Raising little Westies, and life as parent of a special needs son

Monthly Archives: July 2012

There’s more than WordPress

So here I am with a hundred posts under my belt. Gee that feels great!

I notice now, that I have attracted a range of followers across a range of websites.  And fair enough, quite a few of you follow me from one location to another…

Over at, there’s about a hundred following me there. Which seems to be where I spend most of my time, raising a wide range of subjects but generally coming back time and again to my core themes of autism, parenting, and being active in my community – especially through sport.

Only a small portion have jumped the divide and chosen to “like” me on Facebook at my ImaWestie page.

Yet here, I have almost double that number following my blog posts. A lot of you have joined since I started my blog a day challenge, thanks greatly to Alan over at Think Wisely.

I truly am trying to reach out to all of you, and to build a community. I would love to hear more feedback from you, and hope to turn that into the inspiration to come up with another hundred or so blog posts – about technology, being a geek, raising sons, daughters, living in a family with Autism, raising pets. Hopefully, moving to Canberra.

So please, pop over to Facebook and check out my page there if you haven’t already. Join me on Twitter, drop me a line and let me know you’re there… I’ll certainly check in and participate in whatever conversation you have going on.


100 Club

Finishing the puzzle… 100th post
Image thanks to Techpedia

Crack the champaign, I’ve hit the Hundred Club of blogging.

Back a long time ago, ImaWestie posted his first comment on Sacha Molitorisz’ blog Whose Your Daddy at the Sydney Morning Herald. In those comments I record my earliest concern:

¶ on a totally seperate note, my wife and I are at a point where we would be delighted to hear our youngest swearing, if only he would talk.

At what age should we be how worried about our son pretty much being non-vocal?

SM, if anyone sensibly wants to contact me on this please pass along my details to them.

Posted by: ImaWestie on April 26, 2008 9:36 PM

So as early as April of 2008 – four years ago, just before his third birthday – I was already concerned about my son’s development.

I think my fully bogan alter-ego appeared as I had already had about enough of being concerned about who I was, where I worked, and who my kids are, when I was looking to talk about a range of topics online.

Since that first appearance, I’ve sprouted up on News Limiteds comments section, the Whirlpool technology forum, on a range of games websites, and continued to appear on the Sydney Morning Herald website from time to time.

I also wandered along to the Autism United community, where I learned so much, and was inspired to record my thoughts, experience and emotions onto blog format. Some of what I wanted to write didn’t fit in amost such a well defined community, so here I came to WordPress.

That puzzle there remains extremely relevant. Tonight, with our dinner, my wife and I celebrated as we used bribery to tempt our youngest son with yoghurt, to get him to eat one (!) pea and one tiny carrot stick. Absolutely smothered in red, tangy, sugery, terrible…. tomato sauce.

But it was a win.

Four and a quarter years down the track, Westie and Mrs Westy are continuing our adventure, hoping we continue to challenge all three of our children, learn more than just what we have to, and expand not just our own horizons but the horizons of our children, too.

Hope to hear more from all of you who like to drop in and “like” my posts without leaving more to let me know what you think. If you have something to add to my writing, to what I know about Autism, being a father or husband, a coach to a junior AFL team, a cyclist or an IT Professional. I’d love to hear it. Because while I might be at my 100th post, that puzzle is far from complete.


All good, until…

Today, things fell into place a bit.

My wife is still unwell, and she had weight watchers this morning (I hear the result was a good one). To make the weekend a bit different, our kids football game has been scheduled for Sunday instead of Saturday, so I had been wondering what would be happening this weekend. But then my parents – who live several hundred kilometers away – told me the other night that they would be in Sydney this weekend.

No matter what I did though, they wouldn’t give me enough detail to actually make any plans.

Winnebago Ceduna – image care of

Then last night while I was driving home my mum rang me and asked what we could all do if they were in Sydney today.

They are driving a brand new Winnebago, which they picked up two weeks ago in Melbourne. So arranging a place to meet them isn’t as straightforward as it could be. Especially given their fantastic knowledge of Sydney and Sydney roads.

Well, after having driven past it too many times, I’d been thinking about dropping into the Western Sydney Parklands – specifically, the Plough and Harrows section (given that the parklands go from Liverpool to Castle Hill).

Turns out, it was a great idea.

