TV documentary on ADHD

As soon as I found out that there was going to be a documentary on ADHD with Rory Bremner, I couldn’t wait to see it. I’m always keen to learn more about the condition, hoping to hear a nugget of information that may help my Bam.

I’m pleased to say the documentary most definitely didn’t disappoint! ADHD can be very misunderstood among the general population so Rory feeling able to raise awareness of this condition is fantastic and very welcome.

The documentary talked a lot about how ADHD can be managed.  Interestingly, the documentary mentioned that ADHD can be reduced by quite a significant percentage when the person with the condition is outside. This is certainly true of Bam. His absolute favourite hobby is going to cubs. This is largely due to the amount of time that they spend outside. It’s amazing to see how happy and comfortable he is outside. This has always been the case for Bam, even when he was very small. He would like nothing more than finding a big open space and running free!

The benefits of excercise were also mentioned. For Bam this is very much linked with his passion to be outside. We rarely spend a day at home, it’s important for all of us to get out burn some energy and get some fresh air! We haven’t really found a sport that Bam likes yet, he enjoys riding his bike and running with me but his interest in these activities comes and goes.

Of course medication was also discussed. Rory actually took medication for the first time while he was doing the documentary. It was really interesting to hear how it affected him and how it helped him to be more focused. He referred to the medication changing his head from a busy noisy space to a much calmer one. It’s difficult for Bam to articulate the effect the medication has on him as he’s still very young, although one of the first things he said when he began taking the medication was ‘I can hear now’. I guess that reflects the experience that Rory described.

Finding out that the brain of an ADHD person is actually different to the brain of a non ADHD person is really interesting. On a MRI scan you could actually see the difference between the two brains. I was surprised to hear that an ADHD has something missing rather than something additional that causes the unique behaviours.

It’s reassuring to hear Rory speak of his experience and helpful to know that the things we do to help Bam are actually making his life a little bit easier. Interestingly, Bam is quite the comedian too (see Bam’s got talent) so I’m intrigued to see what path he takes in the future. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the additional fresh air we get, it’s a great way to keep fit after all.

The documentary was on BBC2 on Tuesday 25th April at 9am – worth a watch!

 

Bam’s got talent!

Bam bounces out of school full of enthusiasm and excitement (yes, even more than usual!). The reason for his enthusiasm? He’s going to enter the school talent contest.

‘I need you to print off some jokes from the internet, I’m going to perform a comedy act’

Eek, it’s really hard to make people laugh, a little knot appears in my stomach but I muster up lots of encouragement and put my own fears to one side.

Hubby prints off some truly corny jokes – you know the ones that make you groan ‘What did the duvet say to the bed? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Did that make you groan?

Bam sets to work planning his script for the auditions. He works really, really hard. Night after night he sits in his bed planning and writing.

The day of the auditions arrives. I’m in awe of his confidence, there is no doubt in his mind that he has this nailed.

I’m working all day on the day of the auditions, so I ask him to text me from Mum’s phone as she is collecting him from school. School kicking out time arrives and I eagerly await the text. My phone rings…..he’s done it!!! He’s got through. 12 people out of 200 were chosen….he’s as high as a kite. So he should be, what an amazing achievement.

More nights of writing and rehearsing ahead to prepare himself  for the finals. I’m oozing with pride, having the confidence to get up and perform in front of his peers is amazing.

He didn’t win in the finals but that didn’t matter. People voted for him – my confident, bubbly and funny Bam. You always make me smile young man, seems that you have the talent to make other people smile too. Next stop Britain’s Got Talent!

Mother’s bond with her children

I don’t think there’s anything stonger than the bond between a mother and her children.

I know my boys inside out. I know what they like to do, what they like to eat and what makes them happy and sad (well most of the time anyway!)

I know it won’t always be this way and as they grow I won’t know where they are all of the time or what they are thinking. That transition will be tough but I hope they will know that I’ll always be there for them.

Mops wrote down the reasons why he loves his Mum at school this week. Here goes:

  • She’s kind to me
  • She let’s me play on my DS XL (Laughed how this one made it so high up on the list!)
  • She reads me bedtime stories
  • Nice food

Let’s hope he always thinks I make ‘nice food’ and pops in for a roast dinner on a Sunday once he has flown the nest!

Thanks boys for making me smile everyday, I love you to the moon and back!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the lovely Mums out there!

When your child is diagnosed with epilepsy.

At the point of diagnosis Bam was having about 10 seizures a day. He would suddenly lose consciousness and fall to the floor. We would then have that agonising few second wait (which felt like much longer) for Bam to come back to us. It’s really scary seeing your child unconscious, not knowing how long the seizure will last for. I felt helpless.  When the seizure finished all I wanted to do was hold him tight but that’s the last thing he wanted. He was confused, tired and disorientated, he needed time to recover.

