Monday, August 30, 2010

BEAUTIFUL IS AS BEAUTIFUL DOES



Tonight we had a roast chicken for dinner.  We sat down like a lot of other families across Australia and quibbled over who got what to drink and how many mouthfuls they had to have until they were finished.   Jack, the three year old,  wanted chicken with a handle (a chicken drumstick) and Maddison, nearly eleven, gagged on the peas we always force her to eat.  Meanwhile Sam sat and ate his dinner and enquired as to which one of us cooked the dinner tonight.  When Phil told him it was him, he replied "Thanks Dad, you're a really good cook!"

I guess this appears mundane to those reading right now and to be honest, it is.  It happens most nights and apart from the conversation topic, the scenario remains the same.  We are an everyday family with a child who has a disability.  Who has a condition.  Who has a label.  Aspergers.  High functioning Autism.

Why is it then, until someone reminds me, I kind of forget we as a family live with this?  I rarely blog about it and feel no need because honestly, it's our normal.


That's not to say Sam doesn't display the classic signs and traits.  He does.  He won't wear a shirt with buttons.  He loses the plot if one, tiny piece of Lego is removed from his bench.  He hordes nearly every piece of paper or treasure he has, at the foot of his bed.   He is obsessed with Tom and Jerry.  He craves shows like Myth Busters and Top Gear.  He will ask you for something he wants (like say a Milo) continuously until  he gets it, even though all kinds of early bedtime based threats are rained down upon him.  He needs to do his homework as soon as possible on returning home of an afternoon.  He may see a simple word one day and not have a clue what it is the next.  He is still incredibly small for an eight year old.   He has morphed facial features.  He rarely looks me in the eye.  He will let you kiss him, but he will wipe it off.  It's nothing personal, he just can't handle it.  Increasingly he spends time alone, independently, watching his shows or on the swing listening to his ipod, in particular to John Farnham.

On the flipside, he is very sensitive.  He has a wicked sense of humour, loves a rumble with his father and enjoys farting on his sisters face when the opportunity arises.  He blows me away and uses words like gargantuan and problematic in context and pulls out one liners that have Phil and I in stitches.  I have some of his best quotes here.   He is well behaved and I am constantly told by his teachers that his in class behaviour is impeccable.   He is very literal and we have to be careful how we direct him and what we discuss sometimes.  He is loving yet lately, I find myself losing him a little to a place I can't reach him.  And just quietly, that both scares the shit out of me and breaks my heart.

Increasingly of late, I have come across what seems to be a phenomenal amount of parents who are either going through the diagnosis process or have a sneaking suspicion they need to have their child assessed.  Like us, they had a feeling something just wasn't quite right. The thing with Aspergers though, is that often no two children are alike.  And this makes it difficult to compare "stories" for want of a better word.

Sam is lucky enough to attend a school that has a fantastic special education unit.  He attends main stream school, yet has great support from specially trained teachers and teacher aides in the classroom. 

If I could offer one piece of advice for parents starting the process, it would be to remember that at all times your child is still exactly the same one you had the day before you received the name for the condition.  And after you've had time to digest the information, know that it simply a tool to help you assist your child in the best way possible.   And don't take it personally.


And that's where I'm at.    I know it can appear these kids are being disobedient.  I know I have family members who believe Sam is the way Sam is because of something Phil and I did wrong in his toddler years.   Ignorance is what it is, I can only try and explain and educate.  Whether people listen is entirely up to them. 

I also found that Phil and I had to get over ourselves.  We had to realise it wasn't about us and Phil especially had to believe the diagnosis.  We had to come to terms with the fact that Sam may struggle both socially and academically his whole life.  He may or may not find a mate in life.  He might struggle to find a job.  He may never live independent of us.   I know how scary these thoughts are as a parent, but am also amazed at the massive support network out there.

Sam, like all three of our children, will be guided, aided and offered as much opportunity as we can avail to him.  But that's where it gets tricky for us parents.  The rest is ultimately up to him.
















Sunday, August 29, 2010

ROUND ROUND ROUND, GIVE A LOW LOW LOW






In an average week, I spend about 14 hours, in total, in my car.  During that time,  I eat, I apply lipstick, I lecture, I fetch Ninja turtles wedged in between cup holders and passenger seats, I sign off on late homework and I run the guantlet and drink about 7 coffees from open top coffee mugs, because, for about the hundredth time this year, I have left my travel mug to fester one day too many in the hot sun.

