Saturday, December 12, 2009

normalized



life is amusing.....

particularly through the lens of autism. it is through this lens that you see yourself for who you are...or.....specifically. for what you are actually saying.....and.....how completely ridiculous you sound.

CJ. who has mild autism. at one stage couldn't speak well at all. At 6 she was virtually speechless. we had to teach her the facial expressions for happy and sad. we reminded her that she had a right hand and needed to use it so the bowl didn't fall off the table when she ate. she screamed when we turned a corner in the car. or. if the sun got in her eyes. or. if we washed her hair. and. when allowed to take a favourite toy to kindy.....she chose the piece of lego 'grass'.

so.....

when CJ began to talk. we were ecstatic. elated. thrilled. overjoyed. and......eventually wondered where the off button was....

the world really is quite a straight forward place. and. we normals are often at fault for confusing it into complexity.

take for instance a few weeks back when we were about to eat dinner. CJ was really hungry. and. not having the social awareness the normals possess. she told us she needed to eat right now. she was hungry. in fact. she was 'hungry enough to eat a dog'.

big daddy smiled. no no. that is not what you say. the saying isn't 'hungry enough to eat a dog'. you need to say you are 'hungry enough to eat a horse'.

CJ looked at him rather bemused. she shook her head and smiled. no no big daddy......

i am not THAT hungry.

and so......we normals are often times a little confused on the facts. we can even confuse the story we are telling. it can mean something completely different than what we are trying to imply.

only recently CJ and i were traveling along the highway. and. big daddy was following in our other car. i happened to be talking to him on the mbl phone. and. as we are driving along. big daddy lets out a horrified cry. he informs me that he has been caught by a speed camera. i am visibly annoyed and CJ asks me what has happened. i proceed to tell her that daddy has been naughty and speeding (the fact that we have both been illegally talking on our mbl phones whilst driving is an aside). he has been caught by a speed camera. she suddenly becomes very very upset. she even looks frightened. she starts to cry. i am dumbfounded. i ask her. what on earth is the matter.....

and. i forget that her only frame of reference is the stationary speed camera along the highway. that black box. the menacing eye we slow down for. and. i forget that i am a normal.......

mummy. mummy. she says........how will daddy get out?

CJ thinks that the speed camera has some how teleported. and. caught big daddy. and. that he is now trapped in the black box. tiny. alone. and. on the side of the highway. how on earth will we get him out.....

so. sometimes life is confusing. but. really rather simple. we normals need to take a leaf out of the autism book (i mean page) and mean what we say.

maybe then. we'll get up on the right side of the bed.....of course. as long as it isn't pressed against the wall. and then. we normals might just see things differently......see things the way they actually are.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

a little bit antsy (part two - the anty-climax)


this post is a special request from my kids. it involves ants. and. big daddy. so sit back and enjoy the ride.....

(i randomly laugh when i think of this story).

let me take you back a year or so. when. life was simpler (and we had a lot less kids). it all began a few weeks into big daddy's great idea. his master plan. (often. big d decides that he has one too many chins. and. begins one kind of health kick or another). he had bought himself a brand spangly new bike. it was shiny. bright. polished. sheeny. it was his ticket to chin-less-ness.

plan: ride lustrous. 2 wheeled. un-chin-an-ator. to and from work each day. simple.

big daddy began his day as usual. rode his glassy mongoose to work. and. after a hard day was almost home. he was zooming along the road at speeds of up to 200 km/hr. he was weaving in and out of traffic. artfully dodging pedestrians. he was king of the road. or so he thought. when. it happened.....

apparently.....he was coming around the bend. traffic on all sides. before his eyes a car puts on the brakes. his life flashes before his eyes. big daddy slams his hand down on the brakes. and. he finds himself flying breathtakingly through the air at speeds of up to 250 km/hr. then. stupdenously gravel slides under two cars. does an extraordinary dodge roll away from a lady and her baby. and. comes to an astonishing halt on his wrist and fore arms......apparently.

