Monday, May 31, 2010

Playing in the world

Playing outside is such a wonderful way to meet the world.
I've always done a lot to stimulate my children to play outside.

When they were small babies I put the pram in the garden, watching it carefully so no cat would jump in. We had loads of cats in the neighbourhood those days.
But because they were not very welcome in my garden, the birds visited us eagerly.
So when my babies were awake they would see the green of the trees, the blue of the sky and hear the sounds of the birds and the wind around them.

As soon as they could I put them on the grass on a blanket, so they would see more.
And at the same age I started the habit of walking around with them. Baby on my arm, cheek to cheek, watching all the new things a garden shows during spring, summer and autumn.
I would name the trees and the flowers and feel happy for those tiny moments of being together.
When the children grew up we took our small walks together after dinner, and sometimes we had a real celebration like rose-day: the first day the roses in the garden showed an open flower.

The children had a lot of fun in the garden playing in the special sand with their toys or in the water at warm summerdays. As we had a lot of small children in the neighbourhood there were always children to play with...
...or beside. As autistic children are not always teamplayers with fantasy.

I tried to get them used to other children as soon as possible, so I could help them to learn to play.

Then the moment would come they suddenly realised there was a world outside the small gate too.
It's interesting that they never escaped from the garden before that moment, even though the gate was small.
They must have felt safe, comfortable and entertained.

The world of the outside gate was a path between the back gardens of the houses. At one side towards another path, at the other side towards s small playground with 3 exits to streets.
We, moms, were grateful for the benches, so we could watch our children and talk a bit. Often we took turns to watch the little ones.

Playing there was a challenge for my autistic children.
One took all the risks available, and needed to be told to grasp a new hold before walking over the moving bridge, another was afraid of heights and needed patience and support to climb the small ladder and stand in the house behind the window, and yet again another needed to be told to stay on the grass, so he wouldn't run towards the street facing the dangers of cars which were not limited in speed then.

For me as a parent it was a constant balancing of giving them responsibility and developmental opportunities, yet guarding them and keeping them safe.
It was great to see them develop self-esteem, confidence and motorskills, along with insight in depth and many other important skills.
They learned give and take while playing football and lots of other games, and I tried to teach them the rules and some flexibility towards those same rules.

When new kids crowded our playground it was the end to a few years of feeling safe and happy there.
They were bullies who discriminated children who were not wearing hats, pulled the girl's hairs, badmouthed everyone who crossed their path and even stole sweets from smaller children and carried playguns with small bullets which were officially forbidden.

We, moms, moved our children to each other's gardens, went to playgrounds at other parts in town, took each other's children swimming or stayed at home watching the babies while sipping our tea and discussing schools.
Winter came, the bullies went away, some of us moved and new parents and children came.

Time moved on, the kids went to school, and the playground was dominated by some boys playing football with one of the dads who had a job nearby and was home early.
Suddenly there were more girls in the neighbourhood. They played on the benches with the dolls, made each other watertea in their playkitchens and had pyamaparties in the afternoon.

My boys were at an age that they had their own group of friends, and one rather stayed at home and didn't like playing outside at all. He hated the wind, didn't like the sun and saw the world outside as part of the way to move from one safe place to another.

But they all kept their interest in nature.
In the ladybirds, the berries that tasted so sweet after they grew in the sun, and the first rose flowering in spring.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

My motherhood

The intense joy my grandmother had when viewing the birds and the flowers in the garden became part of me too.

As a child I took the opportunity to enjoy the things I did.
I could play with full intensity, learn to write the curl of the g with pleasure and dedication, and sing at the choir the best I could.

One way or another I knew that whatever was difficult would always turn into something positive, because the birds would always sing and the flowers would always bloom.

This was a great support through life, but also an inspiration that was always present.

Living with full dedication, intensity, grapsing the challenges of life, were always the aim of each new part of my life.

So university life was enjoyed to bits, even though I had to work hard and I had to have a job to pay for my expenses. I did it, and heard the birds almost every day.

Then the time came to move from woman to mother.

Nothing happened in my body as my mind was ready.
Some professor told me that there was hardly a chance of me becoming a mother and I remember standing at the house of a friend with her baby in my arms, trying to see some meaning in life's difficulties.
I knew I couldn't get it all. But was thàt what was written in the stars?
The sadness and pain was so very intense that all I could do was cuddle my friend's baby and be kind to it.

Not even a year later I was pregnant, and with happiness I received my first son.
We were the normal average family, and with great happiness I found out that I conceived again and would be a mom again.

She was born on a very beautiful day, and died the next day in my arms.
Even though all the kind people in hospital wanted her to live, it didn't happen.
Her sweet face looked like sleeping when I held her for the last time.
I was mother again, but motherhood was taken from me by death itself.

Yes, I've seen it all: joy and respect for another new life, and the emotions which come with miscarriages and even a stillborn baby.

6 children stayed alive and each of them were welcomed with open arms.
The respect for life... I can't explain how deep it goes.
And with it came an intense feeling of responsibility for the wellbeing of each and every child.

The boys turned out to be autistic.
We had to adjust our lives, our ideas about being a family and our dreams.
But we did it.

I taught them how to look people in the eyes, how to behave, how to play, over and over again.
We smiled often, because they took things literally which resulted in funny situations.
We cried often, because each parent wants a child to have a life without too many problems and each parent wants a child treated by others the way is best, but there are always times that each activity seems to be a struggle and there are always people who don't understand.

Receiving the girls showed us aspects of parenting we didn't know yet.
They grew up without the problems the boys had to face and they embraced life with it's activities with so much ease and pleasure.
We got huge compliments at schools, we could go shopping, and I could teach them things in one time.

We took life's hurdles as a family if needed, and with attention for each individual child.

The intense feelings of responsibility, care and love never left.
I prevented hot coffee from being too near to hurt them, stayed with them when they were in bath and playing outside, so nothing bad would happen to them. I taught them not to walk on the ice on the lake, taught them when to hurry inside when bad weather was coming. I worried when it took a bit too long to arrive home from school, bit my nails when they had a difficult exam, and I cried my silent tears when the first left home.

I saw so many aspects of motherhood, that people asked me for advice and I was almost always able to help them.

And each spring the flowers grew and bloomed, and the birds visited my garden and found worms enough to feed their young.

Gradually the time of motherhood was reaching the last years.
A deep feeling of gratitude took hold of me, because even though we had and have a very difficult family, we were able to handle it well.
Each child has been able to develop to it's full potential or is the process to, and each of them is a wonderful person. There's a kind of mutual respect for who we are, even though we see each other's lesser qualities and we have to support each other at times.
That's being a family isn't it?
That's being happy as a family.

And now life has taken a turn I never expected and my motherhood will be questioned and examined this week.
I can't believe it's happening.
People who will never stand face to face with a family like mine on a fulltime daily basis will judge me to see if I'm fit for motherhood over my daughters for the next year or so.
It's a nightmare happening.
It's like I'm in the run for being the perfect mother and winning is impossible. Because the definition of motherhood itself implies that perfection is never possible. Each mother wants to be better than she is, sees upon reflection things she should have done better and hopefully could have done better.
Motherhood is a day to day seach for being the best person you are bringing the best out in your children.
It's the challenge of motherhood itself which keeps mums awake at night, and which is criticised so much by those who look on it from the outside.
(Judging a mom's life with a textbook based on those who failed to deal with life itself can't be called a fair treatment, because judging should be based on those who were able to deal with life at their own strengtsh too.)

I've already experienced that those who failed to professionally support my children turned their back towards me, or even criticised me to hide their own neglect and lack of following up their promissed commitments.
I can only hope that those who know me best will be asked for their opinion too and that they are able to honestly answer all the questions asked.

I'm a good mom and I know it.
My children would have never ever become the fine people they are without a proper mom.
They're good people. They don't do drugs, don't drink, don't smoke, don't hang out on the streets. They don't steal, harrass people, bother them.
They never stood before a closed door because mom thought she was more important.
Oh, we didn't go on vacation, because part of the boys couldn't cope, but we had our fun.
And we have special family habits like celebrating the birthday of friends who are not with us (any more) with a special dessert, and singing aloud with the euro vision contest's songs we know just a tiny bit.

We're a strong bunch, reaching out to other people, enjoying friendships in real life and online, with our hobbies, and ofcourse our ballet and music.
We're not the Von Traps and sadly didn't become The Waltons, but we might come close when a few more years of motherhood are granted.

