Just Keep Swimming

This post is a belated celebration but one that I need to share. I am aware that I don’t share a great deal of Wrigglers achievements but believe me there are many and a day doesn’t pass in which he fails to make us proud.

Wriggler has always been somewhat afraid of the water. Don’t get me wrong he likes being in the bath and paddling in the shallow water at the pool or the seaside but anything more than that is out of the question. He wouldn’t even put his face in the water and refused to take his feet off the floor despite me or his Daddy holding onto him for dear life.

Me and hubby have tried all sorts to get him to go to swimming lessons but it’s always been a non starter. I longed for him to be safe in or near water and its something that’s always played on my mind. Come year 4 at school though and swimming is part of the curriculum now.

Wriggler made it clear he didn’t want to do them. I knew that I didn’t have to make him go and that I didn’t have to sign the authority but I knew this would be good for him. I felt sure it was the right decision. Boy did he pull on every heart string to make me change my mind. The night before the first lesson he was terrified. He cried and shook in our arms about it. He was worried he’d be on his own in the shallow end because his friends could swim. Despite reassuring him that there would be many of his friends at his level though, he was scared to death about the water. We and his teacher the following morning reassured him all we could, but I still left him in tears that day.

Over the weeks though he started to enjoy it and he loved coming home to tell us about his new abilities in the water. The night before apprehension slowly began to disappear.

A full school term later and his enthusiasm for swimming is now off the scale. Whilst he doesn’t yet swim without arm bands or any great length for that matter, none of that matters. In the New Year he was awarded his Confidence Award. Something that a year ago I would never have envisaged. He well and truly deserves this accolade after all the hard work he has put in. Whilst private lessons are still off the cards, we are working on that. I don’t care if it takes him another eight years to swim properly. That fact that he is no longer afraid of the water is a small step and an amazing achievement! I could not be any prouder of him.

Well done Wriggler.

~

swimming

The Best Things In Life Are Free…

I’m writing this with an empty heart, I’m all on my own having just spent a lovely half term week with boys. Back to reality with a bang!

Last weekend though, I had such great plans for us but as usual, it being only weeks since Christmas, finances dictated and ruled. That was okay though as the boys were quite happy to chill and take each day as it came.

We mined. Lots! I’m sure I’m not the only one whose little people are into Minecraft… *whispers* well so am I 😀  We all join the same game and work together and then fight over the only diamond sword we manage to make, Bruiser usually gets it though, he steals it from our chests while me and Wriggler are mining. It’s actually quite amusing, he waits till we are down in our mines and then you can see his gamertag move across the top of your screen as he makes his way to our house on the surface and then its a race against time to get out of our mines and up back to our houses to stop him!

The boys love spending time with their uncle, he’s really down with the boys these days, he even has Minecraft too now and had a lesson from the boys! In the morning though we all went with him and Zeus the family dog to the woods. It was nice to blow away the cobwebs out in the sticks, quite literally! It was good for the boys too to challenge themselves on the near vertical muddly slippy hills that took no prisoners. We made it all in one piece though even if it was with mud up to our ear lobes!

We lost hours in ‘their world’ the lego, ninja, space, make-believe pirate adventures that are something else let me tell you. Everything gets mingled together. Wriggler has quite the imagination, Bruiser goes with the flow. The remnants of those escapades are still littered around the house which makes me realise I really should start tidying up, ha! Maybe tomorrow 😉

The boys spent some quality time with their Daddy over the weekend too while I escaped with a lovely friend; lunching, hand bag shopping and cinema going (yes I have a social life!). He took them on a bike ride up the Trans Pennine Trail. They love it down there.

the best things in life are free

In between all that, we’ve partied, we’ve visited Great Nan, a much-loved Aunt, the boys delivered their valentines gifts, cuddled, crafted, giggled and generally had lots of family fun.

At the end of any time together we always ask the boys what they’ve enjoyed the most. Sunday night while having cartoons and a cuddle before bed we asked them what their favourite bit of the week was. Bruiser enjoyed the bike ride most. Wriggler gave us his top three; no.3 the walk in the woods, no.2 the bike ride down the TPT and no.1 spending time together!!

It brought tears to our eyes. There was me feeling guilty that we hadn’t done much, or gone very far but the reality is; it’s not about what you spend on them, it’s about the time you spend with them that means the most.

Five weeks and counting to our next school holidays…..

 

Its All About The Teeth

It’s been a long time coming. Quite honestly I never thought we’d get here. Since he was about eight months old Bruiser has been going to the dentist, twice yearly in fact for his checkups. Despite all the visits, the dentist has never seen his teeth…. until now!

There was no promises or bribery, there was no ‘do you want to sit in the chair Bruiser?’ It was all his own doing, all his own choice and he did it all by himself.

I don’t think there is much else I can say, the picture does all the talking…

dentist

Makaton Gave My Son A Voice

Talking, communication, gesturing, social interaction; all of them skills that come very easy to us and something that we all take for granted. But for Bruiser my youngest son, this has proved to be something of a challenge.

These difficulties didn’t take us completely by surprise however as Bruiser had a very difficult start in life. He was born very premature and suffered with various complications. We were advised he would encounter a lot of difficulties in his life most likely in the form of cerebral palsy and severe learning difficulties. Bruiser proved his Doctors and Consultants wrong though. Physically he hit all his milestones and although he seemed ‘odd / different’ to us at times he developed what we can only describe as normally.

Bruiser took a while but eventually started babbling when he was eleven months old. We along with his health professionals just put the delay down to his prematurity. Just after his 1st birthday, he said his first word. The words and sounds then came thick and fast and by the time he was fifteen months he could say ‘mam mam’ for mummy, ‘tsir’ for t-shirt, ‘bable’ for table and what was our favourite, ‘ibib ibi’ for iggle piggle to name just a few. In total he had a vocabulary of about 50+ words. He even knew the colours on the bottom of the sky menu which he obsessed over and would repeatedly say, boo (blue) bee (green) ded (red) eya (yellow) EVERYTIME the menu was on.

Then one day along with some of his physical abilities it all stopped… no words, no babbling, no sounds, nothing. Just nothing. It was like he suddenly just didn’t know how anymore. All he did was cry and scream. A LOT. He couldn’t communicate with us and he didn’t appear to understand us. Looking back now I know this was profound frustration with his sudden inability to communicate.

After numerous consultations with his paediatrician (thank fully because he was in the system due to his prematurity, we had someone to go to), he was referred to a Speech and Language Therapist (SALT) and also to the Community paediatricians as together with other behavioural problems that were starting to become very evident, it was believed he might be autistic.

