Hello again!

Wow, what a year 2016 was for so many reasons.  I, like the rest of the world it seems was happy to see in the new year with all the potential 2017 has to offer.  I have to say 2016 was not an easy year with regards to autism and all that jazz.  W’s struggles had a knock on effect for the whole family and administration problems with the Educational and Health Care plan (EHCp) and Local Educational Authority, tested both my patience and sanity, neither which I am not sure I have back yet!

It’s been nearly a year in which I hadn’t blogged but to be honest it all felt slightly overwhelming and though I have countless drafts waiting to be published, none ever made it.  Firstly, I had all sorts of problems on what should have been a simple transfer of W’s Education Statement to the EHCp.  Statutory deadlines were missed, important information was left out of documents, reports were not included, the list goes on.  All this and W still didn’t have a named secondary school for starting in September 2016 until the end of June when the actual legal deadline was back on 14th February.  To say it was a tense period was an understatement especially as W’s Anxiety had crept up to an all time high and we were trying to help him manage that too.

Thankfully W started at a fabulous school in September.  Neither the school or myself felt it is the correct setting for him but we had no choice.  To say it has been a sharp learning curve for all involved is an understatement and W is still struggling on a daily basis, but the school are doing everything to make this work.  To be honest, I am struggling on a daily a basis too.  One of the problems we had at the beginning is W presents himself as very able, when in fact he is just a mastermind at masking his needs.  They are beginning to get there with him!

As I mentioned W’s Anxiety is hit an all time high last year and though has dipped a little, it is still right up there.  Thankfully, he made it to the top of the waiting list for CAMHs (Child and Adolescent Mental Health) and is now seeing a great guy who is slowly gaining W’s trust and helping him with his emotions.  There is however no quick fix for W and we are in for a long and rocky road but at least now he is getting the help he needs.

The road to getting help was loooonnnngggg.  It started with a referral after a trip to the GP, this was when I was at the end of my tether, an acknowledgement he was on the waiting list, an assessment and then it was another five months to have his first appointment.  The whole process took approximately nine months and the frustration/problem I found was the waiting.  I went to the GP for help due to as a family we could no longer help W, and he was suffering.  Then to wait all those months just exasperated the situation.  Admitting you are unable to help your own child is heartbreaking, the feeling is complete desolation.

There have been several other trials that have crossed our path over the last year but I think that is enough for now and we are making a conscious effort to have plans to look forward to throughout the year.  The main one is we are off on holiday during the summer holidays.  We went last year and spent a week in a caravan a stone’s throw from the sea and we all had the most marvellous time.  It is all the boys can talk about.  They have plans to spend everyday on the beach and are already saving two pence pieces for the penny machines on the seafront arcades.  W keeps telling me he is planning on having an extra large ice-cream everyday.

Well on that note I am going to sign off for this time.  Hopefully, I shall pop in again sooner rather than later and it won’t be another year before I appear back here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What if…

Every now and again something will happen and I will have to catch myself from falling in to the “what if” trap.

The other morning, I was walking up B’s school drive and in the distance I saw one of B’s friend’s walking hand in hand with his little brother.  They stopped at the gate to give each other a kiss and cuddle goodbye.  Now this sight happens every morning but this particular morning the sight hurt.  My breath caught in my chest and I could feel the burn behind my eyes as I held in a tear or two.  I know that these brothers will be walking into school together next year, there will be no stopping at the gate but they will continue through them together.  I have overheard them tell each other they miss each other, but I also know that at times they fight like cat and dog.  For whatever reason, that day, the image of these two brothers affected me.  I  know that my boys will never be able to wear the same school uniform, W will never be able to look out for his little brother in the playground.

W loves B, I know this, but I also know he struggles with physical contact from B.  He has his own love for his brother, one that he is unable to share with B.  I know this effects B and he is hurt by the rejection.  I can only hope that as he matures so will his understanding.  I am also aware the the whole family’s life is affected by Autism.  We can not do spontaneous trips, surprises are difficult and outings have at times been cut short, even if everyone else was enjoying themselves.  Meals out, can at times, be like a military manoeuvre and W takes no pleasure from being there.  B is unable to have friends round for tea, thankfully the parents of his friends are very understanding of the situation and he is still invited although we can not reciprocate.  The “what if” question can at times hang in the air.

