Thursday, 26 April 2012

Three Ways to use an Abacus

Yesterday I dug an old abacus out of the cupboard. Here is the story in photo's:

What Mummy taught me, I can count 1,2

What Daddy taught me, brum brum

What Leila taught me, weeeee!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Mummy Leaves Daddy in Charge.

This weekend went so quickly it felt like we were on fast forward. I went out for the day on Saturday, from 9am until 6pm leaving daddy as the sole parent. I went to the Blogcamp event and wrote all about it here.

The girls were happy for me to leave, Joseph cried a little but only for a few minutes, and I had a whole day without them.
On return I had big hugs off Leila and Joseph, their faces lit up as I came into the room, but they hadn't missed me much, they had been good for most of the day. No, daddy didn't tell me that, it was obvious because he still had hair left on his head. When I got home daddy was calm, busy cooking and the house was fairly tidy, so I know that things hadn't been bad.
I didn't think that Lucy had missed me. There was no excitement on my return like the other two had shown. She didn't ask me any questions about where I'd been which is what you'd expect from a child her age. Just before bed I had a cuddle off her and asked her if she's missed me, she said 'no'

I don't like leaving my kids, although I feel more comfortable leaving them with daddy than I do with anyone else. I have to admit, it's nice to have a day where I can be me for a few hours rather than on mummy on her kids beck and call.

Next time I'm leaving them for longer! As a birthday treat I'm taking Cassie to London to see a show and we are staying overnight.

So Saturday passed by quickly and Sunday was spent catching up on all the chores I didn't get done on Saturday, washing, ironing, cleaning etc. Well, you can't expect daddy to do it all and look after the kids, that's what mummies are for!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Louis Theroux, Extreme Love, Autism

I'm not a huge fan of Louis Theroux, but I couldn't resist tuning into the first of his Extreme Love series as it was about autism. This is a bit of a rambling type of review of the program with a little of my experience and personal views thrown in.

The program featured a rather cool school in New Jersey, The Development Learning Centre in Warren, where the ratio of teachers to pupils is 1 to 1.5.
It also featured a group of autistic children and there families from a range on the spectrum.
Marcelo and Lucy are twins both quite severely autistic, but also quite different in character, Marcelo was the 'loudest' of the two, Lucy was very withdrawn and very much in her own world.
Joey is an quite severely autistic teenager who has problems controlling his temper and has terrible tantrums which call for him to be restrained.
Brian is an older quite severely autistic lad who also has problems with his temper and his mum can no longer look after him at home.
Nicky is a high functioning autistic teenager who has progressed so well that he is moving into mainstream school. He is also a twin but his sister is not autistic.
Along with talking to other children at the school I think the program gave a view into a fairly wide range of autism.

The mother of the twins Marcelo and Lucy spoke on one occasion saying that she thought God had given her children with autism because he wanted her to learn how to be a caring person, but she couldn't understand why as she was already a caring person. I felt so sorry for her, she had real difficulty coming to terms with her children's autism. I hope that in the future she learns to accept them as they are and learns that she is a special caring person.

Nicky was amusing, clever and he had real character. He was adored by his family and friends. When they said he was moving to mainstream school though I was really worried for him. My son had a terrible time at mainstream school, he just couldn't fit in and found the whole experience very distressing. Nicky was lucky though, I believe this transfer had been planned meticulously and although very stressed while waiting to go on his first day, as soon as he was there he seemed to be much happier.

I think maybe the reasons why Brian was in care and not living at home were not made clear enough in the program, although being a mother of two autistic children I know exactly where the mother is coming from. When my eldest son was in puberty he was incredibly volatile and could erupt at any time, his main target was me but I was able to handle him. I was a single mother at the time and I know that if things hadn't improved or if he'd started to attack his sister regularly as well then I would have considered having him removed from the home. I'm glad I didn't though, and I'm lucky as he did get much better with maturity. I can't remember the last time he hurt me. (although we do have a few broken doors, holes in the walls and such like) Also, these children tend not to sleep very well and being up all night, every night for years (no not months like a newborn) can be very straining. I was lucky as when my son got older I was able to trust him being awake alone, he's still awake most nights now, but he's never done anything dangerous (although he has been guilty of emptying the cupboards of any food that does not require cooking) Some autistic children cannot be left alone at night.

Even though Brian was very autistic with poor language and little control over his behaviour, he was able to 'relate' to Louis, copy his facial expressions and look him straight in the eye dispelling a lot of autism myths in one scene of the program.

Louis Theroux asked the parents if they would rid their child of their autism if they could. The parents of the more severely autistic children said they would, but Nicky's mum said she wouldn't because the autism was part of who he was. Louis also made this observation later in the program after a meeting with Brian. 
If I was asked if I wished my children did not have autism, I'd find it difficult to answer. I know the condition can cause them so much upset throughout their lives and it is difficult for them to live normal lives (although not impossible) and that I would change. However, their autism is part of who they are and for me, I wouldn't change a thing about them.

Growing Pains

All over the Easter hols I've seen school uniforms being promoted, send you kids back to school in their new uniforms....blimey, it's only a two week holiday! The only time mine get new uniforms is the very start of the new term in September and replacements if they get old, ripped, tatty, too small....i.e. when it's ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. Ahem, walking behind Lucy on the way to school today I noticed her trousers looked about 2 inches too short....oooops! Better get her some new ones then.

