- Please stop trying to reset my password. The second factor messages are pissing me off. 2 weeks ago
Raising little Westies, and life as parent of a special needs son
Here we are in September, in Australia that means only one thing…
well, depending on your state that one thing will be one of a few different things!
It is the finals season for the major codes of AFL and NRL. “My” team, adopted relatively late in life, is the Sydney Swans who had a pretty strong season till quite late, which means they were eligible for the finals season but have failed to qualify for a home game.
Away games are hard. Away finals, even harder.
Good luck Swans.
This weekend, also marks the presentation day for my kids junior AFL football team – the St Clair Crows. Hopefully, it will be a great day for all involved – kids and parents.
Here we are in August and the mighty St Clair Crows under 10s have one round left. Since commencing our involvement with the Junior AFL, this has been our most arms-length season to date.
About this time last year, I was all but announced as a coach for 2012, when it beck clear that something unusual was going in at work. So it turned out that this year, whole Bec took on the task of getting kids to training mid week, I pretty much took on game-day and to no small extent, laundering of the guernseys (although that has been shared with Bec or the kids to some extent).
Football this year has been a massive undertaking. And that is without getting along to any pro games at all in the inaugural season of the GWS.
But it has been hugely worth it.
The kids football team has been a social link to the community I take myself away from, yet my wife and kids live in day in, day out. I have started to form a few fantastic friendships there, with the ring-in watergirl being at the top of the list.
They have managed to throw us Westies in a spin a few times, with their confused rosters, and giving me jobs to do when I should be spending every single moment watching and interacting with my little BTB Fan. But it’s been great and I’ll probably miss it.
About three weeks after I catch up on my sleep in weekends!
Crack the champaign, I’ve hit the Hundred Club of blogging.
¶ 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 ning.com 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In a homage to Wordless Wednesday, I’ve decided to take to a Silent Sunday theme for a couple of weeks, because Sundays typically are far from my day-of-rest.
Here’s the week that was, according to ImaWestie on Instagram (er, Webstagram).
I’m sticking with a short, sharp, to-the-point blog tonight, after rabbitting on about cycling around Canberra all week.
While I am away in Canberra, cycling in the brisk morning air, catching up with relatives, and eating in wonderful places I should write about but don’t quite get to. Meanwhile, my wife is at home with two active children and on top of that one more-than-active child with Autism.
In the midst of all this she has returned to work, committed to weight loss, and helps out with the things she can for the football team. Even though she is at weight watchers while the kids play football.
As she says in her blog entry “glug glug..it’s all good for you…”
My families’ health issue created so much stress, pain and discomfort I started to think about what I could be facing, what could I inherit? So, what could I do to avoid this. The first answer any doctor tells an overweight patient is to lose weight, lose that unnecessary strain those extra kilos add.
My wife is so very inspirational to me and has been over such a long time. Like all of us, her life has not gone 100% to plan all of the time. She has done some things she has been less than proud of in the moment. But she picks herself up, identifies what is important, and gets on with whatever that happens to be… for a little too long she has not chosen for herself to be “that important thing”, and now that she is, I’m very happy to be along enjoying her success.
Last night, we actually attended the dinner I wrote about.
It was a roaring success, with all our guests attending, the younger ones having a blast, and the parents of those guests of honour getting along fabulously. One great thing is that one of those guests we hadn’t seen for a littel while, because she has moved house recently.
A couple of great photos from the night: My daughter, caught by accident appearing to have American Indian headdress, and my son with me.
Two weeks ago, Princess P turned ten years old. In a couple of days time, it will be Bob the Builder Fan’s turn and he will be seven.
If anyone ever asks, having three children in the space of three years was an incredible experience. That doesn’t mean I recommend it to anyone to repeat, though. I digress.
In the last year, our son with Autism has been coming along developmentally like a freight train. He really enjoyed being in Early Intervention Pre School, and the transition to Big School went well enough but in its own way it did interrupt his progress. Twelve months ago though he was over that hump and he has been picking up speed ever since.
Which is lucky of course given that the Autism Fairy waves her wand and cures Australian children of Autism on their 7th birthday. Oops, again I digress.
In the last twelve months, between Reading Eggs, Mathletics, school itself, and the outings they do, on top of his family life, our son is developing independence, resilience, and the communication skills to go with his assertive nature. We are still working on his social skills, and keeping a close eye on what the school considers acceptable levels of both social and academic progress. So far, so good. Our fingers stay crossed.
Wishing my son a fantastic night tonight, as well as the night of his birthday.
The end of another week in Canberra.
It was a pretty good week, though, seeing an aunty I hadn’t seen since before I’d become a father and having a great night out on the eating tools with her.
And tonight, I’m back in my own home, with my kids chortling away at one screen or another – tv, tablet, or PC monitor.
Tomorrow will be a full day, starting with kids football, with some room for some domesticity, before heading out for an evening with friends to celebrate the birthday of both my daughter Princess P and my youngest son, BTB Fan. This will include some of the first friends that we were introduced to by our son, through his pre-school, when he came home one day with an invitation to a birthday party. For a girl we didn’t know, who our son had never mentioned – because at that stage he wasn’t saying any names at all.
And as well as the twin girls, there will be a friend from football, who BTB Fan is now happy to greet by name.
Food, children, and autism – out in public.
At this stage, our fingers are crossed.