Thursday, September 29, 2011

Things that make me a better parent: Part the Second

Pile of bouncing children.
We've had a few days quiet at home lately, and had lots of lovely friends to visit us.  We bounce on the jumpoline, and play in the shell pool.  By we, I mean the kids (mostly).  It's lovely, relaxed, and Lolly goes to bed tired and happy.  Friends are good to have.  They make so much of my parenting seem normal.

It's good to debrief, and confess, between ourselves, to our parenting fails (and parenting wins, which can feel like a confession, too).  And to get advice (or maybe just normalisation) on things that, perhaps, some parents would be shocked and alarmed at.  Like breastfeeding (not just for babies!), co-sleeping arrangements, how to get your kid to do stuff without threatening them, alternatives to traditional schooling, and all the rest of that hippy-arse stuff.

Oh and we always spend a goodly amount of time being angry (and hilarious in our venomous critiques) about the patriarchy.

Good times.

I come away being relived that, just maybe, I'm doing a decent job at this, and that at least I'm not alone.  Oh, and that losing my temper is not the end of the world.  And that my social critique does not go in vain.  I always feel better after getting my rant on.

It's like group parenting therapy, but free.  It's ace.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Staying at Nanna and Pop's

DinnerDad was away last week for work, and Lollster and I went off to stay overnight with my Mum.  It was pretty wonderful.  For one thing, I had a two hour nap in the afternoon, and slept in the next morning.  I basically now want my Mum to move in.  It would radically improve my sleep!  Oh and I love my Mum a lot and she's awesome.  But it would be mostly about the sleep. 

My parents live on 10 acres of bush just north of Brisbane.  It's beautiful up there.  Here was my breakfast view.

Alright, really. 

Veiw from the bedroom.

Lolly had been up for hours and picked me a flower.
 My Mum makes beautiful quilts, which are everywhere, and even can get used for "dog beds," for Lolly-puppies, that is.  I snapped iPhone shots of some.
"dog bed" for Lolly on the sunny deck.
On our bed.

My favourite, on the wall.
I would have been better rested if it hadn't also been the night my Grandmother (on my natural father's side) had died.  That does tend to put a dampner on your spirit of fun and adventure. 

I think we'll be going up to stay every few weeks for the sleep! because Lolly gets so much out of her relationship with her Nanna (AND Pop!).

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Foot of our Snail (with bonus rantings)

Snail has articulated foot ortotics to support her standing and transfers (and walking in her walker), and her current pair were as pinchy as anything as she grows and grows (kids do that).  We can't get a new pair til our Appointment of Mystery at CP Health (November!), so I hunted around and found a place that could assess them and stretch 'em for her in the meantime.  Yay!

The *boo!* part is how this place is about an hour across town from our house.  And that we'd already had a week full of appointments (including a doctor that morning) so everyone was buggered and over offices and prodding and poking (and having to take the three year old, who, despite her love of doctors, has a limit).

Anyhoo, we made it in one peice, woke up Snail's extremely grumpy sister, and headed in.  All this modification takes time, coz they literally have to heat them up and shape the plastic, so we were there for over an hour.  Everyone got bored and shitty, even the kids.

Snail says "really..."

Snail and her funny little feets!

Thank the gods they had DORA!

Snail is very bendy, sore, and tired, and Lolly watches DORA!

I bribe everyone into a good mood on the way home with "Old MacDonalds." (photo by Lolly).
Let me pause at the end of telling the blogosphere about this long (but productive) day, by saying that a) this over an hour adjustment of both orthotics only cost me $55!, but that b) our health insurance doesn't cover orthotics.  No, you didn't read that wrong.  Not because our health insurance is crappy, either.  Because most insurance covers all kinds of extras but doesn't recognise orthotics at all.

The equipment itself, may be paid for by insurance.  Maybe.  We usually have to put it under a kind of "miscellaneous" heading, but they did pay for her last few pairs.  But not any consultation or re-fit, or adjustment.  I'm sorry, what?

Basically, I can go get a candle wafted over me by anyone with a tafe course under their belt and get it paid for, I can get sports shoes (for a "healthier lifestyle"), but I can't get prescription orthotics for my profoundly disabled child, coz that's not...what...extra enough?  Medical?  Has anyone in insurance ever seen them?  FFS, people!!  My insurance covers acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, aromatherapy (!!), reiki (!), or kinesiology, but not orthotics.  I nearly blew a lobe.  I'm writing angry emails. 

At least the child's orthotics fit her (kind of) again.  And we had chips.  Calm. Blue. Ocean.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Found Items, Part three

Lolly enjoys leaving her unicorn attached to the kitchen cupboards, and if you need to open them, you have to transfer the unicorn to the next cupboard over.  The unicorn should NOT be placed on the floor.

