2019: Friday 5th April

Usually Stefan has Friday’s off work but he had to work today so it was just Ryan and I for the day. I asked Ryan last night what he wanted to do tomorrow and he said “go to the museum”. Well, our local museum has been closed for over 2 years but recently reopened and I don’t ever remember Ryan going there so was surprised at his answer. Of course I said we could go 🙂

The morning was a bit tense as the teenagers were arguing (as most siblings do at times) and once they left for school Ryan cuddled down on the couch and asked to watch Cars 2. He seemed calm and happy so I told him I was going to have a quick shower – something I don’t often do when no-one else is around to keep an eye/ear on him. A few minutes later I heard screaming, jumped out of the shower, grabbed a towel and raced down to the lounge… only to find it was excited screaming! Ryan had opened the curtains and discovered the council had workers fixing the bent barrier fence that has been dented since someone crashed into it in October 2017 (we remember because it happened at the same time as David rescued Havoc, after he fell out of someone’s car who pulled over for the accident, at only 4wks old). Ryan has shown every visitor since then the dented fence and asked us multiple times every day “when are they going to fix the broken fence?” to the point where I almost contacted the council to ask them lol. So you can imagine his extreme joy at seeing it finally happen.

Mid morning we drove into town and went to the Museum. Ryan put money in the parking meter and, as I expected, did a very quick walk around the whole museum – upstairs and down – barely stopping to look at anything. The bones caught his interest.

And then we were off again. There was hardly anyone else there and I know that a future visit will be different because it won’t be a new place. He often goes into fast forward and checks everything out quickly in new places.

Of course across the road from the museum is one of Ryan’s favourite things in town – the Majestic Square waterfall. So we went to have a look 🙂

When I asked Ryan what he wanted to do next he said “check the train tunnel” so we drove to Kowhai Park and he was very pleased to find the train safely locked in its tunnel.

We passed the moas – “like the bones we saw at the museum, Ryan” and he said “yes”, on his way to check the ticket booth was shut. He likes riding on the train but also is quite happy to find it all locked up and the rolling doors down. It’s been months since he has asked me to go here. Last summer we were here everyday checking the train!

He went to check if the showers were going and asked me to “read the words, Mummy” to see why they were not working.

He had a swing, and went down the dinosaur slide a few times. We ran into a lady who used to teach Ryan at kindy, at the park with her young children. Ryan happily pushed the kids around and around on the merry-go-round and chatted away about the squeaking noises he could hear and how he was going around and around 🙂

When we arrived home we discovered a parcel had arrived! Exciting! It was from ExperiSense NZ (they have a facebook page and website) and you can order monthly boxes, themed boxes, or individual sensory and developmental products/toys. I ordered the April box after a recommendation from a blog follower, and I am impressed. The items are great quality, all things I can use with Ryan, and the whole box smelt amazing from the bath bombs with hidden toys 🙂 Check out the photos to see what else was included – visual velcro schedules, theraputty, laminated shape mats for dough/theraputty, stretchy mice and cheese toys, and some small sensory toys.

Like Christmas and Ryans birthday I didn’t want to overwhelm him with too many new things so I opened the box while he was in the bath. I chose the stretchy expandable ball for him to play with, and he loved it! He was enthralled with how it shrunk each time he threw it lol.

Ryan enjoyed more coin posting, cuddles with cats, and playing with the tray of pebbles in plastic boots (3 days in a row he has played with this!). We watched some YouTube videos of cats doing funny things and both laughed until we cried.

When Stefan got home we went for a drive up to the cemetery to take flowers to Stefan’s Dad who passed away 5 yrs ago today. On the way home we stopped for pizza. Ryan thought it was great when a car was pulled over by the police and stopped right behind us. Ryan banged on the window and was yelling “hello!” and then asked me to “squirt the back window to get it clean and wet the policeman” … that child is so cheeky lol!

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2019: Thursday 4th April

We decided to have a home day today. It was freezing cold early but warmed up.

