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Day 5 – Education – #Blogtober17

Here we are on Day 5 of #Blogtober17 and todays prompt is Education. If you’d like to catch up with my other posts so far you can here.

education, autism, special needs

Back in the day… I was a bit of a rebel and didn’t really like school. My rubbish GCSE results reflected that. I really regret not knuckling down now.

When my son got a diagnosis of Autism I wanted to know everything there was to know about it. I bought books and googled lots but I wanted more. So I signed up with the open university and took part in a course called Understanding the Autism Spectrum. I loved it. It was so in-depth it confused the hell out of me at times, especially the part about how the brain works. I hasten to add I passed with flying colours! For the first time in many many years I was incredibly proud of myself!

A few years down the line I came across another course, this time a Diploma on Autism Awareness. That was a fairly quick course but still incredibly informative and interesting. I passed that too! 🙂

I really love learning now. Especially as I get to pick the things I learn about which is a big thing I think. At school (other than when you take your options) you don’t get to choose what you learn. A curriculum needs to be followed. I found most of it boring. I was an idiot!

Once Fraser is a bit bigger and I get a bit more time to myself I am going to learn more. I don’t know what subject yet but I want to learn more. I did set out to get an Open Degree with the open university but our finances just wouldn’t stretch to it. Plus I barely get time to scratch my backside these days so finding time to study would be impossible.

I might not have wanted to know when I was 15 years old but now I am eager to get those brain cells working again! I’m hurtling towards 40 years old and want to better my knowledge.

 

Did you further your Education after school or take part in any learning in adulthood?

 

blogtober17

 

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Babies – Day 2 – #Blogtober17

So the second day prompt for #Blogtober17 is Babies!! I have read so many fab posts from bloggers on day 1 they have inspired me with a different format this time. I’m going to do an A-Z list all about my babies!

 

age gap, siblings, family

 

A is for Age Gap! 

My children are almost 15, 11 and 5 months! Haha! Number 3 was not planned, in fact we thought we had done our bit for the population after our oldest two! I was on the pill and Fraser was a HUGE shock to us but we are besotted with him and cannot imagine our lives without him. He has completed our family. (He really has!! Hubby has now been snipped! HAHA!)

B is for Bump!

When pregnant the last time, with Fraser… I was HUGE!!!! I had a bump to beat most bumps! I had extra fluid too which they were keeping an eye on. I am so glad Fraser decided enough was enough at 38+4 because I cannot imagine what size I would have been if I had reached my due date or even (god forbid) gone over!!

C is for C-Section!

My first two kids were normal vaginal deliveries. Due to many medical issues this time (probably cos I was so old this time around) I had to have a C-Section. I am glad I got to experience it in a way but WOW… nothing can prepare you for the recovery from that. You really do have to take it easy. The staff were fantastic and talked me through everything they were doing. Five months on and my scar has healed pretty neatly.

D is for Due Dates!

Something I have never reached with any of my pregnancies!! All of my children came early. Not prematurely though, just early.  Izzy was 2 weeks early, Xavier was 2 and a half weeks early and Fraser was a week and a half early! So I never experienced the going over due thing and to be quite frank I am happy with that!

E is for Edward!

My husband! HE was my absolute rock through the last pregnancy! He obviously helped in creating these beauties too! 😉 I suffered terribly with just about everything! He was my hero and helped me out so much and then again when I was recovering! He would not let me lift a finger! He’s a keeper that one! 😉

baby boy, second son,

F is for Fraser!

Our second son, our last child, our baby boy! He is 5 months, and an absolute gem! He was 8lb 3oz born and now weighs 19b 3oz. A proper chunky Monkey! He currently has two teeth breaking through so is not always a happy chappy shall we say? But waking up to this little face every morning is just a dream. He is so cute!

cute, five months old, baby

G is for Gestational Diabetes!

Another ailment I was blessed with in my 3rd pregnancy! Only literally found out a week before Fraser was born so was told to just control my diet. It was too late in the day for medication to control it.

H is for High Risk Pregnancy!

Unfortunately this was me the 3rd time around. I had so much going on that they put me as high risk!! Quite scary initially but I have to say I was well looked after and my consultant was the best! She was awesome! There was ONE bonus to being High Risk! I got extra scans so I got to see Fraser 4 extra times.

 

daughter, oldest child, baby girl

I is for Izabel!

Our oldest! Our beautiful girl! Only girl! Izabel Thea! The one who made us parents for the first time! We are so proud of this beauty! Almost 15! Where in the hell did that go?!! From this cheeky Bubba to a 6ft tall stunner! Currently in her GCSE year 10 at school and working hard. This girl has so many talents. She is going to go so far in life! She may be a stroppy teen but generally she is a good girl and no trouble! Couldn’t ask for more really.

stunning daughter,

J is for Jaundice!