Unicorn gives baleful glare to cat.
I'm happy to report that the unicorn cupboard phase is now over, kitchen order has been restored.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ave, Grandma

My Grandmother died on Monday.  It seems weird to post about it, but also kind of rude not to.  She was a strong woman, who served in the war, emigrated to Australia with small children, and maintained her independence til she died.  Here she is when Lolly was around 9 months.

Here is what I said at her funeral yesterday:

Here are some things about my Grandma.

When I was a little kid, she would let us ride around on her back.  She was the horsey.  She read us books, and told stories. This was some pretty awesome Grandma stuff.

I remember her house at Veron St (I always think of her townhouse as “the new place”).  At Veron St there was (originally) an outdoor loo that I found scary and fascinating.  There was a long yard that backed onto the railway.  The trains punctuated life at that house.  There was a garage, and once my Uncle bought out his old science-y stuff, and let us hold drops of mercury in our hands.  It was silver and the small bead darted across the palms of my sister and I.  We all used to play cricket in the back yard.  Grandma had an old exercise bike that sounded like a hurricane.  There was tea to drink, and a table in the kitchen.  I remember students who would come for tutoring, and sit at the table.  We stayed quiet.

Grandma was interested in what we were doing, what we were studying, and what we were reading.  I had some wonderful conversations about reading and literature with her, particularly in my 20s.  We both loved some of the greats, particularly the classic British women authors, like George Eliot and Jane Austen.

She loved England, and went back every couple of years for most of her life.  She had friends there she'd known since she was a girl.  She saw family, and toured castles.  I always admired that, and her deep connections to place, family, and friends.

She wrote, and wrote.  Letters and cards.  I have a card from her that my Mum saved from when I was born, and one from my first birthday.  Which is beyond lovely, what a wonderful connection to have.  She would also get the irrits if we didn't write back enough to suit her.  She was stubborn, and had expectations.

She taught me things as a kid, but she never managed to teach me cryptic crosswords.  I just never got them, no matter how hard I tried.  They always (and still) make me feel a tad stupid.  Sorry, Grandma!

 I remember going to play tennis at her club, she had a white dress.  It was hot and there was a place to sit under the trees.  I watched Wimbeldon for many years to be able to converse sensibly with her about tennis.  All tennis feels like my Grandmother to me.  She played her whole life, seriously, into her 80s, and then she took up table tennis.  That rocks.

When I was young, she had cats, they were all strays, who had come to her through various cat ways.  Those cats always reminded me of her.  Perhaps she should have been freer in her life to go her own way, like a cat.  It must have been hard at times for a smart woman born in the 20s.

She had seen active service in the armed forces, and overseas service, in the war.  I wonder what she saw over there.  She didn't talk much about it, but once many years ago when I stayed with her, she showed me some photographs and spoke about being away from home.  I wish I knew more about that time in her life. 

She was not always the easiest person, she was stubborn, and set in her ways.  She wanted things to be how she thought they should be.  But she was smart, funny, and fiercely loyal to her family.  She had a strong faith, and built strong connections with people.  I was not always as close to her as I could have been, as an adult, but she had a great impact on me and my life.  So I want to say thank you, Grandma.  And travel safely.  And I remember you.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Lolly is enjoying sending SMS to her Didda.  She sends them full of amusing and painstakingly selected emoticons.  Her expression while selecting the emoticons is priceless, like the most vital and essential task is being performed.

Last week she discovered that in messages you can record video and take pictures, and recorded a video of Ash and I chatting in the front seat of the car and sent it to DinnerDad. 

Green is the Lollster, DD replies in kind.

It's all the kind of thing that makes my jaw drop at technology, and just how primed we are to adapt to whatever we are presented with as children.  I think with awe about the relationship Lolly will have with technology and communication in her life, having been primed for it as a three year old.  It's all a bit *wow*.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

On new chairs!

We took Snail last week for a meeting at the CP League to try some new wheelchairs!  This one is the Iris, pretty much like this one.  Here she is trying one out!

See the curved bit at the base of the seat?  That's the tilt-in-space mechanism, that means we can tilt the whole seat back if she has had a seizure.

We needed to try it out as we need a chair she can self-propel (at home) as well as a Tilt-in-space-able chair.  With bigger wheels, she should be able to push this one at home. 

Also the handle is awesome, there are brakes at the back (!!), and we're getting a groovy colour!

We also tried the Convaid Rodeo, which is a stroller-style chair, which is more for us to use on weekends, much lighter and more maneuverable.  It looks cool! 

This, except RED!

I don't quite see why it has to be over $3500, when I bought a sturdy stroller for my little kid for $80...but that is life for those with disabilities.

