Parent/Teacher interviews, a translation for the uninitiated.

It’s almost mid year, that means parent teacher interview time.  Parents rejoice the moment that note comes home with the little box checked, interview required – yes.  Yeah right.   

With this many children (half a dozen plus one, in case you’re just coming in), I am fast becoming a pro at the art of the parent teacher interview.  I’m fairly sure I’m every teachers nightmare, especially when I pull out an iPad full of my notes and questions. O_o

What newbie parents of school age kids may not realise, is that teachers have a finely tuned turn of phrase – a language if you’ll humor me, that they have crafted especially for use on parents.  Pretty sure it’s a subject in their bachelor of education – How to talk to Parents 101.

A lot of these statements will often be used in place of saying something negative about your child, questions disguised as a statement, but let’s face it – why have you been summoned to the school on a cold winters night?  This probably isn’t going to be your night.  Prepare for an evening of awkward explanations and uncomfortable silences as you figure out what to say next.

While I don’t have the answers, I can help with some translation of the parent teacher interview language for you. 

What is he like at home? = Good god.  How DO you live with him?  

He is full of energy = I simply cannot keep this kid in his seat.

He has interest tastes = Like glue, glitter, sand, the class guinea pigs food and paint.

He always seems very hungry = Obviously sandwiches are not his thing.  Try spreading glitter on them. Our stationary costs are mounting.

She is very creative, and we need to find a way to channel that into something = Drawing horns and glasses on every picture she comes across in any book, is getting a bit old. The class has been banned from the library.

She needs to be more focussed on her class work = When she is not drawing on library books, she is staring out the window. Quite probably daydreaming about drawing glasses on ponies.

We enjoy having him in the class = This kid is more fun to watch than the circus.

He is a very affectionate little boy = Some parents outside may wish to talk to you also. Kiss chase is just not the done thing these days.

Thanks for coming, it’s lovely to meet you = Wow, you made it I didn’t think you’d be so together given what I see from your child each day, and amazingly you look quite normal! (Damn I owe the deputy a fiver).


Filed under School, The Kids

Do you use your iPad to help your child communicate?

For those just coming in, we have three children with Autism.  Our son Tom is quite severe and has very impaired communication abilities, he has never grasped writing, talking or signing.  However he can communicate using pictures very well.  Autistic children around the world, rely on communication pictures to tell their carers what they need.  Usually this involves a folder full of little laminated pictures, like this;

This folder can get very fat as your child gets older and wants communicate more needs with you.  Not only that,  this folder is fiddly, you can’t add to instantly and you need to know someone or own a laminator to make up the little pictures.  And then at least once a week you have to remake some because they get chewed.  Now that we use an iPad/Touch, we can add to our picture library instantly.  This saves Tom a lot of frustration and me a lot of stress, from the inevitable tantrum that follows when a need cannot be communicated.

Some time ago we made the transition to using an iPad (and iPod Touch) for Thomas’ communication needs, the App we use to do this is the Grace App.  I’ve talked about the Grace App lots I know, but I just can’t talk about these kind of Apps enough, and finally schools and services here in Australia are starting to catch on.  Read what I thought of the Grace App here and here

However these devices and apps can be hard for families to obtain, as the initial cost can be hard to afford, and funding can be even harder to obtain as not all services can see the benefit in using them.  But like I said, this is starting to change, Yay! 

The lovely Lisa; creator of the Grace App, has sent me a code for a free download of her fantastic app for one of my readers that needs it.  Awesome yes?  So please pop a comment below if you, a friend, a school, someone in need – could use the app on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad – to go in a draw for the code.  This App is valued at over $45AU, so please tell your friends.  I’ll draw this on Friday. 

iPods for Autism people, let’s get the word out there!


Filed under Autism, Giveaways, School, Technology/Gadgets, The Kids


Have you ever have one of those days at home with the kids, where they are just absolute terrors, and they just keep getting into mischief.  Just one thing after the other, on a loop.  You find yourself counting the hours till the Husband comes home, hours, minutes, seconds.  Someone to tag in and take the reins for a while.  I know you have.

Today was one of those days.  It doesn’t help that I’ve been sick with the flu for over a week now.  All week I just been hanging on, I knew that there was one day this weekend that the Husband would be home, and I could have one day not having to be the one on the job.

Alas it was not to be.  Now this is probably the flu talking, but when the Husband strolled in the door at four o’clock this afternoon, it took a lot of self-control not hop into a car and drive to the nearest hotel with room service, and check in there for the rest of the week.  Still pondering that option now as I type, but I’m just too tired to go pack my crap.

