Stuff and More Stuff

Wow! Ages since I last posted anything. Why? Well, crazy… lots of crazy! My baby started walking at nine months old and he’s quite mental. Walks, falls, smashes his head. Climbs the oven door, out of the high chair, out of the walker, up the back of the lounge and now out of his cot!!! Argh! Basically it means we have to have one of us on him at all times. He needs to be followed, tracked and grabbed or he just crashes and breaks himself in one way or another!

Mr 10 is having suicidal episodes and really struggles with stuff at the moment so that’s quite hard work. He is up one minute and really really down the next. He is back to throwing tantrums, although not as bad as he used to. Still, it’s hard work. Take today for example.

He does a trampoline class that has been moved to Tuesdays. I try to arrange every second week to take him up to the central coast to visit and play with his ‘cousins’, (actually they are my husband’s uncles’s children) and give him much needed peer contact and practice socialising. Probably about 1 out of 4 of these organised days gets cancelled due to the kids in question being ill. They go to regular school,  and there are three of them, so it’s bound to happen! Unfortunately, Mr 10’s autistic aspects really can’t deal with this change of plans. We couldn’t go last week as they were sick, then the play date was cancelled again this morning as the youngest brother became sick. I did all the necessary emotion coaching required around telling Mr 10 that we couldn’t go. He didn’t really cope.

He kept asking me all day to text and check if the sickness was better now and could we still go. This continued right through his trampoline class every five minutes asking me to text. I kept explaining patiently, that it was not the socially acceptable thing to keep asking when the answer had already been ‘no’. That people find that quite annoying and intrusive and it’s just not appropriate. I also kept emotion coaching him that I understood this was frustrating, disappointing and difficult for him to accept. Finally he had enough and left the trampoline class. He went next door to the out-of-bounds baby play area. If he keeps doing that, eventually they’ll just say he can’t come to the gym anymore. That will end up being another activity he gets thrown out of and I can’t take him to.😦

I got him out of the area calmly. Then instead of going to the car, he decided he was going to walk to his cousin’s house by himself. That being said, he left. No shoes on. Just walked up the road by himself without me. I can’t chase him, I was carrying the baby and a heavy bag. I got in the car, strapped the baby in and drove off to try and find him. Fortunately I managed to get him to get back in the car. I patiently explained why that was not safe and not OK and that he can’t just do that despite having all those feelings. He didn’t care. He insisted that I drive there right now. I ignored him. Repeatedly. For 20 minutes.

He then threw a water bottle at my head and insisted that I turn around as I was going the wrong way. I ignored him. His baby brother sat silently watching.😦

Finally he realised I wasn’t going to give him what he wanted. He asked if he could go for a bike ride to calm down instead. I agreed, but his Daddy had to go with him. Daddy is home a bit more at the moment as he was recently made redundant and is contracting at the moment. He returned from the ride much happier and ready to do the lines I had set him for breaking the rules. Fifteen times of “When I have big feelings, I still need to follow the rules.” He hated that statement. But he wrote it out fifteen times. Then he did all the schoolwork for the day. And he was very well behaved all the rest of the evening. Argh.

Hard work at the moment. I can’t get him to go to the social homeschool gatherings at all. He hates being lonely and wants friends, but he was even preparing to tell his cousins off for losing interest in his current obsessions and not wanting to play those games with him! Most kids won’t tolerate that. Rightly so.

He’s also had a number of good and bad run-ins while on holidays and out and about generally with people. More bad than  good lately, and I’ve found myself apologetically stepping between him and an angry parent or two saying, “sorry, he doesn’t mean it, he can’t help it, he has autism”. Usually the parent will then simply remove their own child and I see them whispering and talking and looking at us. Sigh. I don’t care. And I care a lot.

Sometimes my mum will say stuff to me like, “why don’t you try telling him this, or that, or try to get him to try this or that?” and it makes me feel like she thinks I’ve never explained to him how people expect him to act. Of course I’ve explained that it’s not OK to be rude to your grandparents. Of course I’ve told him not to run away. Of course I’ve told him over and over that schoolwork is important. He doesn’t learn from what I tell him. Or if he does, he just can’t bring that lesson back up in times of anxiety or stress. I pick my battles, and to other people, including my husband it may look like I don’t battle him on anything at all. In reality I actually battle him on almost everything! I just don’t voice it out loud or my whole day, my whole life would battling with him.

