Friday, 22 May 2015

“The Kindness of a Stranger”


We continue to wait for further news regarding the appointment for J’s full assessment, and while we wait Daddy P and I continue to muddle along as best we can, working hard to keep J’s routine in place, giving him a timer to help him understand limited amounts of time and what needs to be done within that time, making sure that even if he doesn’t feel the same himself that he understands why others might feel the way they do.

Something that we regularly have issues with is school drop-off. Some days, you’ll get there and the teachers have just opened the door – days like these tend to be easier, because then J will see the teachers and his classmates rushing in and he’ll grab his stuff and say goodbye and charge off eagerly to be with his friends. Some days, it’ll be a few minutes before the door opens and in those few minutes J gets bored with waiting, and distracted. I try to keep hold of him as I know that once he runs off and starts playing I won’t be able to call him back easily – it’ll take me ages calling him, trying to catch him, before I manage to get him and take him to the ramp that leads up to the door. Other days he’ll grab onto my leg when the door opens and refuse to let go – he’ll get upset about leaving me, says things like he wants to stay at home with me to make sure I’m OK.

Twice this week, I’ve had the running away experience. Earlier this week when he did it, I’d been holding his hand right til the last minute, and let go of him only to usher him up the ramp, and he turned round, dropped his things, and ran off in the opposite direction. As I stood there feeling deflated and wondering why he did these things, a young girl ran over to me and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll get him,” She then wandered over to him casually, held out her hand and said, “Come on J, walk in with me.” He stopped what he was doing and looked at her. I was stood there in disbelief, and he rushed over to her and grabbed her hand, and the pair of them walked over to me. She gathered his things from where he’d abandoned them in a pile at my feet, and handed them to him, took hold of his hand again and they walked in together.

This morning, it seemed we were waiting forever for the door to open and to start with, J was perfectly happy to stay close to me and run around me and one of his classmates mums, with his classmate, chasing one another. Then the door opened and his classmate ran off up the ramp without hesitation – J shot off in the opposite direction. I’d called him and waved at him to come back, but he was off to the play equipment (which he knows he’s not meant to play on) I followed him over there, with my strict mummy voice on, and told him to get off the equipment and hurry up into the school. At first he refused, then he came down the slide and ran toward the ramp as if he was going to go in without further issue – then he changed his mind again, ran past the end of the ramp and carried on playing. Just as I was standing there wondering what to do for the best, the same young girl came over to me and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll get him” for the second time this week, and she calmly walked over to him and held out her hand again. Once more she took him up the ramp and into the school. I made sure this time that I spoke with the teacher on the door, to tell her how impressed I was with this girl, because of her helpfulness and the fact that she is so willing to give me a hand getting J into school.

I was told that the same girl often keeps an eye on him in the playground, and despite the fact he’s younger than she is, she’ll let him play with her and her friends, and she’ll often help the teachers at the end of breaktime getting him back into school (it’s not just me who has issues with it then!)

It’s part of what I like about J’s school. It’s called a family school, and I wondered why that was to begin with, but they do have a strong family ethic of looking after one another. Older kids will play with younger kids, with understanding for the difference in their ages and compassion if the younger ones get injured in the playground (they escort younger ones to the first aid room) The older kids who do well are made into monitors who then spend an afternoon or two each week assisting in other classrooms – J has developed a bit of a thing for a year six girl who comes into his class on a Friday to sharpen the colouring pencils and who sits and does some reading and drawing with a couple of the children (normally including J!) The teacher on the door in the mornings isn’t a teacher who teaches J’s class - yet she knows his name and has done for some time. She’ll call him in the mornings when she sees him hurrying toward the ramp, he knows her and chats to her about his interests and what has happened and how he’s feeling. Today she was chatting to me about our plans for half term; she was saying to me that she’s found stickers work well for getting J into school after break time. It’s definitely motivation that works for J – since doing the sticker diary at home in the evenings he’s trying really hard to earn as many stickers as possible.

I don’t know anything about this girl apart from the fact that she doesn’t bat an eyelid at J throwing a wobbly and she remains calm and offers her hand for him to take when he’s not feeling co-operative. The kindness of strangers doesn’t have to be anything massive, but twice this week the same young girl has shown me how much of an effect a simple act of kindness has.

