Tuesday, 1 December 2009

What comes with mobility...

We recently had a trial of a power-wheelchair for Princess. Her last trial was eleven months ago. Sigh. These things move slowly (the trialling, not the chairs!).

In that eleven months, however, Princess' confidence has grown enormously, something I think we can largely thank her fabulous year at school for. This time, driving the power-wheelchair she was suddenly braver, more daring and more able. It was awesome to watch. The smile couldn't be wiped off her face (well, except for the one time she crashed hard into the wall, but that's another story). (She's fine now).

One other thing we learned is that Princess isn't always going to be the polite, demure little girl she usually presents as. We had her practising her skills in the power-chair in some open space near our house. We happened upon one of her teachers, who eagerly watched Princess independently maneuvering herself all over the place.

As Teacher and I were chatting, Princess hurtled towards us, stopping perfectly in time as we lavished praise upon her. Then, just as Teacher bent down to her to continue lavishing praise, Princess looked at us cheekily and started doing tight donuts in front of us. Round and round she went, with me requesting that she stop and make eye contact while Teacher was speaking to her...but no. Round and round, giggling as she went.

Hurrah - she's obnoxious too! Go Princess!

Sunday, 1 November 2009


I spend a lot of my thinking time thinking about the futures of our three kids, and particularly wondering what Princess' future holds. Sometimes I just can't even picture what her life will be. I reason that as an able-bodied person, how CAN I imagine her life as an adult with a severe physical impairment? Truth is, I can't. The not-knowing terrifies me. Of course I can dream, and I do dream BIG, but I just don't know...

So you can imagine the inspiration I feel when I read about people who not only dream big, but actually achieve great feats, seemingly against the odds.

People like Hilary Lister, a woman with severe quadriplegia who has sailed solo around Britain using a 'sip and puff' system to control her sails and steering. Here's the video of how she does it.

I hope one day Princess can feel that sense of flying and freedom that spurs Hilary on. That she will have the drive and 'never say die' attitude she will need to achieve her great things.

Meanwhile, I'd love to know - who inspires you?

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Riding the TWAAAIIIN!

In honour of Chuckles' up-coming 3rd birthday, we recently went on a little day trip to a small gauge Steam Railway. I think I've mentioned his love of trains in the past. Anyhoo, we all enjoyed this outing very much. I've never seen a wider smile on the kid.

Once at our tea-room-and-gardens destination (before the return trip) the train theme continued, with Princess' wheelchair being transformed into the P.P.No.6 - Pink Princess No.6 Engine, o'course. Little Man driving, with Princess and Chuckles shovelling and stoking, as you do.

Anticipating the 'toot'.

The Station Master and Drivers gave us some old railway magazines to fuel Chuckle's obsession. He LOVES them. Thanks to all at the Durundur Railway, Woodford - a thumbs up from all of us!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Poo. Fart. Chips. for me.

I'm baaa-aaack!

Yep, it's been ten and a half weeks since my last posting (how Catholic-sounding of me), but I'm gonna try REALLY hard this time to keep a regular commitment.


Ok, so life's been very full over the last few months. Nothing new in that. Well, apart from my brother's wedding interstate, at which ALL THREE of my kids were in the bridal party, and I was MC! Eeek! No pressure! It was a wonderful time though, the kids rose to the occasion and we all had fun catching up with LOTS of family, old and new. Thanks Unca J and welcome to the family Aunty C!

Then there was our holiday to The Snow. That was hard work, but fun. Kind of. Might have been more fun if we hadn't arrived in the middle of a blizzard, but hey, now we can look back and laugh. Golly, it was cold. Beach next time.

What else? Oh yeah, the usual flurry of school routine and activity - the massive annual School Fair, school projects, after-school sport, playdates, therapy appointments, toddler gym, International Talk-Like-a-Pirate Day, oh, and work. And lots of other stuff in between.

And then there was that horrible week when my Darling Hubby was rushed to hospital with a sudden and life-threatening problem that was finally resolved by surgery after he lay in extreme agony for three days, before developing a secondary problem which was also very serious before he finally got better enough to come home. Thank goodness that week is behind us.

So, during all this I've been playing with my new toy - an iPhone. MY iPhone. I'd been interested in getting one so Princess could have something to access and play with. The touchscreen really is quite fab, and Princess does have some fun with it. I'm scouring for applications all the time that are useful for her and the boys. It's so easy!

What caught me by surprise is how much fun I'm having with it! It's great! Not so much as a mobile phone, but as a hand-held touchscreen computer it's beaut.

Little Man likes to borrow MY iPhone to play games on every now and then. Sometimes he gives it back to me with a maniacal laugh, and it took me a while to work out why. I recently opened the 'shopping list' application (daggy but handy) - you may have already guessed, this post's title is what I read on my shopping list...
Chips. for me.

