Desperately Seeking Help For Eldest

I’ve debated posting this blog post. But I think it’s actually essential that I do and I’m pretty certain some of you ladies have faced the same issues (in whatever capacity).

On Wednesday I went to pick Eldest up from school (mad Middle in tow wielding that blooming Paw Patrol ride on of his). As his class emerged, his teacher indicated that she needed to speak to me. Oh god, what’s he done now I thought to myself. His teacher then proceeded to hand me the above post-it note. I was blind sighted. Mainly because when I went to do his homework with him last week and asked him to get his ‘super pencil’, he advised that Mrs C had told him he no longer required it. “That’s amazing news Aden!” I exclaimed. “It shows you how much all your hard work has paid off!” I proudly added. We’ve been going through a workbook she sent home after his parent teacher interview every weekend.

Back to Wednesday. “How do I go about getting him referred?” I asked utterly perplexed, whilst he stood beside me. “You just need to call your doctors” she advised. “But he doesn’t need the aid on his pencil anymore, he told me so” I replied. “Oh, it wasn’t working and I am concerned that he is actually hurting himself whilst trying to write now” she informed. Whilst this conversation was taking place, Middle had disappeared entirely. “I have to go find the other one now but I will call the doctors right away” I yelled back whilst scanning the surrounding area for Middle. Having located Middle running around the playground like a mad man, off we set for home (Paw Patrol ride on under my arm as per). I immediately called the doctors en route who asked that I call back the following day and someone would speak to me.

The next morning, whilst awaiting them calling back, I made a list of all the issues Eldest is currently experiencing. Might as well get it all out there and noted, I reasoned with myself. After explaining his teacher’s concerns and advising of the options that had been exhausted by her, he grumpily responded: “refer him to Occupational Therapy because he can’t hold a pencil?”. Listen you sanctimonious arsehole, I’m doing what I was told to do by a fellow professional and I’m doing it to best serve my son. Granted I should have had some kind of supporting evidence from his school (bar a post it note and a conversation) but, I’m not calling you up for the sheer laugh! I was so livid I could barely speak. I didn’t bother to highlight the other issues I’m dealing with when it comes to him. I merely ended the call and dissolved into tears. A sea of frustrated ones at that.

This reaction left me entirely in limbo. What should I do? I decided to call the school and ask that Mrs C provide me with a letter, stating everything she had tried and why she felt OT would be beneficial for him. She then called me back apologising profusely for the way in which she had handled ‘post-it gate’. She also placated me with the fact that she had spoken with the internal support teacher with regards to getting him the help he needed. I was now calm. Well, I was until the following day.

Apparently I would have to self refer Eldest. Now, if we could all self refer ourselves places, I’m pretty sure I’d be sitting here with a liposuctioned stomach and a boob job! I was also having to do this once again with no supporting evidence from his school. Every medical professional will surely think I’m a neurotic nuisance now!

OT are yet to return my numerous calls and voicemails. I haven’t been able to sleep all weekend for worrying about Eldest and the fact that, the longer this goes on, the more he falls behind in school. Being able to write is an essential life skill after all. Who would have thought getting him the help he needs would be so dramatic? As I said to the doctor, my job as his mum is to ensure that he is kept alive and grows/prospers. Seemingly the latter isn’t important enough.

Walking In A Winter Wonderland At Enchanted Winter Garden

We were very kindly invited to a preview night of Enchanted Winter Garden at Antrim Castle Gardens yesterday. I have never been before. Mainly due to the fact that I am a disorganised person in general and always leave it too late to get tickets. But my sister goes every year and I’m always so jealous of the festive pictures she manages to get. If I had of got myself in gear last year, I would have had a lovely December picture for the calendar I print for my mum each year. Who am I kidding? Three of them looking at a camera simultaneously? A mum can but dream…

Baby was mesmerised from the second we set foot inside. The whole place is awash with colour and lights. At every turn there was something new to see. You want flashing fairies- sorted. You want a huge ferris wheel- sorted. What about a festive train ride that takes you direct to Santa’s workshop? Well, that’s sorted too! There was a multitude of rides catering to all ages. Baby seemed utterly petrified of them all however, bar the train ride and ferris wheel. To be fair he is at that stage where anything that involves him having to leave my side makes him get on like I’ve just sold him to a stranger!

