Category Archives: The Boys

Promises and Paignton Zoo

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The last promise I couldn’t keep was in October. Toby knew I was unwell that morning and I promised him I would not go into hospital again – of course I ended up having a two weeks stay at Torbay Hospital due to another disabling relapse; but in Toby’s eyes, his mummy had lied and he struggled so much in those weeks. I told myself to never promise like that again…

Mothers Day 2016 and I have done it again, I promised the boys I would take them to the zoo and we would have a lovely picnic, we would stop at every play place for a few minutes and they could choose an ice cream as a treat. Two days ago my left arm became all but useless, my speech is horrible and I seemed to be slipping once more into another relapse. The difference is, I bloody well will not let them down and I will get to the zoo and buy my boys an ice cream.

We have been members at Paignton Zoo for over 6 years now, and we love going, it has something for everyone, I love the Gibbons and the Ape House, the boys however bypass most animals in seconds, they may take a fact or two on board, but really they just want to whizz down the curly slide (they are very excited about the Swiss Family Robinson style tree top park that should be open for the Easter Holidays).   So when our new normal began on 1st September, I remember crying about never being able to go to the Giraffes house or maybe never the zoo after so many years of pushing buggies up hills to see gentle giants or being able to find the infamous red pandas. It is amusing now I guess that I was so focused on this when there were so many other more pressing problems, like being able to move my arms!!

This morning, I was woken up by my two chimps who covered the bed in a host of colourful homemade love filled cards for Mothers Day. We ate chocolate in bed followed by breakfast on the sofa whilst watching Match of the Day.. then we headed for the zoo.  I can barely use my left arm today, my left leg feels like the weight of a fallen oak tree and my speech makes me sound like I added far too much brandy to my coffee, but, I had to get to our promised place.

We arrived at the zoo and due to the wonderful service they provide, those first thoughts all those months ago were put to rest and for a small fee I hired one of their many sturdy mobility scooters. There are very few places you cannot access using a scooter and I do giggle when the wibbly wobbly bridge in the lemur enclosure is mentioned as an out of bounds area. But you have full access to pretty much everything, the paths are all in good condition, there are a number of accessible toilets and the staff are second to none.

Today, I got to choose where we started (Giraffes via the bats snakes red river hogs and camels to name but a few)   and worked our way around. All the giraffes were out, the black rhinos were strolling around their enclosure and the silverback put on a great show. The tigers prowled and the lions roared. It felt like today they were putting on a show just for us and at my favourite spot over looking the elephant and giraffe enclosure, we all ate ice creams.

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HELP!

Help!

#1 Infusion – 8th December 2015

I know currently all I do is ask for help but this is the most important ask of all. There are two parts to this so I will just get on with it.

Part One of Help!

So this infusion, there are side effects that include scary deadly brain virus’ and I am feeling a tad unlucky at the moment so really rather worried about it. Let’s just say I get it and get an early exit, I ask that as many of you as possible could do the following for me.

Tell my boys at every possible opportunity how amazing they are, how beautiful they are, how brave they are. Please tell them that they were my absolute world, that I loved them more than words that every part of their body I knew, every cry I understood and that every day I felt unbelievable love that I honestly never thought possible and that just grew and grew every minute.

Will you help them to continue to grow into kind caring young men with compassion for others no matter where they are from, what language they speak or what colour skin they have. Help them to understand how important kindness, equality, love and freedom are.

Help them to see that Mummy will always be in their hearts, wherever they go and whatever they do and that from afar I will continue to burst with pride at how they choose their paths in life.

Tell them at every opportunity that I love them as big as the world.

 

Part Two of Help!

I am obviously hoping that the two years of infusions will go smoothly and that this bloody awful unpredictable stupid disease will go into a lifelong remittance, in which case let’s just keep this to ourselves and not mention it until it is necessary. No need to comment and tell me it will be alright just please acknowledge and shelve the information and action if necessary!

