Childcare Challenges of a Working Parent

Making the decision of when to return to work after having my youngest two children was tough, I believe that as parents we have a conflict within us between collecting our children from school, never missing a play, assembly or class presentation and then setting an example by working hard for a living in whatever form that takes, whether that is full time, part time, from home or whatever you do. But what I actually found more difficult was discovering that in fact I couldn’t afford to work full time at all as I had planned to. This was simply down to how much my childcare costs would be every single week. After doing the maths I quickly realised it just wasn’t doable. One nursery I found was £50 a day, so a cost of £250 a week, but that wasn’t even the worst bit. In order for my child to start, a deposit of four weeks fees was required, as well as 4 weeks fees in advance. £2000 just to walk in the door! You could move into a rented property for less than that and I certainly cannot…

ASD and sleep

Being a parent is hard work and you lose a LOT of sleep. We have been having a really tough time with our two youngest and sleep, and it has hit a point over the last few months where it is impossible to manage and feels impossible to function. Any tips from other parents of autistic children would be so gratefully received, scrap that, any tips at all are welcome!

Generally Ethan is miserable and unsettled and goes down anywhere between 9 and 11.30 and will be down until morning usually, and he is settling better since we got him a light projection mobile.

Noah on the other hand can stay awake until 7am without an issue. He is prescribed melatonin to help support a natural sleep/wake cycle but quite frankly, the boy is a ball of energy and can fight through his medication. We are restricted on what we can put in his room within reach as he dismantles everything so things like colour changing lamps are a no-go as he would just stare into the light or turn it off.I sometimes think that w…

We must do more about cyberbullying #Pledge2Talk

Internet matters launch their #Pledge2talk campaign today, which is about getting the message out there about cyberbullying. Recognising that this kind of bullying is different to face to face bullying and helping us as parents, recognise it, learn about it and ultimately take action to stop it. 
New research suggests that 1 in 5 parents say their child has received cruel comments online. And perhaps surprisingly 10% more boys has been bullied online about their appearance than girls. 
I thought I was savvy about Internet safety and had told my son about the dangers of the Internet and quite frankly my advice, though good, was outdated and he still was a target for cyberbullies. I warned him about talking to strangers online, told him not to accept friend requests from people he doesn't know or enter into games on xbox with strangers etc. But the problem was, the issues he faced were totally different, it was his online 'friends', boys from his school that he suffered at the…

My birth story

Everyone loves a good birth story so here is mine. In true still of all things that I do, it is incredibly late!
Baby Ethan, our youngest son, was born just before Halloween last year, via emergency c-section. It seems like with each child I have the labour gets a bit more dramatic and risky. I can only dream of the calm births with breathing techniques and the warmth of a birthing pool and steady build of contractions. I am actually laughing at the thought of this as  1) is this real? and 2) I am not that bloody lucky if it is a real thing! I haven't really written a birth story before and now I think of it I don't think I have actually read one either, so we will see how we go. 

I was admitted for a planned induction of labour at 38+3 as I have a pre-existing heart condition that was getting progressively worse as I neared the end of my pregnancy. I was of course overjoyed as I was so uncomfortable, my health was suffering and after two miscarriages in a row, it felt like a mi…

EHCP drama - an open letter to my local authority

Dear local authority,
My heart broke for my baby when I was told he had Autism, I felt a mix of relief to get a diagnosis for him and also sadness and loss for the childhood I thought he was going to have. He was just two years and four months old at the time, and all of a sudden we didn't know whether he would be able to make friends or whether he would be able to learn in a school, what if he could never talk? We were terrified of what the future held but also reassured because we know there is so much support out there for families and for children. There are specialist schools for autistic children and local authority funding for therapies and services. After all we are a developed country and we look after our vulnerable people, right?

Our little camping trip in Norfolk this summer!

This summer we went camping for the first time, a 7 month pregnant me, the husband and Conner who is never away from his xbox for longer than ten minutes, and Noah who is nocturnal. This was going to be interesting to say the least! First obstacle was the actual lack of camping gear we owned, so we borrowed a tent and some other camping paraphernalia. We had prebooked at a newly opened campsite in Wells-next-the-sea in Norfolk, Blue Skies Campsite if you fancy a nosey. It is a family run site, and this summer was their first season, not that you would tell. 

If I am honest I didn't quite know what to expect, and I had no idea what facilities to expect at a campsite. I imagined grim toilets and an old concrete shower block but I couldn't have been more wrong. When you arrive at the site you drive in a gated entrance and the reception is a caravan with information notices outside and contact numbers for the staff, the site is staffed from first thing in the morning until late at …

Our visit to Twycross Zoo this summer

As a family we love going on days out, but with Noah and his communication difficulties, it is always relatively stressful and requires careful planning on our part. We wanted to take him out somewhere after his 3rd birthday in July and decided that given his current interest in animals, a zoo would be the best bet. We had previously visited Twycross Zoo in East Midlands in 2014 and absolutely loved it! Actually when it came to writing this post I realised that my blog picture was actually taken there when we visited in 2014. From our memory of our visit we particularly liked that the zoo covered such a vast space and it didn't feel particularly busy so we decided to make a return visit. We booked our tickets online which saved us a few pennies and while we printed our receipt off, the staff there are happy for you to provide them with your booking reference if you don't have a printer. 

As you enter the zoo using the entrance pictured above, there is a large indoor complex wit…