Small Steps Amazing Achievements – 28th Jan 2015 #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 are Jane’s highlights from last week:

*Its been a slow process but Nick has made amazing progress visiting the dentist at @kiwimumdi

Archie is making progress on his autism journey with @gymbunnymum

We also had some lovely update posts from @mamamakedopush, @BecomingaSAHM and @Lianne84 it’s great to see how everyone is getting on.”

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.



Bubbles! Tues 27th Jan 2015

It was all a bit fractious yesterday, not the best start to the week.

Tuesday’s are our more easy-going evenings before after school clubs later in the week and tiredness start to affect both T and D.

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The above has helped tonight for D (and me, tbh), there is something about a bubble-filled bath that can’t help me make you feel happy. There’s been plenty of shape-making with the bubbles and then puffing them away, it’s all put a smile on D’s face.

Strangely it reminded me of the time we were recommended to try playing with shaving foam with D, we tried it and she didn’t like it at all, said it was “too messy” and she wouldn’t go near it, this from a girl who is a right little mess-monster at times!

Perhaps it was because the foam wasn’t dry, bearing in mind she loves (dry) sand play and I guess the bubbles – unless you’re scooping them up rapidly – are dry (ish) too, aren’t they.

Not sure, anyway, the objective of a calmer, happier evening was achieved *virtual thumbs up* and she loved the mermaid packaging on the Matey bottle too.

I hope everyone’s day has gone well Jx

Ummm Ow! Mon 26th Jan 2015

It was all going so well.

Monday morning was…decidedly sluggish but okay and T practically bounced off his school bus this afternoon, eager to share a bit of a funny moment from PE.

The walk home was good-natured too, no snapping or sniping from T to D and vice versa. All seemed good, brilliant considering it was the start of the week.

Then it changed and I was reminded just how unsympathetic life can be.

D zoomed in for a cuddle and, still having her trainers on, managed to kick my big toe. A bit of an “owww” moment but I’ve learned to mask my feelings so as not to make any situation worse.

Carrying on, making their tea, I didn’t realise my toe was bleeding everywhere. Thought I’d stepped in something wet to begin with (unlikely), D came in, saw the blood and had a meltdown. It’s very difficult cleaning up, managing your child and wondering about an injury, all at the same time.

She has always extremely visual and reacts adversely at times, so that didn’t assist with the “moment” but neither of them showed any concern for me, it was all about how they felt upon seeing the yuckiness.

That concerns me for future relationships that either of them may have, that lack of empathy and concern for others.

Needless to say, the afternoon went a bit downhill. D retreated to her headphones, T well into sarcastic snapping mode.

Tomorrow is another day, I hope everyone’s day has gone well Jx

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Operation Bunny – Sun 25th Jan 2015

There is something more important in D’s life than cuddles, me, fish and chips and even Minecraft.

Bunny. Her faithful companion. It was all too evident just how important Bunny is to her when Bunny disappeared for eight (very long) days and nights a while back.

Bunny is clutched tightly on the way to school and then placed in her school bag before we go into reception; Bunny is always with her when drawing, reading or Minecrafting, tucked under D’s arm. Any trips out have to include the Bunnster, quite simply they’re inseparable. Every picture I have of D includes her.

It’s not all sweetness and light though, if D is annoyed or upset then Bunny is often at the forefront of frustrations, thrown across the room or on the floor, that toy is extremely patient.

Recently Bunny has been looking a little worn, a bit tired and really quite threadbare. I’ve bought a replica but D refuses to accept it, saying that I can have that one if I want.

The one thing that has been really concerning me is Bunny’s neck, she’s very frail, the thought of that detaching whilst we’re out and losing it…doesn’t bear thinking about!

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Time for operation Bunny!

This bit was a worry – would D accept the revamped Bunny? Would it be too “different” for her? As mentioned, she doesn’t accept alternatives.

After a lot of thought, Bunny had chest surgery. Because she’s been clutched and “loved” so much, practically every seam is worn, especially the arms, legs and sides, the tummy area was the only place where it wasn’t totally worn.

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D was out of the room during this, thank goodness, so she didn’t see her favourite toy being cut, stuffed and stitched. The clothes hide the stitching.

