Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Riding Her Unicorn

Who's Teaching Who?!
(The fairy analogy referenced back to 2009 when I first began blogging about Ryan's difficulties at school.  I am so glad I documented all of that and plan to organise and use it at some point in articles on recognising Asperger's Syndrome in girls.  Man am I glad I got her outta there.  I don't think any traditional school system can teach my daughter as well as I can, but Germany was the worst possible scenario for a child on the spectrum, or for anyone who doesn't fit the status quo really.  At least give us the option to educate our children ourselves, Leute, give these kids a chance.)


After a year of home schooling, Ryan and I are beginning to trust eachother more. Lucky, Ryan's new horse (on loan from a neighbour!) is helping each of us see that the other knows more than we gave them credit for. (I, at least, am learning this from Ryan; I sincerely hope she is learning this about me as well!)

Today, lungeing an uncooperative horse in our back meadow, I realised that everything up to this point in my life has brought me to this moment.

I have worked with horses, I have trained horses and – while I am not as good as Ryan – I have ridden horses. I do know some things. More, in fact, than I give myself credit for. (How can I ask my daughter to have faith in my abilities if I don't remember to have faith in them myself?!)

Ryan, for her part, has an innate understanding of horses and horsemanship. She was right about that magic lunge trick. She is getting results with patience. And I trust that she will know what she is doing with the side reins.

She has the empathy and ability. I have the experience.


It was like working with Pancho all over again!  Or Ryan, for that matter.

Lucky didn't want to work. Lucky hasn't had to work. Lucky is very smart and has figured out many ways to get out of work.

I have had five children.  She doesn't stand a chance!

I explained to Ryan that Lucky was behaving like a teenager who doesn't want to do her maths work, who doesn't like her maths work, who sees no reason to have to do her maths work and why is her stupid mother forcing her to do something she doesn't want to do?

Okay, maybe I got a little carried away with the analogy there!


There was no reason to be angry with Lucky. It isn't her fault she has gotten away with this behaviour up until now. But we weren't punishing her by expecting her to do what we asked.

Lucky, like the teenage girl she is, did the punishing for us.

She sulked and pouted. She forgot her eraser. Then she had to sharpen her pencil. Again. But when she went for that cup of hot cocoa, we said no. No, Lucky, you are going to have to do your fractions.

Or trot once around the circle without being a total idiot. Whichever.


I have learned, from working with Ryan, that anger never works. Patience does. Unrelenting persistence and never giving up. Baby steps at a time.

Ryan learned today, from Lucky, that sometimes you DO have to use that Pony Club Kick.

And Lucky learned that Ryan has that Pony Club Kick in her.

It's not cruel to be kind, Ryan. It IS cruel to be too kind. Or too lazy. Or too ignorant.

We don't punish our children – or our horses – in anger. Or ignorance. Or sloth. (We punish them through our anger, ignorance and sloth.)

But we do discipline them with love.


Lucky will enjoy the camaraderie of a riding partnership more than standing in a field on her own. Retraining her to listen to our aids improves her quality and enjoyment of life. Even if she isn't thanking us for it now. (She did, actually. Horses don't carry a grudge like teenagers do!)

Learning life skills - like reading, writing, maths and organisation – will benefit Ryan and make her a happier adult.

It's what I was put on this earth to do.


I'm not fantastic at any one thing; I know a little smidge of everthing. But I've known enough to be interested and to educate myself when I've had to. I have the skills to support her. I am developing the confidence to trust her. I've raised an (high-functioning) autistic child without outside help and I've done okay.

Ryan has all these fantastical notions and wild ideas about gaining Lucky's friendship – her trust and loyalty. She has been reading about Parelli techniques and is planning to run around the meadow with her like a mare and foal would in the wild. She feels this will help their bond. I feel this will help the neighbour's laugh their asses off. But I'm not going to stop her. For one thing, she's taught me not to worry about what others think. She's taught me that the traditional way doesn't work for everyone. She's taught me that it doesn't have to be fast, that results can take a while, and that results-oriented thinking makes you miss the journey.

She's taught me about magic, and that I don't always know or understand, that I don't always have to know or understand for it to work.

What's more, she's often right! (But don't tell her I said that!)

