There is still kindness in the world!

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Well some of you may remember a few weeks ago I had a bit whinge about not being able to get my son into a trampolining programme…anywhere. Due to his inability to sit and listen and follow instructions it was deemed unsafe for him to try such an activity. While I did completely understand where they were coming from I was still frustrated at the exclusion my son faced when his physical body and intelligent mind are up to or beyond his peers. Anyway.. I digress. Guess what?! Well I’m going to tell you.

I received the most heart warming email about a week or two after I had made the inquiries at the sports center/gym. One of the coaches there had been talking to the fellow I had emailed originally, and she remembered the documentary and my son. She also  has a son who is gifted and sensorally (don’t know if that’s a word!) sensitive. She told me she knows how hard it is for kids like that to participate in a group activity and that she felt it would actually be really stressful for my son as well as just that it’s hard on the coaches and other kids. She then said that she would like to offer to coach my son privately at a little gym nearby if I was interested. She just needed to check with the owner of the gym first about cost  and times etc.

As you can imagine, I was really touched and very grateful. Originally the cost was going to be quite high (private lessons and all), but I had already decided to just try and find the money in order to give him a go. Then she came back and told me that they had agreed on a much lower price for the first two trial lessons and then a reasonable on going rate. I was so happy!

So I took my son to the first trial lesson two weeks ago, wondering what this lady would be like and how she would handle my son and his particular ‘issues’. Well, I needn’t have worried. She was so great with him. When he got mad, she just calmly dealt with it and redirected his attention. She then spent extra time at the end of the session just chatting with him and trying to get to know him better. Not only that, but after the session, she actually sent me an email telling me how she thought he went (physically etc) and whether I had any thoughts on how she handled him and what she could do to help him out more! I couldn’t believe it!

So the second session, he didn’t follow the rules, jumped off something onto something else and hurt his ankle, but she didn’t tell him off or remind him that he needed to follow the rules (which I annoyingly did btw!). She just kept going and showed the right amount of concern for his ankle. He became quite rude and grumpy with her after that, but she spent the time again afterwards chatting with him and learning what he likes. She realised quickly that he’s very clever and she used scientific terms to describe many of the moves and positions for trampolining, like talking about inertia when he changes the position of his arms. He thought that was pretty great. I  later found out that before her job as an angel of gym  and trampoline coaching she was an astrophysicist!

So there you go. Now my boy can go and do trampolining classes, and I am so grateful to both his new coach and also the owners of:

Moving Bodies (http://www.movingbodies.com.au/) at Mount Kuringai for allowing these sessions to take place.

You see, you just never know who you’ll touch in this world. Who you might inspire to help you and who might inspire you to realise that it’s not all that bad!

It’s school holidays now, and next week he’s off to his favourite thing in the world….OT Social Camp! Yay. :)

Oh, and I’m still sick and useless growing this baby :(

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Quote of the week

I currently have a very bad cold coupled with morning (all day) sickness….

Son: “you being pregnant is really paying off!”

Me: “why?”

Son: “Because daddy is going to come home early to play with me, I don’t have to do a lot of schoolwork and we get to stay in bed all day! It’s awesome!”

I guess it has been an enjoyable week for him!!!

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A quickie so you know I’m still alive!

Eeek! I haven’t done a post for so long I’m beginning to wonder whether I even know how to write any more!

We’ve had a lot of exciting stuff going on around here. My son went on his first group excursion recently to the Australian Museum for the ‘Science Fair’. We met up with a bunch of homeschooled kids and parents and the group was taken on a tour around the museum to do various different workshops to do with sciency stuff.

I was so impressed with him and how he behaved. He wanted to leave about 5 minutes into the first workshop, but I managed to keep him on track and he even participated in the activities, albeit with a bit of ‘attitude’. Each session was an hour long, and some were more interesting than others. By the end, he was exhausted and over it so I let him leave early. If you ask him he’ll say it was crap, but I did see him get interested at least twice :)

During one session about nature, he was chosen to come up the front and answer stuff, and then he couldn’t stop. It made me laugh because the lady running it was very ‘old school’. She tried to make all the kids sit in a tidy group on the floor in front of her and then greeted them with ‘good morning children’. The homeschooled kids of course weren’t really used to that sort of thing and just looked at her blankly, before a few of the older ones mumbled ‘umm… good morning?’. She didn’t really know what to think. She handled my son quite well though by saying,
“Now, I know that you are very clever, and you seem to know a lot about this stuff, but it’s very important to allow the other kids a chance to answer.” He took that quite well and just resigned himself to making frustrated noises when people took too long to answer, or got the answers wrong. It did show me though just how much he knows and how much quicker he gets a concept than many other children older than him.

