Thursday, 3 April 2014

World Autism Awareness Day 2 April 2014

I know World Autism Awareness Day was yesterday but I have been stewing about a few Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) related things so I thought maybe a brain dump here may help. If getting this off my chest helps with Autism Awareness then that is great. Of course, I may not be helping but I hope I'm not hindering ASD awareness.

My first point isn't only ASD related, I think it applies across board. It has been used in the context of ASD and I've heard similar comments about Boy Child and some of the behaviours he has displayed. So while the recent comment wasn't directed at Boy, it certainly pushed my buttons. So dear person I know - you attended the course as me so you should know better than than to ask "What's wrong with so and so?". That comment pissed me off so much I still get riled up whenever I think about it, weeks later. Perhaps next time you could ask "What assistance does so and so need?" or "How can I help?" perhaps even "What diagnosis does s/he have?". Your job is to help - regardless of whether the child fits your idea of requiring assistance.

Just like neurotypical (NT) children, ASD children can have high, average or low IQs. An ASD diagnosis doesn't stop you being identified as gifted either. You can't assume that because a child has an assistant or helper in their class that they are (or will be) struggling academically. Children get assistance in the education system for various reasons not just because they are behind their peers academically. If a child doesn't fit your idea of children who need assistance it doesn't mean that that child doesn't need or isn't entitled to support.

Grandparents discussing ASD children's behaviour as chucking a tantrum or putting it on make me wonder how much information they have regarding ASDs. I understand that different generations are different and ASD in our communities is fairly new but not everything can be 'fixed' by tougher parenting.

Please think about this: if your grandchild had diabetes or cancer you may need to find out more about their condition. There is no difference with ASD. I'm going to use an extreme example here - Would you say that your diabetic grandchild was playing up when they are vomiting due to Hyperglycaemia? No? Then maybe consider that your grandchild isn't having a just temper tantrum or 'putting it on' because they are having their hair or teeth brushed, or because their food is touching or is on the wrong coloured plate. Maybe the melt down is due to the child being overwhelmed by sensory input.

I'm getting down off my soapbox now. Thanks for reading.

Friday, 14 February 2014



Girl Child had a run in with a child at school this week (who we will call Z). She has scratches on both arms and a bruise but she didn't hurt the other child, for which I am very grateful. Unfortunately, this has been an on going issue between the two of them. I've written about it and Girl Child's friendship and frustration issues before. The girls were in different buildings last year so as far as I know there were no incidents between the two of them. But now it seems as though it's starting up again and school has only just started for the year. It's going to be a long year if these two keep sparking off each other.

The girls have had a mediation session facilitated by the Principal to help them reconcile and move on. At this meeting Z acknowledged that she had hurt Girl Child and she apologised. I know this because my Girl Child felt that she hadn't been listened to and so I asked for a meeting with the Principal to clarify what had occurred. As with everything there are always different perceptions of the truth as people see and interpret things differently. Girl Child feels that she wasn't listened to and the Principal feels that the meeting was fair and all parties had the opportunity to put forward their case. I've tried to remain impartial and explain to Girl Child the Principal's point of view and also explain her point of view to the Principal.

Then there is Z's family. I have managed to have a conversation with her father in the hope that we can come up with a strategy to stop (or at least lessen the chances of) this happening again. As far as they are concerned their daughter is an angel and Girl Child got hurt when she fell against a door. Girl Child did say she hurt her back when she was pushed into the door but I'm not sure if that happened before, during or after the scratching.

The father told me Girl Child hurt his daughter last week when there was a group of kids playing. I'm pretty sure that he said there were no marks and the school didn't contact either family so we not aware that an earlier issue may have taken place. There may have been but Girl Child has said that nothing happened and I'm inclined to believe her.

He is also angry because another child swore at Z. Now, this is apparently Girl Child's fault because she falsely accused his child of hurting her. At this point I called Girl Child over (she was out of earshot with some other parent sand children) to show him her arms. He did grudgingly say that the marks did seem to be scratches rather than the marks from a door handle. I really wanted to tell him that his little angel admitted to the Principal that she hurt Girl Child but I figure that it's not my responsibility. I hope that he actually asks Z about the marks on Girl Child now he has seen them himself but I doubt it.

