Friday 30 June 2017

There's sick and then there is autism sick!

L's health has always been up and down. He always has a cough, no matter what time of year it is or what the weather is like. We usually put the cough down to his asthma - there is no point going to the doctor as our GP will just say "put him on a three day course of Redipred and keep using Ventolin and Seretide. Come back if he gets worse." There is honestly not much that can be done, we've just had to accept that L is, at times, not a well child.

On a Wednesday night two weeks ago L had a particularly rough night with his breathing and neither he, Daddy superhero or I got a lot of sleep. The air quality on that Wednesday where we live was not the best, there was a thick smoke that hung around for pretty much the entire day, so the rough night was put down to his asthma.

The following morning L didn't want to eat breakfast and was happy to just sit on the couch and watch TV. This rarely happens and when it does, we know that he is really sick. This time it wasn't just his asthma.

Cue a trip to our GP.

Now normally when we have to take L to any doctor or specialist surgery, we just cannot keep him still. That particular morning however he just wanted to sit on the floor and sort all the oversized building blocks. Mmmm this is a worry. Even one of the receptionist's commented on L's lack of energy.

When L was called into the GP's office, he went and curled up on a chair. Cue one very worried look from the good doctor. Normally L is climbing over and under the chairs, he starts to investigate all the medical equipment, he'll open and close cupboard doors and literally bounce off the walls. Curled up on a chair is unheard of for L.

And wouldn't you know  it, L had an infection in his right lung and both his ears were badly infected.

When the good doctor asked L if his ears hurt, L very adamantly said "No!"

As the doctor said "how L isn't in pain and doesn't have a high temperature astounds me, his ear drums are bulging from the infection."

Oh man ..........

And then I felt like a heel for sending L to school on the Wednesday. It just goes to show that he is a resilient little superhero. He pushed through feeling a little off and lasted the whole day at school!

This kid just does not feel pain.

It simply doesn't occur to L that he should tell us when he isn't feeling well or when his ears or throat hurts. My theory is that due to how often he was sick as a baby and toddler, L just thinks that feeling unwell is normal. He doesn't complain, ever.

When L had his tonsils removed, he was eating greasy chicken nuggets within an hour of coming out of surgery. O on the other hand, who had had her tonsils removed at the same time, was struggling to eat the jelly!

The first that we know that L is sick is when he has a raging temperature of 39 or 40oC. Or when he starts power vomiting everywhere. Or when he voluntarily lies on the couch during the day. Or when he refuses to eat, no matter what is on offer. This is what autism sick looks like in our place.

Like most children, autism sick is unpredictable and can arrive with only a split seconds notice. There is none of this "he's looking unwell and has been going down hill for the last few days." L just becomes unwell at the drop of a hat. L rarely stops moving but when he does we know that something is up.

L could teach us adults a thing or two about getting on with life no matter how we are feeling. Thankfully the antibiotics kicked in, he finished his three day course of Redipred and he started looking and sounding a lot better. Although in saying that, he did a develop another ear infection just this week gone.

And this is the part where I am going to sound like a very selfish mum! On one hand I am hoping that he won't get another ear infection as I do not want L to be in pain. But on the other hand I do want him to develop another infection so that we can be referred back to the Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist for a second set of grommets!

But in the meantime we'll continue to monitor L and play it by ear. No pun intended!!

Sunday 25 June 2017

Little Monkey, Calm Down!

**** Please note that I do not receive any commissions of any sort for the books that are mentioned in this post. They are simply books that I have found useful. ****

I've been asked numerous times "how do I get my 4 year old to calm down?" and "how do I teach my child some anger management skills?"
Well ..... I'm no child psychologist but what I do have is years of experience in assisting my own children and other children to learn how to manage their anger.

I currently work in an early childhood learning centre and work predominantly with the 3 to 5 year old age group. Just recently I have been trialling various positive behaviour strategies.

One of the strategies that I am employing is our Happy Pebbles.

After reading the book "A Handful of Quiet," I decided to take elements of idea that the book promotes and incorporate it into our Kindy Room program. However I figured that I may have had quite a bit of trouble trying to get 20 odd children to sit quietly contemplating their navels so I came up with a slightly different idea incorporating pretty stones.

