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How To Teach Emotion Regulation With Your Child

How to Teach ChildrenIs the chair, corner, bedroom, laundry etc going to teach emotion regulation to your child?  The answer is no it is not.  But how do you teach emotion regulation with your child?

Building your child’s emotional intelligence means helping your child understand their emotions by recognising what they are feeling and why.

What does sending the child to the corner teach them?  That the behaviour is unacceptable and if you do it you will go to the corner.  It does not actually teach the child how to recognise what they are feeling and different strategies on how to deal with those emotions.  By not actively helping our children to understand their emotions, you will only continue to experience explosive behaviour situations.

 

How To Teach Emotion Regulation With Your Child 

  1.  Believe it or not that most important step is parent’s looking within and see how you deal with your emotions.  How can we possibly teach children emotion regulation if we dismiss or hide our emotions?
  2. Before you react to their behaviour find the reason for their behaviour as there is always a trigger.
  3. Show empathy to your child and label your emotions “I can see that you are sad, frustrated etc with…….”
  4. Help them to find more appropriate ways to deal with their emotions rather than hitting etc.

A great way I have done this in my house is by usingEmotion thermometer the following picture chart and the girls have learnt to recognise where their emotions are on the chart.

I also made up a poster and used the characters and we went through different activities they can do when they feel like this.

By doing this you are teaching your child to manage their feelings in positive ways so that they can in the long term regulate their own emotions.

When you look at addictions, social problems in society a lot of it comes down to people do not know how to regulate their own emotions and we find ways to hide and not deal with emotions.

I remember going through severe postnatal depression and depression, one of the major parts of my recovery is actually learning about my emotions and learning how to deal with them appropriately rather through self harm.  When I am struggling, I visualise a river and visualise the emotions that I am struggling with flowing down the river as all emotions come and go.  How many emotions do you go through each day?

If you really want to give your child the best start to their emotions, I really encourage you to do the emotion coaching program which you can find under the services section. It is one of my favourite programs as the transformations that people have are amazing.

 

 

How to Survive the Dreaded School Report

Do you remember the days when you got your school reports?  I remember our school used to post them out (I guess they woke up that students may not have passed on those dreaded school reports to parents) and we used to watch the mail like hawks.  Then when they were handed to our parents, we used to go hide with sweat dripping down our face, until we heard our names being called.  I loved the reports that were clear that the teacher had no idea who I was and got me in trouble.

Now that I am a mum, with two girls with ASD, I am now in my parents position of reading their reports.  I have been thinking a lot about my own expectations which could be placing unnecessary pressure on the girls.  Have you ever thought what your expectations are?

Strategies which will help you to survive the dreaded school report are

  1. Be aware if your expectations and where these expectations originate from.  Be aware that you have made up these expectations and that you can change them.  You do not need to put your expectations onto your child.
  2. Replace the phrase “try your best” with “do your best” because we want your child to actually do the action.
  3. Always look for your child’s strengths.  We tend to focus on the weaknesses as they are the areas that our child needs help with.  However as an adult we focus on our weaknesses, we focus on our strengths.  By focusing on the strength areas, you may find different ways to improve the areas that they need help with. We also have to think outside the box.
  4. Do not compare your child to other children and their reports.  This is one thing I hate seeing in the playground. Parents comparing their child to other children.  Every child is different.
  5. Celebrate the small things rather than looking at the whole picture.  Think about where they were at the start of the year and celebrate the achievements big or small to get them to where they are now.
  6. Always remember that we don’t need those reports in later life.

Argh Stop That Noise!

Have you ever said that when your children are making a racket?  I know I have especially today.  In Australia we are in the midst of summer holidays as well so I am sure some parent’s have once or twice.  Grace and Emma are having a wonderful time at present winding each other up to they make these high pitched noises that sound like nails down the chalk board.  I especially hate it when they are doing it in the car.

But after saying the “stop that noise”, I thought to myself why is that upsetting me?  I paid attention to my inside voices and emotions to work out why this was causing me to become annoyed.  I could feel my anxiety levels raising with this high pitched noise, my breathing became shallower and my hands were gripping the steering wheel.

