Tag Archives: the play agenda

Good News Friday #16 and The Play Agenda

Well, it’s been a much better week in Boo Land, I must say. There have been a few annoying gripes, so I’ll get those out of the way first. We’re still beating our heads against a brick wall for some of the many referrals we have for Mr Boo. I’m not that worried that we’ve been on the list for Speech and Language for 8 months, but the fact that his 2 OT referrals (health and social services) have not come through yet is really getting to me.

Boo still can’t sit. He has inadequate trunk control to sit in any high chair we’ve seen and the stiffness in his arms as he tries to manipulate objects while in a seated position means he is in danger of doing some serious damage to his spine. We have been using a Cushi Tush for months, and that has been marvellous and got us around these problems to date, but he is about to outgrow it. Our physio and Early Years Co-ordinator keep firing off emails, but we still don’t seem to be moving up the list. Grrr…

The other bit of not so good news is that I have been a bit unwell, with some bizarre symptoms I won’t go into. Basically, it seems that I have a vitamin deficiency, not due to poor diet, but stress and exhaustion, which has depleted my B vitamin stores. I have been told to rest and exercise more. I don’t think the GP was impressed when I laughed and said ‘Well, if you can tell me how I can make that happen I’d be delighted’. I will try, of course, and, best news of all, we are going on holiday next week for two weeks, so that will no doubt help. But yes. Fitting in two more things in my life without any real option to drop anything seems a bit impossible at the moment.

Anyway, enough of that. On to good news. The relief of Mr Boo getting his one-to-one back, and in fact more one-to-one at nursery, has me feeling a whole lot better this week. On top of that we had a brilliant physio session at the nursery on Monday where I felt they all got a much better handle on Boo’s needs. They’ve agreed to move him on to the next room (he’s currently with non-moving babies who are significantly younger than him) and although he’ll still be the oldest and lest physically able in the new room, the kids he’ll be with are closer to his cognitive level, which has to be a good thing. His new keyworker is lovely and seems to belong to the Mrboosmum school of Boo care. No, we’re not giving up. Come on: see this shiny thing. Distracted now? OK good, on we go.

He seems, also, to be making tentative physical progress, too. I am hesitating as I type here as I’ve been here before and been disappointed, but Boo seems to me to be a little closer to independent sitting. He has developed (only about 8 months late, but you know, we’ll take that) an obsession with his feet, and as he attempts to eat them while sitting his saving and propping reflexes seem to be improving. He seems to be better able to push back when flopped forward in sitting. His back seems to me at least to be a little less curved. I may be wrong, but please don’t let me be wrong. The day Boo can sit will just about be one of the happiest of my life. My back and I will have the biggest  party ever. I’m not putting out the bunting just yet, but I know where it is. Just in case.

The other great news this week is that my lovely sister has taken a few days off work to stay with us and to look after Sissyboo for a few days while I work before going on holiday myself. It has been fabulous to have another willing and capable pair of hands around. She adores the kids, almost as much as they idolise her, and seeing them so happy together has been fabulous. And it’s meant, she says, seamlessly seguing into this week’s Play Agenda update for Not Different But Interesting, that I’ve been able to pass the baton on so that Sissyboo can do some fun and educational things while I’m busy tapping on the keyboard.

This week, she went to the cinema and did some modelling. She also went to a local National Trust house and gardens (we’re members so it was a cheap day out) and had a picnic (made by her own fair hands) and started working through the 50 Things to Do before You’re 11 3/4. Perhaps most exciting of all, she went to the Natural History Museum for the first time and had an amazing time seeing the dinosaur and human body exhibits. She was especially taken with the butterfly and caterpillar exhibit (she has been in butterfly class in her reception year and they have become something of an obsession). Apart from getting annoyed with the ‘silly people’ who kept touching the butterflies, she had a terrific time and has been poring over a butterfly book we bought her some time ago ever since. We seem to be pacing things well. She was a bit tired after the Natural History Museum. But the long day, short day, long trip, very local, costly, virtually free rhythm seems to be working well.

Of course, there’s a part of me that is sad that I can’t do all of these things with her myself. But she is having a ball and the important thing is the experience. It does mean relinquishing a bit of control, of course. My sister bought her an Alvin and the Chipmunks DVD that I think I would have tried very hard to persuade her to pass over for something else and she allowed her to get a Katie Price pink pony book from the library earlier in the week. When my sister saw the look of horror I couldn’t quite hide on my face, she said: it’s OK, I’m sure she didn’t write it.

But there’s still been some time for Mummy and Sissyboo and I’ve especially enjoyed bedtimes. We’ve been reading the first Famous Five book (should finish it tonight) and it to see the look of unbridled excitement on her face as they get into scrapes, drink ginger beer and some ruffians threaten to shoot Timmy is just priceless.

So it’s all good really. But best of all, we have two weeks together now. It’s the first two week holiday I’ve had with Sissyboo since she’s been born. And I can’t wait!

I so hope you have good news to share with us. We love hearing from you.

