Taking Stock ~ all about my February!

Eish, February is nearly over! Not that it matters because I am counting down the days until my BIG adventure AND it doesn't involve the husband or kids!  You heard me right. I am heading out of town. In fact, I am heading out of the country and I will be away for THREE WHOLE WEEKS!

Am I bothered that I am leaving behind my nearest and dearest? In all honesty, NO! :-)

You know that age old saying about the oxygen mask? Well, this girl is taking a much needed break and for once is putting herself first.  I am heading home to spend my *big* Birthday with my Mum, three sisters and some of their offspring. No responsibilities, no worries, no stresses and strains. I can't wait.

I follow a very cool blogger who lives in Sydney, although she originates from New Zealand. Go Kiwi girl! Her latest blog post is all about taking stock, looking back at happenings, feelings and thoughts for January 2014. Now, Jan has been and gone; and in my mind, forgotten. Therefore, I choose to do a recap of February.  *Note: If it wasn't for the fact that I am on standby for collecting my teen from a night out on the town, I probably wouldn't be writing this blog post as I would be fast asleep and gently snoring!

Thankfully, Kimba provided a very handy list in order to *take stock*.  Here goes.....

Making lists and then losing them again. Will I ever be organised enough to walk out of the door, knowing that for three weeks my family are going to have to fend for themselves. Note to self: Let it go!

Cooking up a storm and made the most delicious Banana Bread for the school lunch boxes. Left it cooling on the counter and unfortunately the dog found it. Bye bye Banana Bread. Hello Woolworths.

Drinking has featured a bit during the month of February. Due to being on a bit of a weight loss plan I gave up my Rum & Coke and started drinking Sauvignon Blanc. Oops, also enjoying a bit of Champagne here and there.

Reading is sporadic and I tend to reserve it for that last half an hour before turning off my bedside lamp. For the month of February I decided to choose a book that was light and silly. To be honest, it was rubbish although it did put me to sleep... which was a good thing!

Wanting to be a carefree mum without any drama's just doesn't happen in my house. I won't lie, it has been an exceptionally hard month. The thought of my impending trip has kept me going.... and going... and going...

Looking thinner has been on my mind over the last few months, therefore I took up gym and cut out carbs and sweet stuff. February has seen me working exceptionally hard at the gym and I am so chuffed with myself that I can now do a one minute plank.

Playing online Scrabble is generally a part of my day. I find it to be a switch off, my one little tool to take my mind off any worries and just focus on creating words. Of course I don't cheat!!!

Deciding that I need to have some sort of hobby has really made me think about my role as a mother. Raising an autistic child is all consuming and long term. In order to live life to the full, I also need something for *me*.

Wishing that life was a little bit easier, but hey ho, suck it up and move on......

Enjoying time away with my husband and friends is magic ~ and it involved wine! :-)

Waiting at home (and trying hard to stay awake) for my teen to phone me. I am happy be the taxi mum and I will collect him from wherever he may be. Mind you, I have told him no later than midnight, please!

Liking the fact that my dog is here keeping me company. *Photo taken earlier today.

Wondering how my husband is going to do in his marathon tomorrow. He has an early start of 3am, hence the reason I am taxi mum! Also wondering if he is going to wake me when he leaves!

Loving the fact that I only have 33 sleeps until I get on my plane!

Pondering over the weather in New Zealand and Sydney. Is it going to be warm, cool or cold? This girl doesn't have any clothes for a colder climate.

Considering the fact that I am nearly fifty, I shouldn't be so irritated that my hair is turning grey. But I am! Fake blond all the way......

Watching my boys grow like bean sprouts, too funny that they both tower over me. My gorgeous kids.

Hoping that I get to have a little sleep-in tomorrow, even if it is just until 6am.  Please, please.

Marveling that my Nick just continues to progress. For a boy on the more severe end of the spectrum he is doing SO well.

Needing some chocolate. Now!

Smelling Issey Miyake always puts me in a good mood. My favorite scent.

Wearing Gap jeans, a Country Road t-shirt and silver sandals.

Following Disco Pants blog. Seriously, it is the best blog on the planet right now. Here is the link. Follow it! THE DISCO PANTS BLOG. I pinched the header page from Susan's blog ~ sharing is caring.

Noticing that this year is flying by so fast. I blame it on Matric. I was told last year that Grade 11 is far busier than Grade 12. Bullshit. Suit for Matric Dance, tick!

Knowing what I do and the experience I have gained over the years makes me an authority on autism ~ in our house! :)

Thinking about life in general.

Feeling very tired. This taxi mum stuff is for the birds. I am so fickle!

Admiring the confidence of the teens who are out on the town tonight. What fun to be young and carefree.

Sorting out my wardrobe and having a HUGE throw out. Be gone old and boring clothes. Why oh why do I hoard my stuff?

Buying gifts for my family back in New Zealand. Help, what to buy for four teenage girls? What do you think of these? Too twee?

Getting very excited about my forthcoming trip. Can't quite believe that I am going to be Jo Malone!

Bookmarking significant achievements. For the first time ever, the dentist was able to get into Nick's mouth and clean off the plaque, do a visual check for decay and also a give his front teeth a quick brush. I am one happy Mum.

Disliking that my first born is leaving home next year. Bittersweet.

Opening my eyes to the fact that we are all heading towards a new chapter in our lives. Moving forward.

