Thursday, January 29, 2009

Money for Books.

At present neither Bilby or Koala are interested in reading for pleasure. However I have a little scheme which I hope will change that. I am offering them cash for each book read. This offer has been on the table for some time, but wasn't taken up until I suggested to them that they could use the money to pay for a monthly Club Penguin membership. This was just the motivation they needed.

This afternoon we have had a very quiet home. Not only have they been practising their reading skills, but their negotiation skills also. We have been haggling over what each book is worth! The average price seems to be $2.00. Koala is reading a gem form my childhood, one of the Choose Your Own Adventure series. We settled on .50c per story. Judging by the rapidity with which he is reading the book, I think we may have set the price slightly too high. I may have to visit the bank tomorrow! It is likely that these books fall into the twaddle category, but I remember them with great fondness as a struggling reader myself. Fortunately I graduated to Shakespeare, Austin and the like.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

He Loves Me!

Roo just spontaneously said, "I love you."
Another first, and one I have been eagerly awaiting!
He will say I love you when I ask him to, but this came out of the blue.

He also said 6 words today! "Pink rocket go up in sky."
Two lovely little Australia Day presents.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Visiting Jesus.

Today Roo and I made a brief visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The older boys were at Grandma and Poppy's for their holiday sleepover. We are very blessed to have a Blessed Sacrament Chapel in our parish, which is 500m from our door. It is almost always open. Naturally it's my favourite place to spend time. My dog is even content to wait outside when we go for walks!

The chapel is a small room attached to the presbytery. It has less than a dozen chairs, some reading material and many beautiful holy pictures of Jesus and his Blessed Mother. The Blessed Sacrament is exposed in a monstrance, at the base of which are always flowers. One can be physically very close to Jesus. You can see why it's one of my favourite places to spend time!

I was very proud of Roo during our visit. He was very reverent. He made a double genuflection and sat quietly in his seat. After a short time, I told Roo we were leaving. Without any prompting he said "I love you Jesus." Very cute.

A Counter Cultural View of Special Needs.

This article touched my heart today. Many people assume that having a child with special needs is a burden often too difficult to be borne, for parents, much less for siblings. Reading Marie-Claire's article, could change their minds!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Look.

Taking Koala and/or Roo to the supermarket can be a memorable experience.

One trip to the supermarket with Koala when he was 3 or 4, is embedded in my memory for all the wrong reasons! I can no longer remember the reason for his spectacular meltdown, but I certainly remember the event. Koala was often prone to supermarket meltdowns, but this one was a doosey! Children on the spectrum often have very loud voices and often unaware that one should use a lower volume in certain situations. On this occasion Koala had worked himself up into a frenzy of screaming. He had thrown himself on the ground, and I was unable to move him. Neither he nor I had any control over the situation.

It seems inappropriate, but I began to quietly laugh. Laughter seemed like a better response than having mother and child sobbing together on the floor! All the while people were stopping what they were doing to look. Not the kind of look that says, "Oh, I feel for you, I know you're doing your best." but the looks which says in no uncertain terms " That child needs a good smack." or "How dare she allow her child to scream like that." We left as quickly as we could with Koala thrashing about in my arms, while his screaming threatened to bring down the ceiling!

Even now, at the age of 9 Koala can still behave in such a way to attract "the look." Add Roo into the scenario and you can imagine the potential for chaos!

Today Roo turned on a show for his fellow shoppers. I even started to run after one lady who gave us "the look", to explain the reason why my son appears to be so badly behaved. Mid-way through my sprint I thought better of it. I couldn't be sure that I would say what needed to be said with sufficient grace.

I've begun to avoid looking at people when one of my children is in the throws of a meltdown. I know that if they knew the reasons why, then they wouldn't give us the look. But we don't live in a perfect world, so attempting not to look is my survival strategy.

So next time you see a child throwing a paddy, smile, offer a prayer for them or even a simple word of encouragement. It could make someones day a little brighter.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Elizabeth Foss put this link on her wonderful blog, In the Heart of My Home.
It's one I'll want to return to again and again. So now I won't loose it in the jumble of my favourites list!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Birthday Boy

Yesterday was Koala's 9th birthday. He has been quite unwell for over a week. Koala was very concerned that he would still be unwell for his special day. Thankfully he woke up well enough to enjoy the day. As it was a scorcher (41degrees c) we stayed inside and enjoyed the air-conditioning. Much of the day was spent enjoying the birthday treat of a months subscription to Club Penguin!

This is the first year that Koala has not had a special interest. While this is a good thing, it certainly made buying a gift rather difficult! Last year it was wall to wall penguins. This year Koala received a mix of toys: soft toys; Wall-E DVD; a budgie and gift cards which were the favourite. He hurried off in the evening to spend them on a Lego cargo plane he has had his eye on.

James and I felt very sorry for Roo, who was very distressed when the cake came out. For several weeks before Koala's birthday Roo would insist that it was his birthday next! After the presents were opened he did ask if there were any more, for him I guess! But when the cake came out and we told him that Koala would blow the candles out first he was not impressed. He just didn't understand. Of course the mother in me fleetingly worried that in a few years time Roo would think that on one of his birthdays he didn't get any presents and he wasn't even allowed to blow out his candles!

