Blogs

Magic painting.

   After an exhausting week: one of those when it felt like the whole world is throwing all sorts at me every waking moment and was just challenging this mummy to the limits. Let’s just say my glass of Gin last night was well deserved. As a result this weekend has become a chilled out and a lazy one. Involving lots of playing, painting, cooking and Lego building competitions. My boys creativity and imaginations amaze me every time. The boys have re-found magic painting books, we first discovered these when they were toddlers. (Though I remember having one or two when I was little to). We recently bought some new ones when out and about. IMG_1089.JPG

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If you are unfamiliar with these books they are great mess-free painting activity. Giving your child the chance to explore painting with very little setting/clearing up needed. Which we all appreciate at times. It is simple and affordable, you don’t need to have any paints or think up any ideas of what to paint. You simple dip a brush (often provided with the book) into water, brush it over the black and white patterns and then there is an element of surprise as you wait for the colours to magically appear. The trick is not to use too much water and keep the brush clean. The books would make good Christmas presents if anyone is looking for creative ideas not just limited to young children. IMG_1083.JPG

The books we used this time were usbourne ones. These were not particularly cheap despite being reduced and having a voucher. However the paper was high quality, they had good pictures for older children and they did produce bright colours. Though you can easily find similar books at ‘the works’ or poundland. The boys really enjoyed relaxing with these, thought they were good fun and enjoyed guessing what colours the pictures would be.

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Hope you all have a great week.

Enjoy emmas xxx

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© 2018 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

Defined by a label- living with severe food allergies.

 

So as a follow on to my recent School and separation anxiety.  blog. I have finally got the courage to write another blog that is very personal. Something I try very hard to avoid talking about (though in reality its near impossible) as I do not want it to define me, my son or family. There is so much more to us as a family and we do not want it to control or dictate our lives. Though the reality is it does, however much we try. People always  have questions to ask, which is only right to answer.

         ‘Defined by a label’ – I am one of those allergy mum’s!

If you have been watching the news recently you maybe aware of the case being held against ‘pret a manger’ in regards to  Natasha Ednan-Laperouse death. If the recent news has told us anything, the world of Allergies is still very much misunderstood and more knowledge is needed to support those living with severe life threatening allergies.

So I have mentioned before in previous blogs that one of my sons suffers from severe allergies, He is Anaphylaxis to all Nuts (not just peanuts as many assume) and Eggs.

I am essentially a very lucky and thankful mum to two wonderful, gorgeous cheeky boys one is 8 years old space obsessed, Lego mad and a secret mad scientist. Who has Life threatening food allergies. His 5-year-old brother on the other hand thinks he is a superhero captain who is at one with mud, anything creative and the outdoors. He appears to have been dealt the lucky card so far escaping any allergies of his own. On the surface so far as a rule life has been a breeze for him.

In 2012 ‘a label’ was placed on my then 2-year-old eldest son and us as a family that is hard to hide from. I detest the word ‘label’ and everything that can be associated with it. I actually hate in many ways the fact that we were given labels ‘oh he’s the boy with the allergies’, ‘ oh that is the mum with the allergy son’ more than the actual Allergies themselves. For me and my son it has been harder to deal with the labels given and assumptions made than living with the actual allergies. Society in general is quick to judge, past comment, make assumptions and create those theories.

SEVERE Food allergies present many challenges it is a type of disability, and exclusion is something you learn to live with. He has lived with these most of his life. As a family we have learned to live with it as best as you can.

NO – We did not choose them? It is not a choice!

YES- We would do absolutely anything to not have Allergies in our lives.

If there was a cure we would be the first in the line.

When my son asked me – Why me? I answered honesty I don’t know, he was absolutely shocked and distraught when i said if i could i would chop of both my arms and legs if it didn’t mean he had to live with them.

From 6 weeks my eldest suffered with severe eczema from head to foot and started to show immediate reactions to food when we were weaning him. At two he was diagnosed with allergies to milk, soya, egg, later on he was diagnosed with all nuts , mustard and sesame. After having his first serious reaction to Eggs at 9 mths. He has since outgrown the milk, soya, mustard and sesame allergies with the help of food challenges and using what is known as a food ladders.

However he still lives with Severe life threatening All nuts and Egg allergies and probably will for the rest of his life.

   He had his first severe anaphylactic aged 2 and has had a few more since alongside mild/ moderate reactions on numerous occasions. Sometimes we have known what has caused them other times not.

The early signs he had allergies were (though we didn’t know it at the time) as a baby he suffered from colic, reflux, bad tummy ache, lovely slimy green poos, weak immune, pale skin, sunken eyes, eczema and refusing to feed as a baby. We knew he was in pain however had no idea how to help or what the cause was.

