Thursday, 30 June 2011

Biggest ever smile :)

This is exactly why I started this blog - something happened this morning that made me the happiest girl in the world, and if it wasn't for this blog I wouldn't be able to record it anywhere. So what was it? Well, I was getting Sam dressed when he threw his arms around me and asked for a cuddle. Wonderful in itself. But this cuddle was far longer than it ever normally is - usually if he wants a cuddle it means he wants my help reaching something  / doesn't want to walk anymore, or else it is only for two seconds and then he gets bored. This was a big, long cuddle. And then, arms around me, head on my shoulder, my baby boy said
 'Love you'

Aaaah!!!! He has been saying it for a little while in response to me saying it, but this was the first time he has ever volunteered it himself. Wowowowow happy happy happy Mummy :) :) :)

And while I've been typing this he has made another achievement - unscrewing the lid of a water bottle, discovering it was empty and therefore screwing it back on again! Guess screw caps aren't Sam-proof any more then...

What a fantastic start to the day - love you little man :)

S xx

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

It was nice while it lasted

Ah well...
Sam and I have had a nice couple of weeks - he's been well behaved, I've been relaxed, he's happy, I'm happy, and so continues the blissful cycle. But it is no more. He is back to the monster of yester-month! Thankfully I wasn't naive enough to think that this break was the end of the terrible threes, as had been suggested to me by some people who frankly should know better; I knew all along that it was a temporary reprieve, and he would soon be back to his troublesome ways. I don't even imagine it was the eye of the storm - I do believe he is still in training for proper toddler tantrums and behaviour.
The trouble is that I know how this works - the viscious circle being the opposite of our blissful cycle: he misbehaves; I get cross; he misbehaves because I'm cross...see where I'm going with this?! BUT (big but, much like mine) so far I am remaining quite calm. Okay, so it's only been two days. But he has run off countless times in supermarkets, sat down in the middle of the road, thrown his glasses anywhere and everywhere, kicked anyone within reach, asked for food and then refused it as soon as it's prepared, messed around with my laptop, and - the pinnacle thus far - thrown a nearly full bowl of beans on toast (sacred food, to him!) at the (magnolia) wall and (cream carpeted) floor. Grrr!! When challenged 'Why did you do that?' I swear his response was 'I don't know'. Kids!!!!

He's currently pulling every single book off the bookcase, having already tipped his bucket of blocks all over the place. I'm going to have a bowl of soup and leave him to it (wow, get me being all calm - must be the tablets!!)

On a medical note, we have had a hospital appointment this morning to check his eyesight - apparently although his vision isn't great, it is at least the same in both eyes and therefore he shouldn't (fingers crossed please everyone) develop a lazy eye. No pirate patch for Sam! She did encourage me to really try to get him to wear his glasses as much as possible though - ha bloody ha!

And to finish on a light note, I was amused by a comment made by a friend of mine who is a fairly new dad (to clarify, I am amused because I'm sure I've done it countless times myself, am doing it at the moment, and will do it plenty more over the years to come...) But the things that surprise new / first time parents are wonderful: this particular example involved him telling me that their 7 month old is crawling and getting hold of all sorts of stuff she shouldn't have. You should have heard his indignation 'Trouble is, she doesn't understand no'! Errr no dear, she won't do until you teach her it!!!

S xx

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


Am squealing this morning :) Have just been out to water the garden since yesterday's predicted downpour didn't happen, and...... I'VE GOT POTATOES!!!!! Eeeeeeeee!!!!!!

And yesterday I had to ring my mummy to announce that my rescued 10p B&Q capsicums have produced a pepper!

I am aware that the tradition is you plant things, water them, and generally speaking they grow. But I just find it absolutely amazing that I've managed to do it!! Even if I produce nothing more this year, I'll be pretty happy with that for my first year :) As it happens my tomato plants also have little fruits, and my beans are growing well (although haven't yet flowered); beetroot and spinach seeds have just gone in, so fingers crossed for them too.  And I have started a herb garden, which will hopefully develop over the years. Desperately need to get a hoe though and get rid of some weeds, will try to remember to get one this afternoon.

