Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My favourite Christmas present is Sophie - the red headed doll - who speaks Italian and English - a perfect gift for my redhead who is reading her stories in this picture - givent hat we live in the midst of Sydney's sizable Italian community.
Hannah loves the skipping rope that Santa brought her - although I think it will be a while before she can actually 'skip' with it - it is great for her practising jumping and she and Kit use it in lots of other imaginative ways.
Ben 10
You know the movie where the parents trawl through the shopping centres desperately searching for "the" Christmas present - with no luck as they are all sold out - well P and I have now realised that that is not a ridiculous scenario at all! On the day before Christmas my DH drove from one side of Sydney to the other in search of an omnitrix. Both brats wanted one - it was high on the list. When you have a daughter who doesn't talk much and is generally a bit shy with strangers - answering "What is Santa getting you for Christmas?" from shop assistants with the action of an omnitrix and saying "m.. tri ..x!" You do what you can - lucky just as we were about to give up - I remembered an anime shop just down the road - and YAY !!!! apparently they are 'old' - 2nd edition not the latest - but our 4 year olds think they are the bees knees and that is all that counts for us!

Kit's new shoes
I love the joy on the faces in this photo - I believe Hannah is 'good for the soul' - and I think Grandpa agrees!
Picnic with friends and family
We bbqed bacon and egg rolls - yummy! Kit enjoyed a vigorous game of soccer with friends
Hannah loves having Grandpa to push her on the swings
Santa brought Hannah a big bike - which she loves. I think it will take her a little while to work the peddles though!
and now in a time old cliche - it is New Years Eve and I am off to an appointment at the gym I am planning on joining - let's hope it works! Happy new year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Last night we wandered the streets looking for CHristmas lights - in our suburb and the one next to us. There were so many we didn't get to them all but the kids (and I) had a ball - I love the fun and generosity and community spirit. Walking the night streets in summer - admiring the glitter of the pretty lights and all the snow and snowmen and penguins in the displays - it's not ridiculous - it's charming and my brats were certainly enchanted. Christmas lights are just another aspect of the magic of the season.


Regardless of the incident at the swings. Everyone had a ball at H's party. Grown ups and kids.


We went to a friend's 3rd birthday party yesterday. Fairies and Pirates. There were lots of kids we didn't know there. Hannah just loves the swings. She had been having a ball swinging with R - the 12 year old (yep - she had her birthday a couple of weeks ago!)that is Hannah's hero. She then set off wandering around the playground - there were two kids parties on so it was pretty wild. R was swinging, my DH and R's mother were over keeping an eye on our 4 and a few other kids. Hannah walked right in front of the swing. DH says she didn't get knocked down, she is so light she literally flew through the air and crashed back to the ground. The first I knew was DH carrying Hannah over to me at the food tables and the anxious gesture he made for me to come to help him. She was crying - she'd had a HUGE scare and got a split lip in the process. R was over on a bench crying with her mum. My poor girls. DH said he just felt sick seeing it - he'd thought she might need an ambulance at first. Thank god kids are so tough. Really ... thank you God! A lot of cuddles and soothing words and both girls were soon off playing together. I noticed that as they went past the swings R grabbed Hannah's hand and kept her real close. Me? I gave her extra hugs and cuddles all night long.


Whoo Hoo!! My Christmas cakes are made and iced and one has been posted up north to my family. I hope they like it. I have been making one for us for a few years now - using Mum's recipe. She loved making a fruit cake for the family to share.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Life in the Dock is going well - I have only 1 real day left at work. Brats had their last swimming lesson for the year today - they had a ball - and tomorrow is their last music class for the year. We stayed at home all weekend but had plenty of visitors which was very nice. On Sunday I amused myslef with taking a couple of photoes (see above) of the kids - they are just so gorgeous! Even Hannah - with a chocolate smear across her eye like a strange little girl pirate.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Parties

Yesterday was a big un for parties - both Hannah's EI and the brats' childcare had end of year functions as can be seen in the above photoes. Both events were lots of fun. Noticably to me though was the closer bond I have with the EI Mums. Not that the 'regular' mums aren't nice, they are. I just noticed the difference.