We realised shortly after diagnosis that Bam was also having absence seizures as well as drop down seizures. My poor boy was having several seizures per day leaving him confused and exhausted.

I desperately wanted to know more about epilepsy and how I could help Bam. There’s so much information out there but I found it very overwhelming and confusing. For a start there are over 40 different types of seizure!

When Young Epilepsy asked me to blog about their new guide on childhood epilepsy I was keen to help. I’m pleased to say it’s pretty impressive! I wish this was available when Bam was diagnosed. It has everything you need to know from details about the different types of seizure through to the medications that are available.

Personally I found the section on the impact that epilepsy can have on learning and behaviour of particular interest. Bam has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in addition to epilepsy. I had no idea that 20-40% of children with epilepsy also have ADHD! The guide also explains how children with epilepsy can be anxious, find they have a lack of independence, a low self esteem and a lack of confidence. So it’s not just about the seizures….

The Young Epilepsy guide talks through each of the issues that children with epilepsy can experience and how parents can help their children manage these challenges. I highly recommend this guide to other parents of children with epilepsy, it’s informative and easy to read.

Finding out your child has epilepsy is tough. Having information such as the guide that Young Epilepsy has published is really helpful. It’ll help guide you through what sometimes can be a tough journey.

Juggling act

I’m no circus performer but any parent will be an expert at juggling. Raising kids, running a house, working, a social life and ‘me’ time. Oh and then there’s the washing, this is actually a part time job in itself – where on earth does it all come from?!

Unfortunately planning a social life and ‘me’ time tends to be put to the bottom of the pile. Who has time to plan a social life and as for ‘me’ time well that’s normally 9pm to 10pm catching up on the days events on facebook or maybe a bit of TV.

I love my job and I love my kids but juggling the two and ‘life’ can and does have it challenges, particularly when the two cross over as it did for me just before Christmas.

Picture the scene….I’m wandering around the lake on my day off from work with my lovely friend, her two boys, my two boys and her dog. The boys were running, enjoying the freedom and the dog was joining in the fun.

The dog then spotted a rubber ball in the stream that somebody had left there.  One of the boys grabbed it out of the stream and started throwing the ball for the very excited dog. There were lots of giggles and shouting…cue my mobile ringing…a work call. I quickly say to my friend ‘it’s a work call, I just need to get this’.

I’m chatting to my colleague, the giggling and shouting still around me. Without warning, I suddenly have this hard bang to the back of my head! Mops had thrown the ball for the dog and it had hit me on the head….really hard….in fact it was eye wateringly hard. In a stunned state I calmly let my colleague know that I have been hit on the head by a ball, just to cover for my short delay in responding. In normal circumstances I would have let out a little bit of a scream or an ouch but something inside me allows me to remain professional or may be I was still in a stunned state!

My friend at this point is chuckling away…but I’m determined, I can remain professional. I complete the call. We both have a chuckle…..my hair is dishevelled, with a splattering of mud and stream water – a small reminder of how glamorous motherhood can be!

So keeping all of the juggling balls of life in the air has its challenges but its ok if we drop one every now and then…well as long as it doesn’t whack you on the back of the head!

This post is dedicated to my lovely, lovely, friend – thanks for always being there xxx

New year’s resolutions!

Happy new year… I’m sure I’m not the only one that is feeling tired today.  After a night of partying with friends and the kids it’s feels like it’s the longest day EVER. A fab night was had by all but I’m now sitting here wishing the kids bedtime to hurry up so I can go to bed too. We’re nearly there, aren’t we?

New year is always a time for reflection and a time to think about plans for the future. I don’t make new year’s resolutions as such but I do try to think of a few things that I’d like to achieve.  This year I am kicking the year off with a half marathon on the 22nd January. I also have plans to travel. Unfortunately not travelling around the world for weeks on end but at least a visit to a place that I have always wanted to go to rather than the cheapest package deal we can find in the outrageously expensive school holidays.

Out of interest I asked my boys about their new year’s resolutions. Bam’s response was to eat more chocolate. Good call Bam, life’s definitely better with chocolate. I did have a chuckle that while most people in the world are making promises to eat less, his is to eat more! He then followed up with ‘and I want to help people, more than I already do’. That’s my boy, he has a very kind heart.

Mops’ new year’s resolution is to go to more water parks (random!) and to have more money. Apparently he wants ‘better stuff’. I wonder what ‘better stuff’ means to a five year old?

Whether you make new years resolutions or not, I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2017! Is it bedtime yet…..zzzzzz!

Christmas: from a Mum’s perspective

At the end of November my family gave to me…a few days of internet searching for Black Friday deals for thee!

