Friday, October 31, 2008



This pic was snapped by my sneaky mum. She always teases me for being the messiest sleeper she has known - arms and legs hanging out all over the place. On this morning Kaitlin and I were sleeping exactly the same, side by side. Like mother like daughter!


Kaitlin is having a wee love affair with Elmo at the moment. Well a big one actually heehee. She's looking pretty calm in these photos but he usually gets a delighted response and all kinds of crazy talking and expressions when she chills out and watches him on DVD. Here she is just enjoying her Elmo.


Kaitlin and I went to her first swimming lesson with Conductive Ed this week. Wow! A big pool as warm as a bath. She took to it really well, smiling when she got splashed by the other kids. No one went easy on her because she is little which is good. Kaitlin did Ring-a-rosie, Humpty Dumpty and other activities with the bigger kids with myself and Ange helping her with the actions. She held on to a floatie and lay supported on her stomach and practised kicking around the pool. She lifted her head up herself for a while to keep it out of the water! So cool to see and really good excercise. She did lots of kicking practise in different positions, good to relax those legs muscles and get a good range of motion going. It was a day of firsts with her having her first ever shower as well. She thought it was great. The swimming nappies that Granny sent for her birthday were perfect, thanks Granny!X


We had the most gorgeous, warm sunny weather on Labour Day.  The Cargills brought their waffle machine around and we all had breakfast outside.  Kaitlin thought it was pretty cool, she sat in in her chair and had a yoghurt, then was entertained by Janelle for a while, played peeka-boo with a big red scarf and then practised standing with Frith,  Just an awesome day.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Ain't that the truth!!! I know other mothers with special needs kids will relate. For everyone else - Holy Moley! Usually children begin to explore the world themselves and your interactions become two way. They show an interest in the world around them and as they begin to explore, you feed off their curiosity, and you see the world through fresh eyes and from their interest you can begin to feel a wonder and delight about the simple things in life yourself - as messy and mundane as it may sometimes be to an adult. When you have a child with severe cerebral palsy, things are a bit different. With Kaitlin's "type" it can be very different. She has low tone, which means it takes extreme effort for her to move at all, let alone direct those movements, and then add the mental stuff as well. She is using all of her effort just to try and lift her head up, keep her eyes straight, and do what she needs to with her hands - let alone have cognitive thoughts happening there as well. Very slowly, my beautiful girl is getting there. What is really helping is the input from our extended family. Kaitlin's disability means that because she is concentrating so hard just to keep her body and eyes straight, she has little "apparant" ability to concentrate on what is going on around her. Because of this it is easy to assume she does not understand what is going on around her and "get it". She so does!!!! We have an amazing extended family - to name you all would take ages but you know who you are. To all of you - even if it has been difficult, and you certainly haven't made it obvious to me, Kaitlin is Just Kaitlin. All of you just treat her as one of the gang. You read, sing, play, chat, walk, and teach her bad habits. I don't know, I just see her as my baby and don't see much that different but other people seem to - Bugga! -

It is really exhausting as a mum to be doing ALL of the stimulation when your child seems bored and disinterested, It's not that kaitlin isn't enjoying stuff but because it takes huge effort for her to even show emotion, it can feel like you are flogging a dead horse at times and as a mummy you feel really defeated and uninspired. This is where family come in. Whether it is her great nanna Betty singing, cuddling and doing healings or loaning me books that keep me sane, cousin Elise researching, Nanni Heather reading and singing, poppa j and nanni Wend reading, ear nibbling or propping me up, Helen Tom and kids loving and playing or the Willies making medical appointments and pushing her in the stroller or the McD's buying gorgeous clothes and writing cool letters, uncle G's cuddles, Grandad Chris giving kisses and buying Elmo DVDS and sumptuous bean bags, the Russells and Elleys for all of their support, love, gifts and photos, Nana Russell and Grandad Ray for their unwavering love, support, inspiration and books and dvds, Granny and Grandad teaching about farm life and how to be great people, love from all the Johnstone aunties, uncles and cousins, esp Sammy and Ashley, the open-hearted and accepting love from auntie Heather in Edendale, the stubborness and feistiness she gets from her Daddy and his unwavery faith in her that has helped her survive. This is all what makes Kaitlin Johnstone the little lady that she is and in case I haven't said it lately,I thank you all so much. I have been really slack with the camera lately but here are some photos of KJ with her Great Nan Betty and Her Nanni Heather. You guys have made me the mum I am and Kaitlin the little girl she is and with your guidance and love I feel like Kaitlin can achieve anything. I love you.


No self respecting girl from a line of proud New Zealand sheep farmers would not own her own sheepie. And thanks to Auntie Frith and Uncle Richie (don't even get me started on how MAD Kaitlin is about Richie!) the wee KJ now has her very own sheepskin to cuddle, dribble, roll and ni-nights on. Here are some cute pics of Kaitlin and Auntie Frith.