Small Steps Amazing Achievements – 25/11/15 #SSAmazingAchievements 

Welcome to this week’s Small Steps Amazing Achievements, as Jane at @OurLitEscapades and I co-host fortnightly, this week it’s my turn.  

Thank you to everyone who linked up last week, we enjoyed reading your posts.
If this is your first time reading this, you can find out about the Small Steps Amazing Achievements linky here, we do hope you join in. Posts can be old or new and please don’t forget to visit and comment on other posts too.

Here’s the badge code if you’d like to grab it:

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Jane and I enjoy reading and commenting on your posts and sharing them via the #SSAmazingAchievements hashtag.

Here’s Jane’s highlights from last week:

“Reading can be difficult for any child to master, adding autism into the mix adds another mountain to climb. Little Miss S is proving she can learn to read with @RTR_Blog

@ElleBea30 has been given a sweet base line that includes 36 things that Mojo can do!

and lastly H has been making a cub scout promise over at @ericahughes

We always find it difficult to choose a few to highlight as the posts linked up are always so wonderfully varied, but you can read them all here.

We can’t wait to read what your children have achieved this week.

Taste Less – Tues 24th Nov 2015

On the whole, T is doing really well in year 8, homework could be attempted with a bit more enthusiasm and care but I remember being his age and not particularly liking homework (those were the days etc).

One topic he is having trouble with is Food Tech – that’s Home Economics or Cooking – because he has a very limited range of foods he will eat, due to his sensory issues.

It’s all about the smell and texture for T.  Anything h-o-t or w-e-t is out, so it’s mostly the dry h-a-r-d foods that he eats and enjoys.  (I’ve done the -.-.- etc so as not to attract strange results in search engines)

We have tried to get him to taste more variety but it’s not gone down well and caused way more anxiety (for him) than any potential benefits would bring.  

Any “what would you like for tea?” questions are met with “the usual” and that’s how we roll.  One meal for him, another for D and then another for Hubbie and I.

We’re both of the opinion that, hopefully one day he’ll want to give something new a try because he wants to and that will invariably open up a whole new world of tastes and textures, but it has to be on his terms.

Anyway, homework.  He doesn’t complete his food tech homework (which is an evaluation) because he doesn’t want to try the food.  Which is a shame because he’s prepared it.

It’s almost as if he’s thinking “well, I don’t want to try it, so therefore I can’t do the homework” and he doesn’t bring the finished product home on the day either because he just has no interest in it.  It falls to Hubbie or I to collect it because a) I want the container back and b) it’s not cheap, T making a lemon cheesecake type dessert from scratch, cream and all.

So, that’s our dilemma.  I’ve kept the school updated but it’s a very grey area for T, whereas he’s a very “black and white, no detour” thinker.

The thing we are extremely proud of though is that at least he’s having a go, actually doing the cooking (or food tech), because it’s with those very textures and smells that he really doesn’t like (chopping and preparing meat, making sauces etc).   That’s a pretty big achievement in our eyes, even if he really does not like the end result.

It’s in the Detail – Mon 23rd Nov 2015

Today – being Monday and frosty – got off to a slow start, literally!  Our walk to school almost at a snail’s pace because D, having seen the (light) frost, was scared she’d slip and fall over.  She didn’t slip but did say to me on the way to school that she’d like to go ice skating sometime! Hmm, we’ll see.

Today brought Beauty Club at school, something she always looks forward too.  She plans out in advance what she’s going to have either painted on her nails or design it herself and today it was:

A Christmas Tree!  Further proof I guess that she’s counting down and excitedly looking forward to 25th December.

No stencils, just D’s own handiwork and I think it’s pretty good.

I find it amazing that D struggles with handwriting, with stacking and beading but then that her hand-eye co-ordination with regard to her nails, badminton, tennis and golf are so good.  Maybe it’s different parts of the brain for the different aspects? 

T was back to school today too, all angst from Friday seemingly and hopefully discarded, which is good news.  He doesn’t tend to get overly emotional or meltdown very often but when he does, it’s normally for a justified reason.

I hope everyone’s day has gone well Jx 

Toons – Sun 22nd Nov 2015

Brrr! With the recent (and not unseasonal) chilly weather, it really feels like Christmas is on the way.

Last Monday, in a bid to avoid D seeing (and worrying about) the atrocities in Paris, I’d switched over to a music channel.  Christmas music was playing and D said “Christmas? It’s not Christmas yet, this all seems a bit too early!”

She’s right from her viewpoint, Christmas to her is the school trip (they’re going Snow Tubing!), parties, the Elf on the Shelf, decorations and then the day itself.  

From a parental viewpoint, it’s obviously a tad more (!) but it’s so good to hear her get excited abut the Snow Tubing (she is, very!) and looking forward to Christmas day, because she didn’t for years.  She didn’t understand it was anything other then just another day. Albeit with lovely looking wrapping paper that she much preferred to anything inside.

That’s in the past, onto today and it was time to bring out the Christmas cd, in particular this image of a cheese-fest of a song, which always gets D dancing.  And she did!


