Thank you so much for following our journey so far.
The purpose of sharing our journey and normalising the trials and tribulations of motherhood, will hopefully help other families to realise they’re not alone and we’re all in this together.
Social media portrays such perfection, so we focus on striving towards something unrealistic. We alienate our feelings, potentially producing self doubt.
Here on this platform, I aim to share the nitty gritty parts of motherhood. And also share Livy’s hearing journey. It’s not been plain sailing, and the ship has gone over board many of times. But we keep pushing on, through the stormy seas.
Almost instantly you’re greeted with the comforting familiar aroma of the sea salted breeze. An essence you feel the need to inhale your lungs worth. As the rainstorm battered against our coats, putting our trusted wellies to the test. There was physically nothing that could, ironically, dampen our spirits.
Since before lockdown we regularly visited the beach. A place where Livy feels at peace, where her free spirited nature is let free and roams excitedly amongst the golden sand as the sun’s beam, glitters the shells along the shore, she’s not confined by the pressure of society’s expectations.
With a bucket and spade to hand, the sand between her toes, watching our daughter explore the beach is like watching a candy floss overdosed kid at a rollercoaster park, adrenaline pumping through their veins in anticipation of when the rollercoaster will take them for the best ride of their day! Except, Livy is high on sea air, and a belly full of salt and vinegary chips.
I have not kept it a secret, how incredibly demanding life at home has been during lockdown. I mean, all of my previous escapism hide outs have been located by my children like little hound dogs cornering their prey. The kitchen no longer provides a minutes peace whilst I savour the caffeinated burst of energy. I no longer go toilet alone and have to endure a full conversation with my son with my daughter nested contently in my lap. The cupboard I once turned to, where I would secretly gobble an entire chocolate bar in world record breaking time, is no longer there and has been gobbled by little vultures instead. And my partner can no longer hide at his desk miles away from home to concentrate on his work.
Returning to the beach was extremely therapeutic for us all. All in individual ways. The four walls which we have been cramped into for 12 long weeks, we could now take a good breath of fresh air and exhale all of the tensions and frustrations we’d been harbouring and maintaining at a fearsome bubbling boiling point.
The say watching the waves of the sea, provides a meditative state to our mind and body. And I honestly think we needed weeks worth of meditation to recoup our once stable minds. How we’re going to adjust to civilisation is beyond me. I think my mind is quivering, rocking back and forth, boarder line being declared clinically motherhood insane. Haha!
For the children, being at the beach doesn’t just involve splashing overly excitedly like a energetic spaniel in the sea. The sand brings hours of endless play for them, I found this incredibly informative information about the benefits of playing in the sand, yes as parents it means we painfully endure trying to clear it off the children before setting off home, I’m pretty certain the feel of gritty sand lingers in my mouth. And will potentially take a month to remove every grain out the car however…
Sand is an open-ended medium that encourages learning no matter the skill or cognitive level of the child. The open-ended nature of sand play means children can direct their own learning.
Playing with sand promotes creativity, exploration, and problem solving skills. It develops cognitive skills by teaching mathematical concepts and encouraging scientific investigation. It also promotes artistic flair through creative expression.
Sand play stimulates physical development by building fine and gross motor skills and refining hand-eye coordination as children build structures out of the sand.
Through sand play, children practice their social skills as they cooperate, take turns, share ideas, and communicate with other children.
I hear what you’re thinking, how does one family regularly visiting the beach, as much as someone excitedly doing their fortnightly home bargains trip not become remotely bland, surely the novelty wears thin for the two boys? I think when you find something, which becomes your safe haven from reality it never exhausts itself. With a bucket full of enthusiasm and a spade here is what you can do:
– Build a sea creature. Will it be a turtle or dolphin? Maybe a mermaid?
– Search for treasures. Use your imagination, seashells, weed, pebbles or driftwood and crabs!
– Dig a tunnel to the sea. The whole family can participate in this, even engage other families once’s restrictions are lifted. Interaction and social skills at it’s finest!
– Dig a hole or build a dam! Again an activity the whole family can participate in.
– Make a necklace or bracelet, search for pebbles or seashells that have holes in to thread through string, make a bracelet or necklace to keep.
– Picture making. Whether this be drawing in the sand using your fingers, spares or material from the shores. You can also collect items to make a picture at home or a create an earth jar.
– Put those buckets to the test and see if you can create the biggest sandcastle town.
– Build a Sandman, I hear snowmen are so last year and so seasonal!
– Footprints in the sand. Who’s is the biggest? Who’s is the smallest? How many can we make in a line? Get the little ones brains ticking.
