Neon signs and Eyebrows.

image via morguefile.com

image via morguefile.com

Today I got my eyelashes stuck together with hot wax and also somehow managed to wax off almost half of one eyebrow. All because I got momentarily distracted. It turns out that having poor eyesight and trying to do this with my glasses off wasn’t my smartest move!

I’m quite clever I know, and anyone who knows me well will attest that I am not known for my attention span, but today was a particularly bad one and I have one and a half eyebrows to prove it.

After I’d googled “how to remove wax from your eyelashes without pulling them out” (yes I really did) and I had read hundreds of ridiculous remedies, I eventually decided to try cutting it out with manicure scissors.

Yeah, that wasn’t my finest moment, either – so now, not only am I missing half an eyebrow, I also have only got a few small eyelashes on the opposite eye!

Oh my goodness I look quite a sexy beast I can tell you!

Then after I’d spent another ten minutes laughing at myself in the mirror, I jumped in my car and went down to the pharmacy to buy myself a set of fake lashes and an eyebrow pencil and I plan to google “how to draw an eyebrow” next.’

So I was telling this story to Paul tonight, and after he’d picked himself up off the floor from laughing he said: “Wow Fi, this would have devastated you only a few months ago. It would have had you in a total mess”.

He was right.

If something like this had have happened only as recently as a few months ago, I would’ve been a complete basket case. It would have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and would have pushed me over the edge because I was already standing on a very thin balance beam between coping and completely losing my mind.

But a lot has changed here recently and it takes ridiculous mishaps of the grooming variety like this for me to be able to realise just how far not only *I* have come, but how far all of us have come.

Many of you know that my boys started at their new school last week.

It was something that I knew in my heart of hearts had to happen but I kept putting it off because I was so incredibly afraid of change. But the story surrounding my final decision to move them is actually quite remarkable and I now feel ready to share a little bit of it here with you guys; my loyal readers.

It was back last November when I finally realised that things had reached a point with Harley’s OCD and anxiety disorder when he was referred to see a psychiatrist after saying some very troubling things to us. I won’t go into details of what he told us but suffice to say that it was enough to warrant immediate attention and enough to cause me to draw a line in the sand and look for a new school for him.

My Mum was visiting at the time and we spent literally hours researching schools, visiting campus after campus and making phone call after phone call, when one morning as I was I sitting opposite her in a cafe I said to God aloud: “I’m tired of chasing dead ends and I’m exhausted from trying to figure this out. Please give me a neon sign because I’m not in a place where I can pick up on subtle hints, I need something obvious. Give me a neon sign answer”.

I had no idea how powerful that prayer would turn out to be.

A few minutes after asking God for a sign, I got a phone call from my sister and she asked me why I hadn’t considered sending the boys to the local public school? I gave her the same stock standard answer that I gave everyone who asked me that question: “Because I’m afraid that the boys won’t get the education that they deserve”. Amongst other things that I really, really didn’t want to tell her.

But the truth was – I was probably just being an uninformed and clueless snob. It’s not that it is a bad school that my children are zoned to, it’s just that, ok yeah – I WAS being a snob and I clearly had my head so far up my butt that I just couldn’t see any sense.

So I told my sister that I would at least consider it because I knew deep down that she had a point and I was fast running out of options.

She then asked me to tell her exactly what it was that I didn’t like about the public school so eventually; I told her what else had been troubling me.

I could hear the loving smile in her voîce as she pointed out that the two main reasons that I gave her were actually both already happening at the Independent school, and she then pointed out that we were paying bucket loads of money for it! So in her words: “It can’t possibly be worse, and even if it is – at least you’re not paying for it”.

{I couldn’t argue with that logic and it turned out that this particular conversation ended up being the catalyst for several other decisions that I was able to make straight afterwards}.

So Mum and I finished our coffees and she suggested that we drive past the local school on our way home ‘just to have a look’ so I agreed. We talked in the car on our way there and I had started to reach a point where I was willing to give anything a go because I just didn’t have any peace about any of the schools that we’d visited.

I pulled up out the front of the school and climbed out of the car and started walking toward the administration office when I stopped dead in my tracks because out the front of the school was a flipping NEON sign with the words:  “Enrolling for 2014” and I started laughing.
I’d driven past this school countless times and never once had I ever noticed that sign before!

