It seems Dylan’s new nursery is already working magic on my beautiful boy. I don’t think I have ever been able to get him to sit still long enough for a photo but they achieved this perfectly with his school photo. Aren’t those eyes just magical? Safe to say these photos have already been ordered and the frame chosen.
We have just completed our first month at pre-school with just three mornings each week. For the first few sessions he refused to let go of my hand and wanted me to take him back home, we would try to explore together and I would take him outside but he still wanted my hand. I would quickly run whilst he was distracted with the likes of bubbles or the ipad. A few sessions on he realised when we were walking towards his school where we were going and then the tears began, they continued as we went in and towards his classrooms where I would then have to leave my boy in hysterics simply because Mummy was leaving him there.
Now if he had been any younger and if he did not have Autism then he would be back in his pram and coming back home to have fun with Mummy and Charlotte but this place is amazing and by being here he will get so much more support with his speech and life skills. Much more then I can offer him at home, here he is surrounded by professionals who actually know the key to unlocking my boy.
The last few sessions I have noticed that despite still getting upset as we approach the school he has given into the fact he has to stay for a couple of hours. He will reluctantly climb out of the pushchair and will walk himself to his classroom door. Once the door opens he runs in and is still upset but he knows that is where he is staying and gives into whatever distraction they offer him.
When gone though he apparently has lots of fun and is happy. They show me photos of what he gets up to and the mess on his uniform usually tells me a story of his day. But at the end of that morning watching him come running of that door with eagerness to come home really does put a huge smile on my face.
When I used to read articles, blog posts and hear comments about how someone thought of themselves as more than just a mother I would gasp in shock. How can motherhood not be the be all and end all to someone with children in their lives? From the moment I saw that positive pregnancy test for the first time it was like I had signed some contract to give my life over and make it so that I am programmed to do nothing and think of nothing but motherhood.
That thinking has continued over the last several years until recently when I realised that I can actually be more then just a mother. I can be me.
I can be someone who leaves her children with other people knowing that they will be perfectly fine and that separation isn’t necessary a bad thing. My breastfeeding days are over, I do not need to worry about being the only one to settle the baby off to sleep. And Charlotte isn’t even a baby any more, she is 19 months going on 19.
I can be someone who looks after her body, for so long I have abused it in so many ways. I gave up with it and didn’t really care if I was getting rounder and that the only kind of solo exercise I was getting was walking to the shop to pick out cake. I have joined the gym and dusted off the running shoes again and am enjoying being the runner that I was long before I had children.
I can be someone who shops for herself instead of the children. For so long have I put the children’s wardrobes first and left mine filled with outgrown clothes. The only thing that changed for my wardrobe was the colour of my converses. Out with the old and in with the new is quickly becoming my new motto.
I can let my hair down and instead of constantly declining outings with friends to the pub I can actually put the children to bed and go out and have a laugh. I do not need to put my own enjoyments aside because after all happy mum is a great mum.
Like Jim I was using the children as a smoke screen and was just putting ‘me’ aside to be a me with a head filled of appointments, parental responsibilities and nothing but talk of cloth nappies and autism. I was someone that got stuck in the routine of doing the same thing every day. Wake up, breakfast, school drop off, lunch, school pick up, dinner, kids bed and blogging. Obviously with lots of kids related fun and activities in between and that I do not regret or not enjoy but then there was never anything for me, I was totally in a rut when it came to giving myself essential me time. Change is good though and now I am on the road to finding me again I might be able to find a life balance that keeps the whole household happy and running smoothly.
One lucky reader and up to seven guests will be having a fabulous holiday next year, thanks to Greater Yarmouth Tourism and some amazing local attractions.
The winner will be staying 7 nights at Haven Seashore, in a caravan looking out to sea, with no restrictions on dates, (perfect for the family with school age children) for up to 8 people (you might want to take the grandparents) but not just the fabulous holiday, the winner will be also be given passes to visit some wonderful local places during their stay, which include..
Deluxe Afternoon Tea at Saras Tearooms
Time & Tide Museum
Great Yarmouth Stadium – Greyhound Racing plus a meal
Part of me wanted to scrap the part which says ‘pre’ from this blog title as we know that this might just be the very start of his whole school journey. Yesterday our baby boy started again at pre-school, something we tried to do exactly 1 year ago. I never did get around to writing about our initial nursery experience, it is a blog post which has been sat in my drafts and maybe someday I might finish it.
That initial nursery experience summarised is that they were not set up to deal with someone like Dylan who potentially had something more going on then just being your average 2 year old. They were not understanding to his or my needs and after about 5 sessions we took him out. Before he left we were given a nursery report which assessed my boy in that environment and it basically put him at the age of a 8 month old, which was kinda painful considering his sister at the time was just 8 months old.
