Tuesday, 27 January 2015

What are we so scared of?

I paid it absolutely no heed at first. I didn't even click into the story when I saw the article floating around Facebook about the adults with learning problems being refused entry into the Legoland Discovery Centre in Manchester.

At the time I gave it a passing 'Oh that's a shame' and then went on to nose at some random posts about someone's dinner or to giggle at the photo of my mate's pile of mismatched socks. To be fair I was probably more outraged by the mismatched sock mystery than I was about these men.

Then a blog post was shared on a support group I access asking What does the future now hold? by the marvellous Innocent Charms Chats that made me stop short and think.

The gist of the story is that a 40-year-old man with a mental age of seven was turned away from the attraction due to a policy of refusing entry to adults without children. Also in another case, a 20-year-old man with learning disabilities and his carer were also refused entry.

I then read the comments on the blog post. 
I then read the news story in the Manchester Evening News
I then read the comments on the news story itself. 
I then read The Mail online version of the story.
I then read the comments on that news story.
I then read the thread on Mumsnet.

I then thought oh sh*t Crikey!

The source of my apprehension was not just whether Legoland are right or not about refusing all adults without children entry to the Discovery Centre. Whether there should or should not be exceptions to these rules.

My foreboding was not just about the company's attempt to create a neutral environment where all the rules apply to all regardless of race, sex and disability (probably as unrealistic as pooling all the world's money so there are no poor people).

My misgiving was not just that parents didn't want a children's attraction over run with lone adults or groups of adults - sorry childless men or women who like Lego.

My disquiet was not just about the assumption that any lone man or woman would be a predator.

My concern was not that a number of people thought that an evening designed for adults would be more suited for the men with a child's mental age. Case dismissed. Is this even a story? There are bigger things to think about in the world then some man not being allowed into a boring, overpriced attraction. Just attend the evening session. Jeez. 

No.

On the whole the comments were empathic and sympathetic to the men and their families, berating of the Legoland sweeping decision.

No. 

My worry and dread centred mostly on how some people in the comments implied that an adult acting like a seven year old was a bit unnerving. Unsettling. That it filled them with unease. That somehow their presence in that setting was peculiar.

Because I get it. 

I get that we are all sometimes a bit wary of things we don't understand. We take a step back from things we don't come across everyday. That for some of us our initial reaction to a child-like man or woman flanked by carers might be one of uncertainty.

I did the same. At a Christmas party at a special needs play centre, I saw a lady in her 30s with two carers walking around the garden and I steered my daughter down the opposite path.

Why?
I don't know.
I am not proud of it.
But I did do that before I checked myself.

Did I think that this lady posed a threat to my child? That she would suddenly display some inappropriate or harmful behaviour to my daughter? Common sense would say probably not. My instinctive mummy bear protectiveness had gone awry. And I was left feeling slightly ashamed of my reaction.

Me. With the 4-year-old child with a mental age of one. Me. Who sends my child to a school with children with learning and physical problems going up to the age of 19. Me. Who smiles everyday when the 19-year-old man who sits next to my son on the school bus starts chatting to him. Me. With the same daughter who will one day be taking an adult child by the hand and attempting to access interesting and stimulating places with him. Who will have to encounter the guarded glances, the split second hesitation by people who are unsure in his presence.

Because it will happen. 

As a society our paths don't tend to cross that much with adults with profound or severe learning problems unless we work with or are related to such an adult. They tend not to be in our workplaces, not often seen in the supermarkets or shopping centres. 

Perhaps their lack of presence in our day-to-day world makes them slightly alien. 

There is also another side to this story. 

The sad reality is that a lot of Gabe's friends with additional needs won't make it to 40 or anywhere near. Just three weeks ago we lost a child in his class. 

So these adults that we see, they were once children. Children who battled through winters. Children who endured operations. And tests. Children that probably tethered on the edge of life more than once. Children who fought back. Children who survived and thrived. Some of them children, who against all the expectations, made it to adulthood.