So now I wonder about the way ahead. I've told Girl Child to stay away from this Z but that also means that Girl Child can't play with her friend A. Last time these clashes occurred A's birthday party was cancelled because she couldn't decide whether to invite Z or Girl Child and it obvious to all that both attending wasn't likely to be workable. It definitely seems that A is going to be stuck in the same situation again trying to be friends with two girls who just can't get on.

For Girl Child things look bleak. Not only is she probably not going to be able to play with her friend A, things are even worse as she dearly wanted to be in the school band and she has missed out while both A and Z got places. Something similar happened last year but we were told places in a dance program were full yet Z was able to be slotted into the group at a later time. Not only is Girl Child feeling sad about the incident, she has asked me a number of times why Z gets to do everything and she misses out. And I have no good explanation.

Hopefully next week things will look up.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Operation Move #walk400 wrap up and this month

I managed to meet my target of 800 minutes for #walk400. My final totals were 822 minutes and 22 seconds of walking which was 60.38 km. I am a little disappointed that I didn't make 900 minutes but I did double what was required and I think I should be very happy with that. I also walked 22 times in January which is 21 more walks than I did in November and 22 more that I did in December.

So now that #walk400 is done and dusted, what's next? Well over at Operation Move the gang are doing a few things. Because of the success of #walk400, February Op Move walkers are aiming a little higher with #Feb450. And if that's not enough to keep you moving, there is also a learn to run program. You can check that out here. I have signed up for both groups and I'm hoping to reach both goals.

The Learn to Run (LtR) program is taking place over 12 weeks and takes three days a week and encourages a rest day between each. I'm hoping to do LtR Monday, Wednesday and Friday and use my 'rest' days to do my #Feb450. The whole thing is geared to get people up to running for 30 minutes straight in 12 weeks. That's a big goal but something I'd really like to achieve. Who knows perhaps I'll be so inspired I'll continue on or even sign up to do a Fun Run (oxymoron, perhaps?) in the future.

I did a 30 minute walk on Monday (Week 1 of LtR is just a walking week) but I've started back at work this week and I'm tired. So I'm going to push my LtR days back so I can get to bed early tonight and hopefully manage to do it tomorrow.

Good Luck to everyone doing Op Move and anything else to increase your health and fitness. Here's to a happy and healthy 2014.


Thursday, 30 January 2014

Operation Move #walk400 Progress post

So it's almost the end of January. I thought I should do a progress report before I do a wrap up in a few days. Also I want some advice so I'll be asking for your opinions as well.

At my last check in on Friday 24 January my numbers for that week were:

  • 171 minutes 3 seconds which was13.29 km of walking.
  • A number of these walks have been done with Girl Child. Remarkably she walks slower than me while we are walking / exercising but much faster than me at the shops. We are chatting a fair bit so maybe that’s the reason. That and I hate shopping!
  • The total walking I had done in January was 591 minutes 58 seconds and 43.84 km.
  • Including the walks I have taken in the last few days my January total is now 741 minutes 38 seconds and 54.29 km.
Now the goal of #walk400 was to get people starting (or continuing) to move in January. I decided that I wanted to push myself and walk 800 plus minutes which I am on schedule for at the moment.  I was also trying to get slimmer in order to fit onto a dress for a wedding on Australia Day.  We should note that I didn't fit into the dress I wanted to wear and I ended up buying a new one. But I was kind of okay with that. The dress was only a size L not the XL I was afraid of but I did follow Mr E's advice and bought some suck everything in underwear. I didn't look too bad even if I do say so myself.
With January almost done, how am I going to keep up with my getting healthy, moving that #walk400 has geared me up for? Well the gang over at Operation Move have decided to kick things up a gear and set February's challenge to be #walk450 which I am definitely going to join. But they are also starting a learn to run group.
I'm intrigued by that because a few years ago I could actually run a little (by little I mean a couple if minutes at 12 kph). I'd love to be able to run again but I'm worried as at the moment I can barely walk faster than 5.5 kph. Internet people, what should I do? I want to be fitter and healthier but I also don't want to set myself up for a fail or even worse - an injury. I’m also concerned that my work hours could do what they did last year and jump from 6 hours a week to about 23.  If that happens during February and I’ve signed up to not only walk 450 minutes but also learn to run on 3 days a week as well, well I may not be able to keep all the balls in the air.

