Category Archives: Uncategorised

So what it’s the weekend

Seriously it’s official if I see one more TFIF status today I may just lose it. 

So what it’s Friday that doesn’t automatically mean that tomorrow I get to do nothing. No tomorrow I will still have to get up to do medications and nappy changes. My back will still ache from lifting and if we follow on from our current evening schedule I will also still be sleep deprived. 


Oh it’s the weekend so that means my big boy is off and that brings me the joy of chasing him around and saying “please leave alone” every second for two days. 

All joking aside, ok moaning aside I do appreciate the end of a normal working week and that for many tomorrow and Sunday are days of relaxation but seriously stop rubbing it in. 

Please think of us exhausted parents those like me to who the weekend is just another day. In fact the weekend is actually a little harder as school does give me a little respite. 

I absolutely love my life and fostering a child with special needs is a great job but the reality of it is that it is 24hr, 7 days and week and 365 of the year. Being a mom of a complex needs child means exactly the same. So as a mom and foster mom of both I may be slightly shattered. Though as we enter the weekend of Mother’s Day I am so thankful for my boys. It just means at times I just have the urge to strangle those who write TFIF. 

Can today please do one

Ok it’s official I’ve decided I don’t want to grow anymore. I’m not talking my ever increasing waistband, I’m talking soul growth. That everything happens for a reason and that life isn’t about the challenges but how we adapt and grow with them. 

Whatever (cue the full eye roll here) 🙄

Not everything happens for any special, wonderful, soul enhancing reason sometimes life just sucks and people are officially idiots. 

I’m so tired right now it’s crazy and my patience is left somewhere in the middle of last week.

I’m frustrated with people who haven’t or aren’t doing their jobs correctly so that I am left struggling or playing catch up or in one case completely devastated. 

I’m angry at teenagers who strop and annoying husbands who should simply know better. 

I’m exhausted with the constant battles and chasing of services and equipment and I’m desperate for five minutes peace and quiet. 

Add to this the sweet old lady who informed me that special children are only given to special people i honestly feel ready to explode. 

You see I’m not special, right now I’m a miserable impatient, short tempered whiny cow who really just wants the world just do want one and leave her alone. 

I don’t want to look for rainbows or the joy in the moment I just actually want to wallow in self pity and maybe just maybe get some sleep. 

Maybe tomorrow will be a better day but right now I really don’t give a damn. I’m tired, aching and just want today to be over. 

Today can just do one. 

To scared to voice my dream

Have you ever wanted something so desperately that you actually cannot voice your desire?

That the fear of hearing the words outloud is so scary that your stomach does flip flops.

That when people tell you to release your hopes into the universe it feels like a gigantic scam to make your world tumble down.

This is exactly how I have felt about the adoption of my new son. That if I actually shared the ins and outs of the situation it would actually explode in my face, my heart.

It hasn’t been helped by social workers who should have the words “hopefully” and the statement “it should” ripped out of their practice handbook. The hedging of their bets or professional distance is nothing but frightening for an adoptive parent. 

We need to hear “of course” or “it will“.

I honestly feel as if I have been walking on eggshells this last year. From the moment we decided we wanted to adopt our then foster son my heart feels as if it has been ripped out of my chest, trampled on then replaced. It’s been hard and the reason I haven’t really shared this journey here is simply because I couldn’t voice my fear. 

I couldn’t allow the inner demon inside my head any space here on this platform. It was doing enough damage inside my head.

“You aren’t good enough”

“Adoptive parent, you, ha really”

“It’s going to fail”.

The adoption process isn’t easy, I guess it shouldn’t be. The assessors actually have the lives of children in their hands. They have to probe, explore, question. 

“How did you feel when this happened?”

“How would you cope with this?”

And the big one

“Why adoption”?

Your answers of course have to be the truth but I have woke night after night with fear that my truth wasn’t enough.

Thankfully, my truth was enough and last week we found out that the judge has signed our adoption order and in a few weeks our boy will be our son.

I cannot tell you how excited I am, how much it matters to call him mine. I am simply on cloud nine. My heart feels full and I’m sure I haven’t stopped smiling since I heard the decision. 

I may not be able to write down our complete adoption story yet. It’s still a little too raw and it’s not actually at the end point yet. I still now wait impatiently for the date of our celebration hearing and my heart will still probably jump at the delivery of the morning post for a while yet.

But I will state this here, our adoption journey has been hard, we have cried many tears, had many sleepless nights and had way too many stress headaches. 

Yet I promise you this, every stinking moment of this chaos and fear has been worth it, my son, he is so completely worth it. 