We are slowly working through a Learning Express Science book called ‘My Body’. I read Ryan the words on the page and we verbally worked through the answers before he drew on the page. Today he did 4 dot to dots to make pictures of things we taste. I did hand-over-hand as we counted around the numbers and then Ryan did it with the feltpen independently. The next page was colouring in the items we can taste. We did ticks and crosses as he named each item and said if he could eat it. He said yes to watermelon… and toy cars, then he laughed because he was tricking me lol.

Ryan read the early reader ‘Go, go, go’ and posted plastic coins into the money box.

A concrete mixer appeared on the roundabout outside which got Ryan very excited! We watched it empty a load of concrete and leave.

We had a couple of unexpected (but very welcome) visitors that filled in most of the morning. One visitor left, we mixed a banana cake up, and another visitor arrived. Ryan was VERY talkative and it was nearly impossible to get a word in edgewise. Luckily both visitors have known Ryan his whole life so were very used to this 🙂

At lunchtime Ryan decided it was bathtime, giving me time for a much needed coffee. We read some stories, did some washing, and Ryan played with his water wheel in the laundry. We read a new book ‘Hold on tight’ by Sara Acton – a lovely story about a girl holding her mums hand so she doesn’t blow away on a windy day walk, and what she thinks she could do if she did blow away like have a cup of tea up a tree with a bird.

The grocery truck came and it was a super big order so it took us a while to unpack it all. Ryan was kinda helpful but everytime he disappeared I went to check in case he was getting up to mischief/throwing things out windows. So far nothing had flown out the windows today!

Ryan discovered a tray I had set up in my room with hollow plastic boots (50c for a 4 pack at Kmart), glass pebbles and small rocks from the garden. He tipped the boots out, mixed the bits up, refilled the boots, tipped them out, counted how many stones he could fit in a boot… I forgot how much he enjoys playing with random trays I set up, I must do it more often.

Alex came home and Ryan asked to go to the park. So we had some afternoon tea and then went. I spoke too soon when I wrote earlier about nothing going out windows as a CD went out a lounge window as Alex and I were putting our shoes on, sigh!

At the park Ryan ran, swung, climbed and was really happy 🙂 He said he was trying to reach the power lines when he was at the top of the slide. He has taken a real interest in them lately.

We stopped on the way home to check on a geocache we hid but couldn’t find it. I’ll need to replace it before school holidays as more people look for them then. Ryan asked Alex for a race and they ran all the way across Springvale Park and back. Ryan was walking part way back and said “I almost didn’t make it” when he got back to me lol.

Ryan insisted on another bath when we got home and then it was into the dinner, stories, bedtime routine. Wow, another busy homeschool day!

2019: Wednesday 3rd April

Ryan slept in this morning and had only been up for an hour when he said to me “Mummy, is it bedtime yet?”. Poor kid must have had a rough night – he is very active in his sleep.

Julie came and picked Ryan up for the morning. She said they had an hour long walk, a long drive and Ryan ate a chocolate covered Oreo cookie! Yum!

He wanted a bath when he got home at lunchtime, so I ran him a big bubble bath. Ryan helped with the washing in the laundry. We read yesterday’s book ‘One, Two, Flea’ again. And I introduced a new easy reader called ‘Go, go, go’ and each page has picture of different animals and the words describing how they go ie fish with the words “I swim”. Then Ryan did a tracing the zip zags worksheet. I needed to make silly monkey noises and ask him to help the monkeys zag zag to find the bananas to encourage him to do it, and it worked lol.

Ryan asked to go for a drive so we took our water bottles and had a chat with the guys at the Crystal Valley Water place. We stopped at two parks for a swing. The first park had some little toddlers playing and Ryan was careful climbing up and having a slide. I have tried to teach him to be cautious when there are little children around at parks because he didn’t have much awareness of personal space and his own size. It’s awesome to see he was being careful but I could see he was finding it difficult. I was about to suggest finding another park when he said “Can we go to another park please Mum?” Really awesome using his words!

