Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Post I didn't want to write...

4 years ago I was introduced to my first son after a nice easy 7 hour labour ( I say easy after 72hrs of horrible labour with Alana it had to be easy!) and I felt that instant bond and love something I didn't feel straight away with Alana if I'm honest, I don't think anything prepares you for that first child added on top the sheer exhaustion I felt at the time.

Devon was born on the 20th January 2010 weighing 8lb 15oz and he was just a bundle of joy, he started off life a very content little boy but that quickly changed when he was feeding from me every other hour for an hour at a time morning and night meaning I was unable to do a lot. Added to this he would spend alot of time crying and seemed uncomfortable and was struggling to gain weight, this meant a lot of to and fro from doctors and eventually after being told it was just colic I tried him on lacto free milk and from the first bottle he was like a new baby! Eventually a referral to the paediatrician confirmed what we already knew that he was lactose intolerant.

All throughout his life Devon has had so much of my attention and when he was 2 years 2 months his little brother Myles came along, I thought it was going to be a breeze going from 1 to 2 was easy and everyone said 2-3 was even easier. Well for us it wasn't the case at all, Devon was very much still a baby he was a very young 2 year old nothing like his sister who was older than her years so it was a struggle and despite having a baby in the house I found myself spending a lot of time with Devon.

From a young age he could throw a mean temper tantrum, a tantrum that could go on for hours with no distraction and he would go on and on, even now at the same age Myles can throw a temper tantrum but is easily distracted or he goes in a huff.

He was very much a true mammy's boy so much so his dad found him very hard to deal with, Devon would not listen to a work he would say, he wouldn't go any where with him and for discipline you could forget it and therefore their relationship was very broken. Looking back maybes I didn't help it by allowing him to be very much a mammy's boy even my own mam said that I spent more time with him than the others and our relationship was different to that of the others.

When he was three things seem to spiral out of control and his dad was at the point he could no longer stand to be around him as his behaviour was so bad and challenging and that sounds awful to say, at the time I could not understand how he could feel like and it was really depressing his dad, so we called on the help of our health visitor.

After trying all there techniques and the health visitor acknowledging her was a very active little boy, he wouldn't stop from the minute we got up to the minute he went to bed it was an agreement that we would go on a parent course together and show Devon we were a united front, and we signed up for a parenting course called 1,2,3 Magic.

Well between agreeing to the course and the course coming around his dad and I separated and I ended up going on the course myself which seemed mad as I wasn't the one struggling to cope with his behaviour and for a while the techniques I was told to use worked well especially as I was told to ignore time out something we had really struggled with as Devon thought it was the best game ever and 2 hours later he still couldn't manage his time out! For a while life was so calm and content and Devon's behaviour seemed to improve massively.

Fast forward a few months and Devon's behaviour seemed to increase ten fold and it was now it was  me struggling to cope with his behaviour and 1,2,3 Magic was no longer working and nothing I seemed to do was working, one of my status was that I didn't want to fill Devon's stocking as he had broken me into little pieces. All of sudden he was being as good as gold for his daddy and at home it was a battle day in day out, I found myself in tears so many times and considered running away on a few occasions. His dad didn't seem to want to help out at all and that his behaviour was my problem etc, it would appear single life had go to his head!

Luckily whilst all this was going on I had a massive support network made up mainly from friends who I never had met in my life yet seemed to have the right words to keep me going and my mam was always on the end of the phone, and I cant thank those people enough. 

I went through the motions and spent the majority of my nights crying, feeling exhausted trying to juggle looking after three children, working and working out how to pay the bills, all the while trying to understand what had happened with my little boy who I loved so much. 

In March this year our health visitor came out to do his 4 year check and Myles 2 year check and Devon showed the true extent of his behaviour, he was sitting nicely and quietly when the health visitor came and then all hell broke lose because I wouldn't set up another train set because we had another one already set up, I removed the train set he was trying to get out and put it on top of the cupboards in the kitchen, so he climbed on the bench to get it down. It was then put in the garage and the door locked and so he went to all the keys trying to open the door (key was hidden) and afterwards when he realised he wasn't getting it back he tore around the house destroying everything. 

It was such a relief for someone else to see how he behaved and that there was no distracting him, I had lost count of the amount of times he had hurt his siblings and was completely unaware of how people were feeling and when they wanted to be left alone. He ticked all the boxes for ADHD but one thing that confused the life out of me and made me feel like I was to blame was that he was absolutely fine at nursery, he was the model pupil in terms of behaviour and always helping to tidy up and waiting his turn. The only thing was that he tended to play alongside children rather than with them and couldn't tell me any of the other children's names. The health visitor felt he was emotionally and socially delayed which was causing these outburst and asked permission to write to the childrens services team to ask them to see him and I was more than glad that something was finally been put into place to help us. The health visitor agreed his behaviour wasn't to do with the separation as it was present before hand hence the parenting course, it appeared that he could only attach himself to one person and no I was the bad guy and daddy was fun daddy as they get to do fun stuff when there and it was an adventure.