Out of earshot of T though, because he just does not like music.  At all.  I wish he did, it would give us something to talk about.  Different strokes for different folks (as it where).

Back to it – Sat 21st Nov 2015


Yesterday’s day off definitely seems to have helped T, both physically and emotionally.  A chance for him to take his foot off the busy routine of school and get himself better, shake off those anxieties and his bug.

He headed off to football this morning in that bitterly cold wind, moving on from it as he does, which is positive.  Sometimes niggles can stay with him a while, he’ll remember football decisions or remarks made by a teacher for far longer than he should, let them fester and then protest about them, long after they should have been dismissed.

The “Beautiful Game” is very important to him, always has been.  The picture at the top of this post is T at aged two, he’d be out in the garden scoring goals into the net in all weathers, I think he was just about to take a shot there, working out his angles etc.

His team won today 2:1, I had wanted to go and watch but, after giving D the choice of watching T’s team or having a snuggly onesie day in the warm, she sensibly chose the latter! 

Hopefully T will move on and put his tears of yesterday behind him.  

I don’t like making comparisons between the two schools but the easier-going way of doing things at D’s SN school is far removed from T’s secondary with its 1400 pupils, the bells that go off signalling a change of lesson and that busy, busy playground at break and lunch.

He’s done so well to fit in, to conform, to mask any emotions during the day so far, it’s inevitable that it will slip sometimes.  Nothing changes the fact we are mega proud of him, our football-loving, always questioning, always absorbing facts and stats T.

100% now out – Fri 20th Nov 2015


T won’t probably realise it but his 100% attendance since the start of year 7 (he’s now in year 8) was broken today.   Not that in the grand scheme of things it really matters.

He’s been off school today, a mixture of not feeling well and the most major anxieties I’ve seen in him for a while.  Our boy doesn’t cry unless he’s really, really upset/tired/anxious but he did today.  Big, big tears which wouldn’t have eased if he’d gone to school, more than likely would have got increased as he walked and then waited for the coach.  Any banter on the coach wouldn’t have been met well either.

It’s tricky, he’s at that age when hormones and a desire to start to maintain his privacy but he’s also very very good at masking his feelings.  I think school sometimes forget his autism diagnosis until the metaphorical pressure cooker that is our T blows, like I say, he’s very good at masking emotions until such a time as he can’t anymore.

It’s done him good – both physically and emotionally – to step back from the routine and have a calmer, less stressful day.  
Hopefully the weekend will see a lessening of T’s emotional and physical angst, kicking the ball about at his football game will help, it usually does.

I thought D wouldn’t be happy about heading off to school with the knowledge that her brother was at home, but she was fine, the fact that she had a flute lesson today probably helped.

Her pom-pom winter hat made an appearance today as it was a bit “Brr!”, not as much as it could be but still enough for pink noses to appear Rudolph-like on our walk.  Which led D to wonder what a good name for a female reindeer would be? Ruby? Dearie? 

Have a fab weekend 😀

This week’s #WOTW and #R2BC

I’ve cried this week.  

Cried for the families in France who’ve lost their loved ones, cried for France because it’s just so unjust that a country previously renowned for its culture, its fashion and its history is now known for those terrible, terrible events of not just last week, but recent months.  Husbands, wives, sons and daughters set off for an evening of football, a concert or a meal last Friday, not knowing that many wouldn’t return.

How can one fraction detest another so much that it does this?  Both overseas and to people in its homeland, people who then risk treacherous journeys over land and sea, not knowing if they’ll be welcomed at the first piece of soil they land on.

Football can be such a diversive game, put someone in a red football shirt next to a blue and they’ll fall out over games or referees decisions from seasons ago; but this week, the whole world must have watched as two countries stood unified as they sang the national anthems of both sides, one singing their support for the other.  Who can’t have been moved by that?  By the sight of those teammates who were set to play a game when the terrors started, who’ve lost relatives, who must have felt scared just getting on to a pitch again and it would have been perfectly justifiable to feel that way.

It’s felt an emotional week – my one word to sum up this week – with:

Tears of sadness for France.

Feelings of immense pride that D’s Annual Review went well, that she sat in on the meeting for the first half, that she’s doing the best she can – yes, there are anxieties and limitations, but we are immensely proud of her, for being her.

Frustrated type feelings as our young teen just sometimes won’t listen to the advice we’re trying to impart.  To let him know we’ve been teenagers, that we understand the pressure cooker of emotions he feels every day.  Again, that we are so, so proud of him for doing his best, for being him but it would be nice if he took on board what we say, sometimes.

Annoyed feelings as our silly Nest smoke alarm decided to put on a “emergency, there’s an emergency” performance on the evening I was at a meeting, so Hubbie had to contend with a very anxious D and an irritated T over our theatrical smoke alarm.  There was no smoke, nothing.  The alarm spent the night in the cupboard under the stairs – under the “naughty step” if you like – and seems fine today, the pesky but very necessary thing.

And then today, Hubbie and I laughed, laughed and laughed some more at this Vicar of Dibley clip of a f*rting duck.  The clip linked up is very obviously taped from the TV but it’s so funny.  I never thought I would laugh until I cried at this, but I did.

