OnYourRoadToSchool

This morning was a little busy,

For your first day of school,

Your belly might feel a little fizzy,

It’s hard to believe, I know.

Just how much you’ve grown.

As you smiled in your royal blue uniform,

You stood so proud and ready,

As you turned off the telly.

We arrived just on time,

Hand in hand, I’m so proud you’re mine!

It’s time to face your fears,

Just one more kiss for goodbye,

As you begin to walk inside,

I promise not to start to crumble,

As I wipe away my tears with pride.

I’m excited to see the changes,

Of this little boy of mine.

Independence that you’ll grow

I know you’ll be just fine.

WALKSBOATSANDICECREAM

Sunday.

A day usually associated for family time, long country walks and a satisfying smell of a chicken roasting that fills the air, setting our taste buds tingling from anticipation, which leads to the repeated question of ‘Is dinner ready yet?’

What could be more peaceful and bring a feeling of content sitting in the fresh air, sun shining, Luka-James attempting to be the next Joe Root, Parker sulking at the wait of dinner and watching Snow White, water the flowers, boarder line drowning them with intent…

A delicious gammon and chicken roast with all the trimmings finds its way to the table, a trio of satisfied tiny bellies. We rounded the troops up and set off on a promising 3 mile adventure across the country fields to reach our final destination, ice creams. Whilst we take in the views of the cheerfully colourful narrowboats, resting upon the canal after a busy Sunday of punters.

Bliss.

Or so it seemed…

The 1.5 mile journey there resulted into one power walking mother pushing a daughter who was certain she would break free of the trike on the narrowest footpath, we may as well walked on the road. Pointing at every farm animal in sight which developed into making her break free attempts even more tempting, than sipping the ice cold gin i was fantasising over in my mind, making the experience ever so slightly bearable. A Father balancing an iPad on the hood of a Quinny, like his life depended on it because naturally watching England play in the finals, was a life or death situation. However Parker who was full of delight pointing at every zooming car that passed us, couldn’t have been more content with our outing. Luka and Nana Bev was partners in crime, making a tribe of sloths look Olympians.

Upon reaching the top of a torturous hill climb, slightly sticky and sweaty. I come across a phone laying on the grass verge. Strange. Why would a phone be laying on a country path… pretty much in the middle of nowhere residential.

After a quick phone call to the owners wife. A owner who was drunk, made his way home on a bike after a afternoon piss up, without realising the phone was missing… happened to be married to the Ice cream lady!

RESULT BEKSIE!!

A clear sign this walk was worth the effort, a sign it was meant to be.

A kind gesture of returning the phone to its rightful owner, resulted into free icecream and drinks all round. Small act of kindness goes rewarded and all that…

As the sun started to set, greeting us with a sky of pretty orange and pink hues, narrowboats rainbow of colours glow invitingly against the warm summers sun, sparkles hit the ripples of the canal. As we sat with ice cream and sprinkles, feeling slightly rewarded from walking such distance with 3 irritable kids and nobody losing their shit with one another, Luka-james asks for a photo near a sign of the museum. Hesitantly taking my phone out and took the photo I urged him along for the anticipated walk home…

Of course he had to cover the C, making my inbox influx with hilarious comments at the unfortunate mishap of a photo.

At this point, Livy has fully lost her cool and throwing a whooping tantrum, her usual snowy white skin is now red with rage, her screeching scratchy scream is beyond insufferable. I’d rather be in a room with multiple of people scratching nails down freshly laid plaster. Obviously being non verbal and refusing to wear her aids means she’s beyond reasoning and screaming like her dependency assured her an escape of the safety clasp of the trike straps.

Luka then sits firmly on someone’s immaculate front lawn. Refusing to move, ‘I’m tired. My legs tired.’ Resulted into a swift non hesitated lift home from Papa Jon with Nana Bev.

So then that leaves 4 to get through the 1.5 miles home. Seems pretty reasonable right?

No. Livy was completely and utterly relentless, for the entire half hour walk back. Luckily for Dean he was taking a shockingly slow pace to ensure he didn’t miss any important detail of cricket. But as he turned the corner, he dropped the valued precious iPad into the road causing a cracked the screen… resulting into a pissed off daddy. I’m pretty sure 2 days on I’ve still got the torturing scream scarred into my ear drum for eternity. How nobody stopped to see if the child in distress from being kept safe and unharmed, was actually not kidnapped. Calves burning, heart pumping, sweaty hair and matching red faces and potentially a migraine statically in place for the entire week.

We made it. Just.

Obviously the real winners of the day was Papa Jon and Nanny Mags, choosing a air con cool room, cricket on a tv with a chilled beer in hand was more appealing that a hellish walk for a icecream that was only chucked in the bin after all…

How ever, family time is something that comes cherished and valued. Even if it wasn’t picture perfect, it’s still memories made to last a life time.