We have had to turn down amazing opportunities to travel the world with G’s job due to W needing stability and specialist support.  I always had visions of myself in the nursing home, boring the other residents with tales from Belize, but it is not to be. Saying all of that, I have also learnt a lot as well and there is no bitterness, just at times the unanswerable question.

Please do not read this as if I am wallowing  in self-pity, I am not, it is just every now and then the “what if’ question rears it’s ugly head and I have catch myself from going down that particular path…

Glasses!

W, has to wear glasses!

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He has been complaining on and off for a while about having headaches but it is difficult to judge if he really does have a headache or there is just too much information for him to cope with in his head – not that this doesn’t cause headaches, it is more to do with W’s communication.

B went to spend a few days of last week with his Dad at work, to give both him and W a break from each other in the holidays.  This allowed me to be able to book W an appointment at the optician’s, taking both boys out can be trying!

I explained when I booked that I was not sure what level of understanding he would have with the tests and it would be likely that he would need the pictures rather than letters, I also mentioned his speech delay and Autism.  I always find people are more accommodating if they know in advance that W may not act as one would expect an 11 year to.

W was very excited and after a friendly chat to tell us what would be happening and some time admiring himself in the mirror and telling his reflection he is very handsome, W  was in the chair.  As I predicted, he did need to have the picture tests as the letters and number (they were rather curvy looking) just threw him.  The Optician handled him so well, just saying that the pictures where more fun anyway!

Unfortunately, one of W’s triggers is constant questions, and what happens in tests?  He held it together, though I could see he was really struggling towards the end when he was having different lenses fitted to get the correct prescription.  It took an hour for all the tests to be completed and he was a “little freaked out” (his words) at having a photo of his eye balls taken.  He did however enjoy the colour vision test, getting all the questions correct.

Thankfully, he is nothing like his father and decided on the first pair of glasses he tried on.  He thinks he looks very smart and is looking forward to showing them off at school when he returns next week.  I really do have to commend our local Boot’s optician, as they were fabulous with him and also W was a star.  I knew it would be a difficult experience for him but he held it together and once home took himself straight up for one of his “nice, relaxing baths”.  This is always sure sign that he needs space to calm his mind.

Now all I have to do is get W to wear his glasses when watching the tv, cinema and classroom work after the novelty wears off – oh and to reassure B that it is not the end of the world that he doesn’t have to have glasses, in fact it is a good thing!

 

 

 

Beauty – ins and outs

Well, with April upon us, I thought I would bring you some beauty items I have used up and others I have purchased in the first quarter of the year.

I am a hoarder (I have my Mum to thank for that), and I am ever so slightly addicted to make-up, so this year I have been making a conscious effort to use up some of my lotions and potions.

So far I haven’t done too badly!

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The Soap and Glory Sugar Crush shower gel, has a sweet lime fragrance and W loves it.  This is our second bottle already this year, thankfully I received three bottles for Christmas so already had a back-up.  The Orba Goats Milk skin smoother was a great no frills moisturiser.  I used it on both myself and the boys.

The Body Shop Smoky Poppy shower gel and body butter were lovely, a smoky musky fragrance which I think was a pleasant move away from their more available sweeter smells.  Unfortunately, this was a limited addition and another down point was the fact the shower gel was a grey/black colour which I won’t lie was a little off putting!

I also finished two face washes.  Clinique Redness Solution soothing cleanser and Aurelia Probiotic skincare Miracle Cleanser.  Both of these were re-purchases.

Firstly, the Clinique cleanser.  I do have redness on my cheeks, well actually all over my face and though it is a nice cleanser I do not find any reduction in the redness.  In the past I have used most of the products in this line with no noticeable reduction in redness.  What I do like is that you can use it either by tissuing off or washing.  I find cleansers like this a fabulous option when travelling.  The lid has changed though.  it used to be a twist lid and you could squeeze the product out and then twist close.  You now have to remove the lid.

The Aurelia cleanser smells amazing and I found it fantastic for taking all my make up off.  I love how it is so creamy and left my face feeling very clean and not at all tight.