Old Man Westie shows Magpie how to burn pig flesh

The parkland, features some fantastic free electric barbeques, well defined roads which are accessible but not too close to the barbeque and eating areas, great cycleways and walking tracks. These tracks seem to have quite a few drinking fountains, which include bubblers at the top, taps a bit lower, and all the runnoff ends up flowing through a dog water trough at the bottom – which is on a hinge, so if you have your dog with you, you can easily tip out the water that might not be fresh, and replace it.

After meeting my parents there, we had a barbeque , and later my kids had a play while I chatted a bit more with my parents. My kids had an absolute ball on the flying fox, while the boys and I also made good use of some of those bike tracks. Eventually, we headed home. We’re currently planning for my parents to catch my eldest two kids playing Australian Rules football for the St Clair Crows tomorrow, at the home ground in St Clair.

Westies rollin’ through the parkland

The afternoon was a not-quite-flurry of activity, with my current travelling to work in Canberra there is not a lot of down time in Westy Central.

Then dinner, with my wife “throwing together” a lazy three seperate meals in one night – which around here is “almost normal”, one weightwatchers friendly meal, three mainstream meals, and one spectrummy friendly meal most easily described as “colourless food in isolated piles” such as boiled rice, grilled chicken, and plain pasta seperately on a plate.

A pretty big day, all told, really.

Especially it turns out, for an eight-year-old boy, who happens to have Autism.

One little part of the day that is supposed to just work like clockwork is bedtime.

No matter what happens in the day, you can rely on what happens at night.

Bathtime, dinner time, “yoghurt time?”, brush your teeth, go to bed. Repeat this more frequently the more tired and frustrated you feel, it will do wonders for the emotions of anyone around you (or not).

Somewhere between “brush your teeth” and “go to bed”, there is supposed to be a “horsey ride“.

Except tonight, the shitstorm got real, and I outright ordered all three children to bed. They were ready, they were just all orbitting some other planet.

So today, instead of having a wonderful end to the day with Magpie reading to his brother Bob the Builder Fan, we finished with a meltdown by the youngest Westie, alone in his bed, cying about the horsey ride he never got to give his brother.

We now have this under control, and he seems to be settled in to go peacefully to sleep. We are blessed there, really.

Luau writes about keeping watch.
It’s a hard task for any parent when they have to keep watch over an infant or toddler for a few months, then to a lesser extent, a couple of years. Every now and then, they have to do it while their child is ill.
Those of us with kids on The Spectrum have to maintain that vigil. Some of us, “forever.”

Run Luau Run


Even as I am having a completely inane conversation with this mom I just met I am watching. She has no idea where her child is or what her child is doing, and the truth is, that is okay. Her child is 9, maybe 10 years old, and despite being a bit of a spoiled brat, can handle herself just fine with all of the other kids here.

Meanwhile, I am watching, half turned away from the droning mom, half listening to what she is saying, fully aware of where Brooke is, what she is doing and gauging the immediate potential pitfalls that surround her.

Brooke starts to move toward another mother and her baby, I take a step away from verbal diarrhea mom before Brooke moves in a different direction. I relax my shoulder and nod at some senseless question the yapper has asked. She says, “right?” with a…

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New Beginnings

Here I am home from another week away. A jam-packed full week it was, too, with visits from different branches of the family, and work deciding to relocate about a hundred people between a few different buildings – enough that I decided by lunch time that the week was finished… so I ended up being home early.

So where were the new starts?

There was myself, checking out Pinterest. Are you on there? If you are, let me know! So far, I’m still struggling to work out what to do with it.

There is my mate Alan, starting out his blog With Sauce On That? I’m really hoping that he is heading out this weekend sometime and there will be a new blog telling us all about another place to eat around Canberra.

And my own wife WestyBec getting Westycentral off the ground. Her blog is going to be a lot more hands-on with the struggles of raising kids and living in a home with Autism than mine will be for the next while – given that I’m now a bit of a visitor in my own home.

Tomorrow, I’m hoping that I’ll be giving my kids a chance to catch up with my parents – who they have not seen for a while – before my parents get their motorhome fixed so they can head North for the rest of the Winter.

Where-ever you are, I hope you’re heading into a great weekend with your family.


One way or another, this week has been all about “family.”

Throughout the week, comings and goings have set the tone of what would happen, when. Here I am sharing my Aunties’ home, and my own parents determine at short notice that they are coming for a visit, which happened last night. So last night there was my Aunty, with her brother (my father) and my mother, as well as a niece of mine who also lives in Canberra.