All I can hope is that those who do are able to see my life with the wisdom I've reached.
With the same respect I feel.
And that they will sense the dedication, the responsibility and the deep love I have for each child.

Social media journalism

One of the main papers in The Netherlands has finally appointed a social media journalist.

It's someone who's going to write articles after browsing the world wide web, especially at places like twitter, facebook and hyves.


I wonder how reliable the information will be, how the privacy of people is guarded, and if people will have some financial reward and acknowledgement for delivering news at a plate.

More than once journalists have visited my site and have grasped not only the subject to write about, but sometimes translated whole passages and even complete posts to use to earn money. Ofcourse without any acknowledgement at all.
(Don't think it's acceptable that I take their article and translate it and use it here, because in that case they'll sue me.)

It's no wonder papers won't sell as well as in the past.

I don't need a social media journalist to tell me what's going on at internet.
Filtering my twitter messages is something I can do myself, and I can draw my own conclusions without being dependent upon the frame of mind of the social media journalist.
When I need news I can surf around myself, consult the main newsagencies which might bring disasters a bit later, but far more reliable and with proper sources mentioned.

Maybe I'm a bit oldfashioned when I say I won't go with gossip or with everything that's written.

Anyone at twitter can start "news" by tweeting about a hole in the ground or whatever else. And a group of friends can spread that socalled news fast.

The social media can come in handy to reach someone fast, to network, or to get a snif of what's going in the world.
Needed in my opinion is good old fashioned research to keep news reliable.

Or do you think something else?

Career planning after raising the children

Not many women nowadays have the opportunity to mother as a full time job.
Some people think mothering is just something to do beside working, in between coming home from work and bedtime of the children.

Mothers of autistic children know that parenting is a real full time job, which asks for continuous reflection on behaviour of themselves and others. Keeping up to date with developments in psychology and psychiatry is a must. As is talking in real life and online with other parents.
There's a lot of knowledge and advice available which can't be found in books or by asking professionals.

Parenting of autistic children never comes to an end. Even when they live somewhere else parents are the keyfigures when extra assistance is needed.

No wonder my fellow autism mothers turn to online education to feed the need for development and "brainwork".

The past years most moms went to medical assisting school.
They could study the theoretical part online at their own time and their own pace, and then subscribe to the training on location.

Caretakers of those with physical problems often turn to online courses like "medical health aid" to get proper training so they won't be burdened physically too much with helping those they care for in and out bed, bath etc., but also to be able to change dressings and provide other medical assistance on a professional level, so they're not dependent upon schedules of professional workers.

Career planning for the time after the children have left the house starts a lot earlier that the moment the last one closes the door.

Rules at different places

I've been asked how I've dealt with different rules at different places when the children were little.

Well, I've always had my own set of rules that needed to be obeyed everywhere on the world.

These are, what I consider, normal rules like:
  • shake hands when you say hello.
  • don't start telling your own stories when grown-ups are talking, unless it's necessary.
  • don't keep taking cookies, but you can take one when you're asked if you want one.
  • use your handkerchief when you need to sneeze
  • don't take toys with you
  • etc etc

The last one was added after all my kids saw a visitor put a handful of lego in his pockets and wanted to leave.
Ofcourse I kindly asked the lego back.

I also taught my children that at different places different people are the boss.

They were used at an early age to eat a cookie with a plate under it at another location. Not my idea, but "the boss of the house" wanted it that way.

And at the farm of friends children had their own room when something was celebrated with free access to chips and drinks, and the fun of running through the house and everywhere else, except the stables.

Especially autistic children experience difficulties dealing with different rules.
So I developed the habit of taking different bags to different locations.
That way they already knew at home where they were going and what to except.
It's called conditioning.
So when I took the green bag they knew we were going to Anita, who didn't like children to take toys through the whole room, but wanted them to play in front of the large window, and when I took the bag with the blue flowers they knew we were going to Margret, who always had the best cake of town and who enjoyed them building large towers and didn't mind that the whole place was covered with lego rails and trains.

When the girls grew up I was amazed that they accepted different rules at different places so easily.
Without any fuzz they accepted the differences and they were able to adjust in an easy way, whereas the boys all needed to find a routine for each different place.

One thing didn't change though.

My oldest cmplimenting the host for the wonderful tiles on the loo.
I don't know where he heard it the first time, but he's made many people have a laugh when he was a pretty little boy.

Preparing the garden

Yesterday I've been bussy in the garden. And you can see it.

I've downsized a lot of shrubs and bushes, and even recreated the trees.
Some had grown too tall in the frontgarden, where I want everything as high that I can still reach the top.

The gardens in our street are not nice fullgrown gardens, but carefully cut ones. Some even with only stones and a few balls of shrubs.

I like a wilder garden, where plants have space to give themselves their own look, with surprises rising up from the ground. Like the forget-me-nots that I found yesterday. Haven't seen them for two years and suddenly the circumstances are right for them and they show in full glory.

Ofcourse my garden isn't perfect.
I just don't have the time, and the pain in my hip doesn't help.

But in preparation of tuesday I've done what I could before the rain started again.

All I now have to do is clean the door mats and get a cup of coffee to enjoy the sight on the street.

New server

As I understand the host of the blog is transferring to a new server.
No downtime is expected, but in case the site is slow loading, please be patient and think that it's only a temporary problem.

There's nothing I can do to influence the process.

Thanks a lot!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Midnight Confessions


1. Have you ever had to confess something to a lover or friend?


2. How well do you handle rejection?

Depends who it comes from.

I've ones had a friend tell me he didn't want any contact anymore after I told him he should be less egoistic and care more for the future of his son. I was right to say so, as he gave me the responsibility for his son and I wasn't even his girlfriend or the boy's mom.

3. What makes you feel old?

Looking in the mirror, most of the times.
And dealing with the pain in my hip.

4. What makes you feel young?

Almost everything else. Yea!!

5. What’s something you are old school about?


6. What TV show's seasons would you buy on DVD? Tell us why it rocks.

Well, they're going to stop As The World Turns here soon. I would love to follow the series to it's end.

7. If you could create your own TV channel, what would it be?

Me and your family!
  1. autism awareness and how to deal with autism in everyday life
  2. family life
  3. dealing with organisations around your family, like schools.

8. Where do you like to go for a day trip?

To sea. It's a bit too far away, moneywise, at the moment. But I would love to hear the sounds and feel the wind in my hair.

9. Name some things that you still want to do in your life.

  • See my university friend again to see how he's done in life.
  • Create a fashionshow.
  • Show my children: London.
  • Move to Scotland to spend my old days.

Want to take part too?
Click the logo.

Logo made by me with tubes from Pann's Place.
You can request the logo, but only when you will credit properly.

There's also a header and a square of 125x125 available.

Enjoy tax free shopping this weekend

I wish those who celebrate it a good memorial day.

Do you know that from Friday, May 28 through Monday, May 31, 2010 at participating BoConcept Brand Stores it's tax free shopping?

Their online catalogue is 196 pages "thick" and is a pleasure to look through.
Not only with the aim to buy, but also to see what they have done to overcome lack of space.

Their modern furniture is designed so well, that each item combines with all sorts of styles.

I've seen some good ideas how to use the space here.

Our livingroom isn't very large and we couldn't spend enough money to buy everything we want all at once. but maybe I'm happy now, as I've seen such a wonderful low table, with chairs, that I might spend more time saving money (and waiting until the old couch breaks down) so I'll change the whole room and the whole concept.

Thanks BoConcept!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Be careful with toddlers and water

Now the season with open air pools in the garden has started again, or is about to start, a warning should be issued about toddlers and water.


Not even when there's just 2 cm's of water in it.

It's enough for a child to drown in.

I'm always amazed how careless some parents are.
Ofcourse nothing bad happens to them... most of the time.
But each year a few children drown in their own back garden and the parents have not only to live with the loss, but also with the guilt that they enabled their own child to drawn.

A long time ago I saved a child at his own home.
A woman invited me in to see her wonderful collection of books. We were in the livingroom discussing reading books. She sat every afternoon for hours in the garden and I was happy to be able to read the paper, even when it was days out of date.

Suddenly I had to think about her 3 year old son.
"Where is he?", I asked, expecting her to tell he was with a friend.
"Oh, upstairs, playing in the bath with his cars."
My stomach turned upside down and I ran upstairs and found him with his face in the water.
I just pulled him out and gave him a firm slap on the back with my flat hand.
Don't ask. Just intuition.
He spitted out water and started breathing.