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For the first time in absolutely yonks, Bunny can hold her head up. D has accepted her and all is well. Phew!

Most aim to lose a bit of weight after Christmas but Bunny has put some much-needed ounces on. Hopefully her additional stuffing will keep her going for a while longer.

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Linking up with Magic Moments and What’s The Story.

Letting the light in with Farrow and Ball – part 2

In my first post on our review of Farrow and Ball paint, I answered some specific questions posed by Mumsnet.

This second post will show our results and our feedback on the paint we received. I have chosen a specific couple of walls to feature here as these are the least “busiest”, as the room painted was our lounge/dining room. A room which is used most in the house, it’s a place to relax, to eat and to work.

I am a bit of a purple fiend, in all its variations and shades. It’s very much a case of “love me, love my colour”. Any paint chosen would need to complement and reflect this.

We also have an issue with a distinct lack of natural light, the back garden is South-facing and fantastic in the Summer but the front of the house doesn’t receive a great deal of natural light or warmth.

My challenge therefore for Joa was to suggest a colour that would not only enhance the light there was but also had a degree of depth that would not be overpowered by artificial light.

The colour she suggested (and I’d had my eye on) was Ammonite – from the Farrow and Ball website – “a colour of fossils found on the Dorset coast. A perfect contrast to the slightly darker Cornforth White. White & Light Tones Undercoat.”

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(Image above from Farrow and Ball)

Here’s a “before, during and after” of our clock wall:
(I did say that I liked purple!):

Before:

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Undercoat applied and Ammonite going on:

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Artificial light:

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Natural light:

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This above wall was the darkest colour to start with and it required two coats of undercoat, everywhere else just had one.

I was impressed with the coverage and the way that the Ammonite seems to change in differing light, sometimes it’s a blue tone, sometimes more pink/green and grey.

Another way I’ve tried to enhance light and create a perception of a lighter room is by having see-through furniture, glass desk/tables and Perspex chairs. These work very well with the finished colour.

Our desk and table before:

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And afterwards in artificial light:

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Ammonite is one of the colours under Farrow and Ball’s neutral range, click here to see the neutral colours and complementing paper/wood paint etc.

And our family feedback:

Hubbie: “it’s enriched our walls, an illusion of more light within the room”

D and T: “it’s good, looks nearly green”.

So, there you go, a new light-enhancing colour for our lounge for 2015. Attending the presentation has made me realise that “white paint” is not just “white”, there are many tonal variations, all of which can enhance a room setting/exterior.

Thank you to Farrow and Ball for their advice and Mumsnet.

“I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network, a group of parent bloggers picked by Mumsnet to review products, services, events and brands. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity”.

My Sunday Photo

Bitsey has parrot aspirations….

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The Game – Sat 24th Jan 2015

It’s unfortunate that the result for the first football game that T’s played in for a while (due to soggy pitches etc) ended in a loss, quite a large one for T’s team.

But that is the nature of “the beautiful game”, isn’t it? Win, lose or draw, there will always be disappointment for some.

And he was (disappointed). He spoke on the phone afterwards and didn’t want to say the final score, it was a very stilted one-sided conversation but he isn’t really a talker on the phone (unlike D, who will phone Hubbie up and start with “hello Dad, it’s your daughter here…”). He was up against quite a few of his school friends in the opposing team as well, something they’d talked about at break times and no doubt will next week.

T is mature enough to move on from this, he watched enough football to know that these results happen, especially when maybe not everyone is as focussed as others.

Big T-induced cuddles when the menfolk got home though.

D, after the emotions of her school week, has had a chilled day. She had a little smile on her face when she asked what the day was this morning and she’s been happy to watch her favourite Minecraft video (she must have contributed to the viewing totals vastly but never gets tired of it) and read.

I hope everyone’s day has gone well Jx

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Boundaries – Fri 23rd Jan 2015

It’s difficult, pre-teen times with autism.

Because of the need to take differing approaches with T and D with regard to admonishing them and guidance, it’s also becoming far more apparent that their learning and understanding styles are also very different.

We had an example tonight, I had to explain to D that when someone says “stop it” and they repeat it, without smiling or laughing, it’s not a joke and whatever she may be doing needs to cease. Immediately. In this case, it was encroaching on another’s personal space and boundaries.