1 year on and Dylan has started pre-school at our local SEN school, somewhere we have been attending weekly play sessions so it is already familiar to him. We bought him the uniform as we thought it would be a good idea to start introducing the concept of uniform as well as knowing that he would just look so darn cute in it. We were given this book which would help us explain to him where he was off to and who his pre-school teachers are.
Dylan of course did not really know where we were going until we got there and had walked through reception. Watching his eyes light up as he saw someone he recognised was pretty amazing and seeing her also helped me to feel at ease. I was already at ease already about where he was going and knowing that it is the best place for him but it is still my baby being apart from me after 3 years of being together every single day.
We left Daddy and Charlotte as we got to the nursery classroom, they kissed him goodbye and me and him went in together. He did get rather upset when the door got shut and he quite clearly wanted to go back out. They know Dylan and they know that being outside is one of his favourite things so they encouraged him to go outside to play and even opened up the park for him. He was holding my hand all this time and was not very sure about what he wanted to do.
My original plan was to stay with him all session but it was suggested that come half 9 that I should leave him and see how he copes without me That I could even go home and they would call me if he gets upset. Knowing that I am a few minutes drive away comforted me and whilst he was distracted with splashing away at the water table, I slipped out of the door. I watched through the glass as he continued to play and then I walked off leaving my boy once again at pre-school.
This time was different, this time he was left with people they were not exactly strangers as he has seen them before. He had someone with him, 1 on 1 who was being his eyes and mouth. They know Dylan is most likely autistic and they know and understand that certain noises may upset him along with a busy environment. That food is a minefield and that come snack time he may only want a certain type of food but that is OK. They know that his drink bottle can be a comfort to him and that it is not to be hidden away on some shelf somewhere like the last nursery did. Most importantly they know that he does not understand life right now and that this is a need which needs to be catered for which a mainstream nursery cannot.
I never did get a phone call and come pick up time we eagerly awaited him to come running out. He came out smiling and we can only assume he had a fun time. It certainly did look like he had a fun morning as they showed us photos of him playing and having fun doing PE in the hall where he bounced on the trampoline and played with some ride on toys. We swept him straight away to the nearest shop for a chocolate treat.
The day did make me emotional in terms of knowing that he was going to this SEN school because he does indeed have special educational needs. I tried to put that aside and was just like any other mother who was waving her boy off to his first day of pre-school and spammed Facebook full of first day photos.
One bad experience with a company is horrendous enough but when you receive it twice then it is definitely a sign that you should of never gave them that second chance. Back in March I tried to order from Zavvi the Iron Man wall light for Oli’s birthday, come the day before his birthday and it still had not arrived despite me buying it plenty of time in advance. I cancelled my order and got my money back.
Being the HUGE Star Wars that I am when Force Friday came along it was like a second birthday for me. I knew from the moment I first saw the BB-8 that I wanted one and was actually planning on getting one from the Disney Store until a fellow geek shared that there was a code over on Zavvi which gives you 10% off if you spend over £50. Total winner in my eyes and I put that initial order let down aside, after all they wouldn’t upset a Star Wars fan which has ordered first thing as she wouldn’t want to risk it selling out.
The icing on the cake was that they were doing a promotion ‘FREE NEXT DAY DELIVERY BB-8 DROID’ which meant that I would be playing with my new droid within no time at all. Yeah if only.
I have watched as fellow geeks receive and enjoy their new BB-8, some have even ordered from Zavvi since I have and received it next day. So it is not like it was out of stock. Mine however has been sat ‘awaiting stock pick’ for the last week. Until this morning when I logged into my Zavvi acount and saw that the status had changed to despatched.
I however did raise my eyebrows when I saw they have stated that they have used standard delivery as the delivery method. That doesn’t make much sense really when I received the option of next day delivery. Clicking through to track my order and coming through to yodel confirmed this.
Apparently my delivery should be with me by Monday 14th September, not today or tomorrow but next week. In theory it should of been with me at the start of this week at the latest considering it was ordered on the 4th September.
But hang on, lets go back to the day I purchased and got free next day delivery with that being in the email confirmation I have included above. Why are they not fulfilling that offer? Lets ask them..
@MeTheManAndKids I am very sorry about this, sadly the next day service needed to be chosen rather than the standard.
They seem to be putting an emphasis on the fact it needed to be chosen? Which it quite clearly was, you know email confirmations do not lie Zavvi. No charge needed to be deducted as there was no charge, again back to the fact I picked the free next day delivery promotion which was on offer.
I then receive a DM from them stating…
The picture they are referencing is that one above from my Zavvi dashboard where THEY picked the delivery option of standard delivery. That was out of my hands what they did with regards to that and what they put on my delivery dashboard. They say it will show the same on my order confirmation but as we can all see from my email confirmation what that says. By now it is clear there has been some kind of mistake to what they have done with my delivery option but do they admit that?