It'll take up to 6 months to get the funding approved and physically get the chairs, can't wait!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A washing we will go!

This is what happens when your washing machine breaks...6 days later: 

It doesn't even show the other three baskets overflowing on the other wall, or the one in the bathroom (that was the wet load trapped in the machine, I had to trick it into coughing that load up - bloody front loaders!).

Here is the happy face of Lolly on top of our new (to us, really a reconditioned old monster of a thing) commercial grade machine that arrived today.  It handles 8 kilos of washing-y goodness a load!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

The cafe life

A lovely friend and I had coffee with our kidlets recently, and Lolly made this out of her babychino.

Delicious pepper and salt

Make a *tasty* babychino

 She drank a heap of it, too.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

There should be a t-shirt

I realised this week while out at a food court having lunch with Lolly that I'd spent too long staring at a family with a kid in a chair.  When I don't have Snail with me, is when I most want that t-shirt that says, "in the Club," or "only staring because I want one of those stroller-style chairs too and was checking out your set up," or "not staring in horror, staring because I miss my wheelie kid," or "let's have coffee because you look socially isolated too."

You know.  One of those shirts.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


They may sometimes be blurry and from my iPhone, but I'm sharing these glimpses of our recent doings. 

First, here is Lolly pretending to be one of the myriad of animals she frequently pretends to be.  Cat, dog, horse, dinosaur, squirrel, and "big red dog called Clifford" are her most go-to pretends.  She often demands her food and drink in bowls so she can "eat like a *insert current favourite here.*"

Add caption
 I wish I had taken my good camera this day, this was a moment that nearly made me cry, it seemed to sum up the differences between Snail and Lolly's lives.  Lolly is up and in it all, while Snail cannot, stuck in her own world and her chair that represents that world.  Our lives are full of these moments.  You try not to let them break you.

Lolly and I went to have Sushi train on their cheap Tuesdays.

Serious Miso face.

I liked these kitchy salt and pepper shakers!
 Since our trip, Lolly is mad keen on the tomato juice.  Ably illustrated by this face.  Note the hole in her shirt (one of my favourites) that she ripped earlier that night by attaching a bungy cord to it as a "leash."  See photo one... *sigh*

Storytime at the library.

Monday, September 5, 2011

When Lolly gets the iPhone: Part the Third

Lolly is loving taking photos in the car, I get these random shots of myself driving, or out the windows.  I love seeing what she's fascinated with!

Mummy and flowers

Random car.
Same principle, applied to the trolley.
 And you get a 50 billion shots (quite deliberate) of her knees.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

On horse rides and being emotionally creative

We ventured out to a local school fair today, in search mainly of pony rides.  We located them.  And rode on them. Twice. 

Outrageously cute kid at front of local fair.

I know.  Not a horse.

Obligatory animal nursery/poo trap.
Just coz it's about as cute as a button!
I'm not sure it was worth the 15 solid minutes of crying in the car on the way home about not getting fairy floss.  I'm not even sure why she was so upset.  She's never had fairy floss and so is not in the know about its awesomeness.  It was more an excuse for her to completely lose it.

She is just having some emotionally creative times lately, clearly she's got a lot to process.  Every crying session I get through without taking it too personally, and while holding some space for her while not losing my temper and being an arsehole, is a good one. Or something.  In the spirit of complete honesty, I do NOT manage this every time. 

*deep breath*

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Watercolour madness

DinnerDad went mad with the watercolours.  Here she is just before a bath.  I won't even post the one of her smiley face (on her butt!).

Friday, September 2, 2011

Why the census pissed me off

I'm a sociologist, so I'm usually loving the census.  It gives good basic demographics.  But filling in the census this year (and every time) gave me the shits.  It was the "do you do unpaid domestic labour" questions, and how the "care for others" wasn't set up to accurately guage whether that labour was likely to END, or exactly who it was FOR, or if it was for multiple people in your household.

I have a three year old, and wiping her bum and getting her food (etc) is going to finish one day, as she masters doing that herself.  Snail, on the other hand, won't.  But there is nowhere on the form to specify that your 30+ caring hours (the top level given) is for a 12 year old severely disabled child who you care for at your own expense, and at the expense of your own work, study, or whatever, with no government support, tax breaks, or wage.

So how is that going to help the government assign money for services or payments for me, or for Snail?  I'm not sure how they can tease out that those hours aren't for a small child.  I don't think they can.  So I'm invisible, and Snail is invisible, yet again.  


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Found items, part 2

Amusing things I find round the house, courtesy of Lolly, aged 3.

Here, some kind of elaborate string tying around a horse, with another "rescue" horse (or so I am informed), under out dining room table. 

No one is allowed to move the string horse, or untangle it, on pain of much crying and screaming.  It's been there over two weeks!