The mom thanked me and wanted to let me out, but I insisted that he would be seen by a doctor.
She accepted to go to the emergency department.
There they explained to her that people can have a reaction up to two days after the event and that they wanted to keep him there.

She was angry with me.

I bet you understand that I didn't care at all.

A healthy diet and supplements

Good parenting is not only about keeping your children safe and teaching them how to become good adults, it's also about keeping them healthy.

When my children were young they didn't get any sweets at all, because I was afarid offering sweets might become a bad habit.
Good behaviour should result from good feelings and wanting to be good, not result from wanting a sweet and get your glucose level up.

Ofcourse they didn't miss it in the beginning. They were too small.
But when they became aware of their environment and what other kids were eating they soon made clear they wanted a sweet too.
Well, they could have one when we were visiting.
But at home it was a "no".

They enjoyed vegetables and fruit far too much to miss sweets, and who has tatsed a fresh sweet strawberry beside an artificially flavored strawberry sweet know what's the best choice.

Because some children had allergies I had a dietician look into their eating habits and asked for the best supplements in case they needed any.

Regular healthy feeding habits won't create a need for them, but skipping certain foods might result in deficiencies.

Being aware of the benefits and the harming aspects of our diet is very important.

It's followfriday

It's followfriday again at Twitter.

That means that the people tweet the names of their followers, so others can find new followers, and maybe mutual friends connect.

It's a nice way of networking, as some people give extra advice in their followfriday tweets, like: "follow this one, because he or she has a good sense of humor" or "follow her because she offers discounts on her jewelry", and all sorts of things.

For me followfriday is also a great way to clean out old followers who have disappeared into thin air.

Some people subscribe to twitter only to find out they're unable to bring their message across in only a few characters. Others are not able to get the response they want.

I for myself love twitter, as it's a nice means to stay in contact with friends all over the world.
I also use twitter to stay informed about alarms here in the neighbourhood.

And I can reach masses of people with tweets about autism.

And you?

Acne and the garden

As a mom of 6 I'm often asked for advice on all sorts of subjects.
I can't do some gardening in the front garden without someone asking me something.

Today I was asked about acne.
As my girls are not very much troubled by acne (the boys were. Oh yes!), the woman asked me what they use to keep a clean skin.
As there are so many products on the market, she lost sight of quality and prizes.
I can understand, as that happened a while ago here too.
With all sorts of leaflets on the doormat each week, one is almost forced to try the cheaper products and the very expensive ones. Well, the last onces never were bought here.

I referred the wman to a site with pronexin reviews.
That way she can inform herself and make a choice before her son drives her to waisting money on something that doesn't work.

Twins, together or not?

A while ago a friend and teacher at the school of the girls had a short talk to me and it's still bugging my mind.

According to him they needed to spend more time sperate from each other to develop their own individuality.


The girls were seperated after birth and when they were awake they cried at a strange sound. And very loud!

One of the nurses knew me well and asked me if I had a solution.
"Maybe they need each other, as they were so suddenly without each other after all those months."
She took one of them and put her in the incubator with her sister.
They took each other's hands, looked at each other for a while and then dozed off.

When they went to preschool, the teacher told me that she was surprised they played such a lot with other children.
Once in a while they looked at each other, often at the same time, but then played on.
She was impressed that at such a young age they were completely different. Not only because they had different looks, but mainly because they had such different characters and behaved in a different way.

At school they were not allowed to be in the same group.
The result was that they were spending more hours together in breaks and at home, like they needed a minimal amount of "twintime".
But they developed even more their own circle of friends, apart from the group of mutual friends.

Last year they were put together in the same group, because it was more convenient for school. There would be less time needed for extra support for my dyslectic girl, they said, as some things are arranged spontaneously between twins. Like writing down homework.

Fact is that the dyslectic girl supported her sister, and not the other way round. LOL!
She is more ambitious, accurate and less messy. And she loves studying.

At home they study apart, have their own friends, their own hobbies and their own ways of dealing with their brothers.
They have their own habits, etc etc.

But they consciously enjoy the fact that they're in the same group at school.
It'll last just one more month. The one that's left before the summerholidays.
After that they'll never be together in the same group. Maybe sometimes for a short time, but certainly never for a whole year.

So I'm not telling them to do more things apart, as the mother of one of their friend wasn't told her daughter should spend less time with her best friend.
They spend more time together than my daughters.

So I'm not saying anything to my girls.
They're enjoying their last weeks in the same group.
I hope they have lots of fun.

Car insurance

When the children were babies, I loved each day.
Now puberty hormones rage through the house I have moments with a big question, but there are also times I'm having a good laugh.

Like yesterday.

2 of the boys were talking about cars when a third came into the garden and started to talk about cars too.
I don't know who started it, but suddenly they were talking about costs of cars and they all agreed good and cheap car insurance.

"You wonder where my mom has got her brains", the friend said. "She has one of the most expensive insurances, thinking she's well off, but in fact mine is far better.
She's lost her no claim because of a scratch, whereas mine pays for scratches up to a certain amount in a year. My no claim is withdrawn when I cause damage by a traffic mistake and I get a ticket from the police."

They all agreed that the mom needed some sound up to date education and left the garden.

An hour later she called me and told me that they had made her change insurances.

We both agreed that from now we need to be aware that the younger generation won't take over our lives.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Info needed about The Challenge, a method against bullying

One of my daughters is working on a project about bullying.
It's a terrible problem at her school and it has been ignored too long.

I've heard about The Challenge, which is used at American schools and she wants to know all about it, especially from children who have experienced it.

I myself am very interested, because it sounds like a method that could work and can be used here too.

Can anyone of you help us?


I'm very proud of my daughter as she didn't stop fighting for a better school after one of the coordinators stepped in and is researching the disappearance of a wooden item she made at school.
She doesn't fight only for herself, but wants a bully free school.

She has not only mobilized me, but some other grown ups too and even someone from internet was motivated. She was send leaflets and posters to use at school, and some advice.

She's been through a lot.
Because the school didn't do anything, the bullying got far worse than at the intitial stages.
That happens when grown-ups don't take their responsibility.
Her mentors said that:
  • bullying happens everywhere
  • they can't stop bullying
  • the children who are bullied should change themselves.
Especially the last excuse made her angry, because it makes the victim responsible for the ill behaviour of others.

Interesting is that the school never dared to offer her a course for self esteem again, but that she grew stronger in her opinion that it's the responsibility of those who are bullying to stop, and that grown ups should make them stop.

Soom we're starting an email where kids can report bullying, so we can count how often it happens and we can give the school an insight.

We also want to offer a schoolwide project against bullying.
So any ideas are welcome.

A pink notebook

Back on my way, going home, after an appointment that took far too much time, but was good for the soul, I sat beside someone with a mini notebook.

It was pink and looked wonderful.
The woman using it saw me looking and told me it was a Sony VAIO W121AX/P netbook.
She sang so much praise, that I looked it up at

You can see it yourself too at: Sony VAIO Notebooks.

I love shopping at, because there's plenty of useful information and lots of opportunities for good comparisons with other products.
A small portable notebook has always been my dream, as I want to write a book about autism and inspiration comes at the strangest places.
I learned that I can use the notebook too for my photo work, among other things.

Currently the notebook isn't available. Which is not really a problem, as I don't have the money yet.
But I've used the option to be warned when it's in stock again.

This girl dreams on.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Grandparents for the children needed

When I was young my grandmother was everything to me.
She taught me a lot, we shared a lot of experiences and what I valued too were the special times talking about books I'd read, things which went on at school, and just day to day thought about life.
Her wisdom and unconditional love were so special, that I think it's a pity my children can't have that exprience.
Not even remote.

Wouldn't it be nice for them to write a letter to a grandmother and grandfather and get a kind reply?
To send a photo, to share happy moments, and maybe talk about things young girls won't talk about with their mom, but which needs more imput than from classmates?

Would you be the grandparent for my daughters of 14?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bad stars and bicycles

There must be a lot of bad stars above our head, that we're going through such a rough time.

Take for instance our bicycles.

The oldest two managed to get them to the end of their lives during the past months.
No repair was able to recussitate.
They're both mobile again.