Is this my issue or the children’s issue?  I came down to realising it is probably my issue and not the girls.  By deep breathing and focusing on my breathing I was able to bring down my anxiety levels and calmly remind them that they need to lower the noise levels.

The majority of parents come with our own issues that stem from our past.  By being aware with this issues and really getting to the root of the issue, we will be able to meet the children’s needs easier and without the stress that it causes us.

So Proud of My Girl

Grace calisthenics awards I am so proud of my big girls Grace.  She simply amazes me on how far she has come.  After she was diagnosed with autism, we did wonder what the future will hold for her.  But my goodness with all the wonderful help we have received from therapists, her kindergarten teachers at Keilor Park Preschool and at Keilor Heights Primary school it has proven how essential it is to get all the help you can.

She started calisthenics at Kendara Calisthenics this year and to watch her grow has been amazing.  She is enthusiastic each week and really tries her best.  We had her final concert a week ago and she won the tinnies group annual award for all her hard work.

 

Steve and I realise that Grace will always try her best and she will always have such supportive people around her.  Even Emma was simply so excited for her big sister which is simply beautiful and I do hope that they will always be excited about each others achievements.

Parents’ are Always Learning

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Change and What It Means To You

When you see the word CHANGE: what did you feel?

 Do you see change as something positive or something negative?

What emotions does it bring up for you?

Change is inevitable, yet we fear it.  People may tell you that ” you have changed” and you could be left wondering if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  If you “change your mind” it can also be seen as a weakness.  Every single person always have the opportunity to change the paths we are on no matter how good or bad things in out life can be.

We make constant changes in our lives when having a hair cut, changing our diet, moving out of home, going to university, getting married, changing jobs…………………..the list is endless.

As a new mum and dad,  we prepared fully for the changes that a new life brings to us.  We dream about having children and we can envision what our family unit will look like. But when little one comes along are we ready to embrace the change this will bring?  A natural part of us will grieve the things we have lost for instance being able to do anything we want, going out etc etc etc.  But if we fear change already then it makes it even harder to adjust to the new changes.

With change bring uncertainty which is one of our 4 basic human needs (Tony Robbins).  If we fear uncertainty and prefer to only have certainty in our lives then the uncertainty that a child can bring into our lives will be a very daunting experience until routine and the budding developing of a realtionship between parent and child is built.

Life itself is chnage.  It you want to engage in life fully we need to find ways to create and cope with change on all levels of our lives. But if we feel that changing your mind is a weakness then how are we going to make the necessary changes to live life with vitality and healthy?

A roman philosopher called Seneca said “that what will surprise you in not that you must learn how to live but that you must learn to die”.  He is not talking about death when he said it.  He was talking about letting parts of us die.  Attitudes, prejudices and ways of thinking must be surrendered and by doing this we need to allow them to die.

The best example I can think of at the moment I am creating a healthier and happier life style.  I need to let die the unhealthy attitudes, eating so that I can fully embrace my new life of healthy eating and exercising.  If I break my attitudes towards this journey and fully embrace it, then the change in lifestyle will not be a struggle.

What are things you would like to change in your life?

The Magic of Touch

Have you ever simply put your fingers in your child’s hand?                             Mother Holding Child's Hand

But have you totally focused all of your senses when you do this?

Have you stopped your thoughts, rushing around to simply take in the joy of this amazing sensation of truly feel every little bit of their hand. The cute little creases on their hand.  If their hand is warm or cold.  How is feels when their little fingers clasps your finger.  It is so amazing and can be an amazing feeling of developing a bond with your child.

I was pushing Emma in the pram through the supermarket today and I reached down and touched her face. I stopped thinking about the items I had to find but I just felt her soft cheek and felt her leaning her head in my head.  Through my body I had this warmth run through my veins.  I felt my chest grow bigger as my heart grew bigger with all the love.

It is an amazing feeling for parents to develop a bond with your child especially as you go through the transition.  But it does not matter how old they are as it is nice to redevelop that bond especially if you have had a challenging day.

Rebecca From Coaching For Lifetime Change Gets It!

I have been questioning myself since starting this website if I should share my story.  I do not want this website to be about me but on the other hand I wanted to share my story so that readers felt more comfortable knowing that my life is not perfect and that I do get what it is like to be a parent.  So I have decided to share my story.  I do not want people to feel pity for me at all because in a way it has been the best thing possible as I am living the life I want to live and I have so much I want to give back to my readers.