That said, if I’m only trying to walk 450 and not 800 plus realistically it’s still light until 8 so I could walk 2 to 3 days a week and learn to run on 3 other days.  Right?  Or am I insane? Or just overthinking as I do?

Is anyone else planning on learning to run with Operation Move in February?

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Op Move #walk400 update

Yesterday was check in day for Operation Move's #walk400. This week I have managed to walk 10.83 km in 148 minutes 25 seconds. So far in January, I have walked for a total 420 minutes 55 sec (total of 30.55 km).

Here's photographic proof from Runkeeper.

This morning I read an article by Kate about habits. I love this:

Image from: OpMove
Apparently it takes 3 weeks to create a habit. It is Day 18 of #walk400 and while I'm not walking every day, I'm trying to not to have too many gaps. I'm wanting this to become part of my new 'normal'. So I'm walking in the evening. I could get up and walk in the morning but I love sleep ins and I may not have time in the morning once I return to work. So in order to make it more likely for my walking to become a habit, I've started as I mean to continue.

My pace had increased on two of my walks but as the weather got hotter this week I haven't done them. What I have noticed is that feel better within myself after a walk. So much so that I did 30 minutes on the treadmill on a 40 degree day (okay it was only 30 or so degrees in the house but I was absolutely drenched) and went walking last night after sunset when it was still 34 degrees.

Today I haven't managed to walk and I've been feeling out of sorts. Of course that could just be the few 39 to 40 degree days that we have had here. Our weather has been less ferocious than Melbourne's or Adelaide's but has been above average here. Tomorrow it is forecast to reach 33 so I'm planning on a long walk to clear my head. And to get further along in my goal to walk between 800 and 1,000 minutes in January.

Wish me luck!


Tuesday, 14 January 2014

These holidays

I feel like we have done nothing. Whilst I know it's not true, it's how I feel. How about I list what we have done and maybe I'll feel better about it?

We went interstate for an early Christmas. We were only gone for about 13 hours because Serious Dog needed medication to keep his tumour under control.

Mr E., Girl Child and I saw Frozen at the movies. I enjoyed it. Boy Child wouldn't come with us because he was going to go and see it with friends. Of course then he didn't go with friends so I was thinking we could go and see it again on one of the two forecast 39 degree days this week. Boy Child doesn't want to.

We went and saw the 9 pm NYE Fireworks. We also watched the 12am ones on the TV. The fireworks were the only thing were celebrating on NYE 2013 considering we had had to have Serious Dog and Smiley Dog put down that afternoon.

I have cleaned all the dogs stuff and donated everything to two different animal rescue organisations as well as friends and the RSPCA. We have been twice to the RSPCA once to drop off donations of new toys and treats which we do most years and once to drop off the kennel and some leads. Neither time have we returned with an animal for which Mr E. is grateful.

I went into cleaning attack mode while dealing with the dog stuff and it briefly applied to other parts of the house. Thankfully, for me it wore off.

Mr E. and I went to the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) to see the Gold and the Incas - the Lost worlds of Peru exhibition. We also had the Peruvian inspired 3 course lunch in the Sculpture garden restaurant. That was my Christmas present from the family. I enjoyed the exhibition and if I were going again I would only do the 2 course lunch. The suspiro de limeno desert was just delish! I'm going to try making it at home. While we were at the NGA I bought some really cool shoes. Part of the money goes to help protect the Amazon so I figure that's a win all round.

You can buy them online at
I've gone on an afternoon or evening walk for 9 out of the 13 days of January as part of my Operation Move #walk400 commitment. Read my last post for more detail.

