Monday, December 1, 2008


Just another Friday morning kids off to school with Mr Sesame just me and wee boy at most of my days just roll into each other lately I decided to head off shopping for the morning...Babs had gone off to school in his jeans because none of his trackkie bottoms are suitable for PE day any more..they have either the knees out or have a trip to Penney's was in order and still had christmas shopping to Navan here we come...

Hopped in the car and noticed the temperature gauge was 1.5 degrees and the frost symbol took it handy..roads seemed pretty dry though....had gone near 2 mile and in a split second we were sliding all over the road....the back of the car couldn't make up it's mind which side of the road it wanted to be one stage we were heading for someone's wall but managed to get it away...I was like a rally driver turning the wheel this way and that way, hard and fast as I could, not having a clue what I was doing. Somehow I was managing to keep it on the road and then the ESB pole was waiting for some grace of God and what was my final twist of the wheel and we cruised past it and up she went into the ditch....there was no major impact and I couldn't believe we just stopped.

Sitting up there, tilted to the side, my first thought was how am I still alive and I shouted at wee boy to see if he was okay...thankfully he was totally unaware what had just happened but I was terrified to move in case the car toppled over...the engine was still running so turned it off and then there was an angel looking in at us...Bernie (who's wall was lucky to be still in one piece) and seen the whole thing from her window and came running out in her slippers to help us...then 2 men arrived on the scene...our doors were wedged shut but bit of brute force and they opened the back door and got wee boy out....was no point even considering getting out the passenger side as we were high up as you can see here in pic I managed to climb into the back and get out that way.....I know now it was probably shock but I laughed at the state of my 'parking'...In some sort of twisted way I was proud of myself...if that makes me a freak den hey I'll wear the hat....

Bernie was very kind to leave us back up home and as Murphy's Law would have it I couldn't get anyone on the phone....Mr Sesame on tea break with no Ma and Da gone shopping and me bro (the mechanic and recovery guy) had phone switched off and it's never I sat holding and hugging and kissing wee boy till it got too much for him and he told me to stop and wriggled off my knees...eventually I got in touch with my brother and everyone else thereafter...had the car back home by evening still driveable just needing new front bumper but took me days before I sat back into still a bit stiff and sore but lucky to be able to tell the tale......a week on and still haven't got trackkie bottoms for Babs...but who cares am just thankful to have another day with everyone....

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Monday

"Monday Monday, so good to me, Monday morning it was all I hoped it would be"...It was better....

Woke up tired little hungover, Mr Sesame was off today to accomodate a meeting I was having with Babs' teachers..our first one since he started school....have had mini chats with teacher as and when the need arose...this one was sort of IEP of sorts..

Of course I went in totally unprepared...bad mother that I am...but they're an easy-going lot. Impossible to get anyone from early intervention team to come out to the school...when looking back over my paperwork it was back in January this year that we set the ball in motion for Babs' transition to mainstream...the result was that he get his assessment done so we could get SNA approval....they were going to pay a visit to the school to meet the teacher before the end of the school year....he's now 2 and half months at school and still no visit...have rang several times... advised the school to write letter to them requesting their attendance...will see what unfolds...

The upshot of the meeting is that they are very happy with Babs' progress...and I am more than happy with what they are doing with him...could not believe how much work he has done so far...the resource teacher is a gem as are his class teacher and SNA...he is definitely in the right setting, of that I am sure and grateful...any questions/reservations I might have had were well and truly wiped out....he is keeping up with his peers with classwork and even listens in when teacher is working with the Senior Infants and shouts out the answers to their skills improving but still good bit to go....but at least he is able to tell me the names of the children...

But the most important thing I took away from the meeting was the manner in which they teach him....if something is not working for him...they change their way of teaching it...and for having had no experience of autistic children...what more could I ask for.....damn they are good!

Long may it continue.....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Camera Never Lies

Had planned to post a video of Babs in action helping out his ould ma in the kitchen...but it didn't happen...will keep trying

We have just finished our second video for the Earlybird of me playing with Babs and a 'toy'...we did not prepare earlier...

To think I thought playing without a toy was gonna be the tuff was easier.

Could not think of what to play to 'show off' if you like his strengths and communication skills.. so we used a wee opposites jigsaw and practiced 5 minutes before the camera came (15 mins early - thanks girls).. think it worked better's done now so next thursday will show how good or bad we performed...they were quite happy with it.

I just love this photo of Babs with his sister...not a clear one but shows how well they get on..he will do anything for her...which is great when it comes to his colouring homework..he does not like it...can't concentrate on the smaller objects to be coloured and trees have so many leaves...but once she says come on let's colour he will happily sit with her and do it...she uses the same lingo I do to get him motivated just her way seems to work better...can learn a lot from my kids...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things

Yeaah av been tagged again...Hammie must know I'm struggling these days and this is the perfect excuse for a lazy blogger...the 11 little things about me under the "My Favourite" headings are:

1. Clothes Shop: without doubt New Look - the only shop I go into where I always leave with loads..

2. Furniture Shop: Land of Furniture - locally made and sold.

3. Sweet: Bounty - the taste of paradise indeed..milk chocolate not a fan of dark choccie.

4. City: Galway..oh Galway.. oh the stories I could tell you bout my times in Galway..they would curl your hair....the skeff - location of the best eVer week end with a girlfriend.

5. Drink: (Smirnoff) Vodka & Coke with NO ice and Cosmopolitans..deelish!

6. Music: Am digging the R n B scene at the moment but am true to my roots am a Trad Irish girl to the core..nothing I enjoy more than singing rebel songs at 4 a.m. at friends house (no kids and no close neighbours) as loud as we if ever you pass by and hear really bad singing about evictions round the lovely lough sheelin you can bet I'm in there. Nick I'm feelin the connection.

7. TV Series: Dont even have to think about this one definitely The Bill - Smithy makes me melt just wish it was on 7 nights a week.

8. Film: Titanic - love it so much saw it 6 times in cinema, bought CD, Video & DVD and know it pretty much word for word..

9. Workout: Swimming - my only form of excercise apart from the..u know..don't make me spell it out.....learned how to a couple of years ago..swim that Kells Swimming Pool - the best instructors you'll find anywhere.

10. Pastries: My Ma's apple tart with lashings of cream..if only I had a picture!

11. Coffee: Sorry to let the side down but gonna have to pass on this - not a coffee drinker - my only MUST have caffeine kick comes from Coca, zero get away from me!!!

I am only going to tag 1 person for this and its a new blog discovery with a lot of reading so if you please lynanne, by way of introduction feel free to give it a lash...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Take A Bow

Have you noticed my award...can you see it??? I got it from Hammie you know!

It has made my day..have been out of sorts last 2 days...vomiting bug hit the house on Friday night..wee boy threw up no less than 7 times and Babs 3..their room smells horrid..dettol and febreeze reeks. So got little to no sleep. Then Saturday night Sunday morning girl number 2 had her turn..lots of false starts then bingo she filled the appropriately placed basin sparing me the change of bedclothes as was well and truly running low on supplies. Seems to last the 24hrs and thats 3 kids down and 1 to go and go she did at 4am this morning and at 4.30, 4.45, 5.10, 7am and finally 11am. Her Dad joined her at 7 am. The rumblings in my tummy let me know I wasn't going unscathed..and head down loo at 2pm and finally the biggie earlier tonight..feel a lot better..