Peace & Love,

Mummy P


Wednesday, 20 May 2015



As a family, we tend to get early evening time together, between Daddy P coming home from work and J going to bed, and it’s then that we spend time doing what J decides he’d like to do. Many evenings have seen us sitting here building things from Lego; sometimes we watch a film; but J does like his video games, and he does enjoy time spent with both of us playing them.

Bearing in mind his Lego obsession, Daddy P has previously got him the Harry Potter, Star Wars, Batman and other Lego games to play. A few weeks ago, he picked up Minecraft, without really knowing a huge amount about it, but liking the look of it for J, and the description.

For those of you who have, so far, escaped the madness of Minecraft, it is one of those things that suddenly encompasses all. J wants to spend every available moment playing – which I don’t let him, but the obsession is that strong. And if he doesn’t want to play it, he wants to watch YouTube videos of it – his favourite being StampyCat, the same as many other fans. The thing is, this has become equally as popular as playing the game itself - how crazy is that?

When I went shopping for him recently, I picked up a Minecraft t shirt and a sweatshirt and he was over the moon (the t shirt has been one of those wear it, wash it, wear it again ones that is his current favourite) My list of birthday present options include combining his two favourite things - Lego & Minecraft.

The thing is, with this game, both Daddy P and myself will play for hours without getting bored, too. It’s not like the Lego games where after a short amount of time we’re ready for it to be over; this game, despite the basic appearance with the blocky graphics, is totally addictive. We’re creating huge houses – we just use the creative mode, not the survival mode – and J is learning things like the fact that water turns lava into rock.

At the moment it would appear Daddy P is building an island for his latest architectural masterpiece while Jacob combines the elements of red clay and concrete for a modern striped beach house. I'm off to watch and offer interior design assistance ...

Peace, Love & Mooshrooms,

Mummy P


Tuesday, 19 May 2015



As I child, I spent a lot of time with my cousins (on my mums side of the family). Our family was close, and lived fairly closely together, so we saw quite a lot of one another, normally at our nan and granddads house, but also we had a lot of days out together, too. There was my Auntie M’s three kids and my Uncle D’s son; they were much closer in age to one another than to me – N is the eldest, then D, then the twins R and J, and I was 8 years younger than the twins. Still, I remember all of them playing with me and we were more like siblings than cousins for a long time. I have fond memories of that time.

When I found out my sister in law was pregnant with my nephew A, I was thrilled. He was born in June 2011, two months before J’s first birthday, and I was so pleased they’d be close in age and hoped they’d be able to enjoy a close friendship as I’d enjoyed with my cousins. It is, so far, working out well – there is a large distance between our families physically, but when we get the chance to spend time together the boys are great friends.

My sister in law is up for a short visit at the moment, and we made arrangements for myself and J to go round to my mum in laws house after school today for tea. I deliberately didn’t tell J until we were on our way home from school, as otherwise he’d have been miles too excited and it would have set me up for a problematic evening! We got there around half four, and the boys had fun playing with the Lego before tea; after finishing off turkey dinosaurs and smiley faces (a firm favourite of J’s) they went out in the garden to run off some excess energy – and I took this snap, which I love. I think it captures the friendship between them well; and I couldn’t be happier that J has a cousin close in age and he can experience that friendship.

Of course now the family has been added to with my sister in laws daughter, A, and on my side of the family my brother has his daughter, who has recently celebrated her first birthday, so they are all fairly close in age – certainly closer than I was with my cousins – and I look forward to many more days with them all playing together.

Today was the first day of my annual leave, and to round it off with a lovely visit like that really put the cherry on top. J had a bit of a fit when we were leaving, but it wasn’t a major meltdown and it was quickly and easily contained and dealt with, and we were merrily on our way. What a fantastic start to my time off work. Let’s hope it continues!

Peace, Love & Smiley Faces,

Mummy P


Friday, 8 May 2015

Updated Images

I felt like changing the photos on my page for an updated set.

Here's my newest banner.

Featuring my current favourite photo of myself, a cheeky shot of J, Lady O doing her best princess impression, Boy Dog looking sheepish and Girl Dog looking lazy - that sums up our household right now!