Saying thank you to you all just doesn’t seem enough after everything people have done for me the last few months, but please know that your friendship has meant the world to us and the emails, comments, meals, visits, cards, gifts, haircuts, looking after the boys and kind thoughts have made us be as positive as we have been. Thank you x (but please lets never talk about this!!)hospital1 boys 12241521_10153332499728412_7212632688510971443_n

 

 

How do I explain this all to my boys?

Big Foot and Skinny Legs keep asking when my legs will get better and we are now at a point where we need to accept that things will not be ‘normal’ and we need to make our new normal, so we need to start explaining Multiple Sclerosis to them.

I am not being negative, actually it is more that we are being realistic.  Treatment options have changed again as this is more aggressive than we first thought and there have been changes to my MRI even in a short space of time with two sessions of IV steroids.  I start Tysabri soon, and infusion every four weeks for 2 years and we are really hoping this will bring some relief to this almost constant relapse.

So I have spent weeks writing my own version of what is provided for children.  It is a lot less words, a few more pictures and it is personal to us.  I would love your thoughts on it x

Mummies Funnies WEB

Summer of Science – Rubbery Egg!

Really Simple and the boys loved it.

You will need:

An Egg (or two!)

Vinegar

Container

 Put an egg in a container and put vinegar on it – leave for three days – Ta Da – Rubbery Egg!

The boys learnt about things dissolving and thought it was magic – we did this experiment twice.

Dissolve – Disappear into water/liquid

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My Little Miss Sunshine

 

 

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The 1st of December 2014 was the most amazing day, the day that changed my life really (yes I know it is dramatic, but really it did).

I adore my brother, he is the kindest most loyal person you will meet, he is a fair few years younger than me and whilst initially having a baby brother was quite frankly the worst thing in the world (to a 7 year old) it wasn’t long before this overwhelming want to protect him took over and this pretty much lasted until 1st December 2014!

In June I received the phone call to say that he was going to be a daddy and I was so happy for him and his lovely girl friend, he adored her and son from a previous relationship and already felt like a father figure but this was the real deal and whilst I couldn’t believe that my baby brother was going to be a daddy – it was just perfect.

The 12 week scan came back as all normal and low risk, but the 20 week scan was different. They were sent to Guys and St Thomas because of possible heart issues, my brother rang with a quiver in his voice saying that if this ‘thing’ is not there then the baby will not be compatible with life…. If I could have just wrapped them up in cotton wool and taken away the pain I would have but there was nothing I could do to help. A few days later and the scan was ok but the pregnancy remained difficult.

So roll on a few months and the waters break, I am on tender hooks and cannot wait to hear if I have a new niece or nephew and that my baby bro is a daddy.

I get the call in the small hours of 1st December, you have a beautiful baby niece and I am a daddy. She is very quiet but beautiful – I just knew that something wasn’t quite right, his voice while filled with elation had an edge. Not long after, another call, Abigail is not responding and they think she may have Downs Syndrome. Can you call Mum, Dad and Lisa and tell them.

I cannot even put into words how I wanted to change everything in that moment, I didn’t know what to do, I think I said something like, well I adore her already because she is part of you but my heart was breaking.

Then came all the other tests to confirm, is she deaf, does she have sight, will she be able to move – this wonderful little family had everything ripped apart, I could see they were trying to be brave, trying to put on a positive front but I knew they were breaking inside. It was such a shock, we knew nothing about Downs Syndrome we didn’t have a prognosis and every step of the way seemed to be worst case scenario. I cannot imagine how they coped, I cannot imagine how they must of felt, and I cannot put into words how helpless we all felt.

Fast forward a few months and whilst my little Miss Sunshine does have many hurdles to overcome and my brothers house is becoming more full of contraptions by the day to help little Miss, this little Lady has astounded me (us) with her determination and as with my other Nieces and Nephews I simply adore her, I am the proudest Auntie in the world.

Abigail Grace is pure to her very core. She is Happiness. Always smilin, her smile is contagious and she just makes me realise how lucky we are to have her in our lives.

A few months ago, honestly, I would have whipped that extra chromosome away and, I asked my brother if he could would he too? His answer was yes, absolutely, he wanted the easiest path for his beautiful daughter and in those first few months of accepting, it was a quick and totally understandable answer.