She didn’t react terribly well, I knew she wouldn’t. I didn’t want to mention the incident when she’d had to say “stop it” for fear of raising negative emotions but that would have been a good example.

With T, we can be very clear about what is appropriate behaviour and what isn’t, he also hears some unsavoury (shall we say) language when he’s watching a local men’s team play football and is very aware that what they may say to each other shouldn’t be repeated. But he knows the words, will sometimes ask what they mean (thanks men’s team!) and always spell it out so D doesn’t pick up on it. Phew!

With D, it’s more difficult, more emotion involved, emotions that may be held onto for a long time, hours/days after the original incident has passed.

I guess we just keep on, keeping on. Gently reinforcing the message of when particular behaviour is and isn’t appropriate. Tricky when you have a tween whose social skills (and lack of) are very underdeveloped in comparison with her peers (not that I go down that route very often).

I hope everyone’s day has gone well Jx

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My Reasons To Be Cheerful and Word Of The Week

I’m glad it’s nearly Friday, life throws us curveballs occasionally (Ha! More than that!) and we’ve had quite a large one this week.

“Keep calm and carry on” would definitely be applicable.

I could choose any number of words for this week but I’m going with:

Soppy

And here’s why:

1. Mr Bluecrisps

A quirk of fate brought us together and we joke about the fact it’s nearly been 15 years and people serve jail sentences for less time.

Joke is the key word there because we seem instinctively to know what the other is thinking, finish each other’s sentences and certain scenarios can make us giggle like a pair of primary school children. I never want to lose that.

Yes, we have huffy moments, we’re both as stubborn as each other and the last word is never just that, but snuggling up together watching Broadchurch or similar is just lovely.

To quote a song which I absolutely loath but the words apply “I am your lady and you are my man”. (Mr BC knows to switch that over if it pops up on a music channel!)

It’s not easy being self-employed, especially after Christmas but Mr BC works hard to earn a crust or two (just as well as T loves toast so much).

2. Parents evening

We had D’s today and her teacher is very pleased with her. There are still confidence and bottling-up of emotions issues but we are working together and that is such a positive feeling.

3. 1:1 time

D attends an after school dance club once a week and T and I catch up in the coffee shop before we collect her. He’s growing up fast, finding his own sense of humour and a certain amount of attitude. Cuddles are very rare but very welcome when administered.

I guess I’m just in a soppy and grateful kind of mood.

How has your week been?

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Tears – Weds 21st Jan 2015

Today didn’t start well.

As anticipated yesterday, this morning was peppered (a very generous dose) with anxieties over D attending after-school club today. Pulling on me and demanding cuddles as we walked to school, I don’t give a fig who sees us having a cuddle, D is my priority.

Luckily – as D has to go upstairs to class by herself – her teacher was rounding up another child so I was able to mention her anxieties.

It’s hard to detach myself when she’s like this, wondering how she is and just how much she’s bottling her emotions up. It’s quite bittersweet because whilst she’s at after school club, it gives T and I a chance to chat (if he feels like it) over a trip to Costa, something we don’t get much opportunity to do, have 1;1 time.

And it definitely was bittersweet, because D burst into tears as soon as she saw me, right in the middle of school reception, big sobs and tears that streaked down her face.

I hadn’t been in the usual place. Hubbie had collected us and we’d hit a bit of traffic. So I was two (or so) minutes late. She usually walks down from the hall and sees me waiting, I hadn’t been there.

Big, big cuddles.

In time, she was able to tell me that she’s been worried, she thought I wasn’t collecting her, that she’d be “locked in school all night”, that she’d be forgotten.

Poor D. Lots of reassurance that that would never have happened, that staff would have called, that we didn’t mean to be late.

Still more cuddles needed, thank goodness T was in quite an upbeat mood and didn’t add to D’s angst with some asides, they wouldn’t have helped.

Much later on, she’s calmer, still cuddly but settling. She hasn’t wanted to talk about whether she’d actually enjoyed the after school club or not, it provokes more anxieties after me not being where I usually was.

It’s so difficult, unexpected change isn’t it? Not so much the event, but the aftermath.

I hope everyone’s day has gone well Jx

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