Raising little Westies, and life as parent of a special needs son
Tag Archives: family
After somewhat of a break, I find myself back in Canberra.
My work here resumed part way through last week. My break was longer than I had hoped for, but not quite excessively so.
My kids have returned to school.
My wife is looking to broader opportunities at work.
My work… well, it’s mayhem.
I’m at a bit of a stage where I am rethinking the frequency of my blogging. There was a definite stage there where it felt a chore not a means of reaching out, communicating or expression of my thoughts and feelings.
I’ve been very interesting in following #Auspol on twitter since Julia Gillard announced the impending Australian Federal election which is due in September this year. This seems directly related to the mayhem at work. I’m a bit sick of hearing about Modern Families. Great TV show, I’m hoping it disappears as a slogan, though.
So, while I’m back… I dunno if it’s “blog a day” back, but yep… I’m back.
I’ve read today a story in mainstream news that has given me the horrors.
Given the weather and fires we are facing in Australia, and the fact that there is world class tennis happening in Sydney, there should be no shortage of topics to make me horrified. However, the issue at hand is “kids health.”
I’m specifically going to stay well away from naming the author, publisher, book title, or even the newspaper which has written the article about the book I disagree with. However I will talk about the premise that the newspaper article quotes from the book: “for most children it is a good thing to get measles.”
If enough children get measles for it to be a good thing for most of them… then far more of those children will suffer tragic complications, compared to if that same number of children were vaccinated against measles.
The worst possible complication for either the disease, or the vaccination, is one of two outcomes: death, or a debilitating disability that lasts the rest of the childs life. If 100,000 children have measles, then one of them will be expected – in first world countries – to suffer subacute sclerosing panencephalitis. Which is fatal. The parents of most children, though, won’t have to worry about that – because it’s only about 375 times more likely to happen to them than winning Lotto Strike (a state-run lottery in New South Wales where I am from). Given how many people are happy to buy a “lotto ticket” I’m surprised that many would be willing to gamble on something that is 375 times more likely to kill their child.
This compares to the MMR vaccination. The best source of data – which yes I am a strong fan of – for post vaccination health is from Finland, due to the structure of their health system and records. The UK NHS report that studies of post vaccination outcomes from patients vaccinated between 1982 and 1993 – with a sample size of 1.5 million vaccinated – showed zero long-term negative outcomes (“sequelae“) as a result of the vaccination.
I don’t doubt that there are people who are predispososed to have negative responses to all types of medications.
But all of us are predisposed to having negative responses to virii such as Mumps, Measles and Rubella.
On that basis my own opinion is – unless you can show that your child is more likely to have an advers response from the vaccine than the disease the vaccine is intended to protect your child from. You should carefully consider any decision to not vaccinate.
Vaccination programs prevent more lifetime disabilities and death, than vaccination avoidance campaigns. Regardless of which option you are chosing for your own child – base it on real information.
This year the 21st century becomes a teenager.
The teens are typically troubling times in most of our lives, with a lot of change and that’s how I’m feeling at this point. I’ve turned 40, and I’m looking at a year ahead with some uncertainty about how I will be able to measure my success.
I have some aspirations, but if I look closely at them they are routes to success not success in themselves. I need to look more closely at why I want these things, and identify what it is about them that marks them as signs of success. Many of the things I am striving for are intangible, which exacerbates my issue.
Maybe. Maybe my success will be achieved when I can drop the whole SMART attitude to my personal life? It seems to result in more concrete results, results that I know when I have achieved, results which I can help my family to celebrate.
I am very outcome focussed in my career. I really enjoy jobs where I have targets identified and where I can look to some kind of scorecard and confirm that “yes, I’m doing my job.” Yet, it seems I may be on a path to deviate away from that kind of work at the moment.
So what might be the outcomes rather than the indicators of success for the Westies for 2013?
- Continued increase in the range of situations where Bob the Builder Fan can resolve the issue through verbal communication
- Complete the assessment process for Magpie, to either confirm there is a need for a treatment program… or not?
- Ensure that Princess P completes primary school ready for high school – both intellecutally AND emotionally. Given that she will be amongst the youngest students in Year 7 at the start of 2013.
- Support Bec through training, work experience, volunteer work, so that at the end of 2013 she has a clearer understanding of what her future direction should be
- Have a house that is market ready. But given what’s across the road, whatever I do to my own house might not mean I have a great circumstance to sell it in (honestly, clik that link and see on A Current Affair what I have across the road from my house).
- For myself… be in a job which is covering my cost of living – with a better idea of what that means if it is another contract role – with a suitable buffer to allow relocating my family out of this suburb if that’s what makes sense in 10 months time.
- And again for myself, have committed to commencing (if not completed) additional study which will help my future career. At this stage, Business Analyst or Project Manager certification, or possibly an MBA.
I think those things are still specific enough, without being so carved in stone that there is no room for an alternative solution I haven’t considered yet.
Food for future thought.
Resolutions for 2013.
- Become less unfit. This is not “become super fit.”
- Drink less, and have more alcohol free days.
- Work toward relocating my family to a new city in time for school year starting in 2014.
PS. Yes, this is last night’s blog.