Apparently that have sent it on the service I selected which is free next day delivery, but of course they have not sent it that way. They say that where it says next day delivery it will have stated £3.95 which it did not. In the bid to not have to apologize and confess that they are in the wrong they want to continue blaming me and saying that I am in the wrong despite evidence stacking up against them.
They continue however to try and make it out as if this customer is in the wrong..
Oh and there’s more..
Because both of those look just like my order right?
Want some more evidence just to show how we really should not give Zavvi any business? That free next day delivery which they are stating is the name of the promotion but not something they are actually doing (yeah did not make any sense to me either) well in my case anyway. I saw it mentioned in this Facebook post before then obviously seeing it on screen as I processed my order.
Go on Zavvi continue to say I am not entitled to next day delivery. You just do not let fans down it is cruel and bad customer service.
The 1st of September not only sees the start of a new month but it also brings us brand new Bob The Builder over on Channel 5’s Milkshake. For the first time in its show’s history he has been given his biggest re-vamp with a modern look and feel thanks to CGI. Bob has been entertaining pre-schoolers for the past 16 years with his antics in the seaside harbour town of Fixham, bringing the world of construction to life in an inspiring and meaningful way.
His new look sees him ditching the dungarees for a hi-vis jacket but he is keeping the chunky boots, yellow hard hat and checked shirt. I have to admit I like the idea of the hi-vis jacket, safety does come first after all. The new series will see Bob the Builder continuing its long tradition of telling fun and interesting stories through positivity and teamwork with exciting characters, relatable locations and an aspirational hero.
As well as a change of outer wear, the voices have also been renewed. Lee Ingleby (Harry Potter) takes on the voice of Bob, Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey) is the voice of Wendy, Blake Harrison (Inbetweeners) the voice of Scoop and Jacob Scipio (Cbeebies) is the voice of new character Leo.
Join us @MeTheManAndKids tomorrow morning at 6.30am as we join HiT Entertainment, UKMums.tv @UKMumstv and Milkshake @milkshaketv as we host a fun-filled #Bobthebuilderon5 Twitter Party. Follow those accounts and keep your eye out on on the hashtag for your opportunity to win some prizes with an attraction being the final main prize!
When it came to planning our holiday to America next year the husband was pretty adamant that we fly with British Airways. So with that in mind I set about searching for flights on various holiday websites with British Airways being our chosen airline. We spent days browsing and not having much luck finding anything to suit us until I decided to browse flights directly on the British Airways website, I may of actually did a little squeal when I saw there was a sale on.
We already knew that we wanted to go to Los Angeles so we used the option of searching for flight and hotel to see if there were any package deals to suit us as a family. The very first option that it suggested turned out to be the perfect one for us and it had everything we needed with a hotel that caters for families and it is just several minutes away from Disneyland. Who doesn’t want to stay within walking distance of Disneyland!?
The next day I phoned British Airways as I wanted to ask a couple of questions, we got through to a friendly advisor who was able to answer all my questions. He then gave me the option of booking our chosen holiday right there over the phone with him and 10 minutes later I had booked our family holiday for March 2016 with British Airways. It was so simple and a few minutes later I had received our booking confirmation.
That was a couple of months ago and since then we have managed our booking online to pay off the holiday, add all the passenger details and purchase additional extras such as car hire. It also includes everything we need to know from where we are sitting on the plane to what we shall be eating during our flight. I have took advantage of the 24 hour helpline to ask questions with regards to Dylan and his autism, it’s something that almost stopped us from booking the holiday but BA have reassured us that they will do whatever they can to cater for our needs. I have also sent a few tweet asking questions to which I have got responses back the same day, I always do have more respect (being the blogger that I am) for companies that use social media in the right way to respond to customers.
Travelling with 3 under 7 does have us slightly nervous about how they will deal with such a long journey but British Airways have put us at ease with letting us know that the kids will be well entertained as well as provided with activity packs. Failing that they have kids channels like Disney & Cartoon Network which should help provide us with some rest during the journey.
As a household we have all joined the free executive club so that we can collect Avios (BA club currency) to spend on future flights and cabin upgrades. I will be flying again next year with BA by myself to California so looking forward to putting any Avios points we collect on our holiday towards my flight. High fives for that.
Have you flown with British Airways recently? We would love to heard your tips on flying long haul with children.
It all got too much for us a couple of weeks ago and it all came crashing down like a thunderstorm. Only it did not affect anyone else in our street, town or life. No it only affected the people inside of our house. This dark cloud that has been with us knowingly for the last 8 months burst and out came the thunder and rain.