Relaxing into Summer with the Play Agenda


Yesterday I went to a leavers’ service at the church my daughter’s infant school is attached to. (She has a community – i.e. non-church – place at a C of E school.) It was lovely. It was also a vivid reminder of two things. First, that given the extraordinary pace her reception year has flown, she too will be shaking the vicar’s hand bye bye in the blink of an eye. Second, that the school holidays are well and truly around the corner.

So, time to start planning. Actually, of necessity, I’ve been planning parts of the holidays for months. Because I work. 6 weeks with no school equals more juggling than usual for working parents and trading in favours stored up all year so that Sissyboo has good child care when I can’t look after her. But I still have all Fridays with her, all weekends, some random week days and two weeks (our second two-week holiday in 18 years – and the first was punctuated by a funeral) to spend with both Boos. And I am determined to make the best of it.

But I am also determined not to be too determined. Before last summer, I had not experienced the pleasures and pains of the summer holiday. Sissyboo was at nursery four days a week from 6 months of age and we took holidays throughout the year at various times and never in a six week block.

Last summer was going to be different. Boo would be born mid-June, I would take his sister out of nursery in mid-July and we would have a happily ever after holiday before her first year at school. But then Boo arrived on 2 April and all plans went to pot. She needed nursery – the routine, the structure, the familiarity – to deal with the overturning of our world. Even when Boo was home (mid-May) life was far from normal. I couldn’t take her to medical appointments. I couldn’t let her hear the things I could barely bear to hear.

So her summer holiday started later than planned in early August when I pulled her out of nursery and, since she didn’t start school until mid-September (and then only half days for a few weeks), she had a six-week break.

I had high hopes for it. I would make everything up to her and spend much-needed time with my rapidly growing girl. This would be a holiday to remember. With the exception of a few fun trips and moments, it was an unmitigated disaster. The past few months had evidently and completely understandably caught up with her and, combined with the anxiety she developed about leaving the nursery she had loved for 4 years and moving onto big school, my lovely little girl turned into someone I didn’t recognise. She had tantrums, screamed, shouted, was rude, touchy and otherwise impossible. I can feel might heart beating faster just remembering it. Add to that a prem baby with emerging complex health needs, umpteen appointments, breastfeeding and acute sleep deprivation and, well, let’s just say it wasn’t much fun.

The danger with this summer, then, is that I will try to turn this into a means of compensating for last year. But it’s a trap I’m not going to fall into this time. I am not going to micro-manage the holidays. It won’t work for us (too many other aspects of our lives, particularly around Boo and his therapies etc. have to be). I won’t go into my default mode and make lists to be ticked off. My lists are impossibly long and seem to exist to make me feel bad. I am not going to set myself up to fail. (Note to self: keep re-reading that sentence, Mrboosmum.)

Instead, I’m going to set up some goals (achievable, enjoyable goals, I hope) and try to get a bit of balance in our weeks with a firm focus on fun and flexibility. To keep me honest about this, I am joining in with The Play Agenda, launched by the lovely Leoarna at Not Different But Interesting. Do pop over and see what she’s doing and join in. My play agenda will look different from many others’, I think, simply by virtue of the fact I work, but I am no less committed to us all having a good time for that. My plan is that I’ll join the linky each week by adding our holiday tit-bits to my weekly Good News Friday posts. Let’s hope play proves to be good news!

So here are my general goals:

1) To have one big day out (to a splash park, country house etc.) each week that will engage both kids (5 1/2 year old and 1 year old with additional needs).

2) To make sure I do one activity each week with Sissyboo on her own (first, and likely to be the most extreme) is a trip to Legoland next Thursday. Others might involve doing a painting or going for a walk. (Our much loved Homestart visits stop for a month over August but I am determined to find ways of having at least a bit of this one-to-one time with her. She benefits so much from it. So do I!)

3) To be flexible about Boo’s therapy without compromising it, so to try doing his physio in our local park or in the garden etc.

4) To meet with friends (grown-up and little) once a week (this is as much for my sanity as for the kids’ enjoyment and one of the great pleasures of the summer for me).

5) To get the kids outdoors and specifically in our small, but functional and underused back garden.

6) To finish the Oliver Twist Victorian puppet show I have been doing with Sissyboo on and off for 6 months…

7) To keep Sissyboo’s reading, writing and maths (we’re a little behind here) skills on the boil but in ways that don’t seem school-like (role play etc.)

8) To do crafts and messy play with both kids (not hard to achieve with Sissyboo, you cannot put anything into the recycling without her fishing it out and turning it into a model) each week. Boo loves messy play but I don’t often find time for it at home.

10) To give Sissyboo time to chill every day and to be able to set part of the play agenda herself each week.

11) To keep her riding on her bike to keep up the momentum.

12) To not sweat every day and be flexible with all plans. Life will get in the way. Kids will get ill and have tantrums.

13) To keep the blog ticking over, but maybe slacking off a bit on our two-week break and hoping you lovely readers don’t abandon me.

14) To take lots of photos of what we’ve been up to (and at some point, print the blooming things out!) as a record of what we’ve done.

I think that’s more than enough for us, given the time therapy, appointments, battling with local services, oh and work, will take up.

I’ll let you know how it goes and look forward to hearing your plans.