Fraser was kept an eye on as he had this when he was born. It only lasted about a week and he was right as rain. Another thing I had not experienced with my first 2 children! I felt like a complete newbie this time around… A) because it had been so bloody long lol and B) because all these things were new to me! Never had come across them before. Was a huge learning curve.

K is for Kisses!

Be it a kiss on the forehead from the older two or being covered in dribble by the baby! Who doesn’t love kisses from their little people?!

L is for Love!

The amount of love Izzy and Xavier show to their baby brother just melts my heart! Izzy is a complete natural and very hands on with him. I know Xavier was excited from the day we announced I was pregnant, but there is the idea of a baby and then the reality of it once he was here. I did in the back of my mind wonder if he would cope. He has coped really well. Especially as we have had a reflex and colicky baby so have had lots and lots of screaming.

M is for Motherhood!

The hardest, most tiring but most rewarding job in the world! I still can’t quite believe I’ve managed this for almost 15 years! I still can’t quite believe I have 3 children! I am incredibly blessed!

N is for Nail Clippers!

Probably one of the scariest tools you have to use in early motherhood! Cutting a small babys nails is a frightening job!! Maybe its just me lol! My tip: Do it after a bath when they are zonked!

O is for Ouch!

The period pains after a 3rd child! OUCH really is the only word. Well …without swearing!

 

P is for Poop!

The subject of many Mums conversations haha! Only had a couple of “Poonami” moments so far! Don’t you just love it when it explodes out of all sides of the nappy including up the back! The worst part of parenthood! Poop!

Q is for QUICK Birth!

This was me with my first baby!! I had a 20 minute Labour and delivery! The midwife was as shocked as me I think! Ed and my Mum missed it all by about 10 minutes! Remember that so vividly like it happened yesterday! She obviously couldn’t wait!

R is for Rh-Negative!

I have rhesus negative blood so I have had to have injections in all my pregnancies. I am used to being a pin cushion now! Needles don’t bother me.

S is for Sickness!

Oh my god!! I had it easy with my first 2 pregnancies! Not so much the third time around!! So so ill! When I wasn’t actually toilet hugging I was feeling horribly sick. I could hardly eat anything at the beginning and lost almost 2 stone. Unfortunately I put that back on plus another couple once the sickness had passed!

T is for Teething!

ARGH!!! Fraser is teething terribly at the moment. We are all drowning in dribble!! I’m sure the older two didn’t suffer like this! He is just cutting his first TWO teeth! Poor boy is having a hard time. I cannot wait for them to be through to give him a bit of relief!

U is for Ultrasound!

Such an exciting experience to see your baby on a screen whilst they are growing in your tummy!! I am in constant awe of the technology that allows this to happen. We didn’t find out the sex of our first and I was convinced I was having a boy! How wrong was I!? Haha! We did find out with the boys though. It was a beautiful moment when we found out the sex of Fraser and the monographer allowed Izzy and Xavier into the room when she revealed the sex.

V is for Vaccinations! 

Something that all of my children have had and will have. I would never risk my children health by not giving them their vaccinations. I am however a big fat wimp! I took Fraser for his first vaccinations and was traumatised so Ed took him for his next 2 lots! I honestly couldn’t face it. No more now until he is a year old! Thank goodness.

W is for Weaning!

Izzy wasn’t a fan of food when we first weaned her. It was however a very different story with Xavier! He would scream the place down when the food had finished! Fraser I started weaning a few weeks ago but I think I may have jumped the gun and done it a little too soon. The doctor we saw at his hospital appointment just over a week ago told us to try again in a week or so. So this week at some point I will try again. Wish us luck!

middle child, autism, son

X is for Xavier!

Our middle child! Our oldest boy! Our little genius! Xavier has had a diagnosis of Autism since just before his 6th Birthday. He is almost 12. He is so clever it is really quite frightening. He is a sponge and soaks up so much information. Xavier is in the Secondary part of his Special Needs School now and is thriving! He is doing so so well! We are so proud of him. He loves Youtube and his iPad. So long as theres wifi … we have a happy boy!

SEN, special needs

Y is for Years!

As soon as you become a parent the years FLY! Time has passed so quickly! Izzy almost 15??! Xavier in Secondary education ??? Fraser 5 months old already??! I feel so old LOL!

Z is for Zzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!

Something I need a hell of a lot more of! Fraser sleeps through the night but unfortunately my sleeping pattern is crap!! Soooooo Tired!!!! Zzzzzz

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All About Me – Day 1- #Blogtober17

This month I am joining in on a blog challenge! Blogtober 2017. I will blog every day for a whole month! Today is Day 1 and the subject is “All About Me”.

So here goes!!

blogtober17, all about me

I am Lucie, a 38 year old mother of 3 and Wife to Ed! Married for 9 years… together for almost 16 years!!  We live in West Sussex. My beautiful children are Izzy, almost 15, Xavier is 11 and Fraser is 5 months old.