At our usual park we found two giant concrete pipes! Ryan enjoyed climbing through them 🙂 We ran into a friend and it was lovely to have a chat in the sunshine. Ryan stopped to look at my car tyres before we left. I guess his fine motor skills are improving because he very quickly unscrewed the cap from the air valve before I stopped him! I explained we can’t do that or we will get flat tyres and won’t be able to drive anywhere! (I know there is also a thing to press in to let the air out but imagine he wouldn’t find that difficult with his tiny fingers!)

At home I got out a neat little Maths activity book I found at a book sale for $1. It has simple activities, stickers to put on the page once done… and the best part is each page is one sided. This means Ryan can concentrate on the page without me having to cover the other side, as too much on the pages distract him. Today he traced circles and chose a star sticker.

Ryan enjoyed posting plastic pirates treasure into a money box. It was more challenging because the mini watsit (xtreme imports kapiti) I put the coins in wobbled when he touched it. I noticed he steadied it with one hand and picked up the coins with the other, after getting annoying with it moving. Great problem solving!

He asked to play outside so we fed Clover the rabbit and Ryan jumped on the tramp. Back inside he spent a while playing in the laundry sink with the spinning water wheels.

Ryan decided he needed another bath and before he was even dressed he was “making music” with his floor drum mat.

He did more coin posting while I cooked dinner and watched the roadworks out the kitchen window. After dinner he was balancing on his large Watsit while watching Cars 2.

What a busy boy today! Lots of really great concentrating and and LOTS of questions and talking! I think my ears will be pleased when he goes to sleep tonight lol.

2019: Tuesday 2nd April

Today is the international Autism Awareness Day so I thought it would be appropriate to wear the awesome t-shirt a blog follower sent me anonymously a while ago 🙂

We did reading – a new book with 2 rhyming stories in it. Ryan loved the grandma hanging her grandkids on the washing line in the first story, and the girl pushing her sister up the chimney to teach her how to fly, in the second story. A quirky little book I picked up at a second hand book sale.

We went to Riding for the Disabled and Ryan checked on their washing machine before having a ride on Hugo.

At home Ryan practised counting dots on the dice by throwing the large colourful dice and counting what it landed on. Then he practised his colours, shapes and counting sides with a small wooden puzzle. These may all seem like simple skills but Ryan still struggles with these, and enjoys practising them.

He watched the digger out the lounge window (and posted some painted rocks and Percy the train out the window) while I got ready for our next appointment.

We were meeting a new paediatrician as the one we have had since Ryan was born has moved overseas. We picked Stefan up from work and Ryan found a toy box to rummage through while we waited to be called.

A 3pm appointment is always challenging being the time of day when Ryan starts getting very “busy”. But in a way it’s good for new specialists to see Ryan when he is stimming, talking lots (and loud) and wanting to play with blinds, sinks, and switches rather than the toy box he was offered. Overall the appointment went well and we have a plan forward and some tests ordered.

We dropped Stefan back to work (super grateful he could come to this appointment today) but when we got home Ryan had a meltdown. He poured juice on the kitchen floor, threw his frozen coke all over the hall carpet and then trashed his room. Once he calmed down Alex helped him tidy his room while I cleaned the carpet. Ryan spent the rest of the day in the box Julie gave him yesterday cuddled under one of Stefan’s hoodies (by his own choice).

At bedtime Stefan read his stories and then I went in to say goodnight. Ryan said “There’s a spider up there” pointing at the ceiling. I saw a small one and said “that’s OK, he won’t eat you” to which Ryan replied “But I might get a spider in my eye!!!” … So we got Stefan to come and get rid of it lol 🙂 Having spiders in his eyes is what Ryan used to say when he was little and we never really figured out what he meant, but now think it may have been linked to his epilepsy as he rarely says it since being on anti-epileptic meds.

A pretty busy day, which most Tuesday’s seem to be lately!

2019: Monday 1st April

Ryan spent the morning with Julie, and they had coloured popcorn (Julie said he ate the green bits first) and chocolate Freddos. Ryan came home with a huge box 🙂

Stefan took Ryan for a walk around Virginia Lake and the rest of the day was spent in the box. He ate toast in the box, played on his touchpad, and watched TV.