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Slightly surprised myself that I was able to (badly) photograph some make-up products that I have finished.  Sadly, my Dior Lip Glow balm has nearly all but gone.  Will definitely be picking up another one as it is the only lipstick G has ever noticed and complimented on.  It is a lovely pink but changes with each persons lips so looks slightly different on everyone and is very hydrating.

I seem to have a lot of Clinique stuff.  I finished the Chubby Stick in ‘whoppin watermelon’ and the Just Browsing Brush-On Styling Mousse in Black/Brown, I found this really dry and a little crispy on the brows.  I prefer the Rimmel Brow This Way Gel, although I prefer the smaller Clinique brush. Lastly for Clinique is the Repairwear Intensive Lip Treatment, I brought this in Berlin when B and I went for a long weekend to visit the Christmas Markets.  My lips were so chapped they were bleeding and this was incredible.  A couple of days later my lips were healed and back to normal.  Really impressed with it.

Nars Sheer Glow foundation in Deauville doesn’t look finished but I am having to try and scrape the sides to get any.  Not sure on the ‘glow’ in the title but it is a great foundation.  I have the Charlotte Tilbury Magic foundation at the moment but am struggling to get it to work for me.  It was a gift though so I am trying to find ways to get it to look good, so far I find a beauty blender to be the best application.  Lastly, the Toni & Guy Heat Protection Spray does a fine job when I can be bothered to blow-dry or straighten/curl my hair.

Well that was the old, now for the new…

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Boots, had their Clinique bonus time last month so I picked up their new Pep Start Eye Cream, the idea behind it is that in just 3 seconds you look wide awake.  Now I can see no difference which is a shame as I always look tired, having broken nights sleep every night due to W but I do find it hydrating under the eye.  To get the bonus gift I also picked up the Sweet Pops Sugar Scrub and Lip Balm, in Pink Framboise.  The scrub is great and I haven’t had any problems with it not being scrubby as I have read in some reviews.  I like the lip balm, but can’t really see the point of having the scrub coloured.  It’s a nice gimmick but I am not sure I would buy again as the Lush lip scrub is half the price

I was on the hunt for a new facial moisturiser, I have been using the Aurelia Cell Revitalise Day Moisturiser but it was just not for me.  I found my face never felt comfortable and my make-up never sat right, disappointingly as I love the cleanser and as it sells itself as the perfect make-up primer.  I popped into the Body Shop at the beginning of February and was advised to try the Drops of Youth, Youth Cream and the Concentrate.  You apply a couple of drops of the Concentrate, let that sink in and the apply the Youth Cream. The shop assistant did offer to decant some for me to take away and try but I couldn’t be bothered to come back if it worked so decided to take a gamble. Really pleased I did, my skin feels moisturised all day.  The only down side is the pipette on the Concentrate.  It takes an age to get any product actually in the tube.  A shame as I have a Clinique serum in the same type of button pipette and even though it is a sample size it works fine.
I brought the Aveda Dry-remady hair oil and a little goes a long way!  Two drops and I’m done, also I can’t use it every day as my hair become too soft to actually do anything with it.  I wanted to try the Benefit Roller Mascara.  Not a fan of this, I love the They’re Real Mascara but found though this did help my very short and straight lashes have a slight curl it didn’t do anything else to enhance them.  The Lancome Juicy Shaker lip gloss/oil was my Mother’s Day present.  It is really fun, looking like a mini cocktail shaker but the rather than finding it moisturising, it actually dries my lips which is never a great look especially as the pigment leaves a stain.  The colour is Berry Tale and smells amazing, if somewhat sweet.

I have a few new things on my wish list for the coming months so am impatiently waiting for the summer launches.

 

To wobble or not to wobble?

We are all about teeth in household at the moment.  B lost his third tooth last weekend, after it wobbling for the last four/five months and still has another four wobbly ones with one of his new front teeth growing over his baby tooth.  B just loves the thought of the Tooth Fairy coming and leaving money to pop into his piggy bank.  This tooth did make a rather dramatic appearance whilst on the motorway with no way of stopping until our destination at the Legoland Hotel for a weekend of Lego Pirate adventures.  The smear of blood and gappy hole did help with his pirate costume.

W on the other hand finds the whole idea of loosing his teeth rather frightening.  Firstly it’s the wobbling, your teeth are not supposed to move!  Then comes the pain of said tooth.  An innocent bite into a ‘rabbit bar’ can cause a lot of pain and the unexpected sensation of the tooth moving is not one W relishes.