I also want to build a section into my website about all the success stories so it will inspire everyone to take the actions needed to create a wonderful life.

A Brief Background

I am going to keep this section as brief as possible as a lot went into the major depression but I don’t feel it is totally necessary to go into detail about the past.

There are two major events in my life which “created” the depression which was my Dad’s death in 2000 from cancer when I was 24 and being sexually assaulted just before this event. Sadly with these two events, I felt that I couldn’t tell anyone especially with the sexual assault as most of my friends and family have only recently found out.  Was this a good idea? No it wasn’t but at the time I thought it was the best thing to do.  I did not seek help with the grief of my dad’s death and hid my emotions and hid them through my work.

For the majority of my growing up, I was a shy person who did not know what to do with the 8 basic emotions that we all have. I learnt to hide them and put on a “fake front”.  Through my schooling years, I had a few wonderful friends who I am still close to now but most of the time I did not fit in with the “private school girl” mould.

Career wise I was always dedicated to everything that I did.  The worst experience would have been being in a kindergarten for a year where there was so much bullying amongst staff that I left at the end of the year.

I definitely made my own mistakes especially with boyfriends and lost who I was and what my core values in life were. However with my fantastic and supportive family I managed to get out of the destructive relationships and start on a new path.

However the one love I had through it all was the love I had for children.  I completed a Bachelor of Early Childhood degree with further qualification in disability studies and became an applied behaviour analysis therapists with autistic children. I was always dreamt of having my own children and how fulfilling this would be.

Although my life was a mess at the time, Steve walked into my life and I met my soul mate who of course I wanted to have children with.

Pregnancy With Grace

One of my worst fears was that I was going to have lots of problems falling initially, but someone forgot to tell me that Steve had some good little swimmers :)  and so it didn’t take long.  I also couldn’t believe, as friends made bets on our wedding day that we would have a bubs by the end of our first year.  When I heard that I thought “yeah right I wish” .

With my fears we decided to start trying and goodness I didn’t fully realise that people track ovulation dates etc etc etc.  I assume that readers here don’t need a description of how to make a baby but if you need one I will find the sex tape (only kidding ;) .

The pregnancy itself wasn’t too eventful but I do remember feeling depressed throughout it.  I had no idea about antenatal depression and just simply put it down to being anxious with all the milestones that occurred and the extra pressure of counting how many movements bub made.

During the time, my obs was 100% certain that my pelvis would not let a bubs down it, even if it was tiny so he informed us that a c-section was the only option.  Steve and I were both certain that we would do whatever it took to keep everyone safe so we agreed to the c-section.  It is definitely a tough decision as I wanted to feel contractions but we knew that this was not the best option as we knew through the tests that we would end up having a c-section.

After Grace Was Born

Every mother remembers the moment of when they get to hold their little baby for the first time and having the instant bond at that very second.  But for me, I did not have it.  I did not have the “huggies” moment of instant love and I thought that I was a failure already.  It was not until Grace was approximately 4 months old, that I was told that it is normal not to have the instant bond.

During the hospital stay things were going well except breastfeeding.  There is simply too much conflicting opinions that it was doing my head in.  It was bad enough that Grace was not attaching and it was killing me but not to have the same advice given was just so hard to deal with.  When we left the hospital we still did not have the breastfeeding going well but I thought it would get better once my milk came in.

 

Then the nightmare began.  Although I had fantastic families on both sides who came to visit and help in anyway they could, things were going down hill quickly.  Breastfeeding was still a nightmare to the point where Grace was screaming because there was no milk and not latching.  I was also crying because it was killing me and hearing her screaming was like razor blades.  So we stopped the breastfeeding and went onto bottle feeding which Grace took to easily.

I wont give you all the details but the main areas which lead to my depression are

  • Grace screamed all the time which like razor blades to hear. Sent my stress levels through the roof.
  • She would only sleep 40 minutes during the day
  • The maternal health nurse called Grace scary.
  • Steve left one morning and came home and his words were “when he left she was crying and when he came home she was still crying.  Well derrrrrrrrr that is how we spend our days.

