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.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

back to Work

Our extra money has run dry & I am back working to pay the mortgage again. 

I don't feel too bad about it, I'm actually getting very organised (for me!) & it feels good. I've had to reduce the size of my work space to make room for Brody moving back in full time after about 8 months with Mario, he's going back to school for year 10 at Springwood. High. I will be his 1st time at a public school & 1st time wearing a uniform! He has friends moving to Springwood high from his last school plus friends from his circus group already there so he will have quite a large group of good friends. Hopefully he'll do OK & stick the year out. 

Finn & Ivy went back to the Cottage last week after a 3 week break so I now have  2 days a week to work without kids.

I haven't had a chance to post any Christmas photos, with no activities for the kids over the last 4 weeks my time has been full. We've spent days at waterholes, swimming pools, friend's houses, parksgoing on a steam train ride & working on the house.  Finn wakes up & says "where are we going today?". He  gets bored easily but needs time at home doing nothing too, finding the balance is always hard. His behaviour over the Christmas break has worsened, hopefully getting back into a routine will help him manage himself better.  All the party food & holiday food doesn't help, ice blocks on hot days etc. 

Just before Christmas we got his diagnosis in writing, finally. It took 4 months. 
 High functioning autism.
They will re-assess in about 18 months, when he is 6. I'm sure it will be Asperger's at that point, they don't like to dx (that's shorthand  for diagnose or diagnosis)  AS (Asperger's Syndrome) before age 5.  He really is classic Asperger's to us.

Often they dx PDD-NOS (pervasive development disorder-not otherwise specified) which is what I was expecting, so HFA was a pleasant surprise. For those who don't parent a child on the autistic spectrum, you might ask why it was pleasing?  

These kids are smart. They learn how they are expected to behave. That doesn't mean they are able to behave that way most of the time but they do get good at behaving well in public, when they know they are not surrounded by people who won't understand, be sympathetic & understanding. If they sense that someone may be critical ( & they are really good at this!) they make every effort they can to behave "normally". it's when they return to their comfort zones that their whole family pays the price for the effort. It doesn't mean they are always well behaved in public! It just means that on a good day, if they are OK, they will look pretty normal. 

Brody did this for years at school. he was the perfect student, remembered everything he heard, was respectful, didn't mess around with rowdy kids (or any kids for that matter)  & did everything by the rules. but when he got home he would lose the plot. I never understood it but know now it is common & typical of AS kids. Finn is doing it already with daycare. We brace ourselves & hope it is worth the price we pay (not monetary!). I'm still not sure. I continue to read & educate myself about homeschooling as I don't think school will work for Finn. In less than 12 months from now we will be preparing him daily to go to school.  He is enrolled at 2 different school already, so we have choices & he will be well cared for. It is still scary for me, he's such a little boy with so much anxiety.

It seems that this house building blog has turned into an autism blog!?
It does overwhelm us. Last weekend was funny, we've watched a string of DVDs lent to us by friends, featuring kids with autism. The Black Balloon I bawled my eyes out through, too well done & too realistic & I related far too much to this family. Then "after thomas" & I was ready to rush out & get a dog, after a few tears again (even though it was a badly made film). 

Then Kim started making jokes about heart wrenching  films based on families living with autism  until last weekend (or was it Monday).  The ABC showed  "The Magnificent 7", a drama based on a family in the UK with 3 NT (neurotypical) ((I hope you are taking note of my abbreviations because I am going to be using them from now on!))  daughters & 4 ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) boys.  One of these kids, Luke Jackson, has written a book called "Freaks, Geeks & Asperger's Syndrome" which I bought & read quite some time ago, so it was interesting watching this "telemovie".  Christopher, the boy in the family with AS (Asperger's, remember?) was very much like Finn.  So even though we chose to not seek out any more autism movies the ABC threw one at us. We can't escape it! 

Anyway, back to life as we know it. Christmas was good. I didn't get many good photos. We slept in the new house for the 1st time, xmas eve & xmas night. 
Finn was good on xmas eve but freaked out on xmas night. Had a long period screaming "I want to go home".  Kim & I ended up lying either side of him, holding him until he settled. On the other side of a partially built wall were our guests. it only lasted about 45 minutes, thank goodness. but that's a long time when you're in the midst of it. 

xmas Eve was great, we had our new neighbours ( across the road from where we live) Suzy & Andy come over, Mario & all the kids too. The very weird thing was that Andy & Suzy knew Mario from work in Sydney a few years ago!!! 
  We talked about old times & found out that Andy worked with Jay, Mario's good friend who was best man at out wedding 19 years ago & Brody's namesake (Brody Jay, born on Jay's birthday).

Christmas was relaxed, present opening took about 3 hours (no rushing in &in a frenzy & opening them all at once in our family!).  We take it in turns, discuss & marvel at each present & then discuss whose turn it is next.  This is the highlight of the day. Finn & Ivy (& Brody & Chelsea!) got a huge netted trampoline. Everyone received copious amounts of books. Finn got boats & Ivy got dolls (as is their wish).  We ate lots & drank lots (as is our wish). 

Boxing day Chelsea, Daniel & Brody left with Mario to go to the Peat's Ridge Festival. Kim & I took Finn & Ivy to Wentworth Falls lake to row our "new" $10 row boat that we found at a garage sale a few weeks back (the day after we found our "new" $100 sailing dingy at a garage sale). Finn got teary at the garage sale when we found the rowboat. he was so excited about the sailing dinghy that finding a rowboat the very next day was just too much for him.  Paddling on the lake (we haven't bought oars yet, nowhere to buy them in Katoomba, so we used his inflatable boat paddles) was very exciting for him.


Here's a few photos I took over Christmas.



A fairy in the garden

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Fun on the Zigzag railway

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OK, I'd better do a little update on the house. We have  gables clad in hardwood weatherboards on both ends of the house. I think it looks fantastic! We bought these weatherboards off ebay over a year ago. It was a lot of work to get all the old paint off but worthwhile, they cost us less than $1 a metre.





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We have another window made & installed, photos will follow soon. 

Not much else, it's been a busy time & we have tried to take a break & relax a little. We're not very good at that but we're determined to continue trying!  Our kids deserve a relaxed mum & dad. 


i wrote this post at least 10 days ago, I have more photos to post since then. I'll post this now & will try & do another current post sooner! 

here's one of my favourites of ivy taken over Christmas.  


 


 
 


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and another I took for my photography forum task "momentos" (which I won), pearls that I purchased on a visit to mallorca 23 years ago, modelled by Ivy.


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3 comments:

Sonja said...

Your new house is gorgeous! Mark me down as a visitor ;)

Charliegirl said...

Oh my god! The house is looking absolutely fabulous, and I love the photo of Ivy on the train - the double image, and all I can say is thank god you have such a wonderful partner, and of course previous parter to help out with the older two, I don't know how you do it! but at the end of the day, I still think you have such a beautiful family, kindest regards from previously anonymous now charlie girl - yes I finally signed up etc etc

julie said...

Love the photos! So beautiful. And warm. I could use some warmth right about now!

PS... the house is looking great!

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