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

Tag Archives: “Rebecca Westie”

Success in 2013

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.

The whole SMART concept seems to be heading out of vogue

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.


A busy month!

My start to December is only a preview of what is to come. The rest of this week remains busy for me, both at work, and with Magpie due to be presented with an academic award tomorrow before celebrating his birthday on Friday. I will then have one more week of work before rapping up for the year, and heading home in time for my wife’s birthday on Christmas Eve.

We all know what happens on the 25th, of course!

Given our start to 2013, it may well be that we are hitting the road between Christmas and New Year – but that so far is still a long way away, so I’m not aiming to forecast that far ahead. And somewhere in all of this, I need to line up work for 2013 – either more of what I am already doing, or “opportunities with an alternative employer” as some might say.

But before that, I have a really busy day tomorrow – work in the morning, part of a training course in the mid afternoon, then back to work from 5pm “until it’s finished” hopefully again before midnight (but quite possibly, not). So for tonight, it’s a short post about how busy I think I’m going to be from now until we start 2013.

You want a WHOLE WEEK?

Oops. I have missed a day, it seems, so I am playing catch-up.

My week… for my own sanity, I will start on a Sunday afternoon. Which seems to me about the time my new week commences!

Sunday PM

Gather all my clean laundry, pack my bag, pack the car, have dinner, say goodnight to the kids, have a bath and a shave, say goodnight to my wife and go to bed. That generally fills in about four hours quite thoroughly!


Wake at 4 am. Eat without waking anyone if I can manage it. Tuck all the kids back into bed, and give them a last cuddle and kiss before I hit the road for the week. Go back upstairs, brush teeth, get dressed, kiss my wife and jump in the car.

Drive half way or so to Canberra, stop for a coffee, then drive the rest of the way to be at work before 8:30.

Have lunch with Alan, then return to work till 5 or 6pm.

Go to my “home away from home” and unload the car for the week, before having dinner and spending some time online. Generally, be in bed… just before midnight, for usually a 20-hour Monday. Life’s grand!


Be up, showered, eat, and on my way to work… sometime before 8:00 am, but often before 6:40am.

Get to the office, have a coffee, and start work. Work consists of hassling people about what software does, or does not, work with Windows 7, and why they should be using software that is easier to make work. It’s quite repetitive, and my colleagues and I seem to keep having groundhog day moments every week or so.

Knock off work sometime before 6:30 pm, before heading “home” for dinner. Hopefully, catch up with Bec online and be in bed before 11 pm.

Wednesday and Thursday: Often, much like Tuesday. It’s normal for me to eat out at least one of these nights, often with Alan, sometimes with the Aunty I live with while I’m in Canberra.


Get up before 6:30 am, have breakfast, pack my bags and car, head to work hoping to be there by 7:00 am.

Work on Friday inevitably ends up being “chase up some absolutely critical things that won’t actually change the world if they aren’t done before Monday, but it’s essential you get it done TODAY.”

Hopefully, I’ve already worked 40 hours by the time I arrive at work on Friday. So by lunch-time, I can jump in the car, grab some lunch and hit the road for Sydney. I often have to work till 3 or 4 pm, though.

On the way home, I almost always check in at a roadhouse for a coffee and to break the trip. Hopefully I am home by 8pm, in time for dinner with the kids, and in bed by 10pm.


The least structured day of my week. Hopefully I get to sleep in, while Bec goes to a regular meeting – assuming the kids stay quiet. I will catch up with some of the things I can’t do around the home while I’m away, and hopefully get the kids involved. Ideally we will get out of the house on bikes, for a walk, to some organised sport, or for a swim.  Bec will usually cook something pretty wonderful on Saturday night, and Magpie will often cook sausages for lunch. It’s just “his thing“!


Sunday morning I will again attempt to sleep in. Something will need to be caught up on that wasn’t finished the day before. Before I know it, it will be lunch time, and I’m back on the whirlwind for another week.

