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Mikey’s Progress: Portage, Speech Therapy & Nursery

When Mikey had his two year check back in October 2016, I mentioned to my health visitor I had some concerns about the fact he wasn’t speaking, making eye contact or responding to his name.

The first avenue we took was a hearing test.

A few people had mentioned he seemed deaf or that he may have hearing problems, we went for a hearing test and he passed with flying colours.

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So the next route we took was removing his dummy and limiting his TV time, which improved his focus and he started to make a few sounds, but we decided together he needs some support.

So we had three options to explore: Speech Therapy, Portage and Nursery

This was October last year and I didn’t quite feel he was ready for nursery so, I went to a Speech Therapy drop in session and my health visitor applied for Portage, which went to a panel along with other applications and it was decided Mikey would qualify for it.

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Fast forward to January 2017 he had his first appointment session of Speech Therapy and is now saying the words: Bubbles, Up, Pop, Daddy, Jack, Bot Bot and Yeah.

He now goes to nursery twice a week and runs off without saying bye, then cries when I pick him up because he wants to stay there (charming).

Plus on Tuesday he had his first Portage session.

I felt nervous and excited about his first session with the Portage worker, I didn’t really know what to expect.

I knew their aims were to improve his eye-contact, socialising and interaction, we’d discussed that in the initial meeting and I felt happy with these goals.

The session went really well, she brought along some toys that meant Mikey had to give her eye contact and she put her thumbs up and said “good looking” every time he looked at her.

I saw a great improvement even after just one session, so I’m excited that he has this weekly.

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The fact is that Mikey is extremely clever, (like scary clever) he knows what he wants and he sees the world in his own way and he lives by it.

Time and time again I keep getting asked what “they” think is “wrong with him” by people, especially because the Autism word keeps getting thrown around.

NOTHING is “wrong” with him, there is so much right with him, he’s so intelligent and if anything overly independent for his age.

Plus it’s not for “them” to decide.

Who are “they” anyway?

Professionals who don’t know him?

I’m his mother and it doesn’t matter to me what label may or may not be given to my son, because to me a label doesn’t change who he is, I love him for exactly who he is right now, his quirks, his meltdowns, the special little moments we get together.

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It isn’t for anyone else to change those things, but of course I take into consideration that he may need support and I would never hold him back from anything that can make his life easier to live, I mean celebrities pay thousands for therapies, it can’t do any harm whatsoever, so my thinking process is…why not?

I’m having these therapies put in place for him, partially because his health visitor suggested it and I completely trust her judgement, he is a very kind person, with a lot of experience and really cares for Mikey. Also my own instincts as mother tell me that although it works for him now being self-serving and not interacting with others, that it may be a struggle for him when he’s older, but there’s a good chance it won’t be.

I’d rather him have gentle therapies now to support him at a young age where he knows no different and prevent any future struggles that may happen, than waiting to see if he has to undo habits once he is in school, when it will be much harder for him because he will have more of a comprehension of the fact it is support he is getting, rather than knowing no different.

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The support he is getting has improved his interaction, eye-contact, socialising and speech in such a short space of time, I’m so proud of him and how well he is doing.

If anyone else is going through a similar journey with their child please comment, I’d love to hear from you about your experience or just to know about your little one.

I will keep you updated on his progress.

Thanks for reading!

michael

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Why I won’t label my son

Why I won’t label my son.

For some time now there has been an Autistic question mark looming over my son’s head, I wrote a blog post a few weeks ago about how people and services were suspecting my son was “on the autistic spectrum”, I have since been told everyone is on the Autistic spectrum, just varying degrees, I don’t know if this is true, but I’ve decided…not to care.

I don’t care what my son is labelled as, we are going through all the motions now to start the appropriate therapies to make his life and learning easier. But if we walk into a pediatrician’s office and he gives my son a label, he’s not going to walk out a different child, he will still be my Mikey. I understand that services have to give it a name so they can do referrals and arrange the correct support, but that means the label is for them not for me or my son. The same as me being an “O positive blood group” doctors need to know that, but it isn’t how I introduce myself to others.

I’m not saying Autism isn’t real or that we shouldn’t recognise, quite the opposite really. It frustrates me that as soon as I mention to someone, that Mikey is going through tests for Autism, that they change their behaviour around him, before I tell them that, they say he’s funny, cute and clever, if I mention Autism they give me a sympathetic “Awww but it’s ok though, he’ll be ok”. They reassure me like my son has a death sentence, he’s different…but isn’t everyone?

His older brother Jack goes to a mainstream nursery, which I’m planning on sending Mikey to if he manages going to it without any problems, so if Mikey needs other support it just means they have different learning needs. There are a lot of intelligent successful people in the world who have autism and there are a lot of intelligent successful people who don’t have it.