Bruiser was on the waiting list almost a year before we got an appointment with a SALT. That was the longest most frustrating period of our lives and something that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Bruiser couldn’t communicate and although we soon figured out he could understand us when we used visual clues ie pictures and physically showing him; he couldn’t tell us anything. He couldn’t even gesture. Every time he wanted something it was a process of elimination that got him what he finally wanted, if indeed we figured it out at all. It was awful. They say that parents know their children and their needs instinctively, but we didn’t, we couldn’t and I will tell you now, it’s absolutely heart wrenching.

A friend suggested one day that we try Makaton to help Bruiser interact and communicate. He already watched ‘something Special’ and tried to copy the signs so, I borrowed her books for a short time. Because we didn’t really ‘get it’ or know how to sign as such, disappointingly we never got off the ground with it. It was on one of the very initial appointments with Bruisers Speech and Language Therapist at our home (he was almost two and a half now), that she noticed how involved and interactive Bruiser was with the Something Special programme and in particular Mr Tumble. She decided there and then to try using Makaton as a form of communication.

I will admit that we were very hesitant to give it a go. We wanted our son to talk and we were of the opinion that he never would if he learnt to use sign language. The speech therapist though understood our concerns and immediately put them to rest. She made us understand that Bruiser may never talk again or at least for a long time. So we had to find a way for him to communicate, even at a very basic level to ease his frustration. She showed us how to use some basic signs over the course of several weeks and explained that we use the ones that will get him his needs and wants met first and foremost and see how we get on.

It wasnt easy by any stretch of the imagination, it was bloody hard work if im completely honest. We needed patience in bucket loads. Although he tried to copy the signs he saw on TV, we struggled to get him to give us any eye contact at all or even look at our hands to sign with him. In the end, we took the approach of sitting across from each other and we did role play while he played nearby. We kept it simple, one of us would sign and say ‘chocolate’ the other gave the chocolate. Chocolate is Bruisers vice, always has been, so we knew this would grab his attention, and that it did! He started watching us, watching our hands. It didn’t take him long to grasp that our little ‘hand movements’ got us chocolate. That was it, we had his attention and he wanted to have a go again and again and again. Because he struggled with his fine motor skills and refused to look at us, we helped Bruiser initially (when he allowed it) and we slowly guided his hands and asked for things like a drink, chocolate, car, food.

I will never forget the look on his little face when he started to realise that we understood him, instead of the frustrated ‘I’m going to scream really loud now’ look that we had come accustomed to. He smiled the biggest happiest smile that lit the whole room.

A whole new world had suddenly opened up for us all and most importantly Bruiser. On a very basic level, he could now tell us he wanted a drink or something to eat, he could ask for a toy car, chocolate, eventually something on TV. He could even tell us he wanted a bath…

Bruiser signing to bath

Bruiser signing ‘To Bath’

and a rocket on bonfire night…

bruiser signing rocket

Brusier signing Rocket (age 2yr 9mths)

He would point to the colours on the bottom of the Sky menu as before but this time instead of the silence waiting for us to tell him the colour, he would sign the colours repeatedly again and again.

The earliest signs we taught him were simple ones that’s didn’t require a great deal of skill on Bruisers part; drink, eat, car, ball, bath, chocolate, cake, then as his confidence and ability grew so did his need to learn and know more and more. His SALT loved working with him and coming to visit him, she even commented once that he was one of the most proficient signing children she had worked with. Now the foundations were in place we used SALT strategies to further his communication for example Match and Stretch, all the time using Makaton while talking.

A good six to eight months into using Makaton, his verbal communication started to re-emerge. He started to make sounds again, babbling to start with. Then the same sounds with the same signs again and again. He was associating the signs with sounds. Words albeit not very clear ones then began to come again thick and fast.

(This little video captured some of Bruiser’s early signing and words. If you can see past Wriggler flexing his pecs, Bruiser is in the background watching Something Special.)

It wasnt just Bruiser that was learning Makaton. Me, Hubby and big Brother Wriggler could all now do the basic signs to communicate meaningfully and effectively with him. Life was suddenly no longer as frustrating for any of us. It was happier. We were all happier.

Over the last two years, I have been on the Makaton beginners workshop and also the Enhancement training to further increase our ‘signabulary‘. This gave us the opportunity to take our communication with Bruiser to a whole new level. I was no longer just signing singular words, but several key words in a whole sentence but even by this point, I was still playing catch up with Bruiser. He signed instinctively for everything and it had become second nature to him. It was his first language.

Bruiser’s understanding was tested one particular day. His Daddy signed to him (without speaking) ‘Daddy going shops. Bruiser come? Buy sweets‘. Bruiser shot out of the room screaming and signing yes and came back with his shoes and coat 😀

Makaton has given Bruiser confidence. Confidence to communicate, confidence interact and confidence to be himself. When he meets someone new his initial reaction is to put his head down and turn away or just completely ignore them altogether. However, when he realises they can sign he wants to interact with them and on some level he comes across as sociable. This was particularly evident one day when he met his Communication and Interaction worker for the first time at a special stay and play session. (this was before my Makaton training). She is in fact a regional Makaton tutor. She knew so many more signs than we did at the time. Bruiser was feeding off her, taking in all the new signs and using them with her in context. On a few occasions that he met her again he would get very excited and sign to tell us it was the signing lady 🙂 When she started working with Bruiser in his nursery setting, she showed him some signs to We’re going On A Bear Hunt, one of his favourite books. He loves to share a book and now he could interact with one too.

He comes home from school now and before his coat and shoes are even off he’s telling us what he wants to do.

Makaton has brought Bruiser out of his quiet, frustrating, shell of a world to an interactive communicative environment. I know he is happy now, because he smiles a lot more and he signs to tell us that he’s happy all the time.

Seeing the difference Makaton has made to all our lives has made us realise how important communication is; something that we had never fully appreciated, something we had all previously taken for granted. It actually makes me quite emotional when I talk about the change Makaton has made to our lives. Its has changed all of our lives, for the better and forever. But first and foremost, Makaton has given my son a voice.

~

For any help or advice in respect of Makaton, please contact the Makaton Charity directly. They are an amazing charity and always willing to help in any way they can. You can also tweet with them here too.

Makaton Monday ~ Yorkshire Pudding

Little did I know when I asked the Makaton Charity if they had a sign for ‘Yorkshire pudding’ how much it would come to mean to us.

Bruiser LOVES Yorkshire Puddings. He has a very limited diet and can be fussy with those few foods but Yorkshire Puddings, he could eat till the cows come home.

Back in January we had a difficult period with our communication with Bruiser. He was getting very upset at mealtimes. Initially, we couldn’t figure out why. He was upset with what he had on his plate and refused to eat it some of the time. We quickly realised that he wasn’t being his usual fussy self, he was asking for a certain food. But what? We went through all his foods and was met with frustration and anger from Bruiser that we didn’t understand. This obviously got very upsetting for us all.

