2018: Wed 10th Jan

I set up a tray with pebbles, shells, ocean toys and Peppa Pig seaside play sets. Ryan played with this a few times during the day – “listening to the sea” in the shells, filling buckets with pebbles and making Peppa and family “talk” to each other. Great imaginative play!

Alex found an app on the TV that turns it into a billboard and Ryan was very impressed to see his name scroll across the tv! 

The weather was a bit dodgy today so we set up the agility grid ($12 at Kmart!!) and Ryan jumped from hexagon to hexagon.

Ryan has been reading books all day. I have found open books in every room of the house and he asks anyone who is around “what do the words say?” He even had books at breakfast, lunch and dinner – he usually plays Angry Birds on the tablet when he eats. During the morning he fed Clover, did some paint with water painting and helped me make bread.

In the afternoon we drove around town for nearly an hour but at each planned geocache spot there were lots of people (the geocaching term is ‘muggles’) around so we couldn’t get close enough to hunt. We eventually gave up and stopped at a park near home. Ryan had a great time running, swinging, and yelling “I’m the king of the world” from the top of the slide!

Back at home he settled with popcorn and The Polar Express and then read more books while I cooked dinner. 

A few temper tantrums that turned into full-blown meltdowns in the morning (when I said no to something he was doing) but pretty calm and happy during the afternoon. Very very talkative day and demanding attention from anyone near him which got a bit much at times but we all just walked away when we had enough. Between Alex, David and I we got through the day, and Stefan did his usual bedtime stories πŸ™‚

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2018: Tues 9th Jan

New book this morning – “Bear Goes Shopping”, a book with lots of shopping words like expensive, variety, wallet, customers, afford… to extend his vocabulary.

Ryan enjoyed listening to it and asked for it again during the day and at bedtime. He seems to have a thing for books with bears in them lately.

Donna (one of Ryan’s support workers) came over and they made “Porridge”, played trains, played Pop the Pig, and had all sorts of fun and laughter! Sounded much more enjoyable than uniform and shoe shopping with teenage boys!

I promised Ryan a drive when I got home so we headed out and found a couple of geocaches. One was by a dog exercise area and there were no dogs so Ryan wanted to run! It was perfect because it was fully fenced and he could run to his hearts delight… And in his new super running shoes I brought him. 

New shoes are always a gamble as he prefers Crocs and anything else takes a lot of bribing/negotiating and some days he will wear them but completely refuse on others. He can’t do laces and struggles with the tongue and Velcro so when I saw these I thought we were on to a winner! He put them on himself, no hesitations and we were off!

A quiet rest of the day just doing usual household jobs and chatting πŸ™‚

2018: Mon 8th Jan

Ryan was outside on the tramp and playing with the sprinklers first thing this morning. He doesn’t actually go near the sprinklers but likes hooking them up and turning the hose on and off, watching them fill up and deflate. Inside he set up all his oil timers and was flipping them while sucking his thumb! This is a new thing, he didn’t even suck his thumb as a baby :/ I got his hands busy colouring in a picture of Hoot the Owl in the bath, and he wrote R’s all around it. Then he asked for the audio book Bubble Bear (Alphatales) and listened to it twice while looking at the pictures. He has figured out when to turn the pages at the correct time without my help πŸ™‚ He listened to Elwin the Elephant a few times too.

Ryan got a mini Hatchimal for Christmas so we opened it and Ryan held it tight until it was ready to hatch. He was grinning his face off as he peeled away the shell and found a cute little dolphin type toy.

We headed out and stopped to find a geocache. Ryan found a huge log to sit on while David searched around it for the geocache but was unsuccessful in. Ryan moved on to a small pile of stones and climbed it while Alex and David kept hunting – the GPS wasn’t being much help. Ryan quickly got bored and we headed back to the car and listened to music while we watched the older boys. They eventually gave up and we decided to try another one from the app. Thankfully this one was a successful find and Ryan and I didn’t even have to get out of the car. 

We stopped for a cold drink and a play at the park on Spurdle St/Treadwell St and Ryan and I debated how many more slides before getting back in the car. Ryan kept saying “two more” holding up 2 fingers after each slide, and I replied “one more then car” holding up 1 finger and signing “finished”. Eventually I won (after about 4 slides) and he happily got back in the car.

More time outside at home, then a bubble bath. Ryan has “borrowed” Alex’s scooter and he rode it around in the hallway. We made duplo vehicles and then Ryan packed it away because “I’m all done now” less than 10 minutes after we got it out.

Ryan is very set in his ways so if something happens once then he expects it to happen everytime. For example he has a Ryan’s Car Music CD in the old car. Everytime we go anywhere we can only listen to track 10 or track 1. 

