Tag Archives: holidays

Catching up with the Play Agenda

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So Sissyboo went back to school yesterday and into Year 1. (Year 1? How did that happen?) Is it wrong of me to say I had mixed feelings about it? I miss her, but she was ready to go back and the juggling of working, childcare and so forth was getting tougher as the days went on. Still, I admit to a barely audible sniff when she walked into class yesterday with her new teacher with a spring in her step and not so much as a backwards glance at her frantically waving Mum. Where did the time go?

Well, not on writing Play Agenda posts for the lovely Leoarna at Not Different But Interesting, that’s for sure! I had great intentions of writing weekly updates on the activities we did but after about the first couple of weeks failed miserably. On holiday in Devon, we played so much there wasn’t time to blog about it, and I wasn’t always feeling playful, to be honest, as tensions rode high in Booland.

Trying to blog about everything we did would take too long, which has to be a good thing, right? There are some trips I’d definitely like to tell you about, like our day at Forde Abbey.

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Or the Pecorama. Or the Fleet Air Arm Museum (where there was a Doctor Who spectacular on).

Or the lovely Bank Holiday we spent just last week at Hever Castle, to which I’d won a family ticket at Sissyboo’s school summer raffle. But mostly, I’d like to write about the days when we didn’t do that much or pay that much. When we just sat on pebbly beaches or mooched about Lyme Regis or lucked out on free entry to a museum, or crabbing or fossil hunting. I will. Eventually.

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For now, I thought I’d take stock. It’s the time of year to take stock don’t you think? And see how near (or far) I got to my aims for the holidays.

Well, we certainly made the first part of goal number 1: To have one big day out (to a splash park, country house etc.) each week. We’ve been to gardens, on steam trains, to museums, all sorts, and usually had a fabulous time (taking the packed and sweaty steam train for 90 minutes each way to Minehead to see a Red Arrow display that didn’t happen was not one of those). The second part of goal one – ‘engaging both kids (5 1/2 year old and 1 year old with additional needs)’ – was much harder to achieve. Beaches and Boo, we found are not always happy bedfellows, whereas Sissyboo stripped all her clothes of and ran to the merest sight of a drop of water. Gardens, we found, were best.

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Boo loves being outdoors and the colours, scents, sights and sensations of places like Forde Abbey or Hever really held both of their interest.

 

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Well…most of the time.

Trying to do something with Sissyboo each week was not as easy as it sounds, but I did it. On holiday we even managed an hour long horse-riding lesson together, which was fabulous. She was a natural. Me? Well, I enjoyed, it but no 2020 entry into the dressage for me. Most weeks, we just tried to shoehorn in some craft or baking with Boo getting cross in the background. I am so glad our Homestart visits have started again. Our lovely volunteer enables me to spend 2 hours a week with Sissyboo. We’ve both really missed this.

3, 4 and 5 were doddles. Boo’s therapy was harder to fit in on holiday, admittedly, but I am good at turning most things into a therapy opportunity, even meetings with friends (so important to me) and playing in the garden.

Goal 6 is a complete failure. The Oliver Twist Victorian puppet show I have been doing with Sissyboo on and off for 7 months still languishes on the top of the bookcase. But we will finish it soon. But we did lots of other crafts (goal 8), admittedly not as many with Boo as I’d have liked. Oh and the bike riding momentum was lost and the maths practice, well, I just couldn’t make her do it when I could see she didn’t want to. She’s 5. She’s bright. She’ll get into it when she has to. I have a feeling that’s now…

I certainly kept the blogging going over the summer and people still seem to be reading it (thank you!) and I took lots of photos. I hope you like the ones on here.

Most importantly, though, I achieved the main goal of the summer for me, which was not to sweat it. I am so good at setting myself impossible challenges. But I knew that I couldn’t use this holiday to compensate for those previously where Sissyboo has had to visit me and Boo in hospital or see things no 5-year old should see: her brother in a plastic box with a tube down his throat. Her brother nearly dying (both at Easter last year). Her brother having seizures (Christmas). I was much better at going with the flow this time around and it felt good.

So it’s been a busy summer of work and play, and a good one. I’m really grateful to Leoarna for giving me a reason to really think about our play agenda and the particular challenges it throws up for our family. I haven’t resolved them, but I am starting to see ways round them. And we’re all happier as a result, I think.

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Good News Friday #s 17, 18, and 19: Three for the Price of One!

I haven’t put up a Good News Friday post for three weeks. In part, it’s because I went on holiday and so other things (good newsy things like excursions and family time) got in the way. To be frank, the first Friday of the holiday also coincided with a big upset in Boo Land, occasioned by The Grumposaur saying he never wants us all to go away again as a family for 2 weeks) and I got very upset and not in the mood to write upbeat stuff. Things improved dramatically by the following Friday, but by that point apprehension about getting back to normal kicked in and I couldn’t bring myself to write a GNF post then either.