So, I am in a bit of an unstable area at the moment. That’s not too bad though as I am tough. Mentally and emotionally. I keep going. I quietly fight with those who think I’m not doing things right. I keep going because there is no other choice really. I keep trying. I keep finding new things and I keep myself if order so that I can support those around me who struggle with Mr 10 more than I do. I step in carefully when needed, but still try to allow them to learn. Yes, it’s tiring. It’s hard. But I do it. I’ll keep on doing it.

I can only hope that one day we’ll get the right mix of medication and therapy that will help Mr 10 to really settle into his life and himself. I try to focus on that even though I also find myself preparing to find him one day having followed through on his threats to kill himself. Why do I do that? Because he’s impulsive. He has a mental illness and there is a real possibility that one day when he’s in his teen years, he may just make the wrong decision and do it. I can’t watch him so closely as I do now, forever. All I can do is keep working now to make that less likely.



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Holidays with a kid like mine

Happy New Year! We’ve had a couple of nice little mini holidays this year. We went to the Hunter Valley Gardens and enjoyed the light show and fireworks with a one night stay over, and on Friday we returned from a two night stay in the Blue Mountains.

When we holiday with our Mr 10, we know that we can expect certain things.

  1. He will talk to everyone he meets… about everything
  2. He will roll around the hotel like a crazy person
  3. He will complain about the food, about walking and about any places of interest we’ve arranged to go to….until he gets there and then he’ll love it…with embarrassing over enthusiasm, loudly and then talk to everyone he meets about it.
  4. He will do something every day that gets him trouble with us. Not just regular kid stuff, we are used to that. He will do something that is really really annoying and frustrating.

So our Hunter Valley trip went really well. He did all of the above except perhaps for number 4. At least, if he did do anything really big, I can’t really remember it now! He did get into lots of ‘little’ troubles by being rude, and running away and getting overexcited though. It was new years eve so it was kinda exciting. We understood. He still got fairy floss and popcorn and in the end he had a really great time. His parents however, were exhausted because the new little Mr 9mths is really not good at being out of routine and away from home. He doesn’t sleep. He screams. He needs to be rocked and shushed and this needs to be done multiple times throughout the night! Arggh!

Our recent Blue Mountains excursion looked to be a washout at first as the weather was very stormy, misty, rainy and cold. Since we were going to stay more than one night, and since the husband wanted to play golf, we booked the nicest hotel we could afford so that I would have a nice base to stay at with just me and the boys while he played golf. We chose a great resort on a golf course that had really great facilities for kids and was a four star into the bargain. Mr 10 is like me and really loves hotels, so the choice of a fancy one is quite important as he likes to spend time in the room. The first day was taken up with staying at the hotel due to the awful weather, but at least on the second day it fined up a bit so we could get out and explore some. I always love the Blue Mountains, it’s one of my favourite places and I’d happily live there if I could.:)

So Mr 10 did talk to everyone continuously and all the staff knew him well by the end of our stay. He insisted on doing a lot of their jobs for them like pushing the luggage trolley here and there, and complaining about things that he thought weren’t quite right. He had a great time in the kids room, and I’m getting better and accepting that if I overhear parents whispering, or kids talking about ‘some weird kid’ or something strange going on, that it’s likely about Mr 10 and that I need to either go in and do something about it, or just let my heart rate settle and remember that I don’t know these people and they don’t know me! I am getting better at the latter now because I was also dealing with Mr 9mths who wanted to be in the ‘baby room’ so I couldn’t keep as close an eye on Mr 10 as I would normally!

So the number 4 that he did on this trip was a doosy! We were all finalising our dressing up to go out to dinner on the second night and Mr 10 was playing around with the hotel safe, something which always fascinates him and he doesn’t usually cause trouble with because he is good at remembering the code he makes for it. We are just about to leave when he confesses that he has forgotten the code to the safe. I asked him what was in there.

“Your Kindle, a muffin, my GoPro…. and the room card”.