Girl Child and I have also had coffee with friends twice but I still feel like we haven't done much. Could I have holiday envy? I have seen holiday photos from Fiji, the USA and Queensland. Other people I know have been to the coast and someone else is about to go to Europe. It used to be the kids always wanting to go and do things. This time around its me and they are happy to just hang around the house.

Normally we would go to the coast the week before school goes back but I have a day of work right in the middle of that. Boy Child may have stuff for Army Cadets but we don't know when if or when that is happening. If we do go, it will only be two or three nights. I think maybe that's my problem. I can't make plans and even if I did Boy has hit the 'I don't want to go away with you' stage. He is 15 and as yet we haven't left him alone overnight. He would like us to go away for two days or more days without him. As I told him, I'm not comfortable with that idea right now. I'm not sure when I will be. But just knowing that he doesn't want to go with us has made me sad. 

I'm hoping my holiday blues go away soon.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Operation Move January 2014

Last year I joined in with Kate and participated in Operation Move. Well, Kate has joined forces with Zoey and together they have created Operation Move community.

Now apart from wanting to get fit and healthy, we are attending a wedding at the end of January and after being a lounge lizard since at least July, I'm unsure whether I will fit in the dress that I am planning to wear. So fit, healthy and slimmer was the idea behind my plan had been to walk 7.5 to 8 Km's every day in January. Luckily I woke up to myself, because after not actually doing much walking since August, I decided it was a really dumb and possibly injury causing idea.

Instead, I've signed up over at Op Move and joined the Walk 400 Challenge. The premise is to kickstart January by walking 400 minutes over the course of the month. Now that's more achieveable and much more sensible. I'm using Runkeeper to keep track of my activity. This is what I've done so far:
Of course I need to go in to every entry to see my times but that's okay. So far I have recorded 222 minutes and 32 seconds of walking. That's not a bad start to the month and the Walk 400 challenge. I'm hoping to get more like 1000 minutes but I'd be really happy with 800 minutes.

Friday, 3 January 2014

My Word for 2014

You may have seen this floating around Facebook.

Mr E. had jokingly suggested that I use it to come up with my word for the year which I have done for the last few years with the wonderful Bron from Maxabella loves.
The first three words I saw were:


love and


I didn't really think of any of those as words that I wanted to strive towards or use to describe my expectations this year. I was considering using Focus because I think I need to do that. But then I thought about the things I want to do this year: a family holiday to Uluru, go to see the Lion King on stage and go to the Gold and the Incas exhibition at the Australian National Gallery. These are all things I want to do, I want to experience things.

Image from

Here are the definitions from the Free Online Dictionary:

ex·pe·ri·ence (noun)
1. The apprehension of an object, thought, or emotion through the senses or mind: a child's first experience of snow.
2. a. Active participation in events or activities, leading to the accumulation of knowledge or skill: a lesson taught by experience; a carpenter with experience in roof repair.
2. b. The knowledge or skill so derived.
3. a. An event or a series of events participated in or lived through.
3. b. The totality of such events in the past of an individual or group.To participate in personally; undergo: experience a great adventure; experienced loneliness.

I’m really wanting to be a more active participate in events in my life in 2014. I’m sure I will experience a lot of things this year, both positive and negative. I think my attitude will have a lot to do with the way I see things. This Victoria Holt quote appeals to me.

Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.

- Victoria Holt

Here’s the link to Maxabella Loves Word for 2014. What word is your word for 2014? Why not join in or even just check out the words others have chosen for 2014?

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Farewell to our beautiful dogs

On New Years Eve, our 12 year old Labradors Serious Dog and Smiley Dog went over the rainbow bridge. I haven't posted a lot about them but they were a big part of our family. They were half brothers from different litters 8 months apart. Serious Dog chose Boy Child to be his when Boy Child was 2. Boy had seen an ad on TV for the guide dogs and said "I love that yellow dog, Mummy." I had always wanted a dog but I grew up in a house with cats so it didn’t take much to convince me. We looked around and found a reasonable priced litter of puppies within a reasonable drive and the rest was history.

