Friday, 30 September 2011

Featured Blogger : Holding on to the Little Things (Feature Friday)

Although today would normally be my 'Family Friday' blog post, I am deviating this week and instead doing a 'Feature Friday' post, featuring another fantastic / amazing / wonderful blog. 

This week we hook up with Jordan Marie at :


I'm Jordan Marie; a first time mother of a beautiful little girl, Scarlett-Marie Sue, or "Letti" for short. Letti was born St Patrick's Day, 2011 at 3:08 PM, weighing 8 pounds 8 ounces and 19 1/2 inches long.

On my blog I share the excitement of being a new mommy while I blog my heart out about our life and the world that surrounds us, as a journey written there to share with you!

holding on to the little things button

She is my world, and I thought I might share my world through a blog. I am very interested in making new friends and learning from others, so please join us and get lost in our world.



I love being a mommy.  I love the self worth and purpose I get from it.  I love blogging and I just started an etsy store.  It is small now, but I hope to put some more effort into it in the coming months to help lead to its growth.

You can follow Jordan Marie and her blog journey by clicking on the 'Holding on to the Little Things' button on my blog, under 'Blogs I Love' and :

facebook page:

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Heady Days of a Late Summer (Thankful / Thoughtful Thursday)

When you do scheduled posts, it makes you very aware of how quickly the week goes by.  A bit like when your child starts school and you start living in the world of 9am - 3pm, or you work in a routine Monday to Friday job.

I remember standing on a single bed and whining when I was very young at how slow the year went (probably waiting for a birthday or Christmas) and my mum saying to me 'appreciate that feeling because when you get older it all goes past far too quickly'.  She was 34, I remember that specifically for no real reason maybe she said so, but she was not much different to where I am now must have had the realisation that life is short.

Seasons that once seemed to stretch, summer, long, warm and tiring, winter cold, dark but enchanting, autumn chilly and exciting with the start of lots of new things and spring full of prospect that summer was approaching now seem to fly by in a whirl of school terms, childrens' activities, anniversaries, birthdays, special events, bookings, appointments and pay days.

Nowadays it seems before I have finally found all of the Christmas decorations (I never remember putting as many out as I find to put away...) and packed them away in their home in the loft, I have got lists of 'ideas' for the kids on the go for the next festive season.  And birthdays, well this year I told everyone I was a year older than I was, because I have given up attempting to keep track they come around so quickly.

But this week, we have been blessed by Mother Nature with the delusion of gaining some time.  The weather here in Blighty has been positively barmy over the last few days and it has felt like we were back in June.  My mum and I decided that we call these types of days 'bonus days' and I feel very lucky to live by the coast at times like these because you can drop what you are doing and go and really enjoy it.

For any of you following my 'The Run Mummy Run Mumma' blog you will know that I chose yesterday as the day I started running again.  And I could not have chosen a better day.  It was a perfect run and gave me a whole load of extra inspiration as to why I wanted to do it again.  The sky was blue, the sun was beaming, the sea was sparkling and gently lapping and a light breeze flowed over me.  But of course the thing I was most thankful for was just the basic ability to be able to run and experience all of that.

So thank you to Nature for the extra 'bonus' summer days that has given, everyone it seems, a little extra bit of joy.

Follow other 'Thankful / Thoughtful Thursdays' at :

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

C is for...Catch Me If You Can, Crap he's learnt the word 'No' and Cheek! (Wordy Wednesday)

As mentioned in numerous blog posts I have two children, J1 and J2.  J2 is always described as something along the lines of '18 months old, very energetic, stubborn / willful but gorgeous toddler...' and this week he could not have fitted that description better. 

The moment every parent dreads, the moment they know is coming, from when that little blue line shows up on the pregnancy test (or the word 'pregnant' on the very fancy pants ones) arrived in my household this week.  J2 learned the word ... 'No'.  Oh crap.  For want of a better reaction - 'Houston, we have a problem'.

Actually that should read 'problems', multiple.  As far as I can see, the issues are threefold:

Firstly, how do you continue to make your version of using 'No' meaningful if secondly, most of the time he uses it you are going to over-rule it and 'de-value' it.  Conundrum.  The third?  Oh that would be that he is so damn cute when he says it! 

He isn't at the running around in the tantrum 'No No No NOOOO' stage (yet - can sense it's en-route) but he obviously comes to a cross-roads in his mind (of either something he doesn't want to do, go, eat, drink etc) and his little mind springs into action with 'you can do it or use that 'no' word...', so he gets this poised little face and says 'Neeeeewwwwwww' and then kind of waits for a reaction.  If that doesn't make you want to laugh nothing will but I can't show him that!

The last couple of days however, have presented this current challenge in conjunction with another.  Also something that you know you are going to have to deal with at some point but in order to keep your sanity you push to the back of your mind with the one strand of hope that you will have an angel for a child.  It's the 'oh so very funny' (for them, not you) game of 'Catch me if you can' every time you need to; change a bum, get them dressed in the morning, get them changed throughout the day or get them ready for bed.  And goodness me, my little one is quick! 

I have tried the 'reasoning' tactic, i.e 'Come here and have this nappy / these clothes on and then you can go and play in the garden / go and have your warm milk' (delete as appropriate).  Does not work.  If anything only eggs him on.  I have tried the 'firm' tactic.  Does not work, only eggs him on.  I have tried the just following him around waving nappy / clothes with stern look on face.  Definitely does not work.  In fact, most definitely only eggs him on. 

The only thing I have succeeded in is the rugby tackle, which he believes is hilarious, until he realises that I have managed to sneak the pull up on in amidst tickles and then he kind of gives in to the clothes going on, well, that is if  in the time it's taken us to get back to the room with the clothes he hasn't managed to pull the nappy off.  If he has, then we are back to square one.  And although sometimes, if you have nothing else going on, no where to be or are not at the end of your patience level at the end of the day it can be a giggle, the other times its just draining!  Add to this the 'no' word leaving his (very cute) little lips with it, I think we can safely assume we have officially hit the 'terrible toddler time'.  I would assume many a blog post will come on those issues...

So, you would think that given the amount of cheek I am getting from J2, J1 would ease up on Mumma a bit, but no.  Recently J1 was spending some time at Nanny and Grandad's house and when I arrived I was informed not to go in and talk to him because he was in 'time out'.  After it had finished I went to him to ask why he was in 'time out', as we try and get him to do the explaining so we know he understands exactly why he was 'punished' and I got a dose of the 'tude that I recently experienced with the 'Why are you wearing two jumpers?' incident (see blog post A is for...) cue 'tut' and 'Cos I am'.  I could see my parents almost wetting themselves with laughter in the kitchen, so had to step out of his line of vision, compose myself before asking for an appropriate answer (which I never got incidentally).

This might not have irked me had I not already been given cheek from a 9 year old boy in town asking people if they 'had a light' (horrifying I know).  In a rush I barked 'No I haven't' with a disgusted look on my face, to which I could hear him mimicking as I strode away.  I returned home from this, to a husband laid up in bed after a foot operation, ringing me on my mobile downstairs, for 'a cup of tea with two sugars and a decent slice of ginger cake' numerous times (tut, cheek!) whatever happened to bellowing down the stairs?  I suppose I should just thank my lucky stars he hasn't got a bell...