One particular day I asked the boys what they’d like for their dinner and Bruiser attempted to tell me. After a huge meltdown about it, I offered my hand and asked him to show me. He led me to kitchen and looked bewildered around the room. I started his search off by opening the freezer and getting all the draws out and asked him to find it and show me.

That he did. After only a few minutes he lifted out the frozen Yorkshire Puddings (yes I’m ashamed to say I’m a Yorkshire lass that doesn’t cook her own!). This was what he wanted and proceeded to tell me ‘I wuv vem’. I told him they were Yorkshire Puddings. He tried to say it but couldn’t and got quite upset and frustrated with himself. (Bruiser is very much aware that he has a communication difficulty, but that’s a story for another day).

I assured him it was okay and that I would find a sign. I searched through all our books and believe me we have a lot now, but couldn’t find one. I tweeted the  and asked for their help.

Unfortunately they replied to say that after looking through all their word lists they didn’t have one. However, they said that they would send a request to the sign team to create one. Now I know they are making and creating new signs all the time but this was still a bit WOW, they were making a sign for us!!

As with all the signs Bruiser has learnt over the last two years, the words usually come when he has a sign to use. As we had neither, I needed to help ease his frustration while we waited. I made the decision to use existing Makaton signs for him to communicate Yorkshire Puddings that we (his family) would understand. I used the finger spelling for Y to represent Yorkshire with the sign for Cake. Obviously you really can’t just go making up your own signs, but these were well-practiced, existing signs that he knew very well that I knew wouldn’t confuse him.

Like I said when he uses a sign, the sound/word eventually comes and this instance wasnt any different. Bruiser has started to say Yorkshire Pudding in his own little way 🙂

A week or so ago though, I got a lovely email from the Makaton team with the sign. I told Bruiser there was a new sign for Yorkshire Pudding and he got very excited. (he loves learning new signs!) Initially he refused to try it as he said it was ‘too difficoo’ (too difficult). But after a few days of watching me demonstrate it to him, he was more willing to try. He now loves asking and signing for ‘orksa pudiiiiiin’. The sign is also getting more and more accurate every time he tries it.

~

The first part of the sign represents creating the batter and the second part is showing the raised edge of the pudding.

 yorkshire pudding

~

~

Symbol used with the kind permission of the © The Makaton Charity 2012

For any help or advice in respect of Makaton, please contact the Makaton Charity directly.

~

MAKATON MONDAY

Back To School

It’s been that week of the year again. Back to school for the kiddie winks or the start of a new schooling journey. This year Wriggler started year4, YEAR 4 (*holds head in hands*)!!! and Bruiser was starting full-time school a fresh in reception (*sobs uncontrollably in hands*).

All I wanted was a photo of them both. You know the drill.. stood together in their clean crisp uniforms, smiling away into the camera. How hard could that be?

Between all the blurred body parts, close up faces in camera, bottoms up and backs turned, even Wriggler holding Bruiser in a head lock, there was one common denominator, Wriggler smiling away facing the camera in the back ground. When I finally captured Bruiser stood still, he was deliberately stood directly in front of Wriggler, turning away from the camera and refusing to smile. Wriggler giggling away behind him.

Whilst it isn’t what I was hoping for, it perfectly summed up our morning and my boys in a nutshell. When I look closely, I can actually see the deliberate defiance in Bruisers face!! He really does take stubborn to a whole new level. 😀

I can’t not love this photo.

back to school

 

A Letter To Bruiser

Dear Bruiser

Today is your first day at school. Your Reception year and full-time school. You looked so smart and grown up in your uniform this morning. You were buzzing with excitement and you couldn’t wait to leave the house. I couldn’t even get a picture of you stood still.

While you enjoy your first morning with your new teacher, im home thinking about you, wondering what you will doing, wondering what you will be learning about. Gone are our days together where we would play, cuddle, watch cartoons, have playdates, take afternoon naps. Gone are our days filled with giggles, trips to the park and baby groups.

Me and Daddy and Wriggler are soooooo incredibly proud of you and what you have achieved in your little life already. The obstacles you have over come. The battles you have fought. Because there was once a time when we never thought this day would come. You were only 5 hours old when the Doctors told us to let you go. But we weren’t ready to let you have wings and I don’t think you wanted them either. We fought for you then and we still fight for you today. Its been the fight of our lives but just look at you now….

You learnt to crawl;

crawling

You learnt to walk;

You learnt to wave;

You learnt to talk, your first word was ‘Mam mam’. It was awful when you stopped talking. Overtime though you learnt to communicate using Makaton and that gave you a voice, until you found your voice…

Ryan signing to bath

Bruiser signing to bath

then, you learnt to talk, AGAIN!! Because you really are that amazing!!

You started nursery;

started nursery

With the help from your amazing big brother Wriggler, you learnt to play and imagine;

play

You learnt to ride a bike;

As we made our journey together through the autism diagnosis process, something that we were beginning to think would never happen, you made a friend. A best friend. A partner in crime. A friend forever. Your ‘Avaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa’

best friends

~

And here you are now on your first day at school…

I’m glad you didn’t cry this morning. You made it so much easier for me. But it broke my heart anyway. It was the start of a whole new chapter in your life. You are no longer a baby, a toddler, or even a preschooler. You’re a little boy now and you’re ready to go find your place in this world!

I’m going to miss you my baby.

Love Mummy xxxxxxxxxxxx

All In A Wee…ks Work

Toilet training isn’t easy for any child or their parents. Most children take it in their stride though and slowly but surely they get there. Toilet training a child with special needs and sensory issues that is more than likely on the ASD spectrum is a whole different ball game and a challenge we were not prepared for.

When Wriggler did his first wee on a potty he was 2yrs and 9mths. Before we knew it, he was dry day and night within two weeks without any accidents. We took exactly the same approach with Bruiser, he will do it when HE is good and ready and not before!

Last year in the lead up to the summer holidays though, I was starting to feel the pressure; from school and other people. ‘Oh he really should be out of nappies when he starts school’ ‘You arent being pro-active enough’ ‘just go for it, he’ll never learn unless you go for it’ ‘let him wet himself, they don’t like wetting themselves’ blah.. blah.. blah..

But after a while (regrettably) I started to take this to heart and so against my principles of ‘he will do when he’s ready’, I attempted to start him toileting.

