Tuesday, 21 November 2017


I think the kids might be coming down with chicken pox, but I’m not sure, and I always thought it was one of those illnesses that came on and you knew for sure very quickly, but once again here’s my kids doing it differently!

Picklepot had a spot come up on Sunday, which was itchy and he picked at before telling us about it. We thought it was some kind of insect bite and used some insect bite cream on it to stop the itching.

On Monday after school he looked pale, he had a slight temperature, and he was quiet and not his usual bouncy self. He said he felt sick and he didn’t eat much dinner despite it being one of his favourite meals. He had a few spots on his back that looked like blisters.

This morning he came into me at 7am telling me he felt rough. His temperature was up slightly still, he looked pale and he had found some more spots. I was surprised – I had expected, if it was chicken pox – for him to be covered in spots by this morning, but he wasn’t. However they definitely look like chicken pox spots.

He stayed home from school. Throughout the day, more spots have appeared, but still he isn’t covered in them, though they are small blister like spots, like chicken pox spots. He seems to have felt more like himself as the day has gone on – his appetite is definitely back, and he has been gradually getting louder and more bouncy – but his temperature is still slightly up and with these spots slowly appearing I am fairly convinced he has chicken pox. It’s just a case of waiting to see what happens now.

Sunshineface has not been his usual happy self in general the last couple of days. He’s been very cuddly – he asks to get up for a cuddle one moment, and then when you pick him up he’s trying to get down again, and whinging the whole time. He hasn’t been eating a huge amount either, though he has been drinking a fair bit, and last night he was all snotty and bunged up overnight, coughing in his sleep and waking himself up because he was finding it difficult to breathe. I was expecting him to have a full on cold this morning but it seems to have gone – I am wondering if he is also coming down with chicken pox, though there is no sign of any spots at all on him.

Myself, I had chicken pox when I was 11, and while Daddy P can’t remember how old he was when he had chicken pox he has had it, so I’ll be quite happy for both boys to have it now and get it over and done with. Certainly I wouldn’t want them to have it when they’re too much older. I’m shocked that given how many of his friends have had chicken pox over the years that Picklepot has gone without catching it up to now. If it is chicken pox, it’s kind of good timing, as Daddy P is off work next week so he’ll be around to help out with the sickly boys, and it’s far enough in advance of Christmas that they should be fully recovered by then.

For now it’s a case of waiting to see how it develops. 

Saturday, 18 November 2017

The Overload of a Busy Day

We had a great day today.

This morning was our Helping Hands ASD Family Support Group. One of the mums who comes brought along her dad, who does photography. He brought along a background, some props, and proper lights. Some of us wore Christmas jumpers, some of the kids wore Christmas jumpers, we had lots of photographs taken and it was a much more relaxed environment than taking the kids to a photography studio. They had fun, they messed about, they were relaxed and enjoying themselves and we got photos taken. I’m hoping we can use them for Christmas cards / gifts. Last year we were let down massively last-minute by the photographer I’d booked and I wasn’t able to get professional photos done of the boys before Christmas. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they came out.

After group, we came home and had lunch, and after that Picklepot’s girlfriend came round for a play date. They were noisy, they were silly, they made a big mess, they had fun, they enjoyed themselves. It kept Picklepot entertained – without him being glued to the TV, playing computer games or annoying his little brother all afternoon. Daddy P was off work, so he kept Sunshineface happy while I got on with my work. It was all good.

I did the kids dinner around 6 and then Picklepot’s girlfriend was picked up around half past. Picklepot had his afters, he had his usual milkshake and cookie, and everything seemed fine. We watched some cartoons and then went upstairs to put the boys to bed.

At this point it all went wrong. Picklepot had already been asked to tidy up his room. When we got upstairs he started messing around and not tidying up his room. Things quickly escalated between him and Daddy P and got a bit loud and a bit crazy and ended up with tears and screams of “I hate you” and Picklepot coming to tell me how mean Daddy was, and when I sided with Daddy P he started shouting at me. After about half an hour of that he still hadn’t got any further with tidying his room, so I suggested that maybe we should have a game. I suggested that we should see who could pick up the stuff quicker – daddy with the bin bag to throw things away or Picklepot to put things away. Picklepot really wasn’t happy about that and the meltdown continued but he did manage to sort things out.

He really was overtired and I should have seen it coming considering the busy day he had, so I did kick myself that I didn’t, so tomorrow we’re just having a quiet day at home and I’m glad I planned it that way. I still have some work hours to do but not that many, and we can chill in our PJs and watch TV and cuddle and generally just have a day “off”. I forget sometimes that he needs that, because he does so well with coping most of the time. He’s had a full on week at school, Children In Need day on Friday which meant wearing PJs to school (which he was thrilled about) and then the photos today at group and having his girlfriend round to play, it was all too much and I’m sorry it ended in such an awful meltdown tonight. I wish I had realised sooner that it was too much for him.

Live and learn, right. Tomorrow is another day.

Friday, 10 November 2017


This week, Daddy P has been off work. It’s been nice having him around to help me with the day-to-day juggling act of taking care of the boys, the housework and my work! We’ve taken it in turns to do the school run, taken it in turns to get up in the night when one of the boys has woken up, and taken it in turns to cook the evening meal.

On Sunday, it was our 11th wedding anniversary. We had a day at home with the boys, then went with Grandad P to a local fireworks display & funfair. It was Sunshineface’s first experience close up with fireworks, and he seemed pretty impressed, though there were some points he kept saying “No, daddy!” and turning away from the display, but I couldn’t work out if it was certain noises he didn’t like, or something else, as it seemed to vary when he was saying no. We bumped into Picklepot’s girlfriend and her mum so we went round the funfair with them and she and Picklepot enjoyed going on some of the rides together.

On Tuesday after school we had parents evening for Picklepot. We had a good chat with his Yr 3 teacher, Mr A, and we found that Picklepot is streets ahead for his maths work – Mr A is going to start setting him Yr 4 work as he is finding the Yr 3 stuff boring – for his English and his Reading he is being quite lazy and although Mr A knows he is capable, he is not showing his skills and so he is beginning to drop from ‘exceeding expectation’ to ‘average expectation’. It’s just trying to get him to see the point in doing a lot of it – He knows he can read well, so he sees no benefit in ‘proving it’ to anyone else; in the same way he knows he can write well, and has excellent comprehension skills, so again he sees no point in ‘proving’ himself. I’ve explained to him that for school, they need him to ‘prove’ it, so they can track his progress.

Mr A said he is a very popular member of the class – especially with the girls! – and that he has got a lot better working with others in a group when needed, though he is still happiest working alone, and Mr A said he does tend to ‘cherry pick’ a group that he knows Picklepot will work best with. His lack of concentration, his ability to daydream the time away, his motivation being hand-in-hand with approaching loss of playtime, his easy distraction, is all part and parcel of Picklepot and Mr A is sympathetic to that, so he is working out ways of ‘dangling the carrot’ so to speak, in order to motivate Picklepot by reward for doing well, rather than punishment for not finishing things.

Year 3 started swimming lessons last Friday, and I was very apprehensive. Whenever we’ve been swimming before, Picklepot has been dead keen on the idea and as soon as we’ve got into the pool he’s attached to me like a limpet and won’t let go. It can get quite awkward as he’s so tall now and there’s me struggling to move around with this child whose arms are tightly wrapped around my neck, freaking out because he thinks he’s going to drown if he loosens his grip on me at all. He’s also always complained about how cold he gets when we’re swimming, and then once he’s cold he won’t move at all, so once out of the pool he’ll just stand like a statue, wrapped in a towel, complaining how cold he is, and not getting himself dry and dressed. All in all, I thought the school swimming lessons could be pretty disasterous!