House has not been cleaned all day and due a visit from the Earlybird video cameras tomorrow..lets hope the zoom is not working..

Anyway back to my award..I am to bestow it on some other deserving bloggers most of which have already received it...but that is irrelevant it seems so take your seats and enjoy the 2008 Sesame Blog Award ceremony. First up, in the category of

  • Best Entertainment - the award goes to Jazzy - just look at her step it out!

  • Breast Female Role Model - this was tough competition but the clear winner is Cathal's Mammy for 'supporting' (couldn't resist) the breast is best campaign, getting carrots into Cathal and telling it like it is...oh and drinking the most cups of tea in a week!

  • Best Supporting Parent - without doubt goes to Cathal's Mammy's Mammy - NanP.

  • Best Mini Series - goes to Jacob for his role in "Caca in my Pants" and although no fan of award ceremonies I hope Nick will pick up this award on Jacob's behalf...(dirty trick I know, so sue me)

  • Keeping It Real Award goes to Danielle for her lovely family blog..and she has sunshine!

My last award of the evening is a special award, most award ceremonies have their lifetime achievement award at the end and the Sesames are no different...the recipient is a mum to 2 wonderful children Boo & Bratty, has put up with neighbours from hell, has successfully managed to get her children into fabulous school where they are doing well, has helped/advised so many parents on the rollercoaster website..myself included...then entered the blogworld and in no time clocked up thousands of hits...she is a wonderful mother, wife, writer, friend, advocate..she has recently crossed over to the fashion side of blogging proving she is definitely not a 'one trick pony'...this woman can do no please be upstanding and welcome to the stage to collect her award the amazing Hammie....

Thank you and goodnight from the Sesames.

Dammit I forgot the rules for the winners:
1. The winners are allowed to put the picture on their blogs. (√)
2. Link to the person who awarded you. (√)
3. Nominate seven other people and link to them.
4. Leave a message on those people's blog to make them aware that they're nominated.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sisters Are Doin It For Themselves

Am a couple of weeks into the Earlybird Programme and loving it...pity I couldn't have done it last year when Babs was newly diagnosed and I hadn't a clue..what I wouldn't have done to talk to some other parent in a similar position..
The group is a lovely mix of parents some newly diagnosed and others around same stage as us, a year further down the road..all our kids are of similar age and all learning something new each amazed at how many autistic children there are in our area and yet we have no autism support group.

Met C, a girl I had worked with in Dunnes 13 years ago doing the Earlybird...We have a mutual friend E on the course too..From chatting to these 2 moms it seems we have an interest in meeting for a coffee and a chat..nothing heavy and def no fundraising watch this space..could be the start of something big..

Monday, September 22, 2008

You're The One That I Want

Figured it's about time I returned to distracted...Jazzy's managing to get her 'slice' between rehearsals so there's no excuse for me..I haven't been any more busy than normal just not motivated...and my broadband man tells me to slow the pace on my addictions as I've used up my limit for the month so no uploading or downloading...bummer...thank the lord for great sisters with laptops who know how to share to prevent me getting the shakes...

I have been analysing my life lately, the effects of meeting up with people from the past in cyberspace...the girls decided to enquire how their Dad and I met and why we got married... didn't obviously go into the nitty gritty but told them we met in the hospital first and then in a nightclub and was love at first sight..not..

My first encounter with my beloved was when he told me to take my top off but to leave my bra on!!...I kid u not..Mr Sesame is a Radiographer and I had been sent for a chest x-ray following a TB scare on the ward I was working on..guess I must have impressed him!!...sorry couldn't resist...all the trainee nurses were mad about him, couldn't see the attraction myself, he would walk round with his head to the floor..not a very confident chap..

Anyway I stayed in my sister's gaff one Thursday night, in town and we hit the tiles...I was having a great evening with my sis and her mates in the pub when in walks this guy with a crowd of women...I sat up and took notice..(still remember what he was wearing and strangely enough he remembers what I was wearing..true love). I said to sis 'who's the hottie with elaine & co'..She said that's Mr Sesame from x-ray..says I, 'no way! gosh he's cute, wouldn't recognise him out of his uniform' himself and that crowd of women joined our table as they all work together in the hospital...I was getting lots of attention being B's sister and the drinks were gliding we were leaving to move onto a karaoke bar Karl (a guy I had the hots for from college) came out after me and asked me to stay for a drink with him. Couldn't believe I hadn't seen him come in. I sooo wanted stay drinking with Karl but the girls were calling me on..'Please' he said 'have one with me, catch them up later if you want'... my heart ached as I kissed him on the cheek and said to meet me later in the nightclub. He didn't...

At the karaoke bar my sister's flatmate (the only one not on the hospitals payroll) was passing notes back and forth to my sis stating that she was gonna have Mr Sesame by the end of the night...Sis was telling me if I was interested to make a move before she got her claws into him..and so the challenge was set..I still hadn't even spoken to him and Michelle was rubbing his leg at every opportunity..this was gonna be tuff...few more drinks and off to the nightclub..met my now sis-in-law, just inside the door..'What are you doin here?' she asked..I pointed to mr sesame who was now sitting having a pint and said 'see him over there..thats why I'm here..he's mine'..we laughed then I headed in his direction, sat myself on his knee, totally uninvited, giggled, said something and we kissed...I know, I can hear you scream 'tart' at me..but hey from that minute he was mine..sorry Michelle..snooze u lose! She was happy to move on to her next victim..I was chatted up by another old flame that night and mr sesame got annoyed and went my victory was short lived...Didn't see him till 3 weeks later and after apologising for being chatted up we picked up where we left off...and the rest is history..and the future..

Saw Karl at college the next week and apologised for not staying and hoping he would ask me out again. He understood the girl pressure thing and said I probably had a better night with them..I asked why he didn't come to the nightclub and he said he just went home after I'd gone...we agreed to go for drinks together but never said when...we never did get for drinks...less than a year later Karl took his own life..completely wrecked my head for a while...I think of Karl on occasion and wonder, as you do, what if? But what's for you won't pass you..

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now

Hammie got me rattled a bit some time ago talking about macros and micros and where we fit in to that picture. Am convinced this woman is psychic..just at the time she challenged me I had to face up to the situation..

Rewind...growing up I watched my Dad throw himself into organisations that benefitted probably everyone but gate collections, sponsorship cards for IWA, various walks and hill climbs in every country raising money for his favourite charities. Using Hammie's Little Red Hen analogy we witnessed him restore/renovate an old school house in his own time and at his own expense only to hand it over to the local area is now used as a cultural arts centre, music rooms and offices and he has nothing to show for his hard work except that he is proud of what he has achieved..and we are doubly proud of him...

Since his adorable grandson (yes I mean Babs) was diagnosed with autism he was determined to 'do his bit' for him (well for the team that looks after him) he organised a very successful fundraising concert and gave the proceeds to Enable Ireland. He intends making this an annual event, although I might try to get him to divert the money to a different source...So all agreed my Dad is a 'Macroman' complete with leotard and tights.