Ahh, eight-year-olds...don't you just love 'em?! Can't wait to discover what else lurks in there.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Belated and Brief Update

It seems I’ve been missing for a bit. Life has a tiresome habit of getting in the way of regular blogging! So here's a simplified update on what we've been up to - the very ordinary lives of, well, us.

We had an active time leading up to the end of term at school, with school Sports Day and Under Eights Day, and lots of other things besides. Phew. Sports Day was great fun - Little Man got 2nd place in a relay, having run strategically and come up from behind to surprise another team. We were still hearing about his brilliant tactic days later :) Despite lacking in confidence at the start of the day, I think he thoroughly enjoyed himself.

Princess particularly enjoyed getting 1st place in the wheelchair race (between her and one other boy who'd recently had complex surgery on his foot) - it helped that her 'pusher' was a fit young student teacher, keen and raring to go!

She also had fun in the Prep Relay race, the Jumping Ball race (with the ball between her legs while one of her friends pushed her chair, jumping), the Egg and Spoon race (holding the spoon ever-so-tightly!), Throw the Bean-bag in the Bucket, and of course cheering on her team for other events. She took a keen interest in the tallying of house points and was keen to scorn the other houses at any opportunity - we will teach her about good sportsmanship for next year!

Princess also ended Term 2 of school by receiving a Student of the Week award at her mainstream school! She was awarded for speaking up and answering questions loudly and clearly without the pregnant pause we've come to expect from her. Or, as her teacher put it "Patient [Princess] perceived the perils of Prep, prudently, quelling a penchant for prattle and proceeding with precision" (apparently the preppers really dig alliteration). Yay for Princess!

We were present at the whole school assembly at which she received her award. We were worried how Little "everyone in the WHOLE school knows HER, and nobody even knows I'm her brother!" Man would feel about it. So it was really extra special when Mr C, the school principal, invited Little Man up to the front of assembly as Princess' Important Older Brother, to assist her in receiving her award. I couldn't really see what was going on for the tears in my eyes, but I could tell Little Man was happy and proud to receive the acknowledgement he's craved all year, and Princess was genuinely surprised and thrilled. Of course, it was right at that time that my camera battery failed, but thanks to my good friend Merc, we have a picture to show...

During the school holidays, Little Man finally got a haircut (never thought it would happen, thank goodness he's open to bribes!), but even better than that, we celebrated his eighth birthday! We took him and a bunch of his good friends to the movies, followed by a feast of sushi, chips, vegie sticks, cake and lollies (all his faves). I've never heard the "you look like a monkey" version of Happy Birthday sung in such spontaneous unison before, and with such gusto! Little Man couldn't have been prouder. Awww. Here he is opening presents...

He has a talent for hamming things up, among many other things. These pics deserve to see light of day somewhere, may as well be here...

Happy Birthday Little Man. Here's looking to a fantastic year of being 8!

And finally a mention for wee Chuckles. Well, not so wee any more. Chuckles is bounding along - he's a happy fellow who adores his older brother at all the worst possible times, reveres his older sister but not enough to not steal toys/food/mummy's cuddles from her, and has the audacity to yell back at her when she yells at him for these misdemeanors! He often gets shuttled around from one commitment to the next, and it turns out he is a great companion throughout the day. And he is soooo adorably cheeky, he just always puts a smile on my face.

So that's a very small bit about us for now. Will try and post more often - easy to say, harder to do...

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

People First

Those that know me know that one of my pet hates is the way a person with a disability can be so poorly described by (most of) the media.

Here's a classic case in point, from a New Zealand TV Program. It's a great, hopeful story(for the most part). So it makes me wonder WHY did the headline have to read "Cerebral palsy patient gains, then loses, her voice". What's wrong with saying "Girl with cerebral palsy gains, then loses, her voice"? The girl in question was not ill, so she's not a patient. She's a GIRL.

People with disabilities are PEOPLE first. All with individual abilities, interests and needs.
There's no need to stereotype anyone into being a condition that they may have - the CP boy, the autistic girl, the mentally ill man. Instead, the boy with CP, the girl with autism, the man with a mental illness.

This is called People First language. Sounds like common sense to me.

Monday, 25 May 2009

The I've Been Corrected Blues

Driving with the whole family in the car, listening to Jazztrack, a favourite program of ours on ABC FM radio. A bluesy number came on and I decided to take the opportunity to educate the kids as to the sound and form of The Blues. Chuckles, the two year old, interrupted me.

"No Mum" he said, removing his dummy from his mouth and adopting a posture of authority. "Dis NOT boooos. Dis JAZZ."

And with more coolness than Miles Davis himself, Chuckles popped his dummy back in his mouth and continued staring out the window as if he hadn't spoken at all.

I wish I had even a little of that confidence.

EDITED TO ADD: This morning Darling Husband remarked upon some clever little thing Chuckles had done. "You're a cool dude!" he said. Chuckles hit back with "No, I'm AWESOME!".



He is pretty awesome though : )