And tonight, my cousin along with her husband, daughter and pug have come for a long long weekend in Canberra. So my last week night before heading back to my own wife and kids, is another family event.

I hope your week has been fantastic and full of happy moments, too.

Wheely Wednesday

It’s a fact of life, that the better a habit is for you, the easier it is to break and the harder it is to form.

One week ago, marked my transition from One Day to Day One with regards to cycling to work in Canberra. This put me back onto the path to the great habit I formed in 2011, which saw me sell a car I hadn’t driven in six weeks due to riding a bicycle to get from home to a railway station so I could catch the train to work.

Today’s time

The habit of hopping into a warm cosy car is very easy to slip into given both geography and climatic conditions of Canberra. Lately we’ve been having sub-zero temperatures (metric sub-zero) temperatures, and the hills around here… whoever named Mount Druitt was telling lies, but Mount Stromlo seems aptly named.

So when someone can actually make that leap from doing something once, to doing something again, it is an equally important step in developing a habit. Our lives are shaped far more strongly by our habits rather than what we do once – unless of course our habit is to flit from one once-in-a-lifetime experience to the next.

I’m hoping to track my ride times, and see an improvement that is based not on external factors such as equipment, but on myself only.

Last year, a ride of about 5 km took me about 25 minutes – 5 minutes per km, or 12 km per hour.

This year, a ride of about 12 km is taking me about 1 hour 15 minutes. If I can get back to my fitness level from last year that will come down by more than 10 minutes – giving me an extra 20 minutes a day (I have to come home in the afternoon, too!).

Time I can spend doing something I enjoy – including maybe, “riding further“?


PS. A special shoutout to Westybec. Sucks to hear that while I’m away in Canberra she’s really crook at home with three kids. Hope to hear you’re on the mend soon, dear.


Here I am watching TV. I try not to too much but it happens.

On SBS Insight they are talking about “Forgiveness.” It’s an interesting topic to me, for quite a few reasons.

Many years ago now, my now sister-in-law’s brother was shot in an argument over what seemed to be a fairly casual relationship for both himself, and for the guy who killed him. Years later, I went on to work for over ten years in the gaol system in New South Wales. While there, I formed a great friendship with an Anglican prison chaplain, and discussed a wide range of topics over quite a few years. Including, forgiveness.

In the disabled community – forgiveness is a bit of an elephant in the room for a lot of people.

There is the disabled person. The person who is actively caring for the disabled person. Then there are all the rest of the people who share their life with the disabled person.

Everything we do, there is the burden that comes with making a choice – the more time I spend with my wife, the less I can spend with my children, but if I don’t spend enough with my wife where will my children and I be? At the same time, the more time I spend with my disabled son, hopefully, the more he will grow and develop, and become an independent, capable, “productive member of society” (the alternative of course being he will only be a burden on society).

Having made these choices, I then consider what my other children, my wife, and the rest of my family will make of the choices I have made. Some of these choices have been quite black and white: I have outright chosen to take my life in one direction at a direct cost to other parts of my life.

I hope that the example of forgiveness I set for those who are important to me is noticed, and taken on board, by the people my choices have an impact on – and in turn they can forgive me the consequence on them of the choices I have made. Regardless. Responsibility for the choices I have made rests with me, and I bear that cost.

With Sauce On That

My good mate Alan has launched a new food-focussed blog over at With Sauce On That?

With his knowledge of the Canberra food scene, and his fervent enjoyment of 4-square and other social media fueling his interest to go further – I really look forward to reading what he actually has to say in a meaningful way rather than the very wonderfully presented photos with one-liners I’ve been seeing from him on his Instagram feed.

One of Alans fantastic food-porn pictures

One of Alans fantastic food-porn pictures


Huntin’ for inspiration

I’m somewhat approaching my 100th blog post. W00t!

I have covered a good range of issues, although my kids and their challenges have been the primary theme, there is also a fair chunk of writing here about blogging, parenting, relationships (primarily with my wife, but also more generally), and the whole process of “success“.

These themes are stacked on top of the whole ideas of Autism, Computers and Technology, and Transport. I’m amazed that I ended up writing so much about transport, but hey there you go!

With all that behind me, I’m looking for some motivation and inspiration for my Century Blog.

Drop me a line as a comment, on twitter, or facebook.


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