my version is possibly closer to the truth.....he wasn't looking. saw a car. hit the front brakes only. his back wheel continues over the front of the bike. he does one huge head-over-heels-over-front-of-bike fall. and. crunches his wrist. and. when he gets home (driven by a good samaritan) he retells his story. hoping for sympathy. caring. concern. and. his wife unashamedly laughs.

so. what has this got to do with ants. nothing......yet

big daddy is hurting. he has gravel rash from elbow to wrist. he takes himself off to bed. dejected. miserable. despondent. and he sleeps. as he sleeps. he dreams. not sweet dreams. but. a terrible nightmare. he is being eaten alive by ants. they are all over him. tearing chunks out of his flesh. it is terrifying. horrifying. unnerving. he is so startled that he wakes bolt upright in bed. and then. as i sip on my coffee in the lounge room. i hear a blood-curdling scream......

i run in. and. there is big daddy. jumping up and down on the bed hitting his gravel rash.....i start to feel alarmed. he runs past me to the shower......what is going on - i am wondering. he finally emerges from the shower. hyperventilating. and it is then i notice ant carcasses all over our bed....

whilst big daddy slept. the army of ants that had permanently set up home in our roof. had smelt the scent of a dying animal. and. invited the entire colony to picnic on big daddy.

and.

i'm afraid that after visualizing big daddy catapulting over the front of his bike. and. then dreaming he was being eaten alive by ants. whilst being eaten alive by ants. i could not help but laugh ....and laugh......and laugh.

so. the moral of the story is: chins are not so bad. ants are more dangerous than you think. and. if you are looking for sympathy - bypass your wife.




Sunday, October 4, 2009

a little bit antsy (part one)


i'm sure there is a reason that god created ants....

ants are unpredictable. erratic. capricious. and just a bit iffy. you never know when they are going to show up. how long they will stay. and. what their motive is.

well. ok. we do know what their motive is. food.

so. we had a swarm of flying termites crash land on and in our house over the last few days. they were coming in through cracks. windows. doors. and. the vents in the ceiling. it can be quite a disconcerting experience. especially if you are 5. and. you happen to be having a private moment in the toilet. when. a swarm of flying ants accost you through the ceiling vent. lets just say that the ant carcasses on the toilet floor probably died of fright. and. bleeding internally from the ears.

let me inform you. telling a screaming 5 year old that termites only eat houses is apparently not reassuring.

tonight. we had another ant incident. my anti-ant 5 yr old informed me that he had a trail of ants right next to his bed on the wall. he refused to go to bed until said ants were exterminated. i came in to take a look. there. on the wall. was a trail of ants coming in through the window. and. eating something stuck to the wall. i look at my son. he is shaking. an understandable response after the toilet episode a day before. i look back at the wall. and then i realize what they are doing there.

hmmmm. apparently ants aren't too picky when it comes to food.

i then explain to my 5 yr old. perhaps it isn't a good idea to wipe your boogers on the wall. it appears the ants think it is a dinner invitation (evidently - this is the most reasonable explanation for a 5 yr old to stop wiping boogers on walls).

oh - he says. hmmm - i say.

i suppose ants do have their uses.....





Sunday, September 20, 2009

they're not normally like this......honestly

i'd like to think my children are well behaved. i am studying psychology.....so. one would assume i knew something about behaviour. but. often. it would seem, god enjoys making me eat my words. like the time we were visiting my in-laws.......

cj was 3 years old. i was quite proud of how well she played by herself. i felt we had done a wonderful job in teaching her to make her own fun and find her own amusement. and. when at your in-laws. there is a certain kind of pressure on the outsider to look competent in the area of parenting. especially. if ones in-laws happen to speak publicly on parenting.

so. we are eating lunch. enjoying family. sipping wine. laughing. cj has quietly gone off to play in the spare room with some toys. i am feeling particularly proud that she is not whinging. whining. pulling my arm to come and entertain her. until. there is a knock at the door. we all look at each other wondering who it could be. my father-in-law answers it. and.

it is the police.

they inform us. that. while we were basking in our parenting glory. freely supping and drinking without interruption. my cj was in the spare room dialing 000 and talking in baby speak to the police. no. not for a few minutes. but. up to an hour. hmmmm. i turn a certain shade of beet-root.

