A Very Aspie Christmas

Christmas in this Aspie household is something I both love and dread. At one end of the scales the youngest boy is overjoyed and desperate for the decorations to go up and Christmas to come. While the eldest boy doesn’t want anything to do with it until Christmas Eve – he can’t handle the anticipation, and with his birthday only a few days later it’s just way too stressful.

Me, I really enjoy decorating the house for Christmas and even having people over, although I’m always relieved when they leave. Not so big on the travelling to go to other people’s places but that’s because three Aspie boys in the back seat together is always a recipe for disaster. Sometimes we haven’t even got out of the driveway before it starts, so a two and a half hour drive is something I don’t like to do with the whole family. One day, when we have some more money (I can dream can’t I?) we’d like to buy something like a Kia Carnival – we hired one for a weekend away once and didn’t want to give it back!

Last year we decided to have Christmas Day as just our family, so caught up with the other families before Christmas. Spreading it out worked really well for our family, so we decided to do it again. It’s more work and goes for longer (14th Dec – 4th Jan including 13th birthday), but it made the Christmas period far less stressful.

My parents and an Aunt did the 3½ hour trek to our place. Sibs don’t come coz my sister is a retail manager and it’s crazy just before Christmas. Whhile my little bro, doesn’t really have a lot of the Christmas spirit…but that’s okay, it makes for a peaceful Christmas. No arguements I don’t do the traditional roast and plum pudding it’s too hot and not my thing. Still working out what my thing is, but it ain’t that! We had crisps & my homemade dips, cheese & crackers, cold meats, salads, mum’s eggnogg with organic free range eggs from our chooks, a fruit platter and my Grandma’s Fluffy Stuff for dessert. I think it’s proper name is flummery, but as kids we always called it ‘fluffy stuff’ and fluffy stuff forever it will be..

Two days before Christmas we did the 2½ hour drive to my SIL’s place – it was going to be in a park about an hour and a half away, but Aspie kids couldn’t handle the idea of Christmas anywhere but in a house and with the sensory issues we quickly came to realise that it would be a complete disaster. Flies, heat, bright, wind, uncomfortable seats…boys were melting down just at the thought of it. So we changed it, which turned out to be a good thing weather wise as it was cold and rainy! It was an interesting drive, boys tried really hard to hold it together but by halfway it was all falling apart. On the way home Tim sat in the back while the eldest sat in the front and that worked better, especially with the youngest falling asleep.

In hindsight we realised that the 23rd was too close to Christmas, especially as the next day was Christmas Eve and we had things planned for that. Next Chrissy we’ll arrange better dates.

On Christmas Eve the boys opened their presents to each other. Buying them was drama in itself – I took each boy out seperately and with my help they selected prezzies for other members of the family. The younger two did all right at this with only a few small meltdowns, but the eldest melted down at the very thought of it. It was a combination of things – lots of people, noise and the stress of having to choose something for someone and they may not like it! So in the end I shopped on his behalf.

After the unwrapping of gifts we went into town and had pizza in the park from our favourite pizza shop and then drove around town to check out the Christmas lights. It was disappointing, not many people bothered. Oh well, we’ll just have to get our act together and set up our own amazing decorations next Christmas 🙂

Christmas Day dawned and the boys slept in til 8am – nice. We opened pressies together and then everyone went off to their own space and did their own thing. We nibbled throughout the day and did the same thing on Boxing Day and the next. Obviously we all needed time to recover. And then the birthday preparations began!

 

Run Timeshare

With temperatures pushing 40 degrees celsius I have come to the realisation that Minnie and the chicks cannot stay in the chook shed during the day. It gets way too hot in there.

My solution has been to line the bunny run with cardboard so little chickies can’t fit through the gaps (at the moment they are so small they can just pop through the chicken wire like it’s not even there) and put them in there once the temperature hits 30 degrees, coz that’s when I bring the bunnies in.

So Cloud and BlackOut have the run for a few hours in the morning (without the cardboard because they eat it) and Minnie and the chickies have it in the afternoon. It’s a fair bit of fiddling on my part, so I’ll have to come up with a better solution…I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

Chooks – The Agony and The Ecstacy

Okay…this chook journey has not quite been what I was expecting it to be…On Friday 13th December, Bella, one of the Ancona girls started getting sick and continued to go down hill. She ended up with severe diarrhoea and a slight rattle in her chest. By Monday she was really bad, I’d changed her diet and done everything I could except worm her. That day I also found that Minnie had hatched two of her ten eggs. By Tuesday we had four little chickadees. I’d written on the bottom of the eggs and according to my notes we had one Blue Barnevelder and three Gold Laced Wyandottes. So Tim and I finally got round to building our two small pens on the inside of the chook pen for our broodies and their chicks. It was pretty hot, but we got it done.

Bella came in, sat in the nest box and stayed for a while before leaving. She really wasn’t looking good and smelt worse. I was recommended some drops to give her, so I did. But on Tuesday morning she was dead. By the time I’d removed Bella’s body and stuck it in the freezer (Capital YUK, but it had to be done – weather was hot, dirt was cement like and we decided it was better to freeze her than have her decomposing on the back step waiting for burial. Needless to say I put her in the freezer outside, the one I don’t use all that much) and fed them, Myrtle, one of the big black Croad Langshans started neck stretching, honking like a goose, shaking her head and struggling to breathe. At first I thought she might have something stuck in her throat, but it was not to be.

That day I also bought ten more fertilised eggs to put under Scales who’d finally gone broody. I put them under her and checked on Myrtle who was getting steadily worse. I was concerned that the girls had something contagious and it was going to go through the entire flock, so I took her to the vet.

I was given three options: 1. have her chest radiographed 2. give her anti inflammatry drugs and antibiotics or 3. euthanise her and let the vet do an autopsy

I wasn’t going to spend $$$ to have a radiograph done – I like Myrtle, she’s a good layer, but she’s not a well loved family pet, she’s a ‘production’ animal. I didn’t much like option 3 either, so went for option 2. In hindsight, I should have gone for option 3 because she is a production animal and it was better to have one put down and autopsied for the benefit of the flock. Another reason I should have gone with option 3 was she died 15mins after the two injections!

The autopsy didn’t show up anything to be worried about and neither did the one test I had done. There was another test we could have done, but with the dollars mounting up and at $200+ a test we chose to only have one of them done. The only thing the vet could conclude that it was a viral condition and we just had to wait and see. With cost of the vet bills I could have easily replaced the girls I’d lost and got a few more!

In the course of all this I made an interesting observation – both Myrtle and Bella had been among the handful of chooks to get sick in the first couple of weeks after getting them. Ara the Araucana had died, but the others, Myrtle, Bella, Minnie and Welzy had all recovered. But now, in mid December, Myrtle and Bella were also dead. Is it a coincidence or is it somehow connected. Whatever, it was one of those things that make you go mmmm. The rest of them are now on antibiotics and the vet says we can’t eat the eggs for 28 days!!!

So we in the space of 24 hours we had the ecstasy of new life and the agony of death, and can’t eat our organic, free range eggs – the reason we have chooks in the first place! Talk about a rollercoaster ride.  I miss Bella and Myrtle and their eggs, but the chickies are so cute, little puffs of fluff on legs and they make me smile, a lot.