We're having a big turf out at our house at the moment. We've lived here 7 years now and in all that time we've just accumulated stuff, we haven't chucked a lot out, so now we're three people in a three bedroom house with two dogs and a dragon and we've got junk up to our eyeballs! Enough is enough! So I am slowly but surely working my way through the mountains of stuff and trying to get rid of all I can. It doesn't help that Daddy P is a hoarder.  My attitude is, chuck it. If you haven't used in in 6 months and it's gathering dust, chuck it. Daddy P prefers to keep things "just in case" The trouble is, his "just in case" places are the loft, or one of his three sheds, and now they're all full and there's still more "just in case" items, I'm finally winning him round. Last night he conceded we may as well chuck the ancient old PC monitor that he's been hanging onto for years that hasn't been used for almost four years and is unlikely to ever be used again, but he wanted to put in the loft. Well it's too heavy, he can't get it up there himself and I'm no help to him doing it, so it can't go in the loft which means he is going to have to get rid of it. Finally. We're getting somewhere.

What should be the dining room of our terraced home has always just been the computer room as far as we're concerned - we've never had a dining table in there. As time has gone on it's become less a computer room - not least when my computer died and we couldn't afford to replace it - so it's become a kind of home office containing all my work files and folders, as well as our collection of cookery books (of which there are many!) a vast printer and a scanner linked with Daddy P's PC and all our paperwork, filed and unfiled, in piles and boxes around the room. Daddy P finally sorted out the black bin bag of junk that had been sitting on one of the swivelling chairs for over a year while he was off work this week. He insists it hasn't been that long, but I spoke to my mum, and she's convinced it's a year since we did the last big clean up in that room and first put that bag of stuff there for Daddy P to go through and sort out. Anyhoo. It's done now. The majority of it has been thrown away, but the stuff he wants to keep he has piled on top of my stuff still to sort out. Hmm. Looks like I'll still be refining this down a lot more!

Once that's done we're painting the little front bedroom and giving it a freshen up to sort it out to be used as a functioning room again, instead of it being used as a storage room for everything else that doesn't have a home! I got a new clock the other day, I'm very proud of it but Daddy P seems less sure - I don't care, I'm enjoying having fun decorating and choosing bits and bobs! It's going to look fabulous, I can't wait!

Well Daddy P is out tonight and like the one true rebel that I am, I have decided on having a hot chocolate and an early night!

Catch up with you soon,

Mummy P

x x x x

Carseat Laws

At the beginning of April, there was a bit of a fuss about new carseat laws. Statements released by various official bodies were worded confusingly and caused a lot of concern amongst parents of young children.

It had a tidal wave effect on the company I work for as a result. We ended up doing Live Chats with customers with staff answering enquiries about it from first thing in the morning til last thing at night, and still more enquiries were coming in from panicked customers thinking that their product was no longer legal.

In July 2013 a new standard was introduced for carseats and carseat bases used for transporting children up to 105cm (approx. four years old) This standard is known as iSize. Maxi-Cosi helped develop and define the regulation for longer and safer rearward travel, which is found to be safest for babies up to the age of fifteen months (it is recommended to continue rear facing for as long as possible for optimum protection) This standard was then ratified in April 2015, formerly known as the standard R129, and this is where the confusion began.

Official bodies released statements regarding R129 / iSize, stating that From April 2015 the new law was in effect and all babies must travel rear facing until 15 months old. Customers were concerned – their carseat didn’t offer enough space for this / their babies were younger than 15 months old and were already forward facing, what did this mean for them? Maxi-Cosi took to social media to reassure their customers as quickly as possible.

The iSize standard rules about your baby rearfacing til 15 months only apply if you are using an iSize standard product (such as Maxi-Cosi 2wayPearl & 2wayFix combination / PebblePlus & 2wayFix combination or AxissFix) If you are using these products, you must comply with iSize law and your child must remain rear facing until at least 15 months old (though longer is preferred and can be continued with 2wayPearl until 105cm and AxissFix until 87cm)

What is iSize?

The older regulation R44-04 remains a relevant law / standard. There must be a period of time to phase out one regulation and phase in the replacement. This amount of time is anticipated to be many years – if your child is currently in an R44-04 standard carseat, this is fine and remains legal. If you are using these products, you comply with R44-04 standard law. This means that a Group 0+ infant carrier must be used rear facing only to a maximum of 13kg / Group 1 toddler seat is suitable from 9-18kg. If you’re unsure on the guidelines for the model carseat you have, contact the manufacturer with a photo of the orange and white label on the back of the product – this will tell them all they need to know about the item, and they can provide you with any information you may need about the standard it meets, the way it must be fitted for correct use, and the weight limit suitability.