After reading A Handful of Quiet, I went to my local hardware store and purchased a bag of lovely looking ornamental stones. These were to become our Happy Pebbles.

I also found a book, online of course, called "Little Monkey Calms Down," written by Michael S. Dahl. It is part of the hello genius series and the blurb for this book states that "this book promotes manners, speaking skills and animal recognition."

While reading Little Monkey Calm Down to L, he was able to recognise his own feelings of anger. During the story, he copied the actions that the little monkey was doing to calm down and I thought, aha I am onto something.

One of my personal goals for O and L is to introduce them to the concept of breathing exercises to assist them to calm down. O is doing incredibly well, even though she will not admit it, however L hasn't quite grasped the concept. I have a feeling that the current book that we are using at home is beyond his comprehension level at this present moment.

One of the pages in Little Monkey Calms Down, talks about Little Monkey taking a deep breath so I thought that perhaps this page could help L and my charges at work to understand breathing exercises.

This past week at work I have begun to introduce the book and the Happy Pebbles to my Kindy children. To begin with, I simply read the book to them as a group and asked them how they thought the Little Monkey was feeling. They all did very well at identifying the emotions of sad and angry. So I then asked them what type of things made them feel sad or angry and they came up with ideas such as their friends not sharing, falling over and hurting themselves and losing their teddy bears. Oh, the innocence!

We then continued with the book and copied the actions of little monkey throughout the story. The story is quite a short story but I found it incredibly effective in explaining what we can do if we're feeling sad, mad or angry.

At the completion of the book, I gave each of my charges a Happy Pebble to hold in their hands and I explained that the pebbles that they were holding would help to make them happy, just like Little Monkey, but first we had to do a few things with the pebbles.

I asked them to rub their pebbles on the middle of their chest over their heart so that pebble had lots of love in it, then we rubbed it on their heads to fill the pebble with some happy thoughts and then we gave the pebbles a kiss for good measure!

You should have seen their little faces, their smiles said it all.

I then explained that we had to put the pebbles in our pockets to keep them safe and that each time that they were feeling sad, they could take their pebbles out and rub it on their hearts and on their heads and then give it a kiss to get some more happy thoughts and love.

It sounds like a very-off-with-the-fairies concept but you know what, it actually worked. It took some of the children a few times to get the idea but most of the children got it first go. I could see them getting their pebbles out when they were becoming frustrated and going through the actions to calm down. And whenever myself or the other educators noticed a child becoming agitated we would gently remind them what they might like to do with their Happy Pebble.

It wasn't specifically teaching them breathing exercises but by going through the motion of rubbing the pebble on their chest, their head and then giving it a kiss, those actions were giving them time to breathe and to have a break from what was going on around them.

The following day as soon as I started on the floor at work, I had all these Kindy children asking for their pebbles! Wow what a change!

I had children very excitedly telling me "Jenni, my stone make me happy again!"
I had children becoming distressed when they had misplaced their stones, which resulted in a Happy Pebble hunt around our outside play area until we found the missing pebbles!
I had children reminding each other to rub their pebbles on their hearts and heads to get more happy thoughts, and "don't forget a kiss, it needs a kiss too!"
I had children asking to take their Happy Pebbles home, and then very excitedly showing me the Happy Pebble the next day and saying "see I no forget it!"

It is going to take time for my charges to be able to do breathing exercises without a pebble to focus on, but it was truly wonderful to see them beginning to understand how they can take charge of their emotions.

Now I need to go and purchase some more Happy Pebbles to restock my magic bag!!

Friday 23 June 2017

Dear Senator Hanson

Senator Hanson's comments yesterday pertaining to removing children with autism (and presumably other disabilities) from mainstream classrooms really struck a nerve with me.

I read, and re-read the comments several times, during my lunch break at work yesterday and I simply could not fathom why Senator Hanson had made such comments. I was hopeful that she had been misquoted. Unfortunately I highly doubt it.