At the beginning of December my family gave to me….A few evenings of card writing glee!

On the 2nd week of December my family gave to me…A minor panic as I realised the Christmas Supermarket delivery slots were no longer free!

Also on the 2nd week of December my family gave to me….A Mums nights out or maybe three!

Also on the 2nd week of December my family gave to me….a nativity concert, a reindeer run and a carol concert to see!

Also on the 2nd week of December my family gave to me….decoration (firstly by the kids, then Mummy) of the Christmas tree!

On the 3rd week of December my family gave to me….Wrapping (what feels like) hundreds of presents for all of my family to receive!

Also on the 3rd week of December my family gave to me….A stinking cold for thee!

On the 25th December my family gave to me….children smiling, laughing and squealing with delight – what every Mum wants to see!

Now please somebody bring me a large cup of tea!!

Change of heart

Recently Bam made a big decision…he decided to tell his class about his epilepsy. Previously he was adamant that he didn’t want his friends to know, he didn’t want people to think he was different. (see earlier blog post)

So why the change of heart? I think it was down to our attendance at the Young Epilepsy Awards in London earlier in the year. It was here that he realised that he wasn’t the only one with epilepsy,  everyone at the awards had epilepsy just like him and they were celebrating their achievements.

He was so inspired he decided to organise an assembly at school to tell everybody about epilepsy and how it affects people.

So off he went to school, armed with statistics and information on the different seizures. He spoke to his Teaching Assistant who in turn spoke to the Head Teacher. They welcomed the idea and booked him in for his assembly!

He was so excited! He spent lots of time thinking and planning the powerpoint presentation that he was going to build ready for his talk.

When the day came for him to run his assembly, he went into school cool and calm. I could see that he was very self assured, I knew this was the right thing for him to do.

He proudly spoke to the class and then answered any questions at the end. When one child asked ‘Does epilepsy stop you from doing things?’ His reply was ‘No, I’m no different to anybody else!’

Wow, Bam, I’m oozing with pride – you never cease to amaze me young man! Well done for sharing your experiences and raising awareness of epilepsy among young people.

And life since the assembly?  His classmates treat him exactly the same as they did before, nothing’s changed but if he (or another child)  does have a seizure at school then they will understand how to help.  (Which makes me feel much happier!)

 

A night on a tiny island!

I’m not really a camper. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love being outdoors but I like to go home to my bed in the evening.

I have only been camping once as a girl guide. This experience ended with me waking up in the morning to find myself outside the tent in the middle of a very wet field. Unfortunately, I was sleeping by the tent door, there were six girls in the tent and when one rolled over we all rolled and I fell out! Quite funny when I look back now but at the time I told my Mum I would never ever go camping again! (dramatic, I know!)

And I haven’t been camping again..until this weekend. You can imagine my Mum’s amusement when my boys told her we were off camping on Brownsea Island!

Brownsea Island has been on my list of places to visit for quite a while now. The island is largely owned by the National Trust. As National Trust members, I’m often looking at their website to plan our next adventure. Brownsea Island promises beauty, peace and fun. The island is small, about two-thirds of a mile by 1 and half miles. There are no cars or shops on the island apart from the National Trust shop and cafe, which both close at 5pm.

With no plans for the Summer Bank Holiday, I thought I’d check out Brownsea Island. Whilst browsing the website I spotted an advert inviting families to camp on the island- tent and cooking facilities provided! So only sleeping bags, clothes and crockery needed! Sounds simple enough? Hmm, a night on an island…sounded like an opportunity not to be missed, so we signed up!

With everybody loaded up with a bag full of stuff, we headed off on our adventure! As soon as we set foot on the island I was immediately struck by its beauty.  As we walked from the ferry port to the campsite on the other side of the island (without the bags, the lovely National Trust staff transported them to the campsite for us!)  it became apparent that this was indeed a very special island. An island steeped in history, bursting with beauty and an amazing amount of different wildlife. We spotted the famous Brownsea red squirrels, deer and peacocks. There were lots of other birds too but my boys make far too much noise and move far too quickly for us to be in with a chance of spotting any!

We arrived at the campsite, erected our tent and got out the burgers!! There’s something magical about being on the island after it closes. Although I have to admit I was slightly nervous about being on an island with no way of being able to get off apart from a very chilly swim!

It was a lovely warm evening so we  took the boys to the beach while we sipped on a glass of wine and watched the sun go down and the stars begin to sparkle! A perfect,relaxing evening!

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Thank you, National Trust for giving us access to this beautiful island and for helping our family to have a truly memorable time!

Oh and the night in the tent, well it was ok – I don’t think I’ll become a seasoned camper but I would do the odd night here and there!