– Explore the cliffs, with paramount safety of course. Talk about the wildlife that live in the cliffs? Talk about the colours, how did they get there?
When visiting the beach, it follows the same routine every time, a routine we follow religiously for our daughter to ensure she knows what’s coming next and minimise any potential EPICALLY forced break downs and frustrations. Children with or without SEN need routine in their life and our day trips are not without an exception.
When time approaches to head back to the car, something as parents our sigh is spontaneously mixed, like your favourite passionfruit martini, with content but also a heavily mix of relief, one of Livy’s SEN being risk taking combined with the barrier of clear effective communication due to the inability to access sounds. A simple day out can leave us utterly exhausted as she keeps us on our toes. Usually Livy’s care is allocated to me whilst dad gets away slightly with the boys… I’m pretty sure all you see is a purple haired lunatic dashing to and from the seafront and shore, keeping this white curly haired dot safe from harms way.
Livy needs clear and consistent signs to ensure she understands what’s expected of her, we sign ‘car’ and ‘goodbye’ wave to the sea and point to which direction we need to go. This doesn’t always go down well, as you know she’s beyond resilient to the point of stubbornness, yet we stay consistent until she follows suit. With or against her will.
As we make our way back to the car, Livy without fail signs cold, as if she’s just been exposed to artic temperatures whilst in 29 degrees heat, even when she’s not physically cold, this is her way of saying she wants to get dressed into something comfy like her onesie. As we attempt the impossible task of disposing all sand off them, in relatively quick time and into fresh comfy clothing we pack up and set off… a screech follows, putting all vulture like seagulls to shame as they scavenge for those salty scraps, follows a father enthusiastic sign for food. How could we ever dare to forget to finish our trip with those mouth watering, salt and vinegary chips. A smell so delicious you can almost taste the fluffy chips, from the local chippy. I highly recommend ‘Henry’s’ in Hunstanton. The best, most polite smiley welcoming staff and all locally sourced products.
It’s that time of the year, when you find yourself aimlessly searching sites at ridiculous o’clock in bed for that perfect gift.
Whether this is for dad, grandad, step dad here at Mothering Silence we’ve got your needs covered. All under one roof (website)!
The First Time Dad
How adorably cute is this ‘Jellycat’ teddy bear with a personalised jumper? This little bear is part of the friends of JOULES, a lovely company called That’s mine. Perfect for that dad to be and first Father’s Day gift to keep for many years to come.
The Workaholic Dad.
Crisp laundered oxford shirt, perfect for that workaholic dad. The versatile shirt will be styled and worn for many occasions, pair with navy chinos for a smart casual look in the office, slim/skinny fit jeans and blazer for date night or Cheltenham races.
The Flame Master Dad.
As part of friends of JOULES market, this amazing BBQ rubs and spice tin by SPICE KITCHEN will be sure to satisfy those experimental taste buds!
The Sporty Dad.
Look good on and off the pitch with this gorgeously soft rugby style shirt. The navy and white stripes make this easily styled with jeans or chinos and shorts in the summer.
The Never On Time Dad.
He will never miss a single date with this buttery soft leather watch, timeless style face with gold tunes.
For the Dad who don’t like a fuss this white classic fit or slim fit shirt comes in a range of colours, to suit the important man in your life. Simple yet effective.
The Bold And Brave Dad.
The bold brave daring dad that like their shirt to match their personalities. Joules’ in house designers produce the most amazing ‘out there’ prints!
Cheap And CheerfulDad.
For a little gift on a budget these cheap yet extremely cheerful Boxers will pop a smile on his face.
The Bearded Dad.
There’s a huge variety of beard products available on the friends of JOULES market place. This product by NORSE will definitely give many a beards the pamper they deserve!
The Green Finger’s Dad.
For all those that love to dig deep in the garden, these perfect boxes come in herbs, chillies, vegetables, super greens and gardens with plenty more to choose from! Super adorable too!
The Stylish Dad.
Lastly this is a personal favourite, waterproof yet stylish field Coat. The coat speaks for itself, the design and colour is extremely versatile Chuck over a chunky knit in the winter, effortlessly stylish with a white laundered oxford or Woody t shirt and a pair of jeans. Style up or down depending on the occasion.
All products are available from WWW.JOULES.COM
This is not a paid AD or sponsored in anyway. However I do work for JOULES.