So, now our son is completely off his Risperdal. He’s having trouble sleeping at the moment, but I guess that’s to be expected when he’s been used to having a medication that puts him to sleep. He needs to re-learn the skills required to put himself to sleep and turn his brain off. He’ll get there. He is definitely quicker to get angry at the moment, but he’s also doing really well with understanding that he has to bring it back himself. He even explained to the other kid in his social OT group today that…
“I’ve just finished taking a medication that helps me stay calm and so I might get angry easily. But for now I am feeling good and happy, even though the medication was helping me with that before.”

Awww. It’s so great that he understands what is happening to him. I guess our explanations are helping with that too. Shame the same can’t be said for my explanations of the multiplication tables! He just doesn’t seem to get that concept at all!

The other good news, that for now I’m hiding at the bottom of this post so that only the most committed readers will get to it is…. I’m 8 weeks pregnant! Yay!

The son is very, extremely excited and has already read the pregnancy book I have and now proceeds each week to tell me what’s happening. I’ve been throwing up a lot and falling asleep a lot and feeling generally crappy and unable to eat anything except apples… but that’s all part of the ‘fun’ I guess.
So that means that I can’t go on our long planned and saved for snow boarding holiday next year :( The boys are still going, they’ll just go in January instead of March and only for four weeks instead of six. The baby will be due early April, so I’ll get some peace and quiet at the end I suppose!

All I need now is for someone to kindly purchase my parent’s house in Denver Colorado so that they can get on home before April to meet their second grandchild and take the first on away when he’s bored :)

That’s it for me for now folks!

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Rocked the Disco!

I’m trying to get some time to convert the video files from my show into a format accepted by WordPress, but things are busy right now! Let me just tell those who’ve been waiting to know, that the show was awesome!

We got grooving and shaking and the crowd was dancing and singing along almost the entire time! The coach singled me out as ‘going off’ and said I was a ‘stand out’ on the night!
I had so much fun with a great group of people, and am really looking forward to the next show.

I learnt that my voice gets tired when I push it hard and although everyone else still enjoyed the show, I was disappointed that by the time I got to my big song, ‘Lady Marmalade’, which I can really belt out and sing awesomely, my voice was a little pitchy and actually completely failed on the high note at the end! Oh well. The rest of the band knows how well I can sing it, just the crowd didn’t get to hear it! That’s life I guess. Still, quite a few people said that they loved my stagecraft and that I got people dancing and having fun, and that if I hit a couple of bum notes, no one really noticed because I hit way more great ones.

I’ll upload a couple of videos as soon as I can.

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End of school holidays

It’s never fun for any kid when the school holidays end, but for mine it seems to be extra difficult. We have both been sick with a cold this last two weeks, and so I only asked him to do a tiny bit of work in bed. One or two pages from the really easy books. Well, his reaction was a bit over the top.

Naturally, he said “no” multiple times, but I expected that. I ignored his protestations and brought the workbook into the bedroom. He flew into a strange kind of controlled rage. He tried to hit at me with whirlwind arms although, he definitely didn’t seem to want to inflict damage as it was quite easy for me to block and ignore. He kept repeating that he would not be doing schoolwork, he was sick of school work and he never wanted to do it ever again. I patiently explained that if he didn’t do it, he would not know all the stuff he wanted to know and that if he didn’t get moving on the basic stuff we would take forever to get to the interesting stuff. He insisted that he didn’t need to do it, and it basically took us all day, with him running away twice!
Eventually around 4pm after much verbal abuse from him and much patient ignoring (with a few useless lectures thrown in when I got frustrated!) He realised I wasn’t going to give up and he started doing his work.

After he did his work, I decided that he needed something a little more memorable to get him to realise that I was serious about him not arguing with me every day about doing the smallest amount of book work. Bracing myself for the next round of arguing and refusal from him I told him,

“I’m glad you finally decided to do your work. Now because you argued with me and tried to destroy things and hit me, you can write out ‘I will not fight with Mummy’ five times and then ‘I will do my work’ five times.

Suffice it to say he was NOT happy with me! In fact he said he was running away for good this time! I turned to wash the dishes and let him run away. It was freezing outside and he was in his pyjamas with nothing on his feet (another thing I had been telling him to do all day!). I was fairly confident he wouldn’t go too far.

He returned about three minutes later and sat down to write his lines. Then I said, “OK, thank you. Now because you argued about doing that, and disrespected me by saying you hated this family and wanted to leave, you can write each one three more times.”

Guess what? He didn’t argue! He wrote his lines, hugged me and asked what was for dinner!

The next day, he didn’t argue at all, but then on Friday, he started again with the refusing and the threatening to run away. I made him write some more lines. He did them, and his work, although he grumbled and complained the whole time. He’s also not allowed to use the iPad until he can get through an entire week without arguing about doing work. Fingers crossed for next week!

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Stuff you probably take for granted….

I was talking to a friend the other day. She is going skiing soon with her husband and two children. We also love to go skiing with our son, and have been lucky enough in the past to have been in a position to do it at least every two years. I unthinkingly warned her that as this is the first time they’ve been skiing with their kids, they must remember that they won’t be able to just go as fast and free as they used to when we were all young. I was laughing and thinking about how with little ones you have to continually go back inside and not get too far away from warmth, and the fact that they need help getting up when they are learning and so you tend to not actually do much skiing (or snowboarding in our case) when they first start.