I’d like to live in a world where it’s not a terrifying, upsetting time for parents when their child is diagnosed with Autism, where they get the support needed for their own needs, because let’s face it not one person is the same and it isn’t a one size fits all scenario.

So when I say I don’t care, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about my son, I love my children more than anything in the world, but he is perfect the way he is. A diagnosis isn’t going to change the way I look at him, I wouldn’t change one part of him.

As a parent it is my job to support him and make sure he gets any help he needs, so we’re going to start Speech Therapy and Portage in January. I am a great believer in therapies, let’s face it, people pay good money for therapies just to make their life more peaceful and happier, so if my son is having therapies at 2 years old is that really such a bad thing?

To me he will always be my little Mikey Moo, everyone who meets him adores him, he has special little quirks that make him extra special, but that’s why we love him, his name is Michael and a label of Autism will never change that.

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The Bad Mum Book

What does it take to be a bad mum? Apparently not a lot…

It takes lots to be a good mum, you have to be nurturing every aspect of your child’s perfectly balanced life and it seems just one of those factors slips below perfect we are tarred with the bad mummy brush.

Does it make me a bad mother that some days we don’t leave the house? We’ve done enough organised activities in the week to knacker them out that we just need a rest day. But if we are in all day, does it make me a bad mother that I will dress them in pyjamas? I mean, they are so much comfier! If we are just going to be lounging around and watching TV, why do they need their best chinos on? They don’t.

What about in the middle of the night? Have I failed as a mother because I put a nice cosy blanket over the wet patch on their bed, because it would mean waking them up and taking an extra 5 minutes before getting back into bed to give them a full sheet change…for the possibility of them wetting through again? If that is a crime, I’m afraid I’m a repeat-offender.

If we’re never meant to show we are upset or even angry in front of our child I’ve definitely failed. I mean Depression makes it pretty hard to hide from anyone especially your child that you are sad, will it damage them to see Mummy upset? Or am I just showing them that when you are upset it’s OK to show emotion and you can get through it.

They say that TV is the best babysitter, well I wouldn’t rely on it to change their bums and feed them but if I need 5 minutes to tidy upstairs the TV is a pretty good distraction, but of course it means I’m a lazy mother that sticks my kids in front of it zoned in all day, I might have the paw patrol theme tune stuck in my head 24/7 but it’s not because it’s on 24/7 it’s because these shows have special hypnotising powers…even for adults.

I yelled at my kid. Oooops does that make a bad mum? I also yell at my husband…does that make me a bad wife? Sometimes people yell at me, does that make me a victim? No, I don’t think it’s an ideal way to communicate, but let’s face it everyone loses their shit every now and again and it doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad parent, it makes you human.

My house is mess, all the time, even as I clean it. You know how some people would love a self cleaning home, I have a self messing one. As I finish tidying one room the kids are messing up another. I have messing floors, sticky hand print walls, piles of laundry, wet, dirty and clean (none put away and definitely not folded) but I also have happy kids. I might be a bad mum for not having a spotless home, but I know I’m good one for putting time with them first.

If you are trying to make your child happy and you care about their welfare you are NOT a bad mum. The world will sometimes make you feel like one, sometimes the world will think you’re a great mother and you’ll feel like a terrible one, it’s a constant battle to decide what is right and what is wrong, wondering how actions will affect their future.

Everyone is just fluking it in their own way.

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Shovelling snow in a blizzard: Life with having three kids in three years

We hadn’t planned it this way, it felt like it took forever to finally have our first baby in our arms. Now our home is overrun by tiny dictators.

As they say the days are long, but the years are short. This is true, the days are really really long and so are the nights. You know how people tell you at different stages how their kids started “sleeping through”…yeah! Mine did that too, they love their sleep…Then you have to take off the nights where there will be teething, nightmares, sickness, illness, over-tiredness, hyperness or the fact they just don’t want to sleep. But when you have to be at an appointment for 9am guarantee they will want to lie in until lunchtime. Basically if you want to live in a world full of irony, have kids.

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Bribery…this will be your key to survival when you have relentless toddlers. Some people will say you shouldn’t bribe your kids, to them people I say spend a day in my house, you will soon turn into a bribing negotiator. Unless you give a child a good reason to do something why are they going to do it? Would you go to work if you didn’t get paid? So if I want my child to sit still while I dress him so I can get out of the house on time, I have no qualms about offering them a treat when they get to town if they just get their coat on! Or threatening to throw all of their trains in the bin if they don’t apologise for hitting their brother. I might be going about it the wrong way, but I haven’t had to threaten or bribe as much as they’ve got older because they know if they are good they will get rewarded and if they are naughty they will be punished…isn’t that just like grown up life? But you MUST follow through, if you show any sign of weakness and use empty threats your kids will jump on that opportunity to over rule you like tiny little terrorists.