 

Also in that 14 hours, I listen to music.  And here's where the inspiration for this blog post is borne.  Songs that shit me.


I love music.  It started early and it started with Wham. George Michael flouncing around on a catwalk urging me to wake him up before I go go.  I mean how could this coiffed, lady lurvin man possibly be gay? Ahh the naivety of youth.  I digress. 



Back to "those" songs.

 
Example Number 1- Sexy Bitch.   I can't work out if I dislike this so much because the singer is trying to find words to describe a woman he fancies, and the best he can come up with is "She's nothing you can compare to your neighbourhood whore" or because I've found myself and my children sitting at traffic lights singing "damn you're a sexy bitch" in unison and harmony.  It's a total toss up but I think David Guetta should just rename the song "Backhanded Compliment" and be done with it.


Look at Ke$ha and her song Tik Tok (don't even get me started about the dollar sign in her name). She starts out by telling us she's woken up in the morning feeling like P Diddy.  What?  She wakes up in constant identity crisis and as an African American?  And what's with brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack?  As in Jack Daniels.  As in Whisky.  Geez  you mean I've been getting it wrong all these years with my Colgate and floss?   Oh and can some one please explain to me why the only guy she wouldn't kick to the curb is the one who looks like Mick Jagger?  Is it the lips?



My latest gripe is with Eminem. To be honest, I've never been a massive fan, but his current song where he's paired up with Rhianna to record a song about domestic violence, Love the Way you Lie, I kinda like.  All except the lyrics "Now you get to watch her leave, Out the window, Guess that's why they call it window pane".  No Eminem, it's called a window pane because it's a pane of glass.  Pane and Pain are homophones.  I know this because I Googled it.  You should try it dude, it's just a short mouse click away.  Also, just a heads up, pain is something you inflict on someone when they make up stupid song lyrics.


OK, clearly I've thought this through a little too much and  need to focus on more important issues like our lack of government or the fact that my house still doesn't have walls I can hang stuff on, but sometimes it's the little things that does your head in the most.


Now if you'll excuse me, I have an Enrique Iglesias song to listen to and children to shush so I don't miss the best bits.  Oh the Shame.

What song does your head in?

Monday, August 23, 2010

WHAT'S THAT? A DEEP SHADE OF PUCE?

Whatchoo Talkin Bout Willis?


I have a three year old.  Therefore I am fairly used to monumental scale meltdowns in public places.    I wouldn’t say that they embarrass me anymore, they just gives me the shits.  And actually, after three children, I think I'm pretty used to situations where large scale humiliation is the norm.  But every now and again, I get a lovely surprise and it becomes obvious that these children aren't quite finished with me yet. 

First up, it needs to be said that Jack is a very loud child.  I know, I know, all kids are loud, but do they all nearly make your ears bleed when they talk at you?  I start to feel uncomfortable these days if a perfectly good conversation isn't interrupted by Jack at a thousand decibels.  And before you ask, his hearing is fine, he just wants to be heard.   And heard he is.

He was certainly heard when, at a recent visit to the Ekka, in a crowd of thousands, he yelled in his best big boy voice “Mum, you don’t hurt my doodle anymore!” {Clarification: When he sits on my hip, it must squash his nuts, apparently this stopped happening at the Ekka}

Only just the other day he told his kindy teacher that “Mum makes me bend over and touches my bum” {Clarification: I ask him to turn around so I can wipe his bottom after he does a poo, nothing as incriminating as he’d have his teachers believe}

Kindy is certainly fertile ground for embarrassing a parent.    I ask Jack every afternoon he attends, what he did that day at kindy.  Without fail his response is "I didn't play pull your pants down"  {Translation: it probably means he did play pull your pants down and like you, I assume this  involves pulling pants down - MORTIFIED}

And of course there was last week when, happily perusing the jam packed DVD section at our local Big W, he came out with this pearler directed at me: "Who are You?"  I vaguely replied with "Your mummy silly".  He then used his usual deafening tone to exclaim "You're not my Mummy, I don't have a Mummy, leave me alone, Lady, Man. Helllllp!!"  and leaned out and latched onto a young couple who were mortified.  They weren't the only ones.  Hello Store security.


