Have a try at finger spelling your name!
Have a try at finger spelling your name!
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:
The books can be found on Amazon:
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
This week is a beautiful reminder how united the deaf community is, yet how much adversity we still have to face in this modern day and age. 11 Million people solely in the U.K. are deaf or hard of hearing.
In a world of silence, like my daughter, it can be astonishingly difficult to comprehend how she must feel. She is fortunate enough to have hearing aids and so recently a radio aid through our NHS and council. It is still uncertain just how much accessibility she has to sounds through the equipment. At the age of 3, the tests are never conclusive.
My feelings towards being a parent to Livy.
My expectations of Livy are not much less or greater compared to my hearing sons. I still believe she can and will achieve great things in her life of silence, I may be instinctively protective of my daughter but I also allow myself to not be over protective… she has no form of knowledge of risks or assessing dangers. Whilst I watch her obsessively. I allow her to take certain risks to allow her to learn and stimulate an independent upbringing in life…
If her brother climbs a rock climbing wall at the park, you have no chance to even have an input to stop her… the girl has an inner mountaineer with an added extra mix of an adrenaline junkie!
She’s climbing before you can even blink!!
I show no extra fuss or protection to Livy, than I do the boys, I treat her no differently and this is because I do not wish for her to see herself as different to others. I still take her out to the Parks, play barns, farms, meals out, library’s. All the normal things mothers do with their children, I simply just have to have a dose of extra patience and understanding to calm or pause a situation to comfort a disoriented and flustered Livy.
Not only does Livy suffer with profound loss, she also recently has a form of vision loss/ difficulty which has caused a sudden turn to her right eye. This has complex problems in itself. Along with a communication barrier she can often display frustrated behaviour that may look questionable to other parents, unknown to her. Although Livy has a hearing loss and wears aids, but honestly she really is no different to any of her fellow friends and nursery peers.
Her sweet bubbly personality is infectiously likeable. She’s constantly smiling and making content squeals or Hums. The way she beams with warmth and pride, a smile that glows as she claps to herself in delight. She’s extremely maternal towards younger children and although she hasn’t got the awareness or ability to understand to be kind and gentle towards them, rarely does she need reminding. She’s got an inner entertainer about her, nursery sent me a beautiful short clip of her playing peek a boo with a younger peer. She loves to dress up as superheroes whilst wearing child’s dress up heels. Her desire to explore and learn how the world works is enhanced by her nursery key worker, Chloe. She gives her the courage to explore and be her own individual person. I believe sending her to a nursery setting has enabled her to shape her quirky diva personality to the best it is and this is all down to Chloe, I have wrote more about her nursery experience in a previous blog post.
All the above shows she’s just like all the other three year olds, exploring and learning. Developing the very same way. Please know that everyone should be treated in the same way, no one should be excluded, thought of differently for a disability.
Expectations for a deaf child can be the exact same as that of a hearing child. With a little guidance and understanding patience, they can extraordinary achieve the same.
However, Livy really struggles with basic communication. She tends to scream and squeal at us using hand gestures. And really clear facial expressions. Her cross face has been nailed beautifully!
She can sign few basic signs to help her tell us what it is she wants. But if it’s something we’re not understanding she has a tendency to show anger with frustration and occasionally lash out or throw herself to the floor upset. As a family and her key worker we try our hardest to work through her upset and frustration to understand what it is she wants, then show her signs for what it is to help her in the future to tell us or she will show us.
The funding unfortunately just isn’t there to support families and friends to communicate with their deaf child/friend. There are very few workshops available but they come at a price. Which some families just don’t have accessibility to.
I spent a lot of her first year in worry about the prospect of bringing up a deaf child in such a complex society. I worried about schooling, bullying, meeting parents who wouldn’t understand my child’s needs. If nursery’s could cater for her ect… I need not had worried myself silly.
Since living in the moment, she has amazed myself and others with her stubbornly fierce independent personality. I no longer worry about bullying, I believe she’s shaped into such a strong character, she can really hold her own. For now as parents and nurturers I will always support and guide my children to reach their absolute full potential in what ever they wish to succeed in.
