Quotes – speech delays and diction

“Can we watch dah ceptions?”
“Deceptions? What’s that about? I don’t’ think I’ve ever heard of that before?”
“Yes you know.”
“I don’t, honest. Do you mean Deceptocons, from the Transformer thingummy do dah?”
“He’s right mom. You let us watch it yesterday.”
“I did? I don’t remember.”
“Sure you do. You remember.”
“I don’t, honest.”
“It’s dah cartoon with dah yellow people.”
“Yellow people?”
“Yeah. We watched it with Dad.”
“Really? Hey Mike?”
“What did you watch yesterday with the children?”
“Yes, I know, but which programme?”
“It had yellow people in it. Something from Animal Planet or National Geographic?”
“Something medical maybe…..jaundice?”
“You didn’t let them watch House did you?”
“No! Never. Ooo! I know!”
“The Simpsons.”

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Onwards and upwards

Conversation can be a little stilted around here despite all the speech therapy, practice and encouragement. Whilst we’re lucky that their receptive language, what they understand, is so much better than their expressive language, what they are able to articulate, it still doesn’t come easy. The latest campaign regarding table manners and prepositions flounders, primarily because by dinner time my ability to make things fun is a bit feeble. On the other hand the reading campaign is an undoubted success. Although they prefer cartoon strips given a choice, it’s a choice that’s just fine by me. That said the new trend is most disconcerting. The new trend consists of expressing emotions verbally, straight from the cartoons. Things like ‘zoinks!’ for I’ve just had a bright idea, together with artificial hand gestures or ‘Ahhh EEEEE’ with bared teeth for ‘you surprised me and worst of all, ‘Sighhhhh’ together with a rapidly deflating body posture that says it all, and more. But we trundle on regardless.

“You see it there?”
“The salt cellar?”
“NEXT to the pepper, the brown one. See it?”
“The white one?”
Silence. I attempt hand gestures for emphasis and clarity but merely achieve air traffic controller status, which is not generally helpful at the dinner table.
“Just BEHIND the water jug?”
“Remember our good table manners about passing things to people who can’t reach?”
“You know……so they don’t have to stretch because stretching is rude.”
“Could you just reach out your hand to touch it?”
“Wot did your last slave die of?”

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Career Opportunites for the ever so slightly deranged

Today I am also over “here” at “5 Minutes for Special Needs Mums.”

I sometimes think that I missed my calling as an air traffic controller. So many of the campaigns around here are premised on the scaffolding of visual aids. They used to be mainly PEC’s, writ large but these days anything goes.

Not so long back I would send my little darlings to school with a whole collection of aide memoires, dangling from their back backs. From the Incredible 5 Point scale, to talismen, many and various, as well as other clues to help them cope. I do believe that they looked like Christmas trees out of season, all the year round. They needed them to be physically available, as visual and tactile work well together for some children, especially mine.

It’s all about helping them to express themselves, sometimes in a socially acceptable manner but now they all talk, they have trouble taking turns with their announcements and questions. Currently, they believe that the best way to get results is to shout. They have naturally adopted the ‘squeaky wheel’ policy, figured it out for themselves, with ear splitting results. It seems to be a case of ‘he who yells loudest’ will ping mum into action. Thus far, it’s working rather well as I dart around fulfilling the latest request.

However, I plan to retire from my post as ‘short order commando cook’ and implement yet another new campaign, roughly along the lines of ‘how to take turns.’ I have yet to polish off the details.

I either need to print all the rules on a serviceable T-shirt and adopt it as my new uniform or alternatively make up a sandwich board to include the never ending list of ‘how to’s’, reminders and cues.

Pop on over and enter your “name” for a thoroughly free review of your blog.

In my next life I’m coming back as a sheepdog as I already have fabulous herding instincts.

Lastly, coming soonishly = lucky numbers.

Any requests?

Cheers dears

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Now that’s not normal but what is these days?

We all begin to adjust to our “new arrival” in our own individual ways. In the aftermath of the festive season there is a more than usual amount of messiness around. I warn everyone that things left about are likely to be chewed, or if they’re very unlucky, eaten. As usual, no-one pays any heed. I list a lengthy record of similar occurrences that they have each directly experienced with other people’s dogs in the recent and not so recent past. My list and the repeats of my list, sound like my own silent solo. A scratched record.

I prepare mentally for the first casualty. Which child victim? Which precious toy? I don’t need to wait long.

I gallop at the first scream of agony.

In the family room I find my son knelt on the floor before the dog with his hands under his muzzle, “dwop it “Fatcher!”
“Use a firm voice dear,” I encourage.
Dwop it Fatcher!
“Maybe he doesn’t recognise his name? You could try the ‘th‘ sound?”
“Dwop it f f th thatcher!”

Thatcher reluctantly drops the package of sharp plastic corners, part of a prized Christmas present. He slips the packet into the back of his pyjama bottoms, out of sight, so that both hands are free to pet and praise the dog for his amazing feat of obedience. Perfectly sequenced steps. Seamless ideation. We chorus good dog. My son chortles deliciously as Thatcher licks his ears and neck. He expresses no concern or anger at the ruined toy.

Lesson learned.

“He dun bin choke on dat bad fing!”

His sole concern is the welfare of the dog.

Several lessons learned.

