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 massive..got 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 afternoon...it 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 that..it'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 read..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!