One of the girls had a flat tyre and kept on getting flat tyres.
She's not heavy, she doesn't bump against the pavement.
We told her to place hers at a different place in the schoolparking and watch for glass on the road.
She got a new inner and outer tyre this weekend.

And blew the tyre this afternoon on her way home.

The other girl managed to get her wheelrim broken.
We've never seen this and we wonder if it has something to do with the fact that there's a lot of bullying at school and she's setting up a project against it.

We thought the rim was broken at two places, but when the repairman had a good look, it was broken at more places. So either a lot of violence was used or it's a fault made during manufacturing.

She took my bicycle to go to school, but... I had an appointment at the dentist.
As my hip is causing a lot of pain it was out of the question to walk, so I had to cancel the appointment.

My autistic son had a very special, heavy duty bicycle.
As it broke down a few days ago when he came back from his hour with someone who spends an hour a week with him to get him out of the house.

Oh...I wish I was married to a bicycle manufacturer!! (Being married to a banker won't help nowadays. LOL!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Outdoor cushions

This morning I woke up with a splitting headache.
My mistake, as I kept the window open, knowing it's pollen season.
It'll take at least a day to get rid of the headache. Ugghh.

I decided to have breakfast outside now the pollen have me in their grasp.

So I put the gardenchairs in position, cleaned them and then went on looking for the cushions.
I guess the boys used them to take them with them on the nature walks, as they weren't clean at all anymore.
As last year we talked about finding ourselves some new cushions, I think it's time to look around and make a decision.

I've learned that outdoor cushions need to live up to certain requirements. I need to be able to put them away quickly, they need to stay clean as long as possible, don't soak up moist, as we're living in a very moist climate, and above all: be comfortable.

I like the design to fit everything in the garden, so it would be nice to find bench pads in the same fabric.

What do you like?

Nature preservation

Now people have less money available to donate to good causes organisations are looking for other means to interest people ànd reach their goal at the same time.

An eco preservation organisation was shocked to find out that many wildflowers are disappearing and they initiated something new.

They seeded the borders of farmer's acres and offered people the possibility to adopt stretches.
They can pick flowers on their own adopted land, if they want.
But it's questionable if they'll ever pick a flower there as the aim of the project is to keep the variety of flowers as large as possible and offer enough working space for the bees.

The past years bees had a hard time, partly due to the moist and partly because of some unknown bee-disease.

I for myself like the fact that wild flowers are seeded again, because I've always loved the look of red poppies against the other blue and green flowers at the side of fields.

Timeshares, good to think about this option

Some of the neighbours here have a vacation abroad every year, but now with the recession they're not as eager to go far away and they're looking for other options.

Some book a vacation by bus with a travelagency, but others are talking about investing the money they have in property, and mainly in timeshares.

No surprise one of the richest people here came to talk yesterday evening about the subject and said: I want to sell my timeshare.
He referred those interested to, and even though I can't afford property like that I had a look.

Much to my surprise timeshares aren't that expensive as I thought, and seeing at which places timeshares can be bought I wonder if buying one isn't the best option to guarantee good vacations.

nails question

The past days I've been doing a lot around the house.
Gardening, laundry, cleaning.
The weather is perfect, because there's no need to put on a coat when going outside, and laundry dries within a day.

Result is that I wash my hands often.

But now I'm faces with breaking nails, as they have become too soft.
Almost all nails are broken and in such az way that I have to put something on my finger to prevent tears at unwanted places.

I need some good advice how to prevent the problem in the future.

Wearing plastic gloves is not my thing.

Do you knwo anything else?


Which diet pill?

The market for diet pills is huge.

Fancy names and chemical looking names are common and often it's almost impossible to see what's in the pill because the content is written in the smallest letters of the world.

Diet pills often deliver surprises of running to the loo all day, taking away hunger by making you nauseus all through your body, for instance.

There are good pills too. Which don't promise too much and are the perfect support when you eat healthy and exercise enough.

To find out more about the diet pill side effects you can go online.
Looking up as much information as possible will prevent unwelcome surprises.

I'm a fan of As The World Turns, 25 years now

I'm a fan of As The World Turns for a long long time now.
It was 1985 when the midwife told me to take an hour each afternoon to put my feet up and give me and my unborn baby a bit of quiet time.

As I was always busy, lying down for a complete hour... 60 minutes!!! ... seemed to be impossible.

"Take a cup of tea, watch As The World Turns, enjoy!!!", she said.
"Give yourself 5 days to get used to the series".

So I did, as I wanted the best for my baby.
No smoking, no drinking, no drugs, and As The World Turns.

It was 1985 and it's 2010.

In autumn I'm watching 25 years, and missed only a few episodes, as they bring it here twice a day. There's always one time convenient to watch.

Last week Lucinda Wash got married in hospital.
That's where we are.

In september they're stopping the series here, much to the regret of many fans, including me.
Wish there was a way to stop them eliminating it from the schdedules.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A barcode scanner did the trick

Wonderful weather made us take a walk and ofcourse we took our time to talk with a friend of the children.
He told he'd found new work for the saturdays, so he'll earn a bit of extra pocketmoney.

Because of a movement disorder he's a bit slow when working, but he told me that modern equipment helps him overcome his problems.
He uses one of the best barcode scanners to keep track of stored goods, so he can do his work without writing now.

You should have seen his happy face. It was so moving to see him.

Not all handicapped people are able to find such easy solutions for their working problems, but in this case... perfect!

A new DIY job done

After so many DIY disasters I have to be honest and report a DIY success the father of the children has achieved.

We still have gates before the staircase upstairs.

I like the one before going downstairs because sometimes I have so much laundry in my arms that it's kind of dangerous to go on automatic pilot.
Opening the gate means being conscious about my moves, so I won't fall from the stairs.

The old gate was made from the side of a child's bed, because that was much firmer than the gates one could buy.
It's been functioning for over 20 years, but it finally broke down.

I saw at one of the onlione market sites that a complete bed was available for 10 euro.
With a few euros extra for the ironwork to add it to the wall, we're the proud owners of a good gate.

He didn't drill through the wall, so applause please!!!

Wise advice of the past is still important

Today I had a talk with one of my friends.
We met each other at the school of the boys and had many talks waiting for them outside the schoolgate.

She thanked me for telling her to take prenatal vitamins, as it recently was discovered her family suffered a metabolic disease which causes more babies to be born with problems.
All of the young women were told to take vitamins before getting pregnant, to get the body in optimal condition.

When her younger sister was telling her that, she remembered that I told her the same so many years ago.

I was just happy to be able to because I knew people from the researchteam at university and we talked often about the simple solution for complicated problems, available in all shops.
I feel glad I've shared the knowledge.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Upside Down


1. When was the last time that you felt your world got turned upside down?

About two to three weeks ago. See special link above the blogposts.

2. Should the United States do more to help its own citizens before helping people in other countries?

As I see how much people are suffering from poverty, for instance, I would say "Yes".
On the other hand, other countries spend a lot of money on other countries too.

3. What was something you memorized for school and still can recall?

Grammar from Latin and German. All those lists we had to learn.
And from primairy school the rhymes.

4. With what types of people do you tend to associate?

Pfff....I can deal with most people.
But mainly I deal with normal people. People who are a bit like us: living for the children, trying to be good, loving and caring people.

5. Besides blogging what is the last creative thing that you've done?

Painting a wall in the boys' room.

6. In nature, what outdoor activities do you enjoy the most?

I love walking on the shore.
It doesn't happen often as we live quite far away.

Gardening is OK, walking, bycicling.

7. When was the last time that you had a great belly laugh?

Hmmm, a few days ago.

8. What kind of fashion-sense attracts you?

You mean fashion style?
I love hippy style, but at home I'm t-shirt and trousers, and outside the home I'm rather quietly dressed too.
I don't have much money to spend on clothes, so I'll attract attention with the accessories I use. A bag, a pendant, a sjawl.
I love to use something unexpected.

But beware: I can dress up (and over) at the right occassion.

9. What traits in others turn you off?

Pushing one's opinion on others.
Invading privacy.
Starting arguments.
Indecent behaviour.
Need I go on?

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Friday, May 21, 2010


The last weeks have been so demanding that I was so tired today that I decided to take it easy.

So after hanging the laundry, vacuuming, cleaning and some other chores I sat down to have some "me-time".
Which in fact meant I sat down to read a bit and fell asleep.

15 minutes later the girls came home.