these parenting burps happen when we are least expecting them. when there are lots of people to witness them. people we would like to impress. people whom have been on the receiving end of our bragging. or. perhaps the neighbours.

not long after moving into our new street. cj (who has autism), took it upon herself to introduce our family to the neighbourhood. she proceeded to have a melt down. not just any melt down. but. a major 10/10 melt down. she sat beside her window yelling at the top of her voice.....HELP ME. SOME ONE HELP ME. CALL THE POLICE (apparently she had forgotten how to dial 000) - add lots of screaming and crying - HEEEEELP ME. SAVE ME. MUM IS THE EVIL STEP-MOTHER (and. apparently she is cinderella).....HHHHEEEEEELLLLLPPPPP

now. being new to the street (and one by the name of whisper gully). we were expecting child services to turn up any minute. so. the remaining 5 of us ran outside to the front yard and began playing soccer together to prove we really weren't murdering our child. instead. we were kicking a ball. fake laughing loudly (trying to drown out the screaming). having fun. really. quite normal......ok. so we are not normal......hello neighbourhood. we have arrived.

or there was the most recent time. just last week in fact. that i was at another doctors appointment. it was the only one i could get at short notice. and. i had to bring all 4 of my children with me. unfortunately it was at the end of a day. after a long car trip. they were hungry and tired. we waited. a long time. the doctor finally called us into his room. and. it began.

they opened all the cupboards. pulled all the toys out....all over the floor. snatched. grabbed. tore toys from each other. took books off the doctors shelf. whinged. whined. cried. yelled......it was so difficult to hear the doctor. i asked him to repeat himself. numerous times. it was so bad that he kept forgetting what he was doing . i was embarrassed. ashamed. humiliated. mortified. and. as my doctor handed me a referral to a specialist for boofa. he casually mentioned that maybe i leave my kids behind for that appointment. oh. ahhh. hmmm. right at that moment i was hoping the rapture would occur and i would disappear leaving my naughty kids behind.

honestly........they're not normally like this.......i say (a few times above the din). the doctor looks at me. i can see he wants to roll his eyes. he has heard that before....

at least some one is amused. i can hear god laughing.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

old underpants

i turned 31 today.....

i'm offically old. beauty is now something that comes in a container and needs painting on. mozzies don't bite me anymore for fear of getting lost in the forest i have cultivated on my legs. i am now resigned to having pillow indents on my face until well after lunch. 'muffin top' is not a reference to food. and. i can now fling my breasts over my shoulders to avoid tripping.

today i woke to 4 little faces. they loved on me. kissed. hugged. snuggled me. and. told me i was the best mummy they had ever had.......oh ignorance is bliss.

my husband asked me what i really wanted for my birthday. so. i gave him my list.
1. a complete day of sleeping without interruption
2. to go to the toilet and shower at least once without being watched (by ANYONE)
3. to be able to leave the house.....alone

he laughed. i didn't.

ok. so i didn't get my birthday wish. but. i did spend the day with a childhood friend. we relived our youth......what we could remember of it anyway. we had take away indian for dinner. and. yes. my husband forgot to get a cake - to the horror of my kids. but. he did remember the more important thing....

wine.

and. as we sipped. we toasted.......

my old friend reminding me of a time. in the car. on the way to school. when we asked my mum why she had wrinkles (she was probably 31 at the time). and. she explained......

it's just like a pair of underpants. as they get older they loose their elastic.

tonight. i shall try to embrace the middle years. greying hair. and. failing bladder. i shall enjoy my wisdom and experience. and. just for one night. i will not dream of botox and boob jobs.

