Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The Invitation

The Invitation by Oriah

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon...
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Hello baby!

Rosie, now 18 months, discovered the web cam on the laptop today and was fascinated by the baby she could see on screen!

A movie by Barney

Fun family times, and happy memories :)

Sunday, 27 June 2010

A turkish wedding....

My little sister looked like a beautiful spanish senorita on her wedding day. I sat behind our Mum as we watched Maddi walk down the ailse, alone, followed by our littlest sister Hannah. Mum was balling her eyes out and desperately begging for a tissue, which I did not have!
The wedding took place outside in the gorgeous Sundial resort; a secluded oasis nestled in the pine hillside overlooking Fethiye Bay. We sat in the 40plus heat waiting for Maddi to arrive. When she made her entrance she just looked absolutely stunning.
Maddi and Tom just looked so in love the entire day. And so very, very happy. It was a really nice family affair; very personal. The wedding itself was followed by a photo session, then a meal in the upper terrace; an open air restaurant just for our party. We had speeches and anyone who wanted to could say something. Then a little boogie on the dance floor before heading back to our hotels, apartments and villas.
The wedding was so memorable, so personal and very special. We all wish Maddi and Tom a very happy life together, and I hope that they are really enjoying their honey moon right now in Sri Lanka. Here are some photos....

In our glad rags

I am going to write a separate post about Maddi and Tom's wedding. But I want to fill it with photos of the lovely couple. So I am just writing this little one with a few family pics of us on the day, in our glad rags.

Boy it was a hot day! Over 40 I believe. But we donned our best outfits, slapped on the sun lotion and had a lovely day in Turkey with our closest family. Everyone behaved themselves (I'm glad to say) - although we did at one point have to head back to our apartment for some time out. This was during the bride and grooms photos, so we weren't missed. Unfortunately for Barney, who was holding it all together so well... the music they had chosen at the end of the wedding service was the song that Barney has the most trouble with! Lol. I'm sure no one realised, but that Over the Rainbow song is a particular problem for Barney, so he got rather upset and had a bit of a panic attack, with some vomitting thrown in for good measure!
But all in all I think we behaved ourselves pretty well! Hehe. It was a lovely, lovely day. Such a beautiful venue. But I shall write about that more in my next post. In the mean time, for our family in England, here are some photos of us all dressed up. We don't polish up too badly! :)

Thursday, 17 June 2010

We are in Turkey!

Finally that time is here! Tomorrow is the wedding day of the year - to my sister and her lovely fiance. And to celebrate it the entire family (almost) has come out to Turkey to be with them on their special day.

We are having just the lovliest time here. We are staying at the Mozaik Apartments which have only been open for ten days before our arrival. Thankfully it is all finished and everything is brand spanking new, fully working and just lovely. The kids, needless to say, are having the best time ever.
The journey over was long but all in all the kids were really good. Rosie decided to stay awake for the entire flight (despite getting up at 4am) and then fell asleep just as we landed. Barney was quite sick the whole way. It wasn't flight sickness as it started the very second that he sat in his seat, before the plane had even moved, and continued for most of the flight. I think it was just anxiety. A few times he had a panic and told us we all had to get off the plane and go home, but we managed to calm him down and he got here in one peice. The night we arrived he was so over tired that the 'hated Turkey' and wanted to fly home immediately. I told him that he was just over tired and that in the morning, after a good sleep, he would really enjoy himself here. He woke up with a smile and announced "Mummy, you were right! I love Turkey now!"

Right now I am cooling down in the apartment whilst Rosie has her mid day nap. I can hear Barney and Marty out in the pool. Jimmie and Annabelle went to stay with my sister and her kids at their villa last night, and aren't home yet.

It is much hotter than I had expected! Yesterday was about 42, which was a killer! I was expecting temperates of about 27 - 28, so it hit me a bit hard! Today I am not finding the heat so debilitating. I don't know if that is because its a bit cooler, or because I am getting used to it.

The Mozaik is just really lovely. It has a lagoon style pool with an island in the middle, full of sunbeds. It is pretty quiet and there are always free sunbeds to use. The kids just love the pool. It's just the perfect place for everyone as it isn't too crowded and noisy, which suits Barney; it is close to the shops and beach which suits the big kids. The older two can come and go as they please, swim when they like and chill out in the apartment whenever. And I can sit here whilst Rosie naps without being too far from everyone else.

Here are some photos....

On Tuesday night the entire party met up for a meal. Walking down the market street in such a large group, every restaurant was coming out and begging us to eat with them! They were all pretty empty. In the end we had a lovely meal and a few of us chose traditional Turkish food, including myself. I have no idea what I was eating, but it was certainly delicious! I think I like Turkish food :)

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Look who is growing up?

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Rosie is almost 18 months old, and is no longer a baby, but a beautiful young lady. She can’t walk yet, which isn’t surprising as none of my others walked until after 18 months. But she likes to walk holding onto my hands.  She is really learning to talk though. And so quickly.  She will try to repeat anything that is said to her, and answers all questions with ‘yes’ or ‘no’.  She can call her brothers and sister’s names when she wants them, and shouts for them like a right bossy little madam!  Tarja taught her to say ‘Lady Gaga!’  Every day with her is a gift. She is at that wonderful stage where every little part of life is filled with great wonder. A ladybird, a daisy, the birds, a horse in a field, the bin man collecting the rubbish… everything fascinates her. She wants to point at things and hear what they are called, so that she can try to repeat and memorise it.  She is learning to assert her own authority and can have quite the temper tantrum if she doesn’t get her own way. She knows what she wants, and doesn’t want! 

Can I show you my tits?

Blue tits that is!