They had a farewell meeting with the school and the parents of a friend who died in a plane crash and had a lot to tell.
It had been a very emotional gathering, with teachers trying to comfort the pupils.
Reading the text we'd written yesterday was difficult, and the girls who should accompany them with guitar was so moved she couldn't play, but a meeting to say last farewells to a friend shouldn't be easy.

At home they took the time to feel OK again, helped by the beautiful weather.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's a beautiful spring here today

I woke up shortly this morning to hear the birds sing and have fun, then I dozed off again.

Not long after that the alarm of the girls went off and the day started.

The weather has been beautiful all day. Lots of sun, a firm wind to dry the laundry and shrubs growing visibly.

It's the time people come out of their houses and create a life in their gardens.
They're not used to neighbours being present, so they talk about their daily concerns like they're in the protected environment of their houses.

One of the neighbours was chatting with her mother on the phone about apidexin. That it might not be a miracle cure, but that the ingredients are so interesting that it might really help weightloss.
She sounded very enthousiastic and was taken by her enthousiasm so much that she talked louder and louder until another neighbour asked her if she could order it online too.

The phoning woman took it with humor and soon we all had a good laugh.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I didn't hear the birds welcoming the day, but I had plenty of encounters to compensate for that.

A huge pidgeon chose to sit in one of the trees, anoying me with his calling and making me adjust the way of hanging the laundry. Didn't want to get my freshly washed clothes dirty.

A young blackbird claimed the gardenpath. His mom is so used to me that she kept on feeding him right before my eyes. It was so cute.

A few grey wrens had a party in the garden too.
They were almost extinct in gardens the past years. Last year I saw two of them, and now there are more.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Changing the law to treat children... in which direction?

In the paper today:
an article about a jurist who wants to add an extra law to enforce treatment on young people. She states that some children don't get the psychiatric treatment they should have, because laws act opposite to each other.

Like that at a certain age both child and parents need to agree with institutionalising.
The law provides institutionalising without agreement, but with agreement of two independent psychiatrists and a signature of the mayor for those who are a danger to themselves and/or to others, but there's no way to have someone put away quickly for treatment just because some treatment provider thinks it's necessary.
The only ways left are either to bring the psychiatric patient to court and have a judge decide, or to have a judge decide the parents are not fit to act in the benefit of the patient.

This law is to protect psychiatric patients against all too zealous socalled professionals.
During more than 25 years I've heard stories from people, this law has provided protection to many people.

When a jurist comments on laws which involves quality professional knowledge in another area of expertise than law alone, dangers are idealism to better the world overshadows a sense of reality.

Forcing treatment on people results in aversion, research in the past has shown, and forced treatment not only isn't effective as it should be when accepted with motivation, it also brings people further away from more treatment in the future.
In young people it can cause lifelong agression towards the medical world.

Yet, there's a jurist, Vivianne Dörenberg, who states that the law should enable institutionaliseing and forcing treatment on young people in a faster and far more easy way.

She provides the example of a 14 year old boy with behavioral problems, who skips school because he can't deal with many pupils in the same classroom and who tries to escape from contact with the outer world.

A very nice example, because we shouldn't need a law to force this kid into treatment.

This child is an example of the failing educational system.
And an example of the failing care/health system.

This child went to school, didn't fit in, and nobody took action.
That's not only the responsibility of the parents, like she states.

All children are seen by a doctor and community nurse (followed by a schoolnurse) from day 1, and parents have plenty of opportunity to discuss any problems.
There's a vast amount of parents who discuss the peculiarities of their children and won't get a proper answer.
Many autistic children are not diagnosed in time, because parents are told that this child needs more time to develop social skills, but it'll happen. Just be patient.

These children are seen by teachers, should be the concern of schoolcare professionals.

With other words:
Help is available in the early stages, but professionals don't always listen to the concern of parents.

The past years I've seen quite some examples of schools ignoring the problems of children and youngesters with the motivations
  • that the kids will outgrow their problems,
  • that it's up to the parents to correct unwanted behaviour (under schooltime? At least work together and make a plan to attack the problems systematically and structurally),
  • that teachers are no therapists,
  • that no bad behaviour shows during schooltime,
  • that other children have the same problems too,
  • etc. etc.
I've seen a school dive away for responsibilities in all these ways with the result that children became bullies, behaviorally disturbed young people who tormented children in need for care and extra attention, that dyslextic young people didn't get the assitance they needed to learn to read properly, children became afraid for peers, children lost trust in grown-ups, etc etc.
Soon after a pedagogue started to work at the school her schedule was full, because parents finally saw someone who might answer their question for help, and things started to change for the pupils.

Should we force the children to be treated, or should those who work in the educational system be "treated"?

The way the schoolinspection works might reveal part of the problems, but when there's a systematical cover-up of lacking care the inspection won't always see what needs to be seen.
Not all parents have free access to the schoolinspector. In fact at most schools parents are chosen by the schoolmanagement to talk with the inspector when he or she visits the school.

Most teachers are well aware of problems, but work their hours and leave the rest for the ever waiting tomorrow.

Back to the example of the 14 year old boy.

When the school would be aware of the problems the boy faces when he sees so many other kids in the classroom, he can be referred to a school with less pupils.
In fact, most children with these problems are.
But the government doesn't want to many special schools, so there's a lack of places.
Provide what's needed for good education, fitting the needs of the child.

Provide each school with the professionals needed to signal problems and to assist teachers to deal with it in the classroom.
These facilities are available outside the school, but they need to be paid for from the school's budget.
Only a limited amount of money is available to diagnose problems.
Only when a diagnosis is available, preferrably from a psychiatry (waitinglists are enormous at places), the procedure to get extra money will be put in motion. It can take a year before money is available to the school to do more for a child who needs it.

Start a schoolinsurance for all children, which provides diagnosis and treatment within the school.
I'm sure far more parents will agree with treatment then.
The treatment will be at the place where the child experiences the most problems, so it'll be able to try out new behaviour under the eyes of the therapist, taking away in the initial stages problems like generalisation etc etc.

In fact, dealing with children and their parents this way guarantees
  • more children will be diagnosed in time
  • children will receive treatment in the early stages of a problem (less cost, quicker improvement, prevention of future severe problems
  • involvement of the teacher
  • treatment at the place where most problems show
  • more acceptance of treatment
  • a perfect startingpoint for treatment at other places too, for instance outside school or at home.
  • neutral place for working together with parents. More chance to work as a team.
In the case of the 14 year old boy the change of law Vivianne Dörenberg wants is not necessary.
She states that parents are not always able to see which treatment a child needs and she even states that family life is too much idealised (whatever that means).

But often parents are not heard when they're concerned, and often the school doesn't take action before it's too late.

The new law of Dörenberg victimises the child, makes the child itself and the parents responsible for a failing system.
Instead of prevention by finding the faults in the system and attacking them to the benefit of the children, Dörenberg choses for repression of people. (And, which is worse, leaving the system the way it is, this facilitating other children to drop out.)

All children are seen by socalled professionals in the educational system from about 2,5 to 5 years of age.
There's no law that brings these professionals to court when they won't listen, when they don't want to see what goes on, when they fail to offer a child what it needs at school, when they accept bullying and other unwanted behaviour.

There's one remark I want to add to the case of the 14 year old:
In the past there were plenty of opportunities for individualised education, so children needing individual attention could get it.
Now there are only opportunities for those who are physically handicapped and/or have autism. Access it terribly difficult, as the young person should be 18 and referred by the UWV.
It's time we erase the age requierement and make this form of education accessible for those who need it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

death of a schoolfriend

In the airplane crash of last week many Dutch people died, among them members of two families in villages nearby.

One of them was a schoolfriend of the girls.

The school organised a memorial service last friday for classmates and a few pupils of the same level, but forgot the boy had also good friends at other levels.

So the girls felt left out, as did one of their best friends, who knew the boy even better.

This morning they arrived at school and received plenty of time to talk about their loss. Apart from that they got a letter for their parents and they were allowed to visit a silent classroom to sign the remembrance book and find some quiet.

Dealing with death is hard, especially when you're young and when there hasn't been time to say goodbye.

Here at home there's plenty of room to talk about their friend and what happened to him.
Death is a subject we've never hidden from, especially not as I had a lovely daughter who died the second day after her birth and I had a stillborn daughter.
My children have thought and talked about this a lot, and I've always tried to answer their questions is best as possible.