Ryan even took the box to bed lol! Thanks Julie, the box gave us a nice peaceful afternoon 🙂

2019: Saturday 30th/Sunday 31st March

Saturday was a pretty relaxed home day. Stefan was at work and the teenagers slept most of the day. Ryan played with his name magnets, Sherriff Callie and playdough.

The Duplo Train set was a big favourite again and he spent lots of time putting it away, then rebuilding it, and making tunnels with books.

We had visitors mid morning and Ryan chatted about the power lines, the washing machine and what makes Percy (his train) work.

‘Follow that tiger’ was requested to be read a dozen more times and Ryan spent some time hanging out playing Xbox in David’s room late afternoon 🙂

Apart from stopping Ryan from throwing things out windows (many times I was too late) it was a good day.

*****

Stefan had Sunday off and Ryan was eager to go out. We headed over to Marton (1/2hr drive) to the Marton Harvest Festival.

Ryan asked to go in his “pushchair tent” which we made on our holiday. Every so often he would hear something he wanted to look at and the blanket would twitch lol. He saw tractors, traction engines, people on stilts dressed as scarecrows, and a band playing a drum, guitar and banjo! We even ran into some friends from Wanganui and stopped for a chat 🙂

We found some shade to sit and got lunch from Kai Kart. I was totally surprised when Ryan ate an entire tray of hot chips! As we wandered Stefan hid some painted rocks and when we sat for lunch he spied a hidden Marton Harvest painted rock! (see photo)

In the afternoon Stefan took Ryan for a walk around Virginia Lake and to watch the fountain. Ryan watched David mow the lawn out the windows, calling out “HELLO DAVID” each time he walked past a window Ryan was at.

Unfortunately things also started disappearing out windows and Ryan would say “Windows are for fresh air, not for throwing things out” every time he did it. It’s like he knows it’s wrong but just can’t stop himself. This behaviour has got us stumped. We have tried growling, keeping the windows shut, replacing it with throwing games to see if it’s a need to throw things, taking away the things he throws out, talking about how it breaks things and then he doesn’t have it anymore… Nothing is working. They say all behaviours happen for a reason, so the key to stopping an unwanted behaviour is to figure out why they are doing it. I wondered if it was attention seeking because he used to only do it when he was alone in a room, but now he can be right next to me and will do it. He also used to laugh about it, now he looks upset or shocked and tells us straight away that he has thrown something out the window.

Hopefully this behaviour passes quickly, and it may just be a phase. We have already been through some pretty tough phases like licking everything (door handles, people, books, pretty much everything he could), using the word “p&n!s” constantly very loudly no matter where we were or what we were doing, stripping his clothes off anywhere and everywhere, and touching people’s faces – even strangers – he has no personal space awareness but is better now. Each thing I thought would never end but looking back they did. We just have to ride this through until we figure out why he is doing it and/or what we can replace it with that satisfies his need to do it. We are open to any suggestions/ideas/donations of window screens lol (I have had someone come to do a quote for some but they are not cheap!).

2019: Friday 29th March

Stefan’s days off are a bit muddly for the next few weeks so he didn’t have today off like most Friday’s. Julie came and picked Ryan up for the morning and when he got home I heard a loud bang! Ryan had found a bucket of Stefan’s rocks waiting to be painted and was throwing them at my car! Thankfully he didn’t do any damage but he did get a very big growling from me!

On the positive they had a bag of Feijoas! Yum! Julie said Ryan spent over an hour collecting them from under trees at his cousins place… Now to see if he will eat any! 🙂

During my morning I went to the annual Rotary Book Sale and got a huge pile of books for Ryan for only $20, including some puzzles and a game! If you have followed this blog for a while you will know how much I LOVE second hand book sales 🙂

Ryan came to play Angry Birds on his touchpad while I lay down for a rest. It’s been a long week of not being well. I’m much improved but just popping out to the book sale, a quick stop at the supermarket and chemist was enough to exhaust me! The rest didn’t last long as Ryan was off and I knew if I didn’t keep a close eye on him then we might have troubles. He managed to throw Toby’s bone and a CD out a window before I caught up to him :/

Ryan asked to dry his Hatching egg Owl (see yesterdays blog) and then put it with the kiwi he hatched a few weeks ago.

