Why are school mornings like Groundhog Day!?

This morning was like every other morning, which is like every morning in households everywhere that children live.  The dreaded school run! Why oh why is it just so hard!?

It doesn’t seem to matter what time I get up, how organised I might be, the result is still the same… shouting that we need to go, teeth still not cleaned, ties suddenly lost and an announcement at two mins to blast off that they need to take something random with them to school! Why do they do that, they’ve had a whole sodding night, but NO, please announce this at 7.55am!!

The difference in my household and I’m sure its the same for all mum’s of special ones, the worry is that it will always be Groundhog Day.  Will I always have to remind about putting on deodorant, brushing hair and the fact that there is jam smile on her face?! Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to do this for as long as it takes, but A. it worries me that I’ll still be doing this when she is 25+ and B. it pisses me off!

Thing is, as mums we (that’s the Royal ‘we’) have enough trouble having to think about what we need to do for ourselves, but as a mum, you also have to do the thinking for everyone else as well!  All my two kids want to think about is Pokemon/Skylanders and Coronation Street episodes from three years ago, therefore it’s down to me to remember drinks bottles, PE kits, reading records, lunch, teeth cleaned, suncream/scarf & gloves (depending on the time of year) and any other parafinalia I may have missed!

So literally, every day, every single sodding day, I say (shout) the same thing to the kids before school… and I know you do too… and if you don’t, you are a very lucky lady!  It has to be beyond a shadow of a doubt, the worst hour of the day.  The relief that I feel once they are both dropped off is immense, it just rolls off my shoulders in a big “thank fuck for that!”.

I’ve mentioned before about how hubby would call me, usually on his way to work during school run hour because he thought of something trivial on the way to work.  He quickly learnt not to do this.  Well, a few weeks ago, I went away with my old school mates for some R&R which meant hubby had to do two mornings of school runs!  As we  landed in Dublin, I called home to say we arrived safely… His first words were  “how the fuck do you do that every day?  You deserve a bloody medal!”  I know!!

I’m very fortunate that I mostly work at home and go into the office once (sometimes twice) a week, so for four out of five days, I know I can wing it where I am concerned – if I’m only half ready its no biggy.  If I had to go through the stress of being ‘work ready’ every morning and try to get out of the door at stupid o’clock, I would now be found rocking in a chair with a very large Gin!  At least this way, its just Gin!!

But in all seriousness, as our children grow up, they do become more self-sufficient and do things for themselves.  I have a fiercely independent eight year-old who even now, does so much for himself.

However, for our children who have challenges and needs, it doesn’t always go that way and as parents, there is always the niggling worry in the back of our minds that we will always need to be around to help… which of course, we always will be.  Just pass me the Gin!! xx

Until next time…

Tales of a Mother’s Daughter xxx

This blog of course, extends to stay at home dad’s and not just limited to us mums!

 

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Dads are from Mars… Mums are from Venus! 

How many times do you look at the father of your children and think they must live on another planet?  I swear, it doesn’t matter what you do in life, as a mum, you are pretty much the font of all knowledge – accept of course if the electric goes, the computer freezes or you have to admit you don’t know where the petrol cap button is on the car (damn it!).

Now, I’m certainly not dissing men here, (and my very own hubby is the most wonderful man ever ) so don’t be getting on your high horse lads – this is all a little bit of fun, but these are the questions I ask myself every week!

So, I’ll start with the obvious… the bloody toilet seat!  For the love of god, just put the damn thing down… and squirt some bleach down there while you’re at it!!

It doesn’t matter where I am in the house, if the kids need anything they come and find me.  I could be in the shower, on the loo, putting washing out… they clearly forget there is another parent in the house to ask who doesn’t happen to be indisposed at that moment!

Why is it, on the rare occasion I go out on a night out with the girls, I get people ask me (usually men) if hubby is babysitting!  WTF! Babysitting! What parent babysits? Depending on how many I’ve had to drink will depend on my sarcastic