........here's to old underpants. and the cracks they fail to cover.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

awkwardisms

my family stumble regularly into awkward situations. it is not intended. we do not seek embarrassment. red facedness. long pauses. extended explanations. it seems that we are just awkward-prone.

for example. awkward situations often find my eldest daughter. she has autism. this makes her more susceptible to awkwardisms. one such moment occurred last week. sitting at the dinner table. we were retelling stories about our day. enjoying each others company. laughing. and then.....

cj begins to tell us how she had seen our neighbours eating dinner on their balcony from her room. (we are new to the street, so a little inquisitiveness about our neighbours is normal.....right?) at first this seems quite innocent. she can, in fact, see their balcony from her room. she continues. she tells us that she was watching the neighbours son eating his sausages. hmmm. that is an awful lot of information. (at this point, i'm trying to work out if my daughter is particularly gifted with long-sightedness). she continues. cj tells us that as she was watching the neighbours, the son had looked right at her and into her eyes. hmmm. something is telling me there is more to this story than meets the casual observers eye. and then. i have a moment of insight.....

cj......did you happen to be watching the neighbours with your binoculars? she nods. yes.

and. at this very moment. i can visualise my daughter. the peeping tom. standing at her bedroom window. blind up. light on. in full view. looking intently through her binoculars at the neighbours eating their dinner. and possibly for the entire length of time it took them to eat. did they see her i wonder. yes. they did. oh dear.

hmmm. how awkward.

but. maybe it is not the autism at fault for awkwardisms. i don't have autism as far as i'm aware, (although i do rock backwards and forwards to soothe myself after a day alone with 4 kids). it would appear that i have my own version of awkwardisms.

i had a moment with my daughter's GP recently. I asked him to refer cj to a specialist to take over her ongoing management. it didn't quite go as smoothly as i would have liked. and. it ended with a very dejected doctor mumbling something about being relegated to a pen-pusher - only good for giving referrals. there was a long pause. it was a terribly awkward moment. i remember saying something like.....it's ok, its not that bad.....which is, quite frankly, a gawky thing to say to a grown man (i fortunately stopped myself before saying...there, there). so. i walked away quite embarrassed. red-faced. and. it was so awkward i was glad not to have to see him again. or so i thought......

and this is where today begins.

my neighbour asks me if she can store a surprise gift for her husband in my garage. i couldn't say no (after all it was the neighbours my daughter had been peeping at). so. guilt prompted my yes. i am told their friend will be dropping around the gift any moment. and. could i wait to open the garage for him. it all sounds rather simple. ok. i wait. a car shows up. then. my neighbour and said friend begin to unload. hang on. this friend looks vaguely familiar. i just can't pick it. i rack my brain. i say hi. he smiles. then. i remember. it's cjs doctor. i can see he is starting to recognize me.

so. there i am. standing in my garage with my daughter's ex-doctor. he is uncomfortable. i am embarrassed. long pause. stupid giggle from me. then i turn and wander inside until i see his car disappear from my drive way.

hmmm how very awkward.

lesson to be learned: don't assume you can leave an awkward moment behind.....it may just follow you home.....




Friday, September 11, 2009

life is an allergic reaction

today reminds me that i have four kids.

some times i forget this. like the time i picked up my eldest daughter from school and drove off leaving my 18mth old son strapped into a pram by the side of the road. i may not have noticed. except. cj asked why lijy pijy wasnt sitting next to her.

i now know that reverse driving down a one way street is an exceptional skill of mine.

or like the time we were getting ready to go away with friends and had packed the car and locked up the house and strapped ourselves in. and. uh oh. 3mth old noobles was still soundly tucked away in her bed. sleeping. oblivious to her abandonment.

it appears i enjoy drama. subconsciously. internally. i need reminding that i am alive. or perhaps that i have four kids and that they really should remain alive.

each child has awakened a new level of dramatic flair in me. yes. ok. my first child has autism. this could make one a little paranoid. concerned. worried. overly cautious. ok. lets be honest. psychotic.

just to illustrate:
when lije pije was only a few months old, my in laws paid for a certain delicate operation on his 'man thing'. i was certain that it had all gone wrong. i rang the dr a few times quite adamant that it was about to drop off. (im happy to say it didn't and is apparently - in a version of the dr's words -'the best looking willy in my town'. i suppose its a good thing to take pride in your work). when noobles was 6mths old, i saw my dr every week telling him that i was sure she had displaced hips. if only he would listen closely i was sure he would hear them clicking. i was certain she would end up having one leg shorter than the other. facing a future as an old spinster living with her cats. he finally gave me a referral to a specialist (although his motive may have been entirely different from mine).

maybe i am allergic to the mundane. ordinary. uneventful. everyday. common-place. ho-hum life.