However, first lesson was last Friday, and Picklepot sprang out of school full of enthusiasm. He said he’d absolutely loved it, really enjoyed it, couldn’t wait to go again etc. Last night he asked me to include his goggles in his swimming bag as he wanted to try putting his face underwater this week. Last night at bedtime I was getting annoyed with him for being so slow at getting ready for bed, so I kept on at him to hurry up, and he kept moaning he didn’t feel well. The moment I said, Well, if you’re not well you can’t go to school tomorrow, and if you can’t go to school then you can’t go swimming! And suddenly, he was feeling much better … 😉

This weekend both myself and Daddy P are off work, so we’re planning a nice lazy weekend with lots of family time. My mum might be coming to visit on Saturday, it’s been a few weeks since we last saw her so it will be good to catch up if she can visit, but it depends on her new job at the moment as she might end up working.

The week has once again gone past in a blink and I don’t know how it’s Friday again already! But I am definitely ready for this weekend!

Friday, 3 November 2017

A Quick Update

The half term holiday seemed to disappear in a flash! I was working, so we didn’t get chance to go out much, but on the Saturday we held our ASD Helping Hands group Halloween Party! It was a great success with all the kids in fancy dress (and lots of the adults, too!) Plenty of party food was consumed, as well as lots of Halloween cakes and sweets, and we played some games as well. Everyone seemed to have a good time, now it’s on to organising the Christmas party!

School started again on Monday, and on Tuesday morning when I took Picklepot in I asked him not to go round the side bit of the playground where the trouble always seems to happen with the big group of kids playing that horrible game known as “Bulldogs” which ends in someone getting pushed to the floor and hit / kicked (the last week of last half term one kid had his trousers pulled down as well and everyone was laughing at him) The school have asked the kids not to go round that part of the playground but of course kids like to do what they’re told not to. Anyway so I said to Picklepot don’t go down that bit, he said OK and stayed at the edge, then a group of older kids ran over to him and punched him! He was very shaken, came over to me and explained what had happened, and I had a chat with the teacher who’d come out to blow the whistle and get the kids into school for the start of the day. He said he’d go round and have another chat with everyone but as Picklepot doesn’t know the names of the kids who assaulted him they can’t punish those children specifically.

This weekend Daddy P is on leave from work, we have our ASD Helping Hands group on Saturday morning and then a firework display on Sunday evening which we’re taking both the boys to. It will be the first time Sunshineface has gone to a firework display so I hope he doesn’t get too scared by the noise. We’re taking Grandad P as well, since we know he enjoys a good funfair with the kids!

Sunday, 22 October 2017

It's The Half Term Holidays!

The last week of school seemed to go without any issues for Picklepot, though there were two incidents I heard about from other mums who have kids in his class which concerned me.

Both times it was due to the kids playing a game called Bulldog before school started, in a corner of the playground that is quite hidden. The first incident was a boy from the 6th year getting pushed to the floor and getting beaten up by the surrounding crowd, fortunately he got away without being too seriously injured and his mum was able to calm him down and go and speak with the staff in the office. He’s now able to go into school through the office each day, to avoid another incident in the playground. The mum was informed that the kids shouldn’t be any kids playing in that corner of the playground at all, and that a teacher should be in the playground monitoring the kids from 8.30am to ensure this kind of thing didn’t happen. A couple of days later another kid was pushed to the floor in a game of Bulldog in the same corner of the playground; he had his trousers pulled down and the surrounding crowd were laughing at him. His mum, understandably, was absolutely fuming (I would have gone mad if it had been Picklepot in that situation) This happened after 8.30am, but there was no sign of a teacher in the playground monitoring the kids, and again they were in the corner they shouldn’t have been in. This incident prompted one of the staff going round to every classroom that day, telling them that the game Bulldog was banned, and that the corner of the playground was off limits before school. Whether or not that is enforced or will deter the children from doing it I don’t know yet, but I for one am keeping an eye on that corner and will be over there like a shot if I see it going on again. I wonder how kids can be so mean to one another – it’s always been the same, I remember it at my school (though not to that extent in primary school) There’s a couple of names that keep coming up time after time with issues, one of which was involved in both the incidents in the playground during the game of Bulldog last week, and that name is also the same child who has been causing Picklepot issues and slammed his hand in the door the other day, so whether his parents will actually take notice of the school telling them again that he is in trouble I don’t know. He struts around the school with this smirk on his face, he is a proper little nasty piece of work, and while I know he has a lot of issues himself and a lot going on in his young life I don’t believe anything gives him an excuse to behave like a thug. I am keeping an extra close eye on him, and his siblings. (He has an older sibling that Picklepot thinks is his friend, but basically they wind him up at lunchtime until he gets in trouble for misbehaving because they’re telling him to do stuff, hiding his lunch, holding his property above their head and making him jump to get it, and then he gets in trouble for fooling around)

The school was closed on Friday for an inset day, so Picklepot came to Disco Duck dance class with Sunshineface and myself, and he seemed to really enjoy that. Sunshineface got a certificate to say he completed a full half-term of classes. Then on Saturday morning I dropped Picklepot off at the Beaver hut for Roald Dahl themed camp weekend. He was really looking forward to that, so I hope he’s had fun. I pick him up in a couple of hours.

Next week I’ll be working so we can’t do much, but on Monday while I’m in the office there’s an exhibition about Magical Creatures (based on the Harry Potter books) at the local library so I’ve told Daddy P he should take the boys to that (apparently there will be real owls to meet) and on Thursday there’s a new parent & child group starting off at a local tea room so I’m planning on going along to that as well. I’m hoping to get the boys out to visit some friends too, so hopefully they won’t get too bored. 

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Don't Upset Mama Bear

It’s been a difficult week for me as a mum this week.

Picklepot informed me that one of the kids in his class has been particularly nasty to him recently. For the last 2 years this other child has been deliberately kept away from Picklepot as they would argue and fight, but starting at the beginning of this term the other kid told Picklepot that he was “done being nasty” and wanted to be friends this year. Picklepot being the forgiving boy that he is, he accepted this and for the first couple of days things were good.

Then the other boy started his old tricks again. He pinched and kicked Picklepot when the teachers weren’t looking. He pulled Picklepot’s hair, called him names, told him only girls have long hair, even smacking his bottom if Picklepot tries to walk away from him.

The last straw for me came when Picklepot came home from school with a red line across his fingers. I asked him what had happened.

We’d had a discussion the night before about this other boy, and I told Picklepot that a bully is normally a bully because they’re jealous of you. I told him he was good looking, clever, kind and thoughtful, and had lots of friends. This other boy was probably jealous of those qualities, so the way he made himself feel better was to try and make Picklepot feel bad about himself. After that, Picklepot drew a lovely picture, showing two boys smiling together, one labelled with his name and one with the other boys name. It said “We be friends” over the top of the two boys, and he said he was going to give it to the other boy and tell him they should be friends and stop being mean. I thought it was very sweet of him and he took it into school the next day to give it to the other boy.

He did as he planned, and gave the picture to the other boy, and told him that they should be friends, and the other boy said “OK I accept”. Picklepot thought this was genuine and went to walk away to go for break, when the other boy called him back so Picklepot paused with his hand in the doorframe of the classroom. The other boy slammed the door shut on his fingers, laughed at him and screwed up the picture, calling Picklepot names and saying he would never be his friend.