Regardless if she wasn’t deaf, bullies could find a dozen of things to pick on may it be Skin, hair, clothes they wear or characters they enjoy to watch.
I will continue to bring my children up with a strong mentality to love and respect everyone and not to define a person by their colour, disability or difference.
There is ability, in every disability – Mothering Silence.
I hope I inspire hearing people through the writing of my blog.
Without educating and raising awareness circulating around deafness and the abilities, hearing people, you have the ability to remove all preventative barriers that deaf people face from achieving their dreams.
Hearing is no barrier, it’s a common assumption. With a little knowledge, patience and acceptance. Differences are ok, if anything they bring beautiful views of adversity, and these differences have a powerful way of working together.
From the moment I stepped into the unknown world of parenthood. Claiming the badge of pride, nobody can prepare you for the journey of motherhood, for your entire pregnancy, is like waiting in the line of a 9 month queue. Once your beautiful baby is placed in your arms, here is your seat on the most anticipated rollercoaster of sheer excitement, panic, happiness, sad, exhilarated, worried and overwhelming ride of parenthood. Enjoy.
From breast or bottle, baby LED or jar food, first words to first steps, first cot to first bed, to nurseries. We all have the most incredible power to guide and nurture our babies the way we wish to. After all there is no manual to parenting. No right or wrong way. Each difference to how a group of friends parent their children is the most beautiful comparison and strength to parenthood, it’s diversity something that should be cherish and celebrated.
But one thing we have no control over is schools, when selecting our choices for our little baby’s, whether you’re a first time mother sending your first child, or it’s your second, third. We’ve always been the sole provider to make choices around what’s best for our children. But the feeling or uncertainty when relying on someone you don’t know making the decision for our children’s future is daunting…
School choices are ranked by 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice. But how can you be remotely happy if it wasn’t your first choice that you had your heart set on 100%? Individually you’re all embarking on a journey that’s most likely more anticipated by worry from yourself, rather than your child. While it feels most will get their first choices, please be remindful of the minority that won’t. Whilst everyone is posting gushing tributes to their babies big adventure to the school they loved and picked… So many won’t be so lucky to get into the school they so desperately wanted for their grown up babies.
I have chosen not to post about what school Luka-James’ has been placed on social media. Whilst he got his first choice. I also comprehended towards the anxious, nervous feeling off despair some parents may feel. Social media can be cruel in the ways some people can view things, a reminder or bearer of adverse feelings. Preparing their child to embark a journey to a new school and to face a whole new process of making new friends can extremely dampen the excitement of this milestone. But remember this feeling is only temporary. Because I want to show that while 40% off a child’s learning is from school the other 60% is nurtured by YOU.
YOU can still influence your child’s learning and development at home.
From looking on social media, so many people felt sad and worried around the prospect of their child going to their 2nd choice. The stress from appeal meetings, anxious phone calls and agonising waits.
These parents have now even stated they have wasted so much time on negative energy as the 2nd choice of school was a place where their child has flourished. The child is happy and love the school. The parents have built fantastic connections with the teachers and their experience has been nothing but outstanding. And really couldn’t see their child anywhere else.
Please see the positive in this process, if you decide to appeal or not. The teachers all have the same desire to bring the best out in our children. Allow them to explore and develop new sets of skills. They will enjoy meeting new friends, who said you can have too many friends! The journey might not have been one you anticipated but you can make it so exciting, a new place to explore, new faces to meet, new colours of uniform.
Sometimes life leads us on a different path for the most beautiful ride of new happenings.
This is the beginning to your child’s future of anything they wish to be.
Mother’s Day Inspiration At Joules.
Mother’s Day has finally approached us, a day dedicated to show appreciation, gratitude and most commonly known as honouring the influence of mothers in society.
Since stepping into the unknown world of motherhood, holding the title of mummy for 4 years to three, ambitiously individually crazy little humans, I’ve found dressing my new found ‘mumbod’ a slightly difficult task of it’s own. As all eyes are on me I want to feel confident, comfortable, yet feminine.