It was simply a horrible time that I never thought I would never have.  My dark cloud became darker and darker, bigger and bigger by the day. Although I had such fantastic support from my family, friends and from the wonderful new group of mums that I met through mothers group, I just saw no enjoyment.

I threw myself back into work in any hope it would let me escape from my darkness and bring some normality back into my life.  Although I looked forward to maternity leave, I never imagined what it was really like to have my career changed by having baby.  I was lucky that I had a wonderful and supportive workplace which enabled me to work from home most days. I never imagined how it was going to feel having a child change a career.

Then one day I spoke honestly with Steve about what was happening. It is important that if a woman finding themselves in the same or similar problems, you need to find someone to openly talk to. Someone who will truly listen to how your feeling.  These feelings should be going on for more than a couple of weeks.  I knew deep down that something was not right.

Steve is my rock.  Although he knew what was going on, he listened to how I was feeling.  Even though I had spoken to a health professional and was told to make an appointment in a couple of weeks. I knew that in two weeks goodness knows what the situation would be.  It took a lot of guts to go to someone and say this is not normal and I need help.  But that first step is the hardest and the best step.

The First Step

We knew that we had to do something if there was any hope that things would get better.  I didn’t know about PANDA at the time but we thought the best point of call was to see our GP.  I was lucky with the GP because Steve was friends with him outside the Drs surgery and he had found medical solutions already and so we felt confident in going to him.

It was really hard to sit there and open up to someone and admitting that I was in trouble.  It took a lot of guts and support from Steve, immediate families and friends to do it and when it came out of my mouth it was a relief.  It was fantastic that Steve was there but the other important aspect was that our Dr LISTENED. He didn’t dismiss us……………..he got us to fill out a test/survey which Dr’s must fill out in order to diagnose PND/depression.  He also started to fill out a mental health plan which all Dr’s need to fill out.

However the most important thing that you need to be is TRANSPARENT.  You need to be honest because glossing over the issues will not help you in the end.  You have taken the first step so you need to be honest.

There are plenty of stories of Dr’s not listening and dismissing patients.  If you find this is your situation DON’T GIVE UP, seek another DR.

After seeing my GP, he referred my to a psychiatrist and psychologist who (touch wood) am very lucky worked in the same clinic.  This gave me some confidence as all the Dr’s would be on the same page.  Even if they didn’t work in the same clinic, I would have still felt confident in my GPs referral as I was confident in him.  All my Dr’s were fantastic although at times I thought that they were wasting my time.

It was scary to tell a stranger what was happening.  I know in the back of my mind I was always wondering what they were thinking about me.  But through time and hard work they got me to open up.  The biggest step was when I opened up about my sexual assault.  Although it was such a hard thing to deal with, finally telling the truth to someone was like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  To choose not to tell anyone for years, I will never know if it was the right decision or not.  The guy got away with it but at the time I could not tell as my Dad was dying and I just couldn’t go to the Police. But I did it. I told someone.

I spent a lot of time with my Drs and my psychologist challenged my thoughts.  The most helpful aspect of seeing my psychologist is that he gave me tasks to do at home in between our sessions.  They were hard and many I didn’t do as it was too challenging but all psychologists should provide tasks to do in between appointments.  Listening is simply not enough.  If you want to recover you need to make the changes necessary to recover.

WHAT HAVE I DONE?

Although Steve and I always wanted a second child, we both agreed it would be better after becoming well.  But that was not going to happen in this case.  One day I had became unwell but didn’t really think about it until I realised that I didn’t have my period.  But I recounted the month and thought that Steve and I had only been intimate once.  (I know poor Steve :) ). I talked myself out of it and thought there was no chance I was pregnant.

I remember calling a close friend who convinced me to get a pregnancy test and see her.  Thank god she as there for me as when the two lines came up, I burst into tears devastated that I was pregnant again.  I didn’t want to be pregnant and just thought how could it be possible? All I could say and think is ‘what the hell had I done?’  Thank god my friend was there to help me get through the initial shock (and there for me through the entire pregnancy).  Although I didn’t want to be pregnant, I also did not think about terminating the pregnancy either.  I was terrified of what people were going to say because already I had the clear message from my Drs not to get pregnant due to be on a high dose of medication.