But the most unenviable position that I imagine every parent, no, actually scrap that, every adult has found themselves in, is the public toilet shaming.

You know how it goes.  It's a toilet, you've got business to do and let's be honest, if it could wait until you could get home, you wouldn't be there. But there you are minding your own business when you hear this from the adjacent cubicle from a booming 3 year old: 

"What’s that smell?"

Me: "Nothing, we are in a toilet Jack!"

"No it’s your bum mum, it stinks, is that a snake between your legs?".  Kill me now.

But at least they come in handy from time to time.  Just yesterday I had one of those shirtless, punkified  windscreen washers approach me to wash my car windscreen.  I motioned with a very fierce NO!  He still continued over to my car with his squeegee raised.  He should add lip reading to his cleaning resume, because he got the message and walked on by.  That's when Jack thought he might just clarify the situation, put his window down and say to the guy walking past  "Keep on walking dickhead". Ot Oh.  My bad.

How about you?  Have your kids dropped you in it?

Monday, August 16, 2010

SWIM UP BAR - ONE STEP CLOSER BECOMING A REALITY










It is very exciting that I have been nominated in Kidspots Top 50 Bloggers.  


And, as an added bonus the winner gets to go to Margaritaville, I mean, Dunk Island!!!  I think I've been pretty open about my big fuck-off holiday wishlist that include a kids club and swim up bar.


There is a button I can put up on my blog, but as I am quite special when it comes to all things technical, I can't work out how to put it up, so if possible, I would sincerely appreciate if you take 20 seconds and click here to take you through to to my vote button...  Annnnd,  should I get to go, mojitos for alllll*



*Unless there are more than 10 of you, then I can't guarantee it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

RESISTANCE IS FUTILE

George. What's not to grow fond of?


There are some things you just give in to as you get older.  Maybe give into is the wrong term, maybe it's more like, grow fond of.  No, I was right the first time, you give in.  You just lie down and let it wash over you and come to the realisation that all the things you once made a mockery of, now give you joy. 


For instance -  the Ped-Egg.   Now before you judge, hear me out.  I too used to scoff, point and laugh at the funny egg shaped contraption that basically razored dead skin off manky heels.  But that was before I tried it.  In an instant I went from the woman who was notorious for having feet that resembled and 80 year olds, to one that matched her age. I wanted to stand on an escalator and not be worried that I was making the person behind me physically ill after copping an an eyeful of my cracked heels.


And after using the Ped-Egg, instead of virtually ripping the bed sheets apart, I was the one sexily slinking  in beside her husband.  Did I push the illusion too far??  OK, I’ll scale it back. In short, although this is basically just an old school razor with a fancy egg shaped catcher, I heart it.   So yes, whilst the Ped Egg catches dry dead skin filings and that in itself is kind of gross, it is the difference between me getting a foot massage from my husband  from time to time and being refused one. $29.99 well spent I reckon.


Next on the agenda is Wine.  And my increasing love for it.  Not so long ago, I hadn’t even tasted white wine.  Yes, I know, shocking, but I went to a party recently and the host offered me a white.  Sure, why not.  Instantly hooked.  Don’t get me wrong, I have been drinking red wine for years and last summer, started dabbling in Rose’ but well, I think it’s time to give in to this obvious attraction.  Beer bloats me.  And West Coast Cooler, whilst I still have fond memories, tastes like lolly water and quite frankly, doesn’t even get me tipsy.  No, it’s time to grow up, mature and pickle my liver like any good 35 year old should, with some quality wine.


I’ve got one word for you: SILVERFOX.  I've got to admit, my favourite look in a guy was the dirty blonde surfer but times are a changin and it was a great question from @carolduncan on twitter a couple of weeks ago - Who is your favourite silverfox?  Are you familiar with the term?  It means an attractive older guy who is rocking the grey.  Well, of course, mine is my husband.  At 38, he’s got some greys, not quite the salt and pepper, but with a daredevil and maniacal 3 year old son,  they are ever increasing.

I am finding myself strangely attracted to this look. Embrace the salt and pepper.  The double standard shits me though.Your George Clooneys only increase in attractiveness the more silver hairs they sprout, whilst women like me are trying desperately to keep them under wraps by coating our heads in deadly ammonia.