I am 2nd oldest of 4 girls! Yes! Three sisters! It was MURDER growing up haha! Mum & Dad have been married for 42 years.  Dad sadly has been diagnosed with Alzheimers so very tough times ahead for all of us. This makes me so so sad.

I started writing my blog 4 and a half years ago when I was going through struggles with the education system with Xavier who is Autistic. After two mainstream schools failed him he is now in the most amazing Special Needs School and thriving. I love writing. I really wish I had discovered Blogging sooner! There is the most amazing community of people that comes with the blogging world! So friendly and helpful. I have made lots of friends through this too and met some real lovely people.

 

Other things I love to do…. enter competitions! I have been a little slack lately but this has been my hobby for almost 12 years now! I have won some amazing prizes in that time. A trip to New York in 2007 and a trip to Dubai in 2012 are by far my two best ever wins! Just incredible! I have won so many lovely things that I have been able to gift to family and friends that I wouldn’t be able to afford. Cameras, mobiles, iPads, toys, vouchers, an american fridge freezer, microwave… the list really is endless. I also got the chance to meet David Beckham 7 years ago through competitions! A fellow comper won the chance but couldn’t go so let me go instead! I was beside myself. Very beautiful and very lovely man! Below is Ed and I in New York on our prize trip!

New York, competition, winner

I also love football!! My daughter does too! She played league football for 6 years but sadly at the end of last season her team folded so I am now lost on Sundays. I used to love watching her play. We are the football fans and the males in the house aren’t fussed! Not sure about Fraser yet! Hopefully he will be a footballer.

 

I love my family, I love to cook, I love reading books but I don’t seem to have the time to do that anymore. Same with drawing. I used to do a lot of that but don’t have spare time these days! Haha! The joys of motherhood! Something else I really enjoy is listening to music. I don’t do it often enough. It is so therapeutic.

 

all about me, blog challenge, family,

 

I will openly admit to suffering from Depression on and off for most of my adult life. I’m currently on a bit of a downwards spiral with Post Natal Depression but fighting it hard. Writing this blog helps me so much. Writing in general I find a massive help, it is a great release. It should be spoken about and not be a taboo subject.

 

So this is me! Mum, cook, cleaner, cuddler, wifey, daughter, sister, referee, taxi service, slightly crazy, life loving, blog writing Lucie!

 

#Blogtober17

 

 

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Autism and the Summer Holidays

As the Summer Holidays draw to a close I’m taking a look back at how Xavier has found them.

 

beach, summer, brighton, autism

We haven’t done a huge amount these holidays to be honest. It’s really hard. Izzy prefers to be out and about doing things. She is old enough to do this with her friends now though. Xavier much prefers to be at home where there is an iPad and WiFi!! Its dreadful really… what do I do? Cut myself in half? I feel like I have really let the kids down this summer. We have had a few days out. Not as many as I’d have liked but at least we managed a few. We have spent a few days with family too which has been nice. Xavier has a fear of dogs and all of the family bar a couple of people have them now. My sister around the corner from us has one too but Xavier is getting better every time at coping with being around the dog. It’s so hard for him and I don’t force him into the situation but he does want to spend time with his cousins (especially on their birthdays) so he copes. Just.

One in particular to Brighton. We met up with a few friends and had an incredibly windy walk to the seafront. The kids loved playing on the beach. Xavier really didn’t want to go home. It has been tough because I also have a colicky/refluxy baby to consider now too so for the best part of the holidays we have been at home. He loves his baby brother so very much and is so good with him. Look at them together. I love this picture so much! You can tell they are brothers can’t you!

 

autism, brothers, siblings, summer, holidays

 

So as the end of the holidays have drawn closer, I have noticed that Xavier has become more edgy. He has been asked by various people if he is looking forward to going back to school? Looking forward to being a Secondary Student? He has always laughed and said Ewww No!!! He does love his school and although he is staying in the same building, he will be upstairs, will have a female teacher for the 1st time in years, there will be a couple of new people in his class, so there are NEW things going on. New things to get his head around. He is 95% a very placid boy. Over the last few weeks we have had a few mini meltdowns. For reasons sometimes unknown.

 

 

So tomorrow is D-Day! First day of Secondary education. I cannot believe how grown up Xavier is. He is so polite, well spoken and intelligent, it is like talking to an adult when conversing with him. I’m really proud of him for everything he has to deal with. It must be really hard for him. I’d love to spend a day inside his head. I bet it is manic in there!

 

A new school year begins, lets see what is in store! He has gone to bed as calm as you like this evening. I hope it will be like that in the morning…. I’ll let you know!

 

 

 

 

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7 Reasons Why I Love Blogging

 

 

 

Four Years I have been blogging for! That’s crazy! Four whole years! I absolutely LOVE it!