So much was running through my head at this stage. I knew I was on a high dose of anti depressants and I just thought what the hell was it going to do to the unborn child.  I wish I had the information that I had now that the anti depressants don’t cause miscarriages but I also didn’t have the information what it would do to the fetus.

Then came the dreaded day of telling my psychiatrist.  Although he was professional at the time but the look on his face was enough for words.  He wanted to take me off the medication for the first and third trimester due to the dangers.  My god what a decision to make.  Here he was telling me to come off them and I could only think about little Grace at home.  It absolutely tore Steve and I apart with such a huge decision.  We spent endless hours discussing what we thought was best.  We made the decision that Grace’s well being was too important and that we would not risk me coming off the medication.  I needed to be well (except for the daily vomiting) for Grace’s sake.  I knew that we would get through whatever the outcome was with our unborn child.

We had a massive range of opinions but we had the support of family and friends and that was what was important.  We tried to block out, the opinions that we were harming our unborn child because they were not with us when we made the decision to remain on the medication.  They did not witness the tears and anguish that went on when making this decision.  People should try and walk in another person’s shoes before they make a comment.  We had Grace to think of through all of this and we did what was best for our family unit.  I do not regret our decision at all.

The Pregnancy

This pregnancy was definitely different from Grace. I definitely had a great relationship with the porcelain bowl as I was vomiting everyday even on the day I gave birth.  But as they say better out than in.  I had blood pressure issues especially in the last trimester and I was constantly getting monitored in the last few weeks with the blood pressure and the fact that Emma wasn’t being overly active.  I also could not walk and of course there was no sleeping due to being in so much pain.  So I was definitely looking forward to the due date.

During this time, I kept my obs up to speed on how I was feeling.  We had a good relationship and I felt it was important that he should also be aware just in case.

Em was also a cesarean birth. I probably enjoyed her birth more because it was good to hear the laughs from the drs as they pulled Em out.  Although I felt that Em was going to be a boy, we had to ask a few times what we had because they had their arm on her private parts.

The downward spiral

Like Grace I had no bond to Emma.  But it was definitely different to Grace.  Em breastfed wonderfully but sadly that was stopped due to the anti depressants.  But I felt I hated Emma early on. I wanted to drown her and didn’t want to take her home.  It was such a stressful situation especially with discharge coming up.

But with everyone aware of my situation, the nurses contacted my Obs straight away for advice.  He immediately contacted my psychiatrist for days and very sadly my psychiatrist didn’t return his calls.  My GP even tried to call him with no success.  Things were getting challenging as I becoming more unwell so my Obs contacted a friend who was a psychiatrist and he came and assessed the situation.  He immediately said that I couldn’t go home and he referred me into a mother baby unit.

My Stay at the Mother Baby Unit

Instead of strapping little Emma into her baby capsule and feeling the excitement, anxiety, overwhelmed feelings which parents feel when they are taking their child home, all I felt was the dread that I was heading to another hospital and that I had to take Emma with me.  I knew that this was the best option for us but there was a part of me that simply wanted to die.

The thought of being in a mother baby unit was quite scary simply because I had no idea what was going to happen.  Each mum had their own room (at the one that I attended) whilst the baby slept in rooms allocated for infants.  It felt so lonely there as the majority of mums were there for sleep school.  I felt just so isolated as already I felt like a monster with the way that I was feeling.  At first I spent the majority of the time in my room as I was given time to continue to recover from my caesar.

The nurses were wonderful and there were a few a relied on to get me through the hard stages and kept me grounded.  I definitely would have been lost without them.

The other challenge I was to face was starting all over again with another psychiatrist.  However I was extremely lucky to have a doctor who I owe so much of my life to.  It was hard to build a new relationship with someone else but I think it helped that I had already overcome being honest about so many issues that I had been hiding for so long.

I was a high risk patient to have in a mother baby unit as there was some concern about how I would feel with other babies screaming all the time and how it would affect my behaviour.  I was also told to stop breastfeeding which was disappointing this time because Emma was attaching better than Grace.  But I was on such a high dose it was better for Emma.  Emma struggled to feed.  It took an hour to feed her 10mls.  It was wonderful for Emma to be under a pediatrician as they worked really hard to get Em to start feeding.  Emma was labelled as failing to thrive and had to be tube fed for a while which was heart breaking to see.  Em was also sent to the Children’s Hospital to see if there was any other problem and was diagnosed with silent reflux.

