When Magic Kingdom just isn’t so magic! Our (not so) magical stories of Florida!

When Magic Kingdom just isn’t so magic! Our (not so) magical stories of Florida!  

Ok, that may sound a little harsh. Disney’s Magic Kingdom really IS magic, especially if you have never been before. I distinctly remember the first time my mum came with us to Florida, she stood at the top of Main Street looking up towards the Cinderella’s castle, and she cried… she was 58 at the time!! Just goes to show, all ages are touched by Disney magic.

However, when you take an autistic child to Disney, its a different story. 

The first time we took both children, Ellie was seven and her brother George was three and we went the first two weeks of December. We left on a dark Thursday evening to travel up to Heathrow on the train and stay overnight to catch our flight in the morning.

Being the last day of November, we were naturally all dressed in coats, hats and scarfs when we boarded our flight… and we were to find out that this would be to our detriment by the time we got off!!

Thankfully, flight went reasonably well. Typically, George fell asleep on take off for his first ever flight! For most of the flight  the kids were glued to their tv’s, and they killed time by going to the toilet multiple times.  Ellie was also eating most of the way there (anything to keep her occupied). I swear it took is at least four hours to watch one bloody film! 

On the landing George once again fell asleep! He was absolutely out of it and we really couldn’t wake the boy up! So trying to get out of the plane was a real struggle. Hand luggage, coats, scarves and a sleeping three-year old in my arms. We felt likethose donkeys in Spain cruelly being forced to carry luggage up a hill! Add to that, Ellie was really nervous and worried about what was coming next as we went into the airport… little did we know!

As you can imagine, the terminal is full of people queuing to get through customs. Lines and lines of passengers moving at a snail’s pace. Already Ellie was starting to get agitated. Then she asked “do you have Bellagio Bear?”  

Now, Bellagio Bear (aka Daniel) was a special bear given to Ellie by her godmother and had travelled all the way from the famous hotel in Las Vegas. This bear had sat for a good few years on the shelf being ignored, but all of a sudden, he was in the limelight and had recently made it onto the Ellie’s bed and into Ellie’s arms. That’s like ‘soft toy goals’!

However, looking around, neither of us had Daniel with us. George is still snoozing and feeling like a lead weight and we are looking frantically through four sets of hand luggage for the bloody bear – nothing! Cue the whaling! Yes, the whole flight looked around to see what the screaming was about… “Daniel is gone” she wailed! We quickly had to establish with the people around us that Daniel was indeed a bear and not another child! 

We knew exactly where we were sat on the plane but when the crew went back to look, Daniel was gone!  I often wonder what part of the world Daniel ended up in! 

For our trip I was mega organised. List after list, after list! I drew up visual itineraries for everything to help Ellie, the travelling to the hotel, the travelling on the plane and then details of where we were going each day. I also ordered a book from Disney called The little Big book of Magic which she took everywhere. It gives details about absolutely everything from the parks, to the restaurants, to the hotels and by the time we were half way through the holiday, Ellie was reading out details of the amenities in each Disney Hotel!

I also had a letter from the doctor to say  that she finds queuing very difficult etc. I always worry that we’ll go into customer services and Ellie will be all smiles, greeting the staff by name and making us look complete frauds… so I go prepared. I needn’t had worried. Ellie was shaking when we went to get our Guest Assistance pass and they didn’t want to see my paperwork when I offered it up. 

Thankfully, the parks are very helpful over in Orlando. The assistant passes meant that our queue time was very short so there was little chance of Ellie getting stressed. They were a godsend.

This was put to the test when we had to wait 20 minutes to get into the Beauty & the Beast attraction. By the time we got in there, Ellie was in such a state and we had to stand at the back and try and calm her down whilst other kids were getting involved with the characters and having a lovely time. It was heartbreaking. 