The families of the adults with additional needs are now petitioning to change the Legoland decision so that their relatives can access an attraction that makes them happy. That encourages and stimulates them. That fills them with wonder and excitement. These are families who have probably worked tirelessly on therapies and fought to access the right help so that they can be the accomplished adults that they are today.

If my child makes it to 40. If he reaches the mental age of seven - with the all the wonder that a seven year old ability would bring - the inquisitiveness, the interest in the most bizarre of things, the eagerness and innocence - then I will be the proudest mother in the world.

I would want people to not be afraid by his child-like state. To not be alarmed by his uniqueness but to see a boy that became a man against the odds and is shining in his own right.








Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Kids, things that are just not on

Dear children,

I once had to write Daddy a letter to remind him of the rules, which he was flouting far too frequently for my liking. It is with sad regret that I now feel that I have no choice but to also remind you three of your contractual obligations as well. When I signed up to be your parent I did so with certain caveats. A simple ruling system was set up to be adhered to at all times. Lack of understanding and generally being small children are not deemed to be suitable reasons for non adherence.

As previously stated:
  • These rules are communicated telepathically.
  • They are also subject to change at any given whim.
  • The list will be ever growing and infinite.
  • They can be made up on the spot.

Given the seriousness of the breaches I have again no choice but to formally stipulate in writing the terms of our alliance. Further violations will result in withholding of Peppa Pig and muttering of swear words under the breath.

I have decided to devise a list of things that one or the other of you (or all three at the same time) have done recently clearly taking advantage of me being distracted by Facebook my chilled out parenting approach.

Things that are just not on


  • Crying in the middle of the night just as I enter a lovely dream involving Bradley Cooper and a converted loft (don't ask - it made beautiful sense at the time).
  • Refusing to settle in your own bed and then finally nodding off in a diagonal fashion in my comfy setting giving Mummy a generous 3cm to slumber in.
  • Doing a sneaky 4am poo (to add insult to injury) so my newly laundered bed sheets smell like a sewage plant on a sweaty day.
  • After all those shenanigans, deciding to renege on your role as a human wake up call and arising one hour after the time we need to get up resulting in crazy morning chaos.
  • Yelling mummy at the top of your lungs from the other side of the house 106 times. Then when I get there asking me something 'urgent' like how do the telephone wires work.
  • Asking me, in fact, loads of questions I just don't know the answer to. Honestly I really don't know how words go down the telephone line or how mobile phones work (mind is blown thinking about it).
Mummy, mummy, mummy, MUMMY.
How does petrol make a car go?
Man alive - who cares!
  • Taking 40 minutes to eat one Weetabix and three seconds to demolish Star Bursts (before I can steal one).
  • Peeing all over the toilet seat (especially just before Granny arrives).
  • Telling your teacher that mummy always cooks beans on toast for tea. It is just every now and again (ssh).
  • Coming with me to a posh shoe shop where I already feel like a scruff and shouting loudly that your bum is itchy.
  • Picking your nose and eating it as I stand chatting to that cool mum at the school gates.
  • Hiding pasta down the back of the radiator so you don't have to eat it (it will stay there until mummy can be bothered to scrap it off the wall as a reminder of your misdemeanour.
  • Being a general fussy gang of picky eaters. I'll have you know my sausage casserole is yum. And no the sausages don't need to be brown (I think!)
  • Asking mummy if there is a baby in her belly as she is about to go out with the girls (and thinks she looks foxy).
  • Doing a plank impression when you need to go in the car seat/pram.
  • Asking to put 'our programmes' on as soon as I sit down with a brew and Revenge thinking you are all busy doing various mischief somewhere.
  • Needing the toilet as soon as my food arrives in a restaurant. 
Is that meal that has just arrived lovely? Good. 
Can you take me the toilet now.
  • Wanting to play with playdough (it ain't happening here).
  • Pretending every single day (after day) that you have brushed your teeth and me every single day (after day) having to go check that your tooth brush is wet (and nice try running it under the tap - I am now on to that. All the effort it would be quicker to actually brush said teeth).
We have brushed our teeth. Honest we have. 
  • Saying any of the following more than once a day: "can I have a snack?" "Do I have to?" "I'm bored." "What are we doing next?"  "Just what is in your tummy mummy?"
  • Mimicking mummy's voice is just not on. Ever. The end. No don't repeat "ever, the end" like that. Oh I give up.
Please refer to appendix 1-4356 for further sub-clauses of these rules.