I got the Duplo out and he made the train track, complete with barrier arms, and he pretty much spent all afternoon playing with it!

We read yesterday’s new book ‘Follow That Tiger’ another 4x and then Ryan asked for an ice cream! He’s never asked for an ice cream before but I got the cones and ice cream out. He chose the strawberry from the neopolitan tub and ate it all!

Then he went back to the Duplo train set. He sat with me on the couch for a bit, did some Jenga block stacking and made a new track for Thomas, all while watching Bubble Guppies. Ryan very rarely starts playing with toys or games by himself. I usually have to get something out, start playing/building myself and he may or may not join in, so this afternoon was really interesting watching him choose toys and build things.

The lounge floor was covered in toys and train sets when Stefan got home but everyone was calm and relaxed so the mess didn’t matter 🙂

2019: Thursday 28th March

There was no blog yesterday as I was in bed sick. Julie had Ryan for the morning and Stefan had him for the afternoon.

Today I was a bit better and it was just Ryan and I for the day.

After breakfast I got a new book out, ‘Follow that tiger’, and we read it 3x. Ryan chatted with Dipper and then swiped my camera and took my photo “cheese you for your phone” (meaning for the blog so I included it even though I look dreadful lol). Ryan rolled around laughing on my bed.

Ryan did an ‘up and overs’ worksheet and then practised writing his name. He is doing really well but forgets his ‘a’. He added smiley faces and then had morning tea – he only ate the chocolate off his plate, sigh.

Maths was simple adding and patterns using small plastic dogs. Ryan did really well with this today and we worked through 5 cards before card 6 got a bit muddled (see photo).

Roadworks were busy outside our lounge and Ryan kept checking on what they were doing during the day.

First bath of the day was late morning. Then we put a Hatching Egg in water. Ryan loves doing these and every so often I see dinosaur or pukeko ones at the chemist or bookshop for about $7-$10. On our trip recently I found lots for $2.50 each so brought 6 different ones. Today Ryan chose an Owl. He dropped it on the ground by accident cracking the egg so it didn’t take 24hrs to hatch. It had popped out by dinner time 🙂

I set up a sensory play tray with rolled oats, bowls, warm water, egg beater and a whisk. Pictures show Ryan’s enjoyment and variety of ways he played with it. This kept him happy for quite a while, tipping and pouring, squishing and mixing.

When he was all cleaned up and we had washed the sensory play items I got the small wooden marble run out.

Ryan ate toast nearly all day between each activity. And drunk lots of water.

He played on his touchpad, watched the roadworks some more and chatted with Alex when he got home. Havoc came for some cuddles and then Ryan had another bath. By dinner time he was getting very grumpy and quick to throw things and hit people so we fast tracked story and bed time.

2019: Tuesday 26th March

Today has been a home day since Ryan and I are both sick. He still has his snotty nose he has been fighting for a week now, and I think he passed it on to me. He has been going between having baths and doing loads of washing all day. And I’ve just let him. He may not sleep tonight since he hasn’t had any mental stimulation or physical activity but he was happy and calm.

I thought I’d share some background about our house. So we brought our house 5 years ago. We repainted inside and out, and laid new carpet soon after getting the keys. On our to-do/wish list was a new kitchen, add a 2nd toilet, add a garage, update the bathroom, build a deck and put sliding doors off the lounge – dreaming big 🙂

Obviously all these things would cost money so we waited and saved. Fast forward to now and we have realised how important getting a 2nd toilet is, especially when Ryan is doing well with using the toilet regularly he needs it to be available and has trouble waiting. So fingers crossed this should be happening soon. One thing that has put us off is concerns about how Ryan will cope with different tradesmen coming and going, keeping him safe – as he tends to touch anything in arms reach so tools etc are a worry, and the noise and disruption of his routine. But it needs to happen so watch this space as we prepare him and work through this change!