First time in the new car he asked for “Kingdom Come” (track 10) and I said “sorry, I don’t have it in this car” and we listened to the radio … and he was happy. 

Tried the radio in the old car and nope, he was not happy at all! Back in the new car I put his car CD on … and got told “no, that’s not right” and he wanted the radio!!! 

Yay, I’m happy because track 1 and 10 on repeat for nearly 3 years was mind-numbing lol and now we can listen to the radio … in my car πŸ™‚

2018: Sun 7th Jan

After a morning of cleaning and tidying we did the recycling and then decided to try some Geocaching. Ryan enjoys the excitement, the driving and sometimes the hunting. We used to go out regularly but then life got busy and we forgot how much we enjoy it. 

We (David and I) saw an easy one on the app and headed near the railway tracks. Ryan was hoping to see a train and David quickly spotted where the geocache may be hiding, and he was right! Log signed and we headed off to get a Frozen Coke.

We pulled into the drive through and as I went to wind my window down I noticed bees flying everywhere! Unfortunately the drive through is one-way and we had a car in front and behind us. The van in front must have been brave and placed an order so we all had to wait for him to pay and get his food before we could exit. It’s a well-known fact that I am terrified of bees and being allergic adds to that. David thought the swarm buzzing around the car was cool and Ryan didn’t seem to notice. We don’t know if Ryan is allergic yet as he hasn’t been stung. David has had a few stings and is fine. We finally got out and headed somewhere else for our Frozen Cokes, and thankfully Ryan didn’t have a meltdown when the plan changed suddenly.

I stopped at Peat park, one of Ryan’s favourite parks, but he said he didn’t want to play, he just wanted to keep driving around. So we did. Eventually we ended up at Durie Hill school, which I had heard has cool playgrounds, but we had never been there before. Ryan had a great time exploring and David helped him on the bigger ladders and slides, at one point he even carried Ryan on his back up a ladder because Ryan’s legs were too short to climb it! But it was worth it for the huge slide from the top!

Ryan asked to feed Toby tonight, and gave him his biscuits two at a time, and waited until he crunched them before giving him more. Toby was very patient and only got grumpy when Ryan tried to give one of the biscuits to Flash (the cat) lol.

  

2018: Sat Jan 6thΒ 

Yesterday morning (Friday) I tucked Ryan back into bed at 5.30am and thinking he had resettled I went back to bed. 10am and I woke with a fright … and everyone laughing at me for snoring … but I don’t snore so I’m not sure what they were talking about πŸ˜‰ Stefan told me he had been up with Ryan since just before 6am! 

This morning at 4.45am Ryan decided sleep was done so I thought I’d be nice and return the favor, letting Stefan get a lie in. 

Well, by 9am I roped Alex into helping because every 15mins Ryan was running off screaming and throwing himself at our bedroom door wanting “to see my Dad and go in the car!!” 

And I had to lock David’s door because he kept trying to let the kittens out and wake David, who is not a morning person so wouldn’t be amused. 

We did washing, breakfast, favourite tv shows, train sets and cuddles but nothing worked for long. Next time (we try to take turns on weekends getting some extra sleep) I may just chuck him in the car and drive until a reasonable wake up time like we used to when he was younger.

I got out Playdough to keep Ryan occupied while we all had showers and got ready for the day. He sat and happily chatted and played once he knew Stefan was up and around, little toad lol.

We decided to head out to Bason Reserve which we haven’t been to in a long time. We found a Spring Walk, and a hill to climb, and grass to run on…

By the car we spotted a Fern house so went and had a look. Ryan decided to bum-shuffle on the gravel path back to the car. He ended up with a filthy backside but was giggling his head off, crazy kid!

On the way home we stopped for a walk around Westmere Lake. Ryan did most of the walks today without holding hands – this hardly ever happens due to his total lack of impulse control making it a safety issue. One of us was always within arms reach of him, and we did need to move quickly a couple of times when he decided to duck off the path. Alex got him just before he grabbed a barbed wire fence and once he decided to sit in the mud and then lick his hands, blurk!!! We did around the lake in 35 minutes so not a bad time either – it’s a 30minute walk according to the signs. We talked about sounds we could hear – cicadas, ducks, a chainsaw, and a debate about if we could hear a helicopter or a plane but we couldn’t see through the trees. We found a few painted rocks, hid some, collected pinecones to take home for the rabbit to play with but Ryan threw them into the bush before we finished our walk. Ryan talked pretty much non-stop the whole time.