Help, my mind is going to explode.

Oh my goodness it’s official my head is going to explode this week has been both physically and mentally exhausting and it’s not over yet. 

I really need to find ways to relax and quiet my mind because right now it’s running in messy mode.

I’m not sure if it’s just being a mom but I’m so tired of being expected to have all the answers. It’s as if I must be the encyclopaedia of life, the walking diary and literally the fountain of all knowledge. 

I’m actually at the end of any level of patience I had. 

Is it a mom, a wife thing, where we automatically assume the role of social secretary, diary planner and of course filler of all paperwork or is it that I’ve just created a living nightmare for myself. 

Take my husband for example he sees the passing on of a message to me the end of the subject. I will either note it in the diary, return the call or sort the situation out. The fact that he probably knew the answer at the time of the question is not lost on me just that he never seems to think about answering the question himself. Never thinks about opening the family diary arrahh.

I’m just so so tired, I do not have all the answers and I certainly cannot be all things to all people.

What I would give for a nice day of relaxation. A spa day with deep massage and complete pampering.

A day where my mind can be my own, anyway that so isn’t going to happen so I’m turning to you all. I need ideas on how to get my mind some peace. Techniques to reduce my anxiety and find some calm. 

We did join in on World Book Day

It was so lovely to see the country celebrating World Book Day last week. It was such fun seeing all the outfits and the imagination that the day brought about. My little one isn’t at school yet so we actually didn’t dress up but I’m sure if he had been given a choice he would have gone for his favourite The Gruffalo.

Still we did join in with the day by doing our favourite thing. We read stories. My little one loves nothing more that to be snuggled up on my lap reading story after story. It’s such a special time for us both and certainly is building up the close bond between us.

These were our reading material for World Book day. We had such fun reading these from the Scholastic World Book Day 2017 range


I think the Scarcrows wedding was a big hit for my little man as it’s by his favourite authors but I loved the Peter Rabbit one as it reminds me of those I’ve read to his sisters in the past. 

Writing this I’ve realised that next year little one will be at nursery so maybe it’s time to start planning that World Book Day 2018 outfit now.

No pressure 😳

*A big thank you to Scholastic for these books, we certainly loved them. 

If it’s reading inspiration you’re looking for, Scholastic’s bumper World Book Day Book Club is ready and waiting for you to discover it. Packed with exciting reads from kids’ favourites – like Wimpy Kid, David Walliams, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler – at pocket-money-friendly prices, and positively bursting with new releases, film tie-ins and home learning activities, the only problem will be choosing what they should spend their £1 World Book Day tokens on. World Book Day tokens can be redeemed online up until 5th May, and every order over £10 will earn the school or nursery of your choice 20% back in free books – so you can spread the joy of reading on World Book Day and all year-round.

Dear Brodie – Sweet Sixteen

Dear Brodie

When you entered the world our family was in chaotic place. Your sister was regressing and everything seems crazy. From the moment you were born you became our calmness. That’s not to say you were quiet far from it but you had a way about you that made everyone feel at peace. Especially your big sister Livvy who at only 22 months older than you became your best friend, each one another’s shadow.
You were such a little dot, with eyes so blue you could almost swim in them and the cutest dimples ever seen. Whilst you may have been tiny your personality was larger than life. Not loud or boisterous just so determined. This determination was especially apparent when it came to caring for your sister. You became her voice making sure everyone knew what she wanted or needed but most importantly that everyone acknowledged her. I remember you vividly telling a room of mom’s that they shouldn’t talk over your sister but should talk to her, I think you were four maybe five. Never was anyone going to ignore your sister, not on your watch.
I have loved watching you grow, your kind heart and your compassion is in everything you do. I remember how school completely overwhelmed you, how you just didn’t understand how people could be mean to each other, how seeing someone sad broke your heart. The times you came out of school in tears and I would worry about what had happened to you and you would reply ” not me mom” just that someone else had been sad or there had been an argument and your empathy for them had caused your tears.
You were such a protector, you still are, from the friends in your class to your siblings you have protected them and defended them in all that you do. From educating people on disability to staring down rude people who were looking at your sister or brothers as if they were weird. Nothing is ever too much for those you love. Even your bigger sisters were under your watch, I remember you threatening to strangle your sisters ex boyfriend for “hurting her heart”.
You are my wise owl, your clarity and judgement is just simply based in love.
No ego just endless compassion.
How I love you my baby girl ( yes you will always be my baby). How your singing drives me insane but it’s the first thing I miss when you are not here. How your playful nature and your dopiness has brought us the greatest of laughs.
You have so much energy, at times I have prayed for an off switch from the Super Brodie days to the stroppy teenage ones your endless enthusiasm for life is contagious.
I actually cannot believe you are 16 today, my baby girl who refused to wear trousers is now sweet sixteen. I know every mother thinks their child is special but you my wise owl so are.
Never lose your trusting heart, never stop reaching out with your kind heart. Never stop getting cross at the injustice in this world and never never forget how incredible you are.
I love you my sweet dimples, every single piece of you. You make me so proud to call you my daughter.
I hope you have a fantastic birthday spending as you asked with your family and friends and with plenty of your favourite thing in the whole world FOOD.
Happy sweet sixteen to the kindest, sweetest girl I know. I love you Brodie Lea xx

