My Little Boy is Growing Up

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I like longer hair on boys.  The Boy looks so cute with the blond shaggy surfer look hair.  And when his hair grows it get curly at the back, so it never really grows over his collar.

But…The Boy has had a hair cut.

Normally this is something that he hates.   In the past I have cut his fringe while he was asleep in bed.

He absolutely hates electric clippers.  The noise scares him.  The vibration frightens him.

I think that he is frightened of his lack of control when getting his hair cut.  Being in a vulnerable position while some stranger is wielding very sharp scissors about your head is a scary thought.   I am sure that there are a lot of unpleasant sensations that really upset The Boy associated with hair cuts.

But he has, on rare occasions made the announcement that he wants his hair cut NOW!

He has had a professional hair cut 4 times.  Each and every time he has asked for a short hair cut but has refused to let the barber or hairdresser use the clippers.  They must cut his hair with only scissors.

As you can imagine, some of those haircuts have not been very good.

Last week The Boy announced that he wanted his hair cut again.  And he wanted it very short, like a buzz cut.  And it had to be a home hair cut.  No Way was he going to go to the barber or hairdresser.

I tried to talk him out of it.  I tried to convince him that very short hair would make his head cold especially now it is winter.  But he was insistent.

The Boy has only had one other home hair cut, and he refused the clippers that time, just like with the professionals.  Neither The Other Half nor I give great scissor haircuts.

This time  The Boy is too old to have a bad hair cut.  He is too old to blame it on a scissor mishap.  If the other person inferred from that statement that The Boy had cut his own hair, I certainly wasn’t about to swallow my pride and correct him/her!

The Boy is now in grade 3.  He is finally making some friends of his own amongst the boys in his class.   So he certainly doesn’t need a bad hair cut to make him the target of teasing.

So we told The Boy that if he really wanted his hair cut really short then we would have to use the clippers, scissors were not an option this time.

I was hoping that he would refuse the clippers, and therefore keep his lovely long blond locks.

Nope, he has adamant that he wanted short hair.  Afterall, he is a boy, and boys have short hair.

So he got his hair cut.  He closed his eyes and cringed throughout the torture, but sat mostly still while the clippers worked their magic.

His new hair cut make him look so much older.

It has taken me a while to get used to his short hair.   When I pick him up at school I find myself looking for the kid with shaggy blond hair, only to find that The Boy has sneaked up in front of me.  I have to take a second look to make sure that it really is my boy.

I’m so glad that The Boy is growing and learning to tolerate if not accept many new things into his life, like hair clippers and hair cuts.

But I really miss my scruffy, shaggy little boy.

Oh well, I can always hope that he will let it grow out again some day.  No sense getting emo about hair.

Squawk

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Sometimes The Boy doesn’t talk to people.  He’d rather make noises.  Like squawks.  He squawks a lot when he is feeling nervous around someone who he knows.  With strangers he is usually quiet and hides under my shirt.  But sometimes when he is feeling happy and silly he squawks at strangers too.

Turns out, others on the autism spectrum also squawk

I found this video that sums it up fairly well.

Regional Living

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We live in Regional Victoria.    While we like living here it does have it’s drawbacks.

Unlike Melbourne or Sydney, there is not a lot of choice for fun things to do on school holidays.   Especially if it is cold and rainy.

But…we are within range of Melbourne for day trips.  Well, almost.  It is about 3.5 hours to drive one way to Melbourne.   So 7 hours of the day trip is spent in the car.  Not a lot of fun for anyone, so day trips to Melbourne are few and far between.    Normally our day trips into Melbourne are tied into medical appointments.   And tram rides.   Because The Boy loves Melbourne trams.

Regional living also means that he kids have limited opportunities for fantastic school excursions.   No trips to big museums and historical sites etc.

The Boy’s school keeps school excursions to within local areas.   Yesterday The Boy’s class went to the Police Station, earlier in the year they visited the local Fruit and Veg Shop.

The Girl’s school, however, does not let our location get in the way of cultural and educational excursions.  They consider Melbourne to be within reasonable range for school excursions.

