Sunday, 14 January 2018

Jan 2018

Well we’re officially well into 2018 now, Christmas seems like it was ages ago (even though we’ve STILL got our Christmas decorations up as Daddy P is in charge of putting them up and taking them down, and he hasn’t managed to get round to taking them down yet!)

Fortunately for us, Sunshineface got over his bought of chickenpox a couple of weeks before Christmas. While he was suffering with that, Daddy P, Picklepot and myself all had a horrible cold, but we were all feeling much better by the time 25th December rolled round.

Picklepot had fun at Beavers Christmas camp – the night they stayed over it snowed, so they got to have a run around in the snow on the Sunday morning before coming home, which added to the festive feeling: We arranged a Helping Hands Christmas party with a very special guest who came along to give the kids a little early present: I attended a work Christmas party at a hotel in Borehamwood with a movie character theme which was brilliant fun: There were meals out with friends, present buying and wrapping, not to mention Daddy P decorating the front room (yes, I know, epic timing lol and it still isn’t quite finished!)

While Picklepot has been, shall we say, much more challenging over the Christmas holidays, he made me very proud on Boxing Day as we spent the day over at Grandparents P home, with my SIL, BIL, nephew and niece. It makes for a crowded living room with all of us squeezed in there, plus presents as well, but Picklepot handled it brilliantly. He excused himself a few times to go off elsewhere to have some quiet time and play on his pad, he ate most of his Christmas dinner (encouragement from Grandma goes a long way!) and he managed to keep himself from becoming too overwhelmed. I was very proud of him – especially considering that after some of his meltdowns before that during Christmas break had me concerned that Boxing Day was going to be awful!

Both boys are very fortunate to have got so many lovely gifts, from Father Christmas and from us and our family and friends. We had a lovely time, it really was brilliant.

Unfortunately at some point during the Christmas fun my right hand became incredibly painful. I totally lost grip, I couldn’t move my thumb without it being excruciatingly painful and it made everything so awkward and difficult to do. I waited it out thinking that I’d sprained it or something silly, but instead of getting better it just got worse. Before I knew it the thumb was swollen around the base on my palm and the back of my hand and I was really struggling to do anything.

I had a call back from the GP surgery who had me in for an appointment that morning – they took some bloods, and the doctor examined me. She was concerned by the pain I had and I was sent for an X ray immediately as she was worried I had fractured my scaphoid bone.

The following Tuesday I spoke to the surgery again who confirmed my X ray had come back normal, but my blood tests showed that my red cells were enlarged. The marker for arthritis had shown up, so they wanted to take more blood for further tests. I went back and had more blood taken that morning; I then spoke to the doctor again on Friday. She advised that the second tests came back normal – if they’d shown another marker, alongside the arthritis marker, this would indicate lupus, but as they didn’t show this other marker we now go down the line of arthritis. She says this would cause the pain if I’m having a flare-up at the moment and the lack of mobility to my thumb. She has done an urgent referral to the rheumatology department at the local hospital, so currently I’m waiting to hear from them with an appointment. If their assistance doesn’t help within 10 weeks and I’m still in as much pain, I will have an MRI to double check that it is not a fractured scaphoid – sometimes the X ray doesn’t pick it up since it’s such a small bone – if it does turn out to be a fractured scaphoid I will either need a cast or surgery, depending if it’s aligned or not, to resolve it.

We also got a letter from the ADHD team in December, to tell us that they’re very busy and we’ll get an appointment as soon as possible. Considering we’ve been waiting since February 2017 I’m not holding my breath. I’ll get another appointment with the same GP we saw before and ask him to push for us. Picklepot is finding it harder and harder to focus and he’s beginning to really struggle. I don’t want him to get too far behind in school before it is looked into more. I would rather we get this in hand sooner than later. He’s going to be 8 this year – another 3 years and he’ll be off to high school, and we need his focus and concentration vastly improved before then.