What didn’t help that holiday was that George was also having a time of it… mainly being a difficult little 💩! I don’t know whether it was the tiredness of the holiday, or as hubby had Goggled…that boys have a surge of testosterone every six months that makes them impossible (and he’d just hit 3 1/2 years). Either way, him constantly wanting to do the opposite of what we wanted and dragging his feet under his buggy was not cool!  I distinctly remember walking past families looking at us and shouting ‘Hi’ in a loud and cheery manner like some crazy woman!! 

So, what happens when you book a beautiful meal with the Disney Princesses in Epcot that costs a small fortune? Well, I didn’t expect our seven year old to have a meltdown about what food she was going to eat and complaining that it was all going to be rubbish!! I don’t remember the details but the moaning and groaning really started to piss me off and I wondered why we bothered!  By the time the waiter came round for our order, all I wanted was a huge glass of wine! I was fraught and on the verge of walking out, so an overpriced wine was what I had! 

As soon as I took a distraught Ellie up to see the food buffet that she would have for her starter, everything changed. She knew that she would have a belly full of food and suddenly all was fine with the world! 🙄 The rest of the meal was fine and the kids met a number of Disney Princess’s. Alls well that ends well I suppose! 

Most of the holiday continued with strops about queuing up, meltdowns about doing the opposite of what we wanted to do; the thing hubby and I started to look forward to the most was getting back to the appartment at the end of the day for an ice cold beer!  

The truth was, Ellie was most happy when she was at the appartment, the pool or chilling in the hot tub. When you think about it, something like Disney is overwhelming for children as it is… throw in the sensory issues and I can’t imagine how hard it must be. 

I remember coming home to the UKm just as exhausted and when we left, and vowed that next time it would be better… how wrong I was! 

Until next time, 

Love and hugs xxx 
NB: when we got home, my lovely mum had searched the Internet for something that looked like Daniel Bear. A little cream bear greeted Ellie when she arrived home ❤🐻

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Getting away from it all… and how I found myself in the middle of a Gruffalo book!


This time last week, I had a very different view from the computer screen I look at this morning!  I was in the middle of a beautiful forest… just me, no hubby, no children… just me… and 10 girl-friends!

I’d literally been dreaming about this weekend for the entire summer holiday, which, I don’t know if I’d mentioned, was pretty crappy!  A weekend all to myself, full of laughs,  alcohol, food, naughty card games, delicious pancakes… and even a bit of water slide riding!

Last weekend 11 of us went to Centre Parcs in Warminster and what made it more exciting was that I was a Centre Parcs virgin! I always figured it was pretty pricey for a weekend away with the family… and don’t get me wrong, it is.  However, now having been there, I totally get why people go back.  Its glorious!  As I opened the patio doors, I found myself stood in the middle of what can only be described as the Gruffalo book (if you have older kids and have no idea what I mean, Google it). Tall trees absolutely everywhere and squirrels running up to the window.  It was simply stunning.

What made it even more special was that we were celebrating a special birthday… no, not a 30th (where did those 10 years go?) but a 40th. This weekend however, was a far cry from others we have spent away… like partying down in Newquay, an all adults weekend in Butlins, or in sunny Torquay (back when they welcomed Hen Weekends!) etc, etc.

However, this was just what the doctor ordered.  Just a few days to chill out and enjoy doing simple things, like eating breakfast without being interrupted, walk through the forests and not worry that your little one is about to fly off his bike or fall down some steep slope!  I felt really quite smug walking around, taking in the beautiful autumn sunshine and having this ‘me time’.

Being away with your best friends is by far the best form of therapy.  You often think that all the shit that is going on in your life is only happening to you. Being away for a weekend, lets you relax, talk out your worries, concerns, your fears and also celebrate your successes.

You see, with the rise of social media, everyone else’s life looks amazing from the outside looking in because that’s what they want you to see. We are all guilty of that.  There are so many pictures that I have posted in the past of us all on a day out or on holiday, that took place seconds after a huge meltdown and me losing my shit… then its…”SMILE” (through gritted teeth!).

My hubby was once accused of oversharing our ‘rosy life’ on Facebook by someone that was obviously having a tough time of it.  However, as you will read in other blogs, the last 11 years haven’t exactly been rosy! Its not that we were being fake,  I just figure that people don’t want to be reading about how crappy your life is all the time… I’m a glass half full kinda girl you know!