He really wasnt ready though. Yes he did his first wee on the potty and the toilet and this was quite a novelty for him (and me, I still love the picture of his cheeky little bottom peeking out of his trousers as he stood up to the toilet). But he wasnt ready in his head to do it. I tried jumping him in at the deep end and taking him to school in pants with loads of clothes to change into etc (like people told me to do). He really didn’t like getting wet when he had an accident, this was a big issue. Being wet is a sensory issue for Bruiser generally, he wont even touch the sink in the bathroom if there are water droplets on it, he has to wear gloves when it rains. All this added pressure was making him anxious and upset and very unhappy. He was starting to show signs of regression across the board, so I stopped it all. We went back to pull ups. No more pressure. He was happy again. That was it, no more listening to everyone else, we (hubby and myself) know our child best and we went back to our principles of letting him do it in his own time when he was ready!

Since we tried the toileting last year though, Bruiser has very occasionally used the potty or the toilet. More so when he was with Wriggler as he wanted to copy him but he had a lot of accidents. Then very out of the blue two weeks ago he was playing away in the kitchen and he started to do a wee but stopped himself. He then waddled up to the toilet with his trousers and pull ups around his ankles and finished his wee on the toilet. He was so proud of himself and I gave him a big high-five and LOTS of praise. I do believe now that that was the turning point. That was where it clicked. He continued to use the toilet/potty lots during the days that followed and occasionally even wore big boy pants.

After a few days of on/off success, last Monday I asked him if he wanted to wear big boy pants for school, there was no pressure, it was his call. He said yes. Off he went that morning with three changes of clothes in his bag. He came back with the same clothes in his bag and the same little pants on his bottom! He had achieved his first half day dry. It got even better that afternoon and evening. He had completed his first full day. No accidents or near misses. Another first 🙂

Tuesday morning he went to school just the same. He showed me the sticker chart on the wall that his key worker had made with him Monday. He proudly showed me the stickers he had earned the day previously.

He started to fetch his chart home with him after each morning to show me and his Daddy and Wriggler what he had done. He was very proud of himself and kept saying ‘me like Wriggler now’.

Tuesday afternoon he asked for a nappy though. *whispers… he wanted a no2* He was refusing to let it go in the potty or toilet. This wasnt unusual, he refused to let them go anyway. Passing his no2’s has always been an issue for Bruiser. He would hold to them, tensing himself up walking around doing his ‘poo dance’ as we called it, refusing to letit go. For almost a year we thought he was constipated but as it turned out (for reasons made clear by his OT only very recently) he was refusing to let go and was intentionally holding it in. It was one hell of an afternoon which resulted in a meltdown so bad that he fell asleep on me while I restrained him. Once that was over though, he was back in his pants and back on the toileting mission. I made a huge deal that he had done his no2 in his nappy though and gave him an extra star stamp for it.

all in a wee...ks work

The week continued to go great. He was still dry and still hadn’t had any accidents. Thursday afternoon I was washing pots in the kitchen when I heard Bruiser shout from upstairs (I thought he was in the room watching Octonauts!!) ‘Mumeee I done a big pooooooooooo on my potteeeeeeee’. I ran up the stairs saying you’ve done what? and he was there proudly stood over the potty pointing at it and signing that he had done it!! After lots and lots of praise and high-fives, I put him an extra two star stamps on his chart. Another first, his second of the week! He was making more progress than I ever imagined or dare hope for.

On Friday, Bruiser was awarded Star of the Week for his efforts and his increased independence at school.

all in a wee...ks work

He was over the moon with himself and more so, because he got to fetch Freddie home for the weekend. (Freddie is an empathy doll which accompanies every ‘star of the week’ home for the weekend)

By Sunday evening he had completed his first full week. He had one small accident when he couldn’t get his trousers down quick enough and although he was upset with himself he did get over it really well.

This was it, there was no going back now. He’d made it. He had accomplished more than what we set out for him to do. He was dry and clean through the day, he was dry and clean through the night and he had willingly without any hesitation done his no2’s in the potty too!

He had a wonderful weekend celebrating his efforts with Freddie and even Freddie is now toilet trained 😉

all in a wee...ks work

~

This week is currently going fantastic too. He has carried on exactly where last week finished.

We as a family are so proud of Bruiser and what he has accomplished. It hasn’t been easy for him and it really has been baby steps all the way but when he was ready, boy was he ready and he did it in probably record time!

Octonauts Birthday Cake

Of all the cakes I’ve made over the last few years, this one was by far THE most adventurous.

When Bruiser set his heart on an Octonauts cake for his birthday I envisaged a Captain Barnacles or Kwazii face, something simple. Wriggler had other ideas. He sat on the laptop with Bruiser and googled Octonauts cake images. Bruiser picked his cake, he wanted a Gup-A cake. For those of you not familiar with the Gup-A, it is loosely based on the Anglerfish and looks like this…

…As you can see, I had my work cut out!!

After I’d spent about two weeks panicking that I would never pull it off, I began drawing some plans together, I decided how much cake I would need, what it was going to look like etc and so then began the search for the perfect colour icing!

BINGO!!

BINGO!!

In all, to ice this cake I used:
750g ready to roll Icing in Jade
250g ready to roll icing in Blue
A multi pack of coloured Icing in red, black, green and yellow.
A tub of turquoise Dragees (the small little blueish balls)

(Ordinarily I would use Lakeland for ingredients but this time I found everything I needed at Tesco Party.)

I used my recipe for The Perfect Sponge Cake and used a plain sponge on this occasion. To make sure I had more than enough cake I made eight 7inch layers!

I started by making paper templates. When Bruiser wasnt walking around the room going wacker-wacker-wacker with them (for those not familiar with wacker-wacker-wacker, that’s the sound the Gup-A makes) 😉 I placed them onto the cakes to cut around with a bread knife.  

Once the main shape was established I then started making the curved sloping shape down the sides from the top. This was a lot more difficult than I anticipated because, the sponge kept moving. I also made a cut through 2 layers at the front and removed the section of cake to make the cockpit of the Gup.

Once the shaping was complete. I used jam and butter cream in between every layer to stick them together and butter cream to stick the different parts together (see pictures). I then completely covered the cake in the remaining butter cream to form a nice smooth surface to rest the icing on. This also helps fill any gaps.

octonauts birthday cake

Now it was time for the icing. As much as I love working with icing, it still scares me. If I get it wrong, the cake is ruined. No pressure hey?!

Because I knew that there was a lot of shaping needed with the icing I used more of it and I rolled it out quite thick. Once it was the size I needed (after roughly measuring around the cake surface), I picked it up on the rolling-pin and placed it onto the cake. Using my hands I shaped it to the cake and trimmed off the bits not required. I then used my icing smoother and my hands to finish it off.

Hard part over right? Ha, no!!

I now had to make the features of the Gup to stick on the cake. I actually really enjoyed this bit.