LONDONWEGO

For the first time in sharing our journey of Alivia-Ellen’s hearing loss and all the trials and tribulations that follow, came a feeling of reluctance.

When we was first faced with the diagnosis of progressive bilateral hearing loss for Alivia-Ellen, a tornado of feelings and emotions spiralled in a space of a minute. My brain was ticking faster and faster and there was no off button to pause for a second and think rationally. I skipped 20 years and imagined how her future could be affected, and dwelled upon that, she was only 10 days old.

In the thick of things, when we’re dealt a hand we never expected, never anticipated, never imagined in the 9 months of a blissful pregnancy. The feelings of receiving life changing news can be intense, stressful and overwhelming.

My armour and exterior provide my children with a strong Mother. In the waiting room of these appointments, there’s a mutual silence amongst the parents, gentle unaware hums from the children playing or colouring. The tick of the clock is almost in sync rhythm with the beating of my heart. 3 years into our journey I have mastered the fine art of withstanding my emotions and attend these appointments with no upset.

But beneath my confidence and positive exterior, I’m scared too.

‘Come what may.’

Recently we found out Alivia will be embarking onto her own adventure to London to discover her true diagnosis. Same as Mummy, from the age of 10 I was under the care of Great Ormand Street Hospital and Royal National Throat, Ear and Nose Hospital. My daughter is following my medical footsteps but for a wider range of reasons. I now feel ready to share with you all.

⁃ Progressive bilateral sensorineural hearing loss.

⁃ Alivia’s vision is worsening

⁃ Albinism proposed as a possible diagnosis.

⁃ Significant speech delay (non verbal)

⁃ Impacted bowels (constipation)

⁃ Bilateral divergent squint. (Turn to eye)

⁃ LADD Syndrome and Alport Syndrome proposed possibility.

During these appointments, what feels like your child is stripped of her identity and is now just a mystery medical examination.

All her features that I find make her the most beautiful little girl that she is, are now just part of a genetic flaw. From her flat button nose to the fair colour of her hair and brows. Her cute peggy toothed smile and wide feet with short stubby toes that I kissed individually at night from the moment she was born. From the way she stands and holds a pencil, are all listed and sent off for a genetic discussion.

During the process of these genetic appointments, which feel more nerve wrecking than waiting for your GCSE results in front of your parents, I am certain there is a process slightly like what I can only imagine a grieving process to be.

How we cope and feel before, during and after these appointments will be different for every parent. I tend to talk openly about these appointments to anyone willing to listen, no matter where I am if a thought appears I tend to blurt it out, it helps me process what happens and formulate acceptance. I allow myself time a day where I digest my thoughts and feelings surrounding medical appointments. Where as her Father absorbs and internalises his feelings. Coping looks different for everyone. And that’s ok too. All part of the acceptance of a diagnosis.

SELFLOVE

Embracing the flaws of what’s left after child birth, is ultimately a challenge most Mothers admit defeat to.
Learning to accept the remains of loose skin that accommodated growth of our precious bundles. To find comfort in the scar of our csections which delivered a baby safely. The imperfections which caress our skin where our baby had once pressed against from the inside. Boobs slightly deflated from nurturing our newborns.
Yes the extra pounds of weight will eventually disappear, much like the pounds we willingly give over secretly sobbing of hope that the creams and oils will erase the left over tell tale signs and be a distant memory. But the marks left upon our skin will stay, the journey of self love is a long hard road to conquer. With a insta perfect society we currently live in, we are somewhat discarded and no longer admired.
Because your skin has torn and produced tiny kisses across your body as a gentle reminder of the battle we endured, pregnancy.

SIGN&COMMUNICATION

Deaf Awareness Week – Sign language and communication.

Basic signs during early years can really help minimise frustrated behaviours for a deaf/hardofhearing child.

Whilst I am yet to find a workshop to be able to participate in, I have found some fantastically illustrated books by Baby Signing, these books have also been reviewed by NDCS. The signs are compatible with those used in Makaton. This is different to signs used in BSL, the purpose of Makaton is to support speech. BSL is it’s own language with a structure of grammar, you will use hand signs as well as body language, facial expressions along with lip patterns.

As part of Deaf Awareness Week, my aim is to encourage anyone into learning a sign. One small gesture to a non hearing person could ultimately mean the world to them. Remember, a small act of kindness is never wasted.

BSL and Makaton is not accessible for majority of the families and come at a heavily funded price. Small workshops are available but for a family to communicate with their child, this needs funding longer than a once a week, workshop for 4 weeks. They need continued support, to help not only the child but the family too in order to be able to communicate effectively, more funding needs to be added and not being cut or reduced by the government.