My eldest son went to the first aid room for an ice pack for his fingers, but he didn’t tell them the whole truth about what had happened. Though only seven, he has noticed previously if he reports an incident and names this boy, when the teacher then talks to the boy he knows who has ‘grassed him up’ and he will come back after Picklepot twice as bad as before. So Picklepot, aged seven years old, lied to the teacher attending the first aid room that day and didn’t tell her that this other boy had deliberately slammed his fingers in the classroom door, because he was scared of what would happen if he told on the other kid, and the other kid coming after him to do something worse.

To say I was livid would be an understatement. It took all of my self control the following morning not to march up to the other kid and drag him by the scruff of his neck to the head teacher. However, I managed not to. I managed to keep a lid on it until my meeting with the acting head teacher that afternoon, when I spilled to her exactly what has been going on with this boy since the start of term, and explaining to her in a barely controlled voice that wobbled because I was SO angry about this incident that I expect this to stop, right away. I do not expect to hear any reports of any more name calling, pinching, kicking, hair pulling, much less bottom smacking or slamming of fingers in classroom doors. She was aghast, she had no idea what had been going on, and she promised faithfully she would sort it out.

For now Mama Bear is resting, but her ears are listening and she sleeps with one eye open. You’d better believe I will be growling if anything happens next week!

Friday, 22 September 2017

Poorly Picklepot

On Wednesday night, Picklepot came into our room crying. He said he had tummy ache, and didn’t feel well, and he ended up sleeping in our bed. It was our first clue he was unwell.

On Thursday morning, he was slow to get ready for school – he kept saying he had tummy ache but he said it was because he was hungry, so we hurried him along to get dressed and go downstairs for breakfast. Despite him repeatedly saying he was hungry, he didn’t eat much breakfast, and then it was another battle getting him to brush teeth / brush hair and get out of the door to go to school. He was very moany and complaining a lot, but he can be like that in the morning anyway so we kind of didn’t take much notice of it!

At quarter to ten the school phoned me to say that Picklepot was really feeling under the weather, he was complaining of aches and pains and had a bit of a fever. I went to school with some kids Ibruprofen and we made the decision that a member of staff would give him the medicine and he would continue at school to see how he felt once the medicine kicked in. I knew he had cooking planned for yesterday and I knew he’d be upset to miss it, even if he was unwell, so I didn’t want to take him home early unless I had to. After being given his medicine I went home again, and I didn’t hear anything from school so I figured he had perked up a bit.

At the end of the school day Picklepot was escorted over the playground to me by the teaching assistant Mrs G, he was crying and she said he had been like it all afternoon. She said he’d been complaining of feeling poorly, he was quiet and crying and not like his usual self at all, and she said maybe he was coming down with something. I took him home and he cried the whole way home. At home he got into a onesie and snuggled on the sofa under a duvet. He asked for a chopped up apple, but he didn’t eat it. He didn’t want any dinner and he fell asleep on the sofa after another dose of Ibruprofen.

While he slept he was pale, with flushed cheeks, and he was restless while he slept and moaning / crying in his sleep. Just before 8 I had to take Sunshineface upstairs for a nappy change, and while I was there I thought since it was almost bedtime I’d get him in his PJs and get him ready for bed. While I was sorting him out, Picklepot woke up on the sofa and came upstairs. He said hello to me as he walked past, and he went straight into his bedroom and climbed into bed. I went in there a couple of minutes later and turned off the light since he was cuddled up under the duvet and he didn’t say anything. I checked on him 20 minutes later, after Daddy P got home and took over putting Sunshineface to bed, and he was snoring.

Overnight, Picklepot was up quite a few times. He was crying, saying he was in pain, he was aching, he needed a wee, he needed another drink, he had two more doses of Ibruprofen to try and get his temperature down and get him back to sleep again. When I woke up with Sunshineface at 8am I knew that Picklepot wouldn’t be going to school, so I rang them to register him absent at 8.30 and after that I called the doctors surgery to get an appointment for him today. Since it’s Friday I didn’t want to leave it and have him get much worse over the weekend.

We got to the doctors in good time for our appointment, and unsurprisingly after a quick exam and taking his temperature (39.5) the nurse confirmed that Picklepot has definitely got tonsillitis again. She got a prescription from the doctor for some penicillin, which I picked up from the pharmacy in the same building before we left. I also got some more Calpol since we’d run out, and the nurse said I can double-dose Calpol and kids Ibruprofen to keep his temperature down. When he has a fever he is much more prone to more violent night terrors, so we’re working to avoid that!

We came straight home afterward and he took his first dose of medicine, he’s been cuddled up on the sofa all day watching YouTube videos and while he looks a better colour he is still very quiet and clearly not feeling right. Fortunately Daddy P is off work today so he was able to stay home with Sunshineface while I took Picklepot to the doctors, and he has been able to watch both kids while I got on with work.

We have plans all weekend, so I’m not sure whether we’re going to have to cancel them yet or not – I’m going to see how he feels and take it as it comes. It would be nice to get out and do stuff / see people as planned, but if he’s not well enough there’s no point trying to force the issue, it will just end badly.

Fingers crossed he feels better soon!!

Saturday, 9 September 2017

ASD Helping Hands Thetford Family Support Group Library Display Project

This week has seen the culmination of weeks of planning. Some time ago, I saw a post from our local library on their Facebook page, showing off their latest wall display in the children’s area – a local childminding group had created it, and not only did it showcase some of the kids artwork but it also was an excellent promotion of the childminder in the local area. The library had commented that they welcomed other local groups to contact them about using the space for their own display, and immediately I thought of our ASD Helping Hands group.

The ASD Helping Hands Family Support group has been invaluable to Picklepot and I since we started going in January 2016. For two hours every fortnight we meet at a local venue and there are arts and crafts activities, the chance for the kids to play together and enjoy themselves without worrying about being judged by their peers for their ‘different’ behaviour, a chance for adults to have a coffee (or tea!) and a chat about things, a place for us to discuss things, a place where we don’t have to worry about what anyone else thinks of us because all of us are in this together.

Since joining the group I have made friends who truly understand what it can be like. The group has changed, we moved venues at the beginning of this year and some people don’t come any more, other people have started coming … but on the whole we still feel like not enough people know about the group, not enough people know it’s there and it’s available. The idea is that this is a family support group, so all members of the family are welcome, and even if the person with ASD doesn’t want to come to the meeting, that’s OK, they don’t have to; the idea is that everyone feels welcome, nobody feels judged and the group is a place you can come and enjoy yourself.

With the idea of getting information about the group to more people who could benefit from it, I contacted the library and asked if our group could be considered to create a display. The library were quick to say yes, and the date was set that our display would be up ready for the week starting 11th September. At our next meeting we discussed some ideas of what we could do, and we came up with our plan.

We drew around hands and cut them out, and everyone decorated some hands with colouring pencils. We found a foam tree with foam leaf-colours which we cut out hand shapes and on each one we wrote the name of the children in the group. I created a big poster for the centre of the display saying ASD Helping Hands.

One of the ladies who comes to group knows someone who works for the local free magazine, and she contacted them about the display – they said if we sent a high resolution photograph along with a small written piece to go along with the photograph, they would run it in the magazine as a local interest story, which again obviously promotes the group and tells even more people about it.