Mum and I looked at each other grinning ridiculously and I knew right then that I had my answer. It was unmistakable and I knew that there was no denying that God certainly had a sense of humour and that this was the place the boys needed to go.

So I went in and filled out the application forms on the spot and had a meeting with the Principal and Learning Support Head Teacher only a few days later.

At that meeting, they looked over all of the boy’s paperwork and put plans in place to transition them into the school almost immediately. They told us all about the programs that they ran for children on the spectrum and assured us that they would do everything in their power to bring Harley’s grades up where they needed to be.

They also told me that several of their teachers had just completed autism specific training and they promised to place each of the boys with one of the teachers.

And they did!

It’s now been almost 2 weeks since they started at their new school and both of the boys are absolutely loving it there. They are both coming home at peace, happy and the aggression and anger that we had become so accustomed to has vanished completely.

The stress and angst and anxiety that was permanently etched on Harley’s face has disappeared and he has become the gorgeous little boy that I knew was always hidden behind the agony that he had learned to live with.

He didn’t know that school could be this great and my only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner.

And me. Well, I have been able to wean off the anti-depressants that have been my constant companion for years because these days, I just don’t have the same levels of stress that my poor body had become used to.

Things certainly aren’t perfect in other areas, but I am now able to look in the mirror at my one eyebrow and laugh at the lack of eyelashes because I KNOW that in the grand scheme if things that this is really no big deal.

I can see now that things are definitely only going to get better and better. And that my friends: is HUGE!

But even after watching several tutorials on youtube, I still look like a bit of a circus freak so it looks like I’ll be sticking to the LARGE framed sunglasses for a while whenever I’m in public. If you know what I mean 😉

Addendum: psst – I got a job today too.
YAY!

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I am the mother…

This post was originally written 3 years ago -hence the ages of the children being younger.

  • I am the mother who sent her child to school sans his jacket on a cool spring morning and watched him shiver as he bravely walked in to school.
  • I am the mother who forgot to put her daughter’s school hat back in the car thus causing her to receive a uniform infringement.
  • (And the mother who can’t work out why a 10-year-old is not capable of doing this herself *ahem*)
  • I am the mother who fed her children cake for breakfast because she forgot to buy bread.
  • I am the mother of the 4-year-old boy who threw the tantrum of the century in the school car park this morning.
  • I am also the mother who glared at the other parents who were rubbernecking and tut-tutting at her child as she picked him up and threw him over her shoulder to keep him safe from the oncoming traffic…
  • and the mother who would do it again in a heartbeat.
  • I am the mother who survives on very little sleep and a lot of caffeine.
  • I am the mother who tries to do too much sometimes.
  • I am also the mother who sees what everyone else does for their children and fights the feelings of inadequacy that wash over her in tidal waves.
  • I am the mother who often pulls her hair out in sheer frustration because she is unable to remember a lot of important things that need to be done, due to the stress levels that are constantly rising at this time of the year.
  • I am the mother who finds more grey hairs every time she looks in the mirror.
  • I am the mother who keeps chewing gum in her glove box at all times so that she can hand them to kids who “forgot” to clean their teeth on the way to school.
  • I am the mother who rarely sorts her washing  *Gasp*
  • I am the mother who is fluent in sarcasm but knows that she shouldn’t use it as often as she does.  Especially on her children who don’t understand it.
  • I am the mother  who sometimes buys treats and hides them in the house because she is tired of sharing everything else that she owns and wants just one thing for and ONLY her.
  • I am the mother who owns 2 diaries and a calendar in the attempt to become more organised but has misplaced them all  :/
  • I am the mother with the short attention span who often really struggles to focus due to her constant sleep deprived state.
  • I am the mother who really wishes she could toughen up a bit and not get so hurt by other people’s words.
  • I am the mother who definitely thinks that exercise is overrated. Come and live in this house and try to be idle with my kids around. Not possible.
  • I am the mother who wishes that she didn’t comfort eat so often.
  • I am the mother who would rather be accused of talking too much then be the kind of person that you need to draaaaaaaaaaag a conversation out of. This is who she is. Like it or leave .
  • I am the mother who really wishes that school went until 5pm and that homework didn’t exist. She is exhausted from spending twenty minutes just trying to get her son to sit at the table and another 20 minutes convincing him to pick up the pencil!
  • I am the mother who secretly loves watching pre-school tv shows and misses them now that her baby has started school.
  • I am the mother who still cries at least once a week because she misses her Dad even though we lost him over 4 years ago.
  • I am the mother who is unable to eat just one grape. The grapes HAVE to be eaten in pairs. One on each side of the mouth. (Hmmm, wonder where Harley gets his quirks from?)
  • I am the mother who gets cranky when she’s not taken seriously. I may not have a fancy degree but I know my children better than anybody else on this earth and that should account for something…
  • I  am the mother that rearranges other people’s cutlery drawers when she visits their homes. It must go in the same order that they are laid on the table : Fork, Spoon, Knife. She doesn’t cope if they are different 🙂 And incidentally,  I am the mother who didn’t develop OCD tendencies until she was thrust in the world that is ASD and the stress that goes along with it!