Below is a picture of yet more advanced social skills. My son and Thatcher curl up for a cat nap, which may not be of any great significance. Only the real baby sleeps. However, if I also consider the fact that this is 15 minutes into the sacred ‘electronics’ time, half way through his precious half an hour, then this would seem infinitely preferable and maybe a teeny tiny bit admirable, but there, I’m letting my bias show.

As his little brother said:-

“Finally! Someone who likes fire hydrants as much as me.”

It’s probably a Garfield quote.

Don’t forget to nip along and say ‘hi de ho’ to “Michelle’s” family over at “Full Soul Ahead,” and see if you might be able to “help out” with her post called “A Service Dog For Riley.”

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Little boy blue


We read every nursery rhyme in existence a while back, when they were little. I read the English versions that use the word 'shall' frequently, which seems less common in America. Nobody listened to me but I persisted because I have a cussed streak. After 8 months on a waiting list, we finally wormed our way in a speech therapy spot. At last! All would be well. I sat in on every session so that I could learn what to do and how to do it. After a few sessions I asked about homework or practice. The therapist* had several suggestions. The one I remember was almost as follows:-
“Do you take them to the park to play ever?”
“Yes, almost every day.”
“So when he climbs the ladder say 'up, up, up' and as he slides down say 'down, down, down.'”

I looked at her in disbelief before I burst into tears.

These days we are on to bigger and better things, perhaps?

I have several items on my wish list; popsicle mould, shoe horn and curtain hooks. It is my lot in life to be burdened with far too many brilliant ideas, ideas that often fail to materialize or morph into a different category of catastrophe.

My wish list differs from other people's in several respects. Firstly, it should be a shopping list but instead I keep hoping that these things will just appear like magic, as I usually have a strong allergic reaction to the shopping part of the equation.

Secondly, I do nothing actively to assure that these things become part of my household. Whilst they remain in the 'wish' category, I can pretend that if they did ever arrive, they would be successful. If they did ever arrive, I would quickly discover that none of them were magical and I would still have the same issues to deal with regardless.

The shoe horn will speed up the process of persuading three small people to achieve the status of shod. The popsicle moulds will mean that one of my boys will consume pureed fruit, or at least that's the theory. I would prefer the theory not to be disproven for a while. The curtain hooks are too complicated to explain.

My daughter and I make a mad dash to the shoe shop as her trainers have died, ripped up, heel dismembered, soles unstuck, lining worn and the laces in tatters. She tries on many pairs of shoes and unlike her brothers, would be quite happy to buy several pairs.

Whilst she amuses herself I examine the socks on display to see if any might be seamless and or, cost less than a pair of shoes. My fingers step over all the alternative types of shoe laces that we have entertained over the years, none of which proved successful, merely expensive party poopers. We settle on one pair of trainers for walking to and from school, and a pair of flip flops, as it is already in the balmy 70's in California.

At the check out a shoe horn lies idly on the counter with the shop's name printed on the handle ‘for customer use only.’ Safe! “I don't suppose you have any of these to sell?” I ask blithely, confident that the dream shall remain so.
“No, but you can have that one if you like?”
I do not like! Who is she to burst my bubble! “Well thank you so much, that's extremely kind of you. Are you sure you won't get into any trouble?”
She beams me, “no, no trouble at all. Nobody uses em anyways.” She plops it into the bag with the shoes as it drops like a lead balloon. I stagger out of the shop with the weight of the world on my shoulders, or rather in the bag, as I know it's time to pop the balloon and burst another myth.

The following day I proceed with caution. We have foiled breakfast, challenged dressing, today in blue rather than Mario colours, what a coup! Teeth are approximately cleansed.

We have a well rehearsed shoe schedule. It is far from perfect but on an averagely goodly day, I can have them all shod in 12 minutes. That's not to say that whilst I focus on one child someone else won't remove and or hide their shoes, such that we're closer to a 40 minute marathon.

I produce the shoe horn with a flourish, name it, explain it's purpose and attempt to use it on the first rapturous child. Echoes of 'shoe horn' swirl around my head from two captivated boys, a thing that claims to be a horn but is silent even when you blow it. I remove it from his mouth and wipe off the spittle. This is going to take longer than I anticipated. Did I think about it all before I started? For some reason they both want to put their feet on it at the same time, a bit like skate boarding and nowhere in the vicinity of their shoes. I grab one of my own shoes and demonstrate the use of a shoe horn, “see! See how my foot just slides into the shoe?” They're even more keen to have a go but I only have one shoe horn and four little feet. We practice taking turns as I didn't expect such enthusiastic co-operation. His foot follows the shoe horn in the air as he sits on his bottom on the hard wood floor. The shoe horn appears to be magnetic to feet but we need to put the toes into the shoe first.

“I am little!”
“I know but you're growing every day.”
“I am blue!”
“Oh dear. Really? What's the matter lovie?”
“I am a boy.”
“Don't you like being a boy?”
“Put em all togevver!”
“Put what altogether?”
He grabs the shoe horn, sticks it in him mouth again and makes a raspberry noise. He collapses on the floor in guffaws of laughter. After quite a long while he recovers, and sits upright to tell me “Little boy blue, come blow up yur horn!” but only briefly, as he falls backwards, still laughing.

Little Boy Blue poem

Little Boy Blue come blow your horn,
The sheep’s in the meadow the cow’s in the corn.
But where’s the boy who looks after the sheep?
He’s under a haystack fast asleep.
Will you wake him? No, not I – for if I do, he’s sure to cry

* I have a tremendous respect for this woman, as I had a great deal to learn.

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