Yesterday, myself and one of the other mums (and her daughter) met at the library with our display in a carrier bag in pieces, armed only with a wall staple gun and our imaginations on how we were going to bring it altogether. We talked, we laughed, we worked it out, we planned, and we got the display up on the wall. It took us the best part of 2 hours, but it was time well spent and we are so pleased with our efforts when we were finished.

Today was our first Helping Hands meeting since before the summer holidays. Afterwards we all went to the library together, and one of the mums’ fathers met up with us with his fancy camera, and he took some photographs of the group in front of the display. We now need to choose which of the final two photographs we are going to send to the magazine along with the article.

I’m very proud to be part of our little group. There’s lots of stress and tears involved when you’re struggling to get where you need to for a family member with ASD, but our group has shown me there is lots of laughter and friendship along the way as well.

We Are Each Unique And Beautiful, Together We Are A Masterpiece

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Oh! What a Day! (Because if you don't laugh, you'd cry)

Last night my friend asked if I could take care of her daughter today while she and her husband attended a medical appointment. I agreed quickly – their girl is always a pleasure to take care of, she’s Picklepot’s “girlfriend” so they get on like a house on fire, and she’s also great with Sunshineface. I had no plans other than to work, so I thought great, the kids can play and I can get on.

She arrived this morning just after 8.30 so I was still wearing bed hair, PJs and seeking out my first coffee of the day. After a night of getting up with Sunshineface (who was most adamant he did not want to sleep!) I was in serious need of caffeine. Fortunately my friend and her daughter are perfectly used to seeing me in this condition and it’s no bother for them. Picklepot was already up and dressed, patiently waiting for his girlfriend to arrive for their playdate.

I did some work and got everything up to date, I did an online shop for delivery tomorrow since we just got paid and have NO FOOD in the house, and I drank my second coffee before 10am. Things were going well. Then the husband woke up and sorted himself out, came downstairs with Sunshineface. Breakfast was being consumed by the two bigger ones, and the Sunshineface was provided with a chopped apple (which he mostly chewed and then left the chewed up chunks in various places around the front room, but no matter, he’s much like me and rarely eats properly first thing in the morning)

I got myself dressed and came downstairs, husband left for work, I did some more work and got everything up to date again, got Sunshineface dressed and we left the house to walk to the little shop down the road. While the big shop is arriving tomorrow, I needed a couple of essentials today. We also needed to put some electric on our key meter, so our main purpose was to stop at the shop to sort that out, but in addition as it was a sunny day and work was all up to date I thought I’d take the kids to the little park near the shop to let off some steam too.

We walked to the shop, I checked my account before taking out some cash (nightmare fear of the money not going into the account for some reason on payday!) and I went to get the electric key out of the pocket on the pushchair to top it up in the shop. I hadn’t brought the key with us. I’d taken it out of the meter and placed it on the radiator in the hallway ready to put in the pocket on the pushchair and take with us, then in all the palaver involved with getting three children out of the door and one into the pushchair I’d forgotten to pick it up.

We walked back home, I dived indoors and grabbed the key, we walked back to the shop again. We were in no hurry, the kids were behaving themselves and it was nice weather. I kept telling myself it really didn’t matter, even though Picklepot kept complaining that now he was seven I should have left him in the park with his girlfriend on their own while I went home to get the electric key (Nice try, kid, but NO!)

At the shop, the bigger two decided they didn’t want to come in so I headed in with Sunshineface in the pushchair and picked up what we needed. Sunshineface decided now was a good time to drop his feet onto the front wheels of the pushchair – you know, while I’m juggling bread, milk, cheese and butter in one hand and steering one handed around a tiny shop with barely enough room to get down each section. Cheers, kiddo. I made it to the front desk (feeling proud of myself) and put down my shopping, asked the lady for some money to be put on the electric key, and just as I was asking for two mixed slushies for the big ones they came screaming into the shop because Picklepot was being silly and doing something he shouldn’t have been so his girlfriend came to tell me what he was doing and he came to defend himself. I said OK whatever, I’m getting slushies if you behave yourselves so they both did a happy dance and squealed a lot and shouted requests at the lady behind the counter about what they wanted.

Once we finally staggered out of the shop we went to the park. To my dismay it has quickly become an open rubbish bin … litter just about everywhere, broken bottles and cigarette ends, empty squashed cans, crisp packets blowing in the breeze and all that kind of sad crap you find blights so many places which should be really nice for the community to enjoy. I decided to overlook this, the kids were thrilled to be at the park, they ran off ahead to play.

Picklepot found a kid he knew playing with another kid – no parent in sight – just two six year olds on their own in a park in the middle of a housing estate. They were doing their best to break something – I don’t even know what it was – and immediately started asking Picklepot to share his slushie. Annoyed, I called him over to me, told him to leave his slushie with me while he played, asked him to play nicely and not destroy whatever it was the other boys were destroying. He returned to them and immediately started to try and destroy the object. They’d progressed by then from stamping on it and throwing it to climbing up a frame with it and chucking it off the top. I was a bit concerned about someone getting hurt, as well as annoyed that he was so quickly ignoring my wishes and joining in. So I shouted over to him, you play nicely you don’t try and break stuff or you come in here with me. He shouted back, But they’re trying to break it! So I thought to hell with it and yelled back, I don’t care what they’re doing, they’re not my children, but you know better than to try and destroy things especially if it isn’t your property! Pretty quick all of them stopped doing what they’d been doing and started playing. I thought OK and left them to it.

Picklepot’s girlfriend was in the fenced off area with Sunshineface and myself, and while she was playing happily with Sunshineface I did think it was a bit rude that Picklepot had just left her to it while he went off with someone else. Then he shouted help. I looked round and he’d climbed up the top of a frame which has various ways of getting down again – a firemans pole, a twisted rope ladder, and a set of those double bars you slide down. He’s climbed up it a thousand times before, and come down those double bars with no problem. He’s come down them head first, feet first, dangling with just his arms, backwards, you name it. This time he’d climbed up and decided he was unable to get down.

His girlfriend went over there to help him and I heard the other boys start taking the mick about “A girl” coming to his rescue, which got my back up. That girl has bigger balls than most boys I know. She’s utterly brilliant with Picklepot, she keeps him calm and stops him getting too worked up, and I knew for a fact she’d be able to talk him down no problem. She also has no fear herself and is quite happy to climb up the frame and come down the firemans pole without even blinking. So she did that a couple of times, and I was so proud of the way she simply ignored the other two as if they weren’t even there, and eventually Picklepot had the confidence to come down the double poles again.

After a while at the park we came home. Sunshineface was hungry and the other two kids were bugging me, three other girls had turned up (alone) and I’d had enough and wanted more coffee. We walked home without too much issue, though Picklepot was being a bit silly and mucking about it wasn’t too bad.

Once home, we had some lunch and my friend arrived. She stayed for a while so the kids carried on playing. I did some more work, got up to date again, things seemed to be going well.

Then Picklepot came in from the garden to announce that because his girlfriend was being bossy, he’d thrown his trainer at her and now it was in a bush and he couldn’t get at it. He wanted me to get it for him. He expected me, in a summer dress, to climb through a 6ft tall rose bush and pull a trainer out of a prickly bush. Um, no, you can ask your dad to fetch it later and then you can explain to him why you threw your trainer in a bush in the first place. My friend and her daughter went home. A busy day but bar the odd issue, fairly successful.