Today there have been a number of politicians who have come out with fighting words towards Senator Hanson. She really did cause quite an uproar. My belief is that Senator Hanson will not change her way of thinking and she will no doubt publicly try to justify her comments.

I also feel that Senator Hanson needs to hear stories of children and adults from the Autism community. She needs to hear that no two individuals with autism are the same. No two individuals with a disability are the same.

Dear Senator Hanson,

I have two children and both have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

O is 8 and is beyond her years smart, really beyond. She is in year 3 but she is doing year 4 extension work in class. She is also in the Talented and Gifted Students Program at her school which involves 90 minutes of being outside of her regular classroom a week. O regularly scores top marks in her weekly spelling and mathematics tests. O has received 3 awards at school so far this year and she has been invited to attend the Deputy's luncheon that is held once a term at her school. She is quietly proud of her achievements.

At the age of 3, O taught herself the three times table and composed her first short story. At the age of 4, she composed her second short story. At the age of 5 she was reading Shakespeare for fun and composing poems about words that she found interesting.

O has an exceptional memory. She regularly writes imaginative stories. She has a vast understanding of the solar system and is probably more knowledgeable than me when it comes to this topic. O regularly asks me questions that I am unsure of the answer. She is a whiz at finding said answers on the Internet.

O is known at school, Cubs, the outside school hours care facility that she attends, for her caring and thoughtful manner. O is the child who will let her friends win at games or races, so that they don't come last. O is the child who teaches other children about acceptance of others who are different. O is the child who worries about her friends feelings before she worries about herself.

O is in a mainstream school.

I spoke to one of her teachers this morning as we have only recently received her ASD assessment reports. O has been masking her ASD traits so well that not us nor her teachers were able to pick up on the severity of her traits. In fact O's teacher commented this morning that looking at O in class you would never know of her autism.

It is only when her anxiety levels reach boiling point that you can begin to see the ASD traits - the stimming, the meltdowns, the non-stop internal struggles that she faces every single day......

O knows that it is bad thing to stand out from the crowd so she masks and suppresses her traits every single day so that she successfully blends in with the crowd.

But due to her diagnosis, you would have her in a special school or special classroom so that she doesn't disrupt others learning?

L is 5 and up until the age of 3 his vocabulary consisted of a grand total of 20 words. At the age of 4 he was still not fully toilet trained, he did not understand his own or others emotions, he struggled to make friends, he struggled to join in play with his peers. L's fine motor skills were lacking. L couldn't, but not for the lack of trying, cross his mid-line. L relied on using a combination of simple sentences, sounds and key word signing to communicate his needs and wants. L could barely draw a smiley face, let alone attempt to write his own name. L could not recognise his own name.

Now, at the age of 5, he is verbal and he is toilet trained. L is beginning to understand, recognise and respond appropriately to his own and others emotions. L's fine motor skills have come along in leaps and bounds. L can now recognise and write his own name. L is now beginning to recognise other letters of the alphabet and can recognise the beginning sounds of some words. L is also wanting to attempt sounding out words, in fact he sounded out the word star this morning.

And much of this is in thanks to his amazing therapists at the early intervention centre that he has been attending once a week for the past 18 months and also his fantastic teachers and teacher aides that he has had in Kindy and now in Pre-Primary. It is also due to the friends that he has made at the mainstream school that he attends.

His friends have assisted L to understand that you do not wear pyjamas to school among other things. This year is the first year that L has had multiple birthday party invitations of his own. He had a few last year, but O's invites outnumbered his. This year however, L's invites are out numbering O's. Prior to last year, L had never been invited to a birthday party on his own merit.

Both of my children have taught their peers and friends about the acceptance of others differences.

If only you knew how much work and heartbreak and joy that we have gone through to get L to this point. In the past 18 months L has made the most astounding progress. People who have not seen him in the last 18 months have commented that he is a completely different child.

But again, due to his diagnosis, you would have L in a special school because he learns at a different rate to others his age?

I am not saying that L and O do not struggle at school, but can you please show me a child, with or without a disability, who doesn't struggle or hasn't struggled at school?

I have seen more disruptive children than my own in classrooms, but you want both of my children to be segregated from other children simply because of their diagnosis?

