Small Steps Amazing Achievements – 29/6/16

Welcome to this week’s Small Steps Amazing Achievements, as Jane at @ourlitescapades and I co-host, the Linky is back with me this back.  Can you believe it’s nearly July with the end of term looming? 

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:

<div align="center"><a href="" title=“Our Little Escapades" target="_blank"><img src="" alt=“Our Little Escapades" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

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:

“Xavier has been surprising everyone and trying lots of new foods at @LucieAutismMum

@sarahmo3w enjoyed her daughter’s class assembly about the civil war

Monkey has taken to flying with @minnowmep

and lastly, H-Bear is celebrating his first birthday at @mamamakedopush

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.

Commentator D – Tues 28th June 2016

No Proms performances for D today at school and, as a result, we’ve had a quite relaxed girl after school, it’s been nice.

Part of our late afternoon routine is watching this:

D absolutely loves it, part of her fun is waiting to find out which Chaser will be taking part and hearing Bradley Walsh’s descriptions of them – he is a bit cheeky! – and D regularly giggles at the fact he regularly calls The Governess  by the nickname “Frosty Knickers”!

It’s also very useful for basic mental maths as she’ll add up any successful contestant’s totals and attempt to try and work out how much each would win.  For example, she worked out tonight that, with £14k in the prize fund and two players, each player could, potentially take home £7k.  It gets more complicated for her with more than two players or potential fractions, but we’re pleased she has a go.

Recently I downloaded the game as an app, much to her delight and she gets extremely enthusiastic if Hubbie or I have a go.

This is where her commentating comes in as she sits as close to the phone screen as she can, echoing the phrases that Bradley Walsh uses at each part of the show and getting really rather excited, even when we get “caught” by a Chaser.

I “won” once (just the once so far) and thought she would combust with joy!

(Shame it wasn’t real money!)

It’s a time where her love of “learnt script” does come through but we can’t help but smile at our eager girl as she commentates and tries out some basic mental maths.

She has said she’d love to go and watch the show, hopefully one day. 

Masking It – Mon 27th June 2016

If you’re reading this as a fellow SN parent/carer, you’re probably very familiar with the fact that our children can mask emotions at school very effectively and then offload once home.

It’s something that I find it hard to make the teachers understand at times, that we’ll have anxieties from D all through an evening and a night, a really stressful walk to school and then she’ll go in and that mask comes down and she’s “fine”, until 3.15pm, that is.  

Well today, D “masked” things very well….literally.

I found it a tad ironic that the tshirt she was wearing today (above, from Next, it’s fab) had the hashtag Happiness when the wearer seemed anything but.  

Anyway, onto the first performance for D in Proms week and it was a class performance of the Star Wars Imperial Match.  All the children were wearing masks and this meant that D could hide behind this – and her hoody which she insisted on wearing zipped up, all day – whilst on stage.

It worked! And we had a bit of a cuddle and mask swap afterwards:

The mask stayed on as she came down at the end of school and on the way home, which was anxiety-ridden as our usual way is a mud-fest again.

One performance down, three to go.  I know she won’t have the security of a mask in the others but hopefully she’ll relax more, having got the first one out of the way.  Fingers crossed. 

Calm before… Mon 26th June 2016

We have a nervous D tonight, she has a busy week coming up at school and she’s getting worried about it.

This coming week is Proms week, which is always amazing to go along to, it’s a week-long musical event, with class, group and some individual performances.  Parents can’t go along to everything but are invited to whatever their child is in – for D, this means performances tomorrow, Weds, Thurs and Friday.

It’s always very humbling to go along and see all the children and young adults, who might not be able to get on to a stage in a mainstream setting.  It’s something to really appreciate and be grateful for all the hard work and encouragement that the teachers and TAs put in to each session.

She’ll enjoy it, I know she will, once she gets past her worries.  

And …. the following week sees D’s trip to the Olympic pool for the Panathlon final (again, nerves are starting to build up), so today needed to be calm for her, after our fun filled time yesterday.

So, we planted the flowers she’d grown from seeds in Gardening at school and brought home on Friday, pretty aren’t they?