Another 'C' I could have added in today was 'Corrrrrrr I am going to ache tomorrow' as I have just returned from my first run!  Hop over to my other blog 'The Run Mummy Run Mumma' to keep up with that grand plan!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Disability Diaries (The Life of J1) : New Feature Posts

Why am I writing The Disability Diaries?

As I frequently mention my eldest son, J1, suffers with quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy.  I get a lot of questions about this, which is great, I would always wish for his condition to be recognised and understood rather than ignored.

So, I wanted to write a blog dedicated to my eldest son, J1.   I toyed with the idea of starting a whole separate blog, but after multiple conversations with people, they all felt I should continue to dedicate my efforts to the two blogs I already pen, and add it in to the one I already have, as a feature page.  So I will write one feature per week called 'The Disability Diaries' (The Life of J1).  I will post this on my main page but also connect ALL posts in a list to a dedicated page called 'The Disability Diaries' so if you only wish to read those posts you can head straight to that page. 

What am I trying to achieve with these feature posts?

I wish to highlight what life is like for someone with severe disabilities and for those that care for them, be it family or friends or carers.  Obviously this feature will be written from my perspective, a mother with a child with disabilities.  I believe a lot of people do recognise that life is different and can be difficult when you live and care for someone with disabilities but they do not really understand.  This will not by any means be a negative posting system, but an honest and true one, which will deal with and highlight the day to day issues, struggles, obstacles faced by J1 and our family but also the amazing achievements and small miracles that occur too.

J1 is 7 but has already been through and achieved so much that I want to record it for him and for others to realise just what he and our family as a whole goes through in living with a disability as severe as his.  There are so many disabilities and on such a varying scale that unless you are touched by somebodies life you don't need to make yourself aware to it.  I certainly had no idea of how even the littlest and most basic things you do throughout the day could be so difficult and time consuming, and a lot of the time just damn right impossible for someone with J1's disabilities and thus also frustrating for the friends and family trying to care for him and give him a 'normal' life.

How will I write these Feature posts?

I will start these features in a back track manner and try and give ample history to help with the understanding process, starting right from the beginning.  As we are now 7 years down the line these will not be as detailed as they could be as I will be drawing on the 'old memory system', and sometimes in order to cope you try and block out certain things.  In another way, this may be useful as I won't be quite so emotive about things and it will be easier to write it in a more synopsis manner.  I will cover the last 7 years, in as long as it takes, and the main issues we have faced and the amazing things we (well J1 mainly!) has achieved.  Then will post on current life.

Hopes and Wishes

As I mentioned earlier, I would love for these features to really raise awareness in general about how tough (but amazing, don't forget the amazing bit) it can be for those with disabilities and for all those people that are involved in their lives.  If I fail in that, then I have a whole dedicated section in our 'memory book' for our family to remember what we have all been through and achieved.

Monday, 26 September 2011

I have been Featured on The Boy Named After A Car

Ohhh this is very exciting to me in Blogger land (it's a lovely place, the sun is always shining, the sky is always blue, my hair and make up is always done... whoops, day-dreaming again!) anyways... 

...Another fabulous blogger 'The Boy Named After A Car' has done a feature on me and my blog!

You can view the feature and the fantastic blog of Kristy (v.kind lady) by clicking here.

There are some other great feature blogs on here too. 

My Kid's Ginger - Deal with it! (Monday Madness)

When I was pregnant, both times around, other new mum's would say to me 'Be prepared to be asked if you have a girl or a boy, even if you have them dressed head to toe in blue / pink'.  And certainly after the birth of my first baby boy, despite being head to toe in blue with a blue blanket with a blue embroidered 'BOY' on it, I was still asked.

However this wasn't the case with my second little man.  People, instead felt they were far more entitled to comment on the colour of his hair than whether he had a 'pee pee' or 'noo noo'.  They would look in coo, scan that beautiful little face and then say 'Ohhhh look at that hair, oh well, it's more strawberry blond isn't it.' like saying that would lessen the pain.  Of what? 

Actually 'No' it is most certainly not 'strawberry blonde', my own hair is 'strawberry blonde'.  That is blond with red hints when the light hits it in a certain way, and I have always felt god damn blessed to have that hair because as far as I can see a lot of people pay a lot of money to a lot of hairdressers to make it look like that!

No thank you people, my little man does not have 'strawberry blonde' hair, he has GINGER hair.  G.I.N.G.E.R say it loud and proud!  Red or Orange, whichever term you prefer to describe Ginger hair is what my little guy has got and it's gorgeous.  It's vibrancy matches that of his personality, it's 'typical' trait of 'firey temper' matches him to a tee, it's playfulness look matches him down to the ground.  He was born to be a red head, a ... Ginger.

I don't feel the need to 'whisper', the word 'Ginger' when talking about my little boy, like it is something I am ashamed of.  I don't feel the need to tell everyone he is ginger when I am talking about him like it is something that needs drawing attention to because it's special.  It's his hair colour, it won't map out whether he will be a success in life or decide how happy he will make himself as an adult.

The reaction I have liked the most (actually caused true mortification to my friend, Mrs B-R, which caused no end of amusement to me) came from Mrs B-R's nan, Mrs G.  She got out of the car, saw him and said 'Blimey Lyns, he's proper Ginge isn't he!  Right, where are we going?' I loved that!  No, recognition of hair colour and then the 'pity' look or the attempt to pretend he isn't actually ginger.  I think he liked it too because later that evening he fell asleep on her, which detaching himself from me at the time was unheard of.

I want my boy to be proud of his hair colour, not subjected to reactions to ever make him think he shouldn't be.  I say listen to Ed Sheeren who said goodbye to his original record company because one of the things they suggested if he wanted to make it big was to change his hair colour!  BIG mistake eh!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

I Got To Reminiscing (Thankful Thursday)

As with my little (attempted) rhyming 'thing' previously (I Am Mum) I do not delude myself that this is a Poem.  So it is what it is :

I Got To Reminiscing

I got to reminiscing
About the girl I used to be
Before it was the four of us
Back when it was 'just me'

Mobile phone on the table
Glass of wine in hand
Girly holidays to the Med
Days passed out on the sand

Getting up early every morning
Deciding what to wear
Trying to be important
In a job that didn't care

Busy Saturdays shopping
Duvet days on Sunday
Just as long as the hangovers gone
By start of work on Monday

Too many hours spent chatting
On the phone to friends
Over-analysing everything
Driving each other round the bend

Yes, I got to reminiscing
About the girl I used to be
When days were passed just gossiping
Over Long Island Ice Teas

Those are happy memories
Of friends and days gone by
And sometimes they come flooding back
With a longing little sigh

But then you look at me and smile
And all that drifts away
When I realise life is pretty perfect
So boys I've got to say

That although sometimes I reminisce
About the girl I used to be
I'm so glad it's now the four of us
And no longer 'just me'

For my husband and my two beautiful boys

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

B is for ... Baby Babble, Bottles and Bond... James Bond... (Wordy Wednesday)

I can hardly believe that it is Wordy Wednesday already.  Half the working week (well for people that go 'out' to work it is, for SAHM add the weekend into that 'working week') has passed and the bubbles of excitement that 'Thursday tomorrow' thoughts bring are starting to form.  For me and most SAHM (or Dads) it brings the 'Thursday tomorrow, two more days and Daddy/Mummy is home to help entertain while I pee in private' excitement.

