Me and my girl and boy, raising awareness and acceptance of autism

Archive for the ‘Magic Moments’ Category

Singing to my baby #MagicMoments

Today’s #MagicMoments with Jaime at oliversmadhouse.co.ukis an oldie (time-wise) but a goodie.

My oldest son is now 19, he left home just over a year ago and is establishing his own way forward in life.

It took two miscarriages and some Clomid (with first husband) before C came along. I began to wonder if I would be one of those women who wouldn’t be blessed with children. Here I am years later, having had 3 successful pregnancies, I am SO grateful.

C was nearly two weeks late and when he eventually appeared he had the cord wrapped around his neck. It was my one and only hospital birth, I couldn’t wait to get home and start motherhood.

That euphoria didn’t last long as, being the main wage earner, I had to go back to work when C was under 3 months old. It was tiring, it was extremely hard to leave my longed-for son, but it had to be done. Made even harder by the fact that my OH at the time was very prone to just quitting whatever he was working at at very short notice (it was no real surprise when he decided to leave before C was 3, saying he “couldn’t take the responsibility anymore”).

The song that got me through that first summer was Love Is All Around by Wet Wet Wet. Click here to watch the official video.

It was number 1 for weeks, if not months, and whenever it was played, I would sing it to C and rock him to the music, him smiling at me.

Those days are long gone but that song still makes me think back to the summer of 1994 and my little son, smiling in my arms.

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Finding its place – #MagicMoments

It’s Monday and time to share another Magic Moment. Jaime at oliversmadhouse.co.uk is having a well-deserved holiday this week so Vicky at vevivos.comis this week’s host.

Here’s this week’s moment:

For two years there have been some painted purple shed panels in my back garden. Panels that were carefully painted and should have been put together, but other priorities kept taking over. Panels taking up space but the children learned to live with them and D would say “I’m just going to play near the Unfinished Shed” – meaning she’d use the base (already in position) to lay out the contents of her bag.

She had plans for the little purple shed too, an area where she can admire the contents of her bags and maybe do some drawing.

Why purple? Well, I am a bit of a purple-loving fiend, but generally only in accessories. We have a high proportion of OAPs in our village and there’s some who wear purple trousers, coats, scarfs all at the same time, good on them but I do wonder if that will be me one day…

(Having said that, there is the most gorgeous purple maxi dress in Phase Eight at the moment, a definite case of window-shopping only!)

Back to said shed, after a good year of nagging negotiations and deciding whether we could justify paying someone to put said panels together (Mr Bluecrisps, bless him, is not a natural DIY-er), it all happened yesterday.

There they were, Hubbie and his mate – who D calls Tap-man or Shed-man depending what he’s come over to do – scrabbling around over the little roof with nail tacks, refusing to look at the instructions until absolutely necessary and generally being alpha-males.

D, having slept badly for a few nights beforehand, was extremely fragile yesterday and didn’t cope well with all the upheaval but it was worth it.

Eventually it was done. The men folk strutted around, proud of themselves and I put the little finishing touches on that would appeal to D.

Did she approve? She did. She loves the butterflies and dragonflies on the outside and the space inside. It’s going to be used throughout the summer, that’s for sure! There is talk of a Mumma-D sleepover in there in the summer holidays too!

I’m so pleased it’s finally done and she likes it, her brother does tend to monopolise the trampoline so it’s nice that there is somewhere in the garden for D, the fact it’s purple is a bonus!

It’s now a “Finished Shed”!

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“Hello…I love you…” #MagicMoments

Ooh, it’s Monday after a loong half term and time to link up for another Magic Moment.

My one this week is very recent, happening last Monday. It’s made me think “awwwww” every time I remember it and it’s about my little man, T.

T, for those new to my blog, has high-functioning autism. He finds showing affection difficult and has problems with reading emotions in others, but will happily burble football results, match facts and anything football-related until the proverbial cows come home.

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Unlike his sister, D, who is very emotional and you can instantly tell how her day has gone at school – she will either bolt (bad day of stored-up emotions) or rush at me like she’s bowling and bear hug me (good day) – T will contain his emotions and silently withdraw from a situation and then go and bounce whatever has upset him away on the trampoline.

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He doesn’t cuddle unprompted, if he wants a cuddle he’ll stand very close to me and wait for me to notice and cuddle him. He also never says he loves us, our evening routine is that he’ll put his head on first Hubbie, then me, for separate hugs, we say we love him, he doesn’t say it back and then he’ll say “Night Dad, Night Mum” (always that way round, always) and then he’ll go off to his room.