My tools of the trade did not include any fancy icing tools (which I really should invest in) they were random objects found in most kitchen cupboards. A water bottle opening to make the windows, a fruit shoot plastic lid to make smaller holes in the windows and the eyes. A small 2.5ml medicine syringe for precisely applying the icing glue. Cocktail sticks to help make the fins and propeller stick into the cake enough. Tupperware tubs to hold bits in place while the ‘glue’ dried. I pressed the propeller of the (real) Gup-A into the yellow icing slightly to leave an imprint and then cut around it.

After a break for some tea when Hubby came home and time with the kids before putting them in bed, me and now the Hubby then cracked on. We had to complete it that night, preferably before the Birthday Fairies visited.

Hubby did the characters while I finished the cake! He used the actual toy characters as models to copy!

Can you guess what it is yet??

Can you guess what it is yet??

The attention to detail was paramount! Bruiser notices these things!

… and then there was three!… 

CAPTAIN BARNACLES

CAPTAIN BARNACLES

KWAZI

KWAZII

PESO

PESO

While Hubby did the characters, I made the finishing touches to the cake. Adding the side fins, tail fin, the windows, propeller etc. I used a mix of some of the jade icing with water as a glue to set the features onto the cake. I also used this as a glaze all over the icing. This hid away any dry cracked areas and other indiscretions and gave it a nice finished look when it had dried. I used this glue to set the dragees around the cake too while also pushing them into the icing slightly. These little bits really finished off the cake.

octonauts birthday cake octonauts birthday cake octonauts birthday cake

Once all the characters were finished and placed on the cake, Hubby made a control panel with all the buttons and levers, not forgetting the all important Octo-alert!

octonauts birthday cake

The final piece to place was the Esca on top and it was complete!

~Ta-da!~

octonauts birthday cake

octonauts birthday cake

No themed birthday is ever complete with out buns too so I made some Octonauts buns for his classmates at school. 

octonauts buns

~

Bruiser LOVED his cake and he had a very Octo-Special birthday!

(the cake was octo-licious too)

~

octonauts birthday cake

Around the Tree, Around the Tree, Makes Number 3!

Bruiser LOVES his numbers. He is obsessed with numbers. From a very early age he could count from 1 to 10. He’s literally only just four but, he can count past 100. He knows his 10 times table. He can do simple math like 1+2, 3+2 etc. Using numbers is a sure way to get his instant attention and keep his attention. Mentioning numbers can even halt a meltdown mid-scream!!

Writing numbers however, is a whole new ball game. He has only recently started making meaningful marks with a pen and paper. A few weeks back though he took me surprise when we were playing with a chalk and attempting to write his letters which he has been learning at school. Trying to make a S, he made a mark that resembled a 3 which prompted him to want to do his numbers. Now we have practiced writing his number lots of times but he’s never really got it quite right and always got very frustrated with himself.

I’m going to let this video that I was lucky enough to capture do the rest of the talking.

ps. check out Bruisers talking too!! 😀 *does victory dance*

It just goes to show that time and patience while taking those small steps leads to amazing achievements and this is one of them.

~

Ethans Escapades

Baking our Christmas Cake

The other week me, Wriggler and Bruiser baked this years Christmas cake. This was the second time id baked the cake. In previous years, my Mum had always took great pleasure in baking us our yearly christmas cake but. last year I decided that I would use my Mums Christmas Cake recipe and give it a go for myself. It was a great success.

This year I wanted to get the boys involved just like my Mum did with me and my Brothers when we were children.

Both Wriggler and Bruiser love to bake and help cook so it didn’t surprise me that they were both very eager to get stuck in. In fact they took over, I barely got chance to do any of it myself!

~

First of all we got the butter and sugar creamed together. Then the boys took turns to add a little spiced flour then a little egg and other liquid ingredients until they were all mixed in.

Bruiser got stuck in scraping the mixture from the sides of the bowl (taking great care not to get even a tiny bit of mixture on his fingers) before they added the fruit, one spoonful at a time;

Once all the ingredients were added, it was time to each give the mixture a hand-stir while we made our christmas wishes. This was a tradition that my Mum always did. Id always thought it was a lovely idea so this year for the first time we did it too. 

That was it, the mixture was added to the cake tin and left to slowly bake in the oven…. All that was left was to well, clean the utensils 😉

20131120-131503.jpg

While the cake matures in the coming weeks, we just need to decide how we want to decorate the cake. Last year we did Snowmen and a Christmas Tree. But, this year Wriggler has some great ideas, so watch this space!

~

The Impossible Hug

Have you seen the wonderful video Bliss have produced to mark World Prematurity Day? 

It’s such a simple video but yet it speaks a thousand words, stirs up a million emotions and pulls on every heart string. You see, for the 15 million babies born prematurely across the whole world each year, this is the heart ache experienced by those parents. They cant hug their babies for days, weeks, some even months! Can you even begin to imagine how that feels?

Hugs are something that we all take for granted, especially those first hugs with our new-born babies.

I remember when Wriggler was born, he was placed onto me straight away, I got immediate skin to skin contact, he was cleaned and swaddled and given straight back to me to hold and cuddle. I didn’t want to let him go for even a second.

When Bruiser was born however, it couldn’t have been anymore different. He was delivered very early at 31 weeks and it was an emergency c-section. I didn’t even get to see him, never mind hug him. He was so poorly that he was whisked away to the NICU where the doctors spent the next 48 hours trying to stabilise him. When I did eventually get to see him something like half a day later, I wasnt even allowed to touch him. All I could do was sit next to his incubator and talk to him and look at him… that first hug felt like it was a life time away.

During the days that followed his birth, I got some contact. I got to hold his tiny fingers and tiny toes. I got to put my hand on his head. But because he was ventilated, I wasn’t able to do much more than that. I couldn’t even do his cares because his skin was so very fragile and sensitive. The nurses were great though and they showed me how to touch him and how to comfort him without causing him any pain through two hand-sized holes of the incubator that surrounded him.

(facebook status 29.Jan.2010 3.am)

“I’ve just shared a magical moment with Bruiser. I can’t cuddle you or hold you close to me, but I can scoop you up in both hands while the nurse changes your cot sheet cos you wee’d on it while mummy changed your 2nd poopy nappy of the night!”

I‘ll never forget the day I got my hug though. Bruiser was 5 days old. The day preceding it he had been taken off the ventilator and was now breathing on cpap. He had also done his first wee (this was HUGE, it meant his internal organs which were in failure were now showing signs of functioning) and he had his first taste of my liquid gold through a tube into his tummy (which made him do his first poopy nappy that night). I went into the NICU that day to do Bruisers morning cares (clean his face, eyes and mouth, change his nappy). His nurse that day had a little more in store for me…

1st mummy cuddles

My 1st Hug

In that moment my life was perfect. The previous 5 days seemed but a blur. Bruiser still had a long way to go but, it made me realise that the impossible is possible, you just have to believe!