However:

  • I am also the mother who would move heaven and earth just to make her children smile.
  • I am the mother who gets to witness MANY achievements and successes in her children’s lives and is finds joy in the smaller things because for us they are HUGE!
  • I am the mother who is convinced that her children will go higher and grow stronger than a lot of people give them credit for due to the handful of people that DO believe in them and their go-get- ‘em attitudes.
  • I am the mother who is thankful that God is daily giving her more and more insight into their little worlds so that she can understand them just that little bit more.
  • I am the mother who would some days like to hang up her hat and resign. Or at least have a couple of weeks paid leave. Several times a year.The mother who didn’t read the fine print before putting her hand up and volunteering to do this job BUT the mother who doesn’t walk away from somethings that she’s started until she sees it to completion.
  • I am the mother who often spends her own birthday money on her children because she wants to bless them as they bless her by just being themselves.
  • I am the mother who cannot for the life of her understand what makes her children tick but would give anything to be granted a free pass into their thought processes so she could make sure that their every need is met 100%
  • I am the mother who wants to learn to appreciate the little things.
  • I am the mother who wants to learn NOT to stress on other little things!
  • I am the mother who would take a bullet for her children.
  • Yes this mother is fiercely loyal.
  • I am the mother who often lays awake at night thinking of fun things that she can do with her children on the weekend and willing the hours to tick by so that the weekend can start.
  • I am the mother who wants to join her kids by dancing in the puddles in the rain and skip through supermarket aisles singing but is too afraid of what other people might think.
  • I am the mother who desperately craves understanding and tolerance for her children.
  • I am the mother who worries that she is not doing enough for her children, but also the mother who realises that she only has 2 hands and 24 hours in a day.
  • I am the mother who is learning to love herself just the way God loves her and the one who believes that life is good.
  • Yes. I am THAT mother :D

My children will not fly under any radars and they will not go through life feeling like failures.

 What kind of mother are you?

Dear 17 year old me..

 

Dear 17 year old me,

You will eventually learn to like your name. You will never love it but you will one day actually tell people your real name when they ask. You think it’s funny now when you tell people it’s Beryl and giggle at their surprised faces, but it will get old fast.

So, do you see those people that you’re sharing the school playground with? Yeah, well you don’t have to be friends with all of them after school finishes for good next year. Some of them you will lose touch with and you won’t care at all, but others will always hold a special place in your heart and you will reconnect with them when you’re all grown up. They will mean more to you then than they do now because age brings new perspectives.

And your parents? You think they’re old and don’t understand you but you really need to know just how much they * do* love you. I mean REALLY love you. So much more than you could ever realise. One day you will have children of your own and only then will you actually “get” it.

After you leave school, you will move a long way from home because you think you know better than anyone but guess what? You don’t.

You will get yourself into some mighty fine messes and your parents will dig you out every.single.time because they love you that much. You are stubborn though and it will take you a long time to realise this and thank them for it.

After spending another 2 years doing some really stupid stuff like jumping from job to job and hanging out with the wrong crowd you will eventually tire of the rebellious lifestyle.  But do you remember the story about the prodigal son in the bible? Yeah, well good, because that’s kinda who you become.

You will eventually go home with your tail between your legs and move home again until you get back on your feet. And your parents take you in with open arms and love on you and encourage you to right your broken relationship with Jesus. It will be the best thing that you will ever do.