Thank you

Your ever-loving Mummy







And then the fun began...

Monday, 5 January 2015

5 reasons why I am glad the festive fun has finished

The decorations have come down (to the heartbroken tears of one little boy); the selection boxes put up high out of reach (to the heartbroken tears of one little girl); the DS3, iPad and Wii are all back on rationed time (to the heartbroken tears of one bigger boy) and the empty bottles of Prosecco have been recycled but not replaced (to the heartbroken tears of one Mummy).

Christmas was aces. On toast. With jiggle bells on.
We all had a blinkin ball. But tomorrow the children are all back in school and it's time to hit the ground running with work. And fitness. And diets. And the 365 resolutions that will hopefully last more than 365 minutes.

Its overrrrrrr!!
Again. For another 10 months (we all know it starts in November as soon as we have washed off the fake blood stains from our clothes). As much as I have enjoyed it there is a big part of me happy to take down the tinsel.

The top 5 things I am most looking forward to are:

1. No more sweating over Christmas lights

We love a Christmas light in our house. We had every surface covered in twinkling lights of every description. Even the lack of plug sockets did not hold us back.  No sirree. Since the advent of the battery-powered fairy light (what an invention) we have had a no holds barred approach to lumination. With approximately 10 battery-powered fairy lights on the go, it presented a daily dilemma. Who is worthy of the battery power? I didn't want to spend billions on batteries so each evening would laboriously be spent putting on the battery lights and turning them back off when the kids were in bed. Except for Christmas eve when I allowed the husband to enjoy the flashing fanfare. It seems the Christmas lights are more attention grabbing than toddlers during Yuletide. In addition to the battery quandary, there was the nightly stand off each evening on who would unplug the rest of the display before bed. Then there was the "have we turned off the Christmas tree lights?" and "will they set the house on fire?" dread every time we stepped outside the front door. Oh the joys!

2. No more keeping the house tidy in case of guests

Did you do that thing? You know were you are relaxing post bacon butty with a open box of Celebrations on your lap when you panicked that someone might just call to visit and catch you in mismatched PJs amid toy Armageddon? Many a moment was ruined by such paranoia. And do you know what? No one turned up when the house was spick and span. Oh no. If anyone did indeed come (not sure who I was expecting) it was just after I had changed a nappy or when I was having a lie in and the husband was in charge downstairs alone (think dens, discarded night wear and undergarments mixed in with the breadcrumbs of a million four slices of toast).


3. No more eating everything you see

Mini hero? Yes please. Peanuts? Go on then. Turkey and cranberry sandwich? Crisps with a selection of dips? Mince pie? Weird beef wellington bites? Why the hell not. Pickled onion? More cake? Roses? Curry in? Curry out? Pizza? Chinese? Fish and chips?  Another roast dinner (with the works)? Ah well bring it on. It's Christmas. As lush as it all was I am slightly over the gluttony now. Yesterday the hubby asked what I wanted for my tea and do you know what I craved? A boiled egg with toast. Better still a bowl of tomato soup. With water.

4. No more being jolly 24 hours a day

Merriment, laughter, mirth and a sprinkle of hee hee and ho ho. It was good while it lasted but I am now a bit fed up with festive cheer. You are not really allowed to moan in December (otherwise Santa won't come) and there is only so much organised frivolity and fun one can take. I've really missed my whine with wine and my bitch with beer. Naturally cantankerous, I now come into my own in the bleak mid winter when everyone is lamenting and filled with woe. Fantastic stuff.