They have an array of food choices too. Slightly expensive however, so empty their money boxes before going (just kidding, as if I’d ever do that). A burger at the stall we chose cost £6 and a kids meal £5. The food was delicious however and the portions big. I noticed too late that they had a fire pit that you could toast marshmallows on (at a cost). That would have made the perfect Christmas dessert.

Baby loved going on the “choo choo!” to visit Santa. This was great as it served to build up the excitement, for me more than anyone. Inside the workshop, there were lots of animatronic displays to observe whilst they eagerly awaited their turn to meet Santa. Baby wasn’t overly fussed on St Nicolas and got on the same way he did about some of the rides. I mean, if I was going to sell him to anyone, surely he should be happy that I was selling him to the CEO of the biggest toy factory in the world? He did come round however when offered some chocolate buttons.

I can’t even begin to describe this place properly and give it the credit it so rightfully deserves. It truly is magical in every way. At every corner, you are greeted with a new scene and different characters inhabiting them. All that whilst basking in beautiful surroundings and shimmering lights.! I totally felt like I was at that London one you see plastered all over social media at this time of year. A PSA to Simon Cowell: have you considered visiting Antrim this Christmas instead?

The only downside for me was Eldest and Middle not being there to experience it. I know they would have loved it and I would have loved seeing their reaction to it also. It’s definitely something you should do with your whole family. Unfortunately, they were too busy screaming “oh yes he is” to May Mcfettridge at the panto. Once home, Middle was positively fuming when I showed him my pictures. He growled at me “if you don’t take me to that place next year Santa will bring you no presents as you are a bad girl”. Don’t worry son, this mamma isn’t being put on any naughty list. Well, hopefully Santa hasn’t seen what mummy did to your money boxes (oh no she didn’t)……

Enchanted Winter Garden takes place from Friday 6th December to Sunday 22nd December and is open from 4:30pm – 9:30pm. Tickets cost £4 per adult and £2 per child (children under two are free) note that these prices are if booked in advance. A family ticket is £15. Tickets can be purchased here: http://www.enchantedwintergarden.com If you don’t prebook, prices are £6 for adults and £4 per child. So pre-book! Note that the event will be closed Mon 9th December to Wed 11th and also on the 16th and 17th (the fairies need to recharge their batteries). Check out my Instagram for even more pics and things I don’t post on Facebook : https://www.instagram.com/youandmeplusthreex/

Meeting Santa
What? No yogurts on the menu?
Wanted to go on this so badly but Baby had other ideas…
You know I like to tell you prices for prep purposes!

Nightmares

Last night the kids were sound asleep and I had just settled down to take my make up off (after tidying up their carnage). Suddenly I heard a familiar sound. Footsteps up above. Footsteps that for someone so small, should resemble a ballerina pivoting on a cloud yet sounded like an elephant trapped in a jumper. They all have their own sounds and I can tell who it is immeadiately by footstep sound alone. Middle was up!

Upon his descent from the stairs, it became apparent that he was highly upset. “What’s wrong I asked?” whilst scooping him up into my arms. “I had bad dream” he informed me through sporadic sobs. “Oh no! Come and tell mummy” I soothed. He sat calmly on my knee and began to divuldge his dream. “A really bad guy was trying to freeze me mummy!” he advised. “He turned off all my lights because he was so bad” he added. This is quite apt as he has spent two weeks now turning on every light in the house no matter what the time and I have found myself yelling “it’s like Blackpool illuminations up here!”. Yes, I have become that kind of mum. “Dreams aren’t real Owen” I reassured. “They are just your brain playing tricks. Plus, mummy would never let anyone hurt you let alone freeze you” I added whilst cuddling him. He gave me a kiss, looked at me square in the eye and said “the only way to defeat the bad guy was to throw cake at him. So, I think we need to get cake tomorrow mummy”. Um what? “You know, incase he comes back” he stated seriously. Nice try son!