I had sat down to write something tonight, but tired brain rot has sucked out my writing mojo, and really what am I doing blogging?  Not really sure where I was going with this post, but this is time I could be finally having a hot bath.  Later people.


Filed under Rants & Stuff

Mr Thorne does Phonics – iPad App

I’ve been given the chance to test drive another educational iPad app, thank you Mr Thorne. 

Mr Thorne does Phonics, created by Mr Thorne himself.  It stemmed from his role as Head Phonics Teacher for the Solihull Local Authority, leading to You Tube videos of Phonic tuition with over 2 millions hits on his channel

Now you can get these videos in an App.  I have to admit on first seeing the app in action, I was a dubious about the grainy YouTube footage meshed into the workings of the app, but that said, it has no bearing on how effective this app is as a teaching tool.  Kids don’t care about the footage, it’s just me being picky 😉

Our four-year old daughter Georgie has taken to the App very well, she even greets Mr Thorne when he appears on the screen.  For those who don’t know, Georgie is autistic and has a slight speech delay, it has been Apps like this that have helped us get her talking.  This App has a lot of content, we’ve seen Georgie sit still using it for half and hour straight, so yes it is very engaging.  Below is a video of Georgie using the app, just ignore the point near the end where the baby interrupts 😉

The app costs $9.99AU and you can find it here.

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Filed under Reviews, Technology/Gadgets

While I was sleeping…

My biggest girl is spending the weekend with her grandparents to see Walking with Dinosaurs (lucky girl!), so this morning I woke to no fights, coincidence?  While I arguing with myself, about daring to put my toe out from under the doona (on this minus 5 morning) to go turn the heater on, I am became aware of small sounds.  Someone was up, and quietly busy. 

Tom was up, and it seems I forgot to lock the pantry and fridge before I went to bed or (and most likely) is the Husband didn’t lock them after having his breakfast this morning.  There was Tom, happy, greasy, eating a tub of margarine and MY chocolate stash – this from a kid who won’t gain weight?

It didn’t end there.  I found Georgie had taken to her room with the guinea pig, out of his cage, and Henry was hiding with the iPad.  And I don’t really want to describe what the babies had done to their cots. O_o

So maybe there could be something in our usual morning fight club alarm clock?  Could it be that our little mother hen Lucy is keeping them out of trouble, maybe.  Yeah, I’ll choose to believe that.  🙂


Filed under Mess, The Kids

Do we really need to have it all?

I’ve recently become a stay at home mum, while not an uncommon event for a woman who has just had a baby; a year ago I had my seventh child, and for the first time ever I am not on maternity leave from an employer. 

It was while pregnant with baby number six and fretting about my return to work as a police officer, that I finally realised something, I was needed at home much more than my job needed me.  Although I guess being a police officer, that is something that could really be argued, but the be all and end all is that family comes first. 

It has taken me a LONG time to adjust to the full-time mother role, I know I can hear the scoffing as I write that – How can I say that when I had that many kids?!  The truth is I looked at my job as having more value than parenting. 

Think about it, parenting can often feel like a lot of hard work with little to no acknowledgement – and you know something else, it is not very exciting.  I looked at the hours I spent at work as my time out, where I got to play with adults and talk like one too, I was openly valued.   Twelve whole hours, during which I didn’t have to wipe one snotty face or shitty bottom, or ask anyone if they needed to go pot pot before we go out, then again some Friday night shifts did get a little funky.  Even now I still look at passing police cars with longing, craving the excitement, but I’m getting better I just have to recall a few night shifts and I’m over it.

So, here I am into my second year at home with all my babies, are we having fun yet?  I can say now that I am.  Sure the budget is super tight, but with this many kids it has always been that way, no matter how much money was coming into the house.  I have learnt so much about my children, and I’m getting to do the fun stuff with them I didn’t have the time to do before.  I really believe that they are benefiting from me being at home and I’m starting to feel valued again.  Especially when I look at the improvement in my three autistic children, totally worth it. 

Do we really need to have it all?


Filed under Autism, Babies, Changes

Travelling with Tots

I’ve recently had the pleasure of writing a couple of pieces for the lovely Amy at Travel With Tots

If you haven’t checked out her website you should, it is full of useful travel tips, and parent reviews on gadgets you may not know existed.  You don’t need to be going somewhere to get something out of the site – and she also regularly runs awesome competitions!  

Check out my contributions to this very useful site below.