Sigh. Not just ONE of the room cards! BOTH of them! So we fiddle around for a while trying to get him to remember the code, but he must have hit the wrong button as he had closed the wardrobe door and squashed himself in there to play with it (as I had just told him to stop playing with it!). So we were stuck. Finally we sent him to reception to find out if they have a way of opening the safe. They sent up a maintenance man who did it for us and we were on our way! Big Trouble! We were now an hour and a half later than we had intended to go and eat and the baby was whinging because he was tired and hungry!

There were a few other moments where I had to bring him back on track when around other kids in the play room but overall it was still a good little mini holiday. I think we’ll have to continue with mini holidays until Mr 9 months settles down a bit because we ended up having him in our bed with us as he woke up so often! We can’t be doing that for too many nights in a row! Phew! Hard work with not much sleep!

We are looking forward to happy and busy new year though.:)

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Not quite there.

Wow, it’s really hard to find time to blog with a baby and a homeschooled ten year old. I know there are women out there who can. They probably come from the same planet as those who have multiple kids, work and somehow manage to keep their houses clean all the time. That’s not me! 

We are trialling a medication that is new for Mr 10. Movox, (fluvoxamine). It’s an anti depressant, but will hopefully help his anxiety and just slow him down a bit to give him time to think about his reactions. He still gets himself in trouble a lot. He still refuses to do schoolwork all the time. He still insists that no one likes him and he has no friends. Well that last bit is kind of true. It’s sad, but he just makes the other kids nervous. He talks too much about “weird things”. He doesn’t listen to their ideas, and he goes off angry and hurt if they lose interest in whatever he wants them to play.

He has recently been to two birthday parties, one where he became lost with all the noise and watery mayhem and pushed a little girl into the pool in his blind attempt to escape his feelings, which led the other kids to call out to him their horror and indignation, which then escalated his anxiety and made him hit the birthday boy numerous times over the head with a boogie board. This naturally got him evicted from the pool and confirmed to him that he sucks and everyone hates him and doesn’t want him around.😦  Lucky for me, the parents of both the little girl and the birthday boy are aware and sensitive and so understanding.

The second party we had him well supervised as we knew the environment was going to be challenging. He was so great and well controlled, although he did need some serious parent scaffolding to play with the other boys and not just go off on his own. My husband left him unattended for about fifteen minutes out of a two hour party to take the baby off me for a bit and let him have a jump around. During that fifteen minutes, he talked so much to one of the boys that the kid put his hands over his ears and turned away. Yeah that was rude, particularly for a ten year old I guess. Anyway, my son was so insulted that he actually threatened to punch the kid if he didn’t remove his hands. The kid didn’t….my son punched him. Sigh. 

It’s not easy being the parent of ‘that’ kid. The one the other parents wonder why they were invited. The one whose parents have to stay at the party to supervise. The one no one really wants around. He’s confronting. He’s hard work, but he’s also funny, clever and really, really, really sensitive. Yeah, he has a mental illness. I can’t fix that. I can only keep trying new ways of helping him to cope with it and find his way in the world. He’s not quite there yet, but he sure is closer than he was three years ago.

I just hope that when he gets ‘there’, we still have the essence of him left to give the world.

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Quote and Action of the day

“Do you know what the thing I love the most about my baby brother is?”

“No, what?”

“That his eyes are so full of wonder”

Awwww, doesn’t get more lovely than that huh?

The action of the day? I turned around to find Mr 9 drinking cold custard from a bowl…with a curly straw. Uh…what?! 

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Quote of the week, and keeping kids in check

We are all sick at the moment. I have a headache and sore throat with minor snot, Mr 9 has major snot and a sore throat, (but ADHD is irrepressible regardless of illness) the baby has snot and terrible conjunctivitis. Errgh.

I decided that we really had to venture out to the shops this afternoon to get more tissues and milk, as well as some saline solution to keep washing the baby’s eye out. We made it a quick one and we were all in our daggiest outfits…quite the picture of ‘white trash’ I assure you, in our trackies and ugg boots with red noses, un-brushed hair and a baby with green goop sticking his eye together!

In the store we gathered our few bits and headed to the check out. A little boy about 4 years old wandered in front of the trolley Mr 9 was pushing.