You can get involved in Bliss’s Impossible Hug campaign for World Prematurity Day by sharing a photo of you, your friends and family and little ones giving a hug on their Facebook, twitter and Pinterest, or email your photos to mediateam@bliss.org.uk and they’ll share them on their special World Prematurity Day Flickr page.

Do it for all the families across the whole world that can’t share a hug with their babies.

Makaton Monday ~ Tree

Last week I went to watch my little Bruiser take part in his first ever Harvest Festival at pre-school.

I knew when Bruiser started pointing out the colours of the leaves on the trees and saying ‘datum’ (Autumn) that they must have been preparing for it at school. I can remember so fondly when Wriggler was at this stage only a few years ago, he was coming home singing all the songs like ‘Autumn Leaves’ and ‘Big Red Combine Harvester’. But, I knew I wasnt going to get that with Bruiser as he doesn’t sing. He likes singing and signing his favorite nursery rhymes but only as part of a sing-song session, he doesn’t do it randomly when he’s playing or anything like what Wriggler did. Completely out of the blue though about two weeks ago he was driving his toy car up the cupboards in the kitchen and he quietly sang ‘eve fawin down eve fawin down’ (leaves falling down leaves falling down), I knew straight away what he’d said, it was a line from the song Autumn Leaves. It melted my heart, I never thought id hear him sing like that. I asked him to sing it again for me but he refused and signed that he wasnt singing.

When I spoke with his teacher about it she advised that they were indeed singing Autumn Leaves and Bruiser had been showing them the signs for the colours red, brown, yellow, orange and green. They were planning to incorporate the signs into the song. Bruiser was going to be the tree.

Although Bruiser refused to sing again at home, me and Wriggler practiced the songs with him hoping that he would, Wriggler did manage to get him singing and signing the chorus to Big Red Combine Harvester 🙂

Watching him take part in the Harvest Festival was quite emotional. He saw me and his Daddy in the audience but he refused to acknowledge us or wave and didn’t seem even slightly excited that we were there. Whilst thats not unusual, I think he was overwhelmed by all the parents watching. He did do some signing and singing during some of the performance. It was lovely to see the whole class signing away to the songs though. It was great that they had incorporated the signs and made Bruiser feel involved. I know that Bruiser enjoyed it thoroughly because he couldnt stop talking about it when we got home.

~

Bruiser at his Harvest Festival

Bruiser at his Harvest Festival

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TREE

TREE

~

Bruiser signing 'Tree'

Bruiser signing ‘Tree’

~

Sign/Symbol used with the kind permission of the © The Makaton Charity 2012

For any help or advice in respect of Makaton, please contact the Makaton Charity directly.

~

MAKATON MONDAY

  • You can download some Harvest Festival signs from the Makaton website by following this link

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Linking  up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements and #MagicMoments

Ethans Escapades

I Wee’d On A Stick & My Life Changed Forever

It started with a wee

It started with a wee

Today marks the eight year anniversary of when I found out that I was expecting my little Wriggler and yet it still feels like it was only yesterday!

Finding out was a MASSIVE shock! So much so that I lived in denial that it was even happening at all for 3 weeks after missing my period. It was my rapidly blooming bussom that made me do a test and make an appointment with the midwife! Taking that test was nerve-wracking, I was shaking uncontrollably. I knew what it was going to say and I’d never been so scared in my life. Both myself and Hubby were both in silent shock for days after. All of a sudden our planned future was no longer written and we were making it up as we went along!

It was easy to remember my dates, the pregnancy dated from my 26th birthday. I worked out that our baby would be due on the 4th June!

Once the initial shock had gone, I was over the moon and bursting at the seams to tell everyone. My Mum was the first to know and then we told our immediate family but that was it, no one else until we’d had the 12week scan and knew all was well.

The day of the first scan came around very quickly. By this point though all pregnancy symptoms had gone and I was beginning to think that the sonographer was going to tell me there wasnt a baby in there! But my baby was there alright, all 5.8cm of him and he didnt stop wriggling through the whole scan, the sonographer struggled to measure him! My dates changed slightly and my new EDD was the 2nd June.

I wee'd on a stick

Wriggler at 12+2… all 5.8cm of him!

I was sporting a very slight bump at the first scan, but after this point it just took off. I carried my baby all on the front. In the run up to the 20 week scan I was convinced that I was carrying a boy. I think in part it was the fact that I wanted a boy so very much, I’d convinced myself that my baby couldn’t be anything else.

The 20 week scan went fine though and all was well. However, I went into the room not wanting to know what we were having wanting the surprise on the day when our baby arrived. Hubby did want to know but had agreed that we wouldn’t find out. During the scan though, looking at our baby on the little screen, I suddenly had this overwhelming urge to find out and given that it was Hubby’s birthday that day, I knew it would be a lovely surprise for him too. It was confirmed, Wriggler was a boy!

I wee'd on a stick

Wriggler, my baby Boy at 20 weeks

My bump was getting bigger and bigger every day now. Every morning Hubby would say ‘oh my god, youre even bigger than last night!!’ Regrettably I didn’t capture the bump shots like i did with Bruiser. It didn’t occur to me to do it, that and we didn’t have a camera and camera phones were only just emerging back then! I did capture a bump shot at 30 weeks though (with my new camera phone). Any other bump pictures were courtesy of Hubby.

30 week Bump

30 week Bump

I wee'd on a stick

Bump at approximately 8 months

Bump at 38+4, the day before he was born (you can see the tens machine in my hand)

Bump at 38+4, taken while in labour, the day before he was born (that’s the tens machine in my left hand ha, id been in labour 28hours at this point)

After the 2nd scan though, I wanted to much to see my baby again. I knew that I just couldnt wait another 20weeks to meet him. Id read about 3/4D scans and seen pictures but never thought I’d be able to afford one. After a little research though I found a place very local to us that did them and they were affordable. I secretly booked an appointment for one and saved some money up, my Mum made up the rest.

It was the best decision I made because the whole experience was AMAZING! That moment when our little boys face appeared on the huge screen on the wall was so emotional. He had a little button nose and was sucking on the umbilical cord with his face nustled upto the placenta. He was fast asleep. The sonographer decided to wake him up so we could get a better look at him, he didn’t like this much at all. But he did become more animated and opened his eyes. He soon settled again though and went back to sleep exactly as we found him!

Wriggler yawning

Meet Wriggler at 29 weeks

Wriggler opened his eyes during the scan

Wriggler asleep

Wriggler didn’t change one bit from this scan at 29weeks and birth!

1 Day Old

1 Day Old

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So there you have it, neither of my boys were planned. But you know what, I just think it makes them all the more special because they were meant to be!