Travelling with Autistic Children

SnoozeShade – review



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Filed under Autism, Holidays, Reviews

The Sleep Study

My littlest girl had to have a sleep study last week, because she snores.  Okay maybe she more than just snores (a lot like both her grandfathers combined), we are also little worried she may have mild sleep apnea.  She did so well with all the cables and sensors, I still can’t believe she sat there and let the nurses apply them all with no fuss, and the slept through the night without pulling them off.  Yet when I went to brush her hair in the morning once they were all removed, she screamed like I had branded her. Clearly she saves her overly sensitive to everything behaviour, just for her parents then?

Sock monkey had to have a sleep study too.  The nurses at the John Hunter Hospital sleep study clinic and the Doctor we saw beforehand, have to be the most personable hospital staff I have come across to date.  They knew exactly how to get Georgie to do everything they needed her to do, and they did this so well it became fun for her and she started asking when the ‘doctors’ where coming back to her bed.  How good is that.

Thanks to everyone who sent me messages during the week checking up on me, very much appreciated – glad to know I was missed 😉


Filed under Health

Kreativ Blogger Award

I have had a MASSIVE week, I’ve had no time to scratch myself this week at all.  I have been running all over the country side with Miss Georgie having studies done and the like, and my blog has been neglected.  So it was very nice to open my messages and find this:

Bestowed upon my blog by the lovely Pam at Mama’s Sewing Room, thanks Pam!  Pam has a beautiful new blog about the things she creates and places she goes, do check it out. 

Now the conditions of getting this award say; that I must pass it on to ten more bloggers and share ten things about myself, I did try to back track and find the original creator of this award so I could give them credit but came to a stop around six blogs back, sorry.  But that doesn’t make the sentiment behind it any less 🙂

So, ten things about me…

I am probably addicted to social media.  I like things with an apple on them.  I also like things with Hello Kitty on them.  Dark chocolate gives me migraines.  Am a closet hippy, without the ideals.  I have seven kids, but you knew that.  I have only just become a stay at home mum, and am still adjusting. I obsess over all things Tokidoki.  I get excited about going to Officeworks.  I waste hours looking for geekery crafts on Etsy.

I’d love to share this award with these lovely bloggers…

Stuff with Thing, Living with Autism, My Little Drummer Boys, Canberra’s got style, FrogsPondRock, RedSultana, That’s Noice!, The Beet Goes On, Picklebums, My Three Ring Circus – these are blogs I love!


Filed under Bloggers

It’s morning tea time!

May 26 is morning tea time, and time for you to help support the Cancer Councils fight against cancer.  I spend so much time flogging my personal causes it’s about time something else got a look in, it’s not all about me right? Right? 🙂 

So how can you get involved?  You can host an event anytime throughout May or June. It’s simple, fun and best of all for a great cause!  All you need to do is set a date, brainstorm some great morning tea ideas, invite your guests and raise money to help support the fight against cancer.  Or if you can’t hold a morning tea drop into someone elses! 

Click here to find out where they are in your local area or click here to host your own. Stuck for ideas on what to serve?  The Cancer Council website has great recipe and hosting ideas, there is even a recipe to cover vegans!  The recipes have been contributed by the likes of Matt Moran, Janella Purcell and Tobie Puttock, just to name a few.  Check out Matt’s nommy carrot cake recipe.  And did I mention that there are some great prizes up for grabs for hosts? How does a trip to Bali, Africa or Hong Kong  sound, I hope you’re motivated now 🙂

The Goulburn Soldiers Club will be hosting a morning tea on May 26 from 10.30am till 11.30am, the cost is $5.  Their humble goal is to reach $500, so if you can’t attend you can donate to them direct or get more info here.  $500 shouldn’t be hard to reach, let’s make it happen!

The Cancer Council hopes to raise 11 million dollars this year for cancer, and every little bit helps!

1 in 2 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 85.  Here’s how every cup counts:

$5 can help us give a newly diagnosed cancer patient important support and information resources to help them through their cancer journey.

$10 can help staff the Cancer Council Helpline (13 11 20) with expertly trained nurses and health counsellors.

$20 can help train a Cancer Connect volunteer to provide one-to-one support for people diagnosed with cancer.

$50 can help us visit a community to educate health professionals and support patients and carers.

$100 can help provide SunSmart educational talks to schools and community groups.

$500 can help fund research into the causes of cancer and into new and improved treatments.

One dollar at a time you are making a difference helping to fund Cancer Council’s research, prevention, education and support services.

*Services may vary from state to state. For further information call 1300 65 65 85.


Filed under Health