However, just chatting to the girls, I realised that so often what looks to be the perfect situation ie; a holiday, whether it be camping in Cornwall, a sunny Greek island or fun-seeking in Florida, everyone at some point was having a shitty time of it and they too had posted holiday pictures ‘post-meltdown’ with fake smiles.   The fact is, the day we got home from our Florida holiday, I got home and balled my eyes out… but I sure as hell wouldn’t share that on social media! Maybe its time to be a little more truthful?

Being away from it all  also gives you an amazing sense of freedom. One of my highlights of the weekend was going to the swimming pool and going on the huge flume slides, with nobody else to worry about but me . They had a couple of amazing new slides called Tropical Storm and Tornado which did not disappoint.  I felt like I was a 12 year old kid again – I bloody loved it!!

As expected though, my weekend was interrupted many a time from the phone… with messages and declarations of love from dearest daughter, bless her. I answered a few of them, but the more I answered, they more she would message, so I had to be a mean mum and ignore them after a while and just go grab another bottle of beer!

You see, going away doesn’t just do you good, it does the whole family good.  When you finally get chance to leave all the washing, cooking and cleaning behind you for a few days, the guys left at home appreciate you all the more.

As a very good friend once told me …. ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life’!

Until next time,

Love & hugs from Tales of a Mother’s Daughter xxx

Top 20: You know when you’re getting old when….

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So, this week I have started a new journey… a learning journey.  I took the plunge last month and enrolled myself on a distance learning course to become a Social Media Manager… ooooh, fancy eh?! This time next year I may even have a few more Twitter followers (@TalesofaMD in case you’re wondering)!

In the run up to this starting on Monday, I started to feel a little nervous, mainly because its been around 14 years since I last did any kind of learning…. unfortunately, this doesn’t make me 30… I did a evening college course in my mid-twenties!

This got me thinking about the things that make you feel old… or that you have matured in your years. Not necessarily a bad thing… isn’t 40 the new 25 anyway?!

So here goes, my top 20 of things that make me feel old…

  1. You appreciate a nice hanging basketOne of the first signs that I knew I was getting old was when I was mesmerised by some beautiful hanging baskets… I think I even put an FB status about it… they were really that beautiful!  
  2. You think most of the tunes on Radio 1 are utter shite… but I still can’t seem to make the move over to Radio 2… I’m still trying to be down with the kids and know who the heck Dua Lipa is!
  3. You go all Victor Meldrew about parking… it could be any parking… someone taking up two spaces, someone parking in the mother & child spot at the supermarket.  I’ve been known to tell people off for both… being told regularly by the kids “Please don’t have a go mum”.
  4. You appreciate a beautiful view… and you will even start walking places to find one!
  5. You look for holidays that aren’t near the nightlife.  Me and Hubby once went to a resort just up the hill from Magaluf.  We ventured down for the night to see what’s what… an hour later we found ourselves back in our resort watching an Elvis tribute with the ‘oldies’ but at least we felt younger there!
  6. You think that the latest beauty trends look ridiculous… think eyebrows.  Beautiful girls with perfectly good brows make them up like hairy slugs.  They’ve got plenty of time to be doing that when they go all thin and sparse… when you get OLD!
  7. You cross the line over to big knickers… its hard to go back to a thong once you’ve put on a pair of comfy big girl pants… non VPL of course!
  8. Two nights out ‘on the razz’ takes four days to get over.   I swear to god, I’m still struggling on Wednesday!
  9. Going Nightclubbing is now your idea of HELL!  I’d much rather be in a cosy pub with a large wine!
  10. You try on heels in a shop and wonder how the hell girls wear them without breaking their ankles.  I believe I have uttered the words out loud, “How the hell do they walk in these”.
  11. Storage excites you!  When we recently decorated our kitchen, I was so thrilled about having a larder cupboard and additional storage in the boiler cupboard, I swear, a little bit of pee came out!
  12. Conversations with the girls turn to how hot you are…  in the temperature sense, not the looking good sense.  Along with that there’s also, mood swings, veins (in all number of places) and discovering grey ‘pube like’ hairs spurting out of your head!
  13. You remember your Mum reaching 40… and thinking ‘man, that’s old’.
  14. Your kids think you’re weird… rather than funny! What do they know anyway!
  15. You envy the kids having YouTube… no need for compilation tapes full of Going Live interviews and appearances on Top of The Pops!
  16. You think, Thank God… we haven’t got anything on this weekend.
  17. You literally can’t remember… more than two things…ever!
  18. You love a nice scarf… Me and my bestie once had to stop ourselves mid conversation about our love for a scarf and keeping your neck warm.  We swore we would never speak of it again!
  19. You know someone from your year at school who is a granny!  When you’re an older mum to younger ones, it just freaks you out!
  20. It’s been well over a decade since you last did any kind of learning… the thought of trying to retain information (and definitely more than two things) gives me nightmares.

