A Desire To Thrive, Not Just Survive ♡ Mental Health Awareness Week

I was going to keep quiet and fly under the radar as I have done my entire life in fear of ill thought or rejection. I was going to plod on, keep calm and stay quiet like always. Say nothing and keep my scars hidden where no one can see to pass judgement on them.

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A Life In Perspective

Those of us who have been following our journey and have read our most recent blog post will have known that two weeks ago we received some devastating news. Our entire family was brought to it’s knees. Those that know me well, will know that family means everything to me, Joe and our boys mean everything to me.

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‘CATCH!!’ said Cancer 

Just when things settle down and the future you’ve always dreamed of, craved even, is just millimetres from your outstretched fingertips, life throws one hell of a curve ball. I don’t just mean a little hiccup or minor bump in the road, I’m talking CATCH! as quickly as the word sounds, a forceful chest pass, ball-on-fire type curve ball.

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Not Step, Just Family

I loved the way my nicknames for them flowed effortlessly off the tip of your tongue and how they would chase you around calling your name. It was the way you nibbled their toes and pretend to pass out from the stench of their feet, even though they didn’t smell at all. It was the way in which you snuggled together on the sofa with the iPad while stroking their hair the same way I do.

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Behind The Smiles of Our Autism Family

I’m not a lover of small talk, the ‘are you okay’s’ and the ‘how’ve you been-s.’ It’s kind and polite but I’d much rather a more deep and meaningful conversation. When I first noticed her it started off with half a smile upon our passing. Then it became a quiet ‘hi’ and a smile which soon progressed to a smile and a ‘hello.’ A lady passes us most mornings on route to school, happy, smiling and completely free of judgement at the sight of me, sometimes stressed and often in a hurry, a young girl with three young boys in toe. A few weeks passed quite standardly, weeks of smiles, hello’s and blasé comments about the weather, be it pouring with rain or warm beaming sunshine there was always something to say. I wasn’t a lover of small talk until one day this lady said something to me that took me by surprise.

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The Village That Raises My Children

We have Grandmothers, Mothers and Aunts. Grandfathers, Fathers, Uncles and even older siblings that share some of the parenting, each with their own important role. Beyond our circle of friends and our family unit, we have teachers.

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Zippy Spinners | Fidget Toys For Autism and Anxiety

From the beginning, Sonny has always been a sensory seeker. As a baby he was a super cuddly-koala clinging-touchy feeling- octopus. As he grew older, he lessened his grip on me and began to enjoy playing with toys of his narrowed interests. Anything trains or Disney’s Cars and Planes, you were sure to get his attention. It didn’t take long for us to notice his constant need for toys in each hand, regardless of what we were doing or where we were going. He never had a dummy or took to a particular teddy for comfort, so I guess his toys were his comforter after all.

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It’s Not The Day For A School Play

Reception performed their school play this morning to their parents and the rest of the school. Except this time, Sonny wasn’t going to be there. We went to school this morning and walked past the long queue of parents, eagerly waiting to get inside and for the play to begin. Me… I walked home feeling just a little disheartened.

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I Love You Today Because…

Sonny,

I love you today because one, two, three, four, five years have passed since I gave birth to you. Five little but long years ago, I held you in my arms for the very first time. And since then I have continued to hold you, guide you and protect you from the world that surrounds you. The world that overwhelms you so.

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Cold Coffee & A High Five | A Guide To Surviving School Mornings

To the mum that high fived me for getting through another morning school run, I salute you! I see you fellow mamma, looking occasionally rushed and flustered on route to the classroom door. We get one other. We don’t pretend this whole mothering thing is easy. It’s certainly not.

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Waving The White Flag of Parenting

It’s merely the middle of the week and I am already waving the white flag of parenting. By definition, waving a white flag is a recognised symbol to signal a ceasefire. It is also used to signify surrender, since it is often the weaker party which requests negotiation. A wave of chaos has entered our house, which is typical after a busy or exciting weekend but it’s caught up with me already.