Linking up with Magic Moments

Star Of The Week

We are only three and a half weeks into the new school year. I’ve mentioned before that Bruiser has started pre-school. It’s not been plain sailing for him, whilst he was initially excited about starting school and his first week went really well all things considered, the novelty has well and truly gone now. The reality that he has to go every day has not been a happy thought for him. Every morning he’s said ‘me day ome mumee’. He’s struggled to part from me in a morning, he’s cried, he’s screamed, he’s been angry and he’s even refused to get dressed or walk to school some mornings. That said, he has still enjoyed himself once he was there and the separation was over.

I have to admit though that biggest thing that concerned me about him starting pre-school was communication. Bruiser doesn’t communicate when he doesn’t feel confident in his surroundings or when around strangers and for him all those new children and the staff were strangers to him. He’d briefly seen the staff before the summer during his transition process but that was a while ago for Bruiser. By the end of his first week though his teacher reported that he was doing great, he was signing lots with the staff. It was a great relief to hear that, he was feeling confident enough to sign, so that was a great start. Bruiser was happy which means Mummy was happy!

Each week that has passed i’ve had great reports of him signing, he’s even showed them the colour signs of red, orange, yellow and brown to incorporate into their Harvest Festival songs. His teacher has also reported that hes been doing some great talking too! This is Huge for Bruiser. His talking has exploded over recent weeks, more so since the start of the summer holidays. But, I didn’t expect him to be talking so much in school just yet though. He never ceases to amaze me.

This week, Bruiser was awarded Star of the Day and Week for using… LOTS of words and doing LOTS of TALKING!!! He came out of his class beaming from ear to ear proudly holding his certificate and Freddie. (Freddie is a doll that the children get to bring home when they are ‘star of the day or week’, he comes with clothes to dress him and a diary for us to write a short paragraph of what they’ve been doing together.)

Everyone has always commented about Bruiser’s signing, how much he knows, how good he is etc but, now he’s getting recognition for his talking! Slowly and surely he’s getting there. I could not be more proud of him.

star of the day

They say a picture can speak a thousand words…. this is one of them!

~

Bruiser’s Started Pre-School

Where exactly did the summer holidays go? More to the point, where exactly did the last three and half years go?

I had the most wonderful six weeks with my boys. I love having them both at home with me. I miss Wriggler terribly when he’s at school and each school holiday is a constant reminder of just how much. I was also quite conscious that this was the last time id have Bruiser at home until half term in October. I really did not want it to end.

During the holidays, we spent a lot of quality time preparing Bruiser for the transition to pre-school. We looked through his transition booklet (this was a collection of photos taken by his previous key worker in nursery of the pre-school rooms, equipment and staff), we bought him his school bag, we got him trying on his uniform, we taught him the relevant Makaton signs he would need. Bruiser was really excited and looking forward to it. He kept saying ‘me go goooo’ (me go school). We did have moments though where he kept saying he didn’t want to go to school and even the night before he told me he wanted to stay home with me and believe me that was a very tempting offer!

That first morning though, he couldn’t contain the excitement when he came downstairs and his school clothes were all laid out waiting for him, he bearly ate his breakfast because he wanted to get dressed. Me on the other hand, I was struggling to hold it together. Id spent a lot of the holidays in denial that this was going to happen at all!

Hubby drove us to school and left us at the gates and the boys walked in together holding hands with smiles beaming across their little faces.

I was so proud of him as I left him in pre-school. He got a little anxious because there was so many people all at once, I think he was feeling overwhelmed. He didn’t want to part from me and he did get a little upset but he happily let me hand him over to his teacher for a cuddle and he waved me and Wriggler good-bye as we left the room.

I have to admit that leaving him there on that first morning was far more emotional than I had anticipated or prepared myself for. Four years ago, when Wriggler started preschool, that was emotional, I was 10 weeks pregnant with Bruiser too so hormones were fueling all the emotions. But I had my Mum there holding my hand whilst I said a tearful good-bye to him. This time It was Wriggler holding my hand and giving it a little squeeze as I said goodbye to Bruiser.

I like to think that my Mum was there, watching over us too.

Thundercats Birthday Cake

What do you think of when you reminisce back to childhood birthdays?…  For Me and my brothers, birthday memories all included an amazing birthday cake that had been made my Mum. They ranged from animal merry-go-rounds, hansel and gretal cottages to butterflies, castles, cars and trains for my brothers. Half of the excitement of our birthdays would be about what cake we would get.

I always knew that one day I would make cakes just the same for my children. But I also knew that I had big boots to fill!

Despite my best intentions in between juggling my children, work and family home life, I never found the time before Wrigglers 6th to actually make one.  My Mum did step in for Wrigglers 2nd Birthday and made him a Roary the Racing Car cake which was just superb.

Roary the Racing Car

However becoming a stay at home Mummy after having Bruiser gave me more time and I decided that it was about time I should make a go of it.

~

Wrigglers 6th Birthday

Birthday cakes for both boys have always centered around their latest fad, be it Roary the Racing Car, Toy Story, Ben 10, SpiderMan to name a few for Wriggler. This year (2012) was no exception, he was mad on Thundercats!!

Thundercats cake

… This is how I did it:

~

What I used:
2x 250g of Red Royal Icing
1x 250g of Black Royal Icing
Icing Smoother
Black Food Colouring
1 Medium Egg
Butter
Icing Syringe
Icing Sugar
Tape Measure
( I use the wonderful Lakeland for all my cake decoration needs. Its one of my favorite shops!)

I made a simple two layer sandwich sponge cake using this recipe the day before.

Firstly, I started off by trimming the sponge layers, levelling them off and removing any bumps and lumps. I then trimmed the circumference of the cake to give a flat surface for the icing.

Next I prepared the butter cream for the middle of the cake; I used, 6oz of icing sugar mixed with 3oz of butter. I gradually creamed them together until the mixture was light and fluffy.

I spread some jam on one of the cake layers and some of the butter cream on the other, then placed the 2nd half on top.

Using some of the remaining butter cream. I spread this all over the cake in a thin even layer. This acts as a great base for the icing and gives the icing a bit of maneuverability when placed on the cake in case it doesn’t quite sit right . It also helps keep the cake moist.

Next I was ready to Ice the cake. I started by rolling and moulding the red blocks of icing together in my hands, warming up the icing makes it more pliable. I lightly dusted the work surface with icing sugar to stop it sticking to the surface. I rolled out the icing into a circle big enough to cover the cake top sides and onto the cake board. (use a tape measure to measure the size you need)

When I was ready, taking lots of care, I used the rolling-pin to lift the icing and roll it onto the cake.