The statement that you made is absurd.

Autism is a spectrum. If you look closely at all disabilities you would most likely find that they can all be considered as a spectrum. Lumping all individuals together is like pounding a square peg into a round hole. It just isn't going to work.

Sure there are some individuals who would benefit from being in a special school or a specialised classroom but please let that decision be made by those who know the children the best. Their parents, their therapists and the education department.

I have an idea, instead of "getting rid of" these students and reducing the diversity in schools, how about providing schools with adequate resources so that they are better equipped to provide an education to all students. How about taking away all the hoops that parents and schools are forced to jump through just to get assistance for children with different abilities. How about encouraging acceptance and inclusion of children with different abilities instead of suggesting that they need to be segregated.

I want both of my children to become functioning members of society but segregating them from their peers in a mainstream school would be detrimental to their emotional and intellectual abilities.


A Very Concerned Mum.

Sunday 18 June 2017

Stepping out of the comfort zone!

A few years ago after seeing O struggle with her dance lessons, Daddy Superhero and I decided that we would see if O wanted to give Joey Scouts a go.

O's anxiety and her desire not to stand out from the crowd meant that she was always hesitant at dance lessons. We persevered with the lessons because O had a made a few friends at the studio that she attended. The problem with dance lessons and O was that there was always an underlying pressure to be the best and O doesn't have a competitive bone in her body. At the present moment, there isn't an ounce of competitiveness in her!

Dance also required O to step way outside of her comfort zone and this feat often caused O to be crippled by her anxiety. O would often become incredibly despondent when she saw her dance friends progressing through the stages and she would be stuck at the beginner level.

We figured that the Scouting movement would be a great social activity for O as there would not be any pressure to keep up with her friends. If O wanted to earn badges she could and she could progress as fast or as slow as she liked.

O thrived in the Joey Scout group that she attended but the day that she turned 8 she told us "I'm not going back to Joey's, I'm old enough to go to cubs now!" This kid is a stickler for rules!!

The first term of this year was a bit of a write off for O and Cubs, her anxiety got the better of her and we only went a few times. We're nearing the end of term 2 and I can happily report that O has not only been going to the weekly Cub meetings but she has also been invested as a fully fledged Cub.

Both Daddy Superhero and I went along to her investment ceremony and immediately afterwards she came over to me and said "well I'm invested now so you can go!" Thanks child!! Really felt the love that night!!

A few weeks ago O was told about an upcoming sleep over that the Cubs were having at the hall and of course O wanted to go. Now O has only ever had sleep over with her grandparents and when we mentioned that it would only be the cubs and her leaders, you can imagine the level of anxiety that she started exhibiting. We had tears and tantrums and eventually we came to an agreement that if either myself of Daddy superhero were able to go, O would be able to attend.

After speaking with her leaders, I ended up volunteering as one of the adult helpers. What had I got myself in for!! Five adults and sixteen 8 to 10 year olds sleeping in tents in a Scout hall with no heating on a cold night!!

O initially wasn't particularly happy that I wasn't able to sleep in the tent with her but she overcame her anxiety and accepted that if she was going to stay for the sleep over, that was going to be the sleeping arrangements. Her mind was put at ease when she realised that she would be in the same tent as one of her friends.

O's anxiety raised its head a few times but I was incredibly proud of her as she recognised the early warning signs and took herself away from the noise and busyness and had some quiet time to compose herself before rejoining the group.

Prior to lights out for the night, O made several trips over to where I was "just so that I remember where you are." I also warned her leaders that they may have a torch light shone in their eyes during the middle of the night if O forgot where to find me!

I can happily report that O slept through the night in her tent and only came to me at just after 6 in the morning. She was one of the few cubs who didn't get up through the night to brave the cold to visit the outdoor toilet. She was also one of the few cubs who didn't yell at the passing freight trains to be quiet! She didn't ask to go home at 3.30 in the morning. She also didn't go and raid the kitchen for a packet of biscuits at 4 o'clock in the morning!

The sleep over made O step out of her comfort zone and she survived! She's already talking about the next one!