I was delighted that he was mending his relationship with his dad and they loved being together, but when I asked his dad what he thought about him being referred for his behaviour his response was they he didn't see the issues as he was good as gold, cue me feeling the worst mother in the world had he forgotten the confessions he had made to me that he couldn't stand to be around him and that he struggled to cope, in fact I had it all in an email he written. In fact it was now me that felt like I was been broken into little pieces and didn't want to be around my child, what does that make me a monster? 

When I said that he could live with his dad and he could deal with his behaviour I was accused of not loving him, in fact completely opposite I had loved that child from the moment he was born, I was there for him every second possible. But I was at the point where I wanted to escape so earlier this month I planned a get away whereby Devon would be staying with his dad for a few days and Myles with his grandparents and I was going to spend the time with Alana as she had done so much grown up and been pushed out alot whilst I had been dealing with Devon's behaviour but this caused me to be told I was selfish but I needed to do, I need a break was that so wrong?

I had such an amazing time away and missed my boys so much but within a few hours Devon made me feel like I wanted to run again, I felt so much shame in that feeling and for a few days he made my life hell but I guessed it was to be expected he had 121 attention something he thrives on, no -one to compete with.

But then all of a sudden something seemed to click into place and all of sudden he was talking to me about everything and was more engaged in things going wrong, he was being kind to his siblings, he was helping me around the house. I found myself feeling so proud of him, praising him so much for the little things and then this week we brought in a star chart something that I had previously tried and he wasn't motivated by it, but all of a sudden he was excited and couldn't wait to earn stars.

 Hang on a moment has someone switched my child, yes I still had to remind him about things but I could go to the shop and he would come away without any temper tantrums, he stopped when I asked him when walking, maybes all we needed was some time away from each other. We are onto day 5 of the reward chart and its going so well I haven't had to tell him off once at all today and I feel so proud of him. He told me yesterday about having a book at nursery to practice his letters and was very excited about something he has never showing before, and the other week we were in the hospital and a little girl started talking to him and he talked back to her something he had never done before.

Maybes I was expecting too much of him, maybes I forgotten he was only little and I was expecting him to be older than he was, I have cried so much writing this post, I have felt guilty what mother says they want to run away from their child but I know I have dealt with so much and because of it I am a stronger person, a better mam to my children.

I love all three of my children with all my heart and will be there for them but I also know that I need to take a step back every now and then and let them grown and also take that time for me.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Horrid Henry and King of Bling DVD Review

When we were asked by Abbey Home Media to review one of the newest titles I couldn't say no after all my children love nothing more than DVD time!

Alana who is 6 despite being a girl loves Horrid Henry and has a massive collection of Horrid Henry books, and 4 year old Devon I'm sure inspires to be Horrid Henry! So they were very pleased with the opportunity to watch Horrid Henry and The King of Bling 

The DVD had 6 episodes which runs for 1 hour and 6 minutes, the episodes are:

* Horrid Henry & The King Of Bling
* Horrid Henry & The Code Crackers
* Horrid Henry & The Terrible Teacher
* Horrid Henry Sells The School
* Horrid Henry & The Movie Star
* Horrid Henry's Horrible Homework

When I put the DVD all three children sat down and seemed to be in a trance and Alana immediately started singing along to the theme tune and it had all three including 2 year old Myles glued to the screen!

The children loved the DVD from start to finished and there were many laughs along the way, they loved the fact that Perfect Peter was no longer so Perfect. I would highly recommend this DVD to anyone and it will be certainly be coming in the car with us on our holiday next month.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

My Sunday Photo Sunday 20th April 2014

This weeks photo is in celebration of the lovely weather and the first BBQ of the year :-)


Saturday, 19 April 2014

Safety in Cars

The Easter holidays is a time to do so much with your family and for the majority at some point or other includes a car journey. I'm astonished to see some many parents disregard to in car safety with some children not fasten in at all and for others not in appropriate car seats. I just don't understand how parents can allow their children to be put in such danger, I know its a minority and the majority are responsible when it comes to our children's safety.

On the school run I see so many children Alana's age and younger getting out the car with not even a booster seat, its against the law yet people still do it, you wouldn't steal from a shop because its against the law so how come its OK to break the law when it comes to your children's safety?

7 years ago I was pregnant with Alana I had no idea about car seat safety and went with the car seat that came with the pram! I sharp replaced this as I learnt more about safety testing but I was still not well educated in car seat safety and when Alana was 8 months old she hit 9KGS so off I went to Mothercare and after research we went for the Maxi Cosi Tobi the best money could buy at the time in our opinion. At this point we were not once told not to put her rear facing and so went along with this and were more than happy with the car seat, as a 98th percentile she outgrew the Tobi at 2yrs 9mths we went off and bought an isofix high back booster because we believed it to be safer and she was 18kgs so correct weight range.

2 years later Devon came along and we were more clued up on safety and he rear faced in his group 0 car seat till he was 16 months old in a Maxi Cosi Cabriofix and Isofix base (we had done more research this time) and then he went into his sister Maxi Cosi Tobi, another 2 years down the line and Myles comes along and I'm a lot more educated on the whole car seat aspect and he starts life in the Cabriofix and then moves onto the Maxi Cosi Opal so we can rear face him for longer, around 17 months he lasted in height but still under the 13kgs weight and then he moved in to forward facing.

