21 May, 2012

Welcome to Monday and what I've learned so far...

Angus at his specialist ELC, Daphne St, Prospect

Life has been so busy lately that this poor little blog has become pretty neglected. Life can be very inconvenient! It's taken me several months to navigate new routines -- and hang on to my sanity -- while speeding my way up a very steep learning curve.

Let me fill you in.

Last year my youngest, Angus, was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2, and early this year my daughter Tas, 4, was also diagnosed with an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) -- Aspergers. Five years ago I was heavily pregnant with my first child, and (naiively) thought life was hectic and full then - with a fulltime high school teaching job and a new mortgage. I wonder what I might have thought or done differently,  if I'd known what was ahead? I'm afraid I was one of those girls who had a very romanticised and rosy image of motherhood - picture a slow, quiet life, with cookies baking in the oven, a little herb garden by the back door, endless time to craft and sew and renovate, and play with the children in the backyard.


After battling a long and painful recovery after the first birth, a rather drawn-out period of post-natal depression, and loneliness as a new mum, financial struggles with two (interstate) step-children to support, the death of my dear Dad, family issues and living with a very challenging toddler and new baby, it's been a hard road. But the good thing is, I've come out the other side and there have been many blessings.

I've learned how to control my stress during the day when I'm in "fight or flight mode" so I'm not so worn out by the evening.
I've learned that I can be free in any situation by closing my eyes and praying (or meditating or just thinking happy thoughts and visualising a calm place).
I've learned to breathe.
I've learned that I can fit exercise into my routine.
I've learned that I don't need to comfort eat in the evening to relax.
I've learned that scrapbooking is the best hobby ever.
I've learned that I have very cute kids.
I've learned that I really dig photography.
I've learned that there are some AMAZING mums out there.
I've learned that it's a marathon not a sprint.
I've learned to not tolerate the intolerable.
I've learned that I have the same number of hours in the day as everyone else.
I've learned that I need 8 hours of sleep every night.
I've learned that strangers who look "creepy" or "weird" usually aren't. Just different. (It's a lingering stereotype. Society still wants to label people with learning disabilities / disorders negatively).
I've learned that I have to be the change that I want to see in the world.
I've learned that a surprising large number of people know next to nothing about autism.
I've learned that it is okay - necessary - to have time for myself several times every week.
I've learned how to be an ABA therapist / early childhood teacher / psychologist / speech therapist / legal advocate and occupational therapist for my children.
I've learned that I can limit our schedule to no more than one appointment a day and that it's ok to say NO.
I've learned that it's OK to keep the school holidays appointment-free.
I've learned that the slow cooker is the best kitchen appliance ever invented.

plus I have an amazing husband...but I already knew that! Have a great day...I plan to :-)


Faygie Fellig said...

life is not easy but it seems you have are learning how to navigate quite well...

Debbie Smith said...

Thanks Faygie :-) staying positive certainly helps!

Lizzy Hill said...

Wow! You've certainly got your fair share of 'stuff' to deal with in this life!!! But it sounds like you're working it out with the 2 kids...& it's GREAT you have a supportive partner. Here's to staying on top of it all...& enjoying it:):):)

sandi said...

Big huigs to you! Yes, life is not always as we've pictured it, but you seem to be adjusting remarkably well...your children are so lucky to have a mom like you!

Sharmaine Kruijver said...

Hey wonderful-ness on a stick :)
Can I borrow your compass for a while... I'm in need of a navigation device :)
Hugs to you for the week :)

Anna said...

Debbie you are amazing.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable. Class!!! :0)))


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