A diary of our family's house building project in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia. Also my ponderings on family life, living with Asperger's Syndrome, running an ebay business & a place to share my photography.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

A window!

Kim got our first window in yesterday. It's all handmade by Kim & it's absolutely stunning (IMHO)!! The joinery is fabulous, the timber beautiful & the hardware top quality, so it glides open! Timber is recycled ironbark.
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Finger painting

It wasn't intended to be finger painting, but I turned my back for a few minutes.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

child care

I wrote this last week & the photos didn't show properly so I didn't post it. Deciding to post it now & will try & find time to fix the pics soon.
From last Wednesday:
Finn & Ivy started at the Cottage yesterday. It didn't go as planned but it went OK. 
At about9.30am I sad to Finn, "you're going to have morning tea soon & after that Daddy & I will go". Of course we had talked a lot about what will happen but when the reality of it hit him he started to lose the plot. I could see him subtly getting more & more agitated until about 10 minutes later the flood gates opened. 
"I wanna go hoooome, I wanna go hoooome...." with buckets of tears for about 15 minutes.  
Eventually I asked him if he was scared about mummy & daddy leaving. 
"yesssss!!!!!" he replied
I told him we wouldn't leave until he was ready for us to leave. 
"I want you to stay all day!" he begged. I promised we would stay all day if that's what he needed. So Kim & I played tag team all day.  I think I was just as overwhelmed as the kids by the end of the day!  
 His aid had been chosen but when we met her we realised he wasn't going to connect with her, it's a chemistry thing. She was lovely but not his "type". Kim had a quick chat with Helen & suggested the fill in temp girl Donna. She's a "regular temp", fills in often, so after the 5 weeks of funding runs out she'll still be there often.  We'll have to deal with that when it happens, we just knew she was going to do it for him. So Helen swapped them over & Finn & Donna played & bonded. She was fabulous with him & he made a new friend. There is a bucket of toy tools there including some toy nail guns! So they built housed with wooden blocks for ages & ages, wonderful creations that attracted the attention of some other little boys.  Finn made no attempt to communicate with them but it's still early days. 
 He did have a brief chat with a little girl in the afternoon. Exciting! 
 Ivy was not very well & we didn't think she would be able to go on Monday night but woke up much better on Tuesday. At one point in the morning sh went to climb on the trampoline with Finn & I stopped her & explained that only one person can be on it at a time. Well she threw the biggest wobbly of her life. I think it was a bit of a overwhelmed response to the morning, it had been raining so everyone was inside until just before lunch making it quite noisy. She tried to kick & hit me & screamed like a banshee so I distanced myself for a minute or 2 but she was getting so worked up I went back to her quickly to have her vomit all over me. Oh the joys of motherhood. 
 She was fragile for the next 1.5 hours so after lunch I asked a happily playing Finn if he would be OK while daddy drove Ivy & me home. He was fine so we stretched it out to a bit more than 30 minutes of him being there on his own (with Donna). Kim said that when he went back he was so happy that he didn't want to leave. 
  Today we've been home all day, we woke up to snow this morning & we've had hail though the day. Strange when you have sunburn from the weekend! Finn has caught Ivy's cold, as have all of us actually. Brody is here & sick, Kim's sick, Finn has gone to sleep on the living room floor at 5.30pm. So not sure about the Cottage tomorrow so that's a shame. 
 I bought a new lens last week & received it yesterday. Just a 50mm 1.8, nothing VERY exciting but exciting enough & I'm loving it already! 
Here's one of my 1st pics with it, taken for my photography forum fortnightly task, the theme was "food":


that was  last night's dinner. We eat well. I won the previous task of "motion" with this photo:

Here''s Ivy (NOT taken with my new lens)

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she LOVES running!! Such a happy, loving little thing. 

And this was snapped very quickly today with my new lens, what a difference that wide aperture makes! For $140 delivered from Hong Kong I'm thinking it's pretty good value! 