Monday, 16 April 2012

A New Word

Joseph has not only been slow in the walking department, his vocabulary is a little lacking too. So far the only words he says with any frequency are mamma, dadda and gone. He also says dock (dark) and hock (hot) and meow when he is talking to the cats. He will repeat words when they are said to him, usually names of family members, he's even said his own name. He doesn't speak often without prompting though, usually he grunts or squeals, so today was a big surprise. We were in the local shop and I was waiting to be served when he said loud and clear.......CHOCOLATE!!
He does take after his mum!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Five Hours Sleep!

Yes, that's right, last night I slept for  five hours undisturbed. The little man didn't wake, the girls didn't wake and the old man didn't wake me up when he crawled into bed at whatever hour. I woke up because I was having a disturbing dream. Ah well, at least I slept long enough to dream.
We have the little man's new bed waiting to be assembled. When the girls go back to school on Tuesday we are going to send Joseph to his nanna and set about re-arranging the bedroom so we can put up his new bed. Fingers crossed he'll like it and sleep in it. He's never spent a whole night in his cot so it will be a novelty for us if he sleeps in his bed. The girls were the same, they hated their cots, but once in their beds the were fine.
Oh, and finally, Leila is out of night time nappies. I was wary because she is a very heavy sleeper and wouldn't wake up to go, but she's been dry all week now so that's one less expense for me.
Looking ahead, another 18 months and this could be a completely nappy and buggy free house. Hard to imagine!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

And the Goodness continues!

Today we had a day trip to Cosford RAF museum. Probably not a first choice for two little girls and a toddler but daddy is a big airplane fanatic....and it was free to get in. I mean FREE! Not like the small fortune you have to pay to see the fish at the Sealife Centre, or the chocolate at Cadbury World.
Anyway, I had my driving instructions although I knew approximately 15 miles of the 23 mile journey already, the last bit needed writing down. We took a wrong turn, ok, I took a wrong turn but he was giving me instructions so I think it's fair to say we ;-) So it took us a little longer than expected to get there. The kids were fantastic in the car, they didn't moan at all. Joseph had a nap which was great as it was around his regular nap time anyway and he gets grumpy if he goes without.
Just before we got there the heaven opened and it rained really hard, oh great I thought, but then as we pulled into the car park it stopped and the sun came out again. Good omens!
The girls loved the place, even with their daddy rambling on and on about the planes, they listened and were really interested. (wish I could have mustered the same enthusiasm, planes, not my thing) Joseph was a cherub in his pushchair, not a peep, well ok, a little peep of excitement every now and then aimed at his big sisters whom he adores.
We had lunch, no complaints.
We walked and walked and looked at planes, and went to the shop. We bought sweeties and little gifts for the girls, I spent less than a tenner!
We then found the children's area, all focused on learning about how planes fly but in a really fun way. The girls loved it and I got Joseph out of the pushchair for a little run around. He was quite amusing pushing bigger kids out of the way so he could push the buttons. Then the girls and their dad went into the flight simulator while I took the little man for a well needed nappy change.
Then the journey home, slightly shorter as I didn't get it wrong this time, and I mean 'I' because he wasn't helping at all, too busy looking at his book about planes :-)
The kids were great again, only Lucy moaned a little because she wanted a drink. I had to pull over and buy her one to get any peace. The other two napped or sang along to Kasabian.
So another good day, with very well behaved children and fairly well behaved adults too.
And now just for your pleasure, here is a photo of a plane (Just don't ask me which one)

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Supermarket Sweep!

It's been over a year since we did a big supermarket shop as a family. It's just not worth the trek if you haven't got a car to load all the shopping in. We could have hired a cab to get the shopping home but it's not worth the hassle and the cost. So I've been doing major shopping online and having it delivered, and we've only been to small supermarkets or shops for top ups.
Yesterday we decided to brave a trip to a very large supermarket seeing has we now have our own transport again. Were we crazy, two young girls and a toddler in a large supermarket? Probably!
Surprisingly we survived pretty well. Joseph was quite happy sitting in the shopping trolly which was a pleasant surprise, the girls always hated it. The girls ran off in the first aisle, saw how huge the place was and then came back to our side and never left us again. The kids were doing fine but mummy was finding the whole thing boring about halfway through, I know I'm a strange woman who doesn't like shopping! Finally we got to the checkout and spent rather less than I expected which was a bonus. All three children were still calm and relatively happy, we didn't even get pleas for sweeties.
I'm still trying to figure out why it all went so well. I think it may have been the novelty of it seeing as it's been a long time since we have had a big shopping trip and children have short memories.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Easter 2012

Everyone had lots of eggs (apart from me, boo hoo) and I made my first Simnel cake, can't wait to taste it. We have a huge leg of lamb cooking for dinner if we have any room left after all the chocolate.
Service at church this morning was lovely. Before we went Leila asked if Jesus would be there today! Ah bless, it would probably have been a good day to turn up if he ever was going to, but he didn't make it today.
Here's a piccie of our Easter treats (well some of them, these are just the girls eggs and the cake)