This year has been a hard one for our family, big changes came with big challenges, much of which we are still unfolding. My girls sometimes worry that we are unique in the current unrest of our home, that the waves of emotions and truthful uncertainties are not something that is felt within the homes of their friends families. The truth is, it is more likely closer to what is real than the idea of ‘happily ever after’ is in many ways. We are forever unfolding and growing into ourselves and if we get too caught up in things that don’t matter for long enough, we can lose sight of what truly does, even with the ones we love the most. It is important for them not to be too sheltered from life’s pains. If we protect and hide what is real, what is raw and true, we teach them to only know life as an all encompassing wonderful. And life is wonderful but it can also be equally devastating and no one is immune to feeling some sort of devastation at some time in their lives. We need our children to be aware of this, we need to them to grow with resilience, so when life imposes hard challenges upon them, they will know that it is alright to hit the ground. It is alright to feel hard pain. It isn’t a sign of a weakness or a betrayal of a story that they have been living, there is no shame, no need to hide or mask what is real for them in that moment. They need to understand that life moves around and around, and the hardest of moments will pass, we will circle up again. Staying true takes bravery. Staying true, doesn’t always mean that there is an absence of love. Love can be very present and it’s a difficult challenge to go on loving another without an idea of what the story is really meant to look like. Life and love are messy, children do complicate relationships, it takes a deep kind of honesty to be able to understand and often admit such inclinations. I would rather my children know that they wont be saved from never feeling pain in their relationships, that having children will challenge them in ways that they could never imagine. Parenting, is tricky. Autism is a blessing and a heartache. There is subtleties, that only you as a parent can recognise, the struggles and misunderstandings, confusions and frustrations. It’s almost impossible to completely understand, and as a parent you carry a certain kind of worry that is unique only to them. These honest challenges have put a strain on our family, and we are all still trying to find our grounding. I am hopeful that we are on our way up again. I have let go of any ideas of what I thought we were meant to be and are allowing life to honour us with what we are instead. I have surrendered, and relaxed into the truth and I know happiness will flow through our doors once again, sometime soon. This past year we have shared many, many tears and have experienced more than our fair share of temper tantrums from toddlers, teenagers and an overloaded mother. But as a family we have triumphed life with our spirits, love and acceptance of what is. In all our uncertainties that we have been presented with, we are settled in the knowing that we are a strong tribe and we will be alright, no matter what life bestows upon us next.
Its taken a while, to get to this place. Where our boo is happy to play along side baby Georgie. We have been eagerly waiting and hoping that he would one day embrace and accept her existence. I’m happy to report we are there. It seems to be that all we needed was time, time for her to grow and develop into a little person that he could understand. From a very young baby Georgie has taken special interest in her littlest brother, intrigued with his every move. Even now I catch her watching him, taking him in, her love for him radiates, it is like nothing I have ever seen between siblings. She began talking very early, imitating our words, repeating everything eager to learn this skill. Quite recently Boo too has caught on to this fine art of learning language. They are at a very similar level of communication and words that he says, she says, what i say, they both say there is a constant echo of words happening all of the time. It requires you to pay particular attention to everything that is said Im calling it mindful speech. My teenagers are yet to have the patience or tolerance for such notions, they have unfortunately but successfully planted ‘shut up’ as the common phrase used for asking everyone to be quiet please, in a house hold of 7 it is now used quite frequently by our boo. They are embarrassed to say the least. When we all go for walks with the babies and we happen to pass people who are leisurely in deep conversation and our babies repeat one after the other, ‘shut up’ at the innocent by passers, they clearly see the unfortunate dilemma we are now in. Unteaching this to a child with autism and his confident 15 month old accomplice,is going to take some time and lots of patients. A positive perspective on this scenario is, at least they arn’t practicing the fine art of profanity.. just yet.
cooking with toddlers is always going to be anything but methodical. Before pursuit it is absolutely necessary to let go of any concept that the process is going to run smoothly and without fuss or mess for that matter. It almost needs to be seen as organised chaos with the idea that anything could happen and that there may not even be any consumable produce from the event. What is important to remember is, that all of the learning lies within the experience. For us it’s all about the sensory play, our boo thrives on the touch and taste of soft dough and at the moment any activity that encourages his participation, cooperation and patients is welcomed.
ingredients:125g softened butter,100g caster sugar,1 free-range egg,200 g plain flour,1tsp vanilla extract,1/4tsp baking powder,sprinkles,extra flour for dusting
method: Beat butter and sugar in a kitchen mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat well, then add the flour and baking powder and mix until a ball of dough forms. At this stage is good to roll dough into a ball and wrap in cling film and put into the fridge to chill for an hour, however this step is completely unacceptable to my toddlers so we always skip it and go straight to here, on a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to 1/2cm thick with cookie cutters cut out shapes and gently press into the sprinkles and lay onto baking tray lined with baking paper. If dough is extra soft from skipping the chilling step, you can, with lightly floured hands roll teaspoons of the mixture and then press them into the sprinkles. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 180°C or until the edges are slightly browned.
recipe adapted from JamieOliver.com Lemon Butter Biscuits