The things I have to be 'Wordy' on this 'Wednesday' (ahh see what I did there...) about all begin with the letter... B.  What?  Not surprised?  Ah damn it, the title of the post gave it away didn't it?  Anyway, let's begin :

Baby Babble.  Oh my gosh, this is the cutest, yet most frustrating, baby phase that I have come up against yet.  To be fair, with waiting five years for J1 to start to talk (and it still makes me smile to this day, almost every word that leaves his mouth - as long as it's not done in 'whine' tone, where the pitch goes up so high only dogs on our street can hear) I thought I had been up against some frustration.

Now J2 is quite articulate in his gestures and getting his point across.  I am assuming for 18 months he is doing just fine with his speech and language (although J2 is baby number 2, I have no benchmarks from the same ages for J1 so this is all brand new to me).  He has a handful of very clear one letter words; 'Car' (usually with one car in hand, my car key in the other and a trail of destruction of cars trailing whatever route around the house he has taken).  'Bub-bils' (Bubbles, a favourite of both kids and myself, never too old for bubbles!).  'Juice' / 'Cheese' (no explanation required).  'Garsses' (glasses, usually being brought to me in two, or with an arm missing).  But just recently he has taken to coming very excitedly to me and 'Dush beba um natakiwa'


How am I meant to decipher that?  And then he'll repeat it (in true Brit style, no different just louder).  I again look at him slowly shaking my head in confusion, mouth slightly open in the hope that the words will float through the air, jump into my mouth, reformulate into something I can understand and we can move on.  He says it a third and final time to which I have to say (in full patronising tone) 'YYYYYYYYYYYYeeeeessss, very good' in the hope that being positive will placate him.

Usually he then toddles off and I feel like a complete failure.  Occasionally the Hubby will look at me in the same confusion and note that he didn't have a clue either.  I make myself feel better by deducing that whatever it was either wasn't life threatening or changing because generally if it is something he really wants he takes my hand and drags me along (usually to the scene of the crime, wet patch on floor, toy broken in two etc...). 

Occasionally however, he will get as frustrated with me as I am with myself and has suddenly developed the (rather amusing) over dramatic (J2, over dramatic?  Never, I hear you say...) throwing himself on the floor and doing  'James Bond' style roll.  I am quite impressed, sometimes he can do three full rotations with the gusto that he gives it.  If he has his Bottle in hand he can look quite authentic!  And thus we move on to the issue of 'The Bottle'.

It's a big raging debate isn't it, that everyone seems to have an opinion on.  When should a baby / toddler / small child stop having a bottle?  Some say at a year old when they 'should stop having formula'.  Some say it's terrible for their teeth.  Some say why take away the only article that will calm your child down.  

I was lucky with J1, despite all of his problems he moved seamlessly from bottle to cup when he was a year old.  He really didn't mind (he did have a dummy mind you).  J2 on the other hand is less than keen.  But, J2 being 18 months now has a good set of gnashers and has taken to biting the teats and splitting massive hole in them, which mean they leak.  Everywhere.  Or of course, biting the ends right off.  Dangerous. 

A friend of mine has been having the same problem.  Her little boy is 2 and she decided the other day, after loss of another set of teats, that he was going to have to go 'Cold Turkey' and she would brave it out.  She has been pleasantly surprised by the lack of meltdowns over the statement 'No bottle, cup'.  I have decided that I will not be purchasing any new teats, so when the last few have gone that is it, and hoping that the introduction of a range of other cups (who knew there were so many though, talk about confusing there are more shapes, sizes, colours and textures than in a condom range!) will have sufficiently taken over.  If not I will be the one having the meltdown. 

My point on this is that everyone believes in and deals with the situation with their own child in a different way.  I was enjoying a day on the beach the other week with J2 and he had a bottle with his snack.  The man on the next beach mat, who had a similar aged child felt need to comment very loudly 'Look at that kid still having a bottle!  Little Archie doesn't still have a bottle, got rid of that ages ago' to his wife (who did look suitably mortified by the way). 

But, by the rules of parenting, I wanted to punch him full on in the face.  I wanted to say that from observing 'Little Archie' I was glad that my little J2 had a bottle over being a whining 'wouldn't go on the sand, wouldn't go in the water, wouldn't lick around the edge of the ice-cream' child.  But I kept that thought to myself.  Like he should of his.

Wow, that was a very Wordy Wednesday!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

A B C of my Life

Link up ABC of Life as requested by a fellow blogger!

The aim of the game, relate the A-Z back to you and your life.  Can't be that hard surely?  Try it and see!

Lynsey The Mother Duck ABC of Life

A - Both boys middle names beginning with the letter A.

B - Baths - something I used to have time for BC (before children).

C - Cars - Toy ones, house full of them.

D - Duck ; Lynsey The Mother of course!

E - Example (The Musician) 'Stay Awake' currently a family agreed favourite song.

F - Farts, living in a house with all boys much of this takes place and I fear it is only going to get worse as they get older...

G - George from Peppa Pig - much preferred to that annoying little tell-tale Peppa.  Plus we have a very cute talking George (well it says 'Dine-saw')

H - Home, I love ours.

I - Italy, where hubby and I went on honeymoon - loved it there.

J - Both boys first names start with J.  Hence J1 and J2 in blogs.

K - Kiss, something that both boys are very tight with!

L - Lynsey (without a 'D' that is correct, I know confusing).

M - Mum, couldn't live without the unconditional amount of help she gives me.

N - "No" - word used in copious amounts in our house.

O - 'O' said in Welsh accent, from one of mine and J1's favourite TV shows!

P - "Pardon" something I am constantly trying to get the boys to say after they have 'F' yep, 'Farted'.

Q - Queues, something I dread if J2 is with me as at some point he lets rip one of his blood curling screams.

R - Royal's - loving the new generation of 'Kate's' and 'Zara's' - go girls!

S - Sleep is something I miss.  Dearly.

T - Tired (see S for sleep and you'll know why this one is in there...)

U - Ultrasounds - I had 16 in total throughout my second pregnancy. 

V - Video's, well Music Video's bit of a lifesaver as they entertain the kids instantly. 

W - Wellies, just bought J2 his first pair and he looks edible in them.

X - X is what I will be using to strike off the days to the count down for Disney World when we book it.

Y - You Tube (see 'V' videos).

Z - Zoo, we live near one so have been discussing the pro's and con's of forking out for annual passes.