Parents whose vehicles do not have IsoFix points are unable to use iSize standard products – part of the legislation regarding iSize is that fitting is done by IsoFix. This is because IsoFix is easier to fit correctly than when using a 3 point seatbelt. A carseat or base fitted with seatbelt is just as safe in an accident if it is fitted and used correctly. However an IsoFix fitted unit is easier to fit correctly, which makes it simpler to use and less likely to be incorrectly fitted. The cost of iSize standard products is also currently quite high in comparison to units that meet R44-04 standard – this is a reflection of the cost the manufacturers have gone to in order to have test centres available for them to test their products to iSize standard and ensure it passes with flying colours. iSize crash testing is a lot more in depth than the R44-04 standard so you can be sure this product will protect your precious cargo.

 Rear facing and comfortable in Vauxhall Corsa aged 3.5 yrs

I used Maxi-Cosi 2wayPearl and 2wayFix base for J in my parents vehicles (I don’t have IsoFix in my car) He was always rear facing when he used this combination – in a Vauxhall Insignia and in a Vauxhall Corsa. Despite being a very tall child, J was always comfortable rear facing and never once did he have a strop or argument about getting in rear facing. It was more awkward for him to climb in himself from the same side the seat was on, but he would happily climb in the opposite side (after taking his shoes off) and climb into the carseat without issue. In the Corsa we removed the headrest from the back seat as otherwise it blocked his view – we didn’t need to move the front passenger seat so there was no loss of leg room for that passenger, and almost every time he went anywhere in the Corsa using this combination he fell asleep. He’d cross his legs in front of him as he got taller, but despite hitting the 105cm maximum height the week before his fourth birthday I could still get him in it rear facing and be comfortable. In the Insignia again there was no need for the front passenger seat to be moved so no loss of leg room for the passenger but it was more awkward to get him into the seat due to the angle of the sloped roof on the Insignia – it left him with limited head room when he was getting into or out of the carseat, though this occurs whether forward or rear facing.

When people say their child is too tall for rear facing I always think of how comfy J was in his 2wayPearl all that time – children are a lot more flexible than adults, and it’s more natural for them to sit with their legs crossed in this way – they do it at school sitting on the carpet after all, J does it at home watching the telly, so why do people think it will be so uncomfortable to do it in a carseat?

Apart from that, to perhaps sound brutal but I’m being honest, I’d rather a broken ankle than a dead child, or a child with a broken neck or serious back injuries. Forward facing babies before they are physically able to withstand the force of an impact is a huge risk. Chances are the baby will be absolutely fine, as long as you never have an accident, but that’s a big risk to take. The idea of iSize is to take away the guesswork and judgement of people tempted to forward face too early and instead of a weight which the child may reach at a much younger age than it’s peers, it’s better to provide an age as a cut-off point and say this is the minimum. It makes things clearer, easier to understand, and unable to be misinterpreted.

iSize is the way of the future, but we’re a long way off it becoming commonplace yet – then again, look how far we’ve come in the last 20 years? People argue that their baby was OK, they were OK, with how things used to be. Well, that’s great. But look at the numbers of babies who weren’t OK with how things used to be. The babies we lost because society then didn’t know about things we know about now. When my mum was a baby she didn’t use a carseat – but then you’re talking about a time before there were so many cars on the road; the cars that were there were driving more slowly. Still accidents happened, but we know now that we can prevent babies becoming fatally injured in a car accident, why would we not want to do that, if we can? Regardless of whether they “prefer to be forward facing” (yes, I’ve heard that six months old can even voice their opinions on this matter!) My son prefers to eat cake and not vegetables, but do I allow him? No, because I know as his parent it is more important for him to eat his vegetables than it is to eat cake. So I have to put up with the moaning and the temper tantrum of getting him to do one thing instead of the other because I am his mum and it is up to me to look after him as best I can do. Whether that’s eating his veggies or travelling in a rear facing carseat, it will happen because it is my job to take care of him.

