IN THE WAKE OF THE STORM

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Last week we were hit with a severe storm that saw major damage to people’s property through trees toppling over, water damage from driving rain and king tides and high winds literally tossing boats up onto the shore. Thousands of homes and businesses lost power as trees were uprooted and infrastructure was devastated.

We were in the lucky few that didn’t lose power, however the kid’s school was closed for two days. My kids were in seventh heaven! I guess it is akin to those in the northern hemisphere getting a ‘snow day’, although even more rare, because in my living history I don’t ever recall schools closing because of a storm.

Our home became a revolving door for people (those who weren’t trapped in their homes because of fallen trees) to shower, recharge electronics, refrigerate food and do washing. We averaged 16 for dinner each night and had multiple people bunking down to sleep. Whilst it was an anxious time with everyone on high alert as to what damage might next occur, my kids were largely oblivious to the carnage mother nature had caused and instead saw it as a mini-holiday with a house-full of guests.

Other people told me how it had brought them together as a family as they had to interact without electronics and play old-fashioned board games by candlelight due to the lack of power.

The local SES (State Emergency Service) workers and those working for the local power company worked tirelessly to clear fallen trees and reconnect power and services.

It was nice to see that when times were tough, our community pulled together to assist one another.

From my kid’s perspective however, they would have preferred if the school’s power could have been left disconnected for an extra few days!

(Photo courtesy of George Stojkovic, freedigitalphotos.net)

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TWENTY FOR TILLY

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My heart breaks as I share this story with you. Earlier this year, my friend Carmen and her husband Kyle had a beautiful daughter Tilly – a little sister for their gorgeous son Jock. At Tilly’s standard eight week check up they were shocked to find out Tilly has Infant Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and in order to have a chance to survive she must undertake two years of chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants.

This family’s life has been turned upside down. Life as they knew it changed, as Carmen and Kyle took on a roster of one looking after their son, whilst the other stayed in the hospital with Tilly. Every time they leave the hospital they don’t know whether it will be the last time they will see their baby girl alive. With a depleted immune system there have been a few close calls but little Tilly is a brave and courageous fighter.

Most parents of small babies are focused on them reaching their milestones of sitting, rolling and crawling. Tilly has a different set of milestones. The next milestone for Tilly is a bone marrow transplant.

Imagine the stress of being utterly helpless to do anything to heal your daughter, other than sit by and watch as she undergoes multiple surgeries and is constantly pumped full of chemicals to kill off this insidious disease. Add to that the stress of day-to-day expenses and mounting medical bills, when neither you nor your husband can work for fear of possibly missing precious moments with your critically ill child. The Swains are proud people and have not asked anyone for help, but you don’t have to be in their shoes to know that although we can’t help eradicate Tilly’s cancer, we can help ease the stress of monetary concerns by assisting this family in need.

A fundraising page has been started to help the Swains where we ask you to donate $20 for Tilly. This small amount may not make much of an impact on your weekly budget, but will mean the world to a family dealing with unbearable stress. Please find it in your heart to help and to share this story.

I will keep you updated with Tilly’s progress and hope to report in the future that she has grown into a happy and healthy little girl, with no memory of her difficult start to life.

IS KATE A BIT OF A PRINCESS?

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As the news flashed across the world the Princess Kate and Prince William are expecting their next child I was of course thrilled with the news. The palace was forced to release the news early due to Kate being sick with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (severe morning sickness).

I also suffered from morning sickness, throwing up every day for 20 weeks with each of my four pregnancies – that is almost two years of my life vomiting every day! I wasn’t just a bit queasy, I was so ill that I ended up with broken blood vessels in my eyelids from the force of the heaving! The funny thing with morning sickness is that it becomes such a regular thing that you just accept the routine of having to hug the toilet bowl several times a day.

When pregnant with my fourth child, I had to deal with, not only being sick every day, but I had two small children at two different schools, which meant every morning was a juggling act getting them ready and at each school on time, paired with afternoons running them around to a multitude of activities. I also had a toddler to look after while I ran my own business. I was in the process of suing our company’s landlord, which was a David and Goliath struggle against a large multi-national company. We also sold our home and moved into a rental property while we were in the midst of building a new home (which took 12 months longer than planned) and I did all this without the help of a shopper, cook, nanny or a plethora of doctors to help me! As they say, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!’

While I feel sorry for Kate in this period of sickness, she is lucky to be surrounded by all the help she could possibly require to allow her to just focus on looking after her health.

I’m sure Kate is sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, but the struggle of dealing with morning sickness becomes just a shadow in your memory once your new baby arrives. After all, her previous illness didn’t stop her from wanting to get pregnant again. So what are you betting on, a new prince or a little princess for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge?

SPEECH THERAPY

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As a parent, it is so easy to stick your head in the sand when it comes to getting speech therapy for your child. I was guilty of this when my daughter was young and she had a lisp and a raspy voice. I didn’t notice this at the time – I was busy focusing on what she was saying, not on how she was saying things. It wasn’t until a teacher at school suggested she may benefit from speech therapy that I took her for an assessment.

I guess I had put the lisping down to the fact that she lost her baby teeth very early and I assumed the problem would correct itself when her teeth came in, but the fact was it wasn’t her teeth that were the issue, it was the placement of her tongue.

I was discussing this topic with a speech therapist recently who told me that speech issues left beyond the age of 7-8 years of age are often there into adulthood. Furthermore if children aren’t corrected on the proper pronunciation of words such as ‘free’ for ‘three’ it will affect their literacy and writing.

My daughter’s lisp was corrected and now when I look back at home videos of her when she was young I’m shocked that I didn’t do something sooner.

She still has a bit of a husky voice as she likes to talk ….a lot! I can’t see that anything short of a personality change will alter that, but at least she has techniques to help her if her voice becomes particularly raspy.

An engrained speech issue can cause bullying and reduced self-confidence if left untreated. Most speech issues can be corrected if addressed early enough and through practicing exercises to change bad habits.

Take a moment to listen to your child’s speech, not just their words. If you have any doubt whether they need assistance to help pronounce words correctly it may be time to book an appointment with a speech therapist.

 

 

(Picture courtesy of Akarakingdoms, freedigitalphotos.net)