Friday, 25 October 2013

Speech progress for my son

It's been more than 6 months since I started Speech Therapy for my son - how is he now?

In a nutshell - much improved!

He has finally understood the concept of colour.  He can do 3 colours, though probably with about 90% accuracy.  I should start introducing more colours!

His question concepts are better. He says "Where Mama?" and "Where bowl?" and even says "What's that noise?"

He has also learned to say "Mama, may I have X please?" which he is using very appropriately.  From things like chocolate, milk, rice to "open roof" (opening the sunroof in the car), I have found this to be very encouraging.

His speech therapist has said that he talks a lot now, which he does, and he is coherent which is great.  He still can't answer questions well like "What do you want to eat, rice or noodles?" and he will say "Yes". Sometimes he answers it.  But I don't know if he understood it.

He has another year before school so I will continue with the therapy.  I'm happy that I can finally communicate a little with my son, and I am hoping in another 6 months we can have a REAL conversation.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Diet update: 5:2 diet

I have had numerous comments asking if I have lost weight, and I am proud to say that I have.  I wonder how much of it is muscle that I've lost, but if my clothes are not so tight then that's a good thing too I guess!

Trying to explain it to people is hard.  They think it's bad that I'm fasting - but I keep telling them I'm not starving, it's just super calorie controlled for 2 days and I can still eat.  A lot of people say that they couldn't do that, but I find that calorie controlling every day is much harder for me.  I know I wouldn't stick to it.

I have to say that overall I am impressed with this diet.  I have never dieted before, and never thought I was going to because I thought diets were silly - if it was only a temporary thing then you'd go back to what you were before the diet once the diet ended, so what was the point?  However, I can see that I could easily follow this regime for the rest of my working life, as it fits in so easily with it and I don't feel like I'm missing out (except on those 2 days a week) - but there are plenty of other days to eat stuff!  For a busy working professional who doesn't do much exercise, I can see this working.  However, for a heavily exercising person, I can't see this being good for them because their gym or exercise workout would probably burn more calories than they were eating so they would be net starving for the day!  Perhaps they could do NET calories instead of total calories.

Today is my non fast day and I had a hot chocolate and coconut/mango bread and I'm sitting here nibbling on maltesers.  Nope, I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything at all :D

Monday, 14 October 2013

Gardening for the kids turns into gardening for me

This year I thought I would do something cool, fun and hands on with a little bit of nature involved - yes, we decided to plant some seeds and watch them grow!

After the successful crop of cucumber that I had last year, from 2 plants my mother gave me which just grew like crazy, I thought the kids would enjoy doing something like that again!

I'm not much of a gardener though.  I have lemon grass in my backyard which survives because it's pretty hardy but it doesn't look that healthy!  It's a little threadbare but it's been happily growing there for a while. I also had two basil plants last year, also from my mother.  She also gave me a kaffir lime plant ages ago and it was in a pot for some years, but since it went into the ground, it grows in all bizarre directions.  It doesn't fruit but the leaves are all I'm interested in anyway!  I also have a small lemon plant - it's not a tree because it's so tiny but it does bear fruit!

We had someone come and do the lawn maintenance and they made me angry because their version of trimming the plants was to attack them with an edge trimmer or something.  I came home one day to find my lemon grass cut down to the stumps, and I complained bitterly to hubby.  The plant started to grow again after I kept watering it vigorously - only to find the next month when they came they beheaded it again!  AND they also cut my basil plants down to the ground, obviously thinking they were weeds.  I was devastated and angry and I told my husband these gardeners had to go!  Since then I found someone else and he listens to me and knows where all my important plants are so he doesn't go hacking at them.

So I wanted some basil this year, so I went to the shops to investigate and they sell these things.  Apparently you just add the seeds, water and put them in the sun and that's it!
I thought to myself, this is just a little bit TOO simple - I wanted the kids to get into it, so I thought I would go and use some chinese takeaway containers (the round ones) and put some potting mix in it and plant the seeds.  4 lots would be good - one for Mummy, Daddy, E and J so that we could all be proud of our own pot.