Monday, 20 October 2008

Continued change

Finn, like most children with Aspergers, takes things very literally. We recently had to invent a game called "truth or lie" to help him understand the meaning of lying, he just couldn't get that it sometimes doesn't mean lying down. "I wasn't lying mum, i was standing up!!".
Now we play "tell me the truth Finn, do you like ice cream?". "OK now tell me a lie, do you like ice cream?". He LOVES this game & is finally getting it.
His sense of humour is developing, he has discovered playing tricks. He loves playing tricks, the 1st one he invented on his own was to knock on Chelsea's bedroom door & then hide when she answered. He has never seen anyone do this to my knowledge. Much to Chelsea's delight (???) it has become a favourite game if she's in her room.
Yesterday he was making up tricks to play on Dad. He started telling me,  in front of Kim, what he was going to do. I said that he shouldn't say it in front of Dad because then he will know what you're going to do & he won't be tricked. His response? "OK, I'll go behind dad then"!  He's not stupid, he just takes everything literally!
His best trick yesterday...Kim was watering the garden & he said to me, "I'm going to go & turn off the hose while Dad's not looking!". He pulled it off perfectly.  Funny boy!! He is SO like Brody!
We are close to a diagnosis now I believe. Lynne, his psychologist, spent 1.5 hours watching him at my friend Steph's place about 2 weeks ago & she saw stuff that she hadn't seen while he was in our company. He has known Stef's boys jasper & Ziggy for 2 years but still struggles to play well with them most of the time.  Lynne watched him push Jasper to get him out of his way, refuse to apologise when he hurt him, run around the yard but not join in their games & she even commented to Steph about his unusual gait (I had told her about this but was told that he looked quite coordinated to her).
To me it is all so obvious but she won't give him a diagnosis unless she personally observes the behavior to prove it. Are there parents lying about their children's behavior to make them sound worse than they are? Apparently Tony Attwood says in his seminars, "clinicians need to learn to listen to parents". I couldn't agree more. Anyway, she's now using the word "spectrum" in our conversations, hasn't given me any firm answers but has sent me info in them mail on an upcoming picnic for families in the mountains with children on the autistic spectrum, so there's been a shift. She has admitted "he had us stumped for a while". I think (although haven't had this confirmed) that we are just waiting for her final report & diagnosis now.

Our other exciting news is that last week we received a call from the Children's Cottage (child care centre) telling us that they have had a family move suddenly so have 2 places available for Finn & Ivy!
Friday we had a planning meeting with 2 members of CADU (child & adolescent development unit), his early intervention teacher Nimmi, Helen, the coordinator of the Cottage, Kim & I. Plans were made on helping his make a smooth transition to the Cottage 2 days a week. He will have a personal aid for 5 hours a day for his first 5 weeks, the cottage will use the funding for this to bring in a temp worker but Finn's aid will be one of the permanent staff so they will be there all the time (great idea!). The focus of his aid will be helping him interact with other children & to develop ways he can cope with conflict without aggression.
We are very excited for him & for Ivy, they are really looking forward to going, they start tomorrow. Ivy is SO excited, she's been counting down the sleeps & telling everyone about it. It's ironic that now I have stopped working so much we finally get child care. I am going to spend one of the days helping Kim & one day doing a bit of work & housework.

Kim hurt his back quite badly about 10 days ago, so things have been very slow on the house. He's back into it today though. He's been going stir crazy, the first few days he could hardly stand. He did it moving a fridge, we got a "new" one at a garage sale last weekend as ours had a door seal going. He's in the middle of making the 1st window & it's looking great, nearly finished. he ordered all the window hardware last week, it should arrive tomorrow. $1000 later... They are sliding windows,  the track is the biggest expense (bronze I think). This cost also includes the track & rollers for 5 cavity sliding doors. Overall our windows are very, very cheap! The glass cost us $300, the timber about the same. That's for all the windows. The locks were about $2 each, new in their packets, found at a garage sale. We have bought 2 windows off ebay for the kitchen, & 1 at a garage sale for our bathroom. That was a $2000 window, brand new, we paid $150. I think we're doing OK!

I had a garage sale on Saturday, we sold odds & ends that were cluttering up the house, as well as a lot of summer clothing, we made $700 so we're pretty happy with that!
Off to playgroup now!