Koala had a great day. Although I am slightly baffled as to how my little boy came to be 9! He is growing into a young man to be proud of. He is a very caring little boy with beautiful manners. We love you Koala. This was taken on Roo's baptism day when Koala was 4.5 years old.

Unfortunately our camera is out of order, so the only photos we have, come from Grandma. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Roo has never been a big television watcher until he discovered the Toy Story movies! I thought that he would probably love Toy Story as much as his brothers, so I put off it's enrty into our home for quite a while. I was right! He can't get enough of both movies. So much so that I have had to hide the cases so that he doesn't walk around with them all day!

His love of these movies has provided his first use of delayed echolalia. When he is upset with someone he says "You are a toy!" in the same tone which Buzz uses with Woody when he is upset that Woody is not returning home with the other toys.

He has used immediate echolalia ever since he started talking. His use of it has slowed as his ability to express himself has increased. Roo is now able to ask for what he wants rather than shouting. I am very excited about what this year will bring for Roo's use of language.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Chapel Veils.

In Australia chapel veils are very rare. Growing up I knew they had existed as my father sometimes refered to them, but I had never seen one worn until I was an adult. It was worn by an elderly European lady who knelt to receive the Eucharist on the tongue, which I had also never seen.

When we attended our first home education camp, I realised that they might be more common than I had thought, as many mothers and daughters wore the veil. I became intrigued. It was suggested to me that perhaps these women were somehow stuck in the past, or that they had perhaps rejected many elements of the Second Vatican Council? I wasn't so sure. One thing my history degree had taught me, was that a little imformation can be a dangerous thing! I'm a firm believer in hot having an opinion until you have more than a rudenantry knowledge of the topic. I knew nothing about chapel veils, not even that they were called chapel veils or mantillas. So one day I did a quick google search, and thought little more about it.

Last week Jenny blogged about chapel veils. I read the links on her post, which have had me thinking ever since!

The thing that struck me the most was 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 If I had read these verses, I had no recollection of it. I had not realised that Saint Paul specifcally instructed women to be veiled, and why.

At this point I will not be wearing a chapel veil. But I am enjoying learning why so many of my sisters in Christ are returing to this long held tradition. I encourage you to explore the articles here and elsewhere, so that we can be more throughly informed about this topic.

Friday, January 9, 2009

An Afternoon with Miss Potter.

Bilby and I have just spent an hour or two enjoying some of Beatrix Potter's delightful children's stories. I am usually the one who introduces Bilby to a new author, but not this time!

Just as old Mr Bunny, in The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, "had no opinion whatever of cats." I had no opinion of Miss Potter. I have never taken the time to read her work, even though her life story has intrigued me after watching a documentary about her life and the difficult relationship she had with her mother. All long before the recent movie Miss Potter.

My son however, has long been a fan. His interest was sparked by the beautiful children' television series he has enjoyed watching. Despite not being a big reader, I would often find him snuggled up on his bed with a collection of her stories!

Today I took some old favourites from the children's' bookshelf intending to recapture the times when Bilby was a toddler and a great lover of a good story. Bibly however, pulled out his favourite edition of Miss Potter's stories. I was delighted when he offered to read me a story! We then took turns reading to each other. I greatly enjoyed seeing the sparkle in Bibly's eyes as he read his favourite parts. All in the school holidays!

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Good Confession.

There were many years in my life, when I did not receive the Sacrament of Penance. Even when I had made the decision to live my faith in a more conscious manner, I was reluctant to enter the confessional. It had been so long, that I wondered if I would even remember how it all went! When I over came my initial fear, I was able to really enjoy he blessings of this wonderful gift!

I vividly remember my second grade teacher telling us that when we come out of the confessional we would feel light as a feather! The way she described it was so exciting to me as a little girl. I couldn't wait to experience it for myself. Indeed I did feel the sensation she described after I made my First Confession. However, this was not my experience after every encounter with Jesus in the Sacrament of Penance. Of course I knew that just because I didn't always feel his presence in a physically tangible way, didn't mean that I hadn't received the graces promised through the sacrament. But I longed for the times when Jesus presence in the Sacrament were as real to me as the bricks and mortar of the church walls!

The times when I do feel His presence in powerful way after confession, are very special to me indeed! I know that when I take the time to really reflect, and dig deeply and honestly in my soul, these are the times when I can feel His graces flowing into my soul. It seems to me that the harder it is to confess a sin which has deeply wounded me, the greater the blessings I receive from the Sacrament. During a recent advent Penance service I had such an experience.

I remember recently reading that Pope John Paul The Great, received the Sacrament of Penance daily. On reading this I was at first amazed! How could this saintly man have something to confess every day? But then I was reminded that it is the graces which we receive from the sacrament which are so important. What a great shame to miss the opportunity to receive all that Jesus wants to give us!