Picklepot has been having further issues with the horrible child in his class that has been a bully since day 1 … I was furious over the Christmas holidays when I found a card from this child who had written “I hate you” on the back. I was so upset I emailed school immediately even though it was Christmas holidays, expressing  my absolute horror at finding this message and demanding that something is done about this child, who has had countless tellings off regarding their behaviour, particularly toward Picklepot, and yet continues to be just as nasty. The SENCO (currently acting Deputy Head) called me the day they went back to school and we discussed at length exactly who it was, what had happened, whether the child had been any better since their last telling off over their behaviour toward Picklepot, and going over what the school would be doing. This child has spat at Picklepot, tripped him over, pulled his hair, called him names, pushed him, taken food from him (his apple / packet of crisps mysteriously goes missing after the child has been nearby the lunch bags) he has had his coat removed from his locker and found on the floor in the boys toilets with the other child in the toilet at the time (coincidence?) The child has lied to get Picklepot in trouble, he has deliberately shut his hand in a classroom door, he makes up stories to tell other children and is generally making Picklepot very unhappy. I am giving it til the half term holidays then I will be in contact with the SENCO again to discuss improvements / issues.

Hope you all had a very Happy Christmas too, and that your 2018 brings you plenty of love, laughter and happiness.

-        Mummy P

Tuesday, 21 November 2017


I think the kids might be coming down with chicken pox, but I’m not sure, and I always thought it was one of those illnesses that came on and you knew for sure very quickly, but once again here’s my kids doing it differently!

Picklepot had a spot come up on Sunday, which was itchy and he picked at before telling us about it. We thought it was some kind of insect bite and used some insect bite cream on it to stop the itching.

On Monday after school he looked pale, he had a slight temperature, and he was quiet and not his usual bouncy self. He said he felt sick and he didn’t eat much dinner despite it being one of his favourite meals. He had a few spots on his back that looked like blisters.

This morning he came into me at 7am telling me he felt rough. His temperature was up slightly still, he looked pale and he had found some more spots. I was surprised – I had expected, if it was chicken pox – for him to be covered in spots by this morning, but he wasn’t. However they definitely look like chicken pox spots.

He stayed home from school. Throughout the day, more spots have appeared, but still he isn’t covered in them, though they are small blister like spots, like chicken pox spots. He seems to have felt more like himself as the day has gone on – his appetite is definitely back, and he has been gradually getting louder and more bouncy – but his temperature is still slightly up and with these spots slowly appearing I am fairly convinced he has chicken pox. It’s just a case of waiting to see what happens now.

Sunshineface has not been his usual happy self in general the last couple of days. He’s been very cuddly – he asks to get up for a cuddle one moment, and then when you pick him up he’s trying to get down again, and whinging the whole time. He hasn’t been eating a huge amount either, though he has been drinking a fair bit, and last night he was all snotty and bunged up overnight, coughing in his sleep and waking himself up because he was finding it difficult to breathe. I was expecting him to have a full on cold this morning but it seems to have gone – I am wondering if he is also coming down with chicken pox, though there is no sign of any spots at all on him.

Myself, I had chicken pox when I was 11, and while Daddy P can’t remember how old he was when he had chicken pox he has had it, so I’ll be quite happy for both boys to have it now and get it over and done with. Certainly I wouldn’t want them to have it when they’re too much older. I’m shocked that given how many of his friends have had chicken pox over the years that Picklepot has gone without catching it up to now. If it is chicken pox, it’s kind of good timing, as Daddy P is off work next week so he’ll be around to help out with the sickly boys, and it’s far enough in advance of Christmas that they should be fully recovered by then.

For now it’s a case of waiting to see how it develops. 

Saturday, 18 November 2017

The Overload of a Busy Day

We had a great day today.

This morning was our Helping Hands ASD Family Support Group. One of the mums who comes brought along her dad, who does photography. He brought along a background, some props, and proper lights. Some of us wore Christmas jumpers, some of the kids wore Christmas jumpers, we had lots of photographs taken and it was a much more relaxed environment than taking the kids to a photography studio. They had fun, they messed about, they were relaxed and enjoying themselves and we got photos taken. I’m hoping we can use them for Christmas cards / gifts. Last year we were let down massively last-minute by the photographer I’d booked and I wasn’t able to get professional photos done of the boys before Christmas. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they came out.

After group, we came home and had lunch, and after that Picklepot’s girlfriend came round for a play date. They were noisy, they were silly, they made a big mess, they had fun, they enjoyed themselves. It kept Picklepot entertained – without him being glued to the TV, playing computer games or annoying his little brother all afternoon. Daddy P was off work, so he kept Sunshineface happy while I got on with my work. It was all good.