Friday, 3 October 2008

A break

As of last Friday I have officially been a lady of leisure! The money came through, so we now have a bigger mortgage & I couldn't be happier!

We have enough to pay all our loan repayments & bills for about 3 months. So my days are now very, very different. This is the 1st time in 12 years that I don't have to work. It's taking a bit of getting used to. My 1st reaction was to get very, very tired! I suppose my body decided that it is allowed to be tired now, so I slept & slept & slept for a few days. I've still had a bit of work as my current auctions end. My store will stay open of course, I have about 700 listing up & something sells every day, so there's be some spending money coming in, & I'll still do a few auctions every week as time permits. I will be putting more energy into selling offline, I'm having a clothing sale from home this weekend & will advertise in the local paper every couple of weeks. I have thousands of items of summer clothing to sell (not to mention the winter gear that's now going into storage), boxes of books, toys, cloth nappies, maternity wear, shoes & other bits & pieces. So I'll keep it trickling out as time permits.

The priority now though is the house, keeping Kim's time free to get over there every morning & work as many hours as he can every day. Now that the weather has warmed up (thank goodness for an early summer) we have started having dinner at the house, we have a good little kitchen set up with running water, fridge, BBQ, microwave, kettle, toaster, etc.

We then get home, bath & bed the kids & have an evening to relax. Heaven!!!
Today I'm getting a few parcels ready to go & them I'm taking the kids for a picnic lunch at the lake. I feel like I'm on holidays! The laundry, dishes, housework & kids are nothing compared to what I've been doing for the last few years, the hours have been ridiculous. No more late nights working, we all get up together at about 6 & I'm in bed by 10pm for a full 8 hours sleep. It's all very strange still, as I said, taking some getting used to. The guilt is still dominant, "I should be working," "I should be taking photos while I watch this show' etc. I can't wait to lose that feeling!

Kim has started on the kitchen roof. We're expecting rain this weekend so he's just getting it all ready to go & hopefully will be able to get it done next week. He's spent the last week pottering about doing bits & pieces, getting his shed ready for making windows, etc. We bought him a new thicknesser off ebay, he's pretty happy with that. We've also spent some time tidying up the block, we had begun accumulating a bit too much just so it was good to clean up a bit.

My vege patch is well under way with 4 different tomatoes, cucumbers, silver beet, zuccini, endive, beetroot, peas & beans planed. Trying to get some watermelon sees happenning but they won't come up, same with capsicum. Might buy seedlings instead, it'd be nice to have watermelon from the garden for Christmas! I'm loving my garden!

The kids are all good, Brody is back from 6 weeks in Canada, he's off to the Yurt farm In Goulburn with Mario this weekend. Chelsea's on holidays for 2 weeks & making the most of every day to socialise so we don't see much of her. Finn is being hard work, very autistic lately. Screamed at Ivy yesterday when she wouldn't play the game to his liking "you can't do it like that, that's not the rules", he likes his rules. Still in the midst of the assessment, the psych was supposed to go watch him playing at Steph's yesterday but Ziggy had a tummy bug so we had to postpone. At Steph's he plays on his own & follows Steph around, or he tries to get the other kids to play his way which almost never happens. His speech is quite funny lately, he goes into long drawn out explanations or questions, or directions. eg, yesterday when telling Kim to take something to the block:
"Dad, when you go to the block can you get it from by the door, and then put it in the ute, and then when you get dressed & go to the block can you take it in the ute with you to the block, and when you get to the block can you take it out of the ute & put it in the shed so it's at the block now?".
He talks like this a LOT, so everything takes soooo looong to say, it drives us nuts when we're rushing around trying to get things done. We really don't know what to do about it. We just repeat what he's said in 1/4 the words & hope he'll get the picture eventually. he can finally count to 10 , at least he gets it right most times. We've been told this is normal for his age but I don't buy it, he's the 1st 4 year old I've known who can't count to 10.
Ivy is being very "2", but cute, bright & so affectionate it's hard to not just love her to bits all the time! The whine is increasing in frequency though, we'll have to work on that!

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