Today was the day that another one fell out.  We are thankfully onto molars so there are not many more to loose.   He has been becoming increasingly upset over this tooth and in need of lots of reassurance that it is supposed to happen and it will all be ok.  After settling him and getting him to understand that him not breathing would not help stop the blood and it really is paramount to life to keep breathing, we where able to talk about what he wanted to do with his tooth.  Now W still believes in the Tooth Fairy/Father Christmas/Easter Bunny/that I am magic etc so putting the tooth under the pillow is still an option for him.  W has declined to, as he declined with his last tooth, as he wants it to go in a pot with all his old teeth as he thinks they will be lonely.  He has a sense of reassurance that they are all together and that he can look at them.  I’m happy to go with this if it helps him, though I really am not that keen on old teeth!

Now we just have the readjustment of the gap the tooth has left behind and then the new growth and all will be back to normal for W.

So to wobble or not to wobbly really was the question of the day…

 

 

ps: I think I wrote the word wobbly more times here, than I ever have in my entire life before!

 

 

Oopps

It’s already half way through the first month of 2016 and time is flying by.

Things have been a little tricky here for W.  It’s been steadily getting harder for him (and us) just to get through the day at times and I didn’t realise how hard it would be to try and commit these things to paper so ended up being unable to actually bring myself to hit the publish button.  W’s anxiety is through the roof at the moment and unfortunately, the festive period really throws a spanner in the works, with all the extra stimulus from heightened emotions, lights, decorations, music etc, travelling to visit family and then add Father Christmas in to the mix – wow just wow!

With a new year it brings new possibilities and a shift in the positive atmosphere I try and create at home.  Now things are not going to get better over night but I am hopeful that there will be light at the end of the tunnel during 2016.

A new year obviously brings resolutions and a time to reflect on last years:

2015 Resolutions:

  • Read a book a month
  • Craft project a month
  • Money in my account at the end of the month
  • Say YES to more fun things.

Ok so money in my account didn’t quite go to plan but I can dream.  I love to read and read far more than one a month but it is a great reminder to actually pick up a book.  I started 12 craft projects but finishing…

Saying Yes was a difficult one as I always worry about being away from W as he has separation anxiety BUT the occasional trip with friends at the weekend when G was home was definitely a positive.  I already have some great plans for this year.

2016’s resolutions are pretty much the same, though I thought I would try and finish my craft projects rather than starting too many new ones.  The one addition is to lose weight so my clothes actually can be worn rather than just hanging in the wardrobe taking up space!

All in all I am looking forward to 2016!

 

 

 

Autumn Half term, the planning…

We are looking looking forward to this half term as G has the week off and after being away on a course for the last couple of weeks we have missed out seeing him at the weekends.  W is definitely a home boy (his words) but the lack of structure the holidays can present, does hold difficulties and confusion for him.

With this in mind, for the last few years we have an ideas sheet drawn up for each holiday, which the boys are involved with.  We put down all the things we would like to do  and the things that we know we have to do, for example this half term we have to go and buy W a new winter coat and a trip to the Dentist is due.  The boys know that just because it is down on the list does not mean that we will be doing it but we do our best (flying to the moon was slightly out of my capabilities)  We have found that if W is refusing to leave the house we can show him the plan and he is generally more accommodating to the activity.

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Another item on the list is a Halloween party for B and his friend but I know W wouldn’t cope so he is staying home with G to watch films and I have promised popcorn so he is happy.

W, is particularly looking forward to Trick or Treating this year, not going out just handing out the sweets so he can shout boo at everyone.  Selfishly I’m quite pleased that he doesn’t want to go out this year as he doesn’t understand that he is not being invited into everyone’s home when they open their front doors; this has led to some interesting experiences in the past!  Our experience Military estates is that many go all out for halloween, the whole house and garden is decorated and a lot of houses have street parties but now being in  our own house I’m not sure how the civi estate does things.

It’s a jammed packed week but all looks good fun, with days out and friends and family visiting, well maybe not the coat shopping but at the moment W keeps asking to go.  Hopefully, we can recharge our batteries, because come November the run up to Christmas starts and that is always a fun but challenging time.