Calm before (hopefully, any mild) storm.  Can’t wait to watch the class performance tomorrow, tissues may be needed – they usually are.

Wheeeeeee! Sat 25th June 2016

Today has been a day of fun, a time in which we blew away stresses for a while and just went “wheeeeeeee!”.

There’s D on the zip wire at our favourite place to visit, a SN playground about half an hour’s drive away.

I’ve mentioned it before, it’s a wonderfully inclusive place where the children feel secure to head off and play and their parents relax in this knowledge too.  It took me a good few visits to accept this, I’m so used to hovering in the background, waiting for either D to get anxious or react to something and then the enviable fallout afterwards.

Doesn’t she look happy?  If that picture had sound, it would have the sound of laughter.  There was more laughter as Hubbie and I had quite a few goes in it too, arms out, legs up as we whizzed along!  A really good stress-buster and much needed.

I’ve been quiet the past few days on here because I’d had some bad news on Wednesday, which left me extremely upset and just needed to step back from blogging and therefore prevent myself revisiting those feelings for a while.   It usually helps to “blog it out”, it wouldn’t have done this week.

Basically, I was all set to have surgery on my feet in mid July, the consultant had approved this gone and through options, I’d researched the before and aftercare and the pre-op appointment had come through (for this week).  More importantly, T and D were aware and understood that their Mumma would be a bit incapacited for a while, that was vital for me, that they understood.

Then I had a call to say that a panel – without even looking at X-rays – had rejected the funding for the op and it wouldn’t be happening, I was advised that my consultant would be appealing and told that I should too.

I’m afraid that it not only upset me because it would be so beneficial for my physical and emotional wellbeing but it brought back hidden memories of D’s SEN statement being rejected at the first attempt.  I felt very much at the time that she was just seen as a budget figure, without consideration of her wellbeing and I felt the same this week with regards to me.

I wasn’t a happy bunny at all but sought advice and my part of the appeal has now gone in, together with some gruesome photos.  So, we wait and see.

In the meantime though, today brought smiles and laughter, a chance to catch up with other SN parents and the joy in seeing our D extremely comfortable in a very accepting environment, it was a tonic that money just can’t buy.

One more picture, from the ball pit:

Sports Day – Tues 21st June 2016

This happened today:

Our delighted girl.  A warm, smiling D with her “silver” medal after her team came second in the obstacle race relay, which was a lot of fun to watch.

She really wasn’t expecting a medal, bearing in mind that this was her first secondary sports day but, get her onto that track and the competitiveness rose up within her as the determination shone through on her face.  Well done D, she was the last relayer in her team and definitely helped to make up time.

That was this afternoon, a couple of hours of track races, in which the pupils sat in their “house” groups and a shed-load of good-natured cheering and clapping was heard.

This morning saw individual events such as gym equipment work, javelin, ball throwing and scootering, the latter being fab to watch as the children whizzed around a circuit, some showing dare-devil streaks but all mindful of each other, which is amazing considering they are all SN.

Our girl went around the circuit rather daintily and sang as she did so!

At one point this afternoon, she said to me “lots of people have taken my picture today, why’s that?” (She meant the school photographers) I replied that it was because she had been smiling all day, really tried hard at every event and looked as if she was enjoying herself, which wasn’t wrong.  

She did her best, everyone did.  It was a humbling experience to see every pupil having a go, some very obviously supported by TAs, others in wheelchairs, but they all did it.  

A fab pride-inducing day and the medal – to add to her collection – is an unexpected bonus.  

Sporting – Mon 20th June 2016

Mr Bluecrisps is watching the football downstairs, a certain England match.  It’s part and parcel of our life, he’ll watch football with T and D and I will have girlie chats upstairs because, as she’s always reminding me she doesn’t like football!

We’ve had some sporting type talks too, our girl and I, it’s her Sports Day tomorrow.  This was postponed from last week due to the rain and, as the rain pelted down this morning, I did wonder if there would be another postponement, hopefully not.

It will be D’s first secondary sports day, although she’s taller than a lot of pupils already, she’ll be one of the youngest on the field, having turned 12 a month ago.  