For the moment, iSize is an option you can choose to use if you want to. Would I recommend it? Of course. It’s the safest possible option. However, I know it’s not for everyone – I don’t have IsoFix in my car, so I can’t use these new style seats, I know I’m not the only mum in that position. The point is, be informed about your choices, be informed about what is available and what changes are being introduced and be informed about the products you buy and use for your children. At the end of the day they are your children to look after the best you can do.

Peace, Love & Safe Travelling,

Mummy P

X x x x

I was not paid by Maxi-Cosi to write this blog piece. All words, opinions and statements made are entirely my own and are in no way a reflection or record of statement of fact made by Maxi-Cosi. 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

An Update on J


So far, J remains unlabelled and undiagnosed. We’ve been in discussions with the SENCO at his school now for some time and both she and the school are very supportive of J’s requirements and he was fortunate enough to have an evaluation quite early on from the child development psychologist who agreed that further investigation was required as some of J’s behavioural tendencies are not within the ‘standard’ parameters. For the most part, I couldn’t give a hoot – he’s still J, regardless of what label and diagnosis he may or may not end up with – but I want the support there for him, I want to know that everything was done to support him, and his learning and development.

Following the child development psychologist evaluation, I then took J to visit the GP as the school are unable to refer a child directly – it has to go through the GP. I took with me a letter from the SENCO recommending that further investigation was needed, as well as the report from the psychologist and my own folder which has a diary of sorts, noting down events or days that have been particularly good or particularly bad, for whetever reason, noting down things that have happened etc, just to see if we can find a pattern for the behaviour and also to show that there are times, listed and dated, when his behaviour is off the scale and I don’t know what to do.

The GP briefly read both reports, watched J play for 30 seconds and announced that she didn’t feel there was anything to be concerned with and what made me think there was any issue. I pushed my thick yellow folder of notes across the desk to her. “Do you have time to read it all?” I asked. I showed her a video, perhaps the quickest way of getting someone to stop and pay attention to what you’re saying – actual recording, documented proof of the behaviour described being played out. She watched it. “I’ll refer him,” she said, “But I warn you, it’ll be a long wait for an appointment.”

Within a couple of weeks the thick envelope came through from the unit regarding J’s recommendation and asking me a whole bunch of questions about him, his behaviour, everything. It was massive to fill in and took me ages, but it was worth it to get it all documented and get the wheels in motion so to speak. A second thick envelope was included for me to give to the school, which I addressed to the SENCO, and now we wait.

J’s behaviour, on the whole, has been a lot better in recent weeks. He has still had some moments, but generally speaking he has been really good. We’re doing a sticker diary now, so at bedtime we go through the days events and he gets stickers for things that he did well and we discuss the good and the not so good aspects of each day. Then he adds up how many stickers he got that day – if he gets a set amount of stickers (or more) within a week then he gets a special reward. His rewards so far have been simple, easy to accomplish requests – two weeks ago he wanted McDonalds for dinner, and to eat in rather than get take-away! Last week he asked for a new game – Daddy P got him Minecraft on the PS3 and he’s absolutely crazy about it.

Today he decided to be a pickle and he ran off around the playground at hometime with his best friend instead of walking nicely with me. It took 15 minutes until we left the playground. I made it clear why I wasn’t impressed with that, and he apologised and seemed to understand. I deliberately draw a line under things in a set amount of time so that he understands each ‘section’ of the day, otherwise each day is so long with no end in sight for him, so we break it down as much as possible, which I have found helps with his understanding of time as well as when we do the reward stickers in the diary each evening. So between school pick-up and getting home is one segment of time – once we were home, the next segment began, and since that point he has been really good again. I think sometimes he needs to just run off some steam with K. Maybe one night after school now the weather is getting better we can take both of them to the park or something for a picnic tea and let them run around for a while and wear themselves out. I might suggest it to K’s mum.

It’s been a while since I sent off the form for his assessment, but we’ll see what happens! Hopefully the SENCO has sent back her form, there was a warning on the letter that it had to be returned by a certain date or they’d discharge him with no further action so I might have to double check with her that the form was returned on time, though I’m sure it was. She must be used to this sort of thing in her position!

Time to go and cook my dinner now …

Peace, Love N Pizza,

Mummy P