Here’s why:

1. I have made some amazing friends through this incredible hobby. Really lovely people who will go out of their way to help you out! They aren’t just virtual/cyber friends either. I have actually met up with quite a few at blogging conferences. Spent a weekend with them and become good friends. I don’t live close enough to any bloggers to see them on a regular basis but that is the joy of the internet! We can speak daily!

2. I have been given amazing opportunities too for myself and my family. We were lucky enough to be asked to review a holiday with Eurocamp 3 years ago. I drove to France and it was the kids 1st holiday abroad! We had the most amazing time! Opportunities like that don’t come along very often but that meant a huge amount to us as we’ve only ever had 1 other holiday so to get the kids out of the country was incredible. Very grateful for that.

3. Community. The blogging community is something else! I have recently joined a couple of groups that have given me the fire back in my belly. They are so friendly and helpful and no matter how many questions I or anyone else ask, there is always someone around to answer or guide you in the right direction. I think I would be lost without these groups and really wish I had found them earlier.

4. It helps me and is a sort of release. I blog about pretty much everything. So if something is bothering me I like to write it down. Whether anyone actually reads it or not is another matter but I find it very cathartic. “A problem shared is a problem halved” as they say!

5. I love to write. Once I start I can’t stop and do probably waffle on a fair bit but I love it.  Knowing as well that people do read my posts and leave comments is a great feeling. I was actually Shortlisted as a finalist in the 2015 UK Blog Awards!!! Out of thousands and thousands of bloggers… little old me was shortlisted down to one in eleven finalists in the Most Innovative category. I was absolutely blown away. I will never forget that. I didn’t win but I didn’t even think I’d be shortlisted so I didn’t have a care in the world. I was on cloud nine!

6. It has given me confidence to write a book. I did write a short e-book back in 2014. It did ok but I am now looking at revising that and adding loads more to it and having it actually printed into real books! How exciting is that?! Without blogging I would never have had the confidence to do that. Watch this space! I rushed into it last time and am taking my time with this new one.

7.  I get to share my ups and downs with the world. My triumphs and falls. All the good and bad stuff. I write 99% of it here and hope that people can relate to it. Especially the Autism related things and the mental health posts. If someone can read a post of mine and take comfort from it knowing they aren’t alone, then I will be happy.

 

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Primary School Finished!!

So I officially now have two children who are of Secondary School age! WOW!

 

I can’t believe Xavier has finished Primary Education! Here he is on his very first day!

Well when this day came we had no idea of the challenges we would face further down the line. We had no idea of the stress and heart ache. We knew absolutely nothing about Autism.

I think it was only a matter of weeks into Xaviers school life before I started getting called in to see the teachers after school because of his “behaviour”. It wasn’t so much naughty, it was “we’ve noticed this, we’ve noticed that” and they were growing increasingly concerned. They suggested a meeting with the schools SENCO. Someone had suggested there may be something wrong with him! My boy?? Theres nothing wrong with my son! I remember he had a few “odd” ways but just thought thats just him, I didn’t think anything more of it. We went to see the SENCO and was told she thought our son was showing lots of traits of having Aspergers Syndrome. She told us the school nurse would be in touch with details of a possible referral to our local child development centre. Again, we knew nothing about it. I went home and googled Aspergers. Well he ticked every box!

Lets cut a very long story short. We got a referral, he was assessed, we went back again 6 months later and he was diagnosed with Autism. By this time he was in Year 1. Very lucky to be diagnosed so quickly as I know of a few who have waited and are still waiting to be diagnosed YEARS down the line!

Looking back now I am very grateful to the Reception class teachers for picking up on this…and one TA who was with him in Year 1 on and off,  but thats as far as my thanks goes unfortunately. Xavier should have had LOTS of help put into place, instead I was told he was lazy and he couldn’t be bothered, he was shoved into a corner of the classroom with a screen around him so he couldn’t be distracted from doing his work, he missed playtimes because his work wasn’t done. He wasn’t refusing to do the work, he couldn’t do it…. he needed help and guidance. He was bullied and it wasn’t dealt with. The SENCO told me that now he had this diagnosis there are loads of jobs he won’t be able to do when he is older. Those words will stay with me for my whole life. How is that helpful? How is that productive? She also told me that they wouldn’t dream of applying for a Statement for him until he was in Year 6 and ready to go to secondary school.

It was time to pull him out of there. He left in the the December of Year 2.

I had such high hopes when he moved to the 2nd Mainstream school! I was so excited when a week in to him starting there they called me in and told me that they could see that Xavier has clearly very complex needs and they recognise that he needs help and they would start the Statement ball rolling ASAP! I actually cried!! I was so happy! FINALLY he will get the help he needs and the education he is entitled to! Yes!!!