Giggling will be happening tomorrow, I am sure! Smiling over my list ~ I actually enjoyed putting it together. Thanks for taking the time to read through my post. xx

For ease of reference you will find the list below. Something to think about. :)


Cooking the chook!

This afternoon I invited Nick to help me make a chicken casserole for supper (not that he will eat it!). It has been an age since we last cooked together and I had forgotten that the simple act of preparing food is a fabulous opportunity for me to guide Nick. Cooking is an activity that he feels comfortable with and he is receptive to little challenges and new experiences.

We spent a good twenty minutes cooking the chicken and preparing the sauce. I am always astounded at the amount of time that he remains engaged with me and with what we are doing. I can't help comparing today's success to his lack of interest during the early days of RDI.

Twenty minutes of video footage is way too much to share, therefore it took me a while to decide on what segment to use for this post. I eventually decided on the following piece of footage as I feel that it shows my nonchalance how relaxed I am over the fact that the chicken ended up on the floor, I wiped the said floor with the towel and then used the same towel to hold under the remaining chicken. (Yuk, right?). What the footage also shows is Nick's resilience. He battles to use the tongs, however, he doesn't give up and he keeps persevering with his handling of them. This is HUGE! The activity is not a chore for Nick, he understands his role and he is an active participant.

I realise it looks odd that I have placed the casserole dish far away from the actual frying pan, however, there is a method to my madness! I want to add the extra challenge of carrying the chicken across a large open space. It slows down the pace of the activity and offers Nick further opportunities to motor plan and think about what is happening and what to do next.

My mind is also working overtime, I am continuously planning and reassessing on how to scaffold the situation and think of ways in which I can guide Nick. As with any of our activities, I want him to make his own decisions and be proactive in his approach without me telling him what to do every five seconds.

By the time we got to the end of transferring the chicken, Nick was using the tongs with confidence and also holding the chicken with enough control in order to carry it from the pan to the casserole dish without dropping it. He is learning from experience.

As for me, I like being a mindful parent and guiding Nick the RDI way. For sure, I am not perfect, however, I am also learning from experience!

Food issues ~ making changes

Part One!

A few weeks back, as I was pounding away on the treadmill and wiping my sweaty brow, I listened to the two other women who were sharing the training session with me. They were talking about their children and the problems that they were having over food issues. Fruit was packed into the school lunch box and coming home untouched. One child thought that life was so unfair because all her friends had Nutella sandwiches on white bread every day and why couldn't she?

I thought to myself, "Oh, if only they knew!"

If only they knew how restrictive my son's diet is. If only they knew that my son has slowly and gradually, over the last few months, started eliminating some of his regular food and was becoming increasingly reliant on cereal, toast and apples. If only they knew the immense stress that I was feeling about my son's appalling diet and how I worried every day on how to deal with it.

My son's eating habits have always been extremely limiting and a cause for concern. Over the years I have tried various methods to entice him to try a new food. Due to his huge sensory issues and a fear of the uncertain he always dug in his heels and refused to open that mouth!

Last year saw a change to this pattern. I spent a lot of time just offering him a smell of different types of food, without any pressure to have a taste. It worked well, BUT after months of this, he still refused to try anything new.

I then introduced the concept of fresh juice. Using an RDI planned engagement, we started making freshly squeezed orange juice and *jumping up and down with excitement*, he actually starting drinking it! With little steps and using my RDI mindset, I then began to add little challenges and changes to the juice. To cut a long story short, he is now drinking a lovely combo of spinach, orange, carrots and various other fruits. I am slowly adding bulk to the juice in order for him to get better nutrients and also become accustomed to a thicker mixture. I am working my way towards healthy smoothies!

Never too old for nursery rhymes!

It's bath time for my 14 year old autistic son. The teen who has motor planning issues and low muscle tone. He needs assistance, although I am slowly encouraging him to become more independent.

The soaping and washing is a bit of a chore, as is the shampooing of his hair. It is all pretty standard stuff and rather boring!

But, wait.....

A while back we discovered a way of interacting with each other in a meaningful and fun manner. Hello to an old favorite nursery rhyme. Goodbye to drudgery and boredom. Hello laughter, engagement, joint attention and experience sharing.

Me: Singing loudly and merrily.
"The wheels on the bus go round and round"
I stop and wait for my son to respond 

Him: Smiling, he makes the sign for "Dad"

Me: "The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round. Dad on the bus goes......"
I stop and wait for my son to respond.

Him: Has a little think for 20 seconds. "Oh, no!" (he speaks!)

Me: "Dad on the bus goes "Oh, no. Oh no" (singing off key!)

Him: Peels of laughter.

We carry on in this manner. Me providing the opportunity for my son to participate in the nursery rhyme. Him gleefully choosing people, animals and objects to be on the bus; then choosing the noises and words that they are using.

Our rhyme is never the same.

The babies on the bus go wah wah wah
The dogs on the bus go woof woof woof
The driver on the bus says move along please
The horse on the bus goes neigh neigh neigh
The mum on the bus goes ssh ssh ssh
The car on the bus goes beep beep beep
Tom on the bus says go Nick, go Nick
........ and the list goes on...

We pause and wait. We reference each other's facial expression. We read the body language being used. We communicate. We talk. We laugh.

We have an amazing connection. 

14 years of age and still interested in nursery rhymes.

Pah! Who cares? I don't.

*This post was written for Hopeful Parents.

* Also sharing over at......

Ethans Escapades