During my time in the mother baby unit I also had ECT (electroconvulsive treatment).  All I could envisage is them putting a cap on my head and frying my brain.  The nerves before it happened was horrible.  Although I was provided with heaps of information, reassurance and people answered any questions, I was terrified about the process.

When the first day came I was taken early to the theatre and the staff there were extremely encouraging.  The doctors showed me exactly what was going to happen and then I was given a mild anesthetic. By the time I had all of the procedures for a person who would hyperventilate just seeing a needle I was able to get over my fears of needles.  Although they said that the first one was the hardest as they had to test the various levels to see what worked best.  I felt like I had run a mile and my muscles were sore but when I woke up I had no idea that I had a child.  I couldn’t remember where I lived and I felt so blank.  Sometimes I feel that my memory is affected by the ECT treatments but having them was the best option.

All up in the mother baby unit I spent four months there trying to get better.  They provided programs in the day and I was provided so much support with my bonding and looking after Em.  Grace visited all the time as it was important that she saw her new sister and we had so much help from family and friends in looking after Grace.  Steve was simply fantastic.  He immediately changed roles of caring for Grace full time and we were extremely lucky his boss is family orientated and told Steve to do whatever he had to do.

I met some wonderful mums in the mother baby unit who were fantastic to chat to as we were there for so long.  I still keep in touch with a few of these mums.

Going Home

We did finally go home.  Was it the right time……………..in hind sight it probably wasn’t the right time.  It was hectic going home and settling Em into home life as well as spending time with Grace.  Grace became clingy and got upset often if I went out without her. She was so worried that I wasn’t going to come back.

Over the next four months I spent a lot of time in between appointments, doing part time work as well as participating in some day programs in the mother baby unit.  The main program I did during the next four months was called Baby Love.  This was a confronting program as we had to video tape our interactions with our baby.  Then during the program these video recordings were analysed and we discussed where we had trouble with interacting.  I learnt amazing things from this program that I still use suggestions with my girls.  But the main aspect I learnt was how much I loved Emma.

However throughout the four months, things were steadily getting worse. My self harm was increasing and the girls were at risk of harm.  I went and saw my psychiatrist and I knew I had to admit what was going on.  So after much discussion I agreed to head back into the mother baby unit again.

My Second Admission

Going back there for a second time was heartbreaking. I felt like such a failure to my family.  I was devastated that I had to separate our two girls again.  But i knew I was in such a mess and this was the best place for me to be.  However I was told that I couldn’t stay in the mother baby unit as I was to high risk to the other children and so they sent Em home and I had to go over to another section of the hospital.

Believe me what I saw there was eye opening but it was the best place for me.  I didn’t want the girls to come visit as I couldn’t face them at present and my psychiatrist knew that this was going to be a tough but important stay as it was focused on me. I met so many people there and the first few days all I felt that it was like being back at school with the various clicks.  There was a wide variety of problems there but in a way it helped that people understood.  They ran programs during the day to provide strategies.  I also did a lot of journal writing.  It was with the journal writing that my psychiatrist knew exactly what I was thinking.

With that knowledge my psychiatrist knew I had to have a medication change but that was a massive risk with my ability to handle the withdrawal symptoms.  Therefore the decision was made to do more ECT to help break that time.  Instead of doing unilateral they did bilateral and at least I was not as nervous.  We wrote down the important things so I could have them as a constant reminder as Steve was not able to be there as he had to look after the girls.  But I found it wasn’t as bad as the first time.

I spent three months in this section and believe me it was the best thing I did.  The most major milestone that occurred whilst I was there was that I told my mum about the rape.  That was a massive moment but I knew I had to do it and the world lifted off my shoulders.  I asked for the girls to start to visit and I spent a lot of time discovering more tools in keeping well with mindfulness and meditation. When I was transferred to the mother baby unit I felt just so well and it was the right time.

Em came back into the hospital and we spent a month re-bonding.  When I finally went home I knew that it was the right time.