I’ll let you know how that one goes in six months time!

Until next time,

Love and hugs xxx

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The Domino Effect! Little changes make a big difference…

The Domino Effect… 

I’m so pleased to be typing that this week really has been a much better week.  Mornings have felt calmer, same with evenings and I’ve done a lot less sticking up of my fingers from behind the fridge door! It’s almost like a domino effect.  Thing is, I’m not sure what has triggered it, but since the kids have gone back to school, I’ve made the following changes…

Change No.1

I am trying really hard to be more organised! Not the best thing to publicise when your job is a personal assistant to a Regional Director… but its like a busman’s holiday.. just because I’m organised (ish) in work, doesn’t mean I’m good at it at home!  However, having little things ready like uniforms (including underwear) hanging up on the bedroom door for the next day, PE kits (or any other kinds of kit) ready by the front door and lunchboxes done the night before has really helped.  I swear, I would spend a good five minutes every bloody morning looking for a missing grey school sock!  I’ve bought 10 pairs of the sodding things for the start of term!  Wonder how long before they’re all gone!

Yep… I really am that unorganised!  This really doesn’t help when your daughter suffers from anxiety! It’s not rocket science, but I didn’t appreciate how much it has helped in the mornings.

Change No.2

I’ve sorted out my ‘drawers’ and tackled the ‘Man Drawer’.  For those who don’t know what that is, it’s a drawer (ours is in the kitchen) where you throw lots of shit stuff that you either don’t know what to do with or can’t bring yourself to throw away.  Old keys, countless batteries, old chargers, shit toys from party bags, takeaway menus circa 2014, pens that no longer work, old chequebooks.. you get the idea.

To replace this, I created a ‘I need a’ box… a (stylish) storage box that holds everything we are always looking for; scissors, cellotape, suncream, hairbrush, working pens, ear defenders, charger… you get the idea.  Tonight hubby was looking for a marker pen, “in the ‘I need a’ box”.  I felt very smug!

In turn, the man drawer is now housing stuff that cluttered my cutlery drawer, making that more organised.  I know, it so sad that storage gets me this excited… but check it out! 

Change No.3

I’ve got back in the exercise game!

I don’t want to be a ‘keep fit bore’ but I was always good at getting myself up at 6.00 am and doing a 30 minute workout Mon-Fri and I underestimated how much it helps with my health.

Over the school holidays this year, I really let it slide.  I was having a pretty shit time of it and I didn’t want to exercise, mainly because I’d have one or two large wines the night before to make myself feel better for having a shit time of it!  The extra time in bed was a much nicer option.

However, not doing exercise has a knock on effect to other things which doesn’t lead to feeling any better… just your lovely little leather jacket you now want to wear feeling a little bit tighter!!

So I set my Lumie Bodyclock (best alarm clock ever) for 6.00 am and started getting back to knocking out a workout, usually with lovely Joe Wicks, The Bodycoach (easy on the eye) or one of my P90X3 discs with Tony Horton (good on the eye for an older guy #still would).  Whenever I feel like not doing it, I think about how I feel at the end of it… and how the dreaded bingo wings will be less flappy in a month’s time!