And me? Well I also survived the Cub sleep over, although we need to invest in a swag of some description. Soft fall gym mats are not as comfortable as they appear to be! I not only managed to get some sleep but I also wowed the cubs with a science experiment during the science demonstration. I also learnt a new trick on how to convince 16 children that they stayed up later than they actually did! We turned the clocks forward an hour!!

And on the badges front, O earned her very first achievement badge this weekend. O's swimming instructor signed off on the swimming badge. Needless to say O is very proud of herself and rightly so.

Sunday 11 June 2017

Please stop calling them toys!

I have something that I desperately need to get off of my chest and it is about fidget spinners.

Please stop calling them toys.

Please start calling them by their name - fidget spinners, fidget cubes or fidget tools.

There are so many different varieties of fidget tools on the market at present, fidget spinners, fidget cubes, fidget rings and so on, that they've become the latest "it"  thing for children and adults of all ages to possess. They've become a craze.

But by calling them toys, the real reason for needing to use them is being lost on the majority of society. And it doesn't help the cause that many department stores are stocking them in the toy department.


It is come to the point that many schools have banned fidget spinners as they are becoming a distraction to students in class. They're causing arguments in the classroom and playground. I can see the reasoning behind banning them but it is at the detriment of those that need to use them.

Both O and L have a sensory bag that they take to school with them every day. L uses the contents of his sensory bag as means to escape from the sensory overload that he regularly finds himself in.

O uses her small sensory kit to assist her to cope with her anxiety while in the classroom. There is a fidget cube in her sensory kit, along with a marble maze and a few squishy objects. O also has a sensory band around the legs of her chair that she is able to swing her legs on.

The idea behind O's sensory kit is that if O's hands are busy, her mind can stay still to concentrate on the task at hand - her brain is able to filter out the extra sensory information and she is able to concentrate on listening to her teachers. O is less likely to internalise her anxiety if she is able to fidget.

Now I'm not an Occupational Therapist (OT) by any stretch of the imagination, but when I have spoken to L's OT, the following is some of the reasoning behind needing to fidget that I have been told.

It all has to do with sensory integration but more on that subject at a later date. The concept is that some of us seek out things to touch and feel, to provide the "just right" amount of sensory input that we need to calm our nervous system. There are many ways in which children on the Autism spectrum can gain sensory input - jumping, bouncing, rocking, spinning, running and so on - but these activities can be very distracting to others in class.

Fidget spinners and fidget cubes are a less distracting way of gaining this input or to assist as a calming mechanism. The extra sensory information that is bombarding their brain and causing them to become distracted is instead used to focus on manipulating the sensory tool in their hands.

The hands can be very effective regulators of the body's nervous system due to the high amount of neurological and sensory input that they receive throughout the course of a day.

When O is able to fidget, her anxiety, which usually manifests due to an overload of sensory input from the environment around her, is regulated by using her fidget tools. In effect, fidgeting stops her anxiety in it's tracks, or least slows it down to a manageable level.

At the beginning of the current school year, O was very hesitant to use her sensory tools in class as she didn't want to get into trouble or draw attention to herself. The first few weeks were dreadful for O, she was able to hold it together all day at school but when she arrived home, she would explode and let all her pent up stress out.

Once we went in and spoke with O's teachers as to the reason why she needed to use her sensory kit and assured O that she wouldn't get herself into trouble, we noticed a huge difference in her behaviour at home. Sure, she still has the occasional meltdown at home but now we've able to ascertain the reason behind those meltdowns. At the beginning of the school year, we were completely in the dark as to what was causing the meltdowns.

In saying that, when speaking with her teachers, we explained to them that the minute O started looking at the fidget tools while using them, was the minute that she no longer needed to use them. A fidget spinner or fidget tool works best when it can be used in one hand and DOESN'T need to be looked at. If O is looking at the fidget tools, she is distracted by them and is using them as a means to get out of doing whatever she should be concentrating on.

We have fidget spinners at home, O uses one every afternoon while we are completing her spelling homework. I can not speak for everyone, but what I can tell you is that when O is using her fidget spinner she never makes a mistake when spelling her words out loud. Take the fidget spinner away or stop her from fidgeting or spinning on the spot and hooley dooley ....... she's distracted, she can't concentrate and homework ends in a meltdown.

