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!!

Life in the fast lane…

I’ve been reflecting recently on the family life that Mops, my youngest boy, is part of. Life is very chaotic, loud and active. For him life has always been like that so I wonder if he actually realises his life might be ever so slightly different to his friends in the classroom?

He knows all about Bam’s conditions and how they affect him. He’s very open about them and will chat to his friends about it. He’s adapts brilliantly to life with Bam. He’s so patient, much more patient than anybody else living in our household! Even if he has to ask the same question to Bam five times over, he’ll do it and persevere. I wonder if that’s because he knows he needs to be patient or because that’s his normal.

I often wonder that as Mops gets older, he’ll begin to realise how he adapts to living with a brother with ADHD and epilepsy. Does he enjoy charging around all of the time with his brother, climbing trees, scooting, generally living life in the fast lane or is he wondering about the next time he’ll get to sit and relax? I suspect it’s probably a little bit of both!

This weekend I took Mops out for some lunch, just him and I. So as we sat in Subway munching on our sandwich creations we chatted about school, play, friends etc. It was as we were walking through town I asked Mops if he had enjoyed his lunch. His reply was very simple but very powerful ‘Yes Mum, I have, it’s been very relaxing!’ So he does like a bit of down time, just to sit, just to chill, just to be able to eat a sandwich rather than gulp it down.

He’s still very young (5) but I wonder how he’ll handle family life in the future. I have a feeling he’ll adapt, just as he always has. Love you Mops for everything you do and I know Bam does too.

Christmas comes early!

Christmas causes excitement in every house. In our house, it means Bam’s ADHD is heightened. He has even more energy and is extra, extra bouncy!

So I know I need to be prepared. Do I really need to prepare for it in October though? Sadly, it would appear that I do!

Following a family stroll at the weekend we took the boys for a drink and cake at our local garden centre. We took a stroll around the centre afterwards. Hubby and Mops ventured off to the toilet leaving Bam and I looking at the fish.

It was then that he started bouncing around like an excited puppy. ‘Mum, Mum, there’s Christmas stuff in there! I can see a light twinkling’ I was totally unprepared for this, we have only just entered Autumn – Christmas had only been a fleeting thought in my mind, nothing more.  Noooo, it can’t be, it’s the 1st October! Noooooo!

Sure enough, I glanced into the shop to see the smallest twinkling light shining through the corner of a window. The boy’s Christmas radar was on fire!!

‘Come on Mum, let’s go and have a look?’ Before I had a chance to reply, he was gone in a flash, full of energy and squeals!

As I ran through the sliding doors in an attempt to catch up with him I could see he was right….indeed the shop was full of Santa, Rudolph, snowmen etc, all staring at me with a smug cheery smile.

Bam was running through the shop, cuddling big polar bears, picking up Santas and diving into an igloo full of yet more Santas and more snowmen. All the time with a beaming smile from ear to ear!

Uh oh, Christmas 2016 here we come…in October!

Any tips on  managing the excitement over the Christmas period? All tips gratefully received!

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!

IMG_0597

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!

What nobody tells you about going on holiday with kids!

  1. Your house will look like widow twankies washing parlour prior to departure! It really is a military operation packing for the family holiday!
  2. Romantic quiet dinners are a thing of the past (well for now, note to self, must return to these at a later stage in life) Movies/games on electronic devices as well as a supply of activity books are essentials for those evening meals.
  3. You’ll be secretly thinking how pleased you’ll be when you don’t have to pin the kids to the floor to get sun cream on them every few hours!
  4. If you are not quite bikini body ready prior to departure and let’s face it, who really is?! Don’t worry you can rely on your off spring to remind you that maybe your bottom isn’t quite as small as the lady’s bottom on the beach over there….yep, that lady’s Mum!
  5. Being plagued by sand! There’s no getting away from it……it gets everywhere. There really is no place to hide! If anybody is heading off to Fuerteventura I apologise for the lack of sand, we brought most of it home with us!Happy holidays one and all!

Super powers…

Last week I was fortunate enough to spend a week on holiday with my boys and enjoyed some proper family time. Away from the laptop, household chores and the general routine of life.

Whilst on holiday I was really struck by the boundless amount of energy Bam has. I know he has always had lots of energy but after spending a week with him it’s clear that boy is actually a Duracell bunny!

I watched him effortlessly climb large sand dunes in hot temperatures whilst the rest of us plod up the dunes, resting along the way!

I have watched him climb a small mountain in minutes. We’re still at the bottom while he’s nearing the top.

I have watched him run over and over into the waves, jumping each one enthusiastically.

And, whilst the rest of us have taken advantage of a lay in, he’s up pottering around eager to start his day.

I’m in awe of the energy that he has and I hope in the future he uses it wisely. It’s a super power that if used well could be a platform to a successful future.