Here are my top picks for Mummas out there. No matter how you’re spending your day, be sure to spend it in comfort and style.
The mum who knows that regardless the fact it’s her day to shine, she will most definitely be chasing after her little rascals during a family pub lunch.
Bold And Colourful.
Just because her endless bouncing energy, love and infectious smile is enough to fill any room, doesn’t mean her outfit can’t match!
Ahh, the oh so causal, I-just-threw-it-on-together-and-hoped-for-the-best Mum, we all admire.
Comfort over style, sport luxe is her thing. And she pulls it off so damn well.
Head down to your nearest JOULES, for 25% off Mother’s Day selected lines.
Since becoming a mother, I have found myself really supporting local, family run bespoke businesses.
I have always struggled to find headbands and wraps for Alivia-Ellen. Not only is she small for a near 3 year old, the bands aimed at her age often irritate her and pushes her hearing aids off her ears. Which then cause a lot of whistling feedback. Shop brought bands for her size head are quite thin and not as glamorous as the bands designed for a 3 year old. But being a little diva, she adores dress up and wearing accessories. So I was thrilled to come across MINI BEAU.
Lizanna, whom is mum to 4 girls, completely understood my request and really helped to cater Alivia’s hearing aids in the measurements and design of the band. Not only is she extremely approachable, kind and enthusiastic. She showed a lot of compassion towards helping a little girl, feel like all the other little girls.
MINI BEAU’ offers a beautiful range of bows, head bands, head wraps and co-ord skirts and bow. The products have a great sense of love and very thoughtfully packaged and protected to ensure your purchase reaches you beautifully.
I can honestly say I admire this woman, I cannot imagine how hard it is to combine mothering and also running a business from home, I guess a huge check list of jobs goes on daily, I have a daily check list just for me and the troops to get from one day to the other never mind running a successful busy business!
If there is ever a product you would like and personalised a little different to what’s advertised, Lizanna’s customer service skills are second to non, I have gone on to request a head wrap in different fabric and designs and she never fails to deliver a high quality print in her products.
If your looking for a special something for a little girl, I cannot recommend this bespoke home run company enough.
Thankyou so much Lizanna, for making my little girl feel beautiful in her bow just like her friends.
For as long as I can remember there was something about the great outdoors I connected with.
As the cool autumn breeze delicately brushed against my rosy cheeks during a Sunday morning trot through the fields. Wellies paddling in shallow waters watching my children’s smiles radiate upon my own. Those Sunday country walks, energising and clearing our minds for another successful week. The crisp leaves crunch beneath our wellies and conkers that fall upon a bed of sunset coloured leaves. As the orange glow of sunrise breaks the darkness of a cool summers night, a slight breeze gently disturbs the calmness of the lake, mesmerised by the glistening from the awakening summers sun.
There is without a doubt behind these memories made, boasts an incredible British countryside endorsed brand which ensures our grand adventures are kept stylish, comfortable yet compatible and truly accommodated for all weather conditions that Britain prides itself on, the ever changing unpredictable weather that is. Above all with an added extra splash of uniqueness which made joules stand out from a crowd.
The 30 years of success from Tom joule, whom prides the brand on reflecting the countryside’s character into his designs has had a flourishing start since the clothing line first started to be introduced at a Leicestershire country show in 1989, the bright vibrant colourful wellies you see upon display set the benchmark for the British brand, from 1999 joules produced its most loved iconic harbour top selling 3 million to date. The Phenomenal success of joules lead to Little joule being launch in 2008 bringing a vividly colourful outdoorsy, family focused clothing.
This is a brand that I have seen grow within my family for nearly 12 years. A hallway lined with vibrant patterned wellies, bold rich rainbow like coloured rain coats injecting a little fun to our walks, gone are the days of the dull green hues of wax jackets to protect us from the unpredictable British weather, this is a brand we truly believe in and love enough to be seen passing down our generations. As part of Joules’ 30 Years of Making memories campaign, I will share some of the beautiful memories joules have helped create with my family.