Baby Gilbert with A
Boy child and Serious Dog
Baby Gilby sleeping
A very tired pup
Baby Gilbert playing

About 8 months later I was on training course in the same town where we got Serious Dog. One of the bonding activities had us walking around town and I noticed that there was a little pup all alone. I felt bad for the pup all by himself and discovered that the pup had the same father as Serious Dog but a different mother. At the time I was planning on getting my motorbike license and a motorbike and I rang to chat to Mr E. I was prepared to give up my motorbike dream if I was able to bring the pup home. So our family grew to include another dog.

Baby Sullivan
Smiley Dog
Baby Sullivan and Gilbert sitting
Once at home together, they were a force of nature and inseparable.
Destructo dogs
We used to have a sprinkler system but it was eaten.
Baby Sully with Gilbert
They were always together as puppies
IMG_1139 cropped
And as adults (Serious on the Left, Smiley on the Right)
They both had health problems but the last half of 2013 was bad for Serious Dog. But in the end he had a fast growing tumour in his mouth.  It was melanoma and it appeared quickly. It was cut out but it grew back. Serious Dog wasn’t in pain but on New Years Eve we were told he would be to be put down by the end of this week. So we made the decision to have it done later that afternoon.

As Smiley was deaf (read here) and blind he was utterly dependant on Serious. He also had severe separation anxiety which meant that anytime Serious was away from home, Smiley stand at the gate or back door and just howl mournfully.  We (and the vets involved) felt that it would be cruel to force Smiley to adapt to life without his brother. It was an extremely difficult decision to make.  Heart breaking, really.

They went to sleep peacefully and lying down next to each other.  Afterward, Smiley Dog’s tail moved as though he was wagging it. I know it was just a side effect of the medicine but I have taken a bit of comfort from that. He never held his tail still so I have taken that as a sign that he was okay with our decision.

Goodbye my boys. You will be forever in our hearts and memories. Thank you for being part of our family and for showering us with love. You are very missed.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy 2014!

It's been a long time between posts again. I've got no excuse or explanation. It just happened. I also haven't read many (or any) blogs during my hiatus. I did try to keep up but every time I went to read some posts I literally had hundreds (even thousands) of posts waiting from me. And that was overwhelming. I know that in my absence bloggers children have been born, bloggers family members have died and still others have left blogging. I'm sorry that I have missed all these things.

So I need to say belated Congratulations on the arrival of your babies, my condolences on the death of your loved ones and there are some bloggers who I will really miss reading.

My word for 2013 was Connect. In January I wrote:

My plan is to connect with people, to make new connections and to strengthen those I already have. I need to make connections with schools to get some work and stay connected to my family (both nuclear and extended). I would like to help connect my children with their peers and friends as well. Part of my plan is to also have time with my husband. We need to connect with each other as adults as well as parents.
I didn't do so well connecting this year. I stopped blogging back in August so I haven't been connected to the blogosphere. Mr E. and I haven't really had much time together as adults. That said, we will be going out to a museum and to have lunch later this week.

Because my work hours changed a few times, I didn't really manage to catch up with many of my friends. I made a point to schedule coffee time with my friend W (a widow who I have spoken about here and here) but it seemed just a bit too difficult getting together with the others. I only managed 2 catch ups in about 15 weeks. I guess the people who are true friends will always be there for you even when you don't see them.

Boy Child went to a things with friends so he was connected but I dropped the ball a bit with Girl Child's connection to her peers. That said she also did the Cool Kids program in Term 4 to help with her anxiety. We haven't seen that much difference at home but I heard that it made a big difference at school.

While in my personal life I didn't do so well, I did connect with people in my work life. I participated in the Secret Buddy (like a Secret Santa but all year round) as well as giving and receiving presents for Christmas (I've never worked anywhere where gifts were given). Of course I was connected to the two teachers I worked directly with as well as all the kids I worked with. I'm calling that a win.

I hope that everyone is doing well. Happy New Year. I don't don't New Years Resolutions but I am going to put more focus on things I haven't done so well this year.  I think Focus might be my word for 2014 but that will be another post.

Here's to fresh beginnings.


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