Aren’t they just adorable? This little bird box has been in our garden for years, and never had any residents. Granddad John made it with Badger one summer when he was over visiting.  But this year (horray!!) we have little visitors.  It was a good while ago that we realised a Mummy bird was nesting in this box. Then we noticed that the eggs must have hatched because suddenly she was very, very busy flying in and out constantly collecting food for her little ones. She is such a hard working Mummy. It warms the heart to watch her.  When the sun shines just right in the early evening, it shines into the box and you can see little beaks open, waiting for food.  The kids are mesmerized by them.  The last day or so one little bird has gotten big enough to poke its wee head out of the hole. When Mummy returns you can hear a lot of excited chirping. As soon as Mummy leaves baby bird pokes its little head out and waits patiently for her return.  I can see the box from my kitchen window and I get lost in time just watching them.

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Monday, 7 June 2010

Occupational Therapy is Fun!

It's been so long since I've updated on all the general goings on. Today I'm playing a mini catch up, although I've missed absolutely heaps. I'm in bed with a miserable cold today, so blogging for a bit to pass time.

Barney has started seeing an Occupational Therapist at Lurgan Hospital. She specialises in helping children on the autistic spectrum. So far he has been to two appointments and absolutely loved every single minute. It's just so much fun. At the first appointment he had to complete a sort of written test. He sat at a desk and copied shapes and drawings with a pencil. Then he drew a picture of his Dad. The OT noticed that he really pushes the pencil heavily into the paper, a common problem with children on the spectrum who may press either too lightly or too heavily. From watching him she was able to notice that he needs deep pressure but can not bare light pressure. That makes perfect sense now I think about it. He likes deep squeezes and cuddles and is very heavy handed, often hurting himself or others without meaning to. He is quite clumsy. But he hates it when people brush past him, or touch him lightly.

So she has been doing some deep pressure therapy with him. The idea is that children who need deep pressure get anxious and need the pressure to let off steam. I'm not sure I'm exactly describing it correctly! But she said that if he gets anxious at school, coping with the noises and hustle n bustle, that a session of deep pressure therapy will get the stress out and leave him feeling more able to cope. So she has been teaching us ways to do this. And Barney loves these ways! They involve rolling around on peanut shaped balls, putting heavy pressure on his arms; wheelbarrow walking; walking with his arms in a big hammock; hanging upside down from rubber rings; and skateboarding on his belly with his arms.

As you can imagine, there is not much that little boys like more than this sort of thing! He also crawls around on his belly, comando style, until huge weighted blankets, feeling for beanie babies in the dark. The OT makes everything fun. In the first photo he is in a hammock collect magnetic fish with a stick and putting them into a puzzle. So he is using deep pressure on his arms without realising that he is actually doing exercise or therapy.

The OT noticed that when she swung him in the hammock, without him using the deep pressure, he went absolutely hyper - giggling hysterically. She got the giggles too. He was manic. Then when she asked him to use his arms to move his body he calmed right down. She said this was a sign that movement really stimulates him. Since this was fun it made him giggle, but in another situation too much movement could cause him extreme anxiety and give him the panic attacks that he gets. I thought that was very interesting. Movement could be his body driving along in a car, people darting about near him (as in a supermarket or at school), etc. So when he gets panicked he needs deep pressure.

She taught me some deep pressure massage to use on his hands and arms. Although apparently I don't do it as well as she does - or so I'm told! She said that light touch would totally send him nuts, so it is important to use real hard, deep pressure. When she massaged his hands for the first time she said his wee finger muscles were the tensest she had ever felt in such a young child... obviously clenching his fists a lot with stress. Within seconds of her touching them they relaxed right out. It was quite amazing. She only spent about 1 - 2 minutes on each hand, but it sent Barney into a deep relaxation mode and he asked to lie down and sleep! She covered him with a weighted blanket and left him chilling out. I was quite astounded! It never seems to have such a great effect when I try it on him though!

The other thing I wanted to quickly blog about, was the recent meeting I had with Barneys teacher and SENCO. I told them how hard he finds sitting with the other children and that I feel that he is putting all his mental effort into coping with the noises and touch of other kids that he isn't reaching his potential with his work. I mentioned that Barney would like to sit on his own table, but didn't expect them to really like the idea. But they did! He now has his own special 'work station' at the side of the classroom. It is a desk with three tall sides on it, facing away from everyone else. It has his photo on it and different visual time tables. The idea is that he can sit there and not be disturbed visually by anyone else. But he is allowed to go back to his old table any time he wants to. I had thought that they might disagree with the idea as they don't want to make him different, or seperate from the other children. But I pointed out that Barney is really struggling with his friendships at the moment, and is constantly falling out with his friends. I think this is because he simply can not handle a full 6 hours with the kids. When I suggested that if he worked seperately from them, that he might then have the energy to play with the children at break time, and maintain his friendships, they all jumped at the idea. So we are giving that a try for a while. He is very pleased about it.

At break times and lunch times Barney no longer plays with the other children. His 'friends' are the dinner ladies, who all know him by name and know every detail about his life. He would much rather walk around the playground chatting to the dinner ladies than mixing with the other children. I guess that is just very typical Asperger. He has always enjoyed the company of adults far more than kids.

Social Story – Holiday to Turkey

When Daddy and Barney recently took a trip to England, I made a laminated social story. A social story is a tool used with kids on the autistic spectrum to help them visualise in advance something that will happen. We don’t use them for everything with Barney, but we have found them very useful for the bigger things in life, as he gets very anxious about new experiences. In this situation they work really well. So here is the social story I have made for Barney about our trip to Turkey in one weeks time. The front page has the days of the week to countdown. This has a velcro arrow with it, which you can’t see in the photo. He moves the arrow along each day and it helps him to visualise how long it is until certain things will be happening.

Pages 1-7. Laminated.








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