Nearly 9 months on and I asked the same question again, if you could would you take that extra chromosome away and the answer was very different.

“If taking the extra chromosome away from Abigail would stop a premature death and give her better health then yes I would, but if it would change her, her personality, her ways or her amazing soul in any way then I absolutely would not”.

Bro, I have gone from wanting to protect you, to putting you on the highest pedestal. I always thought I would be the one to advise you but it is you I look up to now. I cannot tell you how proud I am of you. I could spend hours writing this but it wouldn’t say eloquently enough what I actually feel.

I love you and your little family so much, your first born is my light when things get a little murky between my ears, she makes me happy just thinking about her and seeing you with your daughter makes me melt. Love you Bro x 50,000,001 x + 31 add another 30 (something I have said to my brother from childhood x)

 

 

 

Am I a good Mummy??

If I could get all the money I have spent on books about parenting in the last five and a half years back I have worked out, roughly, that I could take the boys to Lego land with an overnight stay and a gift from the gift shop and food out. The amount of time in addition to reading these spent on the internet checking and double checking that I have made the right decision could give me weeks more time back where I could have sorted out my damn kitchen and bedroom cupboards to perfection.

I kind of had this smugness about being a mother when I finally got to the ‘safe’ bit of pregnancy I honestly thought that I was going to be a natural. I wanted to breast feed for at least six month, use cloth nappies ban all plastic toys and baby wear for as long as I could. What actually happened was entirely the opposite, I had an emergency section, I couldn’t breastfeed (which is a whole other story and I was mortified that my milk never came in) I sold the cloth nappies after about 4 weeks still in their wrappers, and when my baby was a mere four months old I invested in a jumperoo, this incredible contraction to amuse my baby because I didn’t have a clue how to do this myself.

The book buying had already began, contented baby, baby whisperer to name but a few, I paid for a woman who I had never met who didn’t know my baby £50 to look at my routine as I didn’t trust that I was doing the right thing. Every step, every milestone I got through by researching, buying literature, joining every forum I could find and asking my friends (who think I am absolutely la la most of the time I am sure) and I still do over five years on.

I met with my two closest and oldest friends a few nights ago, they have little babies so I offered to drive so that they could have a glass of wine and it was the loveliest and funniest evening. Friend no1, turned up feeling triumphant that she had managed bus, train, ferry with her five year old and 12 week baby. Her way to build confidence is to do the most difficult thing that she can to prove that she can, anything less will be a breeze. Friend no2 turned up with pad and pen wanting to make an itinerary to help her through the summer hols with a 3 year old and a 9 month old. Me, I have a daily plan for every day of the holidays in a spreadsheet that covers all areas of learning that I can think of, this has taken months and heaps of research as it just doesn’t come naturally, it has to be that way so that I know I am doing the best I can for my boys.

The last month has seen the start of Mummy TuTu and I have done this not because I want to shout to the world how frickin’ awesome I am at this but to actually say I do not trust one ounce of my parenting skills, in fact I think I am pretty rubbish, I shout way too much, my cooking is diabolical, and I have to Google everything from poo consistency to behaviour as I don’t seem to be able to get the right answer with my own judgement.

So my posts aren’t pretentious look at me posts, what I hope they are is support and advice to other mummies that might be thinking the same x

p.s. This month I have three new books about peaceful parenting, sibling rivalry and how to be a happy family ………

Summer of Science – Dancing Raisins

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Ingredients – Glass , Baking Powder, Vinegar (white), Raisins or any dried fruit

Here is what to do:

Fill glass ¾ full of hot water (just tap hot works)

Add 2 tbsp of baking powder and stir until it dissolves

Plop in some raisins

Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar

Explanation

Mixing vinegar and baking powder makes a gas. Bubbles of gas stick to the raisins which makes it float to the top of the glass. The bubbles burst at the top and the raisin drops to the bottom. This happens over and over and looks like the raisins are dancing.

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New word of the day

Dissolve – disappears into liquid (like magic!)

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Tear ducts in overdrive… Reception – Done!