No! It just didn’t happen! I was spun a web of lies for 2 years!! For 15 months I was told The statement process was underway, they just needed this evidence and that evidence and this report and that report before they could send it all off! It was the most frustrating time of my life. In the mean time Xavier was again, multiple times targeted by bullies, his mental health was impacted in a huge way, he kept threatening to kill himself, he was violent, he was aggressive and he was very very unhappy which was not in his nature at all. He wasn’t learning, he was just being left to his own devices in the classroom, he was given a different support staff every single day that he couldn’t deal with. Autistic children like routine and continuity. He couldn’t handle the amount of children in his class or the level of noise they make, he couldn’t handle the smell of lunchtime in the hall so ate lunch on his own in the office. The list is endless.

Then I was made aware of being able to apply for the statement myself! My god I wish I had known this earlier! I applied for him to be assessed with a 10 page report I had written myself and the assessment was agreed! That 1st process took 2 weeks! Fast forward 9 months and after weeks and weeks of stalking the postman, checking emails, making phone calls and generally annoying the life out of lots of professionals MY SON HAD A STATEMENT!!! I actually cried!! LOTS! I was very nearly broken from this ordeal!

Next hurdle was to get him into a Special Needs School as his ability to cope in a Mainstream setting was non existent.

The named school on the statement is the one the county council are saying he will continue his education in… the named school was the one he was currently in! No!! No way! I couldn’t let him carry on where he was! I had to appeal!

So I started the appeal process and contacted the Special Needs school we had visited previously. This was before he had a statement and they told us they would be able to help Xavier but they wouldn’t be able to take him on without a Statement. They said they’d have him happily but its whether the county would agree. The wait for that decision was a killer! ……. but I did it!! I won my appeal! Ecstatic doesn’t even come close! The phonetical I made to his then current school to tell them I would be removing him from the school, relieved so much stress and upset.

 

Xavier started his current school in April 2015, after the Easter holidays. The school and staff are INCREDIBLE! They care so much, they have taken my boy under their wings and the effects have changed our lives!! All of our lives! He is like a different boy! He is learning, thriving, flourishing, having fun, producing work, trying new things without hesitation, he has friends, he gets party invitations, he gets support, he is learning to swim, he has narrated the school Christmas play infant of a hall full of people! Just WOW! He’s so calm, he’s happy, he laughs all the time, we have no meltdowns, no violence …. nothing. None of the bad stuff! Its amazing and the staff are the ones I have to thank for that! This last year he has had a different teacher. They’ve had a great year, had lots of fun, I’ve been to parents evening and LOVED hearing how well he is doing and how he is progressing. He loves to help out at school. Its just so so great to hear all these positives after such a negative start to his education! He actually won the Year 6 prize for the whole academic year for his efforts! I am so incredibly proud of him! Here he is with his teacher receiving his award! What an amazing end to his Primary journey! He will be upstairs after the summer holidays to begin his Secondary journey!! I can’t wait to see whats in store for him!

Thank you so much for nurturing my boy. He has come so far and couldn’t have done it without you!

 

 

Spectrum Sunday
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A Mothers Love

My heart is fit to burst with love.

I remember when I was pregnant with Izabel I was excited but scared. Will I be a good Mum? Will I be able to do my very best for her? What if I don’t know what to do and fail as a Mum?

When she was born… wow! The love I felt for her instantly was incredible! Breath taking! I looked down at her tiny face and felt so proud that she was mine! That love is still there, as is the pride but now almost 15 years later it is so so much more. She is good a everything she does, she is kind, caring, loving, even if a little bit stroppy at times (wonder who she gets that from haha!) and she is the most beautiful girl in the whole world! These days I look up to her (she’s 6ft tall!) and feel overwhelmed with love and pride! She puts her all into everything. School, Sport, Art, being a good sister to her 2 little brothers, she helps me out when Ed is at work. She is so amazing with her baby brother, it makes me want to cry every time I see her with Fraser. She is a natural, she feeds and winds him, changes his nappy, makes him smile. Izzy is growing up into a mature, kind, and genuine lady who cares so much for others. There is a special love between us as Mum and Daughter, we are close, she can talk to me about anything and I hope that never changes.

 

Just over 3 years after Izzy was born, Xavier arrived into our lives! I had a boy! I worried that I wouldn’t be able to share the HUGE amount of love I had for Izzy, how could I possibly love another child as much as I love my girl? But again…. as soon as I looked into those tiny eyes I fell head over heels! My heart doubled in size with love! Izzy totally adored her little brother and was amazing from day 1! Xavier has had a tough time over his school years and I fought hard after his Autism diagnosis to get him in the right school, over 3 years it took me! We have had challenging times at home but I done so much research and really understood Xavier. I get him, I know how he works, I know his likes and dislikes. He is such a special boy! He is 11 and is hugely caring, polite and kind. I am so so very proud of all the achievements he has made so far in his life, big and small, each one is special as I know how hard some of them have been for him. He is so loving. When I was recently pregnant he looked out for me lots, was very interested in the baby, kissed my baby bump EVERY day. He was so excited about having a brother! He said he will teach him how to play computer games when he’s older! Haha! Now I was worried, sounds silly as Xavier was so excited about becoming a big brother but the idea of it whilst I was pregnant and then another little person actually being here are 2 very different things. I hoped it wouldn’t turn his world upside down when baby arrived and it hasn’t! Not at all! Xavier loves Fraser so much. I do think he finds him a little boring at the moment as at 9 weeks old, Fraser doesn’t really do much but he does love it when baby smiles at him. I’m so proud of him as he has been through a lot being in 2 mainstream schools and now his amazing Special Needs school. He has coped so well considering and has changed so much, he’s not angry anymore, he rarely kicks off, he’s calm, loving and so bloody clever it scares me! I have such high hopes for his future! He’s  such a gorgeous boy, I love him so very much.