We went home for food and drink and then Stefan took Alex and Ryan to Gordon’s Bush for another walk (trying to wear the kid out lol) and David and I did the groceries. 

Ryan had a nice big bubble bath and ate a good dinner of French toast made with fresh farm eggs.

Ryan has been scripting from the Toy Story movies during the day. Some of it is totally random and other quotes fit the situation but had us cracking up laughing because they were obvious Toy Story quotes – and of course, as I’m writing this I can’t remember any of them (I usually write down things at the time but didn’t today).

I was so pleased the rain stopped during the night and we got out and about today. We all enjoyed the fresh air and laughs πŸ™‚

2018: Fri 5th Jan

Yay, it’s Friday! 

Even though it was raining bucket loads Ryan wanted to go out in the new car so we stopped to get coffee at The Village Snob. Ryan was very excited to see the Waimarie steam past on the river, and there was lots of jumping up and down!

We were very brave and went for a rather quick walk around Gordon’s Bush and all got back in the car soaked to the skin but Ryan was laughing and happy so all good.

Ryan’s cousin came to play in the afternoon and then we went out again to do a few town jobs. Ryan was very happy, stimming away, because rain means using the windscreen wipers and he LOVES that!

Lots of meltdowns over small things during the day and very demanding and agressive behaviour at times. He refused his night time meds so it took quite a long time of sitting patiently waiting for him to decide to take them, while I read stories out loud but with the book facing me so he would come over if he got interested, and then I would offer his meds again. After about 4 books and 6 times he came over and said no he finally gave in and took them. I think the clincher was when I starting reading a book he has only read with Stefan. As soon as he took his meds he asked for Dad to read it. We have found if we try and force him to do things or get grumpy then he gets defensive and it takes longer to resolve.

The rain has eased off for now so hopefully we will get more outside time tomorrow!

2018: Wed Jan 3rd

So I guess a big part of Ryans journey is my journey too. As his main caregiver he depends on me and this was something I really struggled with when we made our decision to homeschool, knowing that his education was in my hands too now. I have a number of health issues, and I worried that they would affect my ability to give Ryan what he needs. But I was determined to try. 

I quickly realised that trying to do everything myself was not going to work so I arranged for regular support with the housework. As time went on, and we got into a routine, I was keeping on top of the cleaning so we stopped needing extra help.
I take him to horse riding once a week, even though I sneeze all afternoon due to my allergies, and changing his lesson from morning to afternoon helped a lot. 

I know he loves swimming so I make sure a support worker takes him regularly, since I am allergic to chlorine. 

Now one of my biggest hurdles was my chronic pain condition. It is mostly managed by medication but occasionally I get a flare and I’m pretty useless to anyone. 

Today was one of those days.

Thankfully Ryan wasn’t in the mood to go out so we just muddled along and in the afternoon Alex spent a few hours hanging out with Ryan while I slept. 

I always feel guilty when I feel I haven’t been up to doing my job as a mother, teacher, and carer. That is mostly my own anxieties talking as I know everyone has ‘off’ days and that’s ok. Fingers crossed for a better health day for me tomorrow.

And in other news… Ryan asked for cornflakes today! He ate 2 bowls full and the boys had to go and buy another bag! Granted many missed his mouth and now we need to vacuum the couch but a fair few got in too. And he ate half of 3 chocolate chip cookies while colouring in. 

He found a puppet and when I asked what his name was Ryan said “Boy”. He also has a doll he got years ago and her name is “Girl” – Ryan named her too lol. 

I got out a new mermaid sequin cushion ($10 at Kmart) and he had a great time rubbing it to change the colours. When the sun came through the window it made a pretty light pattern on the wall! 

2018: Tuesday January 2nd

Ryan woke early and watched Toy Story quietly and let me sleep till 8am!!! (Stefan did make sure everything was locked before he left for work. We have locks on the bathroom, kitchen, laundry…)

The peanut shaped Swiss ball was used for some bouncing and stretching exercises.

We logged on to Reading Eggs for the first time in 2 months and Ryan did a couple of tasks. He needs a lot of support to stay on task and listen to the instructions. 

Since rain was coming we decided to head out. First stop was the park to burn off some energy. Ryan had a big run across the field and got the usual “don’t lick the bars please” as he climbed up the eye shape. 

Next we popped into Stefan’s work, and Ryan got to check out all the washing machines. 

At home Ryan did colouring, telling me all about his picture. Talking about his pictures is a new thing and I’m encouraging it by asking questions and showing lots of interest.

We listened to the Alphatales CD, reading the first 2 books – The Adventures of Abby Alligator, and Bubble Bear. Ryan hasn’t used a read-along audio book before and was interested in listening for the ‘turn-the-page’ noise.