I was more than happy with the children's Maxi Cosi Tobi's but then we heard about the impact shields so as Devon was nearly 4 but still under 18kgs we decided this would be a good option for him to feel more grown up but still not use the adult seat belt something he was far to small for and bought him the Kiddy phoenixfix.  I was happily driving along until bam October last year I went into the back of another car which had stopped suddenly, both boys in forward facing car seats and Alana in a Maxi Cosi Rodi Airprotect.

All three car seats did their job and the children had no injuries something that I am thankful off, in fact I came off worse. Afterwards I felt an enormous amount of guilt in that I could have down more in the situation to protect the boys, I knew about extended rear facing car seats but because we already had expensive forward facing car seats we had chose to use them instead. But at that point I didn't care the cost I wanted to know that if it was to ever happen again the children were as well protected as possible. I had gone along in that little daze that it would never happen to me after all I had been driving for nine years without an accident but it did. Myles was only 11kgs and 19 months old, Devon 14kgs and 3yrs 10 months old so both could have been rear facing easily.

So I bought the boys both Besafe Izi Plus car seats so that they could both rear safe for as long as possible roughly between 6 and 7 years old, I am so happy with my purchases and neither boy has complained about turning back to rear facing in fact Devon who is now 4 loves it.

Had I know what I know now and the knowledege I have there is no way Alana would have gone forward facing at 8 months old and I would have bough a Extended Rear Facing Car seat when she was nearly 3 so she didn't have to go in a high back boosters.

 I am not going to shove ERF down your throats its up to each individual parent I was more than happy with their forward face car seats until that accident happened and a life experience taught me as a parent a different view personally. They are in forward facing car seats in their car seats in their dad's car as unfortunately he has a tiny little car seat and we have struggled to find rear facing car seat that will accommodate the need for three children in the car so Devon who is 16.5kgs will have to go in a high backed booster around the age of 5 but for now he is still in a harnessed car seat, I see so many of his peers at nursery who are smaller than him in a high backed boosters it seems so many people are happy for them to reach 15kgs then move when in fact they are much safer in their 5 point harness.

The message I do want to give is don't be too quick to move them to the next car seat so quickly wait till the max weight, there are more ERF car seats coming on the market and with I-Size now been brought it hopefully this will mean there is more education to new parents instead of having to wait 2-3 children down the line to discover for yourself.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Thankful Thursdays 17th April 2014

This week I am thankful that Devon got his place in our first and only choice of school. We only put one school down as it was the school we wanted him to go to, yes I know its not guaranteed but as it is the only catholic school in walking distance and his older sister is at the school.

All of my children are baptised as catholic and being brought up with a religious teaching is important to me as their parents. The school is such a lovely little school with around 70 pupils in the school and is for Reception to Year 2, all the children and teachers know each other and Alana has thrived at the school. I honestly believe I could not have asked for a better school for my children.

I have heard of many parents not getting their first choice and been given a different school for siblings so this week I am truly thankful we got into our preferred school. Now to prepare for another child going off to school!

Adventures Of A Monkeyfooted Mummy

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Northern Ireland In Pictures

On the plane before she knew what it was like!

Fun at the beach

Ulster Transport Museum

Ulster Folk Museum
Fun at the park

Random Fun :-)

Monday, 14 April 2014

Our Trip To Northern Ireland

Its been a rough time adjusting to life as a single parent and getting into a routine, so I decided to take a much needed break to Northern Ireland to see some friends. As Alana had a rough time but been very quiet about it, I thought it would be nice for her to get some 121 time, so Myles went to Grandma's and Devon went to his dad's meaning they all got some special times and activities designed to suit them. Win Win although it was hampered and stressed out by their dad's telling me that I wasn't being fair on the children and that I was being selfish wanting to spend time away from them etc :-(

I woke Alana at 4:45 and was told to leave her alone and that she was too tired! But I managed to get her dressed and keep her snuggled up in the bed till the taxi arrived. My excuse for waking her up was that we needed to go on a message, I managed to get the bags in the taxi without her seeing and taxi driver knew not to say where we were going! I had to tell her the car was broken hence getting a taxi! We got to the airport and she read it and was wondering what we were doing to say the least, once I let her know all she could say was ahh! We weren't at the airport very long before boarding and she was excited but tired to say the least. But after all that secret planning we discovered she was scared of flying so spent the whole flight scared!

We had a pretty amazing time whilst we were there from lovely hot chocolates, to soft play, to pancake tossing to visiting the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. We ran out of time to do everything and came back knackered but it was lovely to get away and spend the time with my daughter without having to tell children off for fighting every five minutes. Trying to get Alana back on the flight was fun and she started to get anxious the night before and was quiet all the way to the airport, but we managed it but next time we have to go on the ferry!

When we got home I got a big hug from Devon but he said he didn't miss me! But he had a lovely time with his daddy and grandparents with a visit to see the dinosaurs and to the farm. Myles had a lot of fun with his Grandma and got spoilt rotten as always!