Meanwhile Baby has morphed into a complete and utter nightmare himself. His new thing is throwing every book we own down the stairs, many of which are unfortunately hardback. I’m no sooner bending down to pick them all up when he’s lobbed a Pokemon encyclopedia back down, near knocking me out in the process. No amount of telling off is working as he finds the whole thing hilarious.  His only redeeming quality is the fact that he has started asking to hold Middle’s hand and the two of them dander away together. So cute! There’s nothing better than seeing them actually be loving towards each other. Whilst Middle brings out Eldest’s less serious side, Baby brings out all of their loving/caring sides.

This week and next, we are nativitying. Going by my kid’s past record with these, I can only but hope that all of them pass without any kind of drama or embarrassment. Eldest is highly annoyed that he has been cast in the role of shephard again, Middle is point blank refusing to sing the songs he has been taught as he wants to sing exclusively about tacos and Baby will probably spy me and cry the whole time. I will of course keep you updated on how we fare.

Baby Baby Baby Oh/Mad Middle/Toy Car Gate

Yes I have used a Justin Bieber song lyric as a blog post title. The shame! But it’s totally fitting (I promise).

It was 2am on Tuesday morning and Baby had awoken from his cot. As usual, I gleefully transferred him into my bed for lots of cuddles and kisses. As he lay there, greedily guzzling some milk, I stared lovingly at him. Come 3am I was still staring at him (stalker much?). He looked like a proper little boy and not a baby anymore. I found myself getting all emotional and sentimental. It seems like only yesterday that I was holding his little 6lbs frame in the same bed, glaring at him in disbelief that he was finally here. Where has the time gone? I can’t be dealing with this!

If there was a pause button I would hit it right now, at this exact stage. I love it when their personalities are starting to shine through and they still need you but are becoming more independent. He won’t let me open anything for him these days and insists on trying to dress himself (all of which have varying success rates). He is becoming highly vocal also and his dictation is clear and concise, mainly when voicing his extreme displeasure at his brothers “NO, bro bro!”. This is the worrying stage however as it’s when you start to consider another. How bad could it really be? I imagine very very bad indeed if I end up being a mum to four boys, which is exactly what would happen.

In other news Middle has me entirely exasperated this week. I picked him up on Wednesday from preschool and he was more subdued than usual. He also looked quite sheepish in hindsight. I buckled him into his car seat and off we set for home. “How was your day?” I implored. “Um it good” he replied whilst fiddling with the bottom of his trousers frantically. “What are you doing?” I asked. He threw me daggers then dissolved into giggles. “Me have a car” he replied whilst wielding a black toy car that had seemingly emerged from the bottom of his trousers. “Where did you get that from?” I replied alarmed. He looked at me like I had just uttered the most stupid question ever. “I took it from nursery because I want to play with it at home in my room”. Oh dear god! I pulled the car over and tried to explain the concept of stealing to him. Whilst doing so, he continued to retrieve a further eight cars from every crevice of his trousers! “How many do you have Owen?” I yelled. “Lots AND me have more in my jumper too” he answered proudly. “You can’t just take things from nursery Owen, that is wrong! The other children need to play with them. How did you even manage to smuggle so many up there?”. I asked this for a reason. Mainly as he hadn’t placed them in his pocket like a normal person but had blatantly shoved them all up the bottom of his trousers. “I wait until no one looking and I just put them up there one by one” he answered matter of factly. Surely this was the least inconspicuous method he could have deployed? His trousers are cuffed at the bottom and super tight! How no one managed to observe his shenanigans is beyond me.

Upon returning home, I confiscated his contraband and hid them. I then had to message his teacher and advise that she has a thief in her midst and one of whom was showing zero remorse for his actions. Whilst reprimanding him he kept repeating “but where my cars so I play with them?”. He was not receiving the message at all that what he had done was wrong.

This kid- he literally dances to the beat of his own drum all whilst I scramble to fix the situations he gets himself into. I am also having to strip search him before we leave nursery now as I don’t trust him one iota. So I reckon three kids is more than enough and Baby can stay as my baby. Imagine trying to keep on top of two Middle’s? Um, no thanks!

My Brain Hath Deserted Me Again

I cannot stand depression. If I could kick it in the face I would (and multiple times). Just when you think you may be turning a corner, even just a little one, it knocks you back down and floors you. It sucks your happiness from you, your motivation and your positivity.

Every day I am struggling to get out of bed as I know I have to face reality. From the second I open my eyes (if I’ve even managed to sleep) I feel so overwhelmed regarding everything I have to do. I was never like this before. I ran a military operation in my house. The second the kids came in, they were organised for the following day. I had set cleaning chores that I would complete on certain days and would have a freak out if, for some reason, I had to neglect them. In hindsight, this is what probably kept me somewhat sane. Now I just don’t care at all.

The more it continues, the more upset I get. Because I feel like I’m doing everything within my power to counteract it. Yesterday I felt so low that I could have cried all day. I have three kids though and that wasn’t an option. So, I got us all dressed and we took their scooters out and went a long walk. Chaos ensued as usual with them all speeding ahead of me and ignoring any kind of road safety rules. Normally I would return home and just laugh about the stress. I had nothing. I walked home with them (scooters under my arm as per) and I felt nada. Devoid of any emotion at all. So I brought them out the front with a frisbee (one of our favourite things to do). I threw it to them, ran back and forth and still, I felt nothing. Even as I watched them have so much fun, I was aware that I was merely going through the motions to placate them. To make them think that mummy is ok. That mummy is not drowning. That mummy may be at the end of her tether. That mummy is quite simply and honestly, burnt out. Because no matter how low I am feeling, they must come first. There is no pause button. You have to just get on with it. This makes the internal battle with the brain signals rage on. With the guilt mainly. The dreaded ‘mum guilt’ on top of all the other guilt. Even the guilt I felt last week about Eldest and his handwriting. When you are in this frame of mind, it is so difficult to think logically. This is what I hate the most. It doesn’t matter how many times people tell me to think otherwise, it will not compute. Because I am so low anyway.

It’s just a vicious cycle that I am entirely at a loss as to what I can do about it. I don’t want my tablets increased again as to me, this is defeat. After counselling, CBT and everything else I have done. Can someone just flick a switch and send me back to me again, please? Not even asking for a friend this time.

The Parent Teacher Interviews

Why are parent-teacher interviews so nerve-wracking? I panic every time I have to go to one but especially this week as I would be talking to Middle’s preschool teacher for the very first time. What could possibly go wrong?

But before that it was Eldest’s. In advance of the meeting, his teacher had sent home all his school workbooks. I sat with a cup of tea and dutifully poured over them. In the writing one, there was a note from her stating that Eldest was ‘struggling with letter formation and fine motor skills’. I called him into the kitchen. ”Are you finding writing difficult?” I asked. He looked to the ground, hands in his pockets, then responded ”yes mum. I really don’t like how they are making me hold my pencil”. This is the very first time he has said anything like this to me. In fact, I can’t glean any information from him each day about how he’s fared at school. ”That’s ok son” I replied, ”I will raise that with your teacher when I meet her”.

Whilst waiting for the interview to begin I surveyed all the written work adorning the wall outside his classroom. It became quite clear to me there and then that he has some issues with his handwriting. I braced myself for what lay ahead. His teacher explained that she has added something to his pencil to try and enforce the correct manner of which he should hold it. She also advised that he is self-conscious about this and tries to sneak a normal pencil when she’s not looking. I felt my heart sink. That’s what he was trying to tell me all week. Trying not to burst into tears, I asked was he the only one struggling in this way. She advised that there are others but, she is having to spend one to one time with him to try and get him up to speed. I have never felt more grateful to someone in my life! Having got the main issue out of the way, she went on to say that his maths is excellent and that he is well behaved and quiet in class (what??). She then handed me a booklet of work to complete with him at home. As I strolled out of the school, I began to sob. I just felt so sorry for him. He is obviously so embarrassed that he has to use that pencil when others don’t. I also felt like I had failed him as his mum. I do his homework with him after all and I’ve just been hoping that his effort reflects that of his classmates. You never know if it does until these things and he’s my first one at school. Now the hard work begins. I’ve every intention of doing all within my power to get this resolved. But I know he is trying so hard every day to master it and this makes me beyond proud.

Now onto Middle’s which was an entirely different affair. This one I was dreading for obvious reasons. I haven’t been overly worried about how he is settling in as he bounds in every morning yelling his now customary ”hi guys!” to anyone who will listen. But, I had arrived early to collect him the day before and had watched from the window whilst he ate some ice cream at a table. He wasn’t just eating it but making all these funny faces whilst doing so. There was a little girl beside him who he was seemingly trying to impress with this impromptu show (even though he hates girls). ”Which one is yours?” a fellow mum enquired. ”Um, that one” I sheepishly responded whilst pointing at him. He was also fuming all this week due to falling out with a boy in his class because he ‘hadn’t known what a Yo-Kai is and that’s stupid’ (a Netflix tv show).

His teacher began by informing me that his learning level is excellent and that she isn’t having to help him with anything. He moves freely from one table to another trying different activities and interacting with others. “Even girls?” I enquired. “Oh yes” she responded “he plays with anyone”. So Middle doth protest too much then, as I assumed. She then went on to say that he is very easily led. “There are a few boys who play up and, the second Middle gets around them, he is playing up too” she informed. Well, this was no surprise as that is precisely what happens at home with Eldest. “But the second I voice my displeasure, he swiftly takes himself away and plays with someone else” she added. Thank god he is smart enough to sense the warning signals! She then said something that took me totally by surprise. “Have you had issues with his speech?” she asked. Now, this child, from the moment he wakes up until he goes to bed, does not shut up! “Um no” I responded. “He was very delayed when it came to talking but now we can’t get him to stop!” I added. She then went on to explain that when she asks him a question he just stares at her blankly and refuses to answer. Odd I thought as I was leaving. Upon returning home, I sought out Middle. “Your teacher says you are amazing and doing really well! I am so proud!” I advised him. He looked completely disinterested. “But, she said that when she asks you questions, you don’t answer even when you know how to” I repeated. He stopped what he was doing and turned to me looking sternly. “It’s just coz I playing and I don’t care. She asks me when I’m busy and that’s a stupid thing to do. So I just not answer Mr T”. Arrgghh give me strength someone!

May the force be with you all for the half-term break. May we stay strong and survive it with all of us still alive and somewhat sane! We can but hope…..

Why I Agree With NI Entering A New Era (finally)

On Tuesday something amazing happened. Northern Ireland entered a new era. An era that others have been experiencing for quite some time now. An era of equal rights! I debated posting this as I am aware that it’s such an emotive topic but, I have to adhere to my mantra of being honest in terms of the blog. I share my opinions weekly so, why not with this too?

Love is love, irrespective of what guise or form it takes. I spent most of my teenage years in the Kremlin (not with Putin for outside readers but, a gay club in Belfast) and I can tell you, these were the best nights ever (despite the horrendous hangovers). Watching my friends feel comfortable and free to be themselves, when they felt they couldn’t in any other establishment, was part of this. I realised pretty swiftly that I took it for granted, as a heterosexual, that I didn’t have to hide my identity everywhere I went. We have a same-sex marriage in my family also and I am in awe of these two individuals daily. They are a shining example of what a marriage should consist of. They support each other, are loving and share equal responsibility when it comes to their children. All whilst facing scrutiny that I never did. I am a firm believer in live and let live. If it’s not affecting you, why are you bothered? Many have an issue with this but didn’t kick up a fuss when some woman married the Berlin wall. I would rather someone be their authentic self than feel pressured to marry someone of the opposite sex and have children because ‘it’s the right thing to do’. It’s not what’s right, it’s what’s been wrong all along.

Now the second contentious issue- abortion rights. I believe a woman has a right to choose and strongly so. I also believe that more education in schools is essential with regards to contraception and what an abortion entails. Being fully informed is half the battle. Shying away from even discussing it just exasperates something that many find difficult to decipher here. Having an unwanted pregnancy, no money, having to inform your family because of this and then travel to England is a horrendous experience. Knowing that it is illegal here only makes the decision even more difficult. Because it’s all you’ve grown up knowing. To say that it is being used as a ‘form of contraception’ shows nothing but ignorance. Any woman from Northern Ireland, who has traveled for a procedure, has spent more time than anyone else thinking about their decision. They’ve had to have multiple consultations over the phone, arrange travel and navigate their way there. It’s not just an ‘ok, we’ll book you in tomorrow then’. There is also the cost of paying for the procedure itself which is highly expensive. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and I will always respect others but, I think it’s essential that people are made aware of the actual process when making such a monumental decision. Maybe you are struggling with mental health issues, maybe you have nothing to offer a child at all and maybe you are in a relationship that is just downright dangerous to bring a child into. As I type, there are 3,019 children in care in Northern Ireland. 85,000 children live in poverty and 2,431 are actually classed as homeless. Why don’t we focus the same energy on fostering and adoption? Because, in certain cases, when you have no choice and essentially no voice, this is what tends to happen.

Not everyone will agree with my stance and I fully respect that. The world would be a very boring place if we all had the same opinion right? I mean, mum shamers wouldn’t exist for one thing! Debates are a great thing. Hearing other’s opinions is a great thing. It challenges us to think differently. At the end of the day, we agree or disagree. It’s all good……

F You Eczema!

I have had eczema for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories involve eczema. It has been the bane of my life for so long now. The only hope I ever harbored was that the kids wouldn’t get it. Mainly because I know how much of a detrimental effect it has had on my life.

Then something happened last year. Middle got sick. During his illness, I started to notice sporadic patches of dry skin all over him. No need to panic I thought. It’s just related to his viral infection. It will disappear the second he gets better. Flash forward to today and his eczema is more severe than mine ever was.

Like I said, some of my earliest memories revolve around eczema. The fact that my siblings could just get out of the bath and put their pj’s on whilst I had to stand for a further twenty minutes getting smothered in various creams is one of them. Another is being plied with Piriton most nights just to enable me to get some sleep and stop tearing shreds off myself. My parents tried everything to make it better for me. At one stage they even paid a fortune for some Chinese herbal pill that promised to cure me immediately. That’s how desperate they had become. But it was to no avail (unsurprisingly) and it continued to worsen. As I became a teenager it made me highly self-conscious and upset. Whilst all the other girls would discuss what dresses or skirts they would be wearing to the school disco, I knew I’d be wearing my usual- trousers. Because my legs were so utterly covered. I dreaded PE every Wednesday due to the fact we had to wear skirts. It filled me with so much fear that I used to just dander home before the lesson started as it was the last class. It took them forever to cotton on to this fact too! I guess they didn’t figure that someone would be so brazen as to do that. Never underestimate me! This brings me to Middle….

He is covered from head to toe with it. This is not even an exaggeration. His eyelids, his neck, wrists, arms, legs, and even his ankles. I now have to do to him what my parents did to me. It breaks my heart every day to see him itching away and getting so frustrated. I can’t even tell him not to as half the time I’m doing the same thing! It wakes him up numerous times during the night and by morning, his bedding is covered in blood. We have tried various creams, with little to no success. It’s got to the stage where I’m going to have to prepare for a fight to get him referred. I didn’t get anywhere with my doctors until I was sent to a private dermatologist, at six months pregnant with Middle (this was due to the hospital list being too full). So appalled was the derma who saw me, she offered to see me again for free. I walked away from her practice with a prescription for eleven different items, one of which was bandages. Now I am free from eczema everywhere, bar my hands. It started on all my fingers whilst working for Calvin Kline spraying perfume. A year later it transpired that I was allergic to perfume (and hydrocortisone oddly). Now, it has calmed down on them and moved onto my palms. Nothing I do will shift it- nothing. I’ve switched to nonperfumed products with everything and it is not for f ing off. It gets so bad on occasions that I can barely lift things. I can’t tell you how many plates and cups I’ve accidentally broken. It’s like a bar mitzvah in this house weekly.

If you or your little one are suffering from this and, nothing is working, please push to get them referred. I’m a firm believer that doctors just don’t know enough about it and prescribe the same old creams in the hope that one of them eventually works. I even had one prescribe me a mixture of two hydrocortisone creams mixed together when it was all over my notes that I was allergic to it. Sometimes you need a specialist. I intend to push for this with Middle. If they refuse, I will have no option but to take him private. Maybe we will get a two for one deal? A mother and son discount? Eczema can F right off.

Pre School Peeves, Homework Hell and Hair Disasters!

Middle is STILL settling in at his preschool. We are coming up to week five and he is only in until 11:30am as opposed to the 1:30pm he should be. It doesn’t seem to be solely him either but, lots of them! I’m finding myself getting envious of other mums whose kids have settled in and all. Not only this but, I think their process is just drawing things out when there is no need. He is used to being in nursery for longer than their standard day (at his private one). In saying that I have no idea how he, as an individual, is getting on each day. The app I check daily never seems to be updated. Is anyone else having the same issues?

Upon picking him up on Monday he bounded into my arms and gave me the biggest cuddle. We then went to change his shoes (they wear pe shoes when in class). Upon getting to his peg, he was enraged that a little girl was sitting under it getting her shoes on. “That girl is at MY peg!” he bellowed. “Aw it’s ok, she is just getting her shoes on then you can sit there” I placated. “No, it’s mine and she is a girl so, she move now!”. What a way to ingratiate yourself to other parents son. The girl having vacated ‘his spot’, off we went to the car. I quickly glanced back at the snack menu to see what he had eaten that day. It informed me that he had had peppers, apple and muffins.

When we got to the car, I enquired as to what he had eaten that morning. He looked positively fuming. “We had some orange thing mum. It was disgusting (yelled). I don’t like it at all” he said whilst gesticulating wildly with his hands. “Aw, well, at least you tried something new. I guess we all like different things. Did anyone else try it and like it?” I ventured. He rolled his eyes then started mimicking his teacher. “Mr T (he is point blank refusing to call any of his teachers Mrs) said ohhhhh it’s sooooo yummy”. With this he mimicked her putting it into her mouth. “But, it so wasn’t mum. She tells lies” he added with annoyance. You can’t win them all I guess ‘Mr T’.

In other news, Eldest is finally receiving homework again. Although I dreaded it starting back up again, I have been impressed with how easy he is finding it. I can totally see a difference between his work in P1 and now. The amount has definately ramped up however and it is hard to get him to sit down and focus on it no matter what time I attempt to do it.  His behaviour the last few weeks, when at home, is also driving me to distraction. I’ve had to introduce strict new rules and be rigidly firm with him. I’ve began to notice that when he is bored, all chaos breaks out. Middle is crying and Baby too. He invades their space and begins to lash out for no discernable reason. This continues until one of them obliges him and stops what they are doing to muck around with him.  Arrgghhh!

Some of you may have saw that I decided to home bleach my hair last week (I know, I shouldn’t have done that). I lasted a grand total of a few months dark! Obviously it went very badly, very badly indeed. I drove to the local chemist and all they had was a silver hair dye so, I reluctantly purchased it. I mean it couldn’t have gotten any worse could it? Well, it actually turned out ok in the end. I am loving it and may now become a professional colourist (just kidding). I find that the level of  depression I am dealing with makes me quite impulsive and do things without thinking them through. Normally I would weigh up the pros and cons whereas now I just go for it. I guess I’ve went from being Eldest to being Middle. In some ways this is a good thing as I’m not worrying as much but, it has it’s downsides. Mainly with hair decisions……..

Clip Climbing And Sliding At High Rise NI!

Yesterday the three boys were invited to test out a new indoor activity centre in Lisburn. A venue that boasts a whole clip n climb section, a soft play area, cafe, and the piece de resistance- sensory rooms!

When we arrived, Middle and Baby set off with my mum to the soft play area whilst myself and Eldest got ready to do some climbing. I hadn’t expected to have an active role in this part but, it looked like too much fun to say no to. We were provided with a safety briefing first and foremost. Eldest was chomping at the bit by this stage but, it’s so important that they know what they are doing (as I later established). We got adorned in our harnesses and off we ventured. I cannot tell you how huge these climbing walls were! They were literally to the roof! Before they can just speed off attempting everything, they must first complete a practice run. Once this is done, they are free to roam and climb their little hearts out. There were so many options that Eldest was running manically from one to the other, completely unable to make a decision. When he finally made one, there was always an attendant on hand to strap him in and supervise him at all times. This placated me and I felt confident that he would be safe at all times.

Then, this mama decided to have a go! Not wanting to be outdone by my firstborn, I decided to climb nearly to the top of one at breakneck speed, glance down and totally panic as to how high up I actually was. I hate heights, why did I even do that? In my moment of sheer terror, I totally forgot the protocol of getting back down. So, I just kind of flung myself down and hoped for the best. I imagine it was not dissimilar to Bridget Jones when she does that piece to camera from the fire station. Entirely ungraceful and highly embarrassing to all who witnessed it. See why the safety briefing is so essential? I would say I have learned a lesson but, there’s no point at all.

Middle and Baby loved the soft play area whilst I was nearly breaking bones. I don’t think my mum knew if she should be watching them or me by this stage as I was being so reckless. There was a baby/toddler area that Baby thoroughly enjoyed dandering around and twirling things and building foam blocks. Middle was running about like a mad man going up and down the different tiers, crawling through tubes and flinging himself down the slide. He didn’t shut up about the slide the whole way home infact.

Just before leaving, I asked to be shown the sensory room. I know that a lot of my followers have children who are autistic and this was important to me before writing any review. They led me to a sensory stimulation room. It was dark to begin with then, gradually made more colorful. This is essential to avoid kids becoming overstimulated. There were things on the floor that children could stand on or touch that looked like paint was splodging, items on the wall that they could play and interact with, a projector, a vibrating plate and lights that they could feel and touch. There is also a separate quiet room. You can pay to use the rooms for an hour or if you would prefer your child/children to be fully alone, you can hire the rooms for the hour too. I think this is such a great approach and shows the level of thought and understanding that has been put into all aspects of this place.

I walked away feeling very impressed. Even more so as it is a social enterprise. So, 100% of their profits go back into helping working families. I think this made me feel much better about buying them a load of drinks and snacks afterward. Because, whatever you spend, you are ultimately helping others. All whilst having fun and, hopefully, some peace and quiet whilst they play!

High Rise NI is based in Blaris Industrial Estate Lisburn. Prices are as follows:

Clip ‘N’ Climb– Adult £12 and Child (under 18) £10, Soft Play– Baby (under 2) £2 and child (up to 8) £5, Sensory Room– Baby (under 2) £2, Child (under 18) £4, Adult £4, Parent or carer £1. Check their website out here: https://highriseni.org/

Yes, this 34 year old scaled one of these!
Always know the price of tea and coffee before you go anywhere….