The kids thought it was great digging into the potting mix to put into the containers.  Then I put a few seeds in each.  But there were heaps left inside the packet, so I shook it trying to get it out and a whole heap fell into J's pot.  Oops.  So I went back to E's pot and cut open the packet to get the stragglers out and she ended up with extras too.

We watered it and looked at them every day.  It was a little disappointing when everyday the kids would look and there was nothing there.

However, one day, a shoot came out, and then the next, more shoots!  Before long, there were heaps of seedlings and it was very exciting for everyone.  We could see a difference from morning to night when we came home and we would water them and take them outside to get sun.

Then I tried to move a few seedlings from the takeaway containers into cleaned out paper coffee cups from the coffee shop at work.  They were the same size as that kit in Bunnings so I thought it would be cool!

I killed some in the transfer but a few survived and were doing well.  E's pot was getting so full - I didn't realise those couple of seeds I had dropped in was closer to 25 seeds because now she had a BUSH of basil seedlings.  I bought her a flower pot that she painted herself and I planted all her basil in there.  I tried to transplant some of the seedlings back into the original container but they all died!  I didn't know transplanted seedlings aren't allowed to have sun...

Watching the seedlings grow has rejuvenated my interest in my herbs outside.  I pruned my kaffir lime, and fertilized the lemon tree, and the struggling chives and spring onions that were out in the yard.  I hope that I can keep it up!  My mother also gave me some french beans which I planted in the garden - unfortunately the kids ripped a few leaves off as they tried to brush past the climbing frame I had put there for the beans, and the poor plants look a little sad.  I think the hot days also helped do that to them... the temperatures here in Sydney yoyo'd from the low 20s to the high 30s and back down again, so my poor plants didn't get a break!

Anyway, every day the kids look forward to watering the plants and watching how big they're getting.  I think it's a great family project, and it has been rewarding not just for the kids, but for me as well.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

5:2 Diet - 6 weeks in

So how have I gone with my 5:2 diet?

It's been a month now, and I've been sticking to my diet and doing quite well I thought.  To tell you the truth, I didn't know if I had lost any weight, and my clothes didn't seem to be looser.  However, I've decided that I will do the 5:2 diet as part of a lifestyle change, and hubby has decided to do it as well.

We watched Eat Fast and Live Longer, Michael Mosley's documentary on the 5:2 diet, and it was a real eye opener.  Having watched and enjoyed his Pain, Pus and Poison documentaries, I was quite keen to watch this one.

The main thing that convinced me to do 5:2 as a lifestyle choice and not just for a diet was when Mosley started talking about Insulin Like Growth Factor (IGF-1).  According to the researchers in Mosley's documentary, IGF-1 is responsible for the creation of new cells and when levels of IGF-1 levels drop, the body goes into repair mode, repairing damaged cells.  A genetic abnormality which causes low levels of IGF-1 leading to short stature also had the interesting side effect of longevity and a huge reduction in age related diseases such as diabetes, cancer and ischaemic heart disease.  Mosley found that long term caloric reduction (ie every day) was too hard, and so tried an intermittent approach, which was where 5:2 began.  He went from being prediabetic to normal sugars, and lost weight, as well as reduced blood pressure and LDL.

So, from now on, Tuesdays and Fridays are fast days.  It's easier when both of us are fasting.  If we have a dinner planned for Friday then we will move it to Thursday, but it will be interesting to see how that works out.

So far, I have dropped 2kg, though I don't feel any different.  People think I'm crazy when I say I'm on a diet, and I have to tell them "I'm not doing it for weight loss, it's for the health benefits!" so that they don't start on at me about being anorexic.

I've even started a friend on it!  He is prediabetic almost, so hopefully he will do good on it.

I found that it's getting easier to fast.  And I do feel conscious about what I am eating on my other days too. I hope that anyone else who is thinking of doing the diet has found this helpful.  Willpower on those fasting days really is the tough bit - but substituting high calorie foods for low calorie ones is what will really get you through the day (a bit hard if you don't like eating vegetables though!)