D and I have the beginning of a song we sing to each other, it’s Joyride by Roxette.

It starts “Hello, you fool, I love you, come on, join the joyride”.

Except when D sings it, it’s “Hello, YOU FOOOOOL (leaning right in to my/Hubbie’s face), I love you, come on, join the Jollyride” and she’ll be laughing away, making a winding motion with her hands. She’ll sing it to me, to Hubbie and we sing it back. It’s lovely.

Here’s the magic moment (finally you think):

We’d been out to the park for a picnic and had lots of fun, lots of family laughter, oodles of fresh air.

We had a pit stop in the coffee shop, freshcatos for the men, water for D (it’s all she’ll drink) and a decaff skinny mocha for me.

T picked up the triangle-shaped menu thingy that was on the table and sang “hello, you fool, I love you” through it to me, giggling.

It was lovely, it was magical, it was fun. It’s something I’ll never forget.

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#MagicMoments – Adding to his trophy collection

The last week has whizzed by, it’s Monday and I’m linking up with Jaime at oliversmadhouse.co.uk for #MagicMoments.



My Magic Moment to share this week is when T, my football-loving little man, won a divisional championship trophy with his team. He plays every week in an under 10’s local team. Here he is, looking very, very proud at the presentation evening.

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Football is his life, his obsession. From the time he could pull himself up, he was bouncing on the balls of his feet. At the age of 18 months, he could name all the Premier League badges and he basically lives for football – playing it, watching it and writing his own little match reports.

We walk past a house every day on the school run that has a window sill packed with trophies and T always looks at the window as we go past, wondering who all the trophies belong to. I always say to him that he’ll have his own little trophy cabinet one day and he will, I’m sure.

As well as being passionate about wanting to know everything about football, he’s a very good little defender/mid fielder, left footed too. He plays to support his team and will anticipate which position he needs to be in in advance, which is pretty good for a ten year old.

Did I mention that T has high-functioning autism? Children on the spectrum can have issues around turn-taking and team play. T, because football is his obsession, takes his game very seriously, sometimes a little too seriously but he does his absolute best.

We all went along to the presentation evening and although D was a bit over-whelmed by the amount of people and impatient to see her big brother get a trophy, we clapped all the other presentations, the little happy faces telling their own proud tales.

T’s team finished top of their league, in Division Two. An evening to remember for all the boys and I’m ordering a commemorative print from the evening for T, in the form of a personalised magazine cover. He absolutely devours his Match magazine every week so he will love it!

And he’s started his own trophy and medal window sill too. He doesn’t like to close his curtains now. It’s not as full as the sill in the house we walk past every day, but T is only 10, he’s got a good few years to catch up.

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(I should mention that Hubbie is a coach for T’s team, extremely proud and reliving somewhat of his youth through the team!)

Very proud of our little man. We all are.
Thanks for reading Jx 😘

#MagicMoments – The Birthday Girl

I’m linking up with Jaime and Magic Moments today, for a very current one, it’s happening today, it’s D’s birthday.

As regular readers will know, D didn’t recognise her birthday as being anything special up until a couple of years ago. It was just another day. That’s all changed!

She’s been counting down ever since the start of May and who can blame her? She’s got six or seven years worth of excitement to make up for.

Ever since the day she was born, 12.27pm 9 years ago, she’s made me proud. I’ve cried more tears than I ever knew I had in me, both of joy/pride and sorrow. Sorrow only because when she was diagnosed I knew very little about autism, they were more tears of fear and grief for the child I wouldn’t have, rather than the gorgeous child I do.

Ever since we started on our new journey as autism parents, my mantra has been “focus on what she CAN do, not what she can’t” and it’s the best way to be.

Anyway, back to today, this lovely girl’s birthday:

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She burst into our room early this morning, a happy, smiley 9year old, told us that she loved us and then fell back to sleep! When she woke up for the second time, it was present time, amidst the giggles.

Everything was greeted with enthusiasm, her cards were “the best” and she wanted me to share these cards because she loved them:

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Her presents were speed unwrapped and received enthusiastically. For someone who likes unicorns, cuddly soft toys and My Little Pony, these fitted the bill perfectly.