At the time we knew we shouldn’t just listen to our GP who just wasn’t interested saying it was probably just Reflux and he would outgrow it. There was no mention it could be allergies or intolerances however our gut told us different as there seem to be no simple cure for his reflux, eczema and obvious pain. However we struggled to find answers. I have heard on average it can take up to 4 years for a child to be correctly diagnosed. For his eczema we were sent away with steroid creams and told it is what it is, basically just get on with it. The steroids just seem to make it worse.

Luckily for us we had an amazing Health visitor who stepped in and referred us to a Eczema Clinic at 6mths, it was here that they instantly took one look at him and we learnt his eczema was probably caused by food allergies and the environment. After skin pricks and blood tests, milk was removed from his diet and the eczema went away within two weeks. literally I stopped feeding he stopped screaming, it was like a miracle. But this wasn’t to be the end of it.

Over the next few years he had many reactions, resulting in hospital visits some via ambulance, he became allergic to other foods confirmed by skin pricks, reactions and blood tests ( we were to learn that he didn’t just need to consume them they could be caused by touch and were Airborne) and we finally found a brilliant doctor at the allergy clinic. It wasn’t just eczema we had to deal with it was now food allergies to. We were told some Food allergies he would outgrow and some he would probably never outgrow (they have given him 1 in 1000 chance of outgrowing the nut allergy to this day).

Antihistamines, inhalers and adrenaline auto-injectors became part of our lives and go everywhere with us. We also learnt he may not just have instant reactions but it is possible to have delayed reaction (up to 72 hrs after first contact) and repeat reactions to the same reaction.

It’s not a club we asked to join, or one I ever expected to be part of but I have the pleasure of being given the unwanted label of an allergy mum. It often seems that unless you happen to know someone who has a severely allergic child, you are on a lonely path without a map. You end up using the words ‘Anaphylaxis’ and ‘epi-pens’ way to much even when you don’t want to, to the point of boredom, they become everyday vocabulary. Allergies have an emotional impact on your lives, you have to learn to cope with your fears and hide the tears. It affects the whole family. Having an anaphylactic child takes the stress of living with allergies to the extreme.

Anaphylaxis is a life threatening condition. Our child’s safety is literally in our hands that is scary!

– I often wonder can I keep my child safe or even get him into adulthood in one piece.

– Will we recognise a severe reaction quick enough and act fast enough?

– Will we know what to do ?

– Will I even be there?

– Am I likely to overreact and give the adrenaline unnecessarily?

– understanding experts opinions vary a lot. you are the one who has to weigh opinions up against others verses your Childs history.

– You spend many an hour getting as much information as you can, to give your child the right support and you the confidence in your decisions.

Research into the reason why children die from Anaphylaxis concludes that factors at play our recognising how severe the reaction was and adrenaline is often not given quick enough. Constantly being aware and reacting quickly is undoubtedly a vital factor in keeping our child safe. We know adrenaline auto – injectors (often known as Epi-pens) are life saving if given quickly and correctly because they work instantly to reverse the symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction. normalizing blood pressure and circulation to the body organs.

In short it is better to give a unneccessory dose of adrenaline than not to have used it when it was needed. We also know they don’t always work alone (often they only give you time to get to a hospital where additional help is often needed including your child being pumped full of steroids) and they are not always a magic solution, Sometimes there is no stopping or reversing the anaphylaxis reaction or the pens just dont work for some reason in some cases. An anaphylactic reaction is alarming to witness mostly because of the sudden speed with which it occurs. Watching your child turn blue struggling to breath and becoming non-responsive is scary beyond belief especially as the reality is you have no control over the outcome and knowing it can be life threatening. resulting in the possibility of spending time in Children critical care units or at worse intensive care. This is all caused by food, which is essential for survival and should be seen as something to enjoy.

Having a child with a food allergy has a great impact on quality of life, creating understandably anxieties for the present and the future. You spend your life reading labels. The reality is that Ingredients labels can be frustrating. It is frustrating to find out what actually goes into a simple biscuit or cake. The ‘contains’ or ‘allergy information’ labels on packaging do make shopping easier but even when you have been doing it for years and our an experience label reader. It’s easy to make mistakes if you are not always on guard. Its annoying when you enter a shop or restaurant to see spills or loose food that might cause a reaction or to be  faced with someone who does not appear to care.

The ‘May contain’ debate – we as a family despair at this label, it is the most unhelpful and contentions statement that can be written on a food product. It is unhelpful because I want to know does it? or does it not? contain any nuts not that it might!