5. No more shopping

My Fridays off will no longer be spent in retail parks or growling at strangers over parking spaces. No more stressing about whether I have spent £50 to get my £7 off in my weekly shop (damn you enticing supermarket vouchers). No more purchasing a daily tub of Celebrations. I don't have to look at another sparkly top for a year and wonder if I'll look fab or like a bejeweled fool. Nor do I have to spend my waking moments cursing Walt Disney for only making two Elsa dresses and one Olaf doll just for sheer sport as if he was bored of raking in millions.

Christmas, I will miss you. 
You did me proud. 
But I'm off to grumble and gripe on the phone to my mate whilst eating my plain eggy soldiers in my filthy house with only one bulb to light my way. Happy days.

Gabe says: "Mum did you get any cream eggs in the shop today?
Only 89 days to go!"




Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The greatest gift of them all

I was distracted the first time a physiotherapist told me that Gabriel may never walk.
He was 10 months old at the time and as floppy as a rag doll.

The distraction was my pre-school daughter who, bored with the appointment, was applying my lipstick to her face. I remember the day was hot as hell and I was wearing a clinging tee-shirt. Her words drifted past me as I simultaneously tried to not lift my arms for fear of a dreaded sweat patch and grab items from his older sibling who was starting to resemble a horror version of a beauty pageant contestant.



It was only when I got home with my babies that I processed her words and grieved.

The following week we had a consultant appointment. Bad news was to become a trend. With a sad smile she informed me that she didn't think "we were going to get away with this" and to prepare ourselves for a "specialist education" for him.

I was livid rather than upset and vowed to walk him into her room at the next appointment.
That didn't happen.

For a time I asked every healthcare specialist we saw (and we saw a lot) whether he would ever walk. I just couldn't get my head wrapped around a life with a child in a wheelchair and all it entailed.
It was like a scab that I kept on picking and the wound just got deeper and deeper.

Mr odd socks


By the time he was referred to wheelchair services a few years later and won a place in a coveted special school I had begun to embrace his fate a lot more. So much so that I was surprised how knocked for six I was when the wheelchair first arrived.

Walking seemed more of a rumble of a promise when he started to bum shuffle and his standing improved. But as he was showing no comprehension of the mechanics of stepping or indeed enough strength in his upper body, it remained just that a vague rumble.

But then last week his school physiotherapist invited me into school.
She said she had something to show me.
Something they had been working on.

And there it was...


video


video


The greatest gift of them all.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Nik Naks Nark

It was just a normal Saturday.
It was just a normal shopping trip.
It was just a normal supermarket shelf.

*Oh sorry this is to be said in a blockbuster action movie trailer voice. You need to go back and start again...*

They thought this would be a food shop just like any other.
They did not know what was about to happen. 
And how it would change their lives forever.

No one saw it coming until it was TOO LATE!

THE NIK NAK NARK

Scene one: Nik Naks for 99p

The hunky husband and his wonderful wife are partaking in a basic boring Sainsbury's shop when the husband stops short in amazement.

Hunky husband: "Nik Naks. Six for 99p. Nice and Spicy ones too. I am amazed."
The husband pulls a face to show he just can't believe it.
Hunky husband: "I just can't believe it. Just what I feel like. Let's put them in the trolley."
They put them in a trolley and smile in mutual happiness.

Scene two: Knocked off the conveyor belt or something more sinister

The scene cuts to the hunky husband and the wonderful wife loading their shopping on the conveyor belt. The Nik Naks are no where to be seen. Cue dramatic music.

Scene three: The unloading

The duo are unloading the shopping at home. The husband pulls a face to show he just can't wait to have a bag of Nik Naks.

Hunky husband: "I just can't wait for these Nik Naks."
He searches through the bags but cannot find the Nik Naks.
Hunky husband: "I cannot find the Nik Naks. They must have fallen off the conveyor belt or something more sinister. NOOOOOOOOOO!"

