Addressing the baby elephant in the room and no I am not referring to anyone’s behind,

 – deep breath – 

I have been MIA.

Yup. I know. I have.

And I owe you an apology for that.

Because you have been amazing in supporting me and encouraging me to keep going. To persist with Noctilucent. To give a voice to issues where I can.

And so I’m sorry.  Forgive me for being absent and for what looks like giving up because believe me, I haven’t.

Nocti isn’t a one hit wonder for me or a transient hobby. It is a passion of mine and a deeply felt need to promote change and support others in similar situations to me, you, us. To vent or muse (or both) on life in general.

Well, where have I been, I hear you ask?

Here. Just quiet.

Squirrelled away in the office (read: bedroom) working on another project Nocti related and that excites me no end. Hopefully, I can reveal all soon.

But then I have also been dividing my time working on the back end, the unsexy operational mechanics of the site. Critically important things that you can’t see yet, but hopefully will feel soon. The back end stuff FRIES MY BRAIN because it is of absolutely no interest to me and finding the right people to assist in getting the site to run flawlessly has been a monumental challenge. Groannnn…….

Anyway, today I lifted my head up to greet the world and rise above the trenches of life. And, WTF? It’s September. Nearly school holidays again. Where did all that time go? I’ve been “doing it-doing it’, like the faithful rat on the wheel, living the routine, supporting my family, bandaging scraped knees and suddenly bang! Here we are. SEP. TEM. BER!!  It really woke me up. In the sense that I have not been present. Not here. Not in my daily life. Not in respite.

I have been caught in the fog of routine and living in a schedule where I am ticking the things off each week that need to be done and then planing the logistics of the next tranche of activities. It woke me to the fact that I have been just existing or mindlessly living. No wonder months have past without my true awareness. And now I wonder how many precious moments I’ve missed by being physically in the room but mentally checking off or constructing new, to do lists?

I don’t want that anymore.

It’s a bad habit. I missing things and it’s time for a change.

Mindful living is where I’m positioning myself personally and that includes Nocti. Nocti is still very much a part of me and your support of it (and therefore me) has meant everything. What is means for Nocti is that I’ll now be posting monthly until next year.

Righto then – Going full circle:

Thank you again for your support and encouragement. Please accept my heartfelt apologies for falling off the radar.

Stay tuned for my next post where I hopefully, can reveal some exciting news for Nocti.

Thank you for still being here. I value, respect and love that you have chosen to be part of our Nocti tribe.

Should you have anything you would like me to chat about in upcoming posts, drop me a line. (See below). Or perhaps you may like to provide any feedback about what you want to see on Nocti or how it can work better, yeah? Let me know. Would mean the world to me if you did.

Ok then – Until next month, keep rocking it your own way.

Neve xx

Puberty Smells, Bells & Whistles Update: I found Instructions!

I found some INSTRUCTIONS!!!!!!!!

God I love Google.

Look at what my internet trawling discovered…..

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That’s right People.

Some instructions on how to address the onset of puberty AND its tailored for our Mini Male Munchkins with special and extra needs. I know, right? Celebration time.

Whooooo Hoooooo. [Sound of the champagne cork popping]

So excited that this is in part, the guide and the answer I was looking for.

I have ordered my copy and will let you know once it arrives if it is worth the hefty price tag.

EX.CITE.ED  Yes, Indeedy I am.

If you wish, you can order yours from Booktopia which I did (Australia) or visit Secret Girls’ Business direct.

And as the name suggests – yes. They have books for Special Girls’ too. Actually, they have 2.

Please still send me your nuggets of info about how you approached this topic with your child. Books are a fabulous guide however, nothing beats personal experience for me.

Lot of love everyone,

Neve xx

Puberty Smells, Bells & Whistles

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Hey Mum, smell this! MG is standing there proudly with his arm held aloft and pointing to his armpit. Thinking it was a prank – ok, I’ll play along. Nose dive in, take a deep whiff and I almost pass out. WTF? MG stinks. Ripe and sour. Sweaty pong. He’s not yet 9.

Brain on FFwd. OMFG MG. It’s happening. Is it happening? Puberty what? Panic rises quickly into my throat and I swallow it down. How is it that my MG smells like the typical male putrid teenager on a hot, sweltering 40 degree day after an hour of sport?

I am not ready for this. This is my baby. My little boy. My mini munchkin….only; only he is not.

Banishing the fear to the background and swallowing down the urge to barf at the stench, I laugh with MG and we giggle about the stink. I mean seriously. If I don’t laugh, I’ll cry. I tell MG that was a good one and he tricked me well. I march him firmly to the shower and celebrate the fact that he can now use deodorant like his Dad.

Well done Mini Giant. You are growing up and on your way to becoming the man you are meant to be.

Except what is happening here?