Friendships and Motherhood.
Life before becoming a professional bum changer to a champion wiggler that’s more slippery than the average fish trying to escape the clasp of a fisherman’s hands, I have found that once you’ve upgraded your life to motherhood every breath you take will be child-consumed. The last four years of motherhood I barely have had a chance to take care of myself, the housework or the mountain deep washing pile, so that i think we’re running low on clothing, so I buy more clothes then realise the top i had been looking for is 3 foot deep in the washing bin!!
An epic ‘Beksie fault’, guilty as charged.
I know first hand that it can be mentally, emotionally and physically difficult even maintaining a close relationship with the father of your children, on any scale, yet alone hoping for friendships outside the family unit to last.
Specially after giving birth to my son who is currently 17 months old, I didn’t get to experience those hazy, blissful loving first few days of bonding and having lots of company from family and friends. My poor boy spent 6 nights in the ICU unit. I felt myself slowly yet surely sinking deep into the baby blues. I cried every time the father left, I missed being home with my two babies, and I missed being surrounded by sheer chaos and noise. Instead I was in this big spacious white, clinical room with a continuous beep of the baby’s heart beat and oxygen pressure. My boy shared a room with one other baby, whose family popped in and out throughout the day. Which was comforting but during the night I was lonely and just had my precious poorly boy for comfort, who was nursing from me.
I had moved to a new town and felt pretty isolated from my family and friends. Although most of my immediate friends aren’t mothers, for the times they visited myself, the two toddlers and baby I questioned and listened to their adventurous life that I once had. I would love to hear what they was doing, experiencing and what seemed little problems, taking it in joyfully as if I was that young woman in my 20s again. I found these precious girl times was slowly becoming less frequent and harder to maintain, although we text daily it’s not the same.
But luckily one of my old teen friend who is also a mother to a gorgeous 7 year old recently moved too. Pretty much the one thing you can do with a newborn surgically attached to your boob is chat. And chat we did. The closeness you so quickly form with your new mummy friends is beautifully deep.
When your non mummy friends come round and slump on the sofa and kick back and exclaim they’re exhausted. Had a awful day at work, emotionally confused from a heartache drama and still slightly hungover… I quite literally smiled how blissfully unaware they was to how hard it was being a mother to multiple of children and fighting off baby blues, ‘try being in my shoes’.
Not one of my non mummy friends could ever share the same enthusiasm or understand what an phenomenal achievement it is that your little darling slept from 11pm instead of hourly cluster feeding until 2am before waking for their first feed of the night, and most certainly cant comprehend with your obsession with the colour, texture and frequency of your breast fed baby’s poops to your now toddlers poop that quite frankly is the worst smelling thing to date, and know that they will never understand the true feeling of engorged breasts, cracked nipples and comparing the ever changing post-partum bleeding from all your children’s birth, these aren’t conventional topics for a non mummy. To finally find a friend that truly gets why your dressed in your pjs at 3pm, a face that hasn’t seen a mirror to know you have crusty baby vomit on your chin, mascara that’s kindly hugging onto your under eye bags, your top has one wet patch from your leaky boobs, someone that takes pure delight in recalling the birth of your children, it is such a relief to find that you’re not alone.
At the start you get friends you forgot about messaging you like they’re your new Best friend again, completely ogling over your newborn. Your Facebook messages explode, and you gain more likes on a photo than you ever get in a year! The royalty of having a new born soon wears thin, specially when the development starts to change the tiny little bundle of newborn cuteness into a crawling, drooling, climbing human which then discovers its legs and can run before walking, then the chat and boy do they chat!