There's one question I can't answer: why?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The chakra test

One of my strange habits is to sit down and become quiet when I'm overflooded with things to do.

I need to fill in forms, hang laundry, clean the bathroom, work more on the girl's room as we're changing wardrobed and places of furniture, do the boysroom, paint a wall, paint the livingroom (Got a smaller thermostat last week, so there's a messy place around the new one), etc etc.

It's far too much for one day, or even a week, and it needs to be done before tomorrow.
Tomorrow I have two appointments, and as I can hardly walk because my hip hurts so much and the second appointment included a long walk, I'm going to cancel that one.

I have learned to accept I can't do everything and that I shouldn't feel stress because of that, but now they're breathing in my neck to declare me a bad mother, I feel I should have done everything yesterday.

Time to get in touch with myself.

And as always I found something fun: a test.

My results:

Your spiritual gift based on the chakra charts is self-awareness.

You also have a strong inner awareness of God or a higher universal force. The Crown Chakra brings us closest to the spirit realms. You will be able - with practice - to enter higher consciousness states. You have active or dormant abilities that most other people do not possess such as increased perception and pre-cognition.

You also have the power to connect with spirits in the astral realm through meditating on the Crown Chakra.

You have a strong connection to the Divine which makes knowledge and truths outside this world accessible. You are able to reach greater spiritual insights and revelations and to share these revelations with others. It is important not to let these insights be wasted. Jot them down - start a project or offer teachings to others to share the knowledge. But be careful not to become attached to the ego. Spiritual knowledge belongs to all. It should be shared with others to spread awareness and not to further personal agendas.

Take The Chakra Test


Saturday, May 15, 2010



1. When was the last time you lied and why?

Hmm...can't remember.
So it must have been a long time ago.

2. If you could move anywhere and take someone with you, where would you go and who would you take?

Move with my children to Scotland.

3. What was the last thought before falling asleep last night?

I'd been reading a book of the Dalai Lama and I was amazed that he said what I've found out too.

4. What’s your favorite style of underwear for the opposite sex? there still an opposite sex for me?

5. If you didn't have to work, would you? If you work from home, are there days you’d rather be in the workplace?

I can't work because of my autistic son.
There are many jobs I would like to do, so offer me something in Scotland or England so I can move.

6. What is a secret that you wouldn't mind everyone knowing?

Then it isn't a secret anymore, is it?

7. What’s a favorite movie that you wouldn't want anyone to find out about?

There's no secret movie.

8. What’s you favorite all time medical and why?

You mean on TV?
I'm following Casualty and Holby on the BBC. They're my family (:)).

9. What’s the worst relationship mistake that you wish you could take back?

I shouldn't have married the father of the children. But I did. Got some nice kids.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Youth culture and psychiatric diagnosis

Last week I had a discussion with a collegue about youth culture and the influence of it on the scoringsystems and results of psychiatric diagnostic tests.

Most tests rely on standardised answers and everything which doesn't fit in is considered extreme.

Other tests are scored according to the insights of the person who uses the test, mainly psychologists and those learning to become either a psychologist or psychiatrist.
When that person is not aware of youth culture and it's influences on behaviour of a youngster the resulting diagnosis might be completely wrong, sometimes leading to devastating interferences in the live of the person diagnosed.

One of my sons got the wrong diagnosis of schizoid personality traits (which isn't a complete diagnosis, but that's another matter).
He answered to questions about his future not with the desired plan to finish school, work for a proper diploma which allows him to work professionally, find a job, etc etc.
He answered for instance that he wanted a BMW, HDTV, and iPAD and a villa.

Not-realistic and calling for a strange feeling of aloofment, which should result in a diagnosis on the schizophrenic spectrum, the scorer concluded.

I objected, because it's a standard answer from a certain group of youngsters here in the neighbourhood.
Showing that my son has a strong sense of belonging to that group and identifies with his peers.
Which is sound behaviour for youngsters his age.

It's a pity that the organisation where my son got his diagnosis isn't flexible at all and there's not a strong sense of reflextion on their own behaviour.
I had no choice than to go against the diagnosis, but my son wasn't granted a revision.

Instead he got a prescription of an anti-psychotic drug, and a diagnosis which isn't of help to get him admitted to a school he needs.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How to deal with long lasting stress or crisis in the family?

How to deal with long lasting stress or crisis in the family?

It's a question which is often posed at meetings about autism and family life.
The answer is not only of use to families with autism though.
Everyone facing a stressful situation for a considerable amount of time can rely on these coping mechanisms.

Stress is not good.

The body has problems dealing with it, and people can experience long lasting consequences, up to post traumatic stress disorder and serious depression.
Stress can also change the social life of families and destroy firm bonds.

Stress also can have positive effects and it's up top the parents to guide the way family members react in such a way that it'll be a positive learning experience and the family grows closer together and each member learns something about his or herself.

Individual members react different to stress, according to their age, character and former experiences.
Young children imitate the behaviour of others and when they have a choice they'll imitate the behaviour they think will deliver the most positive results in getting attention, getting love and other positive effects.

Buying a gift for behaving nice will result in a child wanting to be paid of for good behaviour.
A hug and a compliment will result in more self esteem and self-confidence.

When children are able to copy behaviour, and when they understand it feels well to show good behaviour, they will internalise it. With other words, they will show it even in situations where no one is available to tell them what to do.

So talk to your children when you see things you want to change.
Don't tell them: "I don't like the way you behave now", but something like: "I see you're finding it difficult to deal with this. Let's sit down and find a way that makes it easier for you."
That way you can give your child options to chose from, and you will be surprised with the solutions your child can add to the list.

Talk about the situation with your family as a whole and with the individual members, so they can hear how others think about it, form their own opinions and exchange them.
Hearing how children view a crisis or a long lasting stressful situation can be very enlighting.
Setting the example and explaining that feeling victimized does only set one back and takes away energy will create strong people in the end.

Humor and relaxation helps.
Laughing about a situation enables someone to take a distance and see it relative to other life events. It also makes clear that even long lasting problems won't last forever.
Ofcourse never take people as the subject of laughter.

Humor helps people relax and it can form an entrance to find something to do for the whole family which is relaxing.
When you see that certain members can't relax, find something they enjoy.
Some just want a quiet evening reading a book, and they're just as happy when the others are away to watch a movie.

Use problem solving strategies.
Children can learn a lot from a crisis when parents are able to use problem solving strategies. Maybe they're not able to use it to solve the complete crisis, but elements of it can be tackled, thus creating intermediate relief.

Teach children to write down what the problem is they're facing.
That way you'll enable them to escape from drowning feelings and reflect on themselves and what's happening.
When you are able to formulate a desired outcome and the way to reach it in steps, you're teaching something valuable for their whole lives.
You can even use it as a way of teambuilding and team problem solving.

Engage in activities which generate stress which is of a lower level than the stress of the crisis or long lasting situation.

A family can be completely consumed in stress and it needs to be broken to enable the family members to stay healthy.

Not cleaning, but changing the bedroom, for example, can be a great way to change the stresslevel and turn negative stress into positive stress.
Find something that takes attention and creativity and has short term positive results.
Many children enjoy creative activities, and when you look on internet you can find enough to do. Make birdhouses, create an exposition of paintings by the whole familie for friends, etc etc.

When a crisis or stressful situation doesn't change don't hesitate to ask help.
Social workers, youth workers and teachers often have great ideas to help you forward.
Psychologists can help you deal with family dynamics.

When you strive for a positive approach a crisis or long lasting stressful situation can be very meaningful for individual growth and the bonds between family members.

And it's the best way to show those who causes the crisis and long lasting stress that your family needs to be treated with respect.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Continuing Story: meeting where?

My autistic son (classical autism) doesn't like to leave the house.
I've always tried to make leaving as attractive as possible, but apart from going to the psychiatrist, the dentist and occasionally to the shops he doesn't go out.

We tried daycare, a place where he could learn some sills to work, but it didn't work out. It was too much for him.

Then we, (his social worker and I) had the idea of a kind of a buddy. Someone to meet outside the home to do something he would like to do.

They've met once at the office and once alone outise the office. They made a walk, bought something to drink and went home again.

She made the next appointment with him at the daycare centre, where people can drink a cuppa at the restaurant.
Ofcourse a wrong choice, as he had dubious feelings about the place.