So did I inherit these macrogenes..not too sure..think I am a doer not a brain seems to run to standstill when asked for ideas and stuff..if someone has a definite plan and wants a hand to organise..that I can do.

Now back to how Hammie pricked my conscience...I got involved in a parent support group before we had Babs' diagnosis..via the EYECAN worker in his playschool. Majella was the Early Years Education for Children with Additional Needs worker. She came out to the playschool several times to see Babs and discuss what the playschool leaders could do to help him integrate and she then worked in tandem with the HSE & Enable after diagnosis. She invited me to a meeting where there was a talk on Entitlements. I met lots of parents who had children with a variety of additional needs. I enjoyed these outings once a month but in less than a year I was the only constant attendee and eventually the only surviving member of that initial group..New parents came on board and the group is still going, although, very poorly attended. The cost of the hotel rooms and tea/coffee for our meetings came out of Majella's EYECAN budget (funded by dormant accounts, pobal etc.). She decided we should give ourselves a name and set ourselves as a company/charity to apply for funding etc as her job would no longer be funded after August, and so SNAP Cavan was formed (parent branch in Louth).

A committee was formed and fell apart almost immediately, so just as Hammie brought this topic up I was about to attend a meeting to select new committee..Going to this meeting I had absolutely no intention of putting my name forward because I would rather just sit back and reap the no Macro genes for me...however by default I got the secretary's job as no one else to take it..I have been stressed out about it ever since....You see if I am being totally honest, which I tend to be, I can see this group falling apart because there is no interest...personally I would rather invest my time in an autism only group (of which there is none locally). That is why we don't have numbers because each disability has their own support group and who would blame parents for not coming to the variety we are flogging a dead horse..However, having signed up for this I will give it my all (and by my husband's reckoning it will probably take over my life)! Addictive personality again... so am I a macro or micro..I dunno where I fit in?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

You're My Best Friend

Well I've officially diagnosed myself with addictive personality disorder, even though I scored only 40% on this. Since discovering the RC I used to prowl for ages before posting. I found lots of great advice there and spent ages on it, the fact I didn't have broadband at the time accounted for much of the time spent..I then moved over here to blogland to follow the progress of Hammie and discovered Nick and both Cathal's Mam and his Nan. Having branched away the odd time Danielle has come into my life and for a laugh Anne is always there. My most recent must have is choreographer extraordinare Jazzy. As a desperate housewife these 'friends' are vital for my sanity.

I sidelined to facebook to catch up on some old school friends..why? I know not! I have no real desire to compare lives. Got bored with that and went to Bebo and am now a junkie...nothing else gets a look in..I can't wait for my next hit..hubby is going demented with the amount of time I spend on it...I console myself that if we're paying X amount per month then I should be on it all the time...I try to distract myself by watching telly and 5 mins later I'm back on it. 2 a.m. will still find me there (and we don't have a laptop)..I need help! Have just realised now that my latest post is about Bebo. I need a life!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hey Teachers Leave Them Kids Alone

D-day arrived, 1st September, 2008, sees Babs heading off to school with his 2 sisters. The little bro started playschool too, so at 9.10 we all headed off 1 mile down the road. The school's new extension was ready too so everyone was excited. To coincide with the opening the new uniform was introduced - jumper with the school crest and the red polo shirt was replacing the blue shirt and tie, there is a god! Don't think Babs would have tolerated top button on shirt tied and a tie. So everything was falling nicely into place. The only problem we had was getting him to wear black school shoes, he wanted his comfy old reliable brown ones, but once he realised I wasn't backing down and they were just for school bingo!

Went back to pick him up at 12 and as it was raining we (the parents) wait at the door for them to be called out one by one. Babs' name was called when teacher saw me and out he came with SNA. As soon as he saw me he shouted, "Hey Mammy, I don't wanna have to be quiet AAAH!". Did I mention my boy has good set of lungs. Those who know him smiled with their heads slightly tilted, the others, well who knows what they thought, they won't be long finding out, I'm sure. He was out of sorts for the rest of the day, crying for no reason, but he had enjoyed his first day. The little bro couldn't wait to get to playschool and once there couldn't wait to get rid of me, so good result there. Big sis seems more settled this year and the other sis well nothing fazes her. They all went off happy again the next day.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Who Let The Dogs Out?

This is our beautiful pooch Tikka...bought for Babs a year and a half ago, in the hope he would bring Babs out of himself..However, Babs does not want to know him, but the rest of us love him.

We have to keep him in at night time, as he barks a lot at anything that moves outside and we don't want a fall out with the neighbours. When we went on holiday he went up to my homeplace for 3 weeks and he is not the same dog since we came back. Guess he got used to having canine company and while we were on our jollies he was getting his..wouldn't mind so much except me Ma's dog is a dog too!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Got results of my "Children with Special Needs" course and got a DISTINCTION...Go me!! Am over the moon.
It was a great course and a very popular one I'm glad to say..did my first assignment on ADHD and the biggie one on Autism...put a lot of work into them and it paid off. It's only part of the FETAC level 5 and I did it to see if I would learn more about autism, specifically, but learned a whole lot more.
The tutor, Bernie, was brilliant and so dedicated...she is a pre-school leader by day with FETAC's coming out her ears and by night she does these courses on top of studying herself. She is truly an inspiration.
So, for today anyway, I'm considering doing more modules to get the full award and maybe when I get them all off to school I could get into the world of SNA's myself.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


What a relaxing week we've just had. Took a trip down Waterford way to Clonea Strand Golf & Leisure in Dungarvan. Had a fab spacious house on the grounds of hotel and the beauty of it was if you didn't want to venture too far there was loads to occupy you there. Playground on site, use of the pool at no extra charge (spent a lot of time there) some nightly entertainment in bar, playloft and bowling at reduced rates in sister hotel few minutes drive away. The kids made a friend from the house next door and as it turns out that family next door had a boy same age as Babs and he too has autism. It was great to compare notes and see the two boys interact. We had more in common than that..Trish is originally from round our neck of the woods and lived beside one of my best friends husband..they have same colour and breed of dog as us, bought with the same intention..for our autistic child. They were a lovely family and we will keep in touch, which is a first for us as we normally keep to ourselves on hols.

Of course we did venture away on day trips and there is loads to go and see. As we had a few good days we took in Fota Wildlife Park, Youghal (beautiful beach), had a trip on the Waterford Suir Railway which Babs loved, he had his head stuck to the window for the vibration.. and our last day finished up with the highly recommended Copper Coast Mini Pet Farm-loads of diggers tractors to ride on and a huge sandpit as well as some lovely animals. Maybe my kids are still easily pleased but it really was an enjoyable, stress-free holiday and the girls didn't want to go back home.

Since coming home I have noticed a change in Babs..he seems more content. Maybe he is just glad to be home and back to routine cos he was overly happy today and nothing was putting him in a bad mood. All day he was trying to be funny and succeeding. If he did something naughty I would say "Stop that or I am going to get mad" and he would say "I don't want Mammy mad I want Mammy smiling, smiling Mammy makes me happy", what do you say to that? But it is good to be home.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Babs on the merry-go-round. He is a thrill seeker the only rides he was allowed on weren't fast enough or big enough to satisfy him, but he enjoyed them nonetheless.