Mr 9: “Hey! Careful. Don’t walk in front of trolleys! That’s dangerous!”

The boy stopped, looked at him and then stepped right in front of the trolley again! Mr 9 gasped and stopped moving the trolley and glared at the child (rightly so..).

They boy stared back at Mr 9 and then walked forward and pushed the trolley away from himself! Uh Oh… I gathered myself for the inevitable storm. I nervously looked around for the boy’s parents. His mother was behind us in the line with her pram. She seemed unconcerned so I took a breath and crossed my fingers.

The boy moved back towards his mother, but not without poking his tongue out at Mr 9 on his way past! Eeek! To my son’s credit, he didn’t slam the trolley into the child. Nor did he try to trip the child over as he walked past or anything. He was however, very vocal about how horrible the child was and how stupid both he and his Mother were. The mother gathered her child and moved to another line. I tried to placate Mr 9 by assuring him that yes, I agreed the child was obnoxious, but no harm was done and no further action needed to be taken.  He continued to loudly complain about the boy’s behaviour and how he was now being bought treats at the check out and how he was lucky because he had a big toy car in his arms, but his behaviour was terrible. Then he started to say that he was going to go and talk to the mother because it was completely unacceptable.

I managed to calm him down and kind of guide him past the offending child and his mother while pointing out to him that while the child’s behaviour was not great, it wasn’t really any of his business to go and tell his Mother about it or make a fuss. He was very determined to go back and say something and kept looking behind as we walked away! That was our shopping adventure for the day!

Quote of the day:

There was an ad on TV for one of those shows where they ask kids questions and the kids give cute or funny answers. The presenter asked one kid “what is love?” and the kid replied, “do you mean what is it made of?”.

Mr 9 looked up from what he was doing and said in a scoffing voice.

“It’s made of chemicals!” Then under his breath a bit, “Oh and probably a lot of imagination.”


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A rather ODD conversation

So we were driving home from music therapy this afternoon and Mr 9 says,

“I really want to paint my bedroom door. When we get home I will make a Lego model of the pattern I want to do and you can approve it or not.”

Me: “tell you what sweety, the back of your door is your space. I will let you put whatever you want on there, but the side facing the hallway has to match all the other doors.”

Son: “but the back of the door is so small! There is a big mirror there!”

Me: “True. We can remove the mirror then, that’s not a problem.”

Son: “nope. Daddy uses it all the time as it’s just the right height for his face.”

Me: “Daddy won’t mind. There are plenty of other mirrors in the house. You just need to make sure you use paints we already have in the shed.”

Son: “Oh. Well that’s no good. We definitely won’t have the colours I need.”

Me: “I don’t know, we’ve got a lot of different paints in there.” Then I suddenly realised I wasn’t having a conversation with my son. I was having a conversation with his ODD (oppositional defiant disorder).

Me: “Sweety, do you realise what you are doing right now?”

Son: sighs deeply, “Yes”.

Me: “You are talking your way out of getting what you asked for. I just gave you permission to do what you want, with only two rules around it, but you are finding every negative thing to say about it.”

Son: “Yes. I know.”

Me: “Is that a good thing to do?”

Son: “no.”

Me: “So… Are you happy you are allowed to paint your door?”

Son: “Yes.” ……………………………..”but I definitely have to do it BEFORE I do any schoolwork.”

Me: “uhhh. No.”

Son: “See! I knew you wouldn’t let me!”

Ahh the joys! You will be pleased to know that he did eventually do his schoolwork and cleaned out the chicken house. Tomorrow he intends to paint his door.😉

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Important lessons to teach your little brother

So, baby and big brother are sitting in the loungeroom together. Baby is watching Dorothy the Dinosaur and big brother is watching some rot for older kids on his tablet with his headphones. Suddenly big brother looks up and says,

“Just so you know A, technically that’s not being held at her ear. That’s her cheek” (the dinosaur was talking on a phone…)

Time passes a bit and he looks up again.

“Hmm… A… make sure when you leave a house you don’t just pull the door closed like that. You need to lock it! She might come back to find all her rosy tea gone or something!”

Of course the baby isn’t too concerned about all this important information, but I found it highly amusing.😉

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