Scene four: Falling down



We all have them. Our Nik Naks narks. That little something that is quite nothing really but can randomly become a huge thing. The hunky husband in this particular tale stomped off and kicked a plastic bag in the air in frustration and it took him a good ten minutes to calm down and laugh at his behaviour. Now when either of us has a random melt down we mention the words "Nik Nak nark" and it has a soothing, disarming effect. 

So far. 
I can see the words "shove your Nik Naks nark up your bum" getting flung out into the ether eventually. But for now it is working a special sort of magic.

As a woman and a mother I reserve the right to have Nik Nak narks more regularly. Just this week  I have Nik Nak narked at the following:
  • Banging my head on the kitchen cupboard that someone left open
  • The person who had ten parcels in the post office when I was waiting behind them
  • Daughter taking 40 minutes to eat one Wetabix
  • The expenses receipt I was keeping somewhere so safe I can't find it
  • Getting lost on my way to meet a friend AGAIN and being 40 minutes late.
  • Feeling too hot after a hot bath.
Most of us are hardly at the level where we need anger management help from Graham from the Jeremy Kyle Show but boy do we let some small things get to us. The festive season tends to bring out the worst in us. Wrapping pressies through gritted teeth, cursing people as we write Christmas cards, crying as the children change their Santa lists again and pushing grannies out of the way to grab the last £4 Celebrations tub (or is that just me!).

Therefore I have the answer to a stress free, relaxed Christmas.
Get plenty of Nik Naks in.
Simples.

P.S. You know the something sinister mentioned above? Well I might have put the Nik Naks back on the shelf as a joke and then by the time we got to the end of the shop I forgot about my funny joke and didn't retrieve them. Don't tell the husband though or he'll might have another Nik Naks nark. And the world doesn't need that.

Gabe says: "You two are bonkers. Everyone knows Nik Naks taste
almost as bad as the orange mush you force on me!"


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

10 most boring things you will say this Christmas

I've written before about how boring I have become since popping out three little people. The things that my mind now ponders on would send the most insomniac person into a coma.

It is just that there is now so many tedious tasks and chores that must be completed to make it to the end of the week - from remembering to buy toilet roll to thinking about washing out the wheelie bin.

Motherhood has rendered me vapid with a capital V. Unless I have had three glasses of wine then I am basically annoying awesome. Oh yes I am. Anyone will tell you!

Christmas seems to bring out the worst in me. I am a one women juggernaut of commonplace conversation. My chat is more ho hum than ho ho ho!

10 most boring things I will say this Christmas
  1. Are you all set for Christmas? (to everyone I meet; said from November 10th)
  2. Where are you having your Christmas dinner? (to everyone I meet; said from November 10th)
  3. Do you have any Elsa dresses? (to everyone I meet; said from November 10th)
  4. I need snowman kitchen roll.
  5. I am going to write my Christmas cards tonight.
  6. What is so and so's baby boy called? You know the one they had five years ago. Begins with a P or an S? Or was it a girl? (to the husband whilst writing Christmas cards)
  7. I'm off to buy a sparkly top.
  8. If I go to (insert supermarket) and spend £390 then I get £3 off. 
  9. Do you want to see what I've brought? (to the husband every day for everything purchased from November 10th; even a box of Twiglets)
  10. What is this reindeer food that everyone is making?


10 most boring things I will think this Christmas
  1. Will I look like a tramp if I put second class stamps on the Christmas cards?
  2. Will I look like a tramp if I don't send Christmas cards?
  3. Where did I put the decorations?
  4. Oh yum peanuts.
  5. Oh yum Mini Heros.
  6. Oh yack dates.
  7. Why don't they just make some more bloody Elsa dresses?
  8. If I don't go the shop at 5.30am all the turkeys will be sold out (like the Elsa dresses).
  9. Should I buy this sparkly top that looks so very like the sparkly top I got last year and the one the year before?
  10. How the blinkin' heck do you make reindeer food?