It is also contentious because in our society/culture some believe that manufacturers are just covering themselves against being sued. However when it comes to ‘may contain’ evidence suggest that there is a 1 in 3 chance that the allergy is present. So its like playing Russian roulette. There is a small but significant risk that exists which cannot be ignored Yes as a result we miss out on foods that could potentially be safe but the risks dictates are choice. Seeing as our son who has had two anaphylaxis reactions to ‘may contain’ items we avoid at all costs now ( Of all things Tin tomatoes and ice cream being the culprits ‘may contain’ Tree nuts / Hazelnuts).

You feel like your child’s life is in your hands as you shop for food. In short food shopping is a huge challenge. However the reality is there is food everywhere – there are few environments that do not include food. This makes going anywhere harder: visiting friends and family, socializing, Farms, Zoos, eating meals or snacks out, Ice creams in the park are to name a few.

Whilst bringing up an allergy child we have experienced every emotion going as parents Felt scared, fearful (for the present and the future teenage years), angry, guilty, anxious, in denial (it took us a long time to fully come to terms with and accept the reality of living with allergies) and at times felt completely hopeless. Wondered does anyone really understand? It can be a lonely business and stressful as parents and for a child living with it.

Asking have I done anything wrong?

Blaming ourselves,

Have I done everything in my power to try to prevent allergies developing?

Its heartbreaking but we can not allow it to consume the here and now or the years ahead. It is not our fault, we are not to blame and its as simple as that! Over the years both myself and husband have had to deal with our own nightmares however it does becomes manageable. Dealing with family and friends offers its own challenges, some are fantastic and offer endless support, whilst others will try to find answers and give you advice, whether you want it or not! A few will make you question whether they have heard you and actually get it. Awkward situations make you feel like a fussy over-protective mum, adding to which there is concern a friend is actually helping you out or trying to offer support. The last thing you want to do is cause offence by checking for potential risks. It is especially frustrating as a mum when others do not take it seriously, roll their eyes, or confuse a serious food allergy with food intolerance.

There are so many key moments in a child’s life that are made harder by allergies

A big challenge to overcome is trusting other people to look after your child, if they will have them on their own and don’t have fear themselves. It takes a great leap of faith to trust someone to provide food for your child or childcare. One thing you learn quickly that it is essential that you have to be over-protective in certain situations – Supervision against risk. However when others offer to produce safe foods or have your child alone for a few hours you feel no end of gratitude.

Holidays present another issue, they need extra planning and in some cases a lot, Allergies dictate where you can go, concerns over language barriers, the medical care available, Aeroplanes are scary – What if they have a reaction in the air? Nuts on board planes present an issue. To top it all of you pay a premium on Travel Insurance costing you more.

School holds many fears and issues to overcome from snacks to, school lunches, staff training, medicine at school (who do you trust?), lunch time supervision, no swapping or sharing, school trips, will they be bullied or teased because of their allergies? play dates, parties (To stay or not to stay? were they not invited because of their allergies? birthday cakes present high risks), clubs and sports.

Exclusion is a big issue you have to deal with. often your child will be left out or presented with something different (those this is meant with the best intention to include him it can often actually exclude and make him feel different). Sometimes in your head you question- hang on a minute you know about his allergies why do you still exclude him? There is no magic solution, however we are very lucky to have some amazing friends and parents at my son’s school who go above and beyond. Having friends who have shared an understanding of what we are going though has been my lifeline at times, offering comfort and reassurance We truly appreciate this as we know the challenges it presents. As parents all we want is inclusion for him, as normal as possible childhood with the same opportunities as others his age. Inclusion and not exclusion is a big thing !!!

There is a fine balance between allowing your child a normal life and keeping them safe!

As a mum I have also had to deal with the fear of having an another allergic child after my eldest. It turned out this was not the case, however you spend 9mths paranoid and the early years of the second childs life worrying. Most of the theories you get told behind preventing your child against allergies in my own personal opinion are untrue and it is just a guessing game still. One of my births was natural (eldest), one was c-section (youngest). One was breastfed (eldest) one was bottled (youngest). I ate nuts in my first pregnancy because I was a big nut eater before allergies entered our lives. However I did not in my second. Personally I think there are no real conclusive answers to preventing allergies it’s just pot luck!

I worry alot about my youngest needs,

does he get enough attention as it feels like his brother gets all the attention sometimes?

– Does he feel it’s all about his brother?

-does he feel he gets all the special attention?

-Does he get enough himself?

-Does he feel any burden or responsiblity or anxiety living with a brother with allergies?

Does he feel any resentment due to denied foods that he likes but can’t have due to his brother (he loves eggs and only eats them out the house away from our eldest)?

As a family we try our hardest to gain a realistic acceptance and understanding of living with allergies. So we can all enjoy life to the full. We have tried to give our sons as normal as possible childhoods despite allergies. We take days out, holidays and eat meals out.