Family life gets tough sometimes, you know the days where we grit through over grinned teeth to our partners, those days where your stomach physically turns over at the sight of the over multiplying washing pile, your ears are ringing from the concert worthy noise projected from your little darlings lungs. And the million of questions on repeat from your overly bored, wishing he was still at school, son. It’s potentially your 5th thought of the week, to order a take out, rather than cooking from the week worth of contents in your fridge just to spare yourself from washing a few dishes up.
Then chuck in the trials and tribulations of running a family home with a child of SEN needs. I know what you’re possibly thinking, my daughter looks ‘normal’ right? My daughter looks ‘abled’. When presented with the word Special Educational Needs, you automatically assume it relates to serious or chronic illnesses…
Livy has the following identified Special educational Needs;
– Profound Bi-lateral Sensory Neural Loss (profound deafness)
– Visual difficulties
– Significant delays in speech and communication. (Less than half her chronological age)
– Delayed cognitive skills
– mild/Moderate delay in social skills
– significant delays in fine motor skills
– mild/moderate delays in gross motor skills
– significant delays in self help and independence
– some sensory seeking behaviours have been identified including Livy’s tendency for thrill seeking, which can lead to dangers for her.
When your child has some what ‘invisible’ needs, meaning that Livy presents in a well health, abled child, you don’t always notice her hearing aids, when our challenges are invisible to the human eye, our secret pain and joy is almost alienated to those who don’t truly know and understand what it’s like, only being in a similar circumstance could you comprehend our day to day challenges. This is incredibly isolating.
There is no denying our home life is incredibly demanding, life in lock down means we’re under the constant pressure without unwinding time. Half the time I feel like bursting into tears and I’m unsure if this is because I’m stressed, frustrated or emotionally exhausted. Some days I don’t feel myself almost like I’m disconnected from my feet. I simply float, getting myself through each hour. We’re so busy trying to meet our children’s needs, we forget our own emotional needs and my partner who is working from home, is already burdened. I don’t think he would want to wipe away my salty tears, when I don’t even know why they’re falling myself. I’d prefer to sink into a pizza, in hope of swallowing my feelings and masking them with the pleasure of the smokey taste of pepperoni.
There are many times in the day that I will escape into the kitchen, which almost opens its arms wide and quickly as a kettle boiling gathers all my broken pieces, from the first sip of coffee I’m pretty certain those collected broken pieces are temporarily glued together again. As an often overwhelmed mum, I will hold my hands up that there is a consequence for having so many parenting demands, is that mine and the children’s dad’s relationship has had more strikes than a baseball bat. And often left feeling bruised and dented from the ever going shots of a ball.
I’ve looked at my daughter during a full on show stopping melt down, trying to rack my brain, as if a little admin Beksie is pulling out files upon files, as to what could possibly be wrong, her aggression and frustration can be volcanic explosive, and as hot lava runs down, almost like her hot salty tears. I can never understand her frustrated pain, although deaf myself I do not suffer any inability to effectively communicate, I cannot begin to comprehend how she must feel and the anger against the world she holds.
During this pandemic I have been able to press pause on my much loved job, with the absence of pressure from work and places to be, with such minimal time, I mean who decided that 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes to a hour, 24 hours to day was enough to divide between three children, run a house, keep a relationship afloat, maintain a career and juggle medical and educational appointments, which to have come to halt. The lack of pressure has become welcomed and replaced with quality 1-1 time. There’s noticeable changes within Livy’s behaviour when she’s outside exploring. There’s a sudden calm in her tornado, whirlwind nature. She’s at peace as I am too.
Being a outdoorsy family, surrounded in the open where we can see all shades of green until the skyline meet and amongst natures finest comforts. We almost take a break from our confined lives. And mainly from ourselves. For me personally, sat by a lake watching the ripples of the stream and focusing on listening to trickles, provide a sense of relief, for once I’m not talking about my daughters diagnosis’ or medications, I’m not listening to more tasks and advice surrounding my daughters care and needs. It’s just peaceful to us both to inhale fresh goodness and exhale the frustrations which home life can bring.
There’s something so therapeutic about rainy days. The multitude of shades of grey, coolness of the breeze, that comforting fresh smell during rainstorms whilst wet droplets gently roll down our rosy cheeks.
Lockdown confined at home has started to become a kingdom of boredom.
If you have a child with sensory seeking behaviours, rain is your best friend which fulfils all those seeking needs… and her smile says it all.
For most parents the very thought of your child rolling in puddles or stomping in them in till your child’s heart is content, going into lakes to feel the ripples against their welly boot, exploring the texture of mud against their skin, tongues sticking out to feel the rain, mud pies, digging for those poor little wiggly worms, building streams in mud… honestly I get it, if Carlsberg made nightmares, this is potentially in the top 10.
