Wednesday, 1 October 2014

A Referral

Autism was first mentioned when Baby Girl was just 6 months old, we were seeing a paediatric consultant who specialised in intolerances and allergies in children, but during his career he had also worked in child development. As I talked through Baby Girls story he said that he had seen many children like Baby Girl and many of them had gone on to be on the Autistic Spectrum. I was so sure he was wrong, and I was angry with him. How DARE he suggest there was something wrong with my perfect baby girl. 

Over the past 2.5 years there have been a few professionals that have suggested Baby Girl was different. I've struggled with her quirky and at time challenging behaviour. Since Baby Pop's birth her quirky behaviour has been more obvious than ever. I knew she was a difficult baby, but I can now see just how difficult she was and still is. I finally agreed to let the professionals assess her. 

The Health visitor came out and was met with a half dressed toddler who was asleep on the stairs, she watched as I picked her up and she watched her fight sleep and insist she was wide awake. We went through her entire life so far and she watched and played with her. She took notes and asked lots of questions and finally told me she needed to write up a report and get back to me. 

She phoned a week later with the 'good' news and I felt like someone had kicked me in the gut. The Health visitor has been discussing Baby Girl with a local Paediatric Consultant and she is really keen to meet her and assess her further. 

Since first contact with the Health Visitor she has been asking what I wanted from the process and its been a question I was finding hard to answer. I guess I'm looking for help in dealing with her tantrums I would half heartedly say, not really convinced myself! But in that moment I suddenly knew the answer to the question, yes I would like help and new strategies in dealing with her, but first and foremost I wanted them to tell me I was being paranoid, there was nothing wrong with her and it was all my fault. I just wanted them to tell me she was a 'normal' child.

I'm told getting a referral is difficult and getting a referral at 2 is almost impossible, I've been told I should be feeling happy and excited she's got a referral, but right now, the kicked in the stomach feeling is here to stay. 

*This post was actually written a while ago, I'm not convinced Baby Girl is on the spectrum, but open to the idea of a Sensory processing Disorder and on the way to coming to terms with things. I even attended a SEN toddler group. In a strange way it was such a relief to meet so many other mums with children exactly the same as Baby Girl, children who don't like cuddles unless its on their terms, children who wont wear clothes or sleep when until they literally drop. Children who don't cope well with noise and have ridiculously high pain thresholds. It was just such a relief to know there are other children like Baby girl out there and other mums like me who are struggling to deal with them

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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

A Biology Lesson from a 3 year old.

I should warn you today's post is completely and totally too much information! If you don't have toddlers and are squeamish about bodily functions I suggest you move on, this post is not for you. If however you would like to know how my 3 year old thinks diarrhea is made then read on!

Every now and then Big Girl gets a bout of toddler diarrhea, Its left over from the days of her milk intolerance which has all but disappeared, apart from the occasional bout of diarrhea when she drinks a milkshake and has cheese for lunch or eats one too many yogurts in a week. 

This morning we heard the familiar cry of 'Mummy I've done a poo and its really runny!' I went to help her and she said 'I know how diarrhea is made' 'do you' I responded, more grossed out at the task in hand. 'Yes mummy. Diarrhea is made when the wee is stuck behind the poo and it wont come out. The wee has to push past the poo and it mixes and it gets all runny.' 

Sometimes the conversations I have with my toddlers are just delightful! 

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Monday, 22 September 2014

Wanted: Blogging Mojo - Last seen May 2014

Have you seen it? Its been coming and going for the past 4 months but its definitely more going than coming. I just cant seem to muster up enthusiasm for the blog at the moment, but there is just so much I want to tell you. I want to tell you Baby Girl has started the assessment process for ASD, although I'm not completely convinced she has full blown autism. I want to tell you about a cook book that has massively helped to improve our diets since Baby Pop was born saving us time and making sure the girls are getting their 5 a day. I want to show you what we have been baking, I've been working on a recipe page on the blog, pulling together all the recipes that I have blogged about. I've been busy baking and retaking photos of all of these recipes so they look better and turning them into a printable page for your convenience. 

I want to show you the resources I've been using for Maths and English in our Home Schooling adventure, and show you all the fun things we've been doing like playing with jelly, writing in salt and creating gigantic ice-cream cones. I sit here to type and its all gone. Maybe its sleep deprivation or maybe its just a case of having 3 under 3 and having no time, but I really hope my blogging mojo returns fully soon, because I really REALLY want to tell you about all the really great Christmas cards I've been making, I want to finish Our Story and show you really cute pictures of my children. 

If you see it, please point it back in this direction! 