Big sister gets her picture taken with 'SuperBradley'..all the kids love the Haven Character Shows

Babs, Big sis & Daddy on the big ferris wheel

This was the business..we owned this ride!

The girls and their cousin in the Splash Zone-another big hit with the kids.

Not gonna bore you with all that went wrong on our Blackpool hols. Got parking ticket in one spot £50 (left unpaid) and same evening hubby driving at 40 through 30mph zone and got flashed by the big yellow cameras..haven't heard anything from that..yet. The kids loved the holiday so that is what matters..girls old enough now to have figured out slot machines...aagh I hate them, only because they are addictive. Couple of snaps to capture the holiday. Off tomorrow on another one, down the country this time to Waterford. Am looking forward to this will catch up in a week or so....Laters

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Don't Pay The Ferryman

Holiday over and glad to be back. Gonna start this one at the end and work my way back. We had a rough start and even rougher ending.

Our journey home began at 8am yesterday (Saturday 09/08/08). Got kids up for breakfast, packed remaining bits into car and headed off from Marton Mere at 9.15. Our sailing wasn't until 13.50 on the slow boat back to Dublin Port so we left in loads of time. By my reckoning we would be just under 2 hours early, but I hadn't accounted for the obligatory toilet stop on the way. There were little delays on the way to Holyhead (cross winds on the Britannia Bridge) but nothing major. We arrived in Holyhead around 1 o'clock..plenty of time. We got into a queue, a guy with a hi-vis jacket stopped us to let a couple of cars towing boats go in front of us to another queue. Cars were jumping lanes but we stuck where we were. Eventually we made a jump to a shorter queue and discovered we had been in an Irish Ferries queue not the Stena Line one. One car between us and the ticket booth..result. Hadn't even taken notice of what time it was. The guy in front looked to be causing hassle. The Stena worker got out of his booth and went into the next one and came back and talked to the car guy through his peephole. The guy in the car got out looking all frustrated and went searching in his pockets. Then he went to the boot of his car and Oh My God! What a way to pack a boot. Not a suitcase in sight..just clothes and plastic bags everywhere. His wife got out and helped search the boot for what turned out to be a purse. We figured they had to pay extra for some reason. 10 mins later they moved off. Our turn.

We got up to the peephole, handed in our 'ticket' (email print out). "Ok you know you missed the boat but there is another one at 3 and I can get you on it". Rewind. What did he just say. How could we have missed the boat? He said we couldn't get on the boat cos it's about to go. I demanded to get on it saying we couldn't wait for another one. We insisted that we were there on time and that one of their men put us in wrong queue and let cars ahead of us and I even played the old 'We have an autistic child in the back' card but to no avail..the boat was gone.

He said again he would put us on the next boat (the fastcraft) and we only had an hour to wait and it would be arriving into Dublin at the same time as the one we missed so we agreed - until he said it would be an extra £75. He messed with the wrong woman now. I told him there was no way he was getting any more money for something that was not our fault and was due to incompetence of their workers. He said if we had a problem to go to some building somewhere, he gave directions and said he would open the gate to let us out. I said will we have to queue again and he said yes but it would have died down by then and off he went to open the gate. I sat in disbelief. There he stood with the gate open and we just sat and I mouthed "no way you get someone here". He closed the gate and came back to his booth and said what's the problem? I said, "You may get someone down here cos we ain't movin and we ain't payin no money neither for something that's not our fault". He scowled and picked up his phone and said someone would be here shortly.

Then this woman appeared at our car window wondering had we a problem. She was very distressed. She said "I have a disabled child in the car and I need to get on the boat, could you not move over and let us get through". I was quick to tell her that I too have a disabled child and that she was going nowhere cos the boat was gone and that was what the problem was. She got back into her car behind us. I got out and spoke to her husband and explained the situation and she was crying in the back of the car. So we sat and waited.

Then a bearded man in Stena Line jacket appeared to see what our problem was. He stated that we needed to have been here at 1.15 at the latest to have got on the boat. We told him we were here at 1 o'clock and explained the hold up in the queues. I flashed my IAA card and said the people behind us were obviously in the same boat, pardon the pun. He asked us to move forward to the white lines and wait. So we did. He was talking to the family in the car behind us and next thing the gate was opened for them and out they went. They had fallen for the old if you have a complaint go to the building...story. Few more cars passed then the bearded man came back to us. He asked for our ticket and said he would book us on the next boat.....simple as that. He returned couple minutes later with our boarding card. He was very polite and helpful even asked if we knew our way out from Dun Laoighre. Result free ride on fast boat!! We drove 20 yards on and were pulled in by security. Had to open boot for a look and I just prayed they wouldn't open roof box cos it had taken ages to close it, but he didn't. We were on the boat in time to get good seats, beside food hall, toilets and exit to car. Sailing bit rough but got into Dublin at 17.00 hrs...then the chaos began.

It took us 7 hours to get home - 5 and a half of which was sitting in traffic from the boat to Blanchardstown...absolute hell. The Port Tunnel was closed, the M1 flooded, Armagh v Wexford game just finished in Croke Park, floods on the Navan Road, overheated cars broken down all added to the traffic chaos..had we known what was in store we would have booked a hotel in the city but hindsight is great. The kids were little troopers...they held onto their wee for that long. We found 24hr petrol station in Navan where we had toilet break and food. Got home at 12.15 am and zzzzzzzzzzz til 10 this morning. Great to be home.

Friday, August 1, 2008

We're All Goin On A Summer Holiday

This time tomorrow we should be on route to Holyhead heading for Blackpool. The kids are really looking forward to it. It's one of those Haven holiday caravan parks. We went to Wales last year so wanted to do the same thing this year but somewhere different. The gang that went was us lot along with my brother, his wife and child, hubby's brother and his wife and 2 kids and a mutual friend and his wife and 2 kids - and we all got on.

The beauty of this type of holiday is that there are kids clubs in the day time and evening entertainment for the whole family. You can have a drink and walk back to your mobile home. So the adult company made it all the more enjoyable. Rory & Bradley were a great hit with the kids and our eldest won 40 cuddly toys in the raffle and that made her whole holiday.

We would cook regular meals in the day time and eat from the on-site Burger King for is only for a week and they do make a lovely burger. So off to pack now and will report next week on how good it was.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why Do All Good Things Come To An End?

Am feeling pretty miserable just now. Have just said goodbye to Edel (Babs Home Tutor). Amazing the effect one young girl can have on a family. She is off to start a nursing career in Derry and best of luck to her..she will be brilliant at whatever she turns her hand to. She certainly had the Midas touch with Babs. He is an unrecognisable child from the one he was a year ago all thanks to her. I couldn't even say goodbye I was that choked up.

Rewind 11 months when I first heard of home tuition..I really was clueless. Babs was granted 20 hrs a week (as he was over 3 years of age) and there was no special pre-school around. We had to physically advertise and find the Tutor ourselves (as do all H/T seekers), which was very daunting. The Dept of Ed & Science had sent out a list of qualifying criteria which the tutor must match. What a nightmare...put an ad in the local rag and waited and posted ad on the rollercoaster. Was at a support group meeting the night the local paper came out and had a missed call on my phone. She left a message...good god that was quick. It was actually from the RC she had seen my ad. Thelma (not her real name..sounds like it but starts with F) was a tutor already and was working with a family in the next county..she had taken on a new family in a town not far from where we live and decided to abandon her first family to take us on as it was convenient for her to come to us so she wouldn't be spending her day travelling.