What a little ray of sunshine I’ve been. And it’s such a vicious circle. I felt down so I prevented myself from thinking about all the good things going on in our lives, which made me more down, which … oh you know how it goes. I also really missed hearing the good news people share in response to the posts in the comments on Facebook or Twitter. So enough already. There have been done rough old moments in the past three weeks, but here are just a handful of the highlights:

1) Fun with the Boos. Yep it got hairy at times (and more sleep would’ve been nice) but I had some brilliant times during our trip away. We did some fabulous things and went to some lovely places. (More on some of those in my catch-up Play Agenda post coming soon). We laughed a lot. We were silly. We broke some of our rules and ditched our routine. It was great!

2) No work. I have tried not to work on holiday before. I have never entirely succeeded. The flip side of a job with flexibility where you can be at work at any time means you are usually at least partly at work most of the time. It doesn’t help that The Grumposaur always works when we’re away (a hazard of being self-employed) so we always stay in places with wi-fi and always have a laptop. But aside from a couple of emails, I did no work at all. And while this means I am rather in the doo-doo for the next three weeks, it was lovely and, to my surprise, I didn’t miss it much at all.

3) Finding a swing Boo could swing in. I’ve blogged about this in the past week, but I just have to mention it again, because the mere act of typing these words puts a smile on my face.

4) The kindness and knowledge of the Twittersphere and Blogosphere. Before we came back from our holidays my anxieties about us still not being seen by the OTs (health and Social Services) to get Boo some postural seating before he develops scoliosis really took hold. I wanted to do some more research on possible seats and how we might fund them without going bankrupt so as to be armed if, as has happened I got back to find that despite being urgent and both OT teams wanting to see him, they can’t yet because of the length of the ‘urgent’ waiting list. So I put up a tweet and a request for advice on Facebook. I was overwhelmed with dozens of responses in minutes. Folks I don’t know from Adam retweeted and shared and within an hour I felt better informed than all my hours on the internet desperately searching for information had made me. Thank you!

5) Boo’s posture. I am genuinely worried about him developing scoliosis. When all four of your limbs have a tendency to spasticity and dystonia and your trunk tone is low, well, let’s just say things are hard on your back. When you’re big too (at 14.5 months corrected he weighs 10.5 kilos) it’s even harder. But those worries aside, Boo is seating (supported of course still, but with much less support) without the persistent C-shape in his spine that I never thought we’d see the back of. He reaches for his toes in sitting now and when he inevitably bends double and his head hits the floor, much of the time (not all, but much) he can push himself back up. I remember his sister doing this days before she sitted unassisted. Now days in Sissyboo’s life can lasts months for her brother, but you know (shh, don’t jinx it, fingers crossed) he may be getting there. He may be heading towards sitting one day. Don’t worry I’ll tell you when he does. I may light beacons, ring every church bell in the land and streak down my high street too.

There have been other good things, too, but since many are tied up with the things we did while away and I want to blog about them separately, they can wait. But I can’t wait to hear your good news. So please do leave a comment, or send me a tweet (@premmeditations) or hop over to Facebook to let me know. I’ve missed hearing from you!

Some Hopes for the Holidays

I may have already mentioned (about a gazillion times – I’m not bitter, really) that this two-week holiday I’m about to embark on is only the second I’ve taken since The Grumposaur and I got together 19 years ago and the first since having the kids. I am very excited, but to be frank, I’m also nervous. What if it doesn’t work? What if it’s too difficult for Boo not being at home? By the time you read this, I’ll have some sense of how it’s panning out, but you’ll have to wait to find out the official verdict at the end of the two weeks.

For now, here are some of my hopes for the holidays:

1) That we all get on. We so rarely get to spend time all four of us together that this is really going to test our family dynamic. Let’s hope we’re all still speaking at the end of it!

2) That Boo sleeps. Shut eye isn’t Boo’s strong suit. Add an unfamiliar bedroom (which he’ll be sharing with his sister – how could that go wrong?) and a travel cot and … Oh Lordy! Of course, we won’t have to get up for anything in particular if we have some bad nights, but fingers crossed we’ll all get some shut eye. We need it.

3) That spending so much time with Boo, with no work or few other regular domestic distractions, might just give his development the helping hand it needs.

4) That spending so much time with Boo will help The Grumposaur develop a keener understanding of his challenges, how to handle him, and how bloody amazingly he is doing.

5) That Sissyboo has the most amazing time. She deserves it. If you read this blog regularly you’ll know why.

6) That The Grumposaur and I can find time to be ourselves, not the selves that are defined by our work, our children, or our caring responsibilities.

7) That we will think it was such a good idea that we plan to do it all again next year.