As mentioned earlier, our choices for dinner were limited so I put into the oven what we had left to make a meal. It was about halfway cooked when an urgent scream from Picklepot in the front room alerted me to the fact that Sunshineface had somehow got hold of the Sharpie marker pens I use for my grown-up colouring books.

I went into the front room and found Sunshineface sitting in an armchair with an assortment of 20 Sharpie pens around him, on the floor in front of him, handfuls of them. Lids were off, he had purple on his t shirt, red on his knee, green on his foot and an assortment of colours on his hands. Once I gathered them together, put the lids back on, I went to take him upstairs. I realised I couldn’t walk across the front room due to the amount of toys between me and the doorway.

As I started to tidy up I asked Picklepot for help, to which his response was, “I didn’t make the mess” I said OK you didn’t tip the toys over the floor but you played with them, so help me tidy up please. “I didn’t make the mess I only played with the toys” So I said well I didn’t even get to play with the toys but I’m expected to tidy it all up! He still wouldn’t help me tidy so I did that myself. Then I took Sunshineface upstairs to try and sort him out. Turns out that Sharpie pen won’t come off skin with baby wipes, nor with a hand soap and warm water scrub, so leaving him covered in Sharpie quickly became my only option and I was about to go to the loo before we went back downstairs when I realised the loo was blocked with loads of paper.

After unclogging the toilet, and going to the loo, and scrubbing my hands thoroughly, I took Sunshineface back downstairs so I could serve up dinner. Of course, it had been halfway cooked when I was called away for the Sharpie incident, and this whole time of clearing up and sorting out toys and the blocked toilet and trying to clean up Sunshineface meant that dinner was a crusty relic of what it could have been.

We ate what we could of dinner, then the kids had ice cream for afters, and of course Sunshineface covered himself in melted ice cream. Along with the Sharpie on his clothes, I decided to strip him off and put his clothes straight in the wash.

The washing is on (with plenty of Vanish!) and work is up to date (again). Husband has just arrived home and Sunshineface is running around in his nappy and nothing else (he won’t keep his dressing gown on) the purple Sharpie went through his t shirt so he has purple splodges on his tummy and a red line down one side, to compliment the red spots on his knee, the green squiggle on his foot and the multi colour design on his hand.

Now husband is home, the joy of the bedtime routine can begin. I just hope Sunshineface is more tired than he was last night and we don’t end up sitting there til 10.30pm with him throwing George Pig soft toys at my head telling me “No sleep”.

I’m exhausted, and I’m looking forward to my Archers & lemonade tonight!

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Summer Holidays - Weeks 2 & 3

We went for our family holiday the first two weeks of August to our usual bolthole on the Suffolk coast at Corton. It’s a lovely area and we spent the whole two weeks holiday there this time, so we had lots of time for exploring.

The usual beach we go to at Gorleston is lovely, uncrowded, sandy beach with a handy café nearby for visiting when we need a loo break and a cup of hot coffee or an ice cream. However this year we also ventured further down the coastline and found the more touristy area of the beach. It was more crowded, but not too bad, and again features a lovely sandy beach. There is the best ice cream shop ever positioned on this section of the beach and we all enjoyed ice creams from them! We also enjoyed fish & chips from the chip shop there twice over the course of our fortnight holiday and both times was absolutely lovely. Along with arcades, inflatables for kids, there is a toy boat lake, a paddling pool and shops selling the usual beach bits & bobs in case you’ve forgotten anything you need. We will definitely be returning.

We spent a day in Great Yarmouth. Our main aim was to visit the Sea Life centre which we did, and that took us about two hours to go round and enjoy. After that we walked to the beachfront and the kids went on the inflatables and several other games. We enjoyed a trip on the Great Yarmouth Big Wheel, and rounded off our day by going to the beach and having a run about. Even though by that point in the day it was cool and overcast we had a great day.

While we were there we celebrated the birthdays of both boys and Daddy P. We ate lots of birthday cake! Sunshineface turned 2 and most of his presents have been Peppa Pig based. His speech came on in leaps and bounds while we were away, and amongst his new words were “George” (his favourite character) “Suzy” (he got a Suzy Sheep toy) and if you say “Dinosaur” he’ll say “Raar!” like George does. Picklepot was 7 and he got a lot of Minecraft presents, including the new Minecraft book. We also got a ‘family’ laptop for us all to use, and installed Minecraft on that so he has another way of playing if he wants to – and I can take the laptop with us on holiday or when we go to stay with my parents so he can merrily play Minecraft while we’re not at home. It probably seems indulgent to a lot of people but with Picklepot it helps so much to keep him calm it’s invaluable to us.

On the whole we had a wonderful time on holiday but there was a lot of arguments about Picklepot’s behaviour & attitude. He was very rude at times and throwing lots of strops, and more than once Daddy P and I lost our tempers with him. I don’t know whether it’s the fact that we were all together and he isn’t used to that, or what was happening but it’s not been as bad since we got home. Perhaps it was just the fact we were away from home that was making him act up.

We returned from holiday on the Saturday and while I feel like I could do with a holiday to get over the holiday it was lovely to spend some time with my family at the coast. I’m looking forward to returning again soon. There’s something about the coast that makes me feel so relaxed and content.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Summer Holidays Week One

The summer holidays have begun.

Picklepot broke up from school on Friday last week. On Saturday my parents and brother came to our house for the day; Sunday and Monday we didn’t do much; Tuesday we went into town with his best friend and her mum to sign up for the summer holiday reading challenge; Wednesday we were meant to go to a friends house, but then it was cancelled last minute so we had a lazy day at home instead, and he went to Beavers last night.

I’d received an email from Lioness on Monday to say that the Beavers would be having a water fight after completing their Emergency First Aid work during the meeting on Wednesday, and a request to bring a towel and a dry t shirt. We arrived at Beavers and waited outside for the doors to open. Other Beavers had brought along water guns, but they hadn’t been asked for in the email. Picklepot walked up to me with a frown.
“You didn’t bring me a water gun”
I said “No, it wasn’t requested that we brought a water gun in the email”. Another mum, who happens to be staff at Picklepot’s school, said to me, “I did message Lioness to check, and she said we didn’t need to bring anything except the towel and dry t shirt”
Picklepot folded his arms and glared at me. “Why didn’t you bring me a water gun? Other people have got a water gun.”
I repeated, “No, it wasn’t requested that we brought a water gun in the email”.
He growled at me and ran off.