Link up here :

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Soundtrack of my Life (Tuesday Twist)

So, according to my hubby I have been living in the dark ages and only just started using 'You Tube' and now I have, for finding old favourite songs I am finding it a little addictive.  However, the other day I thought about 10 songs that would represent my life so far and this is what I came up with :

1. Baz Luhrmann Sunscreen - This would be 'the soundtrack to my life', without a shadow of a doubt and I bow down in awe of Mary Schmich, the Chicago Tribune columnist who penned the famous essay the words are taken from.  I love the words, absolutely love it.  Not only did I love the song when it originally came out (and yes I had it on CASSETTE SINGLE - had to rewind it everytime I wanted to replay - yep with an actual rewind button and listen to it screeching back to the start) but I love it again now via the 'in-ter-net'.

2. Seal - Kiss from a Rose - I was lucky enough to go to Florida on holiday in my teens and we went to an idyllic place called Long Boat Key, I fell asleep one afternoon in the barmy Floridian sun and when I woke up this song was gently piping out and I remember thinking that I would never be that relaxed and chilled out again - I was right.

3. Alison Limerick - Where Loves Lives - This is the song that reminds me of my first nights out 'clubbing' with my best friend AC at the local Dis-Co-Tec.  In those good old days, If we got there before 10.30pm we would get in for free and tenner would be enough money to cover our drinks for the rest of the evening and cab home at the end of the night.  Kids wouldn't believe you now days!

4. Rosie Gaines - Closer than Close - First holiday abroad with Friends.  Enough said.

5. The Foundations - Build Me Up Buttercup - So, aforementioned best friend AC and I go to the Clubbing Capital of the Med (yep Ibiza) and we hit all the big trendy clubs and somehow our song of the holiday that we come away with is... Build Me Up Buttercup - what the ??????

6. Moloko - Sing it Back - The song that was playing in the Operating Theatre when J1 was born in 2003.  Will never forget my mum nervously bouncing away to it saying, in a more high pitched tone than was her norm 'Ohhh I really like this song'.

7. Tinie Tempah - Pass Out - The song that was number 1 when J2 was born in 2010.  This was when I also realised I could easily lurrrrve TT.

8. Shane Ward - Breathless - Our wedding First Dance, ahhhhhh (mine and my hubby's - not mine and TT by the way)

9. The Marvelettes - When Your Young and In Love - The song that really reminds me of our wedding when I hear it!  None of the special meaningful ones we spent months picking out, nope a random that was played at the evening reception - whenever I hear it, brings it all back, every last fantastic second!

10. Natalia Kills Feat. Will.I.Am - I'm Free - The song that brings screaming fits to a halt, whining to a stop and smiles on my boys faces.  Thank god for this song.  Even though I have heard it so many times I think my ears might bleed.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Monday Madness - Please don't ever...

Always on the look out for fodder for a 'Monday Madness' blog I have been spoilt / inundated / surrounded by contenders for the content of this post this week.  So much so that I can't choose one winner to write about. 

Therefore I give you a blog of pleading and begging, of things to 'please never do' so that both mine, and your, children never have to witness or be subjected to it. 

These are the terrible things that I have seen this week and I beg ...


* Buy Christmas chocolates in SEPTEMBER. 

Yes, one particular supermarket that I frequent (actually read that as 'used to frequent' - haven't been in there since in disgust) had not just one side, but two whole sides of an aisle smothered in Christmas chocolates.  This is wrong.  I am still trying to eek out my summer wardrobe in September and do not need Christmas shoved down my throat yet.  I understand that people need to budget, certainly, I am one of those people.  But, budget the cost, put it away and buy it in DECEMBER.  The whole month already dedicated to Christmas.  All this early advertising and product placement is just ruining it for this generation of children.  Well that is my opinion anyway.

* Ladies - Wear a 'Council Estate Princess' hoodie

At whatever age you are, if one of these graces your body you should be shot, but particularly if you are 50+.  I was subjected to this vision, I am ashamed to say in my home town.

* Gents - Wear a 'Last Night a BJ Saved My Life' T.Shirt

Just one thing to say on this.  D.O.N.T.  If you do it's unlikely you have ever, or will ever experience it!

* Wear Your Pyjama's / Dressing Gown / Slippers Out Shopping

I have seen this occurrence on several different occasions now so am doubting that it is a charitable and / or fundraising activity (and I have to say all by young, teenage girls) and I quite frankly, just don't get it.  But I'll tell you this for nothing, if I caught one of my kids parading around the town centre in their PJ's and slippers, they would stand and watch me shred their wardrobe (that they have probably previously told you they can't live without that top / jeans / shoes)  GET DRESSED YOU ARE NOT MAKING ANY STATEMENT APART FROM ... YOU'RE A SKANK.

* Give your child a basin haircut

Witnessed at the Yarmouth Races recently.  Such a dear little boy, an angelic little face and so well behaved.  But being laughed at by so many people (quite literally pointed and sniggered at made me feel quite sick) because he had been subjected to a true basin haircut, with the fringe a good inch shorter than the rest.  I wanted to shake the parents for making the poor, beautiful little boy the brunt of the crowds hidden laughter.  If I were a hairdresser I would have whipped out the scissors and cut it for free.  He may be the son of parents who buck the system and stick their fingers up to the world, but let the child make his own decision when he is old enough if he wants to be that person too.

And thus concludes my post on what the 'maddest' thing(s) I have seen / heard this week.  Better starting keeping my eyes peeled for next weeks madness.  Apparently having seen what I have this week I won't have to try that hard!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Challenge

Once upon a time, I pounded the streets of London for 26.2 miles (and not on a drunken 'let's try and visit every pub in London (impossible btw) mission on a Friday night).  Once upon a time... I ran a marathon.  I was as shocked as everyone else (although they graciously tried to pretend that they were not) when I announced I was going to do it.  It was one of those experiences where I could feel and hear the words leaving my mouth, talking enthusiastically about training for body and mind and brainstorming with friends on how I was going to do the fundraising for Scope.

It was one of those moments in life however, where I could talk the talk, make as many lists, positive affirmations notes to stick up, training schedules in pretty colours as I liked, but without actually getting out and doing the grass roots training I was going to fail.  And I pretty much live in fear of the word 'fail', so there was no way I was going to be able to let that happen.  I was going to have to do it. 

Now I had 'claimed' I was going to do things before, perhaps bought the gear to do it, planned and planned and planned to do it, but never actually got round to doing it.  So what was different this time?  What had made me fill out that 'Scope London Marathon Application Form', write out the £50 deposit cheque, put it in an envelope and put it in that ER Royal Mail Post Box?

My son.

My son was born in 2003.  One year later in 2004 he was diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy.  What did that mean?  It meant my boy had tragically suffered brain damage when he was born.  The damaged part of the brain is the part that controls his ability to sit, his brain doesn't send the messages to his torso to say 'sit your body up' so, it doesn't.  He can not sit unaided.  The messages his brain tries to send his legs and arms get confused so they sometimes do what he wants them to, but not with many of the fine motor skills required for it to not be a struggle or very hard work for him.