I have a fidget cube that I take to work with me and have occasionally given it to my Kindy children as a means of distracting them when they are distressed. It works a treat! They can focus their emotions on the cube and it assists them to level out their emotional state. I've also recently put together a sensory kit to use at work - it has a squishy ball in it, various plastic animals that I know particular children absolutely love, a toy train, some calm down bottles, some stretchy bands that one of my co-workers made and numerous other sensory tools. Yes some of the items in the kit are in fact toys, but when used to calm or distract a child, they become tools.

What we also need to remember is that fidget spinners and tools have always been present in classrooms around the world. Did you ever spin your pencils or pens between your fingers while at school? Ever doodled on a notepad when you should have been concentrating? Did you ever bend a paper clip out or fiddle with a piece of blu tak? Mmmmmm!

Everyone fidgets at some stage and if you are one that has never needed to fidget, then I would imagine that you would definitely be in the minority!

So the next time that you hear yourself about to say "stop fidgeting," to your child or a student in your class, have a look and think about the reason why they are fidgeting. Are they doing it to simply get out of completing a task or are they needing to fidget to regulate their own emotions and sensory input?

And please, please do not call them toys!

Saturday 10 June 2017

Where to next?

Sooooo ...... last week we received the phone call from O's psychologist that we have been eagerly awaiting since mid-February - the psychologist's report from O's Autism assessment was finally ready to be collected.

We'd also been able to collect the report from O's speech assessment so we're now headed back to the paediatrician this coming Tuesday for the final diagnosis. Both reports strongly indicate that a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder is on the cards for O.

We had an inkling as to what the two reports would say but still it is never easy to read about your child's deficits. It is incredibly disheartening to read all the areas in which O is struggling.

There were phrases such as "level of severity - 3" mentioned numerous times throughout the reports, level 4 is the most severe on the scale that was being referred to. Other phrases that leapt off the page were -
  • "Indicating the presence of an autistic spectrum disorder within the severe range."
  • "The adaptive functioning level is in the moderately low range."
  • "Rated as clinically significant."
  • "Shows impairment in social emotional reciprocity and deficits in non-verbal communication."
  • "Current severity on the DSM-5 is level 2, requiring substantial support.
  • "O meets part A, meets part B, meets part C...."

And then there phrases such as "visual spatial is high average" and "working memory and processing speed is high average."

All of these phrases confirmed what we had already suspected, that O is in fact on the spectrum.

Both reports also confirmed what an amazing job O has been doing at masking her Autism traits and the huge effort that she has been putting in to successfully mimic the actions of her peers. The reports confirmed that only trained medical professionals who know what to look for were able to see through O's mask and see her actions and behaviour for what they are, Autism traits.

While it was so very disheartening to read through the reports, there was also a huge sense of relief as now we can move forward.

We already know that O is capable of achieving great things and these reports are just the next step in obtaining the assistance that O needs to navigate this world of ours.

We don't view these reports in a negative way, they are written that way for a reason. We view the reports as the next step in O's autism journey.

The reports are the next step in O writing her own story.

Thursday 8 June 2017

They are just words......

There are certain phrases that are said on a semi regular basis in schools, playgrounds, workplaces and family homes that seriously worry me.

"It is just a test."

"They're just words."

"Ignore it and they'll stop and go away."

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me."

Whoever coined that last phrase has possibly never experienced the effects of verbal bullying.

Words hurt. Really hurt.

Words last.

Words effect long term memories. 

Words eat away at your self esteem and your confidence long after the bully has gone.

And when people respond with "but I didn't intend to insult you," well that just doesn't cut it in my opinion. Just because you didn't intend the words to be hurtful, doesn't mean that the other person shouldn't have taken offence to them.

It is all about perspective and how others interpret your words. People need to become more accountable for their actions, or in this case, their words.

I do want my little superheroes to become resilient but I do not want them to go through life believing that it is okay for others to belittle them with words.