On our way into the hall, another mum was leaving. “Oh the water fight has been cancelled,” She said to me, “On account of the weather being rubbish today. They’re doing it next week instead.” Picklepot overheard and threw his bag and jumper on the floor, standing in the hallway with his arms crossed and a grumpy face on.
Why has it been cancelled?”
I sighed. “You heard what she said. The weather is rubbish today. It’s too cold and it’s raining. It won’t be a good water fight if you’re all too cold. They’ll do it when the weather is nicer.”
Next week. She said they’re doing the water fight next week.” He grumbled.
“Well if the weather is better next week then yes, they will.” I replied. I knew what was coming. We’re on holiday next week so he isn’t at Beavers, so he will miss out on the water fight if they do it next week.
Sure enough, he kicked his bag across the floor. “Well that’s not fair! It’s meant to be tonight. I won’t be here next week so I won’t get to join in and that’s not fair!
I asked him to calm down, not to kick his bag, and to pick up his things and go into the hall. He growled at me again, picked up his belongings, went into the hall and put the bag down by Lioness and Tiger. He took his jumper and went to join the other Beavers who were already forming up. As I stood there, I watched him throw his jumper at another kid. It hit the other kid full in the face.
“Get here NOW!” I yelled. Picklepot skipped over to me grinning.
“Why did you throw your jumper at his face?” I asked. He shrugged.
“I didn’t.” He replied.
I fought the urge to scream in frustration. “You did. I stood here and I watched you. Why did you throw your jumper at his face? You could have hurt him!”
Again he shrugged. “I didn’t.”
“I watched you do it!”
“I didn’t do it deliberately.”
“Your jumper just flew out of your hands and hit him in the face?!”
“I was trying to throw it over his head.”
I sighed. I took hold of his jumper and threw it in his face. He burst into tears. “Was that a nice thing for me to do?” I asked. He cried hard.
“Well then, that’s what I’m saying to you. Whether or not you intended for it to hit him in the face, you did throw it and it did hit him in the face and that’s not nice. So go and say sorry.”
“I didn’t do it on purpose!”
“Regardless! You did hit him with it so you need to apologise, whether or not it was done on purpose!”
The big fake sobbing continued. He makes lots of noise when he does this. It’s a very quick way of getting me mad very quickly because I know it’s fake but he’s very convincing with big tears rolling down his face and everything. Other people that don’t know him so well often think he’s properly crying and obviously they presume I'm being horrible to him.

After he eventually went off to say sorry to the other kid, he started running round in circles. He’s meant to put his jumper on and form up, not chuck his jumper around and run in circles. I asked him to put his jumper on. He removed his woggle from his neckerchief and chucked the woggle and the neckerchief onto the floor. He put his jumper on and kicked his neckerchief around the floor.
“I can’t put that on.” He said.
I waited silently. Another thing I am sick to death of is him making statements like “I can’t do that” instead of “Please can you help me do that”. So I don’t respond if he says he can’t do something, I wait til he asks for help.
He didn’t.
He picked up the neckerchief, screwed it up some more, threw it on the floor and kicked it again and yelled in my face. “I said, I can’t do that!
I looked at him. “So what do you need to do?”
“I need to put my neckerchief on!” He screamed at me.
“So what do you need to do?” I asked, meaning he needs to ask me for help not just scream at me that he can’t do it.
“I told you! I need to put my neckerchief on!” He screamed.
“You need to ask for help nicely, not scream at me that you can’t do it.” I told him. “Now it’s all crumpled up and on the floor, so first of all you need to sort it out and get it ready to put on.”
He kicked at it again, then picked it up and threw it onto the table in front of Lioness and Tiger. He went to walk away. I called him back. “You need to sort it out and get it ready to put on. I’m not doing it all for you after you’re the one who crumpled it all up.”
He glared at me and growled again. “Humph” He said, crossing his arms.
I swear this child is trying to push me over the edge at times. Another leader took the neckerchief and picked up the woggle from the floor. She turned to me. “Bye mum!” She said loudly. Then she turned to Picklepot. “You show me how you can sort this out, OK? Then you need to put it on and form up – quickly now, everyone else is ready!”
I turned to Lioness and Tiger. “He broke up from school on Friday. It’s been emotional.”
Tiger smiled. “It’s the change of routine. It’s OK. He’ll be fine. Go and enjoy your time.”
I left feeling thoroughly annoyed, upset and angry. He had been fine all day, then turned into a monster specially for the Beavers crowd. He’d made me so cross with his behaviour, which he knows I won’t tolerate, yet he does it in front of people as if he expects it to be OK.

When I went back to pick him up, the lady who had been doing the Emergency First Aid skills with the group came over to chat with me. “He did brilliantly again,” She smiled. “He was my helper again, and he remembered everything I taught them last week.” (He was her helper last week, too) “He knew all of the answers to all the questions I asked them, and he demonstrated very good bandaging abilities. He demonstrated what I’d taught them last week and got it all perfect. He’s very good at it. Has he ever done a first aid course before?” I said no he hadn’t, but that it was something he was interested in. “Maybe when he’s a bit older he can come and join our team as a cadet,” She suggested. “He might enjoy that. Getting out and about and going to events with a purpose to being there.” Then Tiger came over to me. “He’s been fine,” She reassured me. “He loved doing the first aid stuff again, he remembered everything from last week really well and took it all in tonight. He’s done brilliantly.” I smiled. “I just wish he didn’t work so hard at making me so cross!” I said to her. “Ah, but you’re mum,” She said, “He knows he can push you constantly and regardless of what he says or does you’ll always love him. That’s why you get the bad behaviour. Anyone else can walk away and not come back. You’ll always come back.” When the group was dismissed, Picklepot came over to me and apologised for his earlier behaviour. I breathed a sigh of relief.

We spoke with Lioness and Tiger about being on holiday for the next couple of weeks, so he would be missing two meetings, and celebrating his birthday while he was away. He got upset because he’d be missing the water fight, but I said we would take our water guns on holiday with us and have a water fight while we were away. That seemed to help him cheer up again.

I can’t wait for our holiday. I need a break … I think the change of scenery and having different activities to do will help keep Picklepot more chilled – and we’ll have lots of time to spend together.

Three more sleeps!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Weekend of Ugh

What a horrible weekend.

It started on Friday, at school pick-up. Picklepot was being very silly, not listening, running off, acting up etc. I put it down to him being over-excited about it being the weekend, and we hustled home to get ourselves ready. We had a Beavers badge ceremony that evening, followed by a BBQ. We got to the ceremony and Picklepot was quiet and out of sorts. Halfway through he went to the loo and on his way back he asked if we could go home. I said we had to wait til the ceremony was over. Once it was over I said to him about getting BBQ food as was our plan but he wasn’t feeling it and he wanted to come home, so we did. We picked up McDonald’s on the way back as none of us had eaten dinner (thinking we would be getting BBQ food) but Picklepot only wanted his milkshake, and didn’t eat any of his meal. He went to bed and was awake a lot that night with a raging temperature, crying and screaming. Around 2.30am Sunshineface also started crying, so I ended up dozing in the chair with Sunshineface while Daddy P stayed with Picklepot in his double bed. None of us got much sleep.

On Saturday I woke with a sore throat and a banging headache so I headed to the shop for orange juice before Daddy P went to work. After he left, the boys and I had a quiet day. I cancelled our plans to go out with the ASD group because we weren’t up to it, and I managed to get some work done. I took Sunshineface up for a nap just after 12 and when I came downstairs just after 1 I found Picklepot asleep on the sofa. It’s a sure sign he’s unwell if he falls asleep in the day! I got some more work done and slept myself til 5, when Sunshineface woke up. Picklepot stayed asleep until 6pm.

It was a late shift for Daddy P so the boys and I had our dinner together at 6.30pm but none of us really ate a lot. It was the first thing Picklepot or myself had eaten all day. After we finished I cuddled up with both boys and we watched TV til Daddy P got home. We took the boys up to bed and once they were settled I crashed in bed myself. I was exhausted and I felt rubbish.

Overnight Picklepot slept through but Sunshineface was awake a lot. I think he was hungry though because when I gave him some more milk around 5am he finally settled. Daddy P was up and off to work again early this morning but the boys and I slept in til 9.30am.

I woke feeling even more rough than yesterday. I’m running a temperature, my throat is sore, my head is banging and my glands are swollen. I washed and sterilised the bottles and made them up; loaded and ran the dishwasher; loaded the washing machine and tumble drier / folded the stuff from the tumble drier and re-loaded it with another washload / I’ve done plenty of work today and everything is up to date. I put Sunshineface down for a nap just after 1pm and Picklepot and I had some toast as our lunch.  I’ve done some more work since then and reloaded the tumble drier / washing machine for another cycle.

