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.

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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Who Ever Heard Of Such a Thing?!

The most amazing thing happened to me on Monday night before my School of Rock Rehearsal. One of the other members of the band is a woman who has never sung before in her life and won the Disco School of Rock show in a charity bid. She’s been struggling with nerves and feeling as though she’s doing a terrible job at rehearsals and I’ve tried to help her out and let her know that it’s all good and no one expects perfection anyway. She’s the most lovely person, older than me, probably closer to my Mum’s age I think.

Anyway, on Monday night before rehearsals, we had agreed to meet early and go through a song that we are on together. When we met up, she said,

“Since I have you alone, can I have a quick chat to you?”

I thought, “uh oh! What have I done?!”

She took me into a private room and said the following words….

“What would you do if you had a friend… a new friend… who had just come into an obscene amount of money, and that friend really wanted to enjoy the next School of Rock, Motown show with you? If that friend was willing to pay for you to do the show and the coaching with her, what do you think you would say?”

For a moment I was quite stunned as I realised what exactly it was that she was saying. I knew that she had recently been through a divorce and that she was soon to have a financial settlement of a significant amount.

She told me that I was her favourite in the show and that she really wanted to use her money to do things that she enjoyed with people she liked. She knew I wasn’t doing the Motown show because I could no longer afford it and she really wanted me to join her so she was happy to pay for me! Wow! Can you believe that people can be so generous and kind?!

So… I will be starting a new School of Rock show just 1 week after my current one finishes! Yay!

Also, I have decided to finally finish my Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Composition and have signed up to start my first unit in September. With Fee Help I can delay payment and hopefully spend the next four years getting it done part time. So many exciting things to look forward to!

It’s school holidays for us now, but I’ll do a quick catch up blog about the progress with our little boy as soon as I can.

Rock On!

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Disco diva by the seaside

Well the Disco Show for School of Rock Dress Rehearsal (yes all of those words needed a capital letter!) rocked! There were one or two little issues like one singer starting the song at the second verse for example, but she had a baby just two weeks ago so she is completely excused. There was also that very terrible moment when I had signaled the band that we were ending the song and the didn’t stop! Not only did they not stop, they made me go through the chorus another three times before they decided they would stop! It was ‘Staying Alive’ and I have to hold a really high note in each chorus and I thought my throat was going to break!
All my lead songs were awesome though and I felt really good afterwards although very exhausted. Then I realised that I was on 13 of the 20 song set list and many one after the other so no wonder I was tired! And in heels too!!

Anyway, what a buzz. Looking forward to the final performance in a month now.
Today we have driven down the coast to meet up with some friends who are doing a seaside bike ride. While my son and husband headed off with the group, I’ve elected to stay at the beachside cabin on the sunny verandah wrapped up in my wooly shawl and wait for them. Terrible sacrifice I’ve made I know :)
So far I’ve written about 10 pages of a new story inspired by the beautiful view in front of me, read a whole bunch of the book I’m currently reading and written a blog post. Very creatively productive for a Saturday which is usually filled with cooking, cleaning and gardening.

Looking forward to the return of the cycling adventurers so we can enjoy some good food and company and then head back home this evening. Life is good :)

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