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Monday, 15 September 2014

Life with 3

Having 2 children seems to be normal at the moment. Any more than that and people look at you as if you have 2 heads, when they realise that my 3 children are 14 months and 2 years apart respectively, they say things like, 'you've got your hands full there haven't you!' and 'so which one was the mistake?' (yes really!) A question I have no answer for at the moment is 'soooo whats it like with 3 childen?' and they stare at you with a greedy, expectant look, like you are a creature from another planet who has come all this way just to tell them all about it. I end up smiling and saying 'yea, its good' because where do I start? How do I even begin to sum up what its like with 3 children?

I'm told the best way to stay sane whilst having 'so many children' is to leave the house every day. I can't help but notice the people giving this advice are rarely in the same position as me, they may have 3 children, they may have a baby but people who have had 2 toddlers and a baby tend to just smile in a knowing way and keep their mouths closed. They know. They've been here! 

So, by the time I've gathered all the necessities for my changing bag I'm exhausted! We need, drinks and snacks for 2 girls, a scarf for me (in case some one gets funny about me feeding Pop) 2 nappies, wet wipes, nappy sacks, Pops cream, teething gel, a muslin or 2, a spare bib and a spare change of clothes for the baby, Nunny (because we cant go anywhere with out him, and if were taking nunny we need a toy for the other toddler, and also because everything has to be fair at the moment Baby Girl insists on getting a toy for Pop too!) then there is the travel potty and a spare pair of pants (or 3) and a change of clothes in case of accidents. Finally we have my purse (making sure I have cash and/or my bank cards inside, my girls are like little Fagins!) the car keys, and all the other random bits and pieces that find themselves at the bottom of my bag. 

Finally I have 2 girls and Pop strapped into the car and I ask myself where do we go? We're too late to go to any morning toddler groups its already 11am (and besides the hell of going to a toddler group with 2 toddlers and a baby is a whole other blog post!). Have you tried single handedly getting 3 children dressed in the morning? I have a clothes refusing Baby Girl, by the time I've gotten the other 2 dressed she's stripped off! As for me, I don't even get to think about putting make up on or doing my hair, a scraped back pony tail and a tinted moisturiser is all I have time for, if I'm lucky! 

I decide on a quick trip to the park before lunch, take a deep breath and off we go! We park up and Pop goes in the pushchair, the park is a short walk away so now I have to dice with death and decide which child's hand I hold. If I'm lucky the girls are in a cooperative mood and Big Girl will hold Baby Girls hand while I hold the other one, if not then we end up with a tantrum in the middle of the road with a car heading towards us while I try and scoop everyone up before we become road kill!

Once we're in the park Pop will want feeding and Baby Girl will want helping on the slide, unable to do everything at once I promise 2 goes on the slide then its time to feed Pop. Whilst I'm trying to feed Pop, Baby girl is using me as a climbing frame she wants my help with the slide again and big girl is wanting me to push her on the swing. Pop has just latched on and is happy feeding, desperately trying to not get angry at the child who is climbing on my back (we have a whole park in front of us with real climbing frames, why wont she use one of those!?) I try and get the girls to go and play but they don't want to, they just want to climb on me. I look at my watch and we've been here for the grand total of 3 minutes. 3 minutes. I was sure it was longer than that! I dish out snacks and drinks in the hope they may go and play for a little bit longer, after all being out of the house is meant to be saving my sanity, not breaking it! 

7 more minutes and I am done! We do the walk of death back to the car and spend 5 minutes strapping every one back in and putting the pushchair in the boot. I try not to think about the fact it has taken me longer to get every one in and out of the car than the time we spent in the park. I breathe a sigh of relief as we pull on to the driveway, happy with the thought I can tell the next busy body and health visitor that yes, yes we do get out of the house, I'll just lie about it being every day!

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Wednesday, 3 September 2014

First day of school

A few months ago you may remember The Husband and I made the decision to Home Educate our Children. It was a hard decision we had to make, but I know it was the right one. However I hadn't actually turned down Big Girls nursery place for September. I pulled her out of her preschool place but hadn't informed the school nursery she was due to attend that, well, she wouldn't be. I guess holding on to the place was like a crutch, if it all went wrong, if I wasn't able to teach her at home, I could still send her there.

Today was the last chance to change my mind, the last chance to do a u-turn on my decision. This morning I woke up feeling sick, the only thought on my mind was 'what if I'm making the wrong decision?' The Husband and I went over and over the reasons we had chosen to Home Educate, the pros, the cons and how we were planning on over coming those. We went over the planning I have painstakingly done and over the work the girls have already done. I knew I was making the right decision... but what if I wasn't? I couldn't shake that sick feeling, so I called my Mum. She went over the pro's and con's, and the things we are planning on doing later in the year, the things we couldn't do if big Girl was at school (my mum is also a Home Educator) she went over the same things The Husband had said and told me it was a decision I had to make, she couldn't make it for me. I put the phone down feeling more sick than ever and then I picked up the phone and did it.