Change No. 4.

Now that I’ve started back exercising, I subconsciously make more of an effort at eating better (better, not less) fuelling my body with good, tasty food which in turns helps me feel better still. Don’t get me wrong, if I want chocolate cake, I’ll have it, I’ll enjoy it and not feel bloody guilty for it (which once upon a time I would do).

I also took the battery out of the scales earlier in the year.  Not a biggy you may think, but I would weigh myself at least every morning and the number I saw would determine how I would feel for the day. I think I’d been doing that since I was 15!  Our last set of scales weighed everything… weight, fat, bone density, muscle, water, probably wine consumption too!  I would be obsessed with which numbers went up and down and get hung up on it if things weren’t going the right way.

Now I have no idea what I weigh, I just go by my clothes and how I feel.  It’s liberating!  If I’m eating well and exercising, it usually takes care of itself.

Change No.5

I’ve gone back to a paper diary.  I’ve used my phone calendar for years and a wall calendar at home, but I would forget to check my phone and not always write stuff on the calendar as I don’t always want daughter dear knowing what is going on (see earlier blog).

Now I am writing EVERYTHING in the diary… meals for the week, to do lists, ideas, calls I’ve made, anything I can think of.  I still managed to forget a birthday last week, but its early days!

 

I’m still a work in progress and there are things I still want to make a habit such as;

Green smoothies – I do them for about a week and then can’t be arsed and leave it until I see mangos or something similar on offer and I’ll try again!

Mindfulness – I tried the Headspace App, which was really good but so far, I’ve done it only once. It’s worth doing it, if only for the 10 minutes peace and quiet!

I wrote this blog so that when I’m feeling like its all going tits up… I can read back and see that for at least a week or so, I was winning!

Until next time,

Love and Hugs xxx

Hi-Ho, Hi-ho… it’s back to school they go!!

Hi-Ho, Hi-ho… it’s back to school they go!!

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it… but we’ve had a tough six weeks summer holiday!  Oh, I have, yes.. just a few times!!

Anyway, the day has finally come that both our children have returned to school and I for one am pleased as punch! I know it sounds really cruel and I feel rotten when I read statuses saying how much mums are going to miss their little darlings now they are back to school.. but I’m not one of them.  Its been a bloody hard slog!

Quite often… I lie… very often (!) I would be asked by Ellie if I would miss her when she goes back to school, (which usually comes half an hour after she’s got very cross about not having a third packet of crisps of the day!) and of course I say “yes” (see, not entirely heartless) but I’m simply not that good an actress… I know she sees right through me!

I love the part of the holidays when you’re not having to do the lunches, wash the uniform and you can ignore the clock in the evening, it is bliss. However, six weeks of it is just too long.  Even with little angels for children, I still think I would find it too long… or just too expensive!

Anyway, I am hoping that yesterday we turned a bit of a corner… not a full 90 degrees, but a slight bend in the road! 

Last week, I emailed key special needs staff at school and gave them the lowdown on what had been happening over the holidays.   I figured it would be better to catch them before the rush of children return and I was right! 

I was relieved to get an email back last week from the school Senco who then arranged a meeting for yesterday with myself, hubby, Ellie along with the school PFSA (parent & family support assistant) to talk through what had been going on.  The senco explained the feelings Ellie had been having and how her reactions to this were not appropriate.  Along with lots of drawings and explanation, I think (I hope) the penny dropped.  Just having someone in authority sit and talk to her really helped. If I had done it, I would’ve either messed it up or would’ve biten back at any sign of attitude.

We’ve also managed to get Ellie down for some counselling at school, as we believe that the loss of my mum is only just really hitting home with her 18 months after her passing. 

So, with some strategies in place, and making some tweaks to the morning routine, today went very smoothly, though I’m certainly not getting cocky!