It was watching him struggle to do the most basic of moves that compelled me to think about the disgusting lazy attitude, I had been taking all these years about the gift of an my own able body.  All those years of driving to the corner shop instead of walking for 5 minutes.  All the times I 'couldn't be bothered to go swimming' or for a bike ride.  All the years I had moaned about having to walk urgghhhhh into town along the beautiful seafront.  What a selfish girl I had been.  What my boy would give to be able to do that huh?

So I decided to try and right some of that wrong and decided that I would look at some of the 'adventures' that the charity Scope offered people to do to raise money for them, that would give me a goal to get fit.  A friend and I mused over the idea of the Inca Trail in Peru, and decided that before we committed ourselves, both of us should try and get fit, because for that trip in the high altitude, you needed better lung capacity.

Being a single mother I did not have the money to join a gym so thought I would start walking and jogging, merely because it was free and I lived in the most perfect area for walking and jogging!  I think because I had been the most unenthusiastic (hear - 'lazy') person with regard to exercise before (just ask my PE teacher - I only managed to scratch a 'D' for effort because I was willing to pack up the equipment after every lesson, not for my athletic ability or want) the fact that I got myself out and complete a 10 minute walk/jog cycle that first day, it made it even more satisfying.  And I love that feeling.  So I tried again, and again and again.

Of course the first issue to overcome was finding the time to fit in the training sessions.  I had a young baby.  Cue my fantastic parents, who I think were so blinded in shock by the fact I was choosing to run that they fell over themselves to help.  In fact they not only baby sat, but my dad dutifully trailed me on his bike (my mum thought it was a safety wise move I think) as of course, most training is done in the cold, dark, cold, wet, cold, snowy (you get the idea) months!

I got signed up to a running magazine which had inspirational stories, ideas, tips and advice.  I got chatting to 'other runners' and felt better when they said sometimes 10 minutes in they felt like quitting too, but likewise when you did complete a run after that it felt even better.  I signed up to local races, and by then well and truly got the bug.  My life took on a whole new timetable and it was great.

About half way through I started blogging about 'the lead up to the marathon' and this was the most useful tool.  I found some great people to chat to and other blogs to read that made me laugh, feel better, sympathise with.  I met those people in person at races we established we had all signed up too.  It was a fantastic network.  And I found that blog all neatly printed a while back, which is what I think gave me the final push to start this blog.

The year I ran, 2005 was the year it rained, cold and miserable, from start - to - 'got so sick of rain dripping off my eyelashes sorry for myself I wanted to sit in one of the tunnels and never come out (well that's how it felt at the time - finish. 

26.2 miles.  That's farrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

But I didn't realise or appreciate that at the time.  And I was told, it would take year's before I would actually comprehend what I had achieved.  And they were right.  People also said that I would take a break afterwards and probably wouldn't go back to it.  They were right.  I wish they weren't.  Because I never did get back into it.  Life got in the way.  A change of jobs meaning I was working in the city with a long commute was my main excuse.  Then I fell pregnant again and now have 'Mr Energy' himself to contend with 24/7 as well as raising my older son of course.  Excuses, excuses.  And SHAME ON ME.  Because I still have that exact same driving force with me every day and that vigour to want to do it for him, to raise money for the wonderful charities for all those people like my son, should still be there.

And it is, today it has raised it's weary head.  So I plan today to sign up for a local race and set into the schedule times to train.  Hubby, sorry you will be on baby duty at least once over the weekend for training and then my dear family I will need your support on race days.  Then we will see just how much training and stamina building I can fit in to see how high up the length of race ladder I can go!

Maybe I could even start a blog specifically on that, an extra little driving force maybe?

Wish me luck people!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Dear Boys - Letter of Life 1 (Family Friday)

My Dear Boys

This blog was started to give you a written memory of your childhood.  As the blog is developing it is becoming more than that, because as well as accounting for our time and memories together, I am finding that I am enjoying writing about parenting from The Mother Ducks perspective and that is helping Mummy keep a clearer mind and is really quite therapeutic.  Good for Mummy therefore Good for Daddy and Good for Children!

However, I do want to keep a good memory book for you boys so I am going to try and do it in this format, my Dear Boys letters.  Let's see how it goes shall we.  Good.  Then let's get started.

This week we have mostly been... on our annual family caravan holiday.  By the time you read this, that sentence should make you smile and hopefully say 'oh we've got one of those coming up!'  What made this one so special was that Nanny and Grandad were again with us on this break, Daddy didn't have 'work to do' so was there both in body and mind, J2 was no longer just a sleeping and eating bubba (sometimes throughout the holiday this was seen as a positive and negative!) but best of all we discovered that there is such a thing as an 'Adapted Caravan' so we could wheel J1 in and move him around the van just as everyone else could!

Now this letter isn't going to be a blow by blow account of our day to day activities, number one that isn't interesting for anyone and number two I just don't have the time, but I like to look at things more in a 'What have we learned from this experience?' manner so here we go:

We learned that both you boys love to swim.  And mummy loves you to swim because it uses up pots of energy and J2 was having the best naps in the afternoon.  Unfortunately our house doesn't have a swimming pool though.  We also learned that both you boys prefer to have Daddy in the swimming pool, this suits Mummy as she learned she really is turning into her mother when she heard herself bellow 'Stop getting my hair wet!' as Daddy and J1 blasted her with the water gun.

We learned that J2 can hold his own in the Playground and even at 18 months old went for the biggest bit of equipment with no fear.  I suspect that this fearless gusto is not going to subside as you get older...

We learned that with or without remnants of Hurricane Katia, at the Races you WILL get wind burn on your face.  I wish I had a photo of us all glowing after Day One of the Races, but maybe luckily for you two, I don't.  We also learned that Daddy's habit of talking to anyone and everyone can pay off when you get a 60-1 tip that comes in.  A final point about the Races is that when Mummy has marked a horse because it's what she always says to J1 (Too Many Questions!) you should never change at your mind at the last minute, because it will come romping home and be 18-1 (not that I was or still am bitter about it...)

We learned that Mummy and Nanny enjoy an hour at the Bingo, just because it's 60 minutes of peace and quiet, but, if the Bingo caller is too fast they can't keep up and resort to collapsing in fits of giggles and getting glared at by the 'serious' players (although how you can be a 'serious player' when there are only 20 people playing is a bit of a mystery to me).

We learned that when you are taking a caravan holiday with 2 children that don't sleep through the night, the whole party will need matchsticks (and/or strong coffee) to keep their eyes open in the morning.

We learned that our two beautiful boys have the ability to make us smile, no matter how tired, wind burnt, jaded about missed horses, told off at Bingo, bad hair day subjected to we are and nothing beats that.

To our next family holiday.

All my love - Mum. xxx

(BTW I am aware that this is a Family Friday post being blogged on Saturday but we didn't get back until yesterday and there was much sorting and washing to do!)

