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!

Friday, 22 September 2017

Poorly Picklepot

On Wednesday night, Picklepot came into our room crying. He said he had tummy ache, and didn’t feel well, and he ended up sleeping in our bed. It was our first clue he was unwell.

On Thursday morning, he was slow to get ready for school – he kept saying he had tummy ache but he said it was because he was hungry, so we hurried him along to get dressed and go downstairs for breakfast. Despite him repeatedly saying he was hungry, he didn’t eat much breakfast, and then it was another battle getting him to brush teeth / brush hair and get out of the door to go to school. He was very moany and complaining a lot, but he can be like that in the morning anyway so we kind of didn’t take much notice of it!

At quarter to ten the school phoned me to say that Picklepot was really feeling under the weather, he was complaining of aches and pains and had a bit of a fever. I went to school with some kids Ibruprofen and we made the decision that a member of staff would give him the medicine and he would continue at school to see how he felt once the medicine kicked in. I knew he had cooking planned for yesterday and I knew he’d be upset to miss it, even if he was unwell, so I didn’t want to take him home early unless I had to. After being given his medicine I went home again, and I didn’t hear anything from school so I figured he had perked up a bit.

At the end of the school day Picklepot was escorted over the playground to me by the teaching assistant Mrs G, he was crying and she said he had been like it all afternoon. She said he’d been complaining of feeling poorly, he was quiet and crying and not like his usual self at all, and she said maybe he was coming down with something. I took him home and he cried the whole way home. At home he got into a onesie and snuggled on the sofa under a duvet. He asked for a chopped up apple, but he didn’t eat it. He didn’t want any dinner and he fell asleep on the sofa after another dose of Ibruprofen.

While he slept he was pale, with flushed cheeks, and he was restless while he slept and moaning / crying in his sleep. Just before 8 I had to take Sunshineface upstairs for a nappy change, and while I was there I thought since it was almost bedtime I’d get him in his PJs and get him ready for bed. While I was sorting him out, Picklepot woke up on the sofa and came upstairs. He said hello to me as he walked past, and he went straight into his bedroom and climbed into bed. I went in there a couple of minutes later and turned off the light since he was cuddled up under the duvet and he didn’t say anything. I checked on him 20 minutes later, after Daddy P got home and took over putting Sunshineface to bed, and he was snoring.

Overnight, Picklepot was up quite a few times. He was crying, saying he was in pain, he was aching, he needed a wee, he needed another drink, he had two more doses of Ibruprofen to try and get his temperature down and get him back to sleep again. When I woke up with Sunshineface at 8am I knew that Picklepot wouldn’t be going to school, so I rang them to register him absent at 8.30 and after that I called the doctors surgery to get an appointment for him today. Since it’s Friday I didn’t want to leave it and have him get much worse over the weekend.

We got to the doctors in good time for our appointment, and unsurprisingly after a quick exam and taking his temperature (39.5) the nurse confirmed that Picklepot has definitely got tonsillitis again. She got a prescription from the doctor for some penicillin, which I picked up from the pharmacy in the same building before we left. I also got some more Calpol since we’d run out, and the nurse said I can double-dose Calpol and kids Ibruprofen to keep his temperature down. When he has a fever he is much more prone to more violent night terrors, so we’re working to avoid that!

We came straight home afterward and he took his first dose of medicine, he’s been cuddled up on the sofa all day watching YouTube videos and while he looks a better colour he is still very quiet and clearly not feeling right. Fortunately Daddy P is off work today so he was able to stay home with Sunshineface while I took Picklepot to the doctors, and he has been able to watch both kids while I got on with work.

We have plans all weekend, so I’m not sure whether we’re going to have to cancel them yet or not – I’m going to see how he feels and take it as it comes. It would be nice to get out and do stuff / see people as planned, but if he’s not well enough there’s no point trying to force the issue, it will just end badly.

Fingers crossed he feels better soon!!