ABC and SBS.  I used to loathe these channels growing up.  ABC was for people who liked watching documentary's on organic manure and  SBS was for dirty late night movies eyed off by equally dirty old men.  But now, well now, I find myself tuning in to these channels more than the mainstream.  For a start there are no advertisments.  Secondly, the content just rocks my socks.  Gruen Transfer, United States of Tara, Spicks & Specks, Rage, Q and A.  I could go on. I know this was something I had to grow into.  And it makes me happy that I am finally ready.




Please note however, if I ever write a post about being happy to let the grey hairs take over or start to regale my love of Saturday night stamp collecting and/or bootscooting, flick me in the ear and alert the Police because someone has taken over my body.    Surely I'll never give in completely right??  Right??

NEW BLOGS



Just a quick post, computer back, writing furiously, but in the mean time, every Friday, Lori at Random Ramblings of a SAHM, hosts Flog Yo Blog Friday.  It's a great way to discover new blogs and every Friday, new posts are added. 

Enjoy, and back to normal programming very soon. Bern

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

BREAK IN TRANSMISSION









Man down, man down!!   

My computer has a virus.  It is now about as functional as Mark Latham, i.e. useless.

I'm sure it's not because Maddie was trying to download copious amount of Ghost Whisperer episodes.  And it's definately not because I downloaded some episodes of the new season Entourage.  No way.

The last time my laptop had a virus, it was an eBay related scam.  

Stupid me didn't cotton on to the fact that the Wii Console and 48 games I was apparently selling was a ruse to have me re-input my password.  Yep, sometimes I am a certified Brain Surgeon.

So lesson learnt.  Now all there is to do is wait and hope it's not going to cost the equivalent of my monthly mortgage repayment to get it back on the road.  So to speak.  Wish me luck.




Thursday, August 5, 2010

Workin 9 - 5



It’s not really all that unusual to encounter disgruntled clients in my line of work.  And let’s face it; no one is really just ringing us to have a chat.  Let’s just say; unless we are literally pulling money out of our arses, and showering them in gold bullion, we don’t rate a mention.   Ideally it would be great if we could say, “Look, we are tax agents, not magicians and as such, can’t perform fucking magic”.   But alas, it seems we'll just have to fantasize about our magic wands being shoved up specific orifices for a little while yet.
 

But I digress.

 
Yesterday when I was called and I quote “A fucking white bitch” I was more bewildered than upset.  I mean seriously. That’s his worst?  Surely he couldn’t have used the adjectives ugly, fat or stupid like the rest of the highly strung, pissed of clients before him?   

 
I should probably set the scene here.  It was an ordinary Tuesday. Full of background radio noise peppered with occasional banter and cuss words between the four of us at work.  In walked in an enormous Samoan guy to sign his tax return.  Now, for some reason (well ok, the reason is that he’s a dickwad) he was under the impression that he would receive every single cent back of the tax that he had paid for the year.  Did I mention he had zero receipts and was gigantic?

 
So anyway, he walked in, took one look at his (very generous I thought) refund and starting making noises and huffing and puffing.  Miss C, explained very calmly the Australian Tax System and how, that the reason we have such a wonderful, democratic country is because we all play our part and pay taxes if we are able.  He just did not want to hear it.  


Apparently, his mate Iamaknobber, could do it for free and get him a better refund.  Really?  That’s awesome. Just pay our bill for the top WORK WE’VE ALREADY DONE, and you can have your shit back.  I think that’s about the time he called her a slut.  Or a fucking slut, my memory is a bit hazy.    That’s also about the time I got up and went out to help her out a little.

 
See here’s the thing. We are an all female office.  Not intentional, it’s just kind of the way it’s worked out.   As such, we find, from time to time, that the stunted male or the man who has issues with his obviously tiny penis, has a problem with that fact.  I guarantee you there is no way in the world these guys would speak to a man the way they speak to us.  That’s because they are bullies.  Pure and simple.

 
Anyhoo, I went on out and asked him to move along.  He then replied with a very damning “I will just ask my boss for a new group certificate ay!”  I informed him in my most polite tone that, “That would be fine, we will just contact our debt collectors”  He then lost his shit and thundered down on Miss C.  “Give me my stuff”  She refused and held his file close to her bosum.  Brave Miss C.  I guess in hindsight, a little silly as he could have crushed you like a little bug, but very brave.