Just having a little chuckle - some of my closest friends have just got back from a single-girls' drinking holiday in Magaluf, but I'm more interested in my veg plot. When did I skip my 20s?!

S xx

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Why so sleepy?

Mixed bag today, bit emotional all round really.

Had a nice relaxed afternoon with Lis&Al yesterday (although I completely forgot to take the lead from my lawn mower so still need to get that sorted) for Al's birthday - he seemed to appreciate the cakes I'd baked, although I was disappointed with them (Lis said the icing was 'perfection'!) Lazy today too with Sam, who is currently loving 'The Duck Song' (YouTube it, it's the one by 'forrestfire 101') and enjoying singing along - bad parenting maybe, but when watching the clip he does keep his glasses on for a full three minutes so that's an achievement!

Sam and I are not on the same sleep pattern at the moment - I'm in winter mode of wanting to hibernate, finding it impossible to stay up even until it's dark (bed at 18.30 the other night!!), then every morning turning my alarm off and going back to sleep. Sam, unfortunately, is waking up full of beans at 7am and refusing to amuse himself, just standing at his door shouting until I appear. Thank goodness he can't undo stair gates yet... I'd happily curl up and go to sleep right now, can't stop yawning. Hmm, maybe some sunshine would help??

So anyway, my grandad was in hospital for an endoscopy last week, then placed on a liquid only diet whilst awaiting the results of his biopsy. Turns out the growth in his intestines and stomach is cancerous, so not good news, but they don't think there are any secondary tumours so hopefully they'll just whip it out and that'll be it. Trouble is his brother had stomach cancer and ultimately died of it, so that's on everyone's minds. Sounds like he's being very pragmatic about it though, and he's emotionally very resilient so think he'll be okay. Here's hoping, eh?

Enough about that - does anyone fancy doing an assignment on the Benin Bronzes for me??! Am excited about how close our holiday is getting, but simultaneously aware that this damn assignment needs submitting before we go :( Stupid module!

Final comment - who (UK, I suppose) would like to join me in doing a little sun-dance? So sick of this miserable weather, it makes me feel miserable too. Hmph!

S xx

Monday, 20 June 2011

Thank goodness for flipflops

Well, I did something today that I've never done before - electrocuted myself! There I was happily mowing the lawn while Sam was at school, the cord got caught and separated at its joining socket. Without thinking I grabbed the end to plug it back in, and the two pins touched my hand and sent a current through me :( No real harm done, just a couple of groups of blisters but I was rather shaken up. Lis thinks the fact that I live in flipflops may have earthed me and in fact saved my life - her DH wants to know why the hell I haven't got a circuit breaker!

Other than that it's been a good weekend - spent Saturday 'helping' Lis as she made pretty fabric things for my bedroom - curtains to hide my storage units, and recovering my dressing table stool so that it matches my colour scheme. My bedroom is so pretty now, I can't wait to get it all finished off!
Then Sunday was a very exciting one, as I saw my brother :) Don't see much of him (although this year has been a vast improvement, as he has formed a relationship with a girl who lives not too far away). Did and I treated our father to lunch, along with our grandparents (and his gf, Jess).

Sam loved that yesterday he got to see his dad and paternal grandparents, then my dad, and my grandparents. But clearly he wanted a full set, as he spent the whole evening and a large part of today asking for Nanny and Grandad! He's been lovely today, even laid the table for dinner while I was cooking (he gave himself three bowls and me none, think he was trying to say something?!?) Probably wouldn't have hurt me to skip dinner actually - it's my dad's birthday tomorrow and step-dad's on Wednesday, so I'm sure I'll be consuming plenty of food this week. So much for dropping seven lbs by our holiday! Sam started packing the other day - he said 'aeroplane', then went to his wardrobe, started pulling clothes out and putting them in his bag. Bless :) He clearly understands more than anyone gives him credit for...

S xx

Friday, 17 June 2011

Happy day :)

What a lovely day I had yesterday. Not sure it was quite so wonderful for Sam, but he was fantastically well behaved as Mummy and Nanny dragged him around not only Peterborough, but Springfields as well! Poor baby. Reasonably successful day in terms or purchases - few new shirts for Sam, and some jellies for the summer; coat and shorts for me; dress for Nanny; along with a few other bits of makeup etc. Lovely lunch at Petit Four - good job it's not closer to home, or I'd be visiting too often and putting on a couple of stone I think!