A few days ago he started to complain about everything again.
I didn't realise that he was already thinking about today, so we tried to deal with him as good as possible.
Yesterday was worse and this morning we had a problem again. Which means that he had a bad mood, was complaining about everything, being unkind etc etc.
Suddenly I realised that he must be nervous about the appointment of this afternoon.

Yep, I guessed right.

He didn't want to meet her at that place.
No problem... we just needed to find something different.

Problem with my son is that he knows what he wants, but he doesn't communicate it.
Maybe the day will come that matters like these are solved in seconds, I don't know.
But today we needed more time.
So we first suggested different places to go to.
Nothing was good enough.

And then I suggested he could go with her here to the shopping centre.

A smile dawned on his face and broke through.

One call and now he's showering.
I've just shaved him.

Now we have to take some hurdles before he's gone.
His trousers, his belt, his shoes.
Always at the same place, and always a small panick attack and him telling me that he can't find it.

I try to stay calm and breathe in and breathe out.
When I get stressed, he gets stressed too.

He'll be back in an hour.
Just enough time to give his room a quick clean.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

diabetes and stress

Contrary to the modern beliefs that obesity triggers diabetes, I was confronted with it when I had a weight of 55 to 57 kilo's at the age of 43.

My doctor wouldn't even belief I had all the signs and symtoms!
Thanks to an american friend who gave me a glucose measuring device as a present I could show I had very high glucose levels.

Diet didn't help, as I was already eating healthy and had enough exercise.
So I got pills. Had many side effects and landed on one which isn't the best for my heart, but is good for the diabetes.

I gained a tremendous amount of weight, thus answering to the idea that diabetes and obesity go together. I developed high cholesterol and a few other things, and when I started to take pills against high cholesterol I got terrible muscle aches and dizziness.
I'm tired all the time.

Whenever a minor ailment hits, or something larger like flu, my glucose levels are all over the place.
My body realised much faster than my brains that something is the matter, which might sound nice, but really is a burden.
I often feel like a vacuumcleaner which is pulled, but can't do much as it's fixed to the ground.

Not really how a former balletdancer assumes she feels when she's older.

With a family like mine, there's always some level of stress, and often I used it as motivation to go on and on.
My body can deal with it, otherwise I would have had a heart attack long before.

But the level of stress we're now experiencing isn't good at all.
I've lost a lot of weight and I have to monitor my glucose very carefully, because there's no visible trend at the moment. Not helping is the fact that my activities are not spread over the day anymore. I feel like a free floating battleship on a sea which is prone to different winds and storms.

This morning I woke up very early...hungry.
It's for the first time in two weeks that that feeling hit me. Waking up because of it is ages ago.
I had a slice of a low calory and low sugar kind of gingerbread, which is the only thing my body tolerates in the morning, helped the girls to school and felt so unwell I went to bed again.

My glucose levels are OK, but inside I feel shaky, which means the levels can be up and down very fast.

Long term stress is never good to the body. The stresshormones are influencing many organs.

All I can do is try to act like I do on normal days and hope the body takes over.
A deep breath, good relaxation and spread activities with the regular eating habits.

Hopefully the stress will be resolved soon.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

Because we still had free traintickets and needed to use them today the girls and I created a different mother's day.
We went to Amsterdam, as one of the girls wanted to.

On our way we had to change trains and had to use an elevator to get at a different place at a trainstation.
You won't believe it, but we got stuck.
The doors wouldn't open and all we could was push the alarm.
Some railwaypeople were a few meters from the elevator, but they didn't react at all. Grrr!

Then we found a button for silent alarm and tried that one, which got us in touch with a telephone operator who told us a repairman would come.
We had a short talk with someone who was stuck with us too, talked about invitations the girls received, talked with the other person again, tried the doors again, waited and then finally the guy tried to open the doors again and we could escape!

Amsterdam was no fun because the cleaners were striking and there was dirt all over town.
We visited our favorite shop where I found a beautiful small statue I'll blog about tomorrow, and then went to the train again.

We had a nice time in another town, comparing the old buildings with those in Amsterdam, and just talking.

When we came home we had dinner and the boys who had been away arrived soon after.

It was a strange day, but a nice one.

I gained two plants, a kind of quilt, a very nice buddha statue and a small one, and some little presents.
Lucky me!!

Lan Party

2 of the boys went to a lan party this weekend.

The last time they went they lost from a group of boys who cheated.
They were expelled now.
They could have won this time, but... this time semi-professional gamers were accepted, and as real amateurs they couldn't reach that standard.

Nevertheless they did very well.
With their friends they reached second and third place after the group of semi-professionals.

Interesting fact is that they used their brains a bit better than last time and went to bed at a normal time, so their sleeping routine isn't in shambles.

The boy who wants to become a photographer had the opportunity to take pictures and shoot a video, so he was even more happy.

I'm glad they've had such a good time.

Adaptive learning

I'm proud my dyslectic daughter is able to struggle through school with such success.
But it takes her a lot of time, in my eyes a bit too much time.

Online I found a site about sat prep, which contained a lot of information I want to give to the teachers of the girls.

When other educational services are able to adjust learning plans to abilities, skills and progress, a regular school should be able to do the same. Especially as the school they're going to is adjusting schedules and homework to sport students.

I'm sure both my girls will do better in school with adaptive learning.

Now I have to think how to present these new thoughts to the school.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Amsterdam smells

The cleaners of Amsterdam are striking, which means that the dirt of a world city is piling up.

We were there today and I was astonished by the terrible state of the city.

Dirt, litter, full wastebags, everything you can imagine what people throw away was on the streets. Not just in corners, but everywhere.

It smelled awful.

The cleaners strike for better wages.
They started at may 6 and they'll begin working on the 13th.

I can only imagine how much dirt will be on the streets by then: double of what there is now.

I guess.. I assume that it'll attract rats and other animals.

Not good for public health at all.

We left the city and went elsewhere, but I pity those who live there and the tourists.

To my loyal friends and readers

Sticky post. Updates at the bottom.

The past weeks have been very hard on our family and on me in particular, because people who are hunting for families which differ from what's considered average, are not able to see that families which are not average are good families too.
They're doubting my parenting skills, without even assessing them or asking me what I do and why I do what I do.

I have discovered a lot about myself and to my surprise it's good, not bad.
The criticism, pressure, even harrassment and psychological abuse (Yes, that's the right expression) have made me realise that whatever the outcome of their ill thoughts and actions, I have been a good mom for all my children and I'm not to blame for my choices and for the way life went.
Sometimes life forces itself on people in such a way that heads and hearts should be turned to the future, not to the past, in order to grow.

The past weeks I've experienced that those who showed a lack of support and professional action shouldn't have been trusted with the wellbeing of people at all, as they didn't dare to stand up for us and speak out. (One person even harmed me, going against his professional oath.)
Their jobs seem to be/are more important than the care for those who are their patiënts and their family.

It's interesting that people want openess and invade the privacy of other people to a huge extent, but shield themselves from all sorts of criticism.

I've cried a lot, felt desperate, doubted myself to the smallest particle of my being, questioned myself, feared the future, seeing the worst scenarios, even losing my children, but strangely landed on my feet and in my heart in such a way that I can say I've grown.
or maybe I haven't grown as much as that I've gained an insight in the person I am and the way I deal with the world.

Standing in front of people who live by finding fault with others, who are not able to see the good in others anymore, who have an inner passion for revenge, hatred and manipulation, confronted me with my own feelings and way I deal with the world.

I can't deal with those people.
I can't please them.
Nor can I get mad because of them.

The way I dealt with people in the past, the questions I asked during religion classes, even the criticism of a dear old friend who said I was too kind, and should act mad because of what happened in my life, instead of accepting it, see a lesson and live on...
it all suddenly made sense.

In the past I've studied buddhism, but more because I thought some concepts were interesting, than that I thought it would be my path.

Looking back, I've seemed to have lived the path of compassion from the source of my being, far more than I ever realised before.

When I felt worst last week, I came home and sat down at my computer, trying to find a friend online to talk to.
Instead I just googled my thoughts and landed straightaway on a page with a text from the Dalai Lama about compassion.

Rest entered my mind and soul immediately.
It was like coming home.

The way I was as a child, my reactions to the world when I grew up, the way I raised my children and even the way I dealt with all these forces of the past week, it all seemed to fit the same inner strength and way of being.

Interesting is that my house contains some religious symbols.
Those of the roman catholic tradition in which I was raised,
and one tibetan prayer wheel.