I did the kids dinner around 6 and then Picklepot’s girlfriend was picked up around half past. Picklepot had his afters, he had his usual milkshake and cookie, and everything seemed fine. We watched some cartoons and then went upstairs to put the boys to bed.

At this point it all went wrong. Picklepot had already been asked to tidy up his room. When we got upstairs he started messing around and not tidying up his room. Things quickly escalated between him and Daddy P and got a bit loud and a bit crazy and ended up with tears and screams of “I hate you” and Picklepot coming to tell me how mean Daddy was, and when I sided with Daddy P he started shouting at me. After about half an hour of that he still hadn’t got any further with tidying his room, so I suggested that maybe we should have a game. I suggested that we should see who could pick up the stuff quicker – daddy with the bin bag to throw things away or Picklepot to put things away. Picklepot really wasn’t happy about that and the meltdown continued but he did manage to sort things out.

He really was overtired and I should have seen it coming considering the busy day he had, so I did kick myself that I didn’t, so tomorrow we’re just having a quiet day at home and I’m glad I planned it that way. I still have some work hours to do but not that many, and we can chill in our PJs and watch TV and cuddle and generally just have a day “off”. I forget sometimes that he needs that, because he does so well with coping most of the time. He’s had a full on week at school, Children In Need day on Friday which meant wearing PJs to school (which he was thrilled about) and then the photos today at group and having his girlfriend round to play, it was all too much and I’m sorry it ended in such an awful meltdown tonight. I wish I had realised sooner that it was too much for him.

Live and learn, right. Tomorrow is another day.

Friday, 10 November 2017


This week, Daddy P has been off work. It’s been nice having him around to help me with the day-to-day juggling act of taking care of the boys, the housework and my work! We’ve taken it in turns to do the school run, taken it in turns to get up in the night when one of the boys has woken up, and taken it in turns to cook the evening meal.

On Sunday, it was our 11th wedding anniversary. We had a day at home with the boys, then went with Grandad P to a local fireworks display & funfair. It was Sunshineface’s first experience close up with fireworks, and he seemed pretty impressed, though there were some points he kept saying “No, daddy!” and turning away from the display, but I couldn’t work out if it was certain noises he didn’t like, or something else, as it seemed to vary when he was saying no. We bumped into Picklepot’s girlfriend and her mum so we went round the funfair with them and she and Picklepot enjoyed going on some of the rides together.

On Tuesday after school we had parents evening for Picklepot. We had a good chat with his Yr 3 teacher, Mr A, and we found that Picklepot is streets ahead for his maths work – Mr A is going to start setting him Yr 4 work as he is finding the Yr 3 stuff boring – for his English and his Reading he is being quite lazy and although Mr A knows he is capable, he is not showing his skills and so he is beginning to drop from ‘exceeding expectation’ to ‘average expectation’. It’s just trying to get him to see the point in doing a lot of it – He knows he can read well, so he sees no benefit in ‘proving it’ to anyone else; in the same way he knows he can write well, and has excellent comprehension skills, so again he sees no point in ‘proving’ himself. I’ve explained to him that for school, they need him to ‘prove’ it, so they can track his progress.

Mr A said he is a very popular member of the class – especially with the girls! – and that he has got a lot better working with others in a group when needed, though he is still happiest working alone, and Mr A said he does tend to ‘cherry pick’ a group that he knows Picklepot will work best with. His lack of concentration, his ability to daydream the time away, his motivation being hand-in-hand with approaching loss of playtime, his easy distraction, is all part and parcel of Picklepot and Mr A is sympathetic to that, so he is working out ways of ‘dangling the carrot’ so to speak, in order to motivate Picklepot by reward for doing well, rather than punishment for not finishing things.

Year 3 started swimming lessons last Friday, and I was very apprehensive. Whenever we’ve been swimming before, Picklepot has been dead keen on the idea and as soon as we’ve got into the pool he’s attached to me like a limpet and won’t let go. It can get quite awkward as he’s so tall now and there’s me struggling to move around with this child whose arms are tightly wrapped around my neck, freaking out because he thinks he’s going to drown if he loosens his grip on me at all. He’s also always complained about how cold he gets when we’re swimming, and then once he’s cold he won’t move at all, so once out of the pool he’ll just stand like a statue, wrapped in a towel, complaining how cold he is, and not getting himself dry and dressed. All in all, I thought the school swimming lessons could be pretty disasterous!