It’s hot today (27 degrees) and the dogs are lounging in the kitchen not doing much on the whole, but then every now and then they’ll go outside and start barking and when they start they won’t stop and its bloody annoying so I have to keep going to tell them to shut up and come back indoors. I don’t want to shut the back door because it’s so hot in the kitchen with the door shut, particularly with the tumble drier running. It’s frustrating though when they’re running around barking at birds / bees / clouds / the noise of families talking and playing in other gardens.

Daddy P finishes work soon and when he gets home I’m going to enjoy a nice shower as I’m feeling all hot and disgusting. He said he’ll sort out dinner but truth be told I’m not sure what there is to cook / what any of us will eat anyway.

I feel frustrated, because it’s such a waste of the weekend – we’ve sat at home and watched TV and slept – and I feel annoyed because I’m sick as well as the kids, which sucks – and it’s a waste of such gorgeous weather – it’s so rarely hot and sunny in the UK I feel we should have been outside, enjoying it, not stuck indoors feeling sorry for ourselves. These things can’t be helped though. I just have to get over it don’t I and not dwell on it.

I’m not going to be able to give blood as planned on Tuesday because of this sickness – whatever it is – I’m not fit to give blood according to their guidelines, so I need to reschedule, but the app isn’t working properly so it won’t let me reschedule which is a pain. I’m also due in the office tomorrow but that’s not happening – not when I feel so rough. Also planned for this coming week is the yearly team bonding day with my office buddies; it’s planned for Thursday, so I’m hoping I’m well enough by then to participate and enjoy it! Then on Saturday we’re due to drive to Surrey for my nephews birthday party and an overnight stop at my mums house before travelling home on Sunday.

So many plans depend on me feeling better, and soon. I’m drinking orange juice and dosing myself up on paracetamol to take the edge off the pain. My skin feels prickly and my joints ache – it’s almost like flu, but less severe.

Fingers crossed we’re all better soon!

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Sunny Saturday Musings

It’s been a difficult week this week. Like everything has been ‘off’ ever so slightly and things just haven’t gone to plan, it’s nothing huge and life changing but its enough to put you out of sorts. Sunshineface hasn’t had much sleep since about last weekend. He’s been doing LOTS of crying, wanting lots of cuddles, being that sort of toddler that cries for being put down, cries to be picked up again, cries because you give him a drink, cries because you don’t. It’s like even he isn’t sure what will make him feel better. His temperature has been a little raised, but he’s been drinking plenty and having wet nappies, and he’s been alert and responsive so there’s not much to do apart from ride it out. It’s just tiring, having a toddler attached to you 24/7 while you’re trying to get things done, as any parent will tell you. I put him down to go to the toilet the other day and he screamed like I was murdering him. I was desperate for a wee. So I held him on my lap, on the toilet, while I had a wee. That’s normal, right now. That’s my life. Sleeping in a rocking chair in the nursery for more hours each night than you are in your own bed, because every time you think he’s settled and you creep back to bed, he wakes up screaming again. Wondering if it’s acceptable to take him out wearing just a vest because he is so hot or if people will photograph you and post it to Mums Net with an outraged rant about what an awful parent you are. Trying to function enough to do a hundred different things that need doing and ending up not doing any one thing til it’s finished. I have a half loaded dishwasher, a half unloaded tumble drier and a half drunk mug of cold coffee to show you that. Then suddenly yesterday he slept for a massive amount of time during the day – five hours! – ate a huge dinner and went to bed – a little bit later than normal, but not much – and slept til midnight. I couldn’t believe it. He then settled quickly, and slept round til 7.15 this morning.

He would have slept longer, but I had to wake him up as I had to get him in the car and take him with me to drop off Picklepot. He had to meet the Beavers at the local Tesco at 7:40am to go by coach to a fantastic day out that sounds right up his street. The information on this adventure place they’ve gone to says 100 activities available including archery, rock climbing and go karting. Picklepot didn’t wait to be asked twice when he was asked if he wanted to go. Fortunately for me the meeting time was delayed last minute from 6.15am meeting. That would have been painful. I had no choice but to take Sunshineface with us as Daddy P was working at 7am but I guess maybe with a 6.15 meeting time we could have risked leaving Sunshineface here with Daddy and me being home on time. It didn’t work out though of course. So after sleeping the best he has for the first night in over a week I have to wake up Sunshineface, change his nappy and stick him in the carseat without further ado. He wasn’t impressed, even after I let him have a Belvita breakfast biscuit.

Check out the look on his face! He's just like his Mama in the morning! Such a grump!

All week, because of Sunshineface being the way he has been, it’s been difficult to get the housework done, or my work; then yesterday Picklepot was off school sick (something he ate) But thanks to the epic nap yesterday on behalf of Sunshineface, I was able to catch up with work and then some. Picklepot felt well enough to play Minecraft; I said well you need to do your homework before you play Minecraft. He said but I’m sick. I said if you’re well enough to play Minecraft you’re well enough to do your homework. So now we have a homework free weekend because he did it within about five minutes yesterday morning because he was so desperate to play Minecraft 😉

After dropping Picklepot off this morning with a tightly packed backpack of items (a long list of stuff he needs, all to be crammed into a small size back pack the child can carry themselves – it was like tetris trying to fit everything in!) Sunshineface and I came home and I did some work and then we watched some TV and I drank coffee and at 10am he wanted to go upstairs for nappy change. We went up, I changed his nappy, and he snuggled down in my arms to go to sleep. I napped with him for an hour, then when I woke up I put him in the cot and he woke up again. I left him to it and he hasn’t made a sound since. To give you perspective on that, right now it’s 2.03pm. He’s been asleep since around 10.30am. My next door neighbours (the new people, not the nice couple on the other side) have been screaming at one another, crashing up and downstairs, (literally sounds like they’re moving furniture and having an argument while they do it), slamming the front door, slamming the car doors, more crashing around – how many times do you need to open and slam shut the front door? Can you actually close it like a normal person instead of slamming it so hard the front of my house shakes? Somehow Sunshineface has slept though all of that!

We’ve still received no update from the services contacted with regards to assessment for ADHD for Picklepot, which is now overdue from December from what I was originally told by the paediatrician that discharged Picklepot from care without telling me.

We’ve still received no update from the Autism Anglia service contacted with regards to my plea for help as I am helplessly watching Picklepot struggle more and more, and when they asked me for forms on 12th May I had them filled in and returned by 17th May and have not heard anything further yet I made it quite clear we need assistance.

I’m trying to be a bit more involved with the local Helping Hands ASD group. We’ve got a Facebook page now just for our meetings, so rather than clog up the official feed of the Helping Hands team which covers a wide area and more than just our Saturday group, we’re throwing ideas around together with things we can do and organising events for the families. It’s easy to sit back and wait for someone else to organise stuff but this is the sort of group where we need to make things happen for ourselves, and it’s nice getting to know some other mums with similar aged kids.  

Right now I’m going to take advantage of having this rare time to myself and I’m going to make – and drink – a whole cup of hot coffee and maybe watch an episode of Revenge while I have the chance! We got Now TV last weekend … I’m quite enjoying it so far!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

The End of the SATS is Nigh!