Somewhere between what I know and what I trust in Ryan, I am able to be the support she needs. I am meant to be the mortal link between my fairy and this world that doesn't understand her any more than she understands it.

I am the reality that makes her dreams happen.  And I was chosen to parent this particular child (and this particular child chose me) for a very particular reason.


Today, lungeing an uncooperative horse in our back meadow, I realised that everything up to this point in my life has brought me to this moment.

I watched my child the fairies sent me ride her unicorn today.

I am exactly where I am meant to be.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Why the profound silence after Damon suggested he might have to get a girlfriend to take care of some of the things that aren't getting done lately? (Eh hem.)

 Honestly, I was trying to figure out when we could schedule her in!


And I know it's probably a lot to ask if she'll take the kids some times. (Maybe run a couple of carpools and do their homework with them? Piano skills might come in handy.)


But would she mind helping with the dishes and the sweeping up?

It would be awfully great if she could cook. (Dare I ask for healthy, home-made, gluten-free meals on a budget? Does she know how to garden? Or should I be grateful for pasta and bbq?)

'Cause that would give me LOADS...oh LOADS...what about the laundry? Sewing? Sewing skills would be really great.

HEAPS of time to spend with Ryan and her new horse.

Maybe even get some writing done.

Honey, on second thought, I'll be your girlfriend.


What we need to be on the look-out for is a better wife!


Saturday, October 26, 2013

North Lakes Park Run Suggestions

Now that North Lakes Park Run has celebrated it's first birthday, I believe I have several suggestions that might improve the running experience for all of us.

  1. Cake and lollies at the finish line every week.
  2. Points taken off for all those runners racing the course in under 20 minutes. What's the rush, guys? There is plenty of cake for everyone. No need to lap me in order to get to the biscuits faster!
  3. We need to kick out those guys running with the prams. Never mind that they are at the front of the pack and in nobody's way at all. I mean, honestly, as if we aren't dodging enough obstacles on our paths to self-esteem.
  4. I'm actually okay with one kid in the pram, but that man lapping me with two kids in the pram? Really. He has to go.
  5. At the very least I think we need to check those prams for motors.  
  6. Other people we need to come down on are really muscular looking guys who look like they spend time lifting weights at the gym. I'm okay with the lean and mean one's lapping me; that's what you expect from runners. But looking like a body builder AND running fast just isn't fair. Let's focus on one fitness area at a time here, shall we? Weights or cardio.
  7. Although those guys ARE nice to run behind. Maybe we can just ask them to slow down a bit once they lap me?
  8. I'd also appreciate a warning before they pass me. Just in case I feel an extra burst of energy, I'd like to have that option to at least attempt to beat them to the finish line! (I can't always hear them coming over the sounds of my own lungs threatening to give up the ghost. Maybe they could wear a bell or something.)
  9. And no, I don't think we need to quibble over whether it's their third lap and my second. I think it's very important to let me retain my fantasy, if not my dignity.
  10. (Speaking of behinds; do we have counselling available for those people running behind MINE?)
  11. I also think anyone running the course in under 20 minutes should be made to run a fourth lap.
  12. Lap four requires the runner to hand out bottled water to anyone he or she passes on the way. (In horse racing, they call this handicapping!)
  13. Anyone cheeky enough to not find this exhausting can do a fifth lap and a sixth as well. Dare I suggest using the prams?! To pick up the rest of us, I mean. It's obvious some of these people are enjoying the running. How do you punish someone like that?! They're already RUNNING LAPS. (And those pram guys HAVE their kids with them!)
  14. We also need to talk to the photographer. C'mon, we ALL like a GOOD picture. And who doesn't want to prove that they've been there that week? I know. I know. I still have a bit of weight to lose and the camera DOES add 10 lbs / 5 kgs. So how many cameras does he have on me? And that photo of me eating cake and talking to a friend. Yes, I WAS asking if I could have another slice. Did he have to document it?!
  15. Running with that balloon really DID slow me down. Who do I petition to have five minutes taken off my time that day?

What? What's that you say? Coffee hour after the run is open to everyone? There IS cake and coffee every week?

Oh. Never mind the rest of it then. I'll see you next week.