Everything normal for my MG? Check. Marched him off to his GP to ensure that it wasn’t abnormal or please no, precocious puberty (where puberty starts before age 8 in girls and age 9 for boys). Perfect health. His body is just ready to grow. I should be happy.

The signs of puberty are a fraction early so then why was I fearful? Because his body is changing, telling me he is changing and emotionally we are BOTH. NOT. READY.

Yet are we ever ready?

I’ve had the where do babies come from talk. I even purchased the book. I just haven’t broached the subject of puberty yet.

When we had the more detailed talk about babies, MG was 6. In his uniquely ASD special way he was interested in the process and the micro level mechanics of the information.

How does that work? Does it hurt? What if your wife says no? Why does that need to happen? How do you put it in? Why does it go hard? What happens to the blood when it leaves my head and goes to my penis? Will I faint and die? OMG MUMMY WILL I DIE? Does the blood go back to my heart? WILL I DIE? How many babies can a woman have? Why can’t I have one? Sheesh mate. You’re six. Chillax.

So am I ready for the puberty talk?

Hell no.

I struggled with the sex talk. Not because of the information. Not because I am uptight or shy. Not because I have hang ups about sex. But because my smart bunny asks me questions that I am trying to answer honestly, in an age appropriate way and that satisfies his deep and different modes of thinking. Something that is foreign to me.

I want to do this right for him.


Got my homework ready but this book aimed at older boys…..


I want to celebrate the changes and for him to be proud of his growth. Not like my parents who tried to be all scientific but wound up projecting their Roman Catholic strict “sex-is-naughty-and-you-will-become-pregnant-if-you-so-much-as-look-at-a boy” issues.

I need to bridge the imbalance between his emotional immaturity and his physical changes whilst providing enough information to satisfy his intellect. All this without scaring the bejessus out of him or worse, embarrassing him. There is no book for that.

Of course, there are book’s that can guide me but not provide the much needed examples of scripts to employ when he asks me curly questions. In an attempt to understand, he’ll will throw me many curve balls. (Ha ha – ok no. No inappropriate pun intended). Like Emmit in the Lego movie, I need THE INSTRUCTIONS. I probably don’t but it would be a F of a lot easier if I did.

For now, we talk about hairs that will start growing in places. MG examines his bald skin searching for those elusive tuffs of fluff that signify he’s A Man. We talk about getting taller and stronger. We celebrate today as an almost 9 year old and I tell him how excited I am to meet the man he will become.

Seriously tho: I could really use those instructions ………

Neve xx

ps – this classic over-thinker did much research and has her beloved Stylish Chic Fashionista Advisor to the Stars, Mon_Rue_ to thank for pointing us in the direction of MooGoo. Shameless product plug. It is our preferred deodorant. It is age appropriate and contains no hidden nasties for young and developing skin.



Whoo hoo. I’m giving away a Moo Goo deodorant to 10 lucky readers.

To win:

Follow @mynoctilucent on Instagram


 Share below some of your best nuggets of wisdom instructions on navigating the puberty journey with your ASD child.

Please submit your entry by August 10, 2017.

Mini Giant sets the Agenda

Nearly 9 years ago, Mini Giant (MG) popped into the world.



Several weeks overdue, he didn’t want to leave the comfy, cosy safety of “his” womb, putting up a serious fight that required forcible eviction.

Despite all my birth preparation, pre reading and research, I was left exhausted: bewildered and completely unprepared mentally and emotionally, for when he arrived. Suffice to say that there was a massive disconnect with the reality of having a child versus anything I could have anticipated.

MG did not sleep from the moment he arrived.

He was a cat napper. 20 minutes here. 30 minutes there. I was lucky if he would go a full hour at night. He only wanted to be held by me and then only in certain positions. If I didn’t hold him, he would scream. Screams of deep distress, turning his cherub face purple. Then more frighteningly, the screams where there is no sound at all. Controlled crying didn’t work. Neither did sleep school or the well-intentioned night nurses.

Trotting him promptly off to the Paediatrician, we were told he was in perfect health.

Maybe he was a late learner to sleeping. So exhausted I couldn’t, didn’t question this advice further. “Every Mum goes through this,“ my friends all said. “The first year is tough”. I thought I was weak. I thought I was failing. “Suck it up Princess” became my mantra.

Still cat napping and now fast forward to 9 months of age.

MG has a room stuffed full of age appropriate toys and books. He plays with just 3. They are bright shiny cars with big colourful wheels. He spins and spins and spins those wheels. Faster and faster, over and over. Total and unbreakable concentration. Never, ever using the toys as they are intended. Not interested in anything else but the spinning.

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Coming out of my psychotic sleep deprivation haze, I mention to Husband, “Do you think MG has a hearing issue?”