 

Ed and I thought we were done doing our bit for the population!! Alas no! I was on the pill, had endometriosis and ovarian cysts over the years since I had Xavier. So last September when I found out I was pregnant it was such a shock!! A HUGE shock! I was worried as years and years previously we had discussed having one more child but Ed was happy with the 2 we had so wasn’t up for anymore. Obviously after 11 years I had come to terms with the fact that there would be no more and concentrated on bringing up the 2 we had the best we could. I was so worried about telling Ed he was going to be a Daddy again! He took it all in his stride after the initial shock. The kids were bouncing off the walls, they were so excited! Izzy cried and Xaviers eyes were a bit watery! It was such a lovely reaction! I had a terrible pregnancy that threw pretty much everything at me! I panicked that I’d forgotten everything as it had been so long since I had a baby, he is here now and I still feel like a first timer!! Its such a shock to the system after such a big gap! When Fraser was born, when I first set eyes on him I cried! He looked so much like Izzy when she was born! That was the 1st thing I said! “OMG he looks like Izzy!” My heart tripled in size…. bursting with love! Fraser is an absolute joy! Blowing my own trumpet here but Ed and I do make beautiful children! He has slept through 6-7 hours from about a week old. We are having issues with colic which is new to us but its all about research and learning. He’s such a good boy and so smiley and happy!

 

The older 2 absolutely adore him and it makes me so proud to call all 3 of these children mine! I am the luckiest Mother in the world and there is no love in the world like a Mothers Love!

 

 

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An Open Letter to my sons Teacher

This will probably be a long one and I am already emotional as I type this first line!

From the bottom of my heart I cannot thank you enough for what you have done for Xavier in the last 15 months since he joined this wonderful school. We had such an awful fight to get him there but it honestly is the best school EVER. Even as I walk through the front doors into the main corridor the feeling of calm and happiness washes over me like a huge wave. It is incredible!

I remember my sister was with me when we brought Xavier in for his first settling in session. At this point he was quite upset with me that I was moving him to another school again but was very intrigued. We pulled up outside and he was quite blown away just by the building! We came into the classroom and the other children were just on their way in from playtime. The first one into the classroom was James. His little eyes lit up and he had the biggest smile when he saw Xavier. Both my sister and I were fighting back tears at this point. The children obviously knew Xavier was coming in but he received the most wonderful welcome.

I can hand on heart say that with the love compassion and understanding that you show, it has changed Xaviers life. He has never had that before. He has been branded as lazy or naughty before. You have been so easy to approach with worries or concerns and you have gone out of your way to make sure all of Xaviers needs are met AND more! He is such a happy child now. He is full of confidence, he has friends, he is eager to try new things, there is next to no meltdowns at home now, you don’t even know he is there. Before he joined this wonderful school we had explosive meltdowns and violence due to frustration almost on a daily basis. You’ve not just changed his life but ours too. I honestly cannot thank you enough.

He comes home from school excited!! That in itself was an alien thing before now! He tells me he has been to a cafe and shared a pot of tea with his friend Marlon. He tells me you’ve all had olympic week at school and he has come home with the “Spirit Of The Games” Award! He was over the moon with his trophy. He tells me how far he is getting with swimming lessons!

At Parents evenings we actually have LOTS of work to look at! We used to have literally a few sheets of paper before! His work is incredible! His imagination is just WOW! His school report blew me away! He is for the first time in his school life doing amazingly well! He is learning, progressing and growing! I am so so very proud of him.

He has been on a 3 day residential trip and LOVED it! I never thought I would see the day that he would stay away from home! He had the most amazing time and as you told me when I came to collect him…. He didn’t want to come home!

He honestly is a different child, he is eating more foods and trying new foods, where we struggled to get Xavier in the bath, we now can’t get him out of it! Xavier narrating the school Christmas performance was very emotional and a huge mile stone. He refused to be involved at his previous schools! He is now interested in starting acting classes in September which he has never had the confidence for before!

