Monday, January 31, 2011

School starts

The twins went back to school today. the year 1 room is up a level - so an extra flight of stairs fro Hannah to deal with. The 2 Year 1 classes are also more separate so Kit is in a different class. Still I think they had a good day. Hannah looks exhausted. She told me she wanted to lie down and watch tv when I picked them up.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Random Acts in the Garden

I got yet another treat this week. By chance my MIL had a spare ticket to a matinee at the Ensemble. The ENsemble is a small theatre on the north side of town, near Luna Park. It was a one man show - by the 'dentist' from Mother and Son (Heaven help me I still can't remember the guy's name other than Harry!). Anyways - it was a lovely trail of vignettes - began with a speech from King Lear to his daughters, traversed the issues of racism, global warming and what is is to be an actor. In part of it he spoke of Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie - and so began my interest in DH - so on the trip home I decided that we'd have a Dustin Festival in the Dock. Do you know how many good movies that man has been in? I haven't seen them all, there are a number that I have heard of and not seen (like All the President's Men). So the first movies off the rink (depending upon availability at our local video store are :The Graduate, Kramer v Kramer, Tootsie and Death of a Salesman. THen I googled and the list at least doubled! We watched The Graduate last night - and it was great - better than I remembered - funny, arty, quirky... and it lead us to sit up late playing S&G records - which has to be a good thing. And then there is Willy and Biff, "a man is not a piece of fruit". I haven't seen that for years - certainly not since I had Hannah and learned about Danny Miller...
While I was at the theatre, Phil took the twins to a garden centre to revamp our vege patch. When I got home they planted their treasures...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Beach Holiday

We went down the south coast for a week. We'd rented a holiday house across the road from the beach with 2 other families.

The first day we arrived at our holiday house was a gloriously sunny afternoon. We hurried down to the beach. The twins raced into the water - all was peaceful and fresh. Phil was pulling Hannah along the waters edge on her new skim disk and she was loving it when she lost her balance and went face first into the hard sand. One of her top front baby teeth was knocked out. Once we realised we raced to get it back but the sea ate it up. Little brat was quite shaken so I carried her back to the house for the clean up. Her father was feeling very bad but it is just one of those things. The tooth net tot he lost one was wobbly. We hoped that it would not follow suit. It seemed as if it wasn't that wobbly - it would be touch and go...
Possums came up on deck at night searching for snacks

Kit learned to catch a wave on his boogieboard
Hannah found this green sack and turned into a caterpillar
This bream was caught and cooked for dinner
We saw dolphins swimming past
We went on bush walks and played at the park.

There was beach cricket, boy races the length of the beach, hermit crab races and noughts and crosses to play on the beach. Hannah made a million cakes and raced me into the waves over and over again...
Late one afternoon, a few hours after she'd had a chocolate icecream, Hannah lost another girl is very gummy now - she comes at you mouth wide with excitement and al you can see is pink gum!
We played board games: family trivia; the Margaret and David Movie Game (I was Margaret!); Uno; Pairs (or memory game) Bookworm (on ipad/ipod); MarioKart (DS) and Hannah's favourite - Thomas Snakes and Ladders.
This is simply a random photo I took on our last day. One of the things that struck me watching the people on the beach and in the water was how colourful everything is at the beach. Maybe it is cos I am so used to living in the city where black is the go with everything colour preference. People at the beach had a rag tag collection of pieces - often mismatched but somehow they work against the tawny green backdrop of the national park and the sandy white colour of the beach and the waves. GThere were flashes of pink, green and orange, striped red and white beach umbrellas and yellow buckets and spades. A rainbow of colours...
When we got home I felt tired but refreshed - cleaned out the kitchen cupboards from top to bottom as I put away the leftover holiday goods. The kids played with their toys and pottered about. Finally I popped down to our local shops. Hannah had been asking to go tot he shops for quite a while so I took her with me. Sometimes I think the only reason she wants to come tot he shops with me is to have a sleep - and sleep she did. She was knackered!
The next day I went in search of the lego that Hannah had been demanding to buy with the cash from the tooth fairy. I couldn't afford the $100+ airplane that she wanted but I did find this seaplane. She and I made it together - it is a great little kit.

Fremantle Press : Books : Greater Expectations: Living with Down syndrome in the 21st century by Jan Gothard

Fremantle Press : Books : Greater Expectations: Living with Down syndrome in the 21st century by Jan Gothard

What a fantastic title for a book about people with Down Syndrome and their families in the 21st century. There is a sample chapter if you follow the link - which includes references to stalking (something that I can definitely relate to!lol) Can't wait to read it all....