Sunday, 11 September 2011

10 - 2 - 9/11

It's almost unbelievable that the events of 9/11 were 10 years ago.  10 years ago today I stood in a colleagues office watching the tiny monitor in utter disbelief.  I had just received a phone call from my best friend who just said 'Get to a television'.

The emotions of that day were unreal.  Incomprehensible.

Since then I have been to New York on numerous occasions with various people, but on each visit I maintained I would not visit the site as I felt it was a grave yard and should be respected as such and carried in thoughts of visitors but not gawped at.  I could not cope with the grief that I knew it would evoke.

8 years later, 2 years ago, I turned 30 and my gift from my husband was a trip to NYC with my best friend and long time travel buddy (I had recently noted I was sad that it would be unlikely that we would travel together again as she had just got married and I had discovered I was expecting our second child). 

It was booked for four days from 9 September until 12 September.  The hotel that was booked was in a different area to what we normally stayed, it was in the financial district, just blocks from the WTC site.  I hadn't anticipated that the trip I would take would be so different to the normal buoyant one that we had experienced in years previously.

From the second we arrived the whole area was in shut down in preparation for the 9/11 memorial service.  We were posted information under our door about the closed areas, and an Order of Service for the day.  I spent hours avoiding looking at but when my friend took a shower I read it.  And started to cry.  I cried for most of the four days after that.  I cried when we had to walk past the site as other routes were closed.  I cried when I saw the sheer number of people arriving for the service.  I cried when I heard the music playing on the loud speakers and my heart broke when I heard the names being read out.

Years of avoiding it, and finally I was forced to face the largest example of grief and emotion I will ever (and would ever want to) see.  At the end of that third day I felt as emotionally drained as I think I ever will.  Some will think it was because I was pregnant and over emotional, but I would like to see anyone be as close as we were to the service, to that much grief and sadness and not be affected.

My husband asked me if I had a good time when I returned home, and of course I had but I also told him I felt like an invader.  Like I shouldn't have been there to witness all those affected directly by the atrocities of that day, to the family and friends who were trying to grieve and remember their loved ones.

I was happy to return home from that trip, to be lucky enough to return to the ones I love.  I came back even more respectful of every single person involved in that day and the days after.  To all those that have learned to love more, respect more and live more.  To live for the memory of those lost.

In respectful memory of every soul lost that day.  To those who lost their life with no idea it was coming and to those who gave theirs in trying to save others.  Rest in peace.  Your memories live on in NYC and around the world with a power like no other.

I will not be publishing a post for the next five days, this one will sit as a salute to the people of NY.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

A Holiday, A Caravan, A Predicted Hurricane (well remnants of...) - Oh typical!

Our family hasn't done much holiday wise this year due to having a [fabulous] wedding in March and trying to sort out space issues in our house and making the garden usable (back) and pretty (front).  

However, we did decide to keep to our annual mid-week break to a Horse Racing festival (J1 loves it, the horses are big enough for him to see, and the excitement of the races and everyone cheering very much pleases him plus it gives me 5 days of remembering my childhood caravan holidays!)

As noted in the post 'Holidays - The Military Operation' any break away requires much precision planning and effort so to actually get to the holiday in question, I believe, always feels much more appreciated when you have children (or have had to save really really hard for it of course).  But in that, comes the overwhelming need for it to be perfect

The biggest issue with a UK holiday is of course 'The Weather'.  As mentioned in many of my blogs the British weather is the most unpredictable thing on the planet and although in your heart you know that days out will be blighted by rain, special plans will be thwarted by snow and holidays planned in a caravan will come with a 'Hurricane Warning' - WHAT THE beep beep beep!!?

Yes, I have just watched the weather report and we currently have a 'Severe Weather Warning' for wind and persistent rain, courtesy of Hurricane Katia.  I am sorry Katia, did you not just hear me saying we were going to spend the week in a Caravan?!

Now I don't like to moan but, COME ON!  One week is all I ask for, actually not even a whole week, five short days for me and my family to enjoy a change of scenery and a bit of fun.  We are going to be spending the majority of our week on an open plain, open air racecourse, persistent rain and gale force winds are just not ideal.

So herein lies the point of this post, a little hands clasped together, look to the sky to the Gods of Weather plead, 'Let the weather reporters be wrong'!

And if they are not... wish us luck!

Friday, 9 September 2011

'I Am Mum' (Family Friday)

This blog is dedicated to 'Mum's & Sons'.  I am not arrogant enough to call what is to follow a poem.  A poem is elegant and well, a little more eloquent also than what I have written, but this is more I would say, an Ode maybe... anyway, whatever it is or isn't, this is for my boys.

I Am Mum

I am the one
Who carried you safe
Until you were born
My scrappy little waif

I nestled you close
To keep you warm
And gave you your bottles
In the wee hours of morn

I deal with your tantrums
And laugh at your jokes
I make you your breakfast
Of runny egg yolks

I am the skin
You nuzzle when ill
I am blamed
For your god damn strong will

I am the one
Who kisses grazed knees
I am the one
Who's relentlessly teased

I'll give you thread
To mend a broken heart
If you take the blame
If in public I fart

I'll watch you leave
To do what you do
Be it bus driver, Teacher
Or Keeper of Zoo

To marry and love
Or whatever you choose
My hope is your spirit
You will never lose

Of you I'll be proud
Always, My Son
Because my sweet boy
I Am Mum

For J1 and J2.xxxxx

Thursday, 8 September 2011

It's a basic one - Laughter (Thankful Thursday)

My son, J2, has recently discovered the childrens programme 'Teletubbies' and it's taken a couple of episodes to get him used to the format but now, he hears that little giggle come from the baby in the sun and he scrambles as fast as his chubby little legs can carry him to sit in his highchair.  But today, as I was tidying in the room across the hall, I could hear uncontrollable laughter, that beautiful, heartwarming, makes a smile spread across your face no matter what you are doing, from the bottom of his belly, hearty and true laugh.

And it was the most beautiful sound in the world.

So today I am thankful that J2 had made a mess in the room across the hall, which meant that I was within earshot to hear that wonderful sound of his laughter.  And I suppose I am also thankful for the Teletubbies.  Which to be honest I didn't think I would EVER say!  

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

A is for ... Attitude, Applause and Ahhhh Coffee (Wordy Wednesday Blog)

This is my first attempt at keeping to my mission of having an 'organised schedule' for blogging as mentioned in my post on the Page 'About My Blog'.  Today being Wednesday, means that it is 'Wordy Wednesday' which means things that have happened in the week are plucked from the obscurity of my mind and linked together by the relevant letter of the alphabet, and as the title of this blog indicates, today it is A.

The first point raised in the title is 'Attitude' or 'Tude as it is referred to within our household.  This has been mentioned because I have been faced with the first bout of 'Tude from J1.  And this fact thrilled me so much that I had to mention it so that we can always remember it (although I always will).  In living life with J1 and all his disabilities and difficulties that life has dealt him, anytime anything occurs with him that resembles that of an 'ordinary' 7 year old I want to jump as high as the sky. 