A wonderful resource 

Having a child with complex needs means I often get to spend more time that I would like in hospital. In fact over the years my local hospital has felt more like home than my actual one. Livvy spend weeks at a time causing chaos on the children ward. I have some incredible memories of my time on ward some which are painful but others full of laughter. We were so lucky to be surrounded by first class paediatricians and nurses and not forgetting the support workers. They all made what was often some of the scariest times of life less fearful. 

Medicines and treatment are only one part of the solution when it comes to getting children well. They need a holistic environment that relaxes and reassures them allowing them to heal. 

This Is why I was so happy to be at yesterdays official opening of the new Paediatric sensory room on Ward 21 at the Walsall Manor Hospital by the Deputy Mayor.

I actually didn’t spend anytime on ward 21 with Livvy, she didn’t hang around long enough to visit on the new children’s wards. But the old Canterbury Ward was a place we spend many a week. A place where my youngest Brodie spend many a hour in the playroom whilst the nurses cared for her sister. She spend hours being occupied by the wonderful play support staff whose passion for the children they support is evident in all that they do.

Conversations spoken 15 years ago of wishes for a fully functioning sensory room today got to come true and I honestly don’t think you could have seen happier staff than those there today. Such well deserved pride.

The sensory room is perfect it’s going to be a place where children can relax and recover. A place where children with extra needs or not can escape the confines of the ward to a little place of harmony. Healing the soul as the doctors heal the body. 

I can personally attest to this as thanks to my visit on ward with my little man a few weeks ago we got to experience first hand what a wonderful resource this sensory room will be. He absolutely loved it. What’s even more special is the fact that the ward now also have a portable sensory unit which means that this resource can be brought to the beds of those that cannot visit the room. Those hooked up to machines or oxygen, they too can have a sensory experience at their bedside.

At the opening yesterday I was joined by a family that have walked life’s journey with me. A family who I met actually on the old children’s ward, a family who have become my family. Livvy and their handsome Ryan met on the children wards over 13 years ago and became the closest of friends. We share so many memories of them together, memories that light up our lives and fill us with joy when we recap on them. They simply were double trouble, but both of them were such great gifts to our lives. 

It was so lovely to be there yesterday and imagine our two in that room. Climbing over the equipment, loving all the lights. Both really benefitting from this amazing resource. Whilst it was nice to be lost in our memories for a while just watching the children play yesterday warmed our hearts. This sensory room is going to bring much joy to this current generation of children and hopefully many more. I know we will personally love using it if ever little man decides to visit again (please not for a while). It truly is a special place and well done to all those that tirelessly campaigned for such a resource and a massive thank you to all those that donated and fundraised towards it all.

Of course we don’t want to stop here, Walsall Paediatric unit still have a lot more that they would like in place to offer the most holistic environment for the poorly children that crosses their door. Their next wish is to revamp the waiting area in the paediatric assessment unit. A place where children are often unwell and frightened. The first point of course on their journey or stay. How incredible would in be to have a interactive waiting area that could occupy children as well as distracting their fear. I know this would be so amazing for both the children and their parents.

If you would like to support this next venture please get In touch with Georgie the fundraiser at Walsall Manor give her a call on 01922 656643 or email her @georgie.westley@walsallhealthcare.nhs.uk let her know that this is the project you wish to support. Please tell her I sent you so that she knows where you heard about it. 

It is so hard when children are ill, unlike adults they don’t often understand why and what’s happening to them. This is why the environment they are treated in matters so much. This paediatric sensory room is going to be a wonderful resource in reducing this fear allowing children the space they need to aid their healing. So thank you Walsall Manor Paediatric unit for all you have done and for all you do in keeping our children well. 

A work in progress 

I often describe myself as a “work in progress “and I truly do believe that’s a good definition of who I am. Yet the other day someone said that by doing this I was putting myself down. 