Monday, January 24, 2011


Can you see the little figure in white in the photo above? Well that is a little fellow who's Mum I was stalking - he is nearly 4 and his family was holidaying near ours down south. One of my friends came back to the house and commented that they'd seen a little boy with DS down at the beach. they'd chatted but not about the DS - she said she didn't know how to broach the subject so chatted about other things - like the whether and wetsuits. My advice - was to go for it - just say something about the redheaded brat that we have 'back at the house' on this occasion - and go from there. Especially if the little fellow was as young as she thought (18 -24 months). Of course he was older ... our kids have access to the fountain of youthful good looks - lucky them!
Anyways there is no stopping a special needs Mama on a hunt and surely enough I found them - and had a lovely chat to his Mum. He sure was a cutie.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

It Begins with Awareness.

It Begins with Awareness.

I love Kelle's blog. I visit regularly though I rarely comment - she gets so many comments already - because her Enjoying the Small Things is just so beautiful. This link is rated TE - Tissues Essential. The only thing I'd add is something that a good friend of mine has reiterated over and over as we searched for a school for Hannah - a point now that I think I have actually started to really and truly accept (as opposed to sort of accepting). Our kids - are gifts - not just to us (I knew that!) but to the communities we share them with. When I send my most precious and vulnerable daughter out into the world I do so knowing that she is strong, her spirit bright and her gifts enormous. I have learnt to trust that others will accept the responsibility of looking after this gift - just as I as Hannah's Mum have learned to.

I posted in Mainstream Musings just the other day a Review of our first year of formal schooling. In it I mentioned a letter, written in Hannah's voice, that went out to every family in the school. It was in many ways our family's offering - our gift tot he families of the school, the opportunity of welcoming Hannah into their lives. With that gift comes responsibilities. They have risen to the call with generosity of spirit and openness of hearts. They enjoy it. Yes I think there are plenty of people in our area who would agree that they have been blessed with my redheaded brat. It was me who had to learn to trust a bit more.

I should also add that given the devastation of floods here - I am not posting this link in Aus as a call to donate (although if anyone wants to go for it!) but simply cos the message from Kelle and all the people in it are a gift - a gift that is too hard to refuse.

Friday, January 14, 2011


The waiting Charm Princess
Last week when Kit had sleepover at his cousins Hannah waited impatiently at our front door waiting for her father to come home. She and the poodle made such a tragic pair that I videoed them. A couple of nights ago while I was making dinner Hannah started insisting that she wanted to go to Nan and Pop's for dinner now. We arranged for her to do so the very next day. Her Nan would pick her up and then one of us go get her. Well she was beside herself with excitement most of the day. I had totally forgotten that she had a ST session that morning - lucky it was a home visit one! At first she was quite thrown and saying "No, Hannah .. Nan and Pop's house". Once she realised she would still be going to her grandparents later on she was more compliant. My MIL rang to say she would be here in about an hour. To fill in the time Hannah got ready in stages: dress; shoes; hair like the heroine in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs;
shoes (again)...and then I couldn't think of much else to distract her with so she waited at the door....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I'm a diversity junkie - I love it. Like everything though it comes with challenges...the front page of my paper had me close to tears as I stared at the person int he red vest - out in raging flood waters trying to save people's lives in Toowoomba. The article mentioned a semitruck driver who parked his truck so that a car was prevented from washing away and he threw a rope to the female driver of the car so she could get to safety - such human acts of heroism always move me - I think that humans are totally awesome.
Then on page 3 a coroners inquest into the drowning of a little girl with Rett syndrome. The question being considered is whether her death was accidental or deliberate. The father is quoted as having said to a DoCS worker "I can't cope with it," "We are two hippies living in a house, playing guitar. This is out of range." The child was going into foster care but the drowning incident happened a week before. I'm not suggesting the parents were involved in her death - that is up to the coroners court(!) - and I think that they did the best thing if that was their reaction by placing the child in foster care - giving her a chance to having some loving carers...but I can't help but feel sad at the contrast between the front page action and the third page is rarely simple...