Having Two Children With Special Needs

When Grace was about 2 years old I started to notice that Grace was still not settling at night (midnight was a regular bedtime) and we were constantly told it was just her personality.  However the pediatrician was listening to what we were telling her and she kept notes.  Grace and Emma went to a local creche so that I could attend drs appointments and down time as the girls are very full on.  I noticed that Grace was only playing with a little boy and not really socialising.  Her language was also behind as well as different developmental stages.  She did not really look at you and gave very little physical “cuddles” at all.  The creche did not pick up anything but I guess my training helped me to pick that maybe there was more things to Grace.  So our pediatrician sent us for appointments with a child psychologist, speech therapist and Grace was diagnosed with autism.  It was a relief to know that it just was not us picking things up.  The creche was unsupportive and told me they couldn’t look after Grace her needs although they had looked after her for 2 years before it.  We enrolled Grace in a local kindergarten and Grace and all of us have flourished since starting at the kindergarten (Thanks Keilor Park Kindergarten 🙂 ).

Our paeditrician has also been watch Emma because to have one girl with autism there is a higher rate of the other girl also have it.  Em was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder as her sensory system has always been on alert and she has an extremely restricted diet.  She has also recently been diagnosed with autism and believe me the girls are so different.

Steve and I have gone through all the grief stages when the girls were diagnosed and getting our head around it.  We have faced so many hurdles over the last five years its amazing we are still standing hahahahaha.  We have had a couple of losses with Steve’s dad passing away 3 years ago and my mum passed away in 2012.  I also had a breast cancer scare all happening at the same time.

I also worked as a volunteer for PANDA as a telephone support worker and I loved it. I learnt so much there and the support they offer clients is amazing. I also did public speaking for them which was an amazing journey.

But we have never given up and we will never give up.  Glenn Munso from Essential Health and Fitness came into my life as I wanted to get fit and healthy again.  He started a program called the YOU program which has been a massive help to get me to starting this business. I finally put me first and concentrated on my dreams.  After 5 years I have also said good bye to my psychologist which was a massive step for me.  Plus I have some amazing friends and family who have helped and supported us through it all.

As a family we faced just so much and we are still going strong.  We saw every hurdle as an opportunity to grow closer but it was hard.  All I say is never give up and you can have a dream family no matter what.

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10 Steps To Lifelong Happiness

In the Melbourne Sunday Herald Sun on 11/11/12 there was an article based on 10 Steps to Lifelong Happiness.

1.  Take Charge – make the choice to own up to your true potential and step into your brilliance.  We need to definitely get rid of all the excuses we can give.

2.  Let it go – Don’t waste energy trying to change or alter things that are well beyond your control. Focus on the things that are in your influence and find a peaceful acceptance of the rest.

3.  Live for now – Forget the past as that is something we can not change.  Don’t spend too much time dreaming about the future. But simply focus on today and making the moments the best you can.

4.  Expect the best – optimism is about expectation; expect the best and from life and it will deliver.

5.  Back yourself – You need to learn to believe in your dreams, your ideas and yourself. If you truly believe its amazing what becomes possible.

6.  Give all you can – be generous, not just with the gifts that you give but also how you give to yourself.

7.  Get out of the way – the only person who can really hold you back in life is you.  Overcome your limiting beliefs, ideas and attitudes and give yourself permission to truly shine.

8.  Be grateful – when you focus on how much you already have, your true desires will be easily met and you will also discover how little you genuinely need.

9.  Keep it up – don’t give up or choose a more complacent path should this take longer than you might have wished.

10.  Be brave

A Survival Guide For Changing Nappies For Dads

I saw this post on the following web page and thought that this could be handy for both mums and dads http://jpcmc.hubpages.com/hub/Changing-Diapers-A-Step-by-Step-Survival-Guide-for-Dads

Are you man enough for this task?

Diaper changing is not for the faint of heart. I say this because I’ve seen grown men gag and throw up at the sight of baby poop. Some cringe with just the smell of the baby excrements. Well, this is call to all dads and dads-to-be to suck it up and face the truth. Your baby will poop, and diapers need to be changed.