However, first lesson was last Friday, and Picklepot sprang out of school full of enthusiasm. He said he’d absolutely loved it, really enjoyed it, couldn’t wait to go again etc. Last night he asked me to include his goggles in his swimming bag as he wanted to try putting his face underwater this week. Last night at bedtime I was getting annoyed with him for being so slow at getting ready for bed, so I kept on at him to hurry up, and he kept moaning he didn’t feel well. The moment I said, Well, if you’re not well you can’t go to school tomorrow, and if you can’t go to school then you can’t go swimming! And suddenly, he was feeling much better … 😉

This weekend both myself and Daddy P are off work, so we’re planning a nice lazy weekend with lots of family time. My mum might be coming to visit on Saturday, it’s been a few weeks since we last saw her so it will be good to catch up if she can visit, but it depends on her new job at the moment as she might end up working.

The week has once again gone past in a blink and I don’t know how it’s Friday again already! But I am definitely ready for this weekend!

Friday, 3 November 2017

A Quick Update

The half term holiday seemed to disappear in a flash! I was working, so we didn’t get chance to go out much, but on the Saturday we held our ASD Helping Hands group Halloween Party! It was a great success with all the kids in fancy dress (and lots of the adults, too!) Plenty of party food was consumed, as well as lots of Halloween cakes and sweets, and we played some games as well. Everyone seemed to have a good time, now it’s on to organising the Christmas party!

School started again on Monday, and on Tuesday morning when I took Picklepot in I asked him not to go round the side bit of the playground where the trouble always seems to happen with the big group of kids playing that horrible game known as “Bulldogs” which ends in someone getting pushed to the floor and hit / kicked (the last week of last half term one kid had his trousers pulled down as well and everyone was laughing at him) The school have asked the kids not to go round that part of the playground but of course kids like to do what they’re told not to. Anyway so I said to Picklepot don’t go down that bit, he said OK and stayed at the edge, then a group of older kids ran over to him and punched him! He was very shaken, came over to me and explained what had happened, and I had a chat with the teacher who’d come out to blow the whistle and get the kids into school for the start of the day. He said he’d go round and have another chat with everyone but as Picklepot doesn’t know the names of the kids who assaulted him they can’t punish those children specifically.

This weekend Daddy P is on leave from work, we have our ASD Helping Hands group on Saturday morning and then a firework display on Sunday evening which we’re taking both the boys to. It will be the first time Sunshineface has gone to a firework display so I hope he doesn’t get too scared by the noise. We’re taking Grandad P as well, since we know he enjoys a good funfair with the kids!

Sunday, 22 October 2017

It's The Half Term Holidays!

The last week of school seemed to go without any issues for Picklepot, though there were two incidents I heard about from other mums who have kids in his class which concerned me.

Both times it was due to the kids playing a game called Bulldog before school started, in a corner of the playground that is quite hidden. The first incident was a boy from the 6th year getting pushed to the floor and getting beaten up by the surrounding crowd, fortunately he got away without being too seriously injured and his mum was able to calm him down and go and speak with the staff in the office. He’s now able to go into school through the office each day, to avoid another incident in the playground. The mum was informed that the kids shouldn’t be any kids playing in that corner of the playground at all, and that a teacher should be in the playground monitoring the kids from 8.30am to ensure this kind of thing didn’t happen. A couple of days later another kid was pushed to the floor in a game of Bulldog in the same corner of the playground; he had his trousers pulled down and the surrounding crowd were laughing at him. His mum, understandably, was absolutely fuming (I would have gone mad if it had been Picklepot in that situation) This happened after 8.30am, but there was no sign of a teacher in the playground monitoring the kids, and again they were in the corner they shouldn’t have been in. This incident prompted one of the staff going round to every classroom that day, telling them that the game Bulldog was banned, and that the corner of the playground was off limits before school. Whether or not that is enforced or will deter the children from doing it I don’t know yet, but I for one am keeping an eye on that corner and will be over there like a shot if I see it going on again. I wonder how kids can be so mean to one another – it’s always been the same, I remember it at my school (though not to that extent in primary school) There’s a couple of names that keep coming up time after time with issues, one of which was involved in both the incidents in the playground during the game of Bulldog last week, and that name is also the same child who has been causing Picklepot issues and slammed his hand in the door the other day, so whether his parents will actually take notice of the school telling them again that he is in trouble I don’t know. He struts around the school with this smirk on his face, he is a proper little nasty piece of work, and while I know he has a lot of issues himself and a lot going on in his young life I don’t believe anything gives him an excuse to behave like a thug. I am keeping an extra close eye on him, and his siblings. (He has an older sibling that Picklepot thinks is his friend, but basically they wind him up at lunchtime until he gets in trouble for misbehaving because they’re telling him to do stuff, hiding his lunch, holding his property above their head and making him jump to get it, and then he gets in trouble for fooling around)