Am I? 

You see as far as I am concerned I have a lot left in this life to learn. That’s not to say that I haven’t achieved a lot I certainly have, but there is so much out there left for me to absorb. 

I love the fact that the world is full of knowledge and life that I have yet to learn or experience. Places to visit, people to meet. Every one of these new moments crafting me into someone new. 

I cannot describe the joy I feel when my mind gets blown by something I never knew. By an emotion I have yet to feel. 

I absolutely love being a work in progress, it allows me scope to make mistakes and try again. 

Perfection is so overrated. 

You only have to look at the beauty of a broken jug to know that life is a celebration of imperfections.

I do not see the image of myself as a work in progress as a put down or a lack of confidence, far from it. I see it as an adventure, a adventure of a lifetime yet to live.

A story of moments, experiences and sensations.

I cannot wait.

Happy 35th Birthday Dear ZOO..

Walking back  again through the toddler years with my new little one has filled me with so many déjà vu moments.

Holding my little man in my arms I am transported back 15 years to when my girls were little enough see on my lap.

So many things have changed, yet still many are the same.

One thing that i’m really loving is the opportunity to read again some of my favourite children’s books. Books that my girls left behind as they grew older.

One extra special blessing is that now my big girls are enjoying rereading their favourites to their little brother.

 

One of those old favourites being enjoyed is the Rod Campbell lift the flap book Dear Zoo.

 

Can you believe that this wonderful book was first published in 1982, that makes it 35 years old, WOW.

To celebrate this special birthday Macmillan Children’s books have released this special edition with a beautiful shiny gold jacket and specially designed gift slipcase. The celebrations don’t just stop here though, Macmillan Children’s books have an exciting year planned to celebrate 35 years of Dear Zoo, including a live on stage version, an Easter treat at ZSL London Zoo. Find out more at http://www.dearzooandfriends.com

I am surprised at how long this book has been out but not by its success, my girls loved lifting the flaps and arguing over what they considered to be the best pet. My son gets rather cross when we send the lion back I think he would prefer to hold on to the lion, my eldest always wanted to keep the giraffe.

Happy Birthday Dear Zoo, thank you for 35 years of story time and here’s to many more years of enjoyment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • I was gifted a copy of this book for this post, but my love for it is completely genuine and truthful.

#Earlymomentsmatter

Completing my degree in Therapeutic Childcare last really drove home the importance of a child early years. The impact early negative experiences could have on the whole of a child’s life. The need for awareness and support in this area is high and so much more needs to be done to protect our children. This is why I am truly happy today with share with you the UNICEF campaign #Earlymomentsmatter.


During the earliest years of life, brain cells can make up to 1,000 new connections every second – a once-in-a-lifetime speed. These connections contribute to children’s brain function and learning, and lay the foundation for their future health and happiness. A lack of nurturing care – which includes adequate nutrition, stimulation, love and protection from stress and violence – can impede the development of these critical connections. 

According to a recent series in The Lancet nearly 250 million children in developing countries are at risk of poor development due to stunting and poverty. But the need for greater investment and action in early childhood development is not limited to low-income countries. Disadvantaged children living in middle- and high-income countries are also at risk. UNICEF estimates that millions more children are spending their formative years growing up in unstimulating and unsafe environments, putting their cognitive, social and emotional development at risk.

 

Investment in early childhood is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing the ability of all children to reach their full potential – increasing their ability to learn in school and, later, their earning capacity as adults. This is especially significant for children growing up in poverty. One 20-year study showed that disadvantaged children who participated in quality early childhood development programmes as toddlers went on to earn up to 25 per cent more as adults than their peers who did not receive the same support.

Early childhood development interventions, such as the Care for Child Development package that includes training community health workers to teach families about the importance of playing with their children in a way that stimulates healthy development can cost as little as 50 cents (USD) per capita per year, when combined with existing health services.

 

UNICEF is calling for governments to increase investments in early childhood, expand health and social services offered to young children, and strengthen support services for parents and caregivers.

My job as foster carer has brought me into contact with children whose early lives have left them for the want of a better word damaged. There whole personalities have been formed in environments of fear of neglect. They brains were hard wired in worlds that weren’t safe. It’s heartbreaking to watch a child who doesn’t know peace.

Here is the UK today is Valentine’s Day, let’s share the love and share this campaign. Let’s celebrate the love of our children and the worlds children and let’s support UNICEF in their campaign to protect our children.


1000 connections in the first 1000 days let’s make them positive ones.


#earlymomentsmatter