Sunday, July 25, 2010


I finally bit the bullet and changed hannah from music to dance. I felt a little sad writing a note to her music teacher - she has been fantastic and Hannah has loved going and learned heaps but truly in her best interrests - I know it is time to move on - to Dance!
Unfortunately I couldn't find a suitable special needs dance class but this local one was recommended by one of the kindy mums - and they have a great attitude. There are 2 teachers in the room and one of them volunteers at the local school for deaf and blind children. Hannah had fun. I know it was the right decision - now for the dance wardrobe....

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A letter to Murray

Last week on one of our free to air commercial networks there was a fluff piece about a teacher suing the gov for damage to her voice - allegedly incurred as a result of 'yelling' at her students. It was a brief segment - one of the 'social commentators' on the 'news' panel - let it rip with a short but really ugly tirade against 'special needs' kids - 'these kids' - the 'r' word - the details aren't really that important - it was short and ugly and idiotic. There is a facebook group formed specifically in response to the segment and to stand up for our kids - this letter isn't for her.

That news story was depressing - but what happened on Fri night was definitely coloured by it.

I went to see Lisa Miller in concert at Newtown. While there I saw Murray of red skivvy fame down the back. (He has excellent taste in music btw - we also spotted him at Leonard Cohen last year). I felt myself thinking about the Wiggles then - and of our meet and greet with them about 12-18 months ago - at the theatre not far from where I was last night in fact. And I felt myself tearing up - and there were a number of thoughts running through my mind - the main one being about what a fantastic job those guys do in including kids of all abilities and needs - in a way that is respectful, compassionate and caring. Their integrity is impressive.
It isn't really the Australian way to go up to celebs that you see out and about - we try to keep it low key - especially as I know he lives in the area - he wouldn't want to be pestered everytime he went out. Still it played on my mind - how much it means to our families that such famous and wonderful kids music performers always find time to include our kids - not in a patronising way. In a real way. I thought of all the blogs I've read - and so many of them included a Wiggles concert - and a number of those included the 'meet and greet' - in fact that is how I found out about it - I asked other special needs mamas. They advised me to 'write a letter' which I did and then I got the phone call followed by the email. Before the concert we met the wiggles. Hannah and Kit were absolutely thrilled and to be honest - I was quite excited too!! It was a real treat - followed by a fantastic concert - and then lunch at a local cafe - a day I will always remember.
At the end of last night's show I pushed DH over to say thanks - which he did. Murray was as expected absolutely lovely - as DH said - "I have a 5 year old daughter with Down Syndrome. You met her for a photo opp before a concert last year - I just wanted to say 'thanks''. You could see his smile light up. I also got to chime in my thanks too - I couldn't really put evertything I wanted to say into words - I would have cried and the poor man was out and about enjoying his Friday night after all!! I am still not fully satisfied with my 'open letter' but such is the nature of owrds - it is really hard to capture everythiing I want to say with them. Still I have to try:
"Dear Murray (and the other Wiggles too!!)
I want to thank you for the joy your music brings to children and families. As a parent of a child with down syndrome I love seeing children of different needs included in your videos - in fact one of Hannah's friends appears in "Getting Strong".
I love being part of an online special needs community because as much as I love my daughter and rejoice in her accomplishments it can sometimes be very difficult and isolating - there is still so much prejudice and ignorance in the community about disability and difference.
I first heard about your 'meet and greets' on some US blogs. Each parent so happy and proud to show you their children - and to meet you guys. I asked Sheena of Sheena Time how she got to meet you - and so I did the same. Preparing the twins to meet you was a treat in itself. Kit drew a blue Mr Men style picture (cos that was his thing at the time!) for Anthony and Hannah drew a couple of pictures - one for Murray who she thinks is like her Dad (because he plays guitar too) and one for Sam. She forgot to bring them but was so star struck to meet you all in person she forgot to mind.
As we moved over for our turn - Murray came over and knelt down in front of her (boy he is so tall!), Anthony thanked Kit for the picture and held it aloft proudly making sure the photo worked. Jeff and Sam were smiling and relaxed. For our family it was a very special memory - so often our kids aren't 'seen' but you go out of your way to see them and show them to the world. I can't thank you enough for that.
Best wishes

So there you have it - the light in the darkness when people like Prue Macsween spout her poison is strong - and it comes from lots of different people...together we really are strong and that is what our kids deserve. In fact it is their right.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Holidays - Week One

We have had a great week here in the Dock. I just love the school holidays. The kids have mucked around home, gone on some outings - like Toy Story 3 and the Abstractions Exhibition at the art gallery. Tey ahve done a little school related stuff - Hannah's teacher gave me a little 'gift pack' of cutting activities which Hannah loves doing so we ahve done a few of those. They both were desperately tired and in need of this space. Hannah ahs had an oozing ear infection since the alst day of term - hoepfully it is gone now (fingers crossed) as if not I ahve to take her back to the drs because she will have been on antibiotics for the recommended time limit of 10 days.
I have also managed to start a Bargello butterfly quilt in Bali fabrics. I bought a Snow White panel which Hannah is excited about having made up into something for her. Tomorrow we ahve another kindy birthday party to attend. I am sure that they will be happy to see some of their school friends again.
We took the twins out of Sydney for a drive in the country - Richmond and Windsor which are in the Hawkesbury region of Sydney - everyone had a great day. We had lunch at a local cafe which of course the kids thought was a real treat.
The twins and I made some honey cake - check out how like the picture in the recipe book our efforts were!!
Fifa Fever has been here in the Dock. Dh has been getting up at 4.30am to watch games - our teams of course dropped out early but there has been plenty of enthusiasm anyway. Kit and his dad had a few games of soccer in the back yard - excuse DHs spotty pjs on the line - that is the goal area!
Winter is well and truly here so it was lucky that I had a little free time towards teh end of semester to quilt a couple of lap quilts for the loungeroom. I am getting tired of waking up toa wet deck every morning at least the skies are cloudy but rain generally holds off or is only very light.

My brats have really enjoyed the first week of their holidays.
The holidays began with a lovely party that the twins and I had a ball at - and then some new boots for each child as I realised (doh!) that they couldn't wear their school shoes all holidays...
Myself and some galfriends kicked up our boots at the annual turkey cooking festival. Anthony's AMAZING and DELICIOUS pumpkin pie made it back on the menu - by popular demand.
Hannah's chopping skills, like her cutting skills at school - have gone from strength to strength!

Saturday, July 03, 2010