The incident in question, was on the walk home from our first day 'back to school' yesterday.  I suddenly realised (as I frequently do) that J1 was not wearing the same clothes (usually tops) as what I sent him in.  On closer inspection I saw that he was in fact wearing his polo shirt and jumper I had sent him in, with another jumper over the top.  I decided to attempt to question him as to why he was wearing two jumpers?  Firstly, he tutted, then rolled his eyes and replied 'Because I am' sigh.

It was lucky that I was standing behind him pushing him along so that he did not see the inane grin that spread across my face, and it was all I could do to stop myself from snorting out a laugh.  Instead I composed myself and said, as seriously as was physically possible 'OK, don't give me the 'tude, I was only asking a question'.  And no we never did establish why he was wearing two jumpers!

The second A related word that warrants a mention is 'Applause'.  Both of my boys have suddenly developed the need to be applauded for everything they do.  This has been the case with J1 for a little while (if he finishes dinner on his own he announces 'Clap!', a drink 'Clap', plays with a toy 'Clap' you get the gist).  But all of a sudden J2 has started doing it too.  As he can't speak properly yet, he just starts clapping himself and shouts 'More' indicating we all have to join in.  I think it is sweet that J2 is copying his big brother but J1 seems to indicate that he is less than impressed and instead of clapping his little bro, sits with the biggest puss face that he can muster.  Again for me this is an achievement for J1, a bit of brotherly rivalry, hurrah!

Finally we have 'Ahhhh Coffee'.  This has been my chant for most of the day (well most of my days for the last 7 years actually) but in particular today (had to crack out the Italian Roast strength number 5 today - yep the big guns have seen daylight) as J1 decided that he was going to wake up at 3am, and not go back to sleep.  Now J1 stirs multiple times in the night to be repositioned but unless he is in real discomfort generally drifts back off.  It is not uncommon place for J1 to wake up around 5am (this is the general rule of thumb) and you can kind of lay and half sleep and half 'Mmmmm' to his chatting until it is time to get up at 7am, but not today, no. 

I could tell when I walked over to reposition him, with one eye half open (haven't managed to do it with both closed yet) that he had that glint in his eye that he was A.W.A.K.E.  A big smile and 'Is it time to get ready for school yet?  School today!' gave me the confirmation that I dreaded and believe me, no amount of gentle 'It's sleepy time' or change of tactic, stern 'J1 go back to sleep this minute!' worked.  No, it wasn't until 7am came around that he suddenly announced 'Mummy I'm tired'.  Tough love little dude, as you so clearly told me at 3am SCHOOL TODAY!

Thus the need for my 'Ahhhh Coffee'.  In a drip would have been good but had to take it cup for cup, which always makes you need to pee 500 times a day but I suppose that is little price for the ability to stay awake and tackle the daily duties that mummy-hood brings.  All in a day's work.  And after that early start, surely that has got to make for a better night tonight?  Always have to hope and end on a positive!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Holidays - The Military Operation

Holidays.  It's something we look forward to all year (and depending on how extravagant the holiday is, save for all year, sometimes longer).  We look excitedly and longingly at the brochures through the cold winter months and keep in mind as we trudge through snow on the school run that it is only X number of weeks to go until 'The Holiday'.  After a while and as the date draws closer and it becomes more important, that is how it becomes referred to within our household 'The Holiday'.
The word 'Holiday' should be filled with connotations of joy, happiness and pleasure.  When I was younger 'Holiday' meant to me two weeks of running around the swimming pool all day and spending your hard saved pocket money in the arcade on the 2p machines in the evening.  I loved it and have many happy memories.  And of course being a child I just arrived, I never had to think about all the work that went into packing us up and getting us away with all the 'right stuff'.  It was just there, in a case in my two week temporary bedroom!   

However, I have found, more as I have become a mother to two children I must say, and a wife (thankfully only to one man) that the word 'Holiday' firstly now evokes other thoughts.  Prior to the excited 'Let's go!' ethos that 'The Holiday' requires I must set up a precision schedule

This list includes, but is not limited to; list making, washing, drying, ironing, setting aside and ensuring ear-marked clothes do not get worn, packing, cleaning, fridge clearing (and quite often food shopping, because we have an 18 month old and my rule is to only holiday in the UK until he doesn't need pushing / carrying everywhere or walks where we want him to, doesn't cry every 60 seconds, and isn't hanging on my leg for a majority of the day) and all of that quite frankly resembles something of a Military Operation. 

And it can be quite exhausting because you do not suddenly get a free day to do this.  No it must be fitted in around all of the normal day to day stuff.  Not that I am saying J2 doesn't try and be helpful, yes he happily pulls all of my nicely pressed clothes out of the suitcase and to be fair does replace them... in a screwed up ball.  And despite mentioning all of the aforementioned tasks to Hubby, that doesn't seem to translate in man world, that I need more time (and I am assured by several girlfriends that this is the case in all of their households to, so must not be taken as a slant on my Hubby!)

I have got friends of course that don't bother with this, but seeing the amount of stress they put on themselves as D Day approaches, I am much more inclined to go with the small bit of stress relating to finding the extra time to be organised.  I could forgo the cleaning and tidying before we leave, but do I want to return from a lovely break to walk into a load of mess and immediately have the hackles on my back shoot up?  Do I want to walk in and find washing up moulding in the bowl or the house stinking because the fridge didn't get any attention?  No, so Military Operation it is for me and I have to say it's always worth it (maybe the Hubby doesn't think so as he gets bellowed at for wearing an 'earmarked shirt') but hey!  

But once it is done I can have a couple of days squealing with the kids and showing them where we are going.  I can see the cases packed and stacked, the food box nestling content in the corner and smell the polish has been out and feel proud.  Then I can really get that child hood feeling of looking forward to the 'Holiday' - and yes, I still go with my 2p purse!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

As I get more into 'this blogging life' (and yes, it does get really rather addictive) I am learning how to follow other peoples blogs and I feel much better for it.  Many bloggers, like myself, want to capture life and it's moments just as it is, honestly, with brutal truth many using the term 'to show parenting how it is The Good, The Bad and The Ugly'.

So as I read more, I am finding blog a plenty of The Good, some of The Bad but few of The Ugly.  In a way this could be good, that people's lives don't often venture into The Bad or Ugly, but I looked at my own happy, upbeat blog and wondered if in actual fact we don't wish to admit to The Bad or Ugly within our lives because we don't want to be seen as 'failing' and by writing about the 'not so good days' would be doing just that.

Admitting that some days our manic, scheduled, packed out lives are not all 'on schedule' so to speak doesn't make us look like the coping with everything parent / wife / husband / person in general we wish to be seen as.

But I for one am looking for those blogs, so that on my own 'Bad Day' (and I admit sometimes Day turns into the plural) I don't feel like an incompetent, failing miserably mother / wife / housekeeper / daughter / friend etc.  I want to know that I am not the only person thinking 'If that baby screams one more time my head is going to explode all over these (need a fresh lick of paint - maybe in the next century) walls!