Now I would love to have a tibetan buddhism pendant.

Next september I'll take a course at the Buddhistic Centre here in town.

The coming weeks will be very important to my family and ofcourse to me too.
I can only hope the people who feel the need to decide over us will receive the wisdom to look for our good qualities, and see things the way they are, not the way they want to see things.

I need all your support not to drift away from who I am.


The Child Protection Agency will evaluate our family and our parenting skills due to preconceived ideas of someone "who knows it all" and who doesn't care what we say.
At june 1 they'll come.

It will be awkward to have 24 years experience as a parent of 6 handicapped and regular children evaluated by someone who is younger than I am.
In my heart I know I'm a very good mother and my children got one of the best mothers they could ever had.
But will it be enough?

I'm not perfect, you know.

But there's no reason at all to think my children will have a better place on earth elsewhere.
Yet, there are families broken up by organisations like these, just because they have a picture in their head of the average family and a family which is a mix of handicapped and normal people differs.

Please pray for us, light a candle, send white light or give us your best otherwise, so all will be well soon.


Induced weight gain

My regular readers know that my autistic boy suffers from an eating disorder which was triggered by the medication a psychiatrist prescribed to help him.

It was known that the meds would cause weight gain which could be up to 15 kilos, but she said that only happened in exceptional cases and chances of happening it to our child would be very low.

I believed her, because we shared a past of studying at the same university, where they taught us to be very carefull with giving meds to children.

After a fer months I found myself looking for the best weightloss product, and asking her for other meds.

Her reaction was that all would normalise after the initial stage of getting used to the meds, but she was wrong.

My boy grew from normal weight to obesity under the eyes of his psychiatrist and family physician, and whatever I asked them to take action, they did nothing.
I can only hope they wrote my requests in his file so it's clear I was and am worried to bits.

We didn't go

We had plans to use our traintickets for a day of free travelling yesterday, but we didn't go.

Two of us didn't feel well enough.

I think there's a bug going round, as I was feeling bad for a day last week and one of the boys had the same a few days before I started.

It wasn't a real problem staying at home, as the weather is below what's expected for this time of the year.
Night temperatures are just above zero celcius, so that's not a real motivation to leave early and go to the coast.

Going elsewhere wasn't a real option, as the places we had as an alternative to sea were all overcrowded due to special events. Like the start of the Giro 'd Italia in Amsterdam.
When we heard that more than 150.000 people had gone there to see the bikers leave, we were happy we'd stayed at home.

Weight problems

Yesterday evening a friend called.
She's been struggling with her weight for about 10 years now.
It started when she passed her 40 year's birthday. She suddenly experienced increased appetite and felt like her body was taken over.
Ofcourse she got the regular advice of eating less and exercising more. But changed circumstances made extra exercising difficult and she lost motivation.
She now expressed the intent to conquer the problem once again by using phentermine.
I hope she succeeds.
Her family will help her reaching her goals, as long as she is persistant to reach them too.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hey Jealousy


1. When was the last time that you got jealous?

I don't know.
I'm not a jealous person, never have been.

2. At what point do you finally decide it's time to move forward with your life (like, major changes)? How do you know? What do you do?

Well, each day is a move forward.
Real big changes will be made when my autistic son is able to live without my daily assistance. So that's when he moves out to a trainingshouse or another facility.

I will be able to do the things that require space, time, and the things outside the house.

And Scotland is waiting at the horizon.
Maybe I'm there faster that I now think. Who knows.
When the girls have done their final exams they can continue their education there.

3. When is it time to just let it ('it' can be whatever you choose) go? How do you know? What do you do?

I don't know when it's time.
I assume at the moment that we'll find a job there.

4. How many times must someone push your buttons before you've just had enough? Why?

I can have a lot.
And apart from that, not many people know where the buttons are.
But when people threaten the wellbeing of my children and my family, or doubt my parenting skills of 23 years experience with autism, I can react different from what they expect.

5. If I S/O were to cheat on you, could you ever see yourself giving them a second chance? Or a third?

Depends on how the reaction is when I find out.
Right now I won't take anything at all.

6. What was the last thing that someone did that you were very grateful for?

There are 3 people who have made me deeply grateful the past weeks
1. being a real friend
2. a very nice compliment
3. good advice

7. How much time do you spend online in a given weekday? What about the weekends?

It depends. Sometimes it's in between 10 minutes each time, just to have a break. Blogging. And a round of dropping on those who dropped at my site.
Sometimes it's longer, to write, to discuss something, to look things up, to study or to surf around. Apart from the daily things.

8. How many online journals/blogs do you read regularly? What are some of your favorites and why?

I'm not going to mention blogs, because there are so many good bloggers online.

9. What was the last major purchase that you made?

Floor. We needed a new floor in the living room and as I've always been very happy with vinyl tiles I wanted those. But they were not available anymore.
We've found vinyl flooring though that looks like wood, sticks to the ground too and come in long pieces.

The next purchase will be a new fridge...but I think it has to wait quite a long time because we need the money for regular things at the moment.

Have a great weekend and have a happy mother's day!

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Grinding with Laane

There are days I long to sit at my grandma's table and grind coffee with her.
The strong smell of coffee, the sweet light through the window and the soft smile on her face.

Wouldn't it be a great introduction for a meme?

Well, you're allowed to consider this as much.
When you want to take part, let me know and I'll send you the graphic, with your own name.
When you've written your post, put a link in the comments, please.

Grind away what happened this week so you can start your weekend a bit better.

  • We've had a terrible week again (blog about it next post)
  • One of my sons was bothered by bills from the person who lived in his apartment before he moved in, and was full of fear they would come and take his belongings to pay those bills. Well, matters are settled now.
  • I went to the pharmacy to get the meds of my autistic son and the row was sooooo long I went home again. Lost time, lost energy.
  • I have loads of laundry, but it's raining all day.
  • We had huge troubles with the heating, but after a lot of mess in the house, it's repaired.
    Turned out that we're not the only poeple dealing with considerable heating problems.
  • We have to consult a lawyer (maybe morethan one) to get matters dealt with, so we're getting in debt because of that. I hate that!!
  • I have far too many appointments and too little sleep,. I want things done in the house, but there's too little time and I'm too tired.

hearing the doorbell

When I'm busy at home I have one main problem: hearing the doorbell.

It's almost impossible to hear it from the attic and when I'm vacuuming in the livingroom I can't hear it either.

I think we need a new door chime with an extension.

I didn't know extensions excisted, but when I talked about the problem with a friend he said they're available online and in the best shops.

So we'll look for it next week.

Gardening will be much more fun when I can hear the doorbell, because there's no need to have a look through the house to see if I can see a shadow on the door.

I'm so happy we landed on the subject and there's such an easy solution.


Ofcourse we knew we had traintickets for a complete day travelling by train, but time went by so fast that the last date arrived sooner than we expected.

Last date: sunday.
And as it's mother's day that's not the best day to go away.

So we're planning a day away for tomorrow.
It'll be a cold day, without sun, with moderate wind.

So it's not even remote perfect for a day out.
But leaving the tickets unused and throw them away... naj...

So it'll be wintercoat, and sjawls and the whole lot and off to travel by train diagonal through the country to have a walk near the sea.
Unless the girls want something else.

Just me and them.

The large battery of my photocamera is almost empty and I can't fetch a new one, so we won't even have photos to bring home.

But I'm sure we'll have a good time.

Maybe we'll visit Amsterdam, or another place.
We'll see.

bathroom ventilation

When we moved into this house, more than 20 years ago, we were confronted with a ventilation system that worked fine, we thought.
But soon we discovered that the system was not a 100%.

It's a symple system. A kind of vertical cilinder through the whole house, with morotized airextraction out of the kitchen, and spontaneous ventilation in the toilet, and bathroom.
We knew the system when we moved in, and knew that the way the cap was installed on the system influenced the extraction of air.
Our neighbours had such problems that we had to contact the owner of the houses (most people in our country rented a house in those days), and he hired a firm to get the cap positioned well.

Yet, they still needed a dehumidifier te keep the bathroom free from too much moist.

Living rented means that cleaning the cilinder is done by the owner, who sends people on the roof every 2 years.

I now want to ask for a filter. I've seen that the past years more dust than ever enters the house and I think that's unhealthy.
I also want them to look a modern ways of dehumidifying the bathroom.