Quick swim!

This weekend my youngest son has been showing us a fair bit of what makes him a unique person with Autism rather than an “autistic kid.” While I’m not as all-or-nothing as some about people-first language I do overall see their point.

Just the other day Bec noticed that BTB Fan had responded appropriately to a question – that he was eating fruit. Today, I asked him what he should do to his bowl before he left the table nad he responded by telling me “I put it in the sink.” These are the kind of small changes that we have seen throughout the year, which individually are quite small, but overall add up to a child who is much easier to deal with than he was at the same time last year.

We topped the weekend off with a quick trip to the pool and back – made the decision, walked the 15 minutes to the pool, had our swim, announced with very little notice that we would be returning home – so within two hours we’d decided, gone to the pool, and returned for a (slightly) late lunch. Agian, his improvements in both receptive and his own language skills, allow us to get to and from the pool in two hours – a year ago, a two hour trip anywhere would have been lucky to give us five minutes where we had actually set out to be.

Can’t wait to see, what hte rest of the school year can bring our littlest man.

The Lost Continent

Book cover art thanks to Wikimedia

Sometime in 1996 or so, it was all over Usenet: Terry Pratchett was writing a novel, set in the mythical land of Fourecks. And so a couple of years later, with much fanfare, it was written, and published, and launched – here in Australia.

Being massive fantasy fiction geeks, my wife and I thought this was fantastic. Our favorite author, writing about a fantasy version of the country where we live. I was working in the Sydney CBD at the time, and found that Pterry himself would be attending a book signing at a major bookstore.

So, off I set one “lunch-time” (assuming a public servants definition of lunch-time being some flexible time between about 10:30 am and 3:30 pm), to line up, buy a book, and get it signed. I got there, just at the beginning of my lunch “hour,” to line up for – well it can’t have been more than 55 minutes or so, given I was only on my lunch break for one hour – as long as it took – to get The Author to sign this magnificent work of fiction.

Nullus sanguine — Terry Pratchett

Three hours, to get the book signed in about two minutes.


Then I get home, give Bec the book and she says… “but it’s hardcover?”

The things we do for love, and it gets no recognition.

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

Taxing Times

The end of October marks the last day which Australians may submit their own income tax returns. For most of us, an income tax return is an opportunity to claim back overpayments made on our behalf by our employer, so most Australians see income tax returns as a chance to get some of their own money back.

Being the last possible minute, of course, I have been busy doing my own tax.

I have spent far too much of my day tracking down all the various pieces of information I needed, and even then I was unable to get absolutely everything. Bec tried her best to keep the house peaceful for me, taking Princess P and Magpie out tfor quite a while. It wasn’t quite enoug time, but it was greatly appreciated.


Hmm. If the return I submitted has any accuracy to it. I will be able to come up with something great. If it’s not, I’m probably getting audited!

Wordless Wednesday – a first!

Our bantam hen finally laid an egg.
Stolen from my wife, @Westybec

The old blue girl is gone :'(

Today, I said goodby to MY first ute. 😥
As an Aussie bloke, that’s a pretty sad thing.

Even worse, my wife (@Westybec) still has one!
Goodbye blue ute, you were a massive drama. But it was great being a ute driver!

My first ute. Gone.

Yet another milestone


It’s a small thing, but it’s a thing, but I have now passed 500 “likes” here on this blog.

I will keep writing. My inspiration won’t always be great. I don’t always drop in quotes about the massive challenges we all face on a daily basis. I might not talk about the same thing every day. I will talk about the boring and mundane, along with the wondrous – to me, my wife, daughter or sons. I will talk about movies. I will talk about parenting, my kids, my pets, and my home, and I hope my wife!

I will also over the next year talk about how I am continuing my plan to relocate my family from Sydney to Canberra, what specifically I am looking for in a school, a location to live, and indeed a family home.

I hope you stay along for the ride, and chime in at any time with your comments or feedback.

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