So, I will hold my hands up and say I haven't blogged for the last few days because I have been in a foul mood and when asked by my husband if I had blogged, after the (perfectly acceptable and real answer of 'I haven't had the time HAVE I!') I thought, no I haven't because I would blog the wrong negative things, but why would that be so bad, that would be an accurate reflection of real life at that time.

I don't mean I wish to rant or air my dirty laundry (hence why I am writing this now I am in a better mood) which is the danger when writing in full emotive mode, but I am supposed to be keeping a 'true and accurate record' (feel I should be saying 'now sign here please' after writing that) about my family life.  So here goes, the last few days I have been in a bad mood and here are the general reasons why :

J2 has been in complete 'toddler tantrum' mode and every 60-90 seconds lets rip a scream that I am, quite frankly, surprised leaves one single brick standing in our house.  Occasionally he will follow this up with throwing himself on the floor and banging his head (causing more screeching).

This in turn leads me to have to tell him off a million and one times a day (otherwise feels likes 'moaning' and is not pleasant and becomes a drag, even for the moaner).  This then makes my tolerance level lessened for other things that would usually only mildly irritate on a normal day, this then causes guilt, and no one likes that.

This all then turns into me being emotionally drained by 7pm, roughly when the hubby appears from work, not a good combination.  He wants happy emotion on his return home, rightly so, but this is seen by me as wanting something massive.  This leads to an immediate explosion of pent up frustration that because of constant attempts at stopping the screaming (every form of distraction method deployed, including ignoring, but there is only so much of that you can do when you are aware that the neighbours are trying to have their parents over for a nice garden lunch) nothing else you planned to try and do that day has been done, stuff is everywhere, you don't have content and happy children and basically you feel like a complete failure. 

The next day, when hubby hasn't done the washing up he promised to do while sending your grumpy butt off to bed the night before (his chance at a quiet, grump free hour before he starts another 12 hour day) instead of starting the day as you thought you would as you changed the first bum, peed and walked downstairs before you were hit with Hell's Kitchen) the black mood starts the day.

It's a vicious circle.  The kids feed off of your mood, the kids start whining the circle continues.  It happens.  To everyone.  Surely?  But I am not sure because we don't really like to talk about 'those days' only the one's where you either a) feel like or b) have been, superwomen.

So there you go, I have had not just one but a couple of those 'Bad and Ugly Days'.  Feeling perhaps a bit more help keeping on top of things wouldn't go a miss, that perhaps I might not make it through this toddler time with any sanity left, that maybe the kids and my husband deserve better than a grumpy, snappy 30 something.  But they are just that; a couple of bad days.  They pass.  They get forgotten.  We become superwomen / supermum / superwife / superdad (delete as appropriate) once more and write happy (and true) blogs, mostly from what I have found, being grateful for their lot in life.

But just for those parents having their own couple of 'Bad and Ugly' days - this one's for you.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

S is for ... September, School and Scary

So far September has been pretty good.  We waved goodbye to a rather chilly August and welcomed in September and some warmth.  This I like.  A lot.

September means many things.  The end of Summer but the beginning of the beautiful Autumn season (well beautiful to the eyes, but messy on wheelchair and buggy wheels when the leaves start to drop).  Lots of birthdays (September is super popular amongst my friends and family).  The start of Christmas ideas seeking (it's difficult finding things suitable for J1 and takes some careful planning).  But most predominantly it means the start of the new school year (cue scary music).

I find it hard to believe that J1 has been attending his school for 4 years already.  It is a fantastic school and I am so glad that we chose to send J1 to it, because the leaps and bounds that he has made, particularly in the last 2 years I attribute entirely to his teacher and the support network of assistants in the classroom.  The people that work with J1 are all truly amazing, kind hearted, generous, and special people.  Because the class has been together for 3 years a real unity of purpose had developed between the staff, children and parents over that time and all the children were doing marvelously well.

Alas, too well, it got spotted and now the school feel all the children are ready to move 'up' a class.  Thus, at the end of July at a tearful farewell tea party the end of an era occurred.  No one can really argue with the decision as it is probably very true, the children are ready to move on, so this September instead of having the comfortable knowledge that J1 is going back to his class that I know he is happy and familiar with, I have the fear that all parents have at this time of year - a new September, a new School class, a new Scary time.

I have been spoilt in the past with not having to deal with this (apart from when he went from baby class to 'proper' class but he was so small I knew it wouldn't worry him too much) and decided that instead of fretting about it all summer holidays, I would not allow myself to think about it until September.  So today being September 1st, it's time to face up to it.

All the fears are there, how will he get on in a new class and will he like the teacher?  Will he take to the new children in the class?  In a way it's nice to know that these questions would be the same ones I would have even if J1 didn't have disabilities and special needs.  But he does so my fears also include, will he receive physiotherapy everyday? Will he get standing frame time?  Will they remember that he has had surgery on both hips and suffers pain from that when he is hoisted or changed? Will they be patient and kind to him when they have had to answer the same question for the hundredth time that day?  Are they fully aware that he gets very scared if other children are moving around him too quickly?  This is probably my biggest fear, the class he is moving into are more 'able bodied' students and with J1's sensitivities I worry to my very core that all the progress he has made in gaining confidence could be shattered.

But on the other hand I know that the school do know what they are doing and I have been assured by the fantastic teachers he had, that the teacher he is going to is just as fantastic and that in depth handover packages have been completed.  I haven't mentioned to J1 that he is moving class, firstly I am not to sure that he would actually understand and I also don't want to set in motion a week of him waking up and fretting in the night if he does.  It's so difficult to know what to do for the best.  I think perhaps the idea of going back to school should be introduced over the next few days, and perhaps start showing him his uniform and lunch box, things he can associate with school, then break in the idea that he is going to be attending a new classroom and see how we fare with that information first.  I think that he will be excited to go back to school, but once he realises that it isn't quite the same as last year I might have a few days of a grumpy little man.  Just a guess...

Along with it all being quite scary however, it is also very exciting, probably more for me than him!  I can see the prospects of moving up to a 'bigger' class and how it could potentially benefit him (as long as the actual change isn't just too much for him to cope with) in ways that a few years ago I didn't think would ever happen.  The most exciting thing on the table?  LEARNING TO READ.  They believe that they will be able to get my little man LEARNING TO READ.  This is amazing and wonderful.  I think if it happens (got to think positive as he has managed to achieve so much already that not so long ago I didn't know would be possible) I will cry.  If I hear his little voice reading words on a page it will be a real life miracle for me. 

I think because I hold reading and writing so dear, and place it so high on my list of priorities (of enjoyment) to be able to share that with my little boy will just be immense.  We of course already sit together and I read to him and he adds words from memory, but for him to see the word, understand the word, enjoy it and feel proud.  Wow, I can't describe how that would feel.

But overall, I just want my little boy to still get up in the morning and say 'School today, have I got packed lunch?  What's in it, there better be some crisps!' and be happy.  Just like any parent of any child.

So for all the Scary feelings that September and School evoke, the bigger picture I think it'll be worth it.

Dedicated to my little boy J1 and going back to school in 2011.  Enjoy my sweet boy.