saturday - How does having a child with additional needs affect your family?

The short answer?  In EVERY way!!!

Firstly the obvious ones...
Routine...EVERY day starts and finishes with routine!  Once Bear is up, every thing is done the same way.  No matter what stage the other kids are at in their getting ready they all fall in with his routine.  His end of the table gets cleared so he can have his breakfast.  Once he has eaten, whoever is in the shower gets out and whoever was hoping to hop in next waits until he has finished (or misses out completely)  The Geek is NOT allowed into the kitchen...unless we want another hole in the wall! 

There are routines throughout the day which mean that Bear often is allowed to have things that the other kids are not allowed to have...just to keep up the routine!  It means they often don't get to choose where they are going to sit or what they are going to watch on TV.  It means they can't always go across the road and ride their scooters on the shiny new bitumised path because Bear will follow them out and stand in the street.

The other kids are usually in bed before we go through the evening routine so it doesn't affect them quite so much.

For us it means we have to do things for our 11 year old that we no longer have to do for our 4 year old.  We have to wipe his bottom, (and believe me I'm grateful that that is all we have to do these days) and make all his meals...even if it's just toast or a sandwich, we have to supervise him almost constantly and ALWAYS be aware of where he is and what he is doing.

Holidays...Having a child with Autism affects Where we holiday, When we holiday, How we holiday and How long we holiday for.

It affects EVERY major decision we make, in fact the decision to start our own business was largely due to the fact that we need the flexibility to manage Bear.

Even decisions like whether or not to take out private health insurance are affected by Bear.  If we don't have private health insurance then when one of us needs surgery we have NO options, and we quickly discovered when Tiger needed his tonsils out that we NEED options, we NEED to be able to be involved in the decision making process with everything that might affect Bear.

I could go on and on...but I think you get the idea...having a child with additional needs affects our lives in EVERY conceivable way.

But it's not all bad!

Bear has TAUGHT us a good many things too.

He has taught all of us patience and compassion, patience, tolerance, patience, acceptance and did I mention patience?

Because not everything is fair all of the time, the kids have learned resilience...I could go right into why we believe that this is important, and perhaps one day I will but you can read a little bit about it here!

He has taught us that life doesn't always go the way we plan and we have all learned to roll with the punches!  And to function with a LOT of background noise!

I have learned to smile and nod when other people give their opinions...for the most part.

I've also learned to pick my battles.

If given a choice, if someone said to me, "You can have another baby but he/she is going to be autistic" I think I would probably run for the hills but I am 100% sure that EVERYONE living in The Zoo Train is a better person because we have shared our lives with Bear...perhaps with the exception of Grub...give him time :D

It's a process for all of us though.

I, for one, am still a work in progress!!!