10 most boring things I will do this Christmas
  1. Spend 156 hours looking for a Christmas present for Granny before buying her another scarf
  2. Hoover and mop the floors for Christmas 23 times
  3. Tidy up for Christmas 38 times
  4. Go to 67,890 shops looking for an Elsa dress
  5. Wrap presents early and then forget what they all are and have to unwrap and start again on Christmas Eve
  6. Buy a Radio Times and highlight all the things I want to watch
  7. Cry at Christmas adverts. Still! After the 90th viewing!
  8. Research turkeys on the Internet
  9. Buy a Celebrations tub for a mate, eat it during X factor final, buy another one, eat it. Repeat. Repeat.
  10. Google reindeer food

Then there are the awesome things I will say this Christmas...
  1. Who wants another Baileys?
  2. Oh is that Sara Lee Double Chocolate gateau?
  3. I've just finished work for two weeks
  4. Who likes my Christmas pyjamas and socks?
  5. Another Baileys anyone?
  6. No mummy is not spunk drunk. 
  7. Darling, yes it is okay to change your mind about an Elsa dress two days before Christmas. Santa won't mind.
  8. Of course I'll take that Crunchie off your hands. They only put them in the selection boxes for the mummys.
  9. More Baileys? 
  10. See you in the pub in half an hour. And YES I am wearing a sparkly top.
Gabe says: "It is the season to be jolly mundane"


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Let's talk about therapy, baby!

The definition of therapy when you DON'T have a child with additional needs:






The definition of therapy when you DO have a child with additional needs:






Therapy.
I have a love/hate relationship with therapy.
Before Gabe the only therapist I had any contact with was a beauty therapist and even that alas was quite limited (there was also that hypnotherapist on holiday but that is a whole different story).

He was just five months old when he got the first member of Team Gabe - a physiotherapist - and to date has seen at least 30 more in various guises.

When your child is struggling with development and the experts start swooping in with their exercises and encouragement you feel like you are in the middle of a film. You know that one where the man has a car crash and loses the feeling in his legs but through blood, sweat, endurance and the love of a hottie woman, wins a dance competition a hour later.

At the end of every session I would be: "Hell, yeah. Let's do this. Let's get this dude walking. In yer face doctors". All to the backdrop of power ballads galore. Think: We Built this City and Eye of the Tiger.

Then after a few months my enthusiasm would be waning, the soundtrack more Running up that Hill and Don't Stop Believing with a little bit of The Climb thrown in the mix.

A year in and with so very little to show for all our efforts, the play list was becoming dire - I'm All Out of Love and Mad World.

No matter how much I rolled this baby back and forth, forced him to kneel on floppy little knees or strapped him into a suffering standing frame it was becoming a bit obvious that the dance competition was going to have to be in a MUCH later sequel (and the hottie female lead wasn't so hottie either).

What was the point? Seriously!

Comparing notes with other special needs mums we came to the conclusion that the NHS only provided physiotherapists to keep the antidepressant bill down in the early days - they lull you into a false state of mind to stay positive and believe that there is actually something you can do to make your child develop faster.* A therapeutic measure for all the family, so to speak.

Screw that, for a game of soldiers.
My therapy of choice was muttering excellent swear words under my breath at impatient drivers that cut me up (see you at the lights) and snotty sales assistants. That and wine chocolate. Not physio terrorists that made my child wail.

Someone help me please!


For a while, I went the other way and did no therapy whatsoever. I am a rebel like that.
I just got to know my child. My wonderful, beautiful child that was trying hard in his own special way.

Yep, all ready for physio.

Then with a bit of time, love and nurture (a period where we all chilled the feck out for a bit), he started making his own small strides.

Suddenly we felt ready to give it all a go again. And the twice-yearly episodes of NHS physiotherapy just didn't seem enough. He deserved more. So we started to investigate different types of private therapy.