I suppose what all this waffle is about is being pro-active and not afraid to speak up.   If I hadn’t sent the email, we wouldn’t have had the meeting before Ellie went back to school, she wouldn’t be on a waiting list to see a counsellor and all this would’ve taken much longer… all the while, not doing any of us any good.

What I’m trying to say is… don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help… and if that doesn’t work… start shouting!

 Until next time,

Love & hugs xxx


 

 

 

 

Run for your Life!!

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!


Ok, so maybe that’s a bit dramatic!  It should maybe read ‘Run for your Health’… or ‘Run for your Mental Health’ as I truly believe the two go hand in hand.

Its no secret that this last six weeks has been the most challenging ever in terms of changing behaviour, meltdowns, anxieties and upsets of my ‘near Teen’.  It’s been a mentally draining six weeks with a whole lot of patience required, sometimes it breaks, sometimes it doesn’t. I think yesterday it finally took its toll on me.

For the past few days I’ve been getting that all too familiar feeling of anxiety brewing in my belly.  The feeling of not feeling right… the increasing deep breaths I was taking, my enthusiasm and ‘get up and go’ fading more each day.  Then yesterday, I felt… nothing.  I felt numb and knackered, not feeling like doing anything… and not in a ‘I can’t be arsed’ kind of way, just ‘I can’t’.

I simply lay all afternoon on the sofa, but not snuggling up with a movie having a pj day… that’s enjoyable.  I just felt completely zapped of energy and the only thing to keep me awake was the first half of the charity football game for the Grenfell Tower… Jamie Dornan playing football was NOT going to be missed!  I paid my text donation and enjoyed! Then I slept (most likely dreaming of Mr D in his football shorts! 😛).

I woke up still feeling rubbish.  I wanted to have a good cry, but good old Prozac kind of puts the breaks on the floodgates… a telephone call with my Dad encouraged a trickle. I felt like I seriously didn’t want to do anything.  A night out with the girls… No!  A cosy pub with the hubby… No!  I was beginning to wonder if I would be able to shake this off.  I haven’t got time to be depressed…. I have a Social Media course to start this month and two girly weekends away coming up… I really needed to shake this!

It didn’t help that daughter dear had a half hour meltdown which was (once again) triggered by food… the bigger pizza I was cooking was not quite ready, which obviously meant she wasn’t getting any… obviously!!  This in turn pissed hubby right off as he has also been feeling stressed.  Bloody hell,  I couldn’t even own my ‘pity party day’ all by myself!

Well, as they say, today is another day.  Today is also the day of our local half marathon in support of Cancer Research UK, of which hubby is an organiser – hence the stress the previous day!  There was no way I was going to dip out of this and let him down.  Thankfully, I’d made the sensible decision of doing the 10K race this year rather than the half (mainly because I’ve been rubbish with my running and I couldn’t be arsed to put in the miles of training!).   Sensible decision made I’d say, given the miserable day we woke up to this morning! 🌧🌧

So, I got myself up (after several snooze hits!) and got my shit together.  I have to be honest, I’ve never been so unprepared for a race!  No kit ready, no ‘carb loading’ the day before which I would’ve done in the past, which is a sure sign that I’ve lost my mojo for it.  I didn’t even have a watch to track my time – something which I’d been obsessed about in previous races!  I figured today, I will just run… not bust a gut… just run.

And that is what I did… and I felt all the better for it.  If nothing else, its an hour of not having anyone call my name or “MUM”!!  The race was fantastic, the rain didn’t bother me… I felt like Forest Gump and ‘just kept running’. I even managed a not too shabby time considering my pretty non-existent training programme this summer!

I know in the past when I have felt low, exercise and good diet, however much I didn’t feel like doing either, helped me to feel better and today was no exception.  Although, I’m not sure the gut-busting Chinese I’ve scoffed will count as good diet! 🍚🍜😋

Aaaaah well, Monday tomorrow… I’ll start then!

FYI, the header pic is my hubby and I proudly completing last year’s Half Marathon raising money for Ovarian Cancer Research in memory of my dear Mum. ❤

Until next time.

Love and hugs

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The curious incident of the Dog and the Caravan!