The reason why playing in wet muddy environments, increases the levels of serotonin in our child’s brain, which is an endorphin that soothes, calms, and helps our child to relax. When our children are regularly exposed to messy muddy play it may help reduce a child’s vulnerability to depression!
So I guess what I am trying to say in short, playing in mud makes our children happier!And don’t we all need a little happiness during a global pandemic?
So pop those trusty rubbery wellies on, grab your favourite shower proof raincoat (My favourite rainproof clothes are JOULES) and have a wonderfully wet adventure with your children.
When something beyond our control changes life as we know it, it’s how we deal with what we CAN control that shapes our days.
From 23rd March, we all as a nation woke the very next day full of apprehensive uncertainty, most of us waking up finding ourselves being an entirely different parent from the one we was, the day before. For the majority of us, we became teachers over night, as we tried to adjust to a new routine of working from home channeling our inner worries.
As COVID spread quicker than wildfire through our communities, taking no favour. Thousands if not millions of parents embraced their new 24/7 roles. On day one we saw a blur of rainbow coloured Pinterest worthy routine charts plastered all over our Social pages.
Mother’s of all ages prepared to tackle this change, like all mums we just adapt. But it wasn’t long before the heat turned up and pressure in the pan started boiling. COVID began to weaken our mental health, we appeared to dangerously compare ourselves more than ever to the sunshine glowing mums we see on social media, warmth radiating of their smiles through our screens. Our lack of ability to cook fluffy looking fairy cakes drizzled deliciously in white as snow icing and glittering sprinkles. Fear crept in as we realise our inability, lack of patience to guide and teach our children strategies we left behind the moment we stepped foot away from school. ‘I’m not a teacher, I haven’t trained to be one.’ But we forget for the last 4 years we was our only children’s guidance. We nurtured and taught our children to roll over, crawl, talk and walk. We taught our children to express themselves. We taught our children life skills and met all those milestones alone. We instantly became victims to undermining our parenting.
Like our great grandparents time, we now too are learning how to parent in a global crisis. Unlike them, their war was known and our war is silent and the enemy is unknown and unidentifiable until it claims its next victim.
Much similar, when Livy’s hearing was diagnosed as Profoundly deaf, life as I knew it changed. The way my parenting had to change for the preparation and resilience, it was a familiar feeling, as the parent you are today is not the one you have to step into tomorrow as. Our ability to change is not as reluctant as our veggie refusing toddler.
As we’re forced to sit at a table, to a dinner party we wished not attended with a host like COVID, as it serves up some pretty phenomenal changes to our everyday living, grief of lost ones and the economical stress of business’ being forced to temporarily pause. As we take our first mouthful of a recipe of disaster, acknowledging and accepting our feelings and stresses is the key to seeing through our days. We’re not alone right now, it’s very much ok to admit we’re struggling as we’re all sat at the table finding ourselves experiencing more emotions than we bargained for. And potentially a few greying hairs.
As each day blurs into the next, with only a cuppa or a wine in hand to identify if it’s morning or night, I hope you too are beginning to believe in your abilities of how incredible we are at adaptation, suddenly, your other problems feel weightless and we let go of the little things.
I mean, there was a time I sworn to myself that if I ever became a Mum, my child wouldn’t be seen out the house in a princess/marvel costume. Now my daughter struts her sass in multiple of princess Dresses and both sons rock a Spider-Man costume Spraying anyone that crosses their path with invisible web. I have adjusted to functioning on less sleep imaginable. All those cheeky drinks on a ‘school night’ ain’t got nothing on a newborn cry for boobie milk on every passing hour. I’m sure we’ve all imagined about being that insta mummy who feeds their children organic veggies, yet our darlings demand chicken nuggies with chips being their only form of veggie, we all know who won that war!
From being a adult without a care in the world and within minutes stepping into the world of unknown, Parenthood. You’ve already nailed this skill of change and adaptation.
Keep believing, even if it is to get through to bedtime for that chilled glass of Rosè. Tomorrow is a new day.
We successfully got dressed before 9am and sat at the table with colouring books for the younger two and a handwriting workbook for Luka-James. Coffee to hand feeling smug, I’ve got this shit under control.
Crayola crayons blast through the air quicker than a spitfire, closely followed by said workbooks. Coffee stained jumper and 3 kids trying to pin each other down, life depending on who gets first dibs on the iPad.
Lastly here we discover how to create a mummified mummy… with those precious last scraps of rationed loo roll.
Monday home schooling goals failed. But there’s always Tuesday.