I felt bad for the first family but hey my babs was getting a tutor...Thelma told me more than I knew about home tuition and the workings of it and I was grateful. She told me how she gets paid 'in cash' every friday because the dept are slow to pay and she needs her wages..fair enough! When I query how much it would cost she tells me the Dept pay 27 quid but she rounds it to 30 but it didn't matter here or there (her words not mine). So for a second I thought that's just 3 quid right! No dumbass that's 3 quid extra per hour (60 per wk/ 240 per month) that we wouldn't be reimbursed..I love my kid but ain't gonna be ripped off.

Anyway the whole thing turned sour when the times she suggested calling to teach Babs didn't fit in around our family routines. While I can appreciate the other family she had been working with come first I wasn't prepared to upset the whole household for my one autistic boy juggling everything to suit the tutors times....selfish? I don't think so. There were school drop offs and collections at 2 different times so I had asked Thelma for a bit of time to see if I could maybe get one of the girls on the private school bus, but she didn't grant me the courtesy of giving me that time. She hounded me with texts and phone messages demanding to get her hours sorted to start getting her wages in. We hadn't even received approval for her for God's sake!! So we finished before we started..drat and double drat. But I am glad because from that brief phone call I would not have liked to have her in my house for 20 hours a week.

So the search continued..another ad in the paper. This time we got some crackers. An Italian lady was looking for the job of minding the child for her sister who had little english. When I explained that it's not a childminder we want (I can only assume she was reading the ad above ours) and that it was a tutor for a child with autism..she replied "yes my sister do it". Okay, that would be no! We had SNA's with lots of experience but didn't match the exact criteria so no go. Then a chance chat to Babs' pre-school support worker landed me with Edel. No ABA but bloody marvellous. I warmed to her instantly. She was working on everything that Enable Ireland were working on with him (plus extra bits too - making rice krispie buns) and the results were really great...continuity is definitely a must for autistic kids. As luck would have it Edel also worked as a home support worker for Bab's pre-school support worker. And as an added bonus, she lived 10 minutes away from us. So we had a neat little circle goin on. Did I mention that his pre-school support has since landed the job of being Babs' SNA in mainstream come September..are we jammie beggars or what?

Oh darn, now I've cheered myself up. I will shall remain forever grateful to Edel and all the love committment/dedication she has shown to Babs, to all of us in fact. She was my bit of adult conversation and kept me sane over the last 10 months too. So thank you Edel. Back to the cabin fever for me.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

(More Than My Share Of) Happiness

From her Tree of Happiness blog I have been tagged by The Hammazing Hammie Herself to come up with a list of 6 things that make me happy. Not content with me adding my two-pence worth to her comments she has decided I must tag 5 others to do the same...Not an easy challenge for a newbie blogger but I shall rise to it. To start off here's my 6 things that make me happy (may have altered a wee bit from the original).

1. My Hubby, Kids & Family.

My Hubby: As the cliché goes he is my best friend..we both know what the other is thinking. We don't share a lot of interests but that has actually worked out fine.
The Kids: I love the way I love them all individually and they each have something different about them that you can't help but love..Eldest very sensitive and very overtly affecionate. Next Dd very loud and cheeky (in a nice way) and Babs's gobbledegook chatter, little routines and hugs and last Ds blonde hair, blue glasses and his wicked temper.
My family: Without my folks I would be stuck in my house 24/7 without ever getting anywhere. The most supportive parents you'll find anywhere. My sisters are my reliable sitters for a night out and are great to go drinking with too. My brothers help out too if my ma not available.

2. My Homeplace & The view from our house.

Thank God I'm a country girl. I have a massive grá for the place I grew up - Newcastle, Oldcastle - who else could boast such an amazing address, apart from the neighbours.

My own house is also in the country, up on a height and have a fab view of a lot of the county. Have never appreciated nature as much (not a great picture above).

3. My childhood.

Had the best ever childhood, with lifelong friends. Freedom that my own kids will unfortunately never experience. A sign of the times.

4. Music.

Music was my first love. It got me through many teenage angst phases, through relationship break-ups, bereavements, leaving cert exams and it led me to love - got together with my hubby in a nightclub. I have even decided on what music I want played at my own funeral.

5. Dunnes Stores.

My place of work for 11 years. I learned lots, met fab people as well as some nasty ones and made the best friend in the world who I chose to be Babs' Godmother. I can't say I loved Dunnes towards the end, but I do miss the craic and the adult company and my brain cells have died off since leaving.

6. autism/Internet.

They go hand in hand. Wouldn't have discovered one without the other. All my spare time is spent on the net since discovering Babs has autism. The ultimate read for autism beginners is Rollercoaster and is where I have 'met' a different type of friend- my cyberpals. Also getting invaluable advice and a laugh from your blog Hammie, as well as the other bloggers-Cathal's Mammy & Nick and working on my own is very therapeutic.

They appear in no particular order but each of them have played a part in shaping me into who I am today. Now off to tag my 5 victims. I will edit accordingly.

Jo you're up first
Jen you've done a similar one..give it a go for me
Danielle you up for it?
Anne please do the honours

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Take A Chance On Me

My first ever sun holiday was my honeymoon and I had my second sun holiday in September the same year. Talk about feast or famine. I was pregnant at this time and was over my 12 weeks so it was okay to fly. It was hard not drinking and watching the others get legless but that was the start of what was to come for the next 4+ years. I now realise that I am probably as intolerable when drunk as they were.

Some women love being pregnant but I can honestly say I never enjoyed the experience. I was massive all round and very uncomfortable. There were no nice maternity shops where I live and the only chance I got to buy anything apart from oversized trackies and tops was a trip to Blanchardstown to Mothercare or Dorothy Perkins (neither of which ever had anything I liked).

I will never forget the day we discovered I was pregnant. It was the August Bank Holiday weekend of 2000. I had been up visiting my in-laws with my beloved the weekend before and my boobs were very sore. I had been drinking lots of milk (which is unusual for me) and my sense of smell was seriously heightened. I had finished my Saturday shift in Dunnes at 5.30 and walked up home. Grabbed a glass of Miwadi - which to this day I can't stand - and hubby said "You sure you're not pregnant?" I said "There's one way to find out" and I sent him downtown to the chemist furthest away from Dunnes to buy me a test. He sat outside the bathroom door waiting....never have I been under so much pressure to urinate! No go, couldn't do it. Sent him packing downstairs until the deed was done. My tummy was in knots as I waited. Within seconds the blue line appeared and immediately after the second blue line. Oh My God! I laughed till I cried. Such a deliriously happy moment that scared the bejaysus outa me. Who would we tell first? Hang on a minute, it hasn't even sunk in yet. He rang his ma first, delighted for us. My ma next. Why is it so hard to say the words I'm pregnant to your own ma? 4 kids I've had and I have never uttered the words "I'm pregnant" to her. I've said "You'll never guess what?" and she guessed. I've said, "Hello Granny again" and I've uttered "Are you sitting down, I've news" on the other two occasions. My sister is pregnant with her second at the moment and she is the same - she just can't bring herself to say the word PREGNANT. Am wondering if it is anything to do with never being allowed to watch or hear anything of a sexual nature when we were younger. Even when Dallas was on, on Saturday nights, if there came a scene with kissing (bad acting as it was) we were sent out of the room.