Knowing Gabriel

Click on the title for the beautifully written response to the offending article mentioned below. It is well worth a read. Thanks Sue Blakston for expressing 'our' feelings so eloquently.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Cheer

I have just finished baking my second Christmas cake - it is one of Mum's recipes and just another way of honouring her memory this Christmas. The brats have had a great day painting plaster tree decorations and playing together while I blog! There have been a couple of articles on ds that have been playing on my mind. Negative ones. I'm not saying it's all a rosy picture here but I find those attitudes difficult to understand. People are all different and respond to situations their own way. I just don't get that having a particular disability like DS is seen as such a bad thing. I didn't happy dance when i got Hannah's diagnosis - but I did happy dance when i got her! I don't feel ashamed or awkward when I am out with her - mostly I feel proud. SO in the spirit of Christmas I am going to try not to dwell on such things too much. In our home and by and large in our community such as it is at the moment both brats are welcomed and loved. I wanted three kids, I got 2 - I consider myself blessed. Disability is in the top 3 for common experience of discrimination in NSW. I hate to think that when she is older Hannah will have to read such views and/or suffer such discriminations. What will she make of them? I pray that she will have the common sense and the self esteem to know better. I firmly believe that these attitudes are things that can be changed slowly but surely. I also believe that the best response is to live well, to contradict the wacky stateents and claims just by doing what we do. Loving and living together as a family. Understanding and acceptance of diversity has made definite 'progress' in our society. Maybe somewhere in the future along with all our smart technologies and great learning we will tap into the secrets of great happiness - LOVE - I think people like Hannah and Kit will be able to lead the way. So to all those scaredy cats out there - PEACE. I wish you well on your journey - out on the highways and the main roads - I'm sticking to the slow lane and the suburban roads but I hope we will meet up at the same point in the end.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Party time!

Last week marked the start of the party season - for the twins. We had their Christmas Party - for their music class. Tomorrow is the last group for EI so we are having a small party then on Friday there will be the whole EI centre party as well as the child care party and then finally on Saturday is a little boy's fairies and pirates birthdya party. Phew, I don't know how we'll keep up this pace - second lot of gingerbread men made and iced ...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Fluff Piece - an insult to intelligent discussion

yup - very unhappy to have my relaxing read of the Sunday paper and a cuppa ruined by this trite inaccurate and out of date piece of drivel. Why was it offensive to me? (the link is in the title of the post - should you have the inclination to read for yourself) First it accepts without any question and PROMOTES the concept that good public policy would aim to 'halve' the birth of children with the 'incurable genetic condition' aka Down Syndrome. Yup - that in itself is offensive. There is more to disagree with - bad writing, unbalance, a total deficit of critical thinking or analysis on the part of the 'journalist' who cobbled it together. Statistics that are debateable and the inital totally RIDICULOUS claim that less people with T21 is a good thing. Hmm Not at all happy Louise!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

24 sleeps to go...

We put the tree up on the weekend. Our Advent calendar has begun. The kids and I have hopes of doing some baking and some general cooking in preparation for having the family Christmas at our place.
One of the resoans I love quilting - Mum started it and as my DH said in her eulogy - we all have things around our homes that Mum made a gave to us - gifts of love and self that can be treasured for years to come. This nativity wallhanging is one of hers. I also have a 12 Days of Christmas table centrepiece.
I did this wall hanging for the new house - used the Adoration of the Christchild for the nativity pic - the one that has a couple of people around the manger with features that resemble the markers for T21.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Things are looking good in the Dock. I have begun sorting and decorating for CHristmas. We'll do the tree on the weekend when advent begins. Have been loving Margaret Fultan's Christmas cookbook. Marking can be avoided until Friday. Mum's embroidery mmachine has been working overtime - I want a wallhanging to celebrate our first Christmas here. Dad is flying down on Boxing Day - and I can't wait to see him.

Monday, November 17, 2008

We had a great weekend. Took the brats to a Family Fun Fair on Sunday. It was to raise funds for Phase 2 of an all abilities playground at a local park - a fantastic idea. The New DOrothy the Dinosaur show was there - we all had a ball (and I got a few trinkets for Christmas - have lots to do to get the house ready. I know that it will be a sad day for me without Mum but she loved this time of year - and so do I (thanks to her) so I am still looking forward to it all - seeing the kids celebrate - even though ti will be my saddest Christmas ever.
We had a meeting today re Han going to gov't preschool for 2 days a week next year. It had the AP, school counsellor, district officer (funding etc), preschool teacher, a rep from our EI provider (thank goodness!!) and us. Do I have to say I was a bit nervous??? Anyways the meeting was looking at how we might get a tiny bit of funding/support for little brat and as expected - no we can't. Even with Rees (NSW Premier) stealing the kiddies bus passes (no longer will schoolkids autommatically get free travel)to put more $ into special needs programs. I was a bit surprised that I got a bit teary - managed to keep it together though. I know the cake is small - but really?? I do wonder if we wouldn't be better off finding her a 'special needs school' and being done with it. Why put her through the mainstream mill - just waiting for her to fail - knowing that if she is to maximmise her potential she NEEDS additional support - yep - it seems that 'DS' can stop you getting a visa to stay yet doesn't count when the hat gets passed around in education. "It affects everyone differently" we are told ... mmm yup - so does autism yet it is a funding category on its own. It isn't as if there is a cure for the extra chromosomme!!!!!!!! so - how did it go - as well as can be expected - the system sucks. We have the mainstream idea shoved down our throats ad nauseum yet the reality is that we have to watch our kids 'cope' - the system does very little to modify for them - it is them that have to do the changing - who have to fit in. Rant rant rant...! The school and the preschool teacher seem great. Very welcoming of Han and ready to accomodate her as mmuch as they can - with no additional support. I am actually looking forward to it as I think she will benefit a lot from that environment.And away she goes ...