My friend turned to me with a look of surprise and said, “What?! No way, they’ll be in ski school all day!” For a moment I was confused. Then I said,

“Oh yeah, I forgot your kids can do that sort of thing.”

Sometimes I forget that people who have ‘regular’ kids can just put them in day care, send them to school, put them in ski school, sign them up for school holidays tennis camp, get a regular babysitter, send them to birthday parties, have sleep overs….all those things that we just can’t do. Now, yes I’m aware that all of the things I have listed above are ‘first world luxuries’ and depend on you actually being able to afford that stuff. Well, I live in a country where a LOT of people can afford that sort of stuff, so I mean no offence to people with real problems, and please don’t think that I’m having a complain about my life from that sense.

I guess sometimes I just think that everything has to be a little harder for us. On the other hand, some kids are seriously boring because they never talk to you and when they do, what they say makes no sense. I have a very intelligent child who may not work out with regular folk, but geez he is interesting to have around!

What things do I probably take for granted? I think that I do forget sometimes that I can’t explain certain concepts to other children and expect them to understand what I’m talking about. I take for granted that my son will monitor himself with regards to what is going to upset him or bore him. I have full confidence that he can have access to our entire DVD collection and he will actually go right past movies that he deems ‘inappropriate for children’.

I think I also probably take for granted the fact that he is not a follower. If a bunch of kids tell him to do something he knows is wrong (and it’s not something he wants to do…that’s a big distinction here!), he won’t be led or threatened by them. He’ll tell them no and leave…probably ;)

Such is life I guess, we all have things we take for granted no matter our circumstances.

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Bah. It pisses me off!

I know I shouldn’t really be annoyed about this, but I am. I am even pissed off at something that I have often wished people WOULD do. Right, let me start at the beginning.

My son loves jumping on his trampoline. He loves flipping and jumping and it makes him very happy. So I had the clever idea to find a trampoline class where he could learn to do it properly. Although it’s not a team sport, he would get another chance to try doing something in a class that would be using his energy productively. I figured he wouldn’t be too anxious about it because he is pretty good at bouncing already. So I sent out some enquiries to a place nearby. As I always do, I explained the situation with my son so that they would be prepared for his behaviours. I got a polite and informative response basically telling me that they weren’t willing to accommodate a child like him. They have waiting lists and their classes are full and blah blah blah, we don’t want your kid he’s too hard to deal with.

See, I’m annoyed. I shouldn’t be because I am always wishing people would be upfront about it and not let me get him there only to find out that they can’t cope and then he gets disappointed, so realistically they did the right thing by me, and him for that matter. What I’m annoyed about is how hard it is to find places who will give him a chance. There is no way I can ever get him to have positive group class experiences if people won’t give him a go. By give it a go I don’t mean letting him try it their way and fail. He isn’t capable of going to a class he’s excited about and not acting crazy. He is just not there yet. He really needs some patience and understanding for a couple of goes until his excitement reduces and he can settle and slowly start to join in and follow the instructions.

I get that the above is not an easy thing for any class to accommodate, but his tap dance teacher and class managed it. Now he goes every week and he follows instructions and joins in (mostly). They understand that if he wanders off or stops doing what they are doing, they just ignore him and keep going until he gets bored wandering around and joins in again. Our end goal is to get him to engage the whole time eventually, but the only way to achieve that goal is for him to keep having positive experiences when he does join in and not have negative reactions when he disengages because that triggers his anxiety and then he won’t even try at all.

So now I’m just sad and annoyed that it has to be so hard to find things that he’d enjoy and then I have try and convince people to give him a go and not expect him to immediately follow their structure and rules. I always offer to come in and help out so that they don’t have to leave the other kids if he moves away, but often they don’t understand that I can make that work.
Blah.

On a slightly better note, with it being school holidays, he’s been enjoying some ‘down’ time, which interestingly has been quite educational. He’s been doing colouring in of his own choice. He’s been playing Monopoly with me and Chess with Daddy. He’s been playing with his toy cars independently on the rug and making up little conversations. It’s been lovely. I keep trying to organise interesting activities and play dates, but last week he spent 3 nights with one of his grandparents and he’s been ‘recovering’ ever since (his words!). He said he’d had enough of going places and doing things and being shouted at and just needs a rest. So, he’s been doing just that!

Maybe next term I’ll have some success at finding a new group activity he can try out.
At the end of term we went to a games night run by a gifted kids group. He was so highly excited by it all that he couldn’t settle and ran around like a crazy nut and wouldn’t play any of the games or join in. He just slid around the floor. He did meet two little boys that he liked, but he couldn’t engage in the games with them very well due to his high level of impulsive excitement. We will try again next month and hope that he will have more success at calming himself down.

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