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And this was her main present. I’d wrapped it already in its case so she opened it and said “pink, that’s lovely, what is it?”. Overjoyed completely when told it was her own iPad mini, loaded up with her favourite apps but NOT automatically connecting to wifi, emails or anything like that. Even though she’ll be using it for set times and within sight, I have to enforce boundaries.

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She’s absolutely delighted with it, obviously very familiar with her favourite apps and how to work it and she let T have a go on it too, which was lovely. He has to wait until November for his but it will be worth the wait.

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A happy girl dropped off at school, complete with an M&S chocolate cake for afternoon snack time, she’s going to have a good day.

When I think of everything D has achieved in her first 9 years, I couldn’t be prouder. She has made me a better person for sure. I’m not that self-absorbed career woman I was – even though I miss it sometimes – I’m happy with my children, my man, my home and that’s the magical part.

Thanks for reading Jx

#MagicMoments – Big Bo Peep

It’s Monday and I’m linking up with Jaime for #MagicMoments.

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My #MagicMoment occurred yesterday, during homework time. The post below (I wrote in February 2012) will explain more but we’ve gone from having no expectations for D to be able to read, to her reading books like the one above.

“Big Bo Peep” was a very funny book, although D didn’t “get” much of the humour, she read it with loads of expression and it was lovely to hear.

Reading – is there a right way? (Feb 2012)

When D was diagnosed with autism and associated issues at 4.5 years old (just over 3 years ago), we did not know what to expect in terms of her academic skills.

We were handed some leaflets, told about a support group – the details of which never registered because we were both crying – and basically left to it.

I took her back to mainstream nursery the next day and then the meetings started re getting her assistance at school (that will be another blog topic).

D was still expected to learn to read phonetically, the mainstream way and, as in any nursery, we had books to take home and read. Of course we were already reading to her at home, the house is FULL of books, I always think you can never have too many books. Knowledge is power etc.

Then the issues started, D would not read phonetically and would not attempt to sound out words. Same with writing, if you spelt out her name it had to be a hard “D” and definitely not a “du” sound. Which didn’t go down well with nursery/reception class.

I tried not to worry, unlike NT children there is not a “your child should be writing their name by..”, “your child should be reading level.. by age..”. That doesn’t and shouldn’t exist with autistic children, each child has differing abilities.

About a year ago, I did notice that she would memorise the words and in a lot of cases, you only had to tell her the word once and that was it, imprinted in her brain.

The one thing that really helped – apart from being extremely patient – was buying her a Vtech Storio. This has many activities but the one that really worked for D was that it highlighted the words as it read them aloud – all very visual.

She has come along with her reading so much in the last year, I would really recommend the Storio. The first time she read me one of her bedtime stories was a proud tear-inducing moment.

I now have to be careful what I text or tweet because if she’s next to me and in the right frame of mind, she will read it (no more arguing with Hubbie by text!)

It’s almost like Field of Dreams “build it and they will come”.

Thanks for reading Jx 😘


#MagicMoments – Joseph


The past week has flown by and I’m linking up with Jaime at oliversmadhouse.co.uk for Magic Moments.

My moment this week is a very recent one, a school-wide production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

What’s so “magic” about that? You might ask. Well, the school in question is a special needs school, my daughter’s school.

For anyone to stand up on a stage and speak/sing can be nerve-racking at the best of times; add anxieties into the mix, specific anxieties that it’s a room full of strangers or that your parents are there – why are they in school? They don’t “belong” in school, they “belong” at home – and there is the potential for times not to run smoothly.

But run smoothly it did, thanks to the countless rehearsals, the patience of the support staff and the atmosphere.

Even though it was evening performances and everyone was obviously tired, lines were read, dances were danced, songs were sung (in between yawns).

The whole school were involved in one way or another. For example, every class contributed different strips of collage colour to the huge display coat hanging above Reception.

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Children who weren’t in the main performance had dressed up as corn or stars and their pictures were shown as accompaniments to songs.

My D was a narrator and part of the chorus, something unthinkable in mainstream as anxieties meant she couldn’t participate in any assemblies or plays.

The whole performance was a truly magical reminder of how far she and the other children and young adults have come, in the right setting for them, with the right support.

When the headteacher got onto the stage at the end, I thought she would burst with pride.

Here’s D in her tshirt, which she was allowed to keep, it has “cast 2013” on the back and everytime we look at that it’s going to be a great reminder of the show.

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Thanks for reading Jx