Friday, October 29, 2010

A Croaky Moan

I don't know for sure, but I think little man has been trying to speak! Recently, he has been making a new sound - hardly noticeable at first but definitely different and definitely new. The sound was a little bit like a croaky moan...."Mmmmm" or maybe even "Nnnnnnn" ..... hard to tell. I told the Speechie about this new sound - he even did it while we were with her. But she said it was probably just a sigh or something. But only days later, he has added other sounds to it; a bit like "Nnnnnaaaaahhhhhbbbbbwwwfffffmmmm...".

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you try to scream or speak and it feels like your face is paralysed so you can't get the words out...? Well, that's what he sounds like. Kind of slurred.

He has progressed from that first little croak to short strings of babble. I first heard it a couple of days ago. He was around a corner of the house, out of sight but not out of earshot. At first I thought maybe my brain was embellishing a little sound into something more because of a hidden hope inside. But then he did it again last night! And when I told hubby, he mentioned that he heard the boy do the same in the bath the night before (I was out). So now I know I was not imagining things!

He has also been making "ffffffff" sounds - but it's sort of like when you blow bubbles kind of a fff. Sometimes it's more of an "Ooooffff!". And 'sssss', he has been doing that one too.

Last night, as he was playing around the lounge room, I could swear I heard him say 'Go!' ... or at least try and say it. It's so exciting, but I'm trying not to hope too hard in case I'm disappointed. Trying but not succeeding much LOL.... I can't help how my heart soars when there's the smallest inkling of a new skill developing.

Can't wait to tell the Speechie this week :)


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cupcakes for Nejla

My eldest daughter turned 8 today. We still haven't managed to organise a party for her yet - so slack, I know - but I was up until midnight making these for her to take to class today to share at school.

Chocolate cupcake with simple fondant icing. I stuck the fondant to the cake with a thin swipe of white chocolate buttercream - I couldn't be bothered making a sugar syrup just for the occasion, and I had the buttercream already on hand. Nej isn't a big fan of buttercream, which is why I used fondant to ice them instead. Ironically, she didn't 'feel like one' today, so everyone else ended up enjoying her birthday cupcakes haha. Oh well. She was happy...that's the important thing.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Hey Mr DJ...!

Two cakes done up as 'Technics' turntables. I have never seen one of these turntables in real life, so I was mainly working off some photos for these. I did also google for some other turntable cakes to see how they are done, but I didn't use any one in particular as a guide. These were alot of fun to make, and I learned a couple of things in the making too.

Obviously, the birthday boy is a DJ. I was told he loved his cake, so I'm uber happy :).

Inside was chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream. I used fondant to cover and make the accents with. The turntable on top was made using a thin layer of cake as well, so everything except the ribbon is edible.

A dozen chocolate cupcakes with a duo of milk chocolate and white chocolate buttercream, topped with chocolate lattices went to the same place as the turntables did.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Isobelle's Birthday

A little baby ducky swimming in a water trough

Little over a year ago, I awoke at 5am with a small pain at the bottom of my 9 month pregnant belly. A very small pain, not even wince-worthy. Being this late in pregnancy however, I decide to go to the bathroom and investigate. Without going into too much detail, within a few moments, I know without a doubt that labour has begun. I wake my husband and tell him it is time, but there is nothing major happening. "Go back to sleep and I will wake you when we need to go". Between checking and waking him, I have about 3 contractions. Small ones. Nothing to worry about.

It is 5:10am.

After I wake him, I tell him I am going to get something to eat, since I expect a long and arduous day ahead of me. My son's labour and birth only went for 2 hours, but that didn't mean that this one would be as fast. Higher chance of a short labour again, but not guaranteed. And with the low level of pain I am feeling, I didn't think it was going to be fast.