Ok, so its not really a curious incident, I just happen to be reading ‘The curious incident of the dog in the nighttime’ at the moment… which I have to say, doesn’t have me gripped as much as my usual romantic/funny/sexy ‘guilty pleasure’ reads… but I’m sticking with it!

So, back in March we started what was to be our ninth summer of having a caravan down in sunny Devon. We love escaping down there for the weekend.  Its only an hour or so down the road but it always felt like a little holiday. However, this year started to feel a little different.

 

Over the holiday weekend, I decided to take myself out for a little run, and in that 25 minutes, I had decided that things needed to change after this summer.  I wanted to enjoy one last season in Devon and then sell up.  I didn’t want to visit the same places anymore year in and year out.  I wanted to explore some of the many beautiful places in other parts of the country.  Another part of my master plan was… to get a dog!

I’d already done a fair bit of Googling about dogs and autistic children and how they can help with anxiety etc, and the kids had always wanted one.   So, I did what we women like to call… ‘planting the seed’.  Just a gentle conversation about an idea I’d had.  Usually, how this works is then you leave it for a few weeks and hubby then comes up with the same proposition believing he thought of it!

That’s exactly what happened.  A week later, ‘we’ decided that we would have one last summer and then look at getting a puppy at the end of August.   I didn’t hesitate to research dog breeds and look for a reputable breeder.  We’d decided on a Cockapoo (Cocker Spaniel crossed with a Poodle) and found a breeder that currently had a litter for sale and was planning on having a litter with another dog to be ready at the end of August. Perfect.

That was what was meant to happen… that was the plan.  However…

What was meant to be a lovely Bank Holiday weekend down the caravan was cut short. Ellie was having a really tough time of it with her anxiety.  Admittedly, it was her birthday on the Bank Holiday Monday – this is never a great time.  Events like birthdays and Christmas really get hyped up a lot more than with neurotypical children (and even that can be quite a lot) and then the child feels overwhelmed with the feelings causing anxiety and uncertainly of what will happen on the day.

This is what happened to Ellie.  From the moment we left the house on Friday evening, she was talking through every aspect of the weekend and worrying about what would be happening/what she would be eating/ what I would I be saying.   She got into such a state, crying and saying all sorts of silly things that we came home on the Sunday evening and had her birthday at home where she felt calmer.

We figured this was just a glitch being that it was her birthday, but the very same thing happened on our next visit, just two weeks later.  The whole journey down, Ellie was already becoming anxious about what we were doing the next day.  Once again, this built and built until we had uncontrollable crying and screaming… and all this in a little tin box of a caravan is really not great.

It got so much that Hubby needed to go for a walk as he was getting upset and needed to get some space.  I needed some too so I sat in the sun in front of the van.  Half an hour later, hubby calls me on the phone and tells me that he can’t deal with a summer like this… lets sell up now and get a puppy… lets not wait until the end of the summer.

Now, I won’t lie, I was delighted!  I really wanted a dog as much as the kids, and I too wasn’t looking forward to a summer of these meltdowns every weekend.   I also had something else up my sleeve.   I’d already contacted the breeder in the week to see if he had any of the current litter left (it was like I’d had a sixth sense or something!). When I told hubby he had four girls and two boys he unexpectedly said… “ring him and see if we can come and look tomorrow”.  Talk about a complete turnaround!

The following day, we got up, told the kids the change in events which they were partly sad about with us selling the van, but mainly happy because we were getting a puppy!   We popped to the pets store on the way to pick up some things and then ventured off to the middle of nowhere on Dartmoor Hills, to a beautiful farm to pick our new puppy!

Now, I can’t say that our beautiful little girl ‘Dusty’ (named after Dusty Springfield) has made a difference to Ellie’s autistic behaviours. In fact, if you have read some of the other blogs, you will know that things have been hard since the start of the six weeks holiday.  However, this little pup has brought so much joy to our family and is always there for cuddle when the meltdowns start… and that’s just me!! 😉❤🐶

Until next time.  Love & hugs xxx