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Autism and The Chicken Pops Diary

Chicken pox. One of childhoods most common illnesses. His two brothers have had it and I had wondered how it would differ for Sonny when he caught it. Would it? How would it? Would it be harder for him, having Autism? His little brother Zachary was poorly with chicken pox two weeks before and I assumed him now knowing what Chicken Pox looked like, may help to prepare him. (Who was I kidding!)

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Meltdown | How Does It Really Feel?

Have you ever felt so angry, so on the edge of control, so at the brink of sanity and rational thought, that it’s scared you? Have you ever been pushed so far, that when despite begging out loud for it to stop, it doesn’t and you explode? Have you ever lost it? Do you remember what that felt like? Red hot blood coursing through your veins that leaves you shaking in despair. The urge to destroy anything and everything that crosses your path. Did you shout and scream? Did you fall down and cry? Did you hide away and not want to come out? Did you throw things and break things and say things you didn’t mean?

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Don’t Tell Me He’ll Eat When He’s Hungry

At the age of 3, Sonny weighed a total of one and a half stone. Yes. You read that right. To compare, his healthy baby brother only 1 year old, already weighed a stone. This picture below hurts my eyes and my heart. He was nothing but skin on bone and you could see his skeleton through his pale skin. His face bony, his eyes sunken and gaunt. When he was sat down you could make out every outline that formed his pelvis and his spine. His age 18 to 24 month clothes hung from his body, never fitting him right. I felt consumed with guilt each time I saw his fragile body without clothes as though it was somehow my fault.

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Hurry Up, Slow Down

There are so many times in which I find myself in a constant flurry. These last few weeks, it’s been all day most days. In this I know I’m not alone. So many things to do, so many places to be, so many people needing your attention and sometimes – sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day.

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Raising Boys | I Don’t Know How You Do It!

There is one question I get asked most days and if only I got a pound each time, I’d be filthy rich. Three boys? And you’re how old? How on earth do you do it?! You must be busy. You must have your hands full. How do I do it? I don’t really know in all honesty. I don’t know any other way.

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To The Girl Who Was Yet To Be

Your natural hair colour will always be the prettiest. You were born perfect just the way you are. Changing the way you look on the outside won’t change how you feel inside.

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To My Special Needs Sibling | Part 2

Instead he became fond of the softness of the skin on your head as he kissed you. Fond of your little fingers, how they were just like his only very small, and how adorably cute you looked when you smiled at him for the very first time.

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Calm After The Christmas Storm

Every small step for us is an important one. It doesn’t matter if the day doesn’t go to plan, if it isn’t perfect or doesn’t mirror the way everybody else is spending theirs.

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Autism | The Moment I Knew

Knowing all I know now, I wondered how on earth we ever reached the end of that pier in the first place. I don’t remember too much about the walk back to our spot on the beach but it must have been calm. Quiet and reflective. My little boy was different. I knew it then. I just needed to know why. I needed to know how I could help him.

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Luton Airport Fire Station | To Aufinity and Beyond

On Friday, Joe, Sonny and I took to the road. We had dropped Riley off at school to take the coach to the Peter Pan pantomime. Zachary went for a play at his Nanny’s house while we embarked on an adventure of our own. We’d been invited to Luton and Dunstable Airport Fire Station to meet some very special people.

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Guilty For Loving You.

I did it again Sonny. I underestimated you. It seems to be somewhat of a habit of mine. Does your Autism make me more protective of you compared to your brothers? It’s almost as though my innate motherly instinct takes control and does all it can to protect you from disappointment or harm. I allow Riley and Zachary to go that little bit further, I allow them to make mistakes, I give them room to stretch their wings and fly.

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To My Special Needs Sibling

Did I cherish you enough in those two years before your brother was born? Did I soak up every little bit of you? Your little fingers and toes, the smell of your freshly washed hair after bath time, the dimples in your cheeks when you smiled at me? Was I everything you would wish a mother to be and more? I hope so.

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