I walk into the kitchen, and have another contraction. Suddenly I lose my appetite. I go back to the bedroom to tell my husband I can't eat anything but I might have a cup of tea. He is already up and getting dressed. I return to the kitchen to make my tea, and have another contraction. A strong one. I lose my interest in tea. I go back to the bedroom and inform my husband, and then finish packing my hospital bag instead. He is already on the phone to his sister.

It is 5:15am.

Strong contractions start coming every few minutes now. I finish packing my bag, ring the hospital, and message my sister so she could spread the word to family. We wait for my SIL to arrive to babysit. She doesn't live far. She wouldn't be long. But by the time she arrives, I am on my knees, rocking back and forth by the couch, contractions coming every minute or so.

"Honey, we have to go, get up" ... my husband is stressing a little.

"I can't.... walk.... right now..... Let me finish.... this contraction.... and I'll come." Panting. It hurts a bit more. The contraction passes and I am on my feet and out the door in a few seconds. Another contraction comes on as I get out the door. I pause at the door, halfway down the garden path, and at the car for contractions. Then I get into the car.

It is 5:30am.

Hubby starts driving to the hospital. Contractions are coming literally one on top of the other. Husband speeds a little, and I growl at him anytime the car goes over a bump. Can't cope with the bumps. It's quiet and there's not much traffic around, but I tell him he doesn't have to speed, I'm not about to drop the baby. "Yeah ok whatever", he says. Soon enough, we arrive at the hospital.

It is 5:50am.

I try to get out of the car, but another contraction hits and I can't move. My husband is getting very worried and seems a little grumpy. He is telling me to get out of the car and asking if he needs to carry me. I shout 'No!' - that would be incredibly painful. It's much easier for me to walk when the contraction passes. It passes and I get out of the car. Another one hits. And this time, I need to push. My body pushes... I cannot stop it. The hospital emergency doors are only a few metres away. The contraction passes and I literally run inside. The place is not busy, but there are a few people in the waiting room there.

We stop to speak to the triage nurse - who can see very clearly that I'm in labour. She takes us straight to the admin window. We begin to give our details. My husband strongly advises them to take me inside immediately, as I am about to give birth. I am too foggy to think straight. The pain is intense and constant now. The urge to push is so strong, it's primeval. There is only a few seconds between contractions.

The lady behind the admin window wants me to tell her when I need to push. I tell her I have already started pushing. She wants me to tell her every time I feel the need to. This confuses me; When having a baby, once you start pushing, every contration after that is a pushing one until the baby is born! Why would I need to tell her every time I have a contraction... can't she see? She tries to comfort me. "You're doing really well love, just hang in there, you're doing fine". I laugh... of course I'm doing fine! This is my fourth baby, I know what's going on. I don't think she does though. She asks me if the waters have broken. I say no, not yet - which is a good thing, because when they do, the baby will come fast. She reassures me again that I'm doing fine, and asks me if I need to push again. She has called for an orderly and we are waiting for a wheelchair.

Wheelchair? I can't sit now! I need to walk! Take me through please. Now.

I want to slap her. Instead I tell her I need to push again as I have another contraction and I start pushing. I feel something pop and hear a sound like a bucket of water being thrown on the floor. My waters broke.

"Ohhh..... the waters just broke... I'm so sorry, there's a mess on your floor" . My pj pants are soaked through.

I retreat back into my little world of birthing, while my husband and this lady behind the triage counter continue speaking. I don't know what they are saying... I'm not paying attention. Another contraction hits, and since she still wants me to tell her when I need to push, I tell her.

" I need to push....!"... I let out an almighty groan....I feel something slip out....
"The head! The head! There's a head in my knickers!"....
I start tearing my pj pants off while screaming those words out.

Somewhere in the dark corners of my dignified mind, I am aware that people are going to see my bottom... and other bits. I care, but, I don't care. My soaked pants are around my ankles now so I try to step out of them.

The lady behind the counter has jumped up out of her chair and is shouting "OH SHIT!! Somebody help me!!!" you? I'm the one who needs help lady!