I made sure the icing was pretty much central, then using the my fingers and the palm of my hand I smoothed down the icing on the top. For the sides of the cake, I lifted away the icing with my right hand while using my left hand to smooth the icing to the sides of the cake. This bit can be quite tricky, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. I trimmed off the remaining icing that wasnt required. Then using a cake smoother, I smoothed the icing in circular motions on top and around the sides. This gives it a smoother more professional finish  than using fingers alone.

That was the easy part over! I next set about making the Thundercats Logo for the top of the cake! As I discovered, more planning was needed where this was concerned but I did learn from my rookie mistakes so, this is what I now recommend I do in future!

I found a logo image on the internet and printed it. I then cut it out and used it as a stencil. I rolled and played with the black icing in my hands to warm it up and make it pliable as before with the red. I rolled it out over a dusting of icing sugar on a piece of grease-proof paper.

I placed the paper cat face logo over the top of the icing and rolled over it with the rolling-pin. This left an imprint in the icing of the logo. I cut out the logo from the icing using a very sharp knife, taking care to remove the left over icing bit by bit.

When the logo was cut out, I trimmed the grease-proof paper down so I could hold it in my hand. Slowly I slid the icing logo off the paper onto the cake taking care to place it exactly where I wanted it as there isn’t room for much movement once it was on the cake. I used the paper stencil again, I placed it over the icing logo to help me reshape it and reposition any bits that needed it. I used my fingers to smooth it off generally and neaten up any rough edges to give it rounded looked as opposed to ‘just cut out of icing look’.

Once the logo was on the cake, the last bit left to do was make the icing to pipe the edging. This was a first for me! I remember playing with my Mums piping set when I was younger but, never on a cake. I recommend practicing lots on a flat surface. I tried all the different tips to see what I liked and figure out how best to pipe each one. I went with the shell tip in the end and I held the syringe at a 45-degree angle to get the best effect around the cake.

To make the icing to pipe, I used; 375g icing sugar, 2 tea spoons of black food colouring and the egg white of one medium-sized egg. I mixed them together well using a spatula to get a light pliable consistency. If it needs thickening up, add more icing sugar until its right. I didn’t quite get the right consistency for this cake however and after piping the shells they fell a little. I’ve since learnt that when you can make spikes in the icing in the bowl and they hold their shape then its right.

~

Ta-Da!!

Thundercats cake

~

No Thundercats Birthday could ever be complete without Eye of Thundera buns! 🙂

thundercats cake

Wriggler had a Thunderific Birthday and he loved his cake and buns 🙂

thundercats cake

I Have Letters After My Name

You can do all the studying in the world to become a lawyer, a doctor, a surgeon etc and those qualifications will give you endless letters after your name and make you look so very important but none, none of them come close to the letters I have been bestowed with by amazing little boy Wriggler.

You see, im a BMF. For those of you not familiar with BMF, it stands for Best Mummy Forever.

On my birthday a fortnight ago whilst on holiday, Wriggler gave me the most beautiful card he had made himself. It was from him and Bruiser. I’ve always loved his handmade cards and gifts but this one sits amongst the best, It melted my heart.

i have letters after my name

~

I’m linking up this post today with #MagicMoments because it really was a magic moment to be given something so wonderful and precious. It meant the world to me. I really do have the best job in the world.

It Started With A Pea!

You might remember my post a few weeks ago ‘Taking It One Nibble At A Time‘ about Bruiser trying new foods, even if it was the smallest nibble imaginable. Those tiny nibbles have progressed to bigger nibbles and in some cases spoon full. Spoon full of vegetables no less!

It’s not that Bruiser disliked vegetables, quite the opposite. He was weaned onto them all and loved eating them all. That was until his sensory difficulties took over and eating became problematic. Since then he hasn’t touched anything other than banana and occasionally a small slice of apple.

It all started a few weeks after the nibble of those cheese on toast stars. I did the unimaginable and put peas on his plate along with the cheesy mashed potato balls. I was pushing my luck here, normally he would reject the whole meal when something unfamiliar was put on his plate and more so because the colour wasnt in keeping with his beige/yellow/orange food preferences. After psyching the plate of food out for a few minutes though, he sat down to the table. He kept touching them and then quickly withdrawing his fingers and then going back to them. Before I knew it he was trying them only one a time and it appeared that he liked them! He gave up after a bit and sat back. I asked if he was going to eat the other food and he signed NO! quite assertively. Pushing my luck again, I put a few of the peas on a spoon and proceeded to put them to his mouth and he ate them. In the end, he ate every pea!! He left everything else on his plate on this occasion but he ate the peas. I wasnt about to push it any further though. He had done great and I was very proud of him.

Since then he’s tried Strawberrys! and Apples… whole (but the apples have to be red!)!

Sunday lunch the other day was quite comical. I was serving the food out on the kitchen side and he was taking food off his plate and eating it. It’s such a joy to see him tucking into food at the moment and more so enjoy it, even if his diet still remains very limited in colour and texture.

~

Ethans Escapades

Makaton Monday ~ To Swim

To Swim isn’t a new sign for Bruiser, he’s used it for a while now ever since he started pretending to swim in the bath. Just recently I started using it to help him understand where I was going on my aquafit evenings. But this week was the first time he actually got to go swimming!

It sounds awful that at three years old he hasn’t been swimming before but, because of child/adult ratios at the swimming pools, time constraints and his sensory issues when sometimes he can’t stand to be wet, not to mention that he hates his fingers and toes going wrinkly, I just havent been able to take him. That doesn’t negate from the fact that he was VERY EXCITED!!

I don’t know what he was expecting but I think it exceeding his expectations. He thoroughly enjoyed every minute, even the slides when the water completely submerged him at times. He didn’t seem to mind that his fingers and toes were wrinkly, in fact he was quite amused that all mine and Wrigglers were too. He loved jumping into the shallow end with Wriggler. As for the waves, he loved the repetitive motion of the water making him go up and down.

Bruiser is a born swimmer though. He walked from the shallow end no end of times and he just kept going and going until he could no longer touch the bottom and then he’d tread water trying to get even further.  When I helped him put his legs out he attempted to swim and wanted me to let go.

He didn’t stop signing ‘To Swim’ and ‘Water‘ all the time we were in the pool. I think its time to get Bruiser enrolled for swimming lessons!

~

makaton monday to swim

TO SWIM

~

Bruiser and Wriggler signing 'Swim'

Bruiser and Wriggler signing ‘Swim’

~

Sign/Symbol used with the kind permission of the © The Makaton Charity 2012

For any help or advice in respect of Makaton, please contact the Makaton Charity directly.

~

MAKATON MONDAY

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Im linking this post up with #MagicMoments this week. Another first for Bruiser and also some quality time spent with my Boys.