Your Dad will teach you that if you have God in your life; anything else is just icing and that you need to look to Jesus for happiness because a man will never provide what only God can.

He will teach you that all men and women are flawed by their human-ness and will ultimately fail you at one time or another because of this, but that God will never let you down.

You will never forget this and there will be times in your life that you hold fast to this teaching because people will let you down but you will only be disappointed – not destroyed.

You will marry and it won’t always be smooth sailing, but you chose to put your hope in God so you’ll survive every storm intact.

You will have 3 children and they will bless you, frustrate you and complete you all at once.

But it won’t be easy. Two of your children will be boys and they will both have autism. You will fall apart at first but surprise yourself by picking yourself up and carrying on despite your heartbreak and lack of faith in yourself.

You will lose friends once the news gets out and it will hurt, but all will not be lost because much better and more loyal friends will replace the void that they left.

You will experience great loss in the death of your beloved Dad, great heartache in watching your children struggle and great pain as you endure a lot of personal health issues but you will survive them all and come out a stronger person at the other side.

Eventually, you will learn that you can find happiness and beauty in the small everyday things if you just stop long enough to notice them.

Autism will give you the ability to appreciate things that other people take for granted and bless you with the desire to be a better parent.

One day, you’ll read this letter back and you’ll smile, you’ll laugh and you’ll wipe away stray tears that inevitably fall, but you will know that you have done the best that you can with that which you have been given.

And you will continue to rejoice through both hard times and good because you KNOW that life is what you make of it.

Love 37-yr-old you xxx

If you’re new here – read this first..

First of all, welcome.

Sincerely.

I’m glad you have dropped by my blog for whatever reason. 🙂

A little about the history of this blog: I have blogged previously at 2 other WordPress blogs and originally began blogging about my family back in April of 2010.

During that time I was Freshly Pressed and gained a sizeable number of email subscribers, blog followers and daily hits. But one day it occurred to me that none of this was important to me.

I realised that I really didn’t give a toss about those statistics, but what I found myself placing more importance on, was being true to myself, protecting my children’s rights and writing from my heart even if it wasn’t going to get noticed. I realised that I didn’t want to write about what everyone else seemed to be writing about and I wasn’t really interested in becoming a big-time blogger.  (Plus, I didn’t have the time to put into promoting my blog or blogging regularly anyway!)

I wanted to go back to why I originally started blogging – to create a place where I would be able to gain the therapeutic benefits that writing brings me, and also so that I could share our story with other families who may be walking along similar paths.

I have learned a LOT since my very first blog post and I admit that when I started out, I was INCREDIBLY naive. I now realise that:

  • Not everyone on the internet is kind.
  • Having a child with a diagnosis is not always enough in common to cement friendships with other autism parents.
  • There will always be people out there who will disagree with you and they will not be backwards in coming forward with their views and opinions.
  • Some of them will get personal.
  • Being too honest will open you up to cyber-bullying and may get you accused of playing the “poor me” card too often.
  • You have to decide to either let them win or refuse to be bullied into defeat.
  • Some people on the internet hide behind their computers and write things that they would probably never say to your face.
  • Children don’t deserve to be ridiculed because of decisions and choices that their parents have made.
  • I am extremely emotional and make too many decisions with my heart and not enough with my head.
  • I am not like everyone else and I march to the beat of a very different drum. And that is completely and entirely ok.

So in saying that – welcome to “Wonderfully Wired version 2”.

This time I will be refraining from posting photographs of my children. (Yes I realise that the internet has things called caches and our digital footprint already exists) but I have no control over that. I do however, have control of what I post from now on.

To begin with, this blog will be mostly made up of a collection of my most favourite posts and the ones that I am most proud of. So those of you who followed the older blog (which is now deleted) will have a sense of de ja vu when reading some of these posts. I will be starting to add newer posts as I feel inspired sometime in the new year and when life has returned to ‘our version’ of normal.

Hopefully you’ll all join me to share in the trials and triumphs that 2014 will bring.

Fi x

Please note that the URL of this blog has changed to http://www.wonderfullywiredblog.wordpress.com so if you had the old URL (same but without the word ‘blog’ in it) you will need to change it in your bookmarks.
Also – if you had an email subscription or “followed” the old blog via WordPress – you will also need to re-follow or re-enter your email address in order to remain on the receiving list for new posts.

Thanks x