I know what she means, but I couldn't help seeing the funny side. I am standing with my legs slightly apart, one hand on the counter, wondering if I should lay down on the floor or not. The next thing I knew, a bunch of medical staff had surrounded us, and a nurse comes out and tells me that I will be ok, and if it makes me feel any better, she has delivered babies in this position before. Suprisingly, it does make me feel better. I don't have to lay down on the floor now. Another contraction begins as she squats down behind me to take a look. The urge to push is crazy strong and I can't help myself. Just as she gets down, she suddenly lunges forward and catches my baby.

It is 6:00am.

I have just given birth to our baby. I look up at my husband in amused relief.... He is standing there in shock, still holding the hospital bag, just staring at the scene before him. I chuckle and take hold of his hand with my free hand.

In the fogginess of the next few moments that followed, I try to look around behind me to where I can hear a small cry. My baby is ok.... my baby is ok. So relieved. I suddenly notice some orderlies standing around us holding up bedsheets to make our little space private. Ohhh.....God bless you people, I think to myself.

There is nothing to cut the cord with, so the nurse is still squatting there holding my little baby. I haven't delivered the placenta yet. I look up at my husband again and laugh.... 'Did we just have a baby?' I asked him. He just stares at me. Some of the hospital staff who came running in response to the code grey (I think?) are standing around smiling and watching... there isn't much they can do now. I start thinking about my exposed bum again......

Someone returns with a pair of scissors. They cut the cord and my baby is whisked away to be checked. Someone else brings out a hospital bed, and gingerly, I climb onto it and lay down on my back. Ahhhh, this is heaven!, I say; I have not been able to lie down on my back for months! The staff just look at me funny. My baby is brought back out to us, and we get to meet her. She's so cute and squished with a thick mop of black hair - with blonde tips! And she's perfectly ok.

Peeking out at the world.

They wheel me upstairs to the birthing suite where the midwives are suprised and disappointed to learn they missed all the action. Before they have a chance to administer the oxytocin needle, I deliver the placenta. They give me the needle anyway.... it hurts more than having my baby did. They stitch me up, bring me breakfast, and leave us to become more acquainted with our new little girl.

The whole thing took just one hour. Every time I think of what happened, I can't help chuckling about it. I shook my head in disbelief for weeks afterwards... this sort of thing happens to other people, not me!

Next time - now, this is our last baby, but if we should happen to make an 'oops' - next time, I will ring the ambulance and go lie down.

Snuggles with daddy :)

One year later...

Her cake was pink velvet with blue cream cheese frosting, surrounded in Cadbury Flake. Fondant probably would have looked better for the trough, but chocolate tastes so much nicer :)

My little baby battah (that's 'duck' in Lebanese) enjoying a piece of her birthday cake.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I imagine.....

Sometimes I imagine conversations with my son.....

I would ask him: "Hey honey! I missed you today. How was kinder? Did you have fun?"

He might smile and say: "Hi mum, I missed you too. Kinder was fun, I like going there now".

"That's great bubba! What did you do there today?"

"I put bottle caps into the jar.... I like that game. And I put together rows of building blocks.... and I put some colourful toothpicks into a jar through these tiny little holes! That was so hard, but I can do it!"

"Yes you can honey, you can do anything you want to if you work hard at it. You are a clever boy. Did you do anything else?"

"Yeah... I did some painting. I didn't know what it was before, but then Maria showed me how to make lines with the brush .... I like the lines mum. I painted lots of green lines!"

"Well done! I'm so proud of you. Painting is fun isn't it? Painting was mummy's favourite thing when I was a little girl. What did you eat today? Did you have some fruit, or some crackers? What did you eat honey?"

"I ate fruit. I like fruit. But I didn't eat the oranges, because they look wrong".

"Oh, they just cut them up differently to how we have them at home honey, that's all. They are still oranges, and they are still yummy. You should try them next time".