As parents we try to teach him how to face the dangers calmly, whilst sometimes containing our own panic so he can learn by our example and help him to cope practically with whatever life throws his/our way. Theres no doubt that food allergies can be worrying. I’d be lying if I told you any different. The risks are certainly manageable with the right support, knowledge and understanding. Everyday we are trying/ learning how to raise our son in an atmosphere of safety and stability. We try to give him the tools to empower him to decide independently in situations where food is present. How to take his medication and to accept his condition as just something to be lived with.

It’s the hours between food that really matter.

Sometimes the support and help is hard to come by

(those who have travelled down the allergy road will know this only to well).

Gp’s struggle to suppor families in line with their allergy clinics, information on the television and internet can be portrayed incorrectly or questionably. Creating stereotypes. As he grows older increased independence brings fear. Will he be responsible enough about his allergies? when should he carry his own medicines? will he take chances or risks with his allergies?

In short : No matter how well we manage our Childs allergies and try to help him on his way to looking after himself with confidence.

We would all love a cure to be rid of the daily threat to their lives.

emmas xxx

© 2018 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

 

Rushmere country park.

      If you are anything like us, you may be looking for something free to do at the weekends or you may have already started planning for Half term activities (I’m personally not that organised yet- but i know some people are already thinking about it) whilst the weather is still on the better side I think most of us want to get outdoors. Before we all get trapped indoors with the freezing and wet weather. Apart from the change in temperature I really love this time of year. Autumn brings with it amazing colours, crisp air and if we are lucky beautiful blue skies. One of my favourite things is taking a walk with my family, watching my boys exploring, burning of some energy and enjoying the outdoors with big smiles on their faces.

One place I thought people might be interested to hear about/visit that we have been to recently is Rushmore Country Park

( Heron View Visitor Centre, Linslade Road, Heath & Reach, Bedfordshire LU7 0EB)

   I highly recommend it to any local mums looking to get their children outdoors, costing next to nothing (£3). It’s approx 1 hr from South Oxfordshire (Between Milton Keynes and Leighton Buzzard). It is a lovely woodland for children to explore with hidden fairy doors, a HUGE (FAST) slide, wooden sculptures and a giant chair. The boys loved scooting/walking though the forest exploring what surprise was around each corner. There are various walks to follow, we personally did not feel these were clear to follow, signage was poor! However that aside we took a short half an hour walk/scoot around a circuit which took us past some big sculptures and fairy doors.

    Near the car park there is a visitor centre and cafe (we did not visit these as we arrived after they were shut so cannot comment on them but apparently there is breath taking views from the cafe), some toilets and a small play area where you will find one slightly hidden at first big (fast slide) for the over 5’s. Alongside the fairy doors this was the high light for the boys.

It Is all FREE to walk around and the car park is £3 to park all-day. Do take the correct change, as they only accept cash and you pay on the way out at the unmanned exit barrier. Making this a very reasonable, relaxing day out for all.

Please double-check the latest information for opening times, prices and facilities before leaving home at their website.

Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2018 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

School and separation anxiety.

Well the boys are now back in school. The house has been restored to some normality, temporary tidy and looking fairly clean with cupboards restocked. I have finally been given some time to restore some order to my life. Starting with a blog : I thought in honour of the new school year I would write about something that dominates are everyday school life, it is very personal and not often shared with others. Warning I apologies if it is very long however I am hoping it may offer support or understanding to others (It’s sometimes harsh being a parent in such a judgemental world today).

For my youngest despite being slightly reserved and shy at times school has been a breeze, he loves learning and the social aspect of going to school. However this has not been the case for my eldest who has been living with anxiety most of his school life. Before starting school life was awesome, he was confident, easy-going, happy, social and loved life. He was the type of child who was easily excited by anything, always had a big smile and had lots to say. He wanted to learn about the world and everything fascinated him. He was a pleasure and a joy to have in my everyday life. This all changed rather fast overnight on entering school, Anxiety transformed him into someone else term – time and inhibited his ability to function as a normal child at home.

I hear you say and have been often told well at some point all children experience occasional anxiety, it’s a normal part of growing up and going to school they all learn how to deal with it. This maybe true for the majority of children unfortunately some children our better than others at coping with this. For my son it became very much a daily and regular big part of his life. Many will easily jump to conclusions and blame the parents especially the mum for creating it, clinging on to their child and not letting go or letting them grow up independently. However if you have lived with it and witness a love one go through anxiety you will understand that this is not always the case. Sometimes it is beyond the parents control, situations the child has experience and personality have a big role to play.

As parents we had tried everything and I mean everything! From the soft, to the hard approach, had are heartbroken watching tears, question everything we were doing a thousand times ! We did everything in our power to support him though it (and still do), tried every tactic we could think of or suggested to us and went out of our way to encourage independence. Felt pressure from certain others that we were the ones creating it despite all we wanted was a little bit of understanding, support and just someone to listen. I know I am not and have not ever been an over-cautious parent and am not responsible for my child’s anxiety despite at times being made to feel as If I was by others.