MG doesn’t respond to his name. He doesn’t often smile. He rarely looks at my eyes. He does scream to rival the girl in the shower scene of psycho when the vacuum cleaner is on, or when the lawn mower is going or if a motorbike goes by. He does scream when it is windy. He does scream if anyone else other than me, holds him. Not a hearing issue. Hypersensitive to noise?….Hypersensitive full stop?

A conscious thought bubbled, gelatinous and demanded attention. Maybe, just maybe there is something more here. Could it be that MG is on the spectrum? Is he …could he be……[whispered]….Autistic?

Baby play date with a girl friend and I bounce that off her. The angry, frustrated response: “No. Don’t be so stupid. Shit Darl, calm down. He’s fine. He’s fine.” The thought bubble was promptly popped and erased.

All other milestones are being met. Well, maybe not language. Although his Nana did say that she understood him. I perhaps was the only one who couldn’t.

Fast-forward again to 2-year-old childcare.

MG is an only child and so we enrolled him there twice a week to socialise.



We said he was an anxious child. We said he was very sensitive. We said he was frightened of loud noises. We said he was obsessed with ceiling fans and spinning objects. He wouldn’t separate from me. Husband was on drop off duty. Then one day from childcare came……The Heartbreaking Phone Call.

They told me he cowered in a corner and refused to come out for an hour after a carer raised her voice at another child to stop some dangerous behaviour. They said they couldn’t console him. They said they tried everything. They said his anxiety was different. They were concerned how sensitive he was…….

I knew then.

I knew at my core what I had known 18 months earlier.

He was on the Autisim spectrum.

I began the diagnostic process in earnest. Trying to make up for lost time. Feeling guilty for not recognising it earlier. What are we dealing with here? When you know better, you do better right?

Seeking advice from others, I came up against a wall of silence and dismissal.

No one in my circle of Mums had a kid like mine and only a few seemed really willing to acknowledge any issues they were having. Fuck me. Really?

The façade of PollyAnna perfect Mum was clear and present. All virginal, white and Stepford like. Not sure when popping out a kid wiped your freak party slate clean but ladies please, you forget I have known, loved and played hard along side you long before your munchkins were made.

Using my professional network, I found a psychologist whom I trusted. There were no holes barred in her approach. Blunt and to the point: Yes he is on the spectrum. PDD-NOS the diagnosis. This needed to be confirmed by another health discipline in order for it to become official but yes, he’s a spectrum kid.

A rapid fire gun sprayed questions in my head: What? What does it mean for him? Did I do this to him? Did I eat a fucking orange/peanut/not-organic-enough,-despite-the-billion dollar-per-kilo-price-tag-certifying-it-had-been-harvested-by-angels-from-Mount Divinity, vegetable when preggers? Fixable? What do I do now? Why didn’t I know? Why didn’t I know? WHY DIDN’T I KNOOOOOOOOOW???

I did know. I didn’t want to know. I was too tired to know. I loved and love MG not to see anything but his purity.

What now?

For me, you are initially shell-shocked by the diagnosis. King Hit. Smashed back to the floor and winded.

The realisation crashing down all the hopeful aspirations you may have held for your child’s future. Gone. And then….then you grieve. Hard. Deep, way down in the most private part of your soul. You cry oceans of tears for your child, for you, for the lives you had imagined together. You grieve for the loss of what you thought would be. Because you know the goal posts have changed and you know that you don’t know anything.

You grieve until you are raw, spent, and empty.

The internet search begins. You look for support, information and answers. Trying desperately to right your world back on its axis. My experience found only more despair. Website after website. Some uplifting stories dotted infrequently within the lakes of sadness. ASD children being bullied, socially maligned, unsupportive schools, marriage break down. Financial stress. The stories so profoundly painful that I had to switch off.

Then I made a decision.

Not for me this despair. Not for my child. Not for my marriage.

My child is more than his diagnosis. My child is more than his differences. My child is beautiful, kind, quirky, idiosyncratic and an endless pool of possibilities.

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My child is different.

But then so am I, as are you.

Life is not what happens to you but how you choose to react to it and I choose to shift my focus and look at his neurological condition akin to a personality trait.

Not minimising the symptoms nor trivialising the differences but rather seeing it as just a part of his make up.

For me, tilting my view enables us all to focus on capabilities and function rather than incapacity or deficits. I listen to understand him, not parent for me. He tells me his story daily with his actions and I more and more, appreciate what makes him unique.  He teaches me to be the mother he needs, not the one I originally thought I would or should be.

Fast forward to today. Almost 9.



MG is mainstream schooled. In Year 3 and achieving. He is well supported by caring and nurturing teachers who understand his individual points of difference. He has a small posse of friends. He is well mannered, and eager to please. He learns tennis, taekwondo and swimming.

Of course, it hasn’t all been easy. We have scaled mountains only to fall with our very next step into an abyss. MG has worked hard, supported by years of external therapy. The OT in me has unhealthily blurred the lines between mother and therapist. Our family has had permeant seats on the daily rollercoaster ride of sheer ecstasy and bowel wrenching heartache – sometimes at the same time.

