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

Tag Archives: Instagram Pics

More milestones

I’ve been taking a few moments to review what I’ve written in the past, to think about, what I should be writing about both in the future – and right now. Because of course, right now will bridge what I have written about in the past, with what I want to write about in the future.

Of course, I will continue to write for myself. And hope that some of you out there will find value in what I am writing.

I’m not sure how normal this is, but it would really appear I must have a whole bunch of drop-in-once “followers” because my follower to like ratio is really quite terrible. I passed both 1000 likes in total, and 100 followers, within the last ten days. Over on other social media, I am back onto Twitter more than I have been for a while. While I’m not adding my own photos, I’m certainly active following other users on Instagram, and I’m making an effort to remember to use Facebook not as myself but as my page.

But, if I’m not sure why I’m online… is it still about Autism, or not? … then there remains somewhat of a problem.

If I’m here to be a consumer. That’s fine.

I think, though, for better or worse, there will be some politics flying around this space for the coming few months.

Local to my current home, and my intended home, and more broad election theme coverage (such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme, should any candidates or party mouthpiece bother to mention such a thing). Role on September, so I can return to normal scheduling!



Lizzie… on one of her cleaner moments!

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…

Hitting the pool

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.

My champion Magpie

Like father, like son?

A little while ago now, Magpie started talking about Minecraft. I scoffed a bit, because basically it’s the full graphic, single character version of a game I’ve been playing on-and-off for a while – Dwarf Fortress.

The game shows the nature of his interests though, and it provides some learning opportunities. He learns sequences and that “a widget is made by doing foo with bar” because that’s the nature of the game (make a tool from stuff, to do a thing). He has been intrigued by some Minecraft themed Youtube video channels, and as committed as he was to installing Minecraft on his Ubuntu PC he became equally committed to be able to record his on-screen action.

He asked me how to do it. I have a simple answer for Magpie when it comes to computers: you have a computer and the Internet. You find out. Sometimes I deviate a little, but generally, I leave it up to him. Sure enough, today he said “I’m trying to record my monitor, can you put the password in for me?

So, in a few short hours he went from inspiration, to uncovering his roadblock and negotiating it, to learning the skills he needed to achieve his goal.

This week, he is getting an Academic Achievement Award. That will validate all the great work he has been doing at school, in some pretty hard circumstances at home – with a brother who has autism, and a father who is only home three nights a week, my son has really been kicking goals this year (including at the AFL). I hope 2013 can work out much the same way, and have us feeling great about moving to Canberra (or elsewhere).

Hello, SUMMER!

Leaving the pool

Leaving the pool

Today was the official first day of summer in Sydney. Crikey. We certainly knew all about it.
I headed off to the pool with Bob the Builder Fan. For whatever reason the other two kids, as well as Bec, stayed home.
I had the surprise of my life, not that my son wanted to climb into another childs inflatable pool toy… but that when he wan’t allowed to, he started making racing car noises!
While he has played pretend games in the past with objects, this is the first time I’ve seen him pretend to to be something. Of course, it may have happened without me being here, or seeing it, but today was a first for me.

The Angry Birds Are Angry!

Things have taken a bit of a turnaround at Westie Central (it was what I’d called our house for years before Bec stole the name).

The Angry Birds have leaped from the computer and tablet screen into the Real World. They have bought with them a whole bunch of events, behaviors and activities:

  • seeking to engage other members of the family into the game
  • being less upset to be told that the computer needs to be turned off
  • demonstration of solving problems and actually building things with real world objects – that are ad-hoc and not part of a Thomas the Tank Engine set
  • speech as a part of play. This includes both echolalic phrases like “the angry birds are angry” and spouting out bits and bobs in an unprompted manner like “get the green pig

The most exciting part of all this, is that it has involved interactive play with both his brother and sister, and even mum or dad if we are able to get involved. It is quite an exciting development, and that we are excited about this development in a seven year old boy is a story in itself. His Autism has been persuasive throughout his entire social, communication and emotional development, although thankfully it has (so far) had only limited impact on his physicality and even his intellectual growth – although his ability to demonstrate his intellectual capability seems to be very poorly identified or harnessed.

Forget about all that though. Let’s just celebrate his interaction with his brother and sister!

Parallel play when it’s BTBFan and Magpie gives way to interactive play with Princess P, Westie or Bec

Faces of Westie

A bit of playing with Picstitch today, to do something with some recent photos of me.

Feels strange being all pics of myself, so Magpie is there as well!


Thank God I’m a (long-haired) Country Boy

Here in Australia, dogs are about as useful as at least three people on almost any farm which relies on animals rather than some sort of crop. My rural upbringing is why my dogs of choice are somewhere between knee and waist high – at the moment we have a border collie, as well as a border collie cross.

This photo shows me at about 16 years of age. Apparently that’s the prime of our life, right?

Westie sometime around 1986 to 88

My hair is shorter, my glasses smaller, but most people would easily recognise me as still the same guy.

Magpie and Old Man Westie

Magpie and Old Man Westie – cooking the snags

I took this photo of my father and my elder son, while my parents were coming through Sydney with their newly aquired Winebago. They were happily showing it off while simultaneously complaining about the range of trivial defects – defects they feel should not have been there given the price of the vehicle. I understand these have been fixed…

Magpie absolutely loves to cook sausages, and feels very hard done by if a weekend goes past without an opportunity to have sausage sandwhiches.

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