I diverse, so we kept our wonderful news to ourselves and family for as long as possible. It is important the powers that be in work don't find out until you have had time to fiddle your dates so you get more time off after the baby is born. No one wants to be finished working a month before they're due. My timing couldn't have been better..with my fiddling I was entitled to the newly brought in 6 months off (including unpaid leave). Ger in the office with me had had her second child at this stage so she was giving me a bit of advice..not enough as it transpired. She hadn't told me about having internals, enemas or about your vadge being sliced open and sewn up, or the rock solid boobs a couple of days after...things I would want to know. I have since enlightened lots of other women...I like to tell it like it is, not just the nice bits.

Having been brought in on Sunday evening for induction on Monday Clodagh was born on Thursday evening at 6.25, weighing in at 9lb 2oz. After lots of breathing, followed by gas and air, pethidine and evenutally epidural (am terrified of needles so it took a lot of coaxing to have it), she came out with her hand stuck to her cheek, which is why I was cut (episiotomy to be technical). Was so glad to be over it. From between my legs, held aloft by stirrups, as I was being stitched up, the docs head popped up to inform me my auntie Marge had rang to see how I was. Few days later we took our new baby home. Four months after that inconsiderate neighbours who loved to party had forced us to sell up and move house, which in the long run was a good move.

I was back in that same delivery room 19 months later. Similar pregnancy, in that I didn't have much morning sickness and was very uncomfortable. Was induced again a week past due date. Had epidural no problem this time..Karina came out with ease weighing in at 9lb 6oz heavier but not as big looking as her older sister was...home two days later.

A further 13 months and I'm back again to have Babs. This was a horrible time. I was taken in for induction the day after St. Stephen's Day (Boxing Day). I had had a lovely Christmas in my parents house and they were looking after the girls in my absence. I was lonely leaving them. I was gone about 10 minutes when Karina took her first steps. Settled into my room for the night. Next morning had my enema and went down to have waters broken around 10 o'clock. As with the girls I made no progress until the oxytocin drip went up. Epidural too..By 9 p.m. the midwives could feel the crown so I thought 'great we are on the home stretch'. At 1 a.m. still the same. The consultant (on-call, not my own) had rang to check on me and I was informed he was coming in and that he would probably send me for a section. They felt it was a shame because I had had 2 big babies myself and they were sure I could get Babs out. I told them I didn't care how he came out, once he did so I could get some sleep.

Right enough I was prepped for theatre. Hubby looked quite hot in his scrubs sitting at my head. I remember getting chest pains but not being able to talk to tell anyone (or had I dozed off and dreamt this?). I vomited sideways into a kidney dish so was given something to stop the nausea. One of the theatre nurses asked us if we thought it was a boy or a girl.. I said it has to be a boy causing all this trouble and seconds later she confirmed I was right. Babs looked a quick hold and he was taken off to be cleaned up. This was to be the most anxious time of my life...waiting for that all important waah waah...but nothing...what seemed like an eternity later we heard it. He weighed in at 10lb 10 oz so me and my nether regions are grateful for the c-section.

I came back to the c-section ward and was talking to the lady who was going in next for hers. This was to be her second child after a 12 year gap. Her and her hubby own the best cafe in town. Sad to report she was buried 3 months ago after putting up a great fight against cancer. Events like that puts things into perspective, for a while at least, and then we forget and move on until the next tragedy. A few hours later I was transferred to the main ward. That evening Dr Courtney (my consultant) was doing the rounds. As per the midwives were scurrying around him. He gave out because I was given tea as I shouldn't be eating after section. I assured him I hadn't touched it, couldn't even look at it. Then the strangest thing ever happened. He sat on the chair beside my bed and held onto my hand...I thought he was going to tell me there were complications or that something awful had happened..but nothing, he just sat there holding my hand. Then he checked my drain and went off. I later heard that he had just got news his brother Archbishop Michael Courtney had been shot and killed in Burundi. So that explained that.

New Year's Eve 2003 was my worst one ever. The ward was quiet, I was sore, had baby blues and just wanted to be at home. I knew all my friends would be out getting pissed. Hubby stayed with me until about 10 and went home. He had watered Babs' head the night before and was shattered. There was no countdown to midnight, no one running round wishing New Year cheer to everyone, no TV in the ward...downright miserable. I was determined to get home the next day. But they seemed determined to hold onto me for at least 5 days. When I eventually talked round one of the nurses she said she would say it to the doctor. She took my temp and it was sky high. I said I felt fine and it was probably the heat. She opened the window. She came back later than afternoon when my folks were there and checked it again. It had gone higher. So no home for me...Got out on day 5 just in time before I cracked up completely. I could write a book on my ward companions.

Then 17 months later I made my final return visit for my planned c-section. Trouble-free pregnancy once again and probably the easiest delivery of them all. Pearse arrived with ease weighing in at 10lb 13oz and we were home in a couple of days. I can't believe how easily I took to being a mother as I had assumed I was never the maternal type. Now I can't imagine life without them. My circle of friends include 2 married couples, 2 single ladies and us 2. Apart from us, one of the single ladies has a grown up child. One of the couples are carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene and the female of that couple lost 2 siblings to c.f. which is her reason for not having children, which is such a shame because they are brilliant with our kids. The other couple have a severly disabled niece and that was all it took to put the frighteners on the female in that couple, she didn't want to risk it. Which got me to thinking, if I had known in advance that Babs would be born with autism would I have went ahead? Because he is so good I can answer absolutely Yes. And even if he were more severe I would like to think the answer would remain the same. My sister's first pregnancy ended in a stillbirth. She knew from 18 weeks that there was no chance her baby would survive outside the womb and was given advice on 'travel' options. She chose to carry the child full-term. Her second attempt ended in miscarriage. And 10 months ago she had a beautiful little man and she is 10 weeks pregnant. Dunno if I would have been that strong to carry on. It all comes down to taking that chance and it's one worth taking I reckon, whatever the outcome.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It's A Nice Day For A White Wedding

I was a Paddy's weekend Millennium Bride- 18th March, 2000. Great time to have a wedding. Everyone off for Paddy's Day on the Friday and then my big day on the Saturday. The biggest problem with it was everywhere closed on day before my wedding. Cake had to be picked up Thursday, my false nails (I bite mine) had to be done on Thursday and how hideous they turned out. You would want to have seen my priest's face when I turned up for the rehearsal sporting 10 long really white tips on my fingers. I had paid IR£30 and spent an hour and a half getting them on so I was stuck with them. Thankfully my cousin painted them a wine colour on the day which made them a bit more bearable. I never was a girlie girl so for me to even wear a dress for my wedding was an achievement.