The school was closed on Friday for an inset day, so Picklepot came to Disco Duck dance class with Sunshineface and myself, and he seemed to really enjoy that. Sunshineface got a certificate to say he completed a full half-term of classes. Then on Saturday morning I dropped Picklepot off at the Beaver hut for Roald Dahl themed camp weekend. He was really looking forward to that, so I hope he’s had fun. I pick him up in a couple of hours.

Next week I’ll be working so we can’t do much, but on Monday while I’m in the office there’s an exhibition about Magical Creatures (based on the Harry Potter books) at the local library so I’ve told Daddy P he should take the boys to that (apparently there will be real owls to meet) and on Thursday there’s a new parent & child group starting off at a local tea room so I’m planning on going along to that as well. I’m hoping to get the boys out to visit some friends too, so hopefully they won’t get too bored. 

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Don't Upset Mama Bear

It’s been a difficult week for me as a mum this week.

Picklepot informed me that one of the kids in his class has been particularly nasty to him recently. For the last 2 years this other child has been deliberately kept away from Picklepot as they would argue and fight, but starting at the beginning of this term the other kid told Picklepot that he was “done being nasty” and wanted to be friends this year. Picklepot being the forgiving boy that he is, he accepted this and for the first couple of days things were good.

Then the other boy started his old tricks again. He pinched and kicked Picklepot when the teachers weren’t looking. He pulled Picklepot’s hair, called him names, told him only girls have long hair, even smacking his bottom if Picklepot tries to walk away from him.

The last straw for me came when Picklepot came home from school with a red line across his fingers. I asked him what had happened.

We’d had a discussion the night before about this other boy, and I told Picklepot that a bully is normally a bully because they’re jealous of you. I told him he was good looking, clever, kind and thoughtful, and had lots of friends. This other boy was probably jealous of those qualities, so the way he made himself feel better was to try and make Picklepot feel bad about himself. After that, Picklepot drew a lovely picture, showing two boys smiling together, one labelled with his name and one with the other boys name. It said “We be friends” over the top of the two boys, and he said he was going to give it to the other boy and tell him they should be friends and stop being mean. I thought it was very sweet of him and he took it into school the next day to give it to the other boy.

He did as he planned, and gave the picture to the other boy, and told him that they should be friends, and the other boy said “OK I accept”. Picklepot thought this was genuine and went to walk away to go for break, when the other boy called him back so Picklepot paused with his hand in the doorframe of the classroom. The other boy slammed the door shut on his fingers, laughed at him and screwed up the picture, calling Picklepot names and saying he would never be his friend.

My eldest son went to the first aid room for an ice pack for his fingers, but he didn’t tell them the whole truth about what had happened. Though only seven, he has noticed previously if he reports an incident and names this boy, when the teacher then talks to the boy he knows who has ‘grassed him up’ and he will come back after Picklepot twice as bad as before. So Picklepot, aged seven years old, lied to the teacher attending the first aid room that day and didn’t tell her that this other boy had deliberately slammed his fingers in the classroom door, because he was scared of what would happen if he told on the other kid, and the other kid coming after him to do something worse.

To say I was livid would be an understatement. It took all of my self control the following morning not to march up to the other kid and drag him by the scruff of his neck to the head teacher. However, I managed not to. I managed to keep a lid on it until my meeting with the acting head teacher that afternoon, when I spilled to her exactly what has been going on with this boy since the start of term, and explaining to her in a barely controlled voice that wobbled because I was SO angry about this incident that I expect this to stop, right away. I do not expect to hear any reports of any more name calling, pinching, kicking, hair pulling, much less bottom smacking or slamming of fingers in classroom doors. She was aghast, she had no idea what had been going on, and she promised faithfully she would sort it out.

For now Mama Bear is resting, but her ears are listening and she sleeps with one eye open. You’d better believe I will be growling if anything happens next week!