Monday, January 10, 2011

For Cate

Cate at I don't Know What to Say has a post about technologies and children - in particular ipodtouches and youtube. I totally understand her concerns. Phil and I are at the moment trying to decide what are reasonable boundaries to set for the twins with regards to all this technology. Hannah loves her ipod - especially in the car or if she is out visiting. She makes cakes on it or watches Hi5 videos. Other than that she doesn't seem to want to go on the computer much - she used to go to dora games and Daniel Cook but hasn't asked for them much since I moved the computers into the spare room and out of the living area. She got gov't funding for an ipad but mostly watches dvds on it and not often (school term hasn't started here yet!). I write notes on it - a record of the 'lessons' Hannah and I do together over the holiday break.
Kit got a DSi when han got her ipodtouch (twins and birthdays can get very expensive!). He didn't seem to use it too much. Mostly he made flipnotes on it rather than play games. He got a couple more games and has had friends and relatives with theirs so is playing more games on it now (plus it's holidays he has more free time than usual.)
Christmas brought him a Wii - he was using it for what I would consider a 'reasonable amount' given our holiday at home status - maybe an hour a day? He only has 2 games - Mariokart and Wiisports - he plays Wii sports with Hannah or his father or friends if they call over. But then Phil hired a Ben 10 Wii thing - the bane of our existence - he is obsessed with moving up levels on it - and it isn't easy for him so he cajoles his father into helping and then I have 2 badtempered males to deal with!(lol). I'll be glad when it goes back to the video shop - not one I'm in ahurry to buy - but who knows what 'party dad' will do...
Anyway - last week we had a great day up at Pearl Beach - the only time the brats had technology was on the drive home (it takes a bit over an hour) - the photoes above are from that journey - and for Cate. Cate - when you come up with a prototype for handling this one - I'd love some tips!
Just today a friend visited with her 2 kids (who also got a Wii for Christmas) - and one of them had lost their new DSi over the past couple of weeks - I'd be ropable - but at the same time - you give a 6 year old the technology but we wouldn't give the the key to their house would we?
It is one of the issues I am a bit concerned about with Hannah's ipad at school too - I don't want the teacher to have to take on an extra responsibility for the piece of equipment but of course she will have to won't she? after all Hannah is only 6...We will have a meeting where we discuss the rules of it's usage and how to keep it safe - but still with the benefits of these gadgets comes responsibilities and new problems...

Friday, January 07, 2011


I had to go into work for the day this week. Kit has been dying to have a sleepover at his cousins place so I organised it to coincide with my working day. Hannah clearly told us that she did not want a sleepover there. So alternative arrangements were made for little brat. The night without Kit she thought she was Christmas - sitting up between her father and I for movie night. We had popcorn (as she demanded) then I made us a mushroom tart and finally hannah insisted on making dessert - so she served us strawberries and icecream with a jelly snake on top. At first she chose Ben 10 for movie night but I put my foot down on that one and once she realised I was serious she changed her choice to Bee Movie which was fine by me.
After the movie she negotiated to sleep in our bed - with me - with 'Daddy, my bedroom" as the little bugger said. Once we were all settled for the night - we slept in until 8.15 the next day - unheard of when Kit is in residence when 7.30 is a great sleep-in!!

The next day I had arranged for my girlfriend's daughter (who is 14 now!) and Hannah's best friend to come and look after her for me. Well R arrived at 8.30 ready to go and Hannah was just as excited to have her friend all to herself. She was quite keen for me to leave them to it. R's mum was home sick - later that day when I was chatting to her she told me this story:

Karen rang the house to see how R and Hannah were going. Hannah answered the phone with 'Hello'. My friend said "Hi Hannah it is Aunty Karen here. Is R there?" to which apparently little brat said "yes". My friend then asked to speak with her daughter. Hannah then said quite clearly "No we are playing." and - hung up!!! The little horror. My friend said she then rang back and this time spoke a bit more firmly - with a "Hi, it's Aunty Karen here. Can you get R for me?" to which the evil child said "no" and hung up again!! At which point my friend rang her daughter on the mobile. Our chat was about how clear her speech was in the conversation more than the naughtiness of the behaviour... which I have to say I thought was very funny. Naughty sure but also very funny - maybe that's what the red hair can be blamed for....

Still the day was a success and I think R will agree to mind the little bugger again for us should the need arise.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Another fashion moment complete with mismatched socks.
Hannah has been initiating 'work' to get ready for Year one since NYE. Each session lasts from 10-25 minutes long. It is great to see her so keen to learn. She uses a slant board for writing and sometimes for her drawing:
At the beach with her family on a sunny day.
When Phil and Kit were cooking, little brat didn't want to be left out - she helped chop and prepare the sauce and roll some gnocchi too...
Kit still loves the idea of junior masterchef. He chose this recipe of Isabella's to cook for dinner ... with help from his father.
The finished product looked a lot like the picture in the Masterchef junior cookbookIt was delicious!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Art Gallery

Phil often says to me that I should 'go out' (mostly cos he often does!) but I don't really like going out at night that much - but today I agreed that he could drop me in at the art gallery and I'd bus it home - planning a whole afternoon just on my own to replenish my spirit of self. It was great (even though we realised midway through that he actually had a bbq to go to that same afternoon!). it just meant that I lingered at the art gallery and didn't also walk into the city to a cafe for a cuppa and a bit of browsing. That didn't worry me because the main reason I went was to see the exhibition 'art and soul' - and it was worth it - so much so that I went fro broke and bought the tv series dvd that goes with it as well.
The first emperor is exhibiting at the art gallery - queues were very long to get in - I simply went to browse at the shop while I was waiting to get picked up - and couldn't resist buying this paper-cut. Still when people ask me about twins or if someone says 'double trouble' I am ready to counter with the saying given to me by a Chinese woman I used to work with - said at t a time when my pregnancy was pretty stressful - it was a welcome relief to hear her describe it as 'double happiness' - so when I saw this even though I couldn't really afford it - I bought it. Isn't it beautiful?

Kit loved the warrior excavation kit i got him - he very carefully unburied an infantryman.