Mind ‘crammed’ fulness

I’m dragging myself and my boys through the last few days of term. I think dragging is a good term because that’s what it feels like. I don’t want to get up to do another school run, they don’t want to get up either, everyone’s tired and everyone’s fed up!

Nobody prepares parents for the end of school mayhem, the pure exhaustion and the daily occurrence of tantrums and tears (mine and theirs) that can push even the most calm parent to their limits!

My mind is so crammed full I’ve found myself in some amusing situations this week. Yesterday I diligently made packed lunches for my children the night before they required them, only to find the next morning the lovingly made sandwiches were not in the fridge. No, they were in the pan drawer, all sweaty and horrible! Why on earth I put them in there I do not know! I have no recollection of doing it!

And then there was misplacing my car. So I drove to school, got side tracked and walked home. Only to arrive home to an empty driveway – ooops, I left the car at school! At least I didn’t leave the child at home!

It’s very clear that my mind is full of who needs to be where when, who has an end of year party, who is in a school play as well as making sure every teacher that has supported my boys over the past year is presented with a gorgeous thoughtful gift!

While my mind is full, Mops is an emotional wreck! His first year of school is over, he’s exhausted. In fact every time I speak to him he cries. At night he cries because he loves his teacher so much he doesn’t want to be taught by somebody else next year.

Bam on the other hand is bursting, literally bursting with energy. ADHD and end of the school year are not the best combination! He’s bouncing around thrilled that the school holidays will soon be here and he wants to share with the world how happy he is!!

So to all the other parents out there that are experiencing end of term ‘mind crammed fullness’, we’re nearly there! Just a couple more days to drag the family through then no more school runs, school uniform, homework and after school clubs for a whole 6 weeks! That’s got to be something to look forward to!

 

 

 

 

 

Roll out the red carpet

I was very honoured and thankful to receive an invite to the Young Epilepsy awards.Young Epilepsy very kindly invited Bam and I along to the evening of celebration at the Globe theatre in London. It was a perfect setting for such a special event.

Each of the nominees shared their reasons behind their nominations via a video clip. Every story was filled with love, bravery and lots more love. Every one of the nominated individuals were an inspiration,  I found myself welling up at every video clip that was played.

What really struck me was the amount of times I heard people say ‘I can’t believe I’ve been nominated for an award…I’m just doing my job or I’m just being a husband, dad, mum etc’

But they’re not, they’re doing so much more than that, they’re changing and improving lives for young people with epilepsy.

Bam also found the event extremely inspiring. The next day he went to school and arranged an assembly on epilepsy. Thanks to this event, he feels empowered to share details of his condition, to continue to raise awareness.

I’m really proud to guest blog for such a fantastic charity, a charity that we have already lent on a few times and one that I know Bam will feel very comfortable to contact in the future. Well done guys xxx

Going away..

When Bam asked if he could go on the school residential the response in my head was ‘no way are you ever leaving Mum, ever’ What I actually said was ‘well, let’s look into it’ So that’s what we did. We spoke to the school about whether they would be happy to manage Bam’s epilepsy and ADHD while he was away, they were, so we booked him in.

This was several months ago, lots of time for me to get used to the idea…but I never really got used to the idea. Three days of somebody else caring for him, making sure he is safe and happy and making sure that he has taken his medication. Eeek! Before I knew it I was squashing clothes in his case ready to go away!

On the morning of departure, I found myself standing in the school hall, suitcase left outside for loading on to the coach and my boy excitedly chatting to all of his mates in the hall with not so much as a glance in my direction. Me full of worry and apprehension but trying to keep it well hidden!

When the time came to say goodbye, he ran over and gave me a hug and just said ‘bye’. ‘Bye’ yes that was it! I was then thrown into the dilemma of whether to wait to see him off on the coach. Other Mums were gathering outside to wave them off. After my simple ‘bye’ I didn’t think he would be too bothered whether I stayed or not but I just had to! I needed that one last opportunity to say ‘bye’. He came out to get on the coach and gave me a passing glance. Ooops, maybe I shouldn’t have stayed. Oh well. I’m here now.

I’m scanning the coach for his face, nope, nowhere to be seen – he must be the other side of the coach. I hastily make my way to the pedestrian crossing, the coach engine starts…ah, come on green man, give Mum a break. I quickly cross the road and find him on the other side. So I start waving. He waves enthusiastically back. He’s mouthing ‘I love you’ through the window and blowing kisses. Ok, sunglasses are firmly on as tears are on their way! Glad I stayed, glad I captured those kisses blown from my boy! Have fun darling boy, I’m so proud that you are confident and happy to go away on your own but I’ll miss you more than you’ll ever know. Friday please come quickly!

Oh and just for the record Mops said ‘I think it’s ok to have a brother sometimes’ That’s his way of saying he misses you too xxx

%d bloggers like this: