Lockdown Log (Day three)

Well, I didn’t see that coming- not! Here’s how we have fared during the first few days of lockdown. Disclaimer: May have lost it more than once.

Day announcement made

Get up at the usual time and dress kids. Grab a cup of tea and proceed to homeschool. Eldest is highly receptive and enthusiastic- weird. Homework never goes as easy! Middle loves doing his worksheets but needs a lot of guidance. Eldest continually tells Middle that his effort at circling words is “absolutely rubbish!”. Middle begins to cry. Too early for wine? Yes, it’s not even 11 am (sigh). Morning work done, tablets permitted whilst I get ready. Any point doing your make up if you can’t go anywhere? What if there is a worldwide shortage of concealer? Decide to just leave it. Coronavirus doesn’t care if I have makeup on I’m sure. By the time I’m ready, the boys have started knocking lamps out of each other and are getting restless. Make lunch then head out for a walk. Every elderly person in the area has decided to do the same. FMAL. I have one flying mad on a scooter, Middle is on the Paw Patrol ride on and Baby is on a toddler trike and moving at the pace of a snail. Have to shout like a madwoman for them to pull in somewhere and keep a distance from others. All of us are coughing so I’m frightened one of them will cough in the presence of others. Seemingly no one knows the correct protocol for social distancing and we are all suddenly afraid of people. Very odd. Come home and have a wee sob. Is this real life even?

Official day one of lockdown

Decide to jump on the bandwagon and start the day with Joe Wick’s PE lesson as opposed to worksheets. Eldest attempts five minutes of said workout and begins to cry as he “can’t do it!”. Middle ignores all Joe’s instructions and has stripped off his jeans and pants and is raving in the corner. Baby is wailing due to my lack of yoghurt getting. It’s 9:10am. Yes, 9:10am! This bodes well. Get myself ready (finally) and prepare to do battle with something called SeeSaw Class for Eldest all whilst Middle’s teacher is sending work through for him to do on an entirely different platform. Resist the urge to scream and cry simultaneously. Having navigated both and, ready to lose the will to live, all are forced outside. Make a cup of tea and enjoy five minutes of peace and tranquility. Forget that the boys cannot spend five minutes on a trampoline without battering each other. Bring them back in. Tea goes cold as I run around getting them what feels like a million different snacks and drinks. In an effort to expel boredom, I try and get all of them to draw a rainbow to put in the window. Eldest adamant that instead of a rainbow, we should draw Mario from Super Mario. Try and explain the whole concept behind the rainbow drawing. No, still insistent on drawing Mario. Middle gives it a good go (see picture above). Possibly the worst rainbow in a window in the whole of Northern Ireland but, God loves a trier.

Day Two

Struggling to even get out of bed as my anxiety levels are through the roof from the second I wake up. Take a call from my mum who is in tears as two confirmed Coronavirus cases in my nan’s care home. I haven’t seen her bar leaving things to her door on Mother’s Day. Feel utterly helpless. I can’t hug her nor make her a cup of coffee. Even have a face to face chat to soothe her worries. She laments the fact she is missing the kids. They are missing her also. I am missing her more. Reality is setting in for everyone. Try and maintain the routine with boys but find it difficult as my head is all over the place. Get them to bed and pour a glass of wine. Read on Facebook that the NI Executive has declared that all off licenses should close with immediate effect. WTAF?! You can take away my freedom but you cannot take my wine. Arlene, have you been in lockdown with my kids? Just plain selfish! Discuss with a friend on WhatsApp about how we could do a weekly booze cruise to Dublin with her sitting in the back to socially distance ourselves. Feel placated and no longer worried about the lack of toilet roll.

Day Three

F#’k homeschooling. I will never ever again say anything negative about a teacher. The novelty has worn off. Meanwhile, I still attempt it as I am so worried about Eldest falling behind when he has a referral to Occupational Therapy in place. We may not survive this. Oh, stand-alone off licenses can now stay open! Maybe we shall survive after all! Middle appears to be taking the lockdown very seriously and has self isolated in his bed for most of the morning. That one loves his comfort! Up you get! Jesus Christ, Baby has started asking “why?” about everything going. Also, anything I try and do for him results in him screeching “I do!” whilst having a complete fit. If there is a God, is he there? If so, can you send a cleaner my way? Just realised my house has fallen to absolute pieces. Thanks!

To be continued. If I survive the next few days…..

Coronavirus Chaos

I couldn’t even have dreamt this happening. That’s coming from someone who once had a highly questionable dream about David Cameron and Nick Clegg. If I could have divorced my own brain after that, I would have. I will never ever be able to look at either the same way again, especially Nick Clegg. (shudders).

It all seemed to happen so fast, I think I’m still in shock. I imagine you are all the same. We’ve gone from thinking “it will all be ok” to “holy sh#t the schools are closing!”. I won’t lie, I had a monumental breakdown once that was announced. Firstly because this is unprecedented and, secondly, because I have zero faith in my own ability to teach Eldest from home. He gets so frustrated even doing his homework each day. If I dare to rub something out, he throws an absolute fit. Once it’s finally done and dusted, the two of us have to socially distance ourselves until he succumbs. Usually when he needs some milk. Guess we were prepared for that part at least.

Middle I am worried about for different reasons. He will be four when he starts P1 in September. So he will already be at a disadvantage. I’m so lucky I had his parent-teacher interview last week and no issues were raised in terms of his capability bar scissor work. Which I’m rather ok with because Middle + scissors sounds like a nightmare combination! But, on the other hand, he is a sociable child and I imagine he will miss that aspect enormously. Even if everyone is an “idiot” and he “hates girls”. He doesn’t seem to act this way when I’m peeping at him through the window however and tells me continually that he has three girlfriends. Contradiction much?

Baby is terrible twoing (as per last post). I took him to the park today only to spend thirty minutes dealing with multiple meltdowns that his hood wouldn’t stay up! We were the only people in the park. Maybe that say’s more about me than anything. But, there is no way I can keep three boys couped up in the house. They will batter the daylights out of each other and I will be locked in the bathroom sobbing or rocking in a corner somewhere. Mental health is so important during all this too.

I don’t know how I will fare, as I’m sure you don’t. But I kind of figure that we’ve given birth and kept them alive up to this point. Is it ideal? No. Is it going to be highly stressful? Yes. Will we require lots of wine? Probably.

The lack of clarity around everything children related, be it with schooling and the effects of the virus itself, has been disastrously managed. They have left a nation of mothers in a state of anxiety and panic. I’m still unsure as to whether my own mother should see the boys. Mainly because of the mixed messages and statistics that are slowly being released. My sister is also a midwife which will add to any decision that has to be made.

It’s a frightening time for all of us in every aspect. I will be making a point of sharing anything I think might help us. Anything that will relieve some pressure. If you have something you think might help someone else, message and I will share. If you run a business that is having to rethink how you are operating, message and I will share too. If you are royally losing the plot, message and I will lose it with you! Disclaimer: I will definitely be losing the plot! #Mumpower

Resolving To Fulfil My Resolutions

As the clock struck twelve last night, I turned immediately to Eldest and embraced him tightly. “Happy new year!” I yelled at him happily. I then found myself bursting into floods of tears, seemingly out of nowhere. Tears that wouldn’t stop flowing at that! I was unsure at the time if this was due to the fact that I had permitted Eldest to stay up for the first time or something else. Upon reflection today, however, I think it was due to 2019 feeling like the worst year of my life.

Earlier that day, as I drove the boys to visit my sister, I raised the subject of resolutions to Eldest. “What do you hope to achieve in the new year then?” I asked. He looked at me entirely nonplussed. I thought for a second. “Ok then, mummy will go first” I said, clutching the steering wheel. “In 2020 mummy would really like to feel happier. Mummy would also like to shout at you all less, do lots of fun things with you all and devote more time to the things she enjoys doing too”. I looked at him expectantly and reposed my earlier question. He turned to me, looking stern and replied, “in the new year, I’d really love Owen to stop being such an idiot!”. I dissolved into giggles. I think that may be more far-reaching than my resolution to devote more time to myself son! One can hope though.

After visiting my sister, we spent the drive home holding an impromptu 2019 awards ceremony. The winner for the best farter went to Middle (totally deserved), Baby won the biggest demolisher of yoghurts in 2019 (I think I might contact the Guinness Book of Records as I’m pretty certain he could feature in it) and Eldest awarded himself the best at everything trophy (methinks this was a slightly biased vote). “What award should Mummy get?” I asked. “The best shouter in the world award!” Eldest replied whilst laughing into his hands (see, hence my resolution). Having accepted my award, whilst feeling a bit embarrassed and sad, Eldest suddenly turned to me and said, “only joking mum, you get the best mum in the world award, even though you shout sometimes!”. I may have sobbed for the duration of the drive home.

This year has been shit to put it blankly. Utterly shit. It’s been that way due to depression and the mindset I suddenly found myself in. It’s been that way because I finally lost the will to fight against it. What is the point? I tried everything within my power to wage a battle against it this year. It won, I lost. It will always be the victor and I somehow have to try and figure out how I adapt and prosper with this being the case. In 2020 I have faith that I will. If I can’t shout, I have to find another way to channel my energy. I’m ready for the fight depression.

I just wanted to leave you all with the most important thing I learnt over Christmas. You can put yourself into debt buying presents and fulfilling their lists but, the most important thing to them is quality time spent with you. I daren’t look at my bank account and haven’t for weeks now. Eldest got everything he asked for and more yet, when I sat with him colouring one afternoon, he did nothing but talk about it. So impressed was he with my effort, they promptly got stuck on the door to his room (scroll to bottom for pic). This is an accolade usually reserved for posters in magazines alone. Every time I’ve walked past his door today, instead of going mad about the mess (and shouting), I look at those pictures and remember what’s important. He better not take them down anytime soon or the shouting may return………………

To all my readers, I hope you had the best Christmas and have a fantastic new year xx

Pride and place!

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!

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…..

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….

First Week Finito!

We have survived the first full week of being back to school/preschool and nursery. Woo hoo! Not only this but, I didn’t forget to pick any of them up (yet)! This is in spite of all the different finishing times.

Eldest seem’s to be enjoying P2 despite his initial reluctance to go back. I think being reunited with all his friends is the main reason. As per usual, my pleas of what did you today are responded to with his usual ‘why do you always ask that mum? How am I supposed to remember a FULL day?’. My sincere apologies son for taking an active interest in your life and your education. He also randomly had no homework all week. Whilst this should have been amazing, it caused huge confusion and fear to all us school mums who automatically figured that our kids just weren’t bringing it home. To be fair I’m happy enough to wait for bloody Biff, Chip, and Kipper. I’ve also noticed that his new teacher seems to have a laminating obsession. Which, in a way is good as I can keep them for him and they will stay in good condition, though I am left questioning if most of my school fund money is going purely on laminating sheets.

Middle has managed to keep his clothes on all week at his new preschool and not insult anyone. But, it’s early days. He did try to leave on his very first day with two toys smuggled up his jumper. Apparently they were now his as ‘I played with them the most so, I bring them home now’. He is also point blank refusing to call his teacher ‘Mrs’ and has decided she will be referred to as ‘Mr’ purely because he ‘hates girls’. I don’t know how I am explaining that one to her. So, I guess he can explain himself and she can realise what she will be dealing with going forward. I must admit that his nervousness and clinginess this week have greatly surprised me. He usually just gets on with things and is very independent. But, he has asked each day if I will be staying with him and if not, when I will be back for him. I have secretly loved this as I don’t normally feel needed by him. Today he even came up to me out of the blue and gave me a huge cuddle and told me that he ‘loved me’. This is all so alien but obviously appreciated. I have to remember it is only his first week and it will take some time for him to adjust and settle. I know he will eventually as he has already made so many new friends (boys solely).

Baby has also embarked on a new routine in preparation for me returning to a new role. Because of this, I have had to change the days I usually work and he will be staying much later than usual. On the morning of his new times, it was almost like he sensed a change was coming. He awoke at 5 am and started shouting ‘cuddles’ from his cot. I dutifully adhered. Then, before he left, he just sat on my knee cuddling into me for ten minutes. This led to me spending all day battling the dreaded ‘mum guilt’. I’m not going to lie, I may have sobbed twice because I missed him so terribly. If I had of had my car I would have been straight down to get him. But, it’s important he gets used to these long hours in advance. I wasn’t the only one pining for him either as both the boys constantly enquired as to his whereabouts. The second he came home we all fought to get to him first. You would have thought we hadn’t seen him in weeks (it felt like that). We all got some slobbery kisses, then he did his usual and started pointing at the fridge and demanding a yogurt. I have never known a child so obsessed with yogurts in my life. He would literally eat them all day if I let him.

It’s new and stressful times for our family and I do find myself getting very overwhelmed with everything I have to do each day (literally from the moment I wake up). I have tried to counteract this with CBT. But, in terms of routine, it’s just not possible. Being organised is the only way to get them all out of the door in the morning and I have to do that don’t I? One mum said to me at the school gate the other day ‘it’s crazy all this and I only have two!’. It doesn’t matter how many children you have, it’s all the same. The same stresses and worries, the same organisation, the same mad dash to the school run, the same dates to remember and, the same responsibility that probably falls solely on you. I don’t see any men reading the floods of letters that come home and dutifully writing all the important dates/times in the calendar. There’s so much for us to do each day that I’m not surprised we all have days when we want to lock ourselves in the bathroom and have a sob (and a cup of tea). Like I’ve said before, we are only human. I’m writing that across the calendar in capitals so I remember that as well as all the other important things I’m supposed to.

This also happened this week- no high chair! I’m so emotional about it. He however is loving life!