The day started out a bit hairy but got better as time went on. We (me and my two lovely sisters) got hair and make up done in the 'big' town, half an hour from where we live. I never felt so ridiculous running the streets with big hair, tiara and painted face with jeans and a denim shirt hoping not to bump into anyone I knew. Got back home and had cup of tea and sambo. Got dressed and realised that I had not organised cars to take bridesmaids to church..we had a friends Merc lined up for me and my Da to travel in but forgot about the bridesmaids. Thank God for mobiles. My brother came back in his car - clean and white - looked the part and took them off. I was half hour late at this stage and realised the button holes were still in the sitting room with the mass booklets. My ma was still in the house too so my uncle came back and took her in to the church with a box of buttonholes and books.

I had kept aside cards from those who couldn't make my wedding to be read out at speech time but had left them in my bedroom. My holdall with my lovely night attire, underwear, toiletries, hairdryer etc was in my bedroom also. In my head I was going to come and get it after the service and take it to hotel...I know, unbelieveable how my brain works. After the "I Do's" and the congrats and the photos we headed off for the hotel. The photographer had gone on ahead with his boot to the floor to reach the hotel and set up before we got there. But my hubby's friend, our driver and owner of the Merc had his boot to the floor too to keep up with him, not realising. Twenty minutes into our journey and we were up on a ditch thanks to a speed wobble on a bend. Nothing major thank God but a bit hairy.

Got our champagne on arrival and tea for guests and then asked to move into bar because another wedding party arriving shortly and didn't want 2 brides in lobby. I wasn't impressed. After a lovely meal, great speeches, cutting cake (oh the cake - I have never seen such a miserable excuse for a wedding cake) we drank and danced the night away. I even got down to 'rock the boat'. My own was the first wedding I have been to where the bouquet wasn't thrown or the garter taken off..I never thought of it and obviously the band didn't either. So before we went to bed I threw it to the few hangers on still in the hotel at 4.30 a.m. Went up to the 'bridal suite' and was very disappointed. It was just a small hotel room with an oversized bed and a couple of rose petals thrown on it. I was later to find out the other couple got the proper bridal suite. They had a much smaller wedding party and when their music ended they gatecrashed ours and the bestmen were wearing the same waistcoats as ours but hey who cared I had had a great day.

It took me 15 mins to get the pins out of my hair then realised I hadn't got my holdall with all my essentials and to top it all off the menstrual fairy had cast her spell..So my wedding night ended in me having a shower, rinsing out my undies for the next day and sleeping in my new husbands wedding shirt and poor hubby didn't get his conjugals..start as you mean to go on, I say! The only sensible thing I did do was to send out my outfit for the next day with hubbys suit or I would have been in my wedding dress the next morning..can you imagine?

Breakfast came up to our room at 9 and I frantically tried ringing round my sisters to go get me deodorant, a hairbrush, knickers, anything-everything but to no avail. Tried my mothers room but no answer then could see her out the window putting her stuff in the car. Most guest had gone by the time I got down but hey what could I do? I laugh about it now but it wasn't funny then. We had planned to spend that day (Sunday) drinking with our friends as we were off on honeymoon on Monday, or so we thought. A chance look at the tickets and our flight was leaving that evening! Panic! How could this have happened. We specifically asked to fly out on the Monday. Made the airport in time for our flight to London but I was sitting at the back of the plane and my new husband was in the middle on the other side. The plane landed in Heathrow and took off just as quick..there was a plane on the runway so we circled round until permission was granted to land. We ran to check in for our flight to Kuala Lumpur and as we were so late couldn't be guaranteed to get 2 seats together..I got a bit upset as I didn't fancy 12 hr flight sitting on my own..but hostess was so helpful and arranged some swapping of seats for us. From that moment on life got a whole lot better ( I shall choose to forget the 24hr delay on the way home).

It really was the most thrown together wedding day but the best day of my life.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Be Not Afraid

I took into clearing out the garage yesterday hadn't been sorted out since we first moved in, 2 years ago. Spiders and dead flies everywhere..yuk, even thinking about them makes me quiver. From as far back as I can remember I have had a fear of spiders and insects..anything with more legs than me is a no no.

I used to have a fear of needles but having had 4 children a little prick doesn't scare me no more (no offence hubby!). My other great fear is the dentist. Last time I went was over 2 years ago and that was out of necessity after 12 years. Promised myself I would go back every 6 months because it wasn't so bad..I got lots of reminders but never went back. It's embarrassing telling them you're afraid of them at 35+ yrs of age and insisting to know everything they are about to do before they do it. Bats and mice are up there too on my list of fears.

I made a conscious decision not to display any of these fears to my children as I don't want them going through life as I did - terrified going into bathroom if a spider in the bath or on the wall, and not going to the dentist. Their Dad took the girls to the dentist for their first visit and they were okay with it, so that has become his designated job for the foreseeable. When they come running to me all excited that there is a 'medium' sized spider on the wall/floor, instead of swatting or stepping on it as I would love to do, I find the biggest bit of cardboard and lift it and put it outside to 'find his family', breaking out in a cold sweat as I do so.

When I sit down and think about it I can find the root cause of all my fears. A neighbour of ours chased after me with a spider and threw it on me when I was a child..a bad experience at the dentist (butcher) when I was 10...bats can get caught in your hair, thoughts of that still freak me out, although now I realise it was a ploy to get us inside at night. So are all fears man-made or are there innate fears??

My eldest girl is afraid to talk in front of anyone outside the family. She went through her first year at school with no friends and having never spoken to anyone, including the teacher. I believed this was due to an incident on her first day when a classmate pushed her and said "You're not playing with us, you're not our friend". She is a very sensitive child at the best of times so I reckoned that knocked her for six. We had moved to the country for her second year at school and by Christmas that year she was whispering in the teacher's ear...progress. She has just finished first class and is talking (quietly) to a select few classmates and does her reading up beside teacher so no one else can hear her. Thankfully, in September, she has the same teacher again so fingers crossed we can convince her to talk out in class and conquer her self-confessed fear of people hearing her talk. Man-made or innate?

Babs has two fears that I am aware of..flies and the wind. The flies one I know he picked up from his cousin, she is terrified and lets everyone know. So from copying her reaction he has made himself believe he is terrified. The wind, dunno where that came from. If there is a breeze outside you won't get him out the door, or if he happens to be out when he feels a breeze, his hood goes up and he is legging it back in. This wasn't always the case. Is this a sensory thing? Can autistic kids have genuine fears or are they immitating? Can any of you source the root cause of all your fears?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

We Are Family

Sister No. 2

Sister No. 1

Happy Birthday Wee Bro

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Title Track for MY BOY

Look Me In The Eyes

The face of autism

Meet Babs

My Boy

I'm up late tonight...Mind racing a wee bit...It's a year ago today we got babs formal diagnosis of autism. We were expecting it, had known for quite a while, but hearing it and seeing in black and white that your child "fits the criteria of a child with autism" was like a hammer to the heart. I wanted to cover my ears and hum to drown out the news, but I cried instead - a lot. Times like this, when I'm on my own with my thoughts I still cry. Some say it's like a bereavement - grieving for the child you thought you would have, the plans and dreams for him..gone. So what do you do? After the blame, the anger, denial you accept. Accept that your child is still the same little fella you have come to know and love for the last 3 and half years. He hasn't changed because we got a 'label' for him. He still needs his Mammy and Daddy to love him, take care of him, do all in their power to help him achieve everything that is possible for him. So you find your second wind and plough ahead. Nothing and nobody is going to limit what my boy can do and woe betide anyone who tries.