Ryan read the Reading Eggs book Bb, which is the lesson he is working on online.

Then we made ice cream. It’s a bit hard to take photos as we juggled the beater, can opener and ingredients so I just got one of Ryan licking the beater! Easy ice cream is a bottle of cream, whip till almost stiff, add a can of condensed milk and mix. Add flavours/lollies/chocolate or leave plain. YUM!

Ryan helped with the days washing, filling the machine and putting it through the dryer.

We played Gassed Out and practised turn taking, and pushing the fart the same number as the card we turn over. This game always has Ryan in giggles. The turns are quite quick too which helps practising turn taking.

We sat and read a pile of books, including a new one called ‘Duck on a Bike’, a very amusing story!

I offered Ryan water play outside a number of times but he said no, which was not like him, and I thought he would have wanted to get wet as it was a muggy hot day. Other than a few small grumpy patches it was a fairly calm day. 

2018: Monday Jan 1st

Happy New Year to all!

I’m not sure why but this morning Ryan started asking to go to school and as soon as I set up gloop he calmed down. We spent the day doing what had become our usual “school day” routine – reading, maths, writing and sensory play/art/science/etc…

The older boys don’t return to school for another month but if Ryan is keen to get back into learning then I’m not going to stop him. 

Midway through last year I was looking for some guidelines to what Ryan needed to learn. I found lots of “before you go to school” lists and compiled a list from them of basic skills to work on. It was a bit sobering to see Ryan didn’t have even half the skills listed but it definitely gave us achieveable goals. 

Today (6 months later) I redid the checklist and was really surprised. Ryan has achieved the following: can recite the alphabet, can hold scissors correctly, can count up to 20 (actually 36!), can identify a diamond and a rectangle, can follow instructions with 2 steps, can identify the 5 senses, can run without stumbling, can put on pants, t-shirt and socks. These are all things he couldn’t do in July 2017. Wow!

We also have huge improvements in our goals of learning turn taking and calm transitions. They have been added to our 2018 goals to keep working on, as well as learning to wait and independant toileting.

Other skills he has learnt in 2017 is swallowing a pill without chewing it, able to do his own seatbelt up, and huge improvements in using the toilet.

At breakfast I asked Ryan if he was finished and usually he then eats the corners but today he said yes and then put all the corners on the table! He drew an “alien head” on the whiteboard and Mr Septapus from Reading Eggs appeared wanting to shake my hand and say good morning.

Gloop making was done outside. Gloop is half a cup of water to 1 cup of cornflour.

Ryan did freestyle painting and then asked to do a Bob the Builder paint with water page.

He coloured in a couple of pages in a Peppa Pig colouring in book and drew rain coming down from the clouds. He told me all about the roller coaster they were on and what they were saying. He wrote a perfect ‘R’ and then ‘yan’ which was a bit harder to read.

Clover was fed carrots and yellow flowers. The kittens all had baths and cuddles. Jasper was so content and relaxed, he even let Ryan kiss him and started a very loud purr when Ryan licked him lol, gross!

Ryan ate a huge plate of macaroni cheese for dinner… Yes that’s right, not nuggets or French toast!!! 

Great start to 2018! πŸ™‚ 

Long hot Saturday!

Today was Stefan’s first day off since Christmas Day and Ryan has hardly left his side. 

We needed to refill our water bottles and they were shut for the holidays… which meant we got to use the vending machine! Ryan helped with each step, checked the rolling doors to make sure they were actually closed and checked behind the machine to look for pipes.

We went to feed the ducks, watch the fountain at the lake and have a wander through the bird avairy. Back home Ryan spent some time in the sunshine playing with his snake sprinkler.

One of the kids favourite things to do with big empty boxes is poke holes in it with a screwdriver. Ryan spent ages making holes and Stefan shone a torch through them so Ryan could see the lights in the box.

He asked to make more holes and Stefan and David decided to be brave (or stupid) and lie in the box while Ryan was stabbing at it. Boys, sigh!

After Ryan had made holes in each side, which took him over an hour, Stefan cut the box down and we took it to the recycling centre. Ryan started to lose the plot when he realized we didn’t have any glass bottles and a kind lady called Jane gave him some of hers. She introduced herself and asked Ryan his name… and he answered her! She said she had 3 boys who also like smashing the glass bottles. Thank you Jane for your kindness and understanding πŸ™‚

After a night of Ryan getting up and down and hardly sleeping he was very grumpy by dinnertime. He relaxed watching Toy Story to hold him out a bit longer before we started the bedtime routine.