How can it be that this academic year finishes tomorrow and my boy migrates from Maple to Willow.   The tearful facebook status of a year ago seems so long ago and whilst it has had emotional points, the pride I have from being this amazing little creature’s parent makes my boy my biggest teacher and my inspiration to try and be the very best Mummy that I can be.

I have spent this evening writing teacher cards and trying to put into words how thankful I am to bigfoots school for the most incredible introduction to his schooling . I mean how do you put into words how grateful you are for encouraging, nurturing and inspiring my precious boy.

It has been a tricky year in that it has highlighted a few quirks that bigfoot has, he is a worrier and can tie himself in knots worrying, but this and other quirks make him the caring little (big) lad that he is. He is fiercely loyal to his close friends and in school is quiet, well behaved and kind (I am certain they would be surprised by his loud boisterous behaviour at home!).

Every parents evening starts, “your dear boy” and I puff my chest out with pride at the amazing little man he is becoming. Tobes tries so hard, I mean almost every day for the last year he takes the register at home * thank you to the school office for sending home the template and the ‘actual’ pens his teachers use (all the biros I bought just weren’t right)*.   He loves writing at home, almost constantly and I even had to get him a little numicon set even though in general I am opposed to plastic kids stuff in the house.

His teachers totally ‘got’ him, they understood my boy and put into place the most amazing support that has made Reception so superb, has helped him cope better with his emotions and is sending him into year one with a skip in his step and a new found confidence.

So as a worrier of a worrier, yes I am indeed in a panic about Year one and how my boy is going to progress, but I know deep down that whatever challenges his next year brings he will continue to be the kind, caring Toby Bear and I will continue to be the proudest Mummy on this planet!

Can we do something for each other??

I read an interesting article asking for a favour and it really touched a nerve about how I feel sometimes but also it is something that must affect so many others so I thought maybe we can all help by doing something pretty simple.

The whole first year of Toby’s schooling I have not taken him or picked him up as I work full time and I am lucky enough to have a fantastic (and I mean flippin’ fantastic) childminder and Grandparents that do this for me. However, throw into the equation cancer and a poorly Grandad and everything had to be re-arranged, my work allowed unpaid leave one day a week and the guilt I have felt from not doing the school runs subsided just a little as I finally felt like a ‘proper’ mummy.

Now, I am really very lucky, not only is the school fabulous but the mummies are too (and Grannies, Grandads, Auntie Uncles etc etc) but that didn’t stop me from feeling uncomfortable in this new situation. I turn into this weird gabbling woman with incurable verbal diarrhoea and as I walk out of the playground I just want to go and head butt the nearest tree as I feel so stupid having said the most ridiculous things!! On the surface I guess I come across as reasonably confident but if you could hear the little people in my head questioning my every move you may think differently.

So, can we do something for each other … can you take a little and look around and if you see someone that looks a little uncomfortable or someone that has just moved to the area, could you do something for them, can we give a reassuring smile, go and have a chat, I mean I am not asking for us all to form a lifelong friendship (though this could potentially be the case) and have play dates all the time, but a little reassurance would go a long long way.

 

Why Science???

Why Science??

You see my Tobes struggles in certain situations but with the help of his incredible school he has overcome a great deal in the last year, his first year of schooling. Behaviour is not an issue, his recent report talks about my quiet, sensitive, kind well behaved boy (puffs up my chest with pride for my Tobes) but he does need help coping with anxiety and new situations.

Toby is best described as quirky and in my opinion quirky is fabulous!

But how can I help him with his confidence over the summer, the confidence to speak up in class, to think about how to solve problemsto form his own opinions instead of nodding along with others?

I found watching him suffer from social anxiety and the coping strategies he used heartbreaking. But a few months on and lots of confidence building and new strategies in place at school and we are breaking up for the summer with a much less anxious child.

Science is what I came up with, and I need to learn to ask Why? to give my boys the opportunity to answer (I have a terrible habit of answering for them).

Science teaches children about life, it involves talking and listening, it sparks ideas in the growing minds and plants the first seeds to help them create solutions to problems. So the plan for my Summer of Science started….