"Well they look wrong, so I didn't eat any. But guess what mum......"


"I ate lunch from kinder today!! Not my sandwich - but I still like your food though. But I ate rice and vegies at kinder. It was yum. I ate it all."

"Did you really! Wow! Well done bubba! That makes me really really happy! See? Mummy has a big smile now... look. That makes me very happy because it's something new! You did well today at kinder. I'm glad you had a good day. I love you bubba."

"I love you too mummy."

He can't really answer any of my questions, or tell me anything about his day. But when I look into his smiling chocolatey eyes.... I just know.

And yes, he really did eat fried rice at childcare yesterday. It was the first time he has eaten lunch from there instead of lunch from home. Too happy for words :)


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Baby Bumblebee

A couple of months ago, I ordered the Baby Bumblebee DVDs from the states. I first learned about them through a forum for parents of children on the spectrum that I sometimes visit. They were highly spoken of, and highly recommended. I paid nearly AU$200 for them (including shipping).

They are basically vocabulary building tools, roughly set out as a set of moving 'flashcards' with a voice over speaking the word, all set to Mozart music.

My son never seems to show much interest in things the first time they are introduced. This time was no different. The first few times that I put the first DVD on, and he simply went about doing his own thing and paid it no attention whatsoever. At least, it would seem that way to most other eyes. I know better now. This is the way he processes new information. It looks like he isn't interested, but really, he is taking it all in.

One day when I played the DVD again, he came over to the TV as the introductory theme music began. He watched a while, then went off again. Gradually, he began to watch the DVD more closely, until now, he sits through the whole thing.

Is he speaking yet? No. Still not a word. But I can't say there have been no benefits............

At times when I name an object or repeat a word from the DVD, he looks at me and smiles. It's as if he's saying "Yeah mum... I know that one". I love it! I have also found him from time to time trying to say 'shoes' or at least make the 'sh' sound again. He was trying that for a while, but then stopped. Now he's at it again. He seems to grasp what I say to him a little easier now. For example: "Bubba, do you want to put your shoes on and go outside to play?", and he immediately responds by looking at me and then coming over!

Still speaking of shoes, I have bought new ones for him, which are very different to the ones he has been wearing. Based on past experience and knowing what my boy is like, I fully expected him to reject these new shoes, and believed I would have a 'fight' on my hands trying to get him to wear them. In his mind, they may be shoes, but they are not the right ones. Well, I was pleasantly suprised to find him fully compliant when I put them on him! Amazing!! And I have not had a problem with them once. This too, I believe, has come about because of Baby Bumblebee. You see, they always show several versions of the item they are presenting - in the case of our shoes, they show baby shoes, mens shoes, womens' shoes, running shoes, buckle up shoes, lace up shoes, different coloured shoes, slip ons, etc. All different kinds of shoes, but they are all shoes. I'm pretty certain this has helped my boy develop some flexible thinking in this area.

To be honest, I didn't really expect to see any speech from him so quickly as a result of these DVDs, even though other parents have seen amazing results. I just know my son. But the benefits in general can't be denied despite that.

Would I recommend these for other kids on the spectrum? Definately.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Mandy's 21st

I was very priviliged to make this cake for a 21st. The party had a 'Secret Garden' theme, and the birthday girl wanted a white cake with pink flowers all over it. After running some designs by her, we settled on a climbing vine type thing. I wanted to try and incorporate a gate and key on it somewhere, and she loved the idea. She requested the gate at the top tier, with 21 candles behind it.

The cake was chocolate, with chocolate ganache filling, frosted with vanilla buttercream. The vines were also buttercream, and the flowers, gate and key were made of fondant. Everything is handmade and edible.

This cake really kicked my butt LOL. So many issues came up, most of which can be attributed to lack of experience and proper equipment. I learned alot through making it though, which is good. My piping skills really, really need alot more practice, but I think it turned out well overall :) The birthday girl was very happy anyway, so I am too.