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Kit's 'SuperSanta'
The brats had their orientation for preschool - they will be going 2 days a week next year. I am very nervous about it - but also excited as I think it will be a great opportunity for them - and I think they'll really like it.
The teacher is very open - has said that she doens't know much about DS - but she is clearly very experienced and is good with the kids and open about finding out stuff. She and I talked informally after an information session a couple of weeks ago and based on that I drafted up a 'Getting to know Hannah' sort of letter with FAQs on the back. Given that the teacher amde a couple of gaffs (like referring to Han as 'downs' when talking to me - I am hoping she reads them too - it entions people first language!! I wasn't offended though - her intentions are good and I wouldn't want to ake her feel uncvcomfortable or defensive - I want her to feel that she can come up and ask me stuff. Still I hope she reads that sheet!
The preschool has a great feel to it - like a classroom but friendly and very well organised. Hannah and Kit played at various things with gusto. The other parents were nice. Hannah managed to make eye contact with 2 other children with a little prompting - so I am hoping she will devlop more confidence when playing with her peers. At the end of orientation the teacher read them a story and they did a little singing - yep - I am looking forward to it for them next year - it should be good.
On Monday we have the 'big meet' which I am a bit nervous about - it is with the preschool teacher, the deputy principal, the Dept district officer - support, the schoool counsellor and in the other ring is myself, P and thankfully someone from Han's EI. I know the intention of it is good but still I feel a bit nervous. Hope it goes ok.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I have so much marking to get through. I just can't get my head around it. This morning I attended a memorial service for one of our students who was killed in horrible circumstances. Such a sad, terrible loss. She was 18. A beautiful girl. I don't know how her mother copes. She spoke beautifully today, with such strength. I know she did that for her daughter and it breaks my heart. The young woman wasn't in my class but so many of my students were there - many of them closely affected by the tragedy. I just want to spend some time thinking about them and the victim and her family and reflecting on how precious life is. When news broke we did not know the names of the students involved but we knew they were ours. I just wanted to spend the day touching my students making sure they were real, trying vainly to protect them - their vibrant spirits so tough yet so fragile. Eternal rest grant unto her ... and peace for her family.

Friday, November 07, 2008

How to avoid saying "ROTTEN!!!!!!!!!"

Here are some excerpts from Miss X's ST teacher - she had an individual lesson early onday morning - can you guess Hannah's mood?

"She required continual prompting to attend to tasks today"

"Despite having her own ideas of what she wanted to colour, XX was able to follow simmple instructions correctly." and

"Hannah was able to recognise an animal by its sound 3 of 4 times - on one occassion XX wanted to finish the activity"

MMMmm - not the best little girl - at least I can laugh about it - afterall I am quite partial to an hornery type (you should see my DH!) and she is usually pretty good.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Checking in

It has been a pleasant ten days in the Dock. I went to a parent information session at the loocal preschool where the twins will be going 2 days a week next year. The preschool teacher seems like she'll be great. They have an orientation next week where P and I will take the brats and then the following Monday we have a 'profiling' meeting with the school counsellor, Han's EI rep, a District officer, the Deputy Principal and us - so the first of the 'big' IEP type meetings I guess - fingers crossed it goes well.
Today is Melbourne Cup and the first year that I don't think I'll even get to place a bet - still I thought I'd trya nd make something a bit festive for dinner to make up for it.
We had friends up from Melbourne for the weekend and that was lovley and relaxing - their little girl is just adorable - she has the sweetest nature.Here are a selection of snaps - mostly we have been playing at home although we did go to a local school fete on Sunday which was fun. On ALl souls day we went to church and afterwards took the brats ot alocal restaurant for dinner - they had a ball and were very well behaved.