I phoned the school and turned down her placement. It was a spur of the moment action, an action I didn't feel able to take but somehow found the strength to make, and just like that, I didn't feel sick any more. I felt calm, I felt scared, but I knew I'd done the right thing.

Turning your back on social norms is a scary thing to do. I'm told most home educators have wobbles and often they come more than once during your Home Education journey. Society teaches that school is the right place for all children to be and for 90% it probably is, but if you are one of those people that have decided to turn their back on school, say thanks but no thanks, then there is a whole world of judgement awaiting you. Home Education is an exciting, rewarding and enjoyable experience, but it can also be a scary, full on, stressful and full of self doubt experience.

I know I'm making the right decision for my children, but that wont stop me having wobbles every now and then.

Today is the first day of  not going to school for Big Girl and she is so excited at what we have in store, we took some photos to commemorate the occasion and make it feel special.

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Monday, 1 September 2014

Me & Mine ~ August

This is our first ever family photograph with all 5 of us in. Its only taken me 4 months to get around to it!

Baby Pop turned 17 weeks, hes a happy smiley baby and can now grasp toys with both hands and put it in his mouth. Hes now wearing 6-9 month clothes and we've switched him to reusable nappies as he seems to have very sensitive skin

Baby Girl is still adjusting to life as the middle child. It turns out she is quite a little Einstein, her maths skills rival her sisters and she is getting to grips quite rapidly with her numbers.

Big Girl is excited about starting 'school' again next month, she is starting to sound words out and can confidently add and takeaway to the value of 5! 

The Husband has been working in Copenhagen and enjoying the sites, while trying not to let on to me that he loves his new client! He's really looking forward to walking up Snowdon next month and is hoping he doesn't end up in hospital again.

I enjoyed celebrating my 27th birthday and am looking forward to teaching the girls again in September and we have lots of fun projects coming up before Christmas like the human body and hot & cold. I'm really getting in to the swing of being a mum to 3 and cant wait for my uni course to start. 

September is going to be another fun month for us all. 

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Sunday, 31 August 2014

Chocolate Fondant With Plum Sauce

Have you ever checked the cupboards made sure you had all the ingredients begun to make you recipe, only to realise you should have checked the cupboards more thoroughly? I'm going to pretend that all of you are nodding along in agreement, purely because it will make me fell better about myself!

I followed my recipe and when it came to adding my sugar, my heart sunk. The bag of sugar I had spotted in the cupboard earlier was almost used up. I breathed a sigh of relief when I got 100g of sugar out of the bag and even had some left over. Phew. Then it was time to add the flour. I'd opened my cupboard, seen the 12 (yes, I really do have 12 bags of flour in my cupboard, although not all of them are open!) bags of flour and assumed one of them would be plain flour. This weekend i learnt never to assume anything! not one of the bags were plain, so I substituted it for self raising, telling myself that if it all went wrong, exploded in my oven or burnt my kitchen down at least it would make a funny story. Thankfully it didn't and out came a rather nice looking fondant.

When I moved on to the plum sauce my heart yet again sank as I realised that the sugar I was happy to have left over, was needed. Unfortunately I only had 40ish grams left, and was surprised it worked just as well. I've left the original amount in the recipe below, but if you prefer less sugar, try the sauce with 40g instead of 60g.


For the fondants

125g butter
125g dark chocolate
4 eggs
100g caster sugar
60g plain flour

For the plum sauce

4 plums
50g caster sugar

1) melt the chocolate and butter together over a pan of simmering water
2) whisk the eggs and caster sugar together until light and fluffy
3) fold the chocolate mixture and the flour into the eggs, take your time making sure there are no pockets of chocolate or flour left unmixed
4) spoon the mixture in to dariol molds (the little round pudding dishes) until they are 3/4 full
5) place the molds on to baking trays and bake at 180c for 8-10 minutes until just set.
6) While the fondants are baking, de-stone and slice up your plums. In a non stick pan, place the plum slices and sugar and leave to dissolve over a low heat. You may need to add 1-2 tbsp's of water to help the sugar dissolve depending on how juicy the plums are.
7) Just before the plums are about to break down take off the heat. Run a knife around the edge of the pudding mold and turn out on to a dish. Serve with a scoop of ice-
cream and some plum sauce.


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