Here, are Livys most favourite and recognised signs from her books.

Eating and drinking – these are the signs Livy recognises well and uses them in everyday life at home as well as nursery.

Animals – these are her most favourite and well used signs, she will show a great deal of interest and focus on this page. She really knows what they mean and can match the sign to her Rabbit soft toy.

Here is Livy signing cat.

Basic everyday signs.

Livy signs stop really well and uses it in the right context too! She demonstrates clear understanding of the sign and uses this at nursery too!

I love you.

This is still a work in progress for Livy. But it’s a rather important sign to know for family and friends. Remember repetition is the most important part of a deaf child’s learning.

Mum and Dad.

This is Livys way of signing teddy bear. It’s nearly there.

These are my most treasured favourite memories of Livy.

Why not set yourself a task and spell your name through British finger spelling?

You can find more information on signs through:

https://www.ndcs.org.uk/signlanguage

The books can be found on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-First-Signs-Baby-Signing/dp/1904550045/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=baby+sign+book&qid=1557594976&s=gateway&sr=8-1

I would like to state I do not own the illustrations or own any copyright of the material, I am simply sharing to raise awareness and educational purposes.

MEMORIESWITHWESTLODGEFARM

Whether your family day out predicts a forecast of rainy showers and muddy wellies or sunny blue skies with a scent of sun cream drifting through the air. Regardless of the weather, West Lodge Farm is sure to provide a lovely day out that will put a spring in your step.

Luckily enough we live local to take advantage of this beautifully clean, well kept and mapped out family owned farm.

From the moment you’re greeted with a warm welcome from the minute you leave, there is such a family element to the farm.

I love the fact that the West Lodge has been farmed by the same family for three generations and I truly believe this reflects on your experience and time spent here. The staff and farmers are polite and warming. The farm itself is pleasingly clean from the canteen areas and a hut providing light refreshments with dietary icecreams too, the toilet huts are really good with baby changing facilities inside each individual hut. And the hand washing areas are all kept tidy with warm water, soap tissue paper and alcohol gel with clear guiding instuctions on how best to keep safe after touching and feeding the animals there are a few allocated around the farm along with a boot wash, everything is well kept and sanitised. No litter insight, the pens where you can hand feed the animals are immaculately clean with bedding replenished to a satisfying standard, even I want to jump in the fluffy hay!

We have visited many occasions throughout 4 years of motherhood. And since then I have never realised how important it is to have something this lovely and educational on our doorsteps, if you take not only advantage of feeding the animals which boast a wide variety of livestock and having a good jolly play in the fantastic outdoor adventure and inside play ground, pony rides or a tractor ride. Ensure to bring some wellies if you decide to do the walks in the Forrest provided around the farm. From the troll bridge to the witches house these are situated in the woodlands, it can be a little muddy and a fair few steps in the adventure!

West Lodge have provided many theme days, celebrating the usual Christmas and Easter holidays, we have attend the Halloween pumpkin picking… twice in fact a week after each other as the children just enjoyed it that much. Seeing their proud faces picking and plonking their own pumpkin in little wheel barrows, unseeding and drawing their own design before it is cut out professionally by members of keen steadily handed staff. (Saves us mums a messy task!) It was fantastic to see the staff dressed amazingly for the pirate treasure hunt. Ahoy!

As well as providing walks, adventure play, handling animals or feeding them we have noticed on occasions they host educational trips to learn about livestock and farming also a Forrest school as well as allowing you to celebrate your little ones birthday with parties in true farming style.

Intentionally or not this farm has an amazing access for Pushchairs and wheelchairs providing spacious routes around the animal pens, this has made it easy for the whole family to enjoy. But please note the walks are not all wheelchair or pram friendly. Having chatted to a lovely member of staff she told us this was about to change in the very near future near troll bridge. I have also always felt my daughter was welcomed and the reception staff have always gone out of their way to communicate to Livy, with profound deafness it’s lovely to see them try to include her on her exciting day out, she’s not able to express her excitement or feelings via a lack of communication like her older brother, the staff pass her the bags of animal food and a map to carry on her big adventure. (Thankyou, for the kind gesture that has always been shown with every visit). Also with identification of being a carer, you go free with your child.

The pricing of entry is extremely affordable for families, I really hope this stays put. There is reduced entry after 3.30pm, this is something I truly value about the farm. Modern day families budgets vary, and it’s so nice this farm has allowed all budgets to truly enjoy a day out.

What ever the weather you face on your family day out, this lovely rural farm is sure to cater to all your needs. Wellie boots or not you’re adventure is bound to be enjoyed

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