Despite my professional background (which I believe help me realise it was beyond normal whatever that is) and being witness to seeing it in others though my past work. Though this gave me some understanding and drive to fight I felt helpless at times in helping my son. I have never really experienced anxiety in my own personal life it’s taken a while to figure it out and understand fully. It has been a long, hard exhausting and at times lonely journey that we are all still on. However it has got easier for us to cope with and there has been glimmers of light at the end of the somewhat dark tunnel. Each day we are moving forward and with coping strategies in place it is becoming easier.

For my son his anxiety could/ cannot be comforted with a few words and was/is out of proportion with the any given situations. He struggled daily though it and became an expert at masking it in front of others however he does/has experience real and excessive worry and fear that is part of his everyday life (letting it all out within the safe walls of home). Furthermore this worry and fear interfered with his everyday life and became hard to control at some points. As parents we hunted for support, we were often brushed off by family, friends and professionals being told it’s just a phase, he will get over it. However after 4 years, signs and symptoms that seem never-ending and when you are wrapped up in the world of parenting a child with anxiety these words don’t offer support but insult, causing loneliness and hurt.

Every school day became a battle, as from the moment he woke up he showed signs of high levels of anxiety in regards to going to school, being in different social environments and situations.  In short the morning school run became a challenge in more ways than one. Clinging to me at friends parties and play dates, refusing to go alone or if at all. Never wanted to be more than a few feet from me or separating from me. When unconfutable He often appears nervous, lacking confidence and shy to others however as his parents we see the signs of panic, fear and uneasiness. We were/our lucky as behind closed doors at home we share a close relationship he was never afraid to discuss openly his feelings of being powerless at school and fear of failure. Everything was to hard and he would/still does say ‘I’m tired’ when he is frighten to express his feelings. We learnt early on he would often say this in moments of anxiety.

On school mornings when I manage to successfully get him into the car he would cling to me tight with a sweaty hand on the walk to school, withdrawing into himself. Going more pale and his shoulder/whole body would tense. The goodbye would always be tough, with him fighting tears, needing reassurance all the way. If looks could kill I would be dead by now. It has been and still is exhausting at times dealing with the school refusal and his separation anxiety as he for most of his eight years refused to spend any time away from me when not at school, clinging and not moving a few feet away, refusing daddy’s efforts of attention, playdates, parties and afterschool clubs. Reluctant to even fall asleep without constant reassurance, attention and being close. separation anxiety brought on other forms of anxiety (fear of failure and social anxiety) from the fear of losing me and my support. The only relief came about in school holidays and weekends when he was reassured we were together.

Before starting school he was a great sleeper, eater and took to potty training in a flash. This all changed overnight. He develop problems with going to sleep and staying asleep. Leading to him always being tired and weak. His complexion was paler and he had bags under his eyes permanently. Despite always being offered and encouraged 12 hours sleep. He went of food for a time having always being non fussy and eating us out of house and home (though this has now very much been restored in the last few months). He came out of school after the first term wet on a regular occasion and bed wetting became a frequent occurrence. Frequently intense, excessive and persistent worry led to fear about everyday situations as he focused on a worry leading to lack of concentration or focus on anything else. Leading to a vicious circle of fatigue, exhaustion and the ability to control the worry/fear resulting in further sleep disruption, tantrums, headaches, stomach-ache and generally permanently tiredness.

We now know his school and separation anxieties are very real, not just a passing phase stemming from his early childhood experiences. Unfairly for him he’s had a few despite how we as a family have tried to deal and cope with them they were bound to have an impact at some point. Four years of hearing loss/ glue ear leading to speech and language delay resulting in feeling powerless and isolated when around others – his only security and understanding was within the home. Starting school before he was ready – a summer baby led him to feel excessive pressure from an education system in this country which does not allow for different targets based on developmental history and him placing unreasonable expectations on himself, caring to much/ too strong to please others. After a opt on his ears trying to catch up four missed years whilst other peers carry on developing. The pressure of others, school and ones he chose to place on himself he has always felt like he has to ‘keep running’.

If that wasn’t enough from the age of two he has had to live with severe food allergies that have on more than one occasion resulted in rides in ambulance, epipen usage, and overnight stays in hospital placed closed to intensive care. On our last stay in CCCU after he came to after several hours of steroids being pumped into him he was told he was very lucky he survived and was here to tell the story! He is (and us as parents have been) often wrongly identified and too much defined by his allergies, some do not see beyond this. Creating barriers that isolate –  we just want to scream yes his allergies are serious, yes are lives are very much dictated by them but there is more to us all, he is not just a boy with allergies and I’m not just ‘that overprotective allergy mum’. (However that is another story to be told another day).