Today the whole school is off to Melbourne for the day.  Yes, just for the day.  They left the school at 9:00am.   They will return at around 2:00am.   2:00 AM In. The. Morning.

They’ll be doing some theatrical stuff in the afternoon, then attending an evening theatrical performance.

2:00 AM.   Gee, I wonder how many kids will be at school tomorrow?

Chewelry Product Review

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Two weeks ago on May 27th I was surfing the web for something that The Boy could use to chew on at school.   He already had something to chew on, his shirt, but I was hoping to come up with something better as a chew-up wet shirt doesn’t look very nice.  A further criteria I had was that I didn’t want something that looked like a baby teething toy.   The old stand-by of chewy tubes just seemed to me to look too much like either a baby teething toy or a special needs therapy tool.

I came across the Chewelry website from Canada.   Their necklaces looked quite cute.  I could definitely see any of the kids in The Boy’s year 1/2 class happy to wear one as a fashion accessory.

Shipping from Canada to Australia was only $3.50.  So I decided to order the black circle necklace.  At CND$17.49 it wasn’t cheap.  My total paypal bill in Australia dollars was AU$24.44 .  The Aussie dollar has dropped even further since I ordered, so I’m glad that I didn’t put it off hoping the dollar would rise.

When I showed The Boy the website and told him that I ordered one, he was somewhat negative.  “But I like the taste of my shirt.”  Ugh, they’re ugly!”

But one week later and The Boy was asking me when his new chewy necklace would arrive in the mail.  He was looking forward to trying it out.

So this past Monday it arrived.   It only took 10 days, including weekends, from placing the order to receiving it.  Seeing as it was mailed from Canada I was impressed.   Communication from Pida was excellent.

On inspection, the clasp on the lanyard seems to be a bit weak.  It is designed to be a breakaway clasp.  However we have not had any problems with the necklace coming undone unexpectedly, so I suppose that the weakish clasp is ok.  I am not sure how it will stand up to repeated opening and closing.  Only time will tell.

The only other niggle I have is that in some places the black seems to be a separate layer from the white, and in one or two places seemed to be not well cut off so that there was a very tiny flap of black.   If you look very closely in the above picture you can see this on one or two of the small white circles.  However, despite a full day of chewing on the necklace there has been no evidence of the black separating from the white material.

The Boy has now had the chewy necklace since Monday afternoon.   Together we read the instructions.  It was recommended that it be washed before first use, and thereafter washed on a regular basis.

The Boy insisted that I wash it up straight away.   After doing this I gave it to The Boy.   He was delighted to find that on the reverse side of the necklace there were white dots in the black circle.   He thought that the dots resembled a person, like a star constellation, and that they were “really cool!”

He seemed to enjoy chewing on the necklace absent-mindedly whilst watching tv on Monday afternoon.

The real test came yesterday when he wore the necklace to school.

I am pleased to say that The Boy said he had “a great day” at school.  “I didn’t chew my shirt at all today mummy, I just chewed on my necklace!”   I asked if anyone asked him about his necklace, and he said that one kid did, but The Boy just answered matter-of-factly that it was his chewy necklace.  Nothing more was said about it.

This morning The Boy took his necklace into the bathroom to wash it before putting it on for school.   He is very happy to wear it and use it.   And he looks damn cool wearing it too!

I am interested to know how The Boy goes with the necklace when he is in distress.

The only thing I wish was different with the necklace was that I should have ordered it with the 20cm lanyard rather than the 18cm lanyard.  Although it fits it seems a bit short on The Boy.

Thanks Chewelry for making cool, socially acceptable chewy necklaces.

I also discovered that the necklaces are available from an Australian company Special Needs Toys Australia for AU$19.50.  Shipping to regional VIC for one necklace works out to $5.95, so total shipped price is AU$25.45.

Footy Proud

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We are not really a football family.  We don’t usually watch it on tv.  I’ve never been to a game.

But Adelaide is our ‘Australian home town’.   Even though we are both from Canada, The Other Half and I met in Adelaide, and our kids were born there.

I moved to Adelaide from Canada in early 1998.   The Crows had won their first final ever in 1997.  I was somewhat swept up into the whole Crows fever thing during the 1998 footy season when the Crows were once again the team to beat, and was in the crowd at the celebratory parade when they won the 1998 championship.