Thick brown hair and even browner eyes, with a smile that would melt the hardest heart, that's my boy. He's no daw..he won't be fooled so don't even try. He is a Mammy's boy (and I know you know that Daddy). Loves his telly and DVD's. Loves water even more! And boy can he climb... and fall...he's lucky if there's a white patch on his legs for all the bruises. Very protective of everyone...his sister finishing off the last drop of coke from my glass drives him crazy. Every night when he gets undressed for bed he puts all his clothes in the toy shopping trolley and wheels them into the laundry basket..I love's his thing. Of course little brother has to do the same with his clothes. Babs is verbal, he just can't start or hold a conversation. Getting to look into those beautiful brown eyes is practically by invitation only, unless you know the right eye games to play and even then he is quick to look away.

He doesn't like getting his haircut or anyone near his ears. I have never got to cut his finger or toe nails in 4 and half years. He pulls them off himself...ouch! If there was a competition for a child who could bounce the most he's a contender. Elephants don't stand a chance against his memory. He loves stories, if they are not too long. He is at the stage now where we have books with accompanying DVD and he knows them all off by heart. Clever as he is, he has started to read the books with his finger under each word as if he were able to the untrained eye he is a genius..but I know it's all from memory...From no age he knew all his numbers and letters, forwards and backwards. He can spell his own name as well as Mammy and Daddy.

He's off to mainstream school in September..his pre-school support worker has got the job of being his SNA..what a result! She is really good with him so at the moment I am happy with the decision to send him...I hope he copes okay...can't wait to see him head off in his uniform and schoolbag. That's My Boy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

You're The Inspiration

Ok so I got broadband yesterday and spent the day wondering what to look up. How dreary can one get? After the usual checking my emails and browsing the rollercoaster I ran out of options. The rollercoaster is moving at a very slow pace this last while. I turn to Hammie's blog in the hope she has something new posted or someone has left a comment for her and she never lets me down. She really puts herself out there, wears her heart on her sleeve and says it like it is. With 2 children on the autistic spectrum I wonder how she gets the energy, what drives her? I am in awe of you Hammie and aspire to be like you. The time and dedication she puts into her 2 wonderful kids is being rewarded with their great progress.

Maybe that's where I am going wrong..My little babs is on the mild end of the spectrum and this week has made me realise that maybe I am handing him over to be 'fixed' without trying to do some of the repairs myself, if that makes sense. Am I still in denial? I was sure I had reached the acceptance stage. His home tutor is on holidays this week and is due to finish up in 2 weeks and the thoughts of not having her to work with him scares the bejaysus out of me. Will he regress without her? Then I think just because I don't sit in a quiet room with him for half the day (chance would be a fine thing with 3 others running riot) going through his prepositions, reading to him, threading beads, helping him to hold a pencil the correct way etc., does not mean he is not learning, or does it?. I think he picks up more social skills, which he lacked for a long time, from being round his siblings and from watching me around the house (he could use the remote from a very early age..wonder where he picked that up??).

I'm not one for the housework, never was, even as a child I hated clearing up and dusting etc. When I know someone's coming then I go mental trying to get it all done in an hour and always start upstairs. Why, I don't know because they are never gonna go upstairs. That is probably one of my autistic traits (which I didn't realise I had until a recent post on RC got me thinking). Anyway the reason my mind has wandered to this is because at one of his last appointments with the early intervention team I asked to sit in with babs and watch. The SLT began working on his expressive language skills and as part of this showed him a few pictures of people in various situations in an attempt to get him to think about what will happen next.

Example, Clothes hanging on a line and lady about to take them off - SLT says "Babs what's the lady going to do with the clothes? Babs replies "in the wash sheen", SLT "Good try but babs the clothes are dry" He hasn't a clue..probably would help if we had a washing line at home but I only do tumble dryers.. Same scenario with picture of lady cleaning windows..he has never seen me do it so how would he know? The only one he got right was the lady putting dry dishes into the press. I am glad I was in the room to see this and could explain that he would never have witnessed such situations. Had I not been she would probably have assumed I was bad housekeeper (she would have been right in this assumption). When babs doesn't know the answers he stays silent because he doesn't want to give the wrong answer. That got me to thinking about the couple of assessments he had done and would he have scored low because of tests like that, not that it would have made much difference to end results but maybe their pictures need to be updated to include tumble dryers, dishwashers and other convenience items.

I like convenience as much as the next woman although I do consider myself lazy, however...where I used to work, one of the managers had her first child and would you believe she never made up a bottle using powder formula- she only bought the readymade, she doesn't cook so it's microwave meals or takeaways, she uses the floor cleaning wipes - no bucket and mop, same with dusting wipes. That was 5 yrs ago and I hear she is still the same. She still has only one child so put me standing beside her with my 4 and I think I would take the crown for Domestic Goddess! "Life is too short for housework", somebody famous once said (ok so I made it up - but when I am famous remember where you heard it first!)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Kids Are Alright

I missed out on having 4 children under the age of 4 by one month. Saying that, I did not set out to have 4 under 4 or under 5 as it turned out. I was never one of those women who 'planned' a family. Didn't think I was the maternal type because I could never relate to children, even those of close friends. Truth is I still can't. But I am great with my own 4.

Like most things in my life children just happened to me. I did not 'plan' to have them nor did I do anything to prevent them coming. I'm not overly religious but I do believe in "what's for you won't pass you" and "everything happens for a reason".

Having done my bit in creating another branch on the family tree, I took control of my reproduction habits and got the hubby to have the 'snip' and very successful it was too! (The beauty of the snip is that I didn't feel a thing). We have 2 girls and 2 boys - in that order - so we could not have planned it better if we tried. The girls are great pals and would be lost without each other. The boys are close in age too and look out for each other. The eldest boy was diagnosed with autism* a year ago (next week to the day). His wee brother is/will be the best thing to ever happen to him. He is a persistent little bugger and goes on and on and on and on until he gets the desired response from his autistic sibling.

Since this time last year autism has pretty much taken up my spare time. Early Intervention sessions, parent support group meetings, special needs discussion forums, Home Tuition, pre-school support workers, SNA's, reading autism-related books and websites and doing special needs courses. It's coming to the stage where I wonder what my life was like before autism joined our family. "Aren't you lucky he has autism" my hubby said to me one night, while I had taken over the computer yet again to browse the rollercoaster, "cos what else would you do with your time in the evenings?" I was a bit shocked but he was absolutely right. It had become an obsession. He will be really pleased when he finds out I now have my own blog!

And that's where the story starts..I don't yet know the direction this is going to take. Whether it will be a diary of events, a lifestory or just snippets of stuff (probably autism related) - only time will tell. I have been inspired by Hammie, Nick & Cathal's Mammy who each have terrific blogs, when I have this whole thing sussed I will put their blogs as links to share with you. This will be slow to take off until I get broadband, which I'm hoping will happen next week.

*autism - it no longer gets a capial 'A' in our house as it is part of our family and doesn't deserve to stick out like a sore thumb!