You begin to feel you will never finish off a sentence and your non mummy friends are looking at you with either sympathy or pity I can’t work that one out yet, it’s a struggle to finish a sentence, let alone a conversation, when your 4 years of age son is asking you the same damn question on repeat, and your replies of ‘just a minute Darling’ turn to a solid ‘WAIT’, your darling daughter who is profoundly deaf climbing up onto something that will injure the girl, yet she’s feral at heart so shes on a repetitive mode and climbs some more making your total trip of getting up and down off the sofa and muting your conversation for the 20th time. And then your baby is no longer in that sleeping, cute squidgy baby stage. It’s a hungry, teething monster, and full on suffering a serious case of ‘man flu’. Maternity leaves come to an end, and your little bubble of long, lazy days hanging out with a tight-knit little group of mamas and babas is suddenly burst.
My then sweet little babies are now energetic, talking rambunctious 4, 2 and 17 month year olds with busy social lives of their own to be maintained at nursery and little siblings hospital appointments as well as my own, working part time and maintaining a family home thrown into the mix as well, meet-ups with these wonderful women are few and far between. And when the childcare stars align we manage a quick catch up over the children’s squeals and wars.
Non of my pre-children friends had babies of their own when I had my eldest and to date they still don’t, I am so excited to spoil their children when their time is right and be their biggest support and helping hand. After all I should be a pro at it by then (Haha!). Whilst they were generous with their cuddles and gifts, but their lives carried on in much the same way. And what was hard for me, mine had undergone a seismic change and I felt as if I was stood frozen observing them through a pane of glass, able to see but not reach out to them.
But soon it won’t be long until they have children of their own, understanding the curfew of 11pm, why we take advantage of the pee in peace on rare odd appearance during a meal out, why I generally have splodges of someone else’s bodily fluids somewhere and that’s just common occurrences. But then they will truly understand how harder it will be to see them, and harder still to actually listen to them. And how hard it was being a mummy on your own. And appreciate the company.
My non mummy friends, We try to meet. But a simple brunch at a child-friendly cafe in town quite possibly could have scared them off having children for life! Sometimes simple things like this, can feel more frustrating than enjoyable, for the both of us, we don’t actually get to talk to each other very much. And I’m consistently thinking two steps ahead of my children’s actions, what will they do next? Who will get off the chair first? Who will launch the first item of food off their plate? They don’t necessarily play nicely together just because they’re siblings . I can be desperate to hear their news, their views on the current political situation, even just to find out where they bought their lovely (albeit non food splattered stained) coat, but I can spend 2 or 3 hours in their vicinity without any of us finishing a sentence to each other because i’m too busy coaxing a two year old to sit still and eat her sandwich.
In reality until my children are schooling, a mere text is a reminder I still exist and I still care. You will soon learn the chasm of friendships in motherhood and take some brief comfort from the fact that we are not alone in this.
It’s sad when who we deem friends, are ones who live in our phones. Merely because the luxury of meeting them face to face is almost as existent as seeing a dinosaur cross the street. In a biter sweet reality, the nature of friendships change and move on. The intensity you once had with teenage relationships with friends does not carry on into adult life. Life viciously pulls you apart in different directions. Those young carefree, late nights that blissfully unawarely turned to early morning drinking sessions don’t necessarily survive geographical dispersion and fledgling careers with 9am or a baby screaming at the top of his lungs at 4am. But it is worth holding on. It is worth making the effort, even when it seems impossible, because when you do achieve the holy grail of a real conversation with a proper friend, the residual feel-good factor can keep you going through an awful lot of splattered pasta sauce, toddler tantrums and extreme tiredness. I’m lucky enough to have a small group of remaining non mummy friends. And when we reunite it’s like we’ve never spent so long apart. Cheralyn and I go back to senior school and I still remember in science class sending her a note asking if she’d be my best friend. We’ve experienced many laughs, experiences, holiday abroad, troubles and changes, boyfriends and heartbreaks. She’s watched me grow as a mother a different path to what she’s chosen, a career driven woman in HR. She’s travelled to many beautiful parts of the world, whilst I nurtured my children. I’m grateful for the times we do have together even if they’re limited. It’s a friendship worth hanging on to, and I’m so excited to see you grow too.
Being Luka-james’, Alivia-Ellen’s and Parker-james’ Mummy has fulfilled my life in more ways I can ever express, but I need the people in my life who still see me as Beksie a 27 year old woman.