So although we aren’t really a footy family, we consider the Crows to be ‘our team’ even now that we live in Victoria.    We check the papers on Monday to see how they did over the weekend, and if by chance we notice that their game is televised we will flip back and forth during the game to check on the score whilst watching another programme.  But other than that we don’t usually give footy or the Crows much of a thought.

When we were living in Sydney The Other Half took The Girl to a Crows vs. Swans football game 2 years ago.  She has talked about it ever since.     The Boy has expressed his wishes to go to a game too.

So this past Saturday we made the long trek into Melbourne to see the Crows play North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium for an evening game.

The Boy is very sensitive to loud noises, hates crowds and usually has trouble sitting through a movie at the cinema.  So we warned The Boy that it was likely to be noisy and crowed.  We bought general admission tickets so that if The Boy was too bothered we could either move away from annoying spectators, or leave early without it costing an arm and a leg.

We also made sure that he had is mp3 player and headphones with him.  This was a double barrelled defence in that The Boy could wear just the headphones to muffle the sounds if things were too loud, or he could let him withdraw into himself and listen to his mp3 player if he needed to.  We also took along a blanket that he could wear to hide himself if needed.

The Boy was so keyed up and excited.   When we went in there weren’t many people around, so all was good.  We bought him and The Girl each a Crows guernsey, which they were very proud to wear.  We found a section of seating where other Crows fans were sitting, but was not too crowded.

The siren startled The Boy, but once I explained what it was, and when it was likely to go off he accepted it and did not cry out each time it went off.

Surprisingly, we didn’t really need to worry about all the precautions we had taken.  The Boy loved the game.  He couldn’t really follow what was happening on the field, but he enjoyed the whole essence of attending a footy game.

The Boy kept either telling me how excited he was to be at the game, or cheering.    He stayed in his seat the whole time.

There wasn’t too much of a crowd to get down to the carpark at the end of the game, so once again no worries for The Boy.

The Boy was so carried away with the excitement of game that he stayed awake for nearly an hour of the 3 hour car trip home.

We got home at 1:30am.   A very long day, but so worth it to see The Boy so happy.

Please forgive the quality of the photos.  The Other Half took them with his phone

Relieved

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Myself, The Other Half, and The Boy have come to the conclusion that The Boy’s participation in German School was not a good thing this year.

The Boy really wants to learn german, and he does like to throw in the odd german word when conversing.  He asked to return to German School again this year at the start of the school year, But this year has not gone well and he says that German School is too stressful and too tiring.

German School in our little country town is held at the local middle years school on a weekday afternoon from 4:15-6:00pm.   Both The Boy and The Girl attend German School.

This year the German School has moved to a new location, with a new teacher and a new principal.  The Boy has not coped well with the changes.  I’ve been called to come and get him midway through the class.   After that I made the decision to stay at the school and sit in the lobby and read a book so that I was on hand to help The Boy out if needed.  But after several weeks of not being needed I decided to chance things and run to the shops.   After getting the stuff I needed for dinner  I arrived back at the school early and found that the class had moved to a different classroom, while The Boy stayed in the original classroom with an aide playing games.  They paid The Boy $1.00 to be calm.   They said they were not paying him to be good, but rather paid him to teach the aide how to play a certain game.

So after that The Other Half, The Boy and I decided that we would pull him out of German School for the rest of the year.

The Boy was greatly relieved as it was stressing him and tiring him out.

The Girl was relieved because now she no longer has to help her brother nor be embarrassed by his behaviour in class.

The German Teacher was relieved because now he doesn’t need to worry about The Boy misbehaving in class nor adapting his teaching methods to best suit The Boy.

The Principal was relieved because she doesn’t need to worry about the others in the class  not getting their proper german education, nor does she no longer have to go out of her way to accommodate and ensure the adequate education of  a kid with autism.

I’m relieved because I  no longer have to go worry about what I am going to hear from The Girl, The Teacher and/or The Principal about The Boy’s behaviour in class that day when I go to pick up The Girl from German School.  I am also relieved because I now have a happier boy again.

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