 
That’s about the time he escaped the office and called me “A fucking white bitch”  Seriously, dude.  You had me at hello.

 
Oh and then he spat on the sidewalk and walked off in a huff.  I wish there had of been a soundtrack to his departure.  I think if it were a movie, I would have played “Hero” by Mariah Carey.

 
So at the end of the day, we called the cops. Their sage advice was to get the fuck out of dodge and not to stay back late.  Not shit Sherlock.  He never has come back.

The silly thing is, we know more about him than his proctologist ever could.  I do hope he enjoys his anal probe audit from the Australian Tax Office. 

 
He’s not the first.  He won’t be the last.  Got to say though, I think he’s the first one to give me a bit of reverse racism. 

How does your workplace go?  Pray do tell.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

WE ALL HAVE WINGS, BUT SOME OF US DON'T KNOW WHY


I still remember picking up the phone a year ago.  I was at work and I got word Mum was on the phone.  In hindsight,  it was one of those times when my life would irrevocably change forever.


Three words stood out. Cancer, tumours and brain.  And her crying.  We don’t cry.  We just don’t.  And here I was crying on the phone at work, trying to remain calm. What a shitty way to hear that kind of news.  But really, is there a better way to find out?  Doubtful.

 
Hindsight is 20/20.  I’ve begun to hate that phrase.


My biggest mistake in the preceding years was to ignore some major changes in Mum.  But see Mum was quite the Mrs Mangel of her street.  She knew the goings on of each and every neighbour within a 1 kilometre radius.  So when she started to say people were outside her window at night and throwing rocks on her roof, we were very concerned, but no overly alarmed.  She also started to get impatient with my children for relatively no reason.  I put it all down to a lot of things, mainly her age.


We stopped asking for babysitting favours and believe me it worried me to no end when I found her blood pressure and cholesterol medication within easy reach of my then 2 year old son.  Her sight was down to basically half an eye and Jack, well Jack is a human dynamo who was just scouting out opportunities to put one over on Grandma.

 
But she adored looking after Jack.  I just couldn’t take that away from her.  It was the highlight of her week.  So, on the day she babysat him, I made sure I scoped out the house for pills, hot drinks and pins and humbly requested that the universe return him to me that afternoon as she found him.

But of course that phone call changed all of that anyway.

See, that weekend before we had been in Brisbane, having a mini-break with the kids at the Ekka.  I got a text from Les, my brother to ask if I had spoken to mum, and “was her hand better”.  Um, news to me.   Mum had failed to mention any problems.

But there was a problem and suddenly, the previous fortnight when I had taken her to do her grocery shopping made sense.  She had stood in the middle of the produce section in Woolworths and looked at me angrily.  She barked at me “How much are the avocadoes?”  I asked an employee and relayed the price to Mum.  She then almost spun around on the spot.   Then she just stopped and asked me how much the avocadoes were.  I’m ashamed to say I didn’t cotton on, I just got cross.  Jack was screaming, I was tired and Mum seemed to be playing silly buggers in the middle of fucking Woolworths.

 
Hindsight.  20/20 and all that. 

 
The phone call was from the payphone outside the doctors.  She had been to three different doctors that day.  Three times, by herself, she had sat in the waiting rooms and waited on what she must have known wouldn’t be great news.  But she refused to have us with her, because “I don’t want you having time off work for nothing”.  You have no idea how much I wish I had of defied her that day for her news about "nothing".

 
So, on her own, she was told she had two brain tumours in her head.  They were secondary.  Funny how I had no idea what secondary tumour meant back then.  20/20.   

 
When she rang me, in between the small sobs all I got was “they’ve found tumours in my bloody brain”.


She sounded so small. 

 

One year ago she found out that the insidious disease that is cancer had invaded her body.   The doctors believe it had been residing within her body for many months, probably years. 

 

From diagnosis to death, Mum lived for three months.  In the middle of the spinning vortex, it felt like so much longer.

 

So on reflection; were there people outside her window harassing her?  Was there a big fluffy white cat that jumped on her security screens from time to time?  Were hooligans really throwing rocks on her roof?  I don’t know.  More than likely they weren’t.  I do know now though that if someone I love starts telling me something that is out of the ordinary or acting a bit differently, I won’t shy away from investigating it. 

 

Hindsight may be 20/20 but I think I’m better off putting on my glasses and seeing what’s in front of me.