I thought I could take shelter from the storm in the local supermarket only it stayed with me. As I stood looking at the cheese, drops fell to the floor. Only it was not rain but my tears. I was crying as it all hit me at once right there in the cheese aisle and I just did not know what to do.
My marriage seemed to of suddenly reached breaking point and the one person I am meant to be able to turn to when I am struggling was also struggling. He has always been terrible at communicating and I am pretty sure I not the best listener around. We were clashing, clashing when we needed each other the most. When our family needed us to be strong and know what we are doing. Only when I really think about it that is the problem, we do not know what we are doing or what to do any more.
Dylan’s autism seems to be changing with age and recently he has turned to lashing out as his frustration increases. We have gone from swooning over our sweet baby boy to wanting to hiding from our 3 year old who hits out. Now he is getting older and still cannot talk he has to use other methods to tell us what he wants. He chucks his drink cup when he wants another drink and he will grab our hand and drag us to where he wants to go which is mostly the kitchen for food.
His newest thing is constantly picking his nose until it bleeds, another body fluid which he gets sensory satisfaction from and on top of the constant poo smearing this is all rather testing. We are holding on and clinging to the fact he starts pre-school at the local SEN school in a months time. We are hoping they will give us answers, solutions and guidance. I have chucked so much faith into this but what else can I do? No one but other autism parents understand exactly what we are going through even though we do not know what are going through.
The only thing I have at the moment is this space to ramble on. To virtually SHOUT into and cry as I talk about our struggles with Autism. As I write about how our family are struggling with this huge curve ball in our lives.
You know when you get this idea in your head and without thinking you share it out aloud? OK so maybe you dont but I do this all the time, it goes in the same box as not thinking before I speak. And I pretty sure the husband thinks when I share these ideas that I have actually given them much thought and not just let it tick over for 2 seconds in my head. Anyway.. I am a huge comic fan, I love all things superheroes and Stephen Amell has for now replaced the children as my wallpaper on every gadget and device I own. For some reason this year I was mega jealous of all those experiencing San Diego Comic Con in the flesh and was kicking myself for not looking into going myself for the first time. I then thought why not go next year and take the family. So I say this out aloud and that was it, husband was immediately on board and a hour later we were in the travel agents planning a family trip to San Diego.
So the next couple of days was spent looking into itineraries and how we would go about it. Funnily enough the more we decided we wanted to do, the more costly it was becoming and the fact it was the end of July and prime summer holiday did not help. I then started to really think about Comic Con with kids in toll and how it would be a completely different experience to me being by myself, Hall H would be out the question and we would of had to take it at their pace. Oli would of adored it and Charlotte would of adored coming up with Cosplay ideas with me. So airing this out aloud the husband priced up the Easter Holidays with California and funnily enough it was 1/3 the cost of July.
With the amount we could save it kind of trumped my needwant idea of going to SDCC and I put that idea aside. We found the most fantastic package in Los Angeles for the 5 of us with British Airways and we loved the look of the hotel which is just 5 minutes away from Disneyland. I have pointed out that with the amount we are saving that I could go out to San Diego by myself in July, but I am yet to figure out if the man’s facial expression was a yes, maybe or ‘no way unless you are taking me because I will be extremely jealous and I know you will run off with Stephen Amell given half the chance’.
There is so much to do in the area we are staying in with some beautiful beaches nearby. We have already hired out a car so that we can visit San Diego and go to Legoland, SeaWorld and San Diego Zoo. Oli is so excited and after showing him on his globe where we are going to be flying to it it took that excitement up several notches. So far he is most excited about Cars Land and seeing the animals at the zoo. Of course Charlotte has absolutely no idea what we are doing let alone where we going but I know she will love this adventure we are going on and I have already been eyeing up some shops for us to visit.
I have never really been one for the travelling bug and have been so happy with staying in the UK and had planned on continuing with this until the kids were older. But now we are in the process of planning and looking at where in America we are staying/visiting I can feel that bug biting and now the kids have passports I am I already wondering if we can fit in somewhere new and random over the Christmas holidays.
It really is so nice to have some big adventure to look forward to and after the last several years of ups & downs we totally deserve this as a family. We do have that one tiny.. OK.. HUGE detail that Dylan and his autism which means it may be slightly more difficult then just flying to America with 3 children. From the get go we have been determined to not let autism take over our lives and this is no exception.
I would take it all away and have the 3 year old that does not have to deal with all the above. So that none of us would have to deal with it, so that he can live his life as normal as the rest of us.
I see many conversations on autism forums around the topic ‘would you take away the autism or keep it?’ Right now I want to take it away, so far away. I wish so much that it wasn’t in our lives. As we experience this journey to an Autism diagnosis and accepting it onto our lives, I am allowed to feel this way for now. I can say this out aloud and not feel guilty. I will not feel guilty for wanting to take it away from him.