My knotted, corse battle scars from ugly fights waged with small-minded people and institutions, feels real. We have been not invited to parties and outings because of the “label.” Strangers have proffered unsolicited advice and judgement especially when MG was in a full – blown meltdown. Others have told me he is fine and will grow out of it or more insulting, it is all in my head.

Like with all children, I know we will face many challenges as the years roll on. Our challenges just may look a little different to yours.

At this very moment, who MG is today and the young person he is developing into makes my heart happy. 😊

Those fleetingly rare moments when he focuses his laser like gaze past the window of my eyes, burrowing in to really see me. Our connection; so intense and palpable. Spontaneously he then delivers: “I love you Mum.” Floored, winded and struggling to find my breath for a different reason now. His love is pure gold.

This is my experience. What nugget of advice would you give parents just starting the ASD journey?

Neve xx

Key pointers from our experience that may be signs of ASD:

  • Chronic Sleeping issues
  • Not responding to name
  • Not engaging in eye contact
  • Hypersensitive to noise
  • Hypersensitive to textures
  • Only attaching to the one person
  • Not using toys for that which they are intended
  • Spinning, chewing, head banging
  • Highly anxious
  • Rigidity with food choices

Please note that this is a small indicative list. It is not exclusive, exhaustive or intended to diagnose. Furthermore, behaviours identified above may or may not indicate the presence of ASD or other medical conditions and /or behavioural issues that have not been commented on here.

As a mum, you are your child’s voice and greatest advocate. If you are unsure, or have any concerns, trust your instincts and seek advice from trusted professional sources.

I Am Who I Am

One of my nearest and dearest, my “Sister from another Mister” (figuratively speaking and literally, j’adore her so she may as well be), planted the seed. “You need to share you. Get that stuff outta your head and share it with others,” she said after a particularly challenging time with some hideously toxic family dynamics. “Write a blog. Get it out there. You helped me. Fucken share babe.”


Having never thought myself a writer, I laughed. Have never thought myself terribly wise, insightful or all together, I snorted. Dismissed it. Drank some more wine.

But….niggling in the most primitive part of my brain stem came the whisper. What if? Yessssss. It hisses quietly. Yessssssss. It breathed greedily, audible now and subconsciously it spawned. Yesssssss. Do it. DO it. Do IT. DO IT. It began to irritate and itch.

Being a very private and at times socially awkward with debilitating shyness, I quickly squashed that Yesssss to no fucking way. I’ve been judged so harshly in my life and left emotionally bloodied, dismembered and broken.

The itch. The hiss. Yessssssss. DO IT.

Being acutely hypersensitive, could I? Would I? A perfectionist bordering on the obsessive neurotic to excel, should I? Yessssss. DO IT.

Fuck it. To quell the itch, here we are. With procrastination and motivational paralysis based in a fear of failure, weighing heavily on one shoulder and the middle finger to my insecurities on the other, I begin to write.

Laying myself bare, article after article. For publishing at another time. The question at the centre of it all, am I good enough? More honestly, am I enough?

At 40, is it normal to still question our deepest selves like this? Shouldn’t we have it together by now? Isn’t it written or universally known that when you turn 40, suddenly you’re hot, sassy and got your shit worked out? I think I may have skived off that lesson.

I’m a woman. A Mum to an 8-year-old boy. A wife of 10 years. Both incredible male specimens that are part of the Autism spectrum. I have been an OT (Occupational Therapist), a successful business owner, a senior business executive. I have an MBA, a post graduate in Risk Management and countless other acreditations. I am a qualified mediator. Managed hundreds of people of various socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, helped others who have been most seriously and irretrievably injured from work reclaim their lives, sorted multiple large and small workplace conflicts, and managed “telephone book number” style operational budgets. On paper and impersonally, I am impressive.

But……but……still…Am “I” enough?

Intrinsically, I know.

Yes I am.


The beauty of 40 is you become clear and accept that you are. I am sensitive, intuitive and smart. I know people and I value the individual differences that make you, you.

Not one person is the same and certainly not one person on the spectrum is the same.

We are all beautifully perfect and flawed to create the mosaic of our existence. Unlike my 20’s where my self doubt was masked by aggression and large shoulder pads, sharp tailoring and a French roll, today I mange it with quiet courage and measured resilience. I combat my fear of failure; need for perfectionism by embracing it as just a part of me.  Using and channeling it to help me achieve. It is one piece of the puzzle that makes me who I am.

And in the words of Gloria Gaynor, I am what I am and what I am needs no excuses.

Neither do you.

Has approaching or turning 40 changed your perspective? Do you still give much thought to other peoples opinions? How do you know that you are enough?

Neve xx