All of these factors have contributed to where he is now. So though no fault of his own and a lack of support for him from professionals at times when he has really needed them. These have all taken a toll on my son’s life and us as a family, shaping his personality and views on life.

We are still very much learning and coping in how to deal with his anxieties on an everyday basis and dare I say it so far this term has got of to a good start. long may it continue. We have found and made up our own methods that help us to cope , they may not work for everyone but they seem to be helping us. We have been very lucky to have the support of CAMHS over the last few months which has made an unbelievable difference for our son and how he deals with his anxiety. I think in truth the answer was quite simply, though one on one therapy someone else other than mum and dad really listen, taking time to understand him and acknowledge it was real. Understanding the need for him to be supported emotionally and in turn releasing some of the pressure from us as parent. Dont get me wrong I don’t believe its all fixed, we have good days and bad and will continue to do so.

It is only when you have watched someone you love go though Anxiety do you truly understand how Anxiety can truly hold a person hostage within their own mind and body preventing the enjoyment of day-to-day life. As mum it help to release the blame I put on myself and what society expectations can put on you was it my fault? Had I done or was I doing something wrong? Having worked with children all my working life I should of known better, for god sake where was I going wrong? realising the answer was No No No! Just circumstances beyond our control had led us to where we were today. I had done everything in my power to help my son throughout some very tough times and would continue to, excepting actually the reason he struggled with separation anxiety (stemming from other anxieties) was because I had done my job well, I had succeeded at offering a strong support network when he needed it without it he might be in a worser situation.

So if you don’t have a child with anxiety but have taken time to read this, firstly thank you. please dont judge to quickly that child / parent clinging to each other with tears in their eyes on the playground. There maybe more to the story, life might be a bigger struggle than it appears. Just offer a smile, ear or dont just tell them to ‘turn their back and walk away – he’ll be fine’ but offer ‘Its ok – to cry, your really doing your best and your not alone’, unhelpful frowns of judgemental comments never help but support can go along way.

For those dealing with it, I hear you, hold in there, you’re doing your best and you are not alone!! It does get easier – We finally conquered our first play date and party this summer without a parent being insight – It was a big deal!!!! He might still be unbelievable clingy on the return to school  and continues to need to hold my hand on the way to school as we enter year 4, separation has got easier this term.

My advice to those who feel your child is anxiety is controlling their life and in turn yours. Seek help and advice don’t suffer in silence. Do not try to do it alone  said she who did for to long! Help is out there if you keep looking and fighting for it. Raising children is one of lives greatest rewards but also one of lifes greatest challenges. As a parent WE NEED to find someone to share your concerns with to gain some much-needed relief. I know this is not always easy, I’ve been there and collected the t.shirt. It is hard to find that someone to listen and offer valid support be it a friend or family member (who you dont want to feel like you are boring) or your child’s school (appear not to be wasting their precious time). Someone who does not or certainly appear not to understand you. Eventually you will find that person who will hear, listen and understand.

Never be afraid to push or seek professional help if needed it is not a failure on your part. For us it offered my son a turning point and took a big weight of our shoulders. The fight continues and seems like it will never end at times. However we are conquering it, coping and heading in the best direction we know how.

A few tried and tested ideas of things that may help:

  • Talk openly with your child. About their fears and worries. Remain calm and Non- judgement (provided that security blanket so that they have some where to run and hide).
  • Try your hardest to work with teachers and others that care for your child (though this is not always easy).
  • Encourage hobbies and interests to help build your child self confidence (We have had to do this together but hope it will SOON lead to independence).
  • Learn as much as you can about your child’s anxiety do not choose to brush over (society at times may make you feel this is the best way). However it does help you and your child understand and create coping methods by using relevant statics.
  • Help build your childs support system including family, friends and others (For us without family close by this involve a lot of daddy daycare being stepped up, to relieve the pressure from me and show my son others can offer the same support – Daddy now once a week takes/stays at a club and does the school run. It wasn’t easy involved lots of anger and tears aimed at me from my son’. It has now FINALLY helps and he has gained confidence without me. He has slowly learnt to feel safe and supported by others.
  • Prepare for new activities ahead of time, my son really doesn’t like surprises or change. He has questions that need to be answered before any new event, he needs time to think, discuss his fears and worries if he is to enjoy or benefit from any new experience without anxiety.
  • We created our own Comfort star to be rubbed when worried (ours has lived in trouser pockets, book bags etc.). It gives us hugs and kisses when we are worried and mummy can’t.DSC_0478
  • A Lunch box notes – This has been a big one for my son, as he said lunch time at school was the hardest time. A little note in the lunch box everyday this may be a motivational note or a joke. Google it and you will find loads of examples. I get into trouble if I forget and often get reminded.
  • A self-esteem/mood diary helping us to discuss our fears, worries and emotions this really helped in our darkest moments. We discussed and wrote in it together before bed so there was less to worry about referring back to it if needed. Using it to point out we survive certain events that was worrying us and we were ok.