I spoke with Miss B this morning because one of Picklepot’s classmates said to me that Picklepot was hurting him. This kid keeps coming to me and telling me, and I keep saying, “You need to tell the teacher, or a dinner lady, when it happens” Because he won’t, he’ll wait til he sees me which could be the day after or it could be three days after the event. Anyway, I know this kid has similar issues to Picklepot, so I know he’s obviously heard somebody at some point say “I’ll tell your mum!” and so he thinks that is the way to deal with it. I spoke with Picklepot, and he said that it was yesterday, during ICT, this kid kept telling him he’d done it wrong, and he said no I haven’t, but the kid insisted he had and kept going on about it so Picklepot got annoyed with him. I explained again that even when he gets annoyed he isn’t supposed to hit people, and that if the kid wouldn’t get out of his face and telling him he was wrong he needed to call over the teacher and let them know what was going on, not resort to hitting the kid. So I spoke with Miss B, and she said OK, we’ll have a chat about the right way to handle things, because not only does the kid keep telling me instead of the teachers when he feels that Picklepot has done something wrong, but also because Picklepot felt the best way to resolve the situation was to hit the kid, which obviously isn’t the thing to do.

While we were chatting she said the SATS would be finished tomorrow and she was hoping that once it was all out of the way things would calm down. It’s not just Picklepot who has been up in the air about it all – a lot of the other kids in his class are finding it tough too. I found out Picklepot has to go off alone and do his SATS away from the other kids, because not only does he chat to them when he shouldn’t, but also because of his constant narration of everything. I don’t know if that’s just him, or if it’s to do with the ASD? But I’ve noticed it at home, too, he doesn’t do anything silently – he’ll narrate it, just like they do on those YouTube videos he’s such a fan of, even if there’s nobody there to listen, I’ll hear him from the other room rambling on about whatever he’s doing. Anyway the oher day it was Mrs S, the headmasters wife (she’s also a teacher at the school) who took Picklepot off for one of his SATS and he was quite proudly telling her that his scores didn’t matter, that mummy & daddy loved him anyway, that the SATS weren’t to test him but to test that the school had taught him everything they should have done, to test that the teachers had been doing their job properly – all of which I’ve told him, and his dad has told him, and we’ve gone through time and time again at home. He then finishes off this explanation to Mrs S by saying, “If I fail, Miss B will get the sack!” Where on earth he has heard that I don’t know. It’s certainly not something I’ve said to him! Poor Miss B! Luckily Mrs S laughed about it, and told Miss B who laughed about it and she was laughing when she told me, but then I walked home with one of the other mums and she said her daughter had come out with the same thing the other day at home! So it seems the kids have heard it somewhere, it’s beyond me where they’ve heard it, but apparently all the year 2 class believe that if they fail their SATS then their teacher will get the sack!!

Anyway as it is the last day of SATS tomorrow I’m hoping that we can do something to mark the occasion, maybe go out for dinner as a family or something, my mum is visiting tomorrow and it was her birthday earlier in the week so it’d be nice to take her out with us too. No plans so far for Saturday but I think Daddy P had a couple of presents hidden away for Picklepot for after the SATS so he might get those. Then on Sunday we’re off to my in laws for dinner.

Today I went for a lovely walk in town with Sunshineface, met up with a friend and we went for coffee, then we took a walk alongside the river in the sunshine, it was lovely and just what I needed to lift my spirits this morning. I felt a bit blugh first thing, I’m not really sure why. Tonight I’m out with my team from work, we won the ICE award for the month for being so damn good at what we do so as a treat we’re going out for dinner. I’m looking forward to going out with the gang, and going out in general – I get so few hours off from being ‘mum’, it’ll be nice to be me for a while! 

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Our quest for ADHD assessment continues

You may have read my previous post about the ridiculousness of getting to this point. Once the GP had sent the referral, I received a letter back which basically asked for me to justify why I felt assessment was necessary, and questioning whether I had really done everything I could to help support my child or was I just a lazy parent looking for excuses. On the letter, it said call us to discuss further. So I called them, and spent 10 minutes on the phone with a lady telling her all about the SENCO reports from school, the diagnosis of autism in December 2015, my attendance of a Solihull Positive Parenting group and subsequent pass of the course in July 2016, the amount of extra people that had observed Picklepot in class and the reports they’d written about him, all of which said that his behaviour pointed to ADHD as a co-morbid condition alongside his autism.

After 10 minutes, the lady on the phone said that all sounded fine, and please could I put it all in writing for them to look through and come to a decision. I asked why I had been instructed by the letter to phone, and she basically said it was to wheedle out those parents who are lazy and looking for excuses, as they rarely make the effort to phone. She provided me with an email address, so that night I sat down and wrote everything down in an email to send to them.

A few days after that, I received a thick envelope in the post. In it were two huge questionnaires for me to complete, and two huge questionnaires for the school to complete. I took the one for school in the next morning for Miss B and sat down that evening myself to go through the parents one. It took ages. There were loads of questions about behaviour, home life, school abilities, even asking about the type of delivery I’d had with Picklepot when he’d been born and whether there had been any issues during pregnancy or delivery. I’m not sure about the relevance of that but they apparently feel it has a bearing on things so I answered every question.

I posted back the forms a couple of days later, as despite their slowness to act upon any information it was made quite clear with the included letter that if you failed to get the forms back within 2 weeks of them being sent out then it would be presumed you no longer needed assistance and the whole process would need to be started again with GP referral. I’ve still not heard back from them, but it’s only been 2 weeks since I posted the forms back (1st class Royal Mail, sent direct from the post office to ensure no reason for it to claim to be lost in the post or delayed). I hope I hear from them soon though as things have got no better for Picklepot. He’s still highly emotional, bursting into tears or becoming very angry within a split second and raging with temper, throwing things, screaming, slamming doors, growling and being altogether a very unpredictable ball of emotion. One thing I discussed with Mrs D, the SENCO at school, was that potentially we could be heading for early onset of puberty, given that he is going to be 7 in August and is already wearing age 9-10 clothes he is very tall and she said its perfectly possible this may happen and the onset of hormones could be a reason for him being so emotional. Again though, it’s something the medical ‘experts’ need to be involved in with helping us out here, and helping Picklepot find a solution.

I’m hoping that the additional visual aids I’ve got him (the wristband and the communication flash cards) will help as it means he doesn’t have to verbalise when he’s becoming overwhelmed, but at the same time it would be helpful to be able to stop him becoming so overwhelmed so often. I feel I am constantly on his case asking him to correct behaviour, always telling him to stop that, come here, do as he is asked, don’t throw things, don’t scream in my face, don’t hit, and its tiring for everyone involved as well as repetitive.

It was a relief to go to our ASD Helping Hands group yesterday and be able to chat to some of the other mums there who are facing similar situations with their kids, and know that I could be honest and say how I felt and they understand, they don’t judge. Likewise, I don’t constantly have to be trying to keep Picklepot from behaving in ways other people see as unusual or disruptive because all of us are there for our kids who are on the spectrum so our normal is normal to them, too, and nobody looks at him differently or thinks he is being odd or tells him he is weird, so he can just get on and be himself and it’s all good. I’m so thankful for our little group, and for the friends I’ve made there.

Today we’re having a quiet day at home. Daddy P is at work, so the boys and I are chilling in our PJs. I’ve done loads of work, I’ve been running the washing machine, tumble drier and dishwasher since first thing this morning and I’ve been drinking lots of yummy coffee and doing some online shopping. In a little while I’ll go and start cooking our chicken for dinner but for now my Sunshineface has just woken from his nap so it’s time to go upstairs and sort him out and then we can do some tidying upstairs.