So Tom, Thank you! For everything. For believing in my son, for understanding him and how he works, for taking him under your wing, for helping him flourish and grow and showing him that school IS fun. For showing me that I was right to fight for him. We will miss you next year as Xavier will have a new Teacher. Its nice to know that Xavier will still see you around the school though. In Xaviers eyes the next teacher has HUGE boots to fill!

Have an amazing Summer!!

THANK YOU!

 

hol6

What’s Going On??

Well…. I don’t know where to start!?

Xavier has blown me away!! He is changing so much!

He has been REALLY funny with food textures since he was …. well since he was tiny.

When he first went onto solids he was fine, he loved his grub…. in fact, he loved it so much he would scream the place down when it was finished!

Then when we moved onto small lumps in his food he really struggled and used to heave quite a lot and choked on his food a fair few times as he just couldn’t seem to handle the “bits”. Obviously back then we had no idea about the Autism.

Recently he has been a lot more inquisitive about foods I’ve been cooking. I make a lot of meals from scratch and he seems to want to try things which he never used to. He never used to eat ANY meats apart from mince, sausages or burgers. Other than that he was pretty much a veg eating monster (which is not a bad thing!!).

There was literally a handful of home made meals i could cook that everyone would eat, other than that I have been cooking 2 or 3 different meals a night which is just a nightmare.

I remember a year or so ago I had cooked a half leg of lamb in the slow cooker. Its so tender it literally falls of the bone. One of my favorites! I was carving the meat and he asked what it was and asked to try a bit. So when i had picked my jaw up off the floor I let him try some. He wasn’t keen but didn’t make a fuss and instead of running to the bin to spit it out he ate it and said no thanks. So often he would have a roast and all the trimmings but minus the meat.

Last week was my Mums birthday and Mum and Dad put on a BBQ. Now we know burgers are a safe bet. Xavier loves a burger!! So he had a cheeseburger and some of the other crisps and bits and bobs that were available. Towards the end of the BBQ he wandered into the dining room where all the food was and came back into the garden with a chicken drumstick in his hand!! He tucked in and finished it! I nearly fell off my chair!!!

I HAD to take a photo!!! See! He ate chicken!! 😀 Yes this really is a big deal!

But wait…. it doesn’t end there…

Sunday (19th June) we went to visit my parents first to see Dad for fathers day! Spent a few hours there then went on to Mum in Laws to see Father in Law. Mum in law had said previously she was going to cook us a dinner. I LOVE someone else cooking for me! She does a great job too! So she slaved away over a roast! She cooked a roast beef dinner… as she knows what Xavier is normally like with meat she done him a couple of sausages instead. She by chance asked him when dishing up if he wanted a little bit of beef to try on his plate (both of us thinking he would say no) and he agreed!!! He tried the beef, loved it and asked for more!!!! Blown away doesn’t cover it!! So so amazed!!

There’s more…. YES REALLY!!!

Tonight for dinner I was undecided. I had some salmon to use up that none else likes so I cooked up Pulled Pork and done fries and coleslaw with it for Ed, and both the kids. Again this is something Xavier has never eaten before! I put it on his plate unsure of what his reaction would be. Ed and the kids sat at the table to eat whilst I sorted my dinner out. I turned round to check what he was doing with his dinner and his plate was almost empty! He did finish the whole lot and there was hardly a speck left on his plate!! He loved it!!!

What is going on??!!! This is INCREDIBLE!!! He has changed so much with his eating habits. It’s brilliant! It makes my life as cook so much easier too!! I am so very proud!

Well done Xavier!! I did mention to him that eating all these great new foods would put hairs on his chest!! In true Autism style I then caught him looking down his top!!! HA!!

hol6

France 2016

Car all packed up ready, excited kids, hubby and I checking and double checking that we have got everything…. Right!! Off we go!

We got about 2 miles from home, just come off a roundabout which takes you onto a dual carriageway towards the M23. Car starts revving as if I have my foot to the floor, all power has died and to my horror I look out of my rear view mirror to discover my view is completely obstructed by THICK white smoke!! On to the hard shoulder we go!

GREAT!!!

I had not long changed over car insurance which included my breakdown cover… So I ring them and they tell me they will come out to us within an hour…. not so bad. BUT because we were still within a 2 week period of taking out the policy I had to pay £75 for the recovery truck to rescue us!! Could really have done without that when you’re off on your holidays!! Breaking down was enough of a kick in the teeth!

Izzys was crying as she was gutted we weren’t going to be able to get to France! Xavier was having a complete meltdown up on the bank at the side of the road because he thought the car was going to blow up. He was shaking. I was quite shaky myself to be honest.

We waited about half an hour and I had a call on my mobile from the recovery truck driver saying he wasn’t too far away. Great news. So we got towed home. Back to square one. We had no front door key as both Mums had them to come in and feed the cats. Luckily Eds mum only lives around the corner so she was round in a few mins once we had called her to tell her we were home.