Leaving the house is a military operation, especially when you need to be somewhere for a certain time…why is it I’m always given the 9am appointments? So my mode of transport is a double buggy called Zoom by Obaby. It’s not your standard double buggy, but I prefer it. Then I have Nicole in my Ama Wrap, it looks a little something like this…

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Nicole also has her own buggy a Redkite Push Me Fusion, for when I’m with my husband so we can push a buggy each.

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It’s when I’m by myself with the three kids I get heckled, some comments I don’t mind, like “Oh wow how do you cope?” because to me they are saying, you do cope…how do you do it? But it’s when people stop and gawk in horror as if I’m pushing around a cart of explosives and comment with “I bet they weren’t planned” or “I hope you’re going to stop now” and “You’ve got your hands full you know?!” the answers are actually they were all planned, I’m not ready to stop and I’ve got my hands and heart completely full of love, nappies and snot…I wouldn’t change a second of it.

Be ready to keep bobbing up for air in a sea full of nappies, that’s right, none are potty trained yet. I keep trying to introduce Jack to it and we’re getting there, but I’m a great believer of not forcing something like using the toilet, he’s got the rest of his life to be doing that. It can become unbearable when they all poop at the same time, but just be ready to take lots of trips to the outside bin or get a diaper genie, either way if you forget and put a stenching nappy in an indoor bin, you’ll soon realise…trust me.

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People think I’m crazy for having three kids in three years, what I think is crazy, is waiting a few years then doing it all over again. Don’t get me wrong there are benefits I’m sure for having an age gap, more one on one time with each child, a bit longer between the crazy newborn stages but for me, I haven’t ever got out of the “baby stage” I still haven’t! Nicole is three months so she is still very much a baby! I will be waiting or stopping now I haven’t decided, but literally because I have nowhere to put a fourth baby, the boys are in the buggy, Nicole is on my chest…there is nowhere for another one to go!

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The key of surviving being overrun by nappy wearing hooligans is keeping your cool, if you lose your shit they will lose theirs. The hard times will pass, the tantrums will finish and everything will always end in cuddles.

Life is hard when you have three kids in three years but I’m sure life would be hard having three kids in 10 years! They are kids, they are hard at all stages of life and to be honest…adults aren’t that easy either, are they? Everyone’s going to do it their own way and this is my way…I thrive on the mayhem.

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5 Minute Fun!

Thinking of ideas to do with your little one that don’t take a lot of time or preparation?

Look no further!

5 Minute Fun are 5 minute activities that can be done any time, any place and in just 5 minutes!

We decided to make a picture out of leaves! Both of my boys were poorly so we wrapped up warm just to go out in the garden to get leaves and then did the rest of the activity indoors making the picture.

Here’s a video to show what we did:

Jack loved it, now he wants to do “his” 5 minutes everyday! Mikey likes to join in on certain ones too and I feel this is really helping his social skills. Plus Jack loves showing his baby sister his pictures, so the entire family is involved.

Get over to the website now to sign up:

https://www.5minutefun.com/signup/

Also follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for regular updates:

5 Minute Fun Facebook

5 Minute Fun Twitter

5 Minute Fun Instagram

 

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My Cupcake Toppers: Make Your Images Edible – Review + 10% Discount!

Everybody loves cake!

No matter what you’re trying to say, there’s nothing that says it better than cake.

Whether it’s: Get Well Soon, Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday, Congratulations, I Miss You or even if you just want to let someone know you are thinking of them, cake is the best way to say it!

Well all your prayers have been answered, say hello to…My Cupcake Toppers

Edible icing toppers for fairy cakes, cupcakes and celebration cakes.

Not only that they will print your image…whatever it is onto icing!

No longer are you restricted to finding a cake that’s “just right” for your loved one, now you can personalise with pictures, writing or anything you want printed onto icing!

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Own a company? Support a Charity? Get your company or charities logo printed onto a yummy cupcake topper!

Having a Christmas party? Get some festive toppers printed! Or even better get Christmas pictures printed of your family, friends or even your pets!

If there’s an occasion…there’s a topper!

They come in a range of standard sizes but you can ask for a specific size, there is also a wide range of toppers you can choose from:

Seasonal, Special Occasions, TV and Film, Charity, Sports, Computer Games & Toys and a few other suggestions too, but don’t forget you can completely personalise your own as well.

What better gift than the gift of cake, with the festive season coming up you could cater to the entire family from Football toppers for Dad to Frozen toppers for little girls, they have them all!

The website is really easy to use!

I chose what toppers I wanted, uploaded the pictures and went through check out within a matter of a few minutes!

I chose a range of cakes to show some great ideas and how great photos and logos come out on the cakes.