i have excluded boofa at this point (yes. ok. maybe i did have the fear that his head was unnaturally misshapen and he may need to wear a helmut but that's an aside.....). he is 6 mths old and he does have eczema. a bit of drama, yes. the dr even did allergy testing. positive. allergic to peanuts and milk.

today. i forget this. i forget i have kids. i am (nearly) alone with another adult. i dont need to add 'sy' to the end of all my words. i am forgetting for at least an hour.....

my friend and i both have 4 children each. she has managed to get her 4 all babysat (that is a mean feat for any mum of 4). I only have boofa with me. we are having coffee. we are deliberately forgetting that we have 8 children between us. forgetting that most of our day is spent wiping bums, scrubbing toilets, being thrown up on, refereeing fights. we are enjoying forgetting. we are: drinking coffee. eating cake. talking about non kid stuff. laughing. not sharing our cake. well maybe just a teaspoon of froth to keep boofa quiet.............

oops

boofa's lips begin to swell. his face is red. oh no. we put our coffees down. we walk....run to the doctors surgery. we are admitted straight away. yes. my boofa is having an anaphylactic reaction to the drop of milk froth i gave him. nurse is worried. dr is worried. looks like hospital here we come. we spend the rest of our free time sitting in the drs surgery with a puffy boofa. waiting for boofa to decrease in size. or. stop breathing. poor boofa. his swelling eventually subsides a little. i'm told it was a close call. phew. boofa is ok.

yes. i gave my allergic kid milk. yes. mum-mum dumb-dumb.

conclusions drawn: forgetting is hazardous to my children's health. i worry at the wrong moments. i am psychotic. god doesn't want me to drink coffee. i need to book my hubby in for the snip.

i am allergic to ordinary life.............pass me the epi-pen so i can get some sleep

Monday, September 7, 2009

smell the day

my day begins.....
i peer out of a half open eye, a set of teeth above me. my 5 yr old grinning.
'mummy mummy, wake up and smell the day!'

i haul myself out of bed slowly.....early.....my last morning feed for my 5 month old baby, boofa. the plan is simple: leave the light off. feed him. put him back to bed. quietly slip back to my bed and get a few more zzz in. easy....
......except......
as i am feeding my big boofa, i hear and feel a long wet poo-like vibration. yes. boofa has filled his daks. ok plan not going to plan. i decide to take a new tact. i will change his nappy with the light off so as not to wake boofa too much and then continue on with said plan. i begin, bleary eyed, to change boofa's nappy in the dark. i now hear and feel a long wet poo-like vibration. yes. i cannot see it, only feel it running down my thigh. hmmm. plan definitely not going to plan.
light on. boofa is now awake. boofa bare bummed. i am covered in poo. boofa is covered in poo. my bed is covered in poo.

goodbye sleep. hello morning.

morning survived. school run finished. now to take my 2 yr old noobles and baby boofa to the park. a nice way to get the kids out of the house so i can keep it clean. easy. it is going well. noobles is making friends. boofa is happily sleeping in the pram. after the early morning - things are looking up. i look up. noobles is standing at the top the slippery dip. standing very still. kids are pointing. pointing at her and......pointing at the slippery dip. i walk over and see it. smeared down the slippery dip is a long artistic skid of poo. oh. i wonder which parent has failed to toilet train their kid properly. and thats when i notice. yes. it is noobles. she has had an accident of the runniest kind. all over her legs. her hands. all over her shorts. her shoes. the slippery dip. the fort. the ladder.
......holy crap......
and parents around me are all thinking whose kid is that. i drag her down. pull off her clothes in the middle of the lunch time throng. shove her under the cold tap and scrape the poo off her. it is on my arms. my hands. my shoes. i drag her bare-bummed back to sleeping boofa. i grab my stuff, my baby, my bawling noobles and bypass the shitty fort and all the horrified parents. yes. i leave the piles of poo. i shun the shit-smeared slide. i bypass the faeces-filled fort. then it starts to rain. thank god. i don't have to feel so bad. i'm sure the rain will eventually wash it away.

yes.

i am awake

and yes.

i am smelling the day