But most importantly stay strong and understand you are not alone! Ignore the eye rolling, judgemental and non helpful comments. Feel free to give them that extra hug, kiss or the extra words of reassurance if they need it. They are only little for a while if they need us, they need us! There is no perfect way or perfect parents we all have our faults and are all learning as we go. Do it your way, the way you believe and follow your gut. We all know the world can be harsh at time and your child knowing you are on their side will ensure them they are not alone and that they will succeed in life. We do not all need to raise hard Ninja warriors fighting battles alone!

emmas xxx

© 2018 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

The summer has gone so fast -to fast!

Hi I know I have been quieter than usual this summer on posts and I have not got round to posting as much as planned or promised. In all honest truth I have just got caught up in life, bathroom renovation and enjoying the break from everyday school driven life with my two best friends. The summer has gone so fast – to fast!

For the most I have been enjoying touching based with my ever growing boys, learning more about them everyday, sharing memories, playing lots (top trumps has been a big one this summer, kite flying and inventing garden games – for example a recycle bath panel became a table tennis table) and reading with them has been a big one this summer to – we have covered a lot of fun novels this summer sat snuggled on the sofa together. I have also been proud to watch my eldest enjoy reading advance novels on his own. Whilst my youngest has shocked me with how grown up he has become since the beginning of the holidays – asking lots of whys? coming up with his own theories on things and fighting more to speak with such advance language (his brother normally dominates the conversations).

Don’t get me wrong it hasn’t all been a rose-tinted holiday and  I have had a few ‘mummy is going insane’ moments – including one this morning! When one child insist on being all over you, talking non stop and demanding endless attention all before 9am resulting in me not getting any coffee or food till 12.30 – when I insisted daddy came to the rescue. I really am not a morning person at the best of time, brain does not function till about 1.30pm especially at the moment when we have no bathroom in action due to the renovated.

However for the most part its been relaxed and great sharing time together (in between them being the best of friends one minute or trying to kill each other the next, giving me no space to breath and the house looking like there’s been a natural disaster). I still stick by the Holidays are great and I really don’t want them to go back to school!!!!

For the next week in regards to the website I am going into hibernation – so I can enjoy the final week of noise, laughter and fun whatever the weather with my boys before it’s all over till half-term.

As you might have noticed in regards to the website I have been playing again. The changes have been based on your feedback, my personal preferences – The other design wasn’t working for me it didn’t feel very me when writing projects/blogs and plus all of your lovely comments have influenced given me the confidence to follow my gut to revert back to the old style. Thank you so much for all the comments I really do appreciate them. I have been shocked by just how many people have visited the site since it started and leave me such positive and kind feedback. I am so glad you like it and keep revisiting. It gives me the confidence to know im heading in the right direction.

 In regards to me posting the comments on my site for others to read, I follow strict guidelines and will only share with others if all the security checks are completed and passed. So pleased do not be offended if I don’t post your comment, I will have read it and appreciated it. However I am trying to ensure my website is a safe place to visit. Security and keeping other people’s data safe is very very important to me and my website- I will do all I can to ensure my T&c’S are met to the best of my ability.

Please DO keep revisiting and commenting. However don’t forget to follow so you don’t miss any updated projects and blogs.

Follow, Like, comment and share!

Many thanks emmas xxx

 

Summer catch up

Hi Hope you are all enjoying your summer! I can not believe we are now over the half way mark. I do not want it to end and am trying hard not to allow myself to start to feel the returning to school blues. Trying to ensure we continue to enjoy the freedom the holidays bring with the relaxed timetable: relaxed mornings and late nights. Apart from living with the chaos that comes with a bathroom renovation and having children home for the holidays. We have mainly kept ourselves busy with playing, lots of play dates, birthday parties and garden time. We have not done many Art and craft activities as the boys have found plenty of creative play ideas themselves.

    However I am able to add two projects to the project section that we have done; take a look at Super soft play dough recipe. and Shaving foam painting.

IMG_0949      IMG_0936Enjoy what is left of the holidays, I will aim to add any more projects as we do them.

Enjoy emmas xxx

© 2018 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

Space theme day.

    Here’s the second run down one of our ‘themed days’ – Space. Based around my eldest sons favourite theme, we had great fun all day. For those not aware or who are visiting my site for the first time – My boys love our theme days, begging me to do them every holiday. It is a fun way to filled a ‘holiday day’ cheaply and means you can relieve childhood boredom of staying at home if needed.