Today was a bit of a big one at Westie Central. For the first day since I came home from working in Canberra, Bec had to work, leaving me with all three kids all at once. Which of course is a Big Deal for a dad, even though I’m one of the first to say if they are my kids it’s parenting not babysitting.
There has been far too much electronic time happening in our place since Christmas (or even since Magpie’s birthday). Yesterday I thought that Bec’s return to work was a perfect opportunity to do something about that. So the kids were put on notice that once I returned from my own run, they would be coming with me for a run. So I ran my lap of the suburb, did a few chores and we hit the pavement.
There is a very convenient landmark which is almost exactly 1km from our front gate, which is right on the path of a running track. So all of us headed for that landmark (it’s a bridge), me leading he way with BTB Fan and the dogs. Given the dogs had already finished about 8km, Howie was still eager to go while Lizzie was a bit over it. Yet in only a small fraction longer a time than my standard time, there I was at that bridge with BTB Fan and two dogs.
About a minute later up came Princess P.
Several minutes later again… Magpie finally staggered up. Grumbling about not being at home.
My understanding is the run home was quicker by all parties – except me, who at this point was pushing 10km for the day, and had mown the lawn as well…
Later we headed off to the pool. Both Magpie and Princess P had been told point blank that they would be requried to swim a lap of the full size outdoor pool, because with all the pool time they have had they have spent none of it improving their swimming. I take responsibility for that, but I will reqiure them to put some effort into improving the situation in my own way, if they don’t fix it themselves.
This was accomodated quite readily by Princess P. But somewhere it seems the message had not filtered all the way into Magpie’s head.
As a result… he was less prepared than I had thought he was.
So I had my first in-pool meltdown. In front of some of his school friends, as well as a lifeguard…. Which ended with him swimming his first ever lap of the Olympic pool, back-stroke. Well done mate! At which point I told him that he needed to do it “freestyle” (meaing “front crawl“), and we had another meltdown. In the pool. But again, I perservered, and he swum the lap in the stroke I expected him to use, albeit freaking out and grabbing the lane rope every three to ten strokes.
At the end of it all, he was glad he’d done it, though.
Later, I went through much the same with my littlest Westie, “swimming” (with me supporting his hips) two lengths of the outdoor childrens pool.
Not the best trip to the pool for us. We had been going so well before Christmas, too, but with our routine broken… it was as good an opportunity to establish the routine I need these kids to follow, if they want me to take them to the pool every day while it’s hot and I’m not working.
Stretching our boundaries will bring some growth. One way or another.
I would absolutely LOVE it… as would my son… if you could pop over to youtube and check out BestieBest3000. This is the work of my son Magpie, who turned nine years old only a few days ago.
Working on quite a low spec PC running Ubuntu, he has been working out how to do a wide range of tasks. How to find out what version of Java he has, so he can work out how to install Minecraft in user space.
What software he needs, to record screen movies.
How to then record what he does on the screen, so once he works something out he has his own video tutorial to watch until he can remember how to do it more easily.
How to upload his own tutorials to youtube, so he can share them!
I’m really proud of what he has done. So far it’s pretty simple videos… but I have real thoughts that with the way he is going with the latest, he is going to come up with some real surprises sometime soon.
Yesterdays post really belongs in the final category. I would really like to rabbit on about fitness enough that doing that here would probably be distracting or annoying. So… I’ve launched my fitness blog at Westie Fitness. So far it’s off the ground with an About page, and not much else.
So I hope I haven’t caused too much rucus with my app experimentation. From time to time there may be an announcement about the other page… but it will be low key!
Yesterday, my family went out to dinner to both celebrate Magpie’s birthday, and because after being away for so long I just wanted to.
We came home to a message that my nephew is in town and would like to catch up with his cousins. So today for the first time in a long time I went to a Sydney beach – at Coogee – in fact it was the first time I have been to a Sydney beach with my wife or kids!
We had a great day. Well, I did, and BTB Fan seemed to.
My nephew is having the type of career I was worried I may have when I was very young – driving agricultural equipment – but unlike me he is enjoying it and earning a pretty ok living (I drive plenty on my fathers farm).
It was really great to spend the day with him, and his girlfriend. I hope he left knowing how much his offer to spend his time with my family meant to me.
Me? Yep, I got ’em.
This week, I will pull out the old, battered, “life got in the way” card. I’m not going to brag, but I will say I have just worked 13 days straight and some of them involved working more than 13 hours in a row. Several days, I finished work, drove home, went to bed, woke up and returned to work.
Today, I managed to buy my son his birthday present. This involved lining up at a very popular (because it’s cheap!) store in Sydney, and buying him a headset for the computer. He is hoping to make Minecraft themed videos, featuring his character doing whatever it is you do in Minecraft, commentated by him. Not bad, for a bloke who has just turned nine years old.
Tonight, we celebrated both me being in the same city as my family, and my sons birthday, by hitting a regular haunt. It was great, but I’m exhausted.
I’m sorry, that I have dropped the ball on my blog-a-day. I’m also going to say up front that it’s going to have a few more missed days between today and 31/12/12. I hope your own count-down to Christmas is going well – assuming of course that the Mayans were wrong, and we all get to celebrate Christmas 2012!