Called my parents to let them know we were back too. Basically will cut a long story short but Thanks to the Bank of Mum and Dad we were able to hire a car for 8 days and get on our way to France and still have our holiday!! For that I will be eternally grateful!!

We were travelling by Eurotunnel and Ed had called them when we had broken down earlier and we were told our ticket was valid until lunchtime the following day, so once we had hired the car and knew the registration of the car we called them back. This was approx 4pm. They were very accommodation and helpful which was great as we had already had such a stressful day! The next available train they could fit us on to was 7.30pm so we agreed and set off for Folkestone.

We arrived for our train in plenty of time so we went for a bite to eat in the terminal. There are various shops there and a few different places to eat. Once fed we headed back to the car and got in the queue for our train. Boarding was all very well organised and straight forward. There are safety and security announcements into the carriages once on the train. You are allowed out of your car during the journey too. So we got out and stretched our legs. The journey time is 35 minutes and a trillion times better than the ferry! I really am not a fan of boats! This was perfect!! Smooth ride and the journey seemed to go really quickly!

Before we knew it we were in France!! YAY! Bonjour!!!

Only thing is …. it was just getting dark and we knew we had a 2 and a half hour journey ahead of us to the campsite!! Now Hubby doesn’t drive so it was all on my shoulders. I was in an unfamiliar car, in a foreign country, on the opposite side of the road, in the dark….and it had been a very stressful day and i was VERY tired!

These two beauties were absolutely amazing considering the stress that was radiating off me and Ed! Xavier coped incredibly well!

I was struggling as the car was really uncomfortable, I was having to overtake lorries in the fast lane and it was scary, I was tired, so very tired… Ed kept putting the air con on in the car which was freezing, but in the hope it would keep me more alert. I was concentrating so hard my brain actually hurt! I had to stop for a break at one point, as much as I just wanted to get there, my back was killing me and I was exhausted! We pulled off the motorway into services but i missed the turn for the carpark and we ended up sitting in-between loads of parked up lorries!! I had to get out and have a cigarette. I was stressed to the max by this point… well what I thought was the max!

We got back on the road, bearing in mind we had already done this journey 2 years ago, came off at the junction that was on our directions print out. Or so we thought…. again… long story short WE WERE LOST!!! We were driving around all these little towns and over all these little roundabouts, they all looked the bloody same, in fact some of them probably were as were driving round in circles!! I can laugh about it now but at the time I was close to a nervous breakdown. By this point too at was about midnight. It was like a bloody ghost town so no-one was even around to ask. NOW I was stressed to the max!!

Ed got on the phone to the campsite to let them know we were lost and they worked out that we had come off the motorway far too early and pointed us in the right direction and told us what signs to look for and follow. TWO HOURS later and we started recognising things from before and FINALLY we reached our destination! I felt like an absolute zombie!!

We were given the keys to our home for the week and we emptied the car and went straight to bed!! It was 2am!!!!

The next morning, after a very beautiful lay in and probably the best sleep I’ve had in a long time, it was coffee and pain au chocolate time on the decking and time to start our little holiday!

We wandered into the town, got a bit of food shopping at the Intermarche down the road, wandered around the familiar campsite that we fell in love with 2 years ago. The kids couldn’t wait to go to the man made beach there. Its fabulous.

The water is freezing though. But it was so quiet as we went in term time and we pretty much had the place to ourselves. It was wonderful.

Xavier new found water confidence blew me away on holiday. He has come so so far! He was letting me pull him around the swimming pool by his hands as he kicked his legs behind him. I videoed him going out quite deep at the man made beach with a rubber ring around him then him kicking his legs till he got back to shore. This is the boy who used to scream blue murder just getting in his bath! I have so much to thank his amazing school for. So very proud!

We had a meal out in the on site restaurant which we didn’t do last time. It was a tiny bit expensive but sod it! We deserved it and it was absolutely delicious!! I had steak and chips with a red wine sauce. The others had speciality burgers. Everyone was very impressed with the food and service and for me it was nice not to cook for an evening!! Beautiful meal!

We spent so much time on holiday laughing. I mean real belly laughs! I was laughing so much I was crying at times and that was so lovely and so needed. We all needed it. It was such a lovely holiday despite the nightmare start. We spent a week of quality time together. No strops from the teen, no meltdowns from the boy, just good quality fun and happy times…. just the 4 of us!

Xavier will probably kill me for that photo but its a memory, a reminder of the silliness and messing around that was plentiful whilst we were away! Its such a beautiful, serene and lovely place that we do enjoy visiting. We have been twice now and even though we had the issues at the beginning, we would do it all over again.

We left earlier than we needed to for our train home and were able to get on an earlier one which was another fab thing about Eurotunnel! We got back to the UK in no time and had a (THANKFULLY) smooth, breakdown and hiccup free journey home!

We LOVE France!