I chose a large cake topper for my Niece’s Baby Shower, they had a template design on the website so I just typed in her name and the date of her baby shower and they created it for me! It came as a round template (as I’d chosen) but on a rectangle piece of icing, so I could either cut round for a circle cake (which I did) it could of gone straight onto a rectangular cake, so there are a couple of options.

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I also got 12 cupcake toppers, they could have all been the same or all different. I chose six images so got two of each.

As you can see my blog logo stands out great, I think this is such a great way for businesses of any type to put their logo out there! I know I’d remember seeing a companies logo more if it was on a cake than just a card!

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The photographs of my children are so clear and the kids loved it seeing their faces on the cakes! I thought it could be great for a Christening or a Birthday party!

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Of course I got some Christmas pictures too! There are some Christmas designs on the website to choose from or you could upload your own image, logo or picture that’s Christmassy.

Whether it’s for a gift, a party or even as part of the spread on Christmas day, these cake toppers make it extra special over the festive period!

Here’s a few from their website:

What’s even better is I got a confirmation email sent as soon as I ordered and also a confirmation Facebook message! How cool and current is that?!

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To start you off here’s a discount code for 10% off your first order: YUMMY10

Check out their website: My Cupcake Toppers

Why not follow them for updates and ideas on social media as well:

My Cupcake Toppers Twitter

My Cupcake Toppers Facebook

My Cupcake Toppers Instagram

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It’s OK to be “that” mum

I’ve been that mum, the one that the other mums snigger about because she doesn’t like to leave her baby, or that people sneer at because she doesn’t like other people holding him, or that others judge because she worries about literally everything.

They say she needs to have a break from her baby so she will have time to miss him, or she can’t be selfish and has to share her baby or even that in their day there wasn’t any of these precautions and they turned out OK.

I genuinely don’t think people realise they effect their words have on us. As if we don’t question ourselves enough already now we have people telling us, we’re too clingy, selfish or even becoming doctor’s overnight and diagnosing us with Post Natal Depression.

I’ve been like this with my children, when I have had Post Natal Depression and also when I haven’t, let me tell you something…even if she does have PND, taking her away from her baby will definitely NOT make it better, if it isn’t what she wants it WILL make it worse.

All of my babies have been born towards the later end of the year, so when you get visitors there tends to be a lot of winter virus going around. I don’t think people realise when they paint you as the psychotic OCD mum, that the reason you don’t want an ill person holding your new baby is because it might just seem like a cough to them, but to a baby it can be life threatening, it could mean ending up on a Children’s ward around older children with Bronchitis and sickness bugs.

Maybe the reason they don’t want you to hold their baby is because they just don’t want to let go of them, I never wanted to let go of Jack. I loved cuddling him, I knew it would be short lived, that in a few months he’d be starting to move and eventually he wouldn’t sit still for my cuddles. Surely it was me who needed the most cuddles, as his mother? We had the strongest bond after all. I carried him inside me.

That’s another point, we carried them inside us for three quarters of a year, why would we suddenly want to be separated from them? They are happiest with us, listening to our heart beat, the smell of their mummy and the sound of her voice.

For those who say in their day there wasn’t any of this to worry about, I’m sorry but you’re ignorant. Move with the times, there’s so much more to worry about now, because we have access to so much more information. Safe sleeping, anchoring furniture, stair gates, blind cords the list goes on and on, I’m of the opinion, if I can take the precaution, then why not do it? In your day it might have not been the thing to do to have bonding time without visitors, but I’m sure in your day a lot of women felt unable to speak out about how they feel, well this is my day and I want alone time with my baby and lots of it.

If there is one thing that really grates my cheese, it’s a group of people passing a baby around. Each to their own and if you’re happy for people to play pass the parcel with a tiny human, fair enough. But for me, it’s torture, watching your baby be lifted from person to person, knowing they aren’t settling anyway because they aren’t with you, but then to be disturbed every ten minutes, after just getting warm in someone’s arms, getting passed to another place…again! Yet people look at your like you’re insane or selfish for not sharing your baby.

I think most people make judgement because they literally don’t get it, they aren’t bad people, they genuinely think they are within their rights to have a sense of entitlement to your baby, but they don’t, this is YOUR baby and YOUR life. They will never have the bond you have with your baby and that is the most important bond, so don’t worry about how it’s affecting them, if that makes me selfish, then I’ll take that.

I’ve had people snigger and make comments about how I won’t pass my baby or like other people holding them, to me I don’t see why that’s something to laugh about. If someone takes your baby out of your arms without asking, for me it’s torture, that baby is a piece of me.

The best you can do is stand up for yourself and explain it to people, I have a lot of people in my life who get it and now don’t make any assumptions or take any liberties. But I also still have a lot who will never get it because they just aren’t willing to listen, they just label you as that mum.

Well I’m definitely that kind of mum…and proud of it.