Another thing that happened not long after we brought the house was the oven stopped working. Money was tight and Ryan had a extremely worrying habit of swinging the oven door open and climbing on it (he was 4yrs old at this stage). So we made the decision to remove the broken oven and brought a bench top mini oven. Between the mini oven, the slow cookers, electric fry pan and deep fryer we managed very well, even cooking for and hosting a family Christmas!

Last month I mentioned to Stefan I thought Ryan may be old enough now for us to replace the oven. So he brought me a nice shiny white oven 🙂 We have had it for over a week and Ryan has looked but not touched and hasn’t even tried to climb on it. So my point is don’t get too stressed about things because some of the difficult behaviours don’t stay forever. And think outside the box for safety and peace of mind solutions. I know one family that needed to remove the washing machine and dryer from their house to keep their child safe, and used the laundromat when she was at school. You do what you need to do, and never feel bad or judged for doing that!

The photo is Ryan watching apple crumble bake in the new oven this afternoon. The house smelt amazing! 🙂

When I was cooking dinner I needed a new bag of nuggets from the deep freezer. And because I wasn’t concentrating, due to being tired and unwell, I accidentally dropped the freezer lid on my head. Things spun and I felt very dizzy and sat down. I reached an ice pack, felt for blood but thankfully there wasn’t any and called Alex. He didn’t hear me. Ryan was laughing his head off and asking if I was OK, which is what he does when someone gets hurt. I asked him to get Alex for me please. He ran off and I heard him say “Alex, come and look at mums head.” What awesome helping and following instructions! Unfortunately Alex thought he was being silly and ignored him, so I stood up, waited for the room to stop spinning and went to Alex to explain why Ryan had come to him. And as Mums do I carried on making dinner, with Alex’s help. It’s early to bed for me now, and tomorrow is a new day!

2019: Thursday 21st March

Poor Ryan has a blocked nose and a cough but was happy. I decided to go ahead with our plans for an exciting long weekend away!

David, Alex and I packed while Ryan went to Julie’s for a couple of hours, then we hit the road. Our destination for today… Taupo! The older boys were toddlers the last time we stayed in Taupo and don’t remember. Ryan has never been there. I was a bit nervous because I haven’t driven this far by myself (as the only adult/driver) in years. Stefan couldn’t come with us (work commitments) but David and Alex assured me they would help with Ryan, who often gets carsick, so I decided to put my big-girl panties on, take a concrete pill and give it a go!

We had beautiful weather and an awesome time singing, laughing and pointing out interesting things we passed, as we drove for 3 hours. We saw a train pass us and then later we spotted it again as we passed it! And we had to stop at barrier arms to let it cross in front of us. Ryan was very happy about that 🙂 David had us cracking up laughing as we passed groups of cows looking like they were having a meeting. Each time we passed a group David would speak for the cows, in a funny voice, “We need to talk about Jerry”, “What’s Jerry been up to now?”, “Did you hear, Jerry’s coming? Oh no, not Jerry!” I was starting to feel quite sorry for poor make-believe Jerry the cow lol.

We had a short stop in Taihape for some McDonald’s and a toilet stop. Ryan had a play on the playground and then we kept driving.

We got to our motel around 3pm and Ryan was very very excited to find we had our own private mineral hot tub!

After a swim, a shower and a play with the kitchen sink (of course Ryan got himself soaked testing the taps so needed another T-shirt change) we went for a drive to find a park. Instead we found a cool lookout and a Mr Whippy ice cream van! David and Alex were thrilled because, in their words to the lady making their ice creams, “we just have the imitation Mr Whippy in Wanganui” lol.

We did find the park and Ryan tried everything! We took turns sitting to eat our dinner while someone was with Ryan, who didn’t want to eat.

Eventually he slowed down so we went back to the motel for another swim. Photos have a shy teenager blurred out, so Ryan wasn’t alone in the pool 🙂

David found ‘Cars 3’ on Sky so Ryan watched some while finally eating some dinner before he asked for bed, around 7pm. It’s been over an hour of sitting in the dark, talking about and processing his day and asking questions about tomorrow’s plans. Hopefully we get some sleep soon.