  For our  Space day we started by creating space alien pencil pots created out of a recycled baked bean tin and an old sun reflector which was heading to the bin – I will be  posting ‘how to’ to my project section.IMG_0903

   We followed this with some not so space theme ‘train’ picture watercolour painting (sons choice – another like) – I printed two free train colouring pages of the web which the boys then painted with watercolours. The pictures looking very effective and colourful.

We followed this with a lunch based on our themed – Space rocket sandwiches made by the boys with cheese for the windows and space raider crisps.

 After lunch we created our own spotted space pictures out of stickers.

We then watched a space themed Dvd.

Finishing  our day with pizza planets and ice lolly rockets for dinner. Plus of course reading ‘Space theme books’  and some stargazing before we went to bed.

emmas xxx

© 2018 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

Boat theme day.

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    So slightly later than planned here’s the First run down one of our ‘themed days’ – Boats. Based around my youngest sons favourite book and a popular book in our house we had great fun all day. My boys love our theme days, begging me to do them every holiday. It is a fun way to filled a ‘holiday day’ cheaply and means you can relieve boredom of staying at home if needed.

For our day we started by creating Paper plate Sea Scenes. Which has already been posted to my project section.

We followed this with a watercolour painting – I printed two free sailing boats colouring pages of the web which the boys then painted with watercolours. The pictures looking very effective and colourful.

We followed this with a lunch based on our themed – boat sandwiches made by the boys with grapes for the sea, plum whale and a banana base .

 After lunch we created our own ‘toy boat’ out of bits and pieces (and floated it later in our night-time bath).

We then vacated into the garden for ‘creative play’ to take a swim in the sea (our pool).

We then did some iceberg evacuation looking and finding sea creatures and items (mostly playMobil seaside items and toy sea creatures).

Finishing  our day with fish, chips and ice cream oysters for dinner and a bath filled with boats. Plus of course reading ‘Toy boat’ before we went to bed.

emmas xxx

© 2018 by Emmas Creative Love. Powered by WordPress.com. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Hobby craft free mini maker sessions and the British motor museum.

 

So sorry I have been of the radar for a few weeks now with the usual tasks presented at the end of a school term and the starts of the holidays taking over. I don’t know if it’s just me this seems to be more of a challenge now the boys are older. I am finally relaxing into the summer holidays and finally feeling the enjoyment of no school runs and the heavily dictated school schedules.

We have started a relaxed and flexible plan of attack for the summer holidays in place! So far:

 We have done a fun week-end with Cousins.

A Hobby craft ‘slime making’ session which the boys loved. From a mums point of view it was great – 1 hrs entertainment where everything was provided free of charge, led by a staff member and tidied up for us. For anyone local to a hobby craft shop I recommend these sessions for anyone who kids like Arts and crafts. As this summer they are running Mini maker sessions several times a week these are free – you just need to book via their website. We have booked into one session/ activity every week thought out the summer. A great excuse to get out, it doesn’t cost anything (especially if we resist the urge to spend in the shop – is that possible?) and someone else gets to clean up the mess for a change. Next week we are booked into  the Decoparge animals.

Also for anyone who might be interested ‘pets at home’ does something similar, which we have done in the past – The boys have always enjoyed them. However we haven’t booked into any this summer as we did the Easter one. If your a local reader I found the one in Abingdon worked well at bribing a shopping trip to Tesco / B and M before hand.

We have also been to the British motor museum on Tesco vouchers (so another free activity normally £39 for a family of four). It was not really my personal cup of tea or a full day out – however the boys enjoyed it, daddy included! There were plenty of Minis and land rovers. A picnic area outside for a picnic lunch. Are eldest enjoyed reading and discussing all the science behind ‘how a car works’ with me  (I think I waffled sufficiently my way though this one despite sounding like I knew what I was talking about!), whilst daddy enjoyed admiring all the cars. Whereas the youngest did his own thing enjoying driving like a racing driver (A mad one at that) in one of their mini ‘minis’ around the museum. We took part in the family trail and made 3D land rovers in the craft zone. It was a nice cool relaxed day out away from the heat.

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We have also dipped into and out of our first planned theme day, designed by the boys – more spread out to normal as I have two tired boys exhausted and effected by the heat. At present they are crashed watching a DVD. Then we have a dip in the sea planned (our pool in the garden) after when the temperature has dropped slightly. We have planned activities (chosen by the boys) based ‘around the sea’ and on one of our favourite books ‘Toy boat’. I will keep you in suspense I will post a separate blog and project area in relation to this as we finish it. So keep an eye out for it in a few days time. We then have a space theme day planned later in the week.

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emmas xxx

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