BIBIC

We were lucky enough to access two Lottery-funded sessions with BIBIC. They made us look at Gabe as a whole child instead of one not achieving gross motor milestones. They assessed how his brain registers, interprets and uses information from the sensory systems – these include sight, hearing, touch, smell, body awareness and balance. Because he was not exploring in the way a typical child would we wasn't getting the right messages about his place in his environment so he kept getting freaked out every time his body moved. The era of vibration was born.

Yep, still pumped up for physio

By massaging his little body with vibrators and tickling him with feathers and the such (I know snigger away) we got him to recognise his body more and he started to know where it was in space. Before long we got him to sit with support without throwing himself back, which freed up his hands to play for the first time.

A wine glass is an excellent toy
Come on who has stolen my booze? Bet it was Mum!

Conductive Education

It was slow, don't get me wrong. Too slow, we thought at the time. When our funding ended we again got lucky and managed to get a free place in a local Centre for Conductive Education. This therapy was the opposite of what we had been doing. This service assumes a child will hit those big milestones and under their weekly input we got Gabe sitting without support and we got him (gasp!) standing.




That was an epic moment. We celebrated that achievement but it was double edged. Yes, he could stand but he couldn't get up or down. He didn't like it. It wasn't comfortable for him. In fact it scared the bejesus out of him. We needed to go back to the drawing board and fill in the gaps in between.

Brainwave

Like the tale of Goldilocks and the three bears, we found Brainwave.
This programme was just right.

It combined all the sensory elements of BIBIC rolled into a traditional physio programme. The sting in this particular fairy tale was that this therapy is expensive. So instead of pawning my jewellery (beads from Top Shop anyone, anyone?), we held a fund raiser. It was a cringe-inducing thing to do. But I am so glad that we reached out to our community who didn't let us down (thank you all again.)

Since we have started the Brainwave programme, therapy has for the first time started to make sense.
The power ballads are coming back on the Ipod. *hums Here I Go Again*

For the first six months we went right back and tried to fill in some of the missing gaps he had in his early development. We started those once annoying rolling exercises again, we threw him around the room (literally) and we roughed him up (so he got all that lovely feedback that toddlers get from flinging themselves around).

Yield, I say yield.
We giggled with him as he bounced on physio balls and we reminded him time and time and time again that those old hands were actually his and he could do with them as he pleased.

wow amazeballs!






And the prize? He starting using his hands to propel himself around and on the cusp of his fourth birthday, he gained independent mobility for this first time in the form of bum shuffling.

Now his therapy, both in school and through the Brainwave programme, is about gaining that core strength so his centre of gravity is strong. For the next six months the focus will just be getting up off the floor and getting back down.

Small simple steps to steps.

So therapy... after four years what are my take-home messages?
(I've given up on being the hottie female lead so I'll be the wise one in this film that uses words like "take home messages".)

  • Therapy is not a quick fix - you need the patience of Job (and his mate)
  • You are not a bad parent if it does not consume your waking day
  • You are not a bad parent if it does consume your waking day
  • There is always an element of a child will do something in their 'own time' no matter what programme you are using
  • Having fun and doing normal things is ace (and keeps you sane) 
  • Don't compete - there will always be that parent who is doing so much more than you
  • A typical child overtaking your baby is one thing, but another special needs child hurtling ahead stings like crazy. But they all get their moment in the sun eventually (honestly they do)
  • There is no holy grail - what works for one might not work for another
  • Ask around in support groups for programmes that might suit your child
  • Fund raising is always an option - it was not that cringey (honestly)
  • Lots of charities will help fund certain therapies (most are means tested)
  • Tomorrow is always another day... like the diet it can always start again on Monday



Gabe says: "I obviously find therapy totally exciting. What time is X-factor on?"


*I am obviously joking (everyone knows you have zero chance of actually scoring any antidepressants). 

P.S Mr Hollywood director can I play myself and can Bradley Cooper be the husband. Please. Thank you.


Ethans Escapades