We always emphasise to her that “it’s not the winning but the taking part and having fun” and she’ll agree but …. get her on that field and that competitiveness roars up in her.  That and the need for a medal, she does like medals!  In previous years, she’s got so over wrought and worried that she won’t finish in the top three, that she’d attempt to crawl away, under spectators chairs, which was a little bit embarrassing for the people sitting on them, hopefully she’s outgrown that aspect as she’s likely to get stuck – unless she snakes it.  Fingers crossed.

It’s always a brill atmosphere at sports day with masses of cheering and clapping, last year the tug-of-war rope snapped mid-battle, which was unexpected but a lot of fun.  I think, looking back, that the postponement of this year’s contributed to a few jitters last week, hopefully they will all be abated tomorrow.

A proud pic from last year to end:

His Day – Sun 19th June 2016

Father’s Day here in the UK and yep, I think Mr Bluecrisps has enjoyed it.

The best part of the day for me was seeing the card that D wrote for him, she’d used joined-up writing which we hadn’t seen her do before and had drawn a little trophy on the inside of the card with “Best Dad”.  It’s the unexpected little things that make moments so memorable for us.  A flip side of the coin though was that she’d tired herself out with writing Hubbie’s card so was very reluctant to write one for her Grandad.  It was done without much good grace eventually.

T’s card made us smile too, he’s not a demonstrably affectionate chappie and had written “keep up the good work”, it’s nice to think that we’re appreciated (or Hubbie is, as taxi driver to football matches etc anyway).

Today also saw a new look to our garden, the climbing frame was sold and collected yesterday as the children have severely outgrown it and, we now have 80% turf (not the best pic from upstairs) which will be fab for my post op recuperation this summer, if it happens as scheduled.  We’ll see.

The fun of the fair – Sat 18th June 2016

It was D’s school’s fair today, a change from usual in that it was outdoor activities, thankfully the rain stayed away.

D was really keen to go today when talking about it yesterday, but as the time grew nearer for us to leave, those anxieties set in.  She wanted to go, but didn’t.  She wasn’t keen on going back to school at the weekend.  She didn’t want a coat in case it rained, didn’t not want a coat, wasn’t sure about walking our usual way to school etc etc.

So, we got there about an hour after it started, which was okay as it was probably less busier than it would have been.

Things she enjoyed doing:

After some reluctance – because it was at a teacher – throwing wet sponges at someone in the “stocks”.  D, with her brill hand-eye co-ordination, got a shot right in the face!

Throwing beanbags at tin cans, again that hand-eye skill came in handy.

Having a look at creepy crawlies (tarantula, snakes, lizards and an albino hedgehog) and these:

Demonstrating how super speedy she is on the climbing frames and that, nope, she hasn’t got my fear of heights:

And face painting.  This again caused some anxieties as she wasn’t sure about having face paint on with her glasses, so, after some encouragement and help getting a nervous D there, this happened:

It was out of routine but well worth going, for the new experiences it gave her and a chance to see her happily in the playground setting.

We agreed that tortoises are pretty cool too.

Keep on – Fri 17th June 2016

I’ve felt a bit numb today, Kate (@kateonthinice) described it as a feeling similar to after David Bowie died, following the murder of Jo Cox yesterday.

 Her face smiling from the front pages of newspapers for an awful reason.  It’s tragic to think of the family, colleagues and friends left behind.  She seemed so passionate, so full of life, with such promise as an MP, she believed in what she said, unlike some.

A moment of madness by her murderer.  A nation left stunned.

I hope that her murderer provides answers, nothing that justify what he did but, he owes that to her family, to her children who must have gone off to school expecting to see their mum smiling at them at the end of their day, poor things.

I hope a “mental health” diagnosis isn’t given to her attacker.  He didn’t leave his home that morning just happening to carry weapons, there was intent.  People with mental health disorders aren’t routinely killers, they are very aware of what is right and what is wrong.  Yesterday’s attack has no justification, nothing “right” about it.

At D’s concert last night was a fellow SN mum, she’s a local councillor.  She’ll keep on, keeping on, we all must, for Jo Cox’s memory and all that she stood for.