"It is just a test" really isn't a useful or calming phrase to say to a child who suffers from severe anxiety. Yes it is just a test, but try explaining that to a child who is highly anxious and worries about what everyone will think if she doesn't perform to the standard that SHE thinks people are expecting of her.

We put so much pressure on our children when we should in fact be supporting them. We keep reminding O and L that as long as they try their hardest, that is all that matters.

The next time that you hear yourself saying "they're just words," take a moment and consider how your little superhero is feeling. How can we support our little superheroes instead of telling them to shrug it off.

Sunday 4 June 2017

Random things that my little superheroes have said!

Back in February I published a post about some of the ridiculous obscure things that I have said out loud to my little superheroes.

Well now it is the little superheroes turn as they too say some completely random things. The difference being that neither O nor L see anything ridiculous about what are they saying.

That's the literal side of their autism showing. If you ask a silly question in superhero headquarters, you will get a very honest straight face dead pan answer. I started writing down some of O and L's doozies because they really are, in my opinion, hilarious!

O is obsessed with being 17 and she is constantly asking questions about things that she wants me to teach her when she is 17, this is one such question that took a turn for the unexpected.
O: Mum when I'm 17 can you teach me how to drive?
Me: Darling I've already said that when you are 17 I will teach you how to drive.
O: No Mum, when I'm 17, before you die, will you teach me how to drive?
I was utterly speechless. Huh, what do you know that I don't???

O's class at school were learning about Fiji for Harmony Day and O would come home each day telling us different facts and figures about Fiji, this is one!
O: Mum, in Fiji, they only live to 67, so if we lived there you wouldn't have much time left!
Thanks child!

We took the little superheroes to a distillery for lunch and as we were walking to the outdoor play area L came out with "Oooh, that's just fancy!"

I was sitting on our office chair trying, and I emphasise trying, to check emails. L came to me and asked very politely if he could have the chair.
Me: But I am using it at the moment, you can have it after I have finished, okay?
L: You not spinning!
Me: I don't want to spin, I just want to sit in it.
L: That using it wrong!
What could I say but give him the chair!

There was an eerily quietness that had descended upon superhero headquarters so I went to try and find out what the little superheroes were up to.
Me: What are you doing?
O and L: Nothing!
Me: Is that the same kind of nothing that broke the sliding door?
O: No that was a different kind of nothing! This is just nothing.
Me thinks that they were up to something.

The little superheroes were having a shouting match in the toy room over what game to play. After they had finished I was talking to O about the shouting.
Me: Being the loudest does not make you right O!
O: Nope, but it makes me not hear him being wrong!

We were at our local shopping centre and a bald man walked past. L burst out laughing and said, very very loudly much to the amusement of those around us "Oooo he got naked head!"

L and O were tearing around the house and were starting to knock furniture over.
Me: You two are skating on thin ice at the moment.
O: We're not on skates, we're running on the floor.
Me: It's an expression.
L: No it the floor!

At one of the little superheroes swimming lessons L decided that he needed to wear swimming fins. Somehow, and I am still not sure how, he accidentally hit himself in the head with a fin while it was on his foot. L came out with "Well, that just woke me up!" Lorraine his instructor needed to compose herself before continuing the lesson!

L crawled onto Daddy Superhero's lap one morning for a cuddle and said "You don't smell funny now!
Lovely and good morning to you!

O and L were having a conversation about Daddy superhero getting old.
L: "When Daddy grows old, he get to be baby again."
O piped up with "No when Daddy gets really old, he'll lose stuff and then die."
L - "Oh!"
And play continued like nothing had ever happened, meanwhile I'm quietly laughing in the kitchen.

I went down to L's bedroom and he'd made one huge mess, there was no floor space showing so I asked him who made the mess and he replied very matter of fact "A hologram."
Me: Since when do you know what a hologram is?
L: Since I sawed one make the mess!

I was talking with L about listening to Daddy superhero when he had asked L to help tidy his room.
Me: If Daddy asks you to do something then you need to do it, okay?
L: Even fart or burp or eat all the donuts?
Yep, had that one coming.

I've said it once before and I will say it again, my little superheroes are bona fide smart asses some times!!