Late night though, we didn't get home til gone 9pm which is waaay past Sam's bedtime - but did he have a lie in this morning to make up for it? Pah! So I'm now shattered, as is he - difference is he can sleep on the way to his father's this afternoon, whilst I have to stay up and go for dinner with some friends. Life is so hard :) Looking forward to a very relaxed weekend with no exam revision - I do have an assignment to do for my other course, but although I hate the subject matter at least it isn't
an exam!

Hope everyone's got a lovely weekend planned :)
S xx

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Wine? Yes please!

Urgh - exam day. Dropped Sam off with his Nanny and Grandad last night as I had a Latin exam this morning, which I have to say wasn't as bad as I thought (of course that may mean I entirely misunderstood it all and will in fact fail...). After a traumatic phone call to the GP surgery (nasty receptionist made me cry, bitch!) I finally got my prescription sorted and was able to come over to my mum's house and see my little man - my how I'd missed him! It's silly really, he goes to his dad's every weekend and I'm fine with that, but if ever I have to spend time apart from him which doesn't obey our usual schedule, I miss him like crazy.  Excellent dinner cooked by my mum's DH, and shared a bottle of wine with him too - makes a change to be able to drink, as obviously I don't drink when I'm alone with Sam.  Got a lovely cuddle from Sam when I got here, it's unusual for him to cuddle me so I treasure the ones I do get.  Especially since I watched the heartbreaking Baby Hospital last night - about the neonatal unit at Liverpool. Most of it was watched through tears, partly from the memories it brought back but largely of relief at how lucky I've been with Sam, and at absolute empathy for those poor mothers (and families). Heartbreaking really is the only word.  My thoughts are currently with my friend Leanne, whose daughter young Sophie is in QMC recovering from one of many surgeries related to her severe cerebral palsy. Leanne, Craig and the girls make a lovely family, and Leanne's attitude is truly inspiring - with two disabled children, a toddler, a husband in the forces, and working as well (in the field, of course - she supports families with disabled children) she is an amazing lady. It's been nearly three weeks this time, so hopefully Soph will be on her way home soon.

On a lighter note, tomorrow is a day of pure retail therapy to help me recover from my exam - Peterborough with my mum and Sam sounds like a good plan. Clothes needed ready for our trip to Naples next month...three weeks and counting :)

Sam's tucked up in bed - and tonight I'll be sharing with him. Wonder how much sleep I'll get, no doubt he'll find it hilarious to discover that Mummy's there (also suspect he may do a starfish impression and take up most of the bed...). 


Sunday, 12 June 2011

Welcome To Holland

by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Well here goes...!

I guess I'm doing this more for myself and Sam in years to come than because I think anyone else will actually want to read it... But having spent Friday discussing how to deal with the developments of a disabled child, I thought it would be good to record an honest account of how we feel on a day to day basis - maybe so that when I look back in times to come I see it wasn't all roses, or all thorns!

So this is us saying 'hi' - I'm Sara, I'm 24. My son Sam is three and a half, and was diagnosed at birth with Down's Syndrome. In the past three years he has had bowel surgery; numerous scans to diagnose and monitor his heart condition (which thankfully seems to be rectifying itself as he grows); insertion of grommets; months of physiotherapy; ongoing speach and language therapy; paediatric checks; and lots more that I can't even remember! He's also busy doing the usual childhood stuff - arguing with (and losing to) chairs so needing his head glued back together, bumps and bruises and grazes all the time, tantrums etc....

So what about the name of my blog? Well, we've not long moved house and I was very sad that on arrival we had to chop down our huge cherry trees due to the damage they were causing - I've pledged to (eventually) plant a new one in a better location - maybe a pot! And the tulips refers to a poem/essay called 'Welcome to Holland', written by Emily Perl Kingsley in 1987. I'll post it in a minute!

That's probably quite long enough for a first post, let's see how we go :)
S xx