I’ve included the windy duck clip because sometimes it takes something very silly to make you think “okay, yes it’s a rubbishy scary world at the moment, but look around you, look at your family, be grateful that you can laugh with them, cuddle them and get on with things.  Because many people in the world can’t.”

Small Steps Amazing Achievements linky – 18/11/15

This week’s Small Steps Amazing Achievements linky is over with Jane at @ourlitescapades but you can always link up below as the code synchronises.

It’s lovely to see your children growing up through your posts, thank you so much for continuing to link up, here’s my highlights from last week:

“Parenting can be full of “am I doing this okay?”,  add autism into the mix and those questions double or more @animperfectmum shares her very honest thoughts as does @mrssavageangel 

There’s some great family bonding on holiday in @joolero ‘s post and new skills learnt too 


A hopeful post from @HappyLittleHugh on his new glasses”

Here’s the badge code if you’d like to “grab” it and all of last week’s linked up posts can be read here:

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We look forward to reading, commenting and sharing what your little (or not so little) superstars have achieved this week. 

Mog’s Christmas Calamity – Bookworm Wednesday 

Have you seen the Sainsburys Christmas advert yet?  We love it, as I’m sure many do.

It features Mog and her family this year and there is a bit of a Mog-related disaster but all is well in the end.

We’ve always loved Mog books here, they’ve helped explain vets visits to D (with Mog and the V.E.T.), and in Goodbye Mog they’ve assisted with the loss of family pets.  So, the Sainsburys advert has been very well received, I have to admit that it’s my favourite so far and there’s still a few weeks until December 25th.

Sainsburys have released a tie-in book, with the wonderful illustrations familiar to Mog fans:

It’s £3 and at least £2 from every sale will go to Save The Children to improve child literacy in the UK.  Isn’t that great, a Christmas advert with a charitable purpose and, in the age of gadgets and tablets, anything that encourages a child to pick up a book, is a winner with me.

There is also a cuddly Mog soft toy available, maybe.  I say “maybe” because it’s selling out fast and I haven’t been able to buy one.  Grab one if you see one in-store because, apart from sellers wishing to make vast profits on eBay, it’s not readily available.

Enjoy the book though, it’s a lovely little read and with the charitable element, it’s a good idea for a stocking filler.

Annual Review Time – Tues 17th Nov 2015

It doesn’t seem like a year since the last one, but today saw D’s Annual Review.  A time to sit down with her teacher, together with the Head Teacher and, for part of it, D herself to talk about her strengths, where help is needed to improve and objectives.

It was the first time that D joined the meeting for a length of time, as she’s now in secondary, students are encouraged to join but obviously given the option.  She was unsure whether she wanted to before we dropped her off so it was lovely to see her in there.

It started with D showing us all some photos she’d chosen from the various class activities.  She squirmed and twisted as she spoke in a tiny voice, with lots of prompts but we were so pleased that she’d make the choice to come in.  It’s a big thing, not only being in a strange meeting room, but having your mum and dad there, plus your teacher plus the head teacher – anyone would find it daunting! 

The main message from D’s objectives was that of confidence – it’s an ongoing challenge for her, it has been for years – that it’s okay to make mistakes and sometimes we learn from them (ie spellings) and that, if you’re not happy with a situation within (for example) the playground, it’s okay to say “no” or to walk away.

The confidence (or lack of) issue within activities which are not adult-led have caused D many anxieties this year.  She’s been unable to say “stop it” when another child has bullied her and also lacked the confidence to tell a trusted adult afterwards.  It’s then snowballed in her mind and we’d have an emotional outburst at home time.  

D had gone back to class by this time so we could all discuss this issue, it was a relief to know that school are taking it forward (in terms of the teacher of the other child is aware) and, as it’s anti-bullying week, there will be focus on learning to say when you’re not comfortable, telling a trusted adult etc.

After D’s review last year, I felt absolutely terrified that we’d be told that SN school was no longer appropriate for her, we were told that there may come a point where they’d get as far as they could with her but that her capabilities may overtake what the school could offer (she loves to read and can write, but finds it a challenge).  

I was so scared that she’d be moved against our will (and remembering this, in addition to everything else that’s challenged us the last few years, it’s no wonder I headed off to my doctor for some help roughly about this time last year too).

Today there was no such talk, whilst her intellectual capabilities may be just a few years below her peers, her emotional ones are way below that.  A bittersweet relief that there was no such mention, she (playground anxieties aside) is so settled in her school, she looks forward to going in, heading up to class and it’s always reported that she goes in with a smile (apart from after injection time).

To have any fleeting thoughts that, when I was D’s age, I’d be walking 45 minutes to secondary school with friends,  Saturdays were taken up with spending pocket money on records or lipstick and a Slush Puppy, would be futile.  

Whilst our girl won’t be doing any of that and certainly not in a busy shopping centre, she’s happy, she’s settled and she knows she’s supported and loved and that’s what’s important for her.

I found this image online today, D is very visual so I’m going to print it off and laminate it for her – it might help, it might not – but it’s worth a try.