You can rely on your wife or the nanny, but the skill comes in handy when you’re alone with your little one. Moreover, by doing this task you lighten the load of your wife. So give your wife a break and take on this challenge.

So sit back and let’s take the stink out of changing nappies.

Step 1

Have everything you need within reach. I usually open up the new diaper ready for use.

Note: My wife has a changing bag with everything needed in it. This beats having to fumble with stuff every time we need to change our baby’s diaper. This also ensures that everything we need is available.

Here are the things that you need: changing pad, new diaper, plastic bag for the soled diaper, cotton or gauze pad for wiping the baby, baby wipes ( don’t use wipes with alcohol, they can irritate your baby’s skin), anti-rash cream, petroleum jelly.

Step 2

Wash your hands and sanitize. You should also remove your ring, bracelets or any accessories that may scrape your child’s skin. It is also a good idea to warm your hands first before you touch your baby. Cold hands can be uncomfortable for them.

Step 3

Place your baby on the changing table or bed.

Note: Changing tables have straps to secure your baby so use it. For those who do have changing tables, your bed or any flat surface is good enough. Just make sure you put a blanket or towel underneath your baby to make it comfortable. Likewise, ensure that there is ample space for the baby.

 Step 4

Unstrap the dirty diaper and fold the flaps so it does not stick to your baby’s skin. Some diapers don’t use sticky tape but it is still a good idea to fold it back.

Step 5

Fold down the top part of the dirty diaper. This will expose the baby poop. Some poop may still be sticking to your baby’s skin so scoop them off with the top part of the used diaper or you can use a damp cotton/cloth to do this. If the skin is sensitive, you can use sterile gauze. Make sure you clean the whole area.

Note: To avoid infections, use a top to bottom motion when cleaning the genital area – especially when the baby is a girl. Also, change cotton or gauze frequently.

Step 6

Remove the soiled diaper underneath the baby and replace it with a new one. Some suggest placing the new diaper underneath the baby even before you unfasten and clean the baby. But it does not really work for me. You can try it if you want. Tell me how it goes.

Note: place the soiled diaper away from your baby’s reach. I’ve had numerous incidences I don’t wish to share. Suffice to say, they were not pretty.

Step 7

Before securing the new diaper, make sure your baby is dry. Also, this is the time to put on anti-rash cream, ointments or petroleum jelly or whatever your doctor recommends. Once done, fasten the straps of the new diaper.

Note: Make sure that the diaper is not too tight or too loose. Also, the right size of diaper should always be used. Lastly, the weight recommendation on the diaper’s label is just a guide. There are times when you need to experiment on the best size for your baby.

Step 8

Sanitize your hands before picking up your baby. It is essential that you keep your hands and surroundings clean.

Congratulations, you just changed your baby’s diaper. Now, get ready to do this 6 to 8 times a day. Don’t worry, as your child grows, the need to change diapers becomes less frequent.

 Tips for Dads
  • Change the baby’s diaper frequently. Some diapers are more absorbent that others. Moreover, some can last longer and keep your baby dry. In spite of the advertised claim of the diaper brand don’t max out the capacity of the diaper.
  • You don’t need to wait for your baby to poop before changing diapers. Of course it is more economical if you do that, but prolonged used of urine-drenched diaper is not good.
  • Know the schedule of your baby so you can anticipate diaper changes.
  • Have a toy ready for your child to play with while changing diapers. A mobile or some other toy can redirect the baby’s attention.
  • Be quick but thorough. The faster you get the poop off your baby, the better.
  • Stock pile diapers at home. New born babies need more changing than older babies.
  • Check the diaper often.
  • Choose quality diapers. Some diapers leak because of poor material. Others have loose fibers that can cause infections.
  • Always have extra plastic bags to place your used diapers when you go out.
  • Dispose used diapers properly.

Diaper changing is bonding time with your baby. Of course, the poop can be a turn off but spending quality time knows no limitations.

Perhaps the first few tries will still make you squeamish. However, as you change more nappies, the easier it becomes. Likewise, you will find your own technique and the best way for you to accomplish this.

I’ve done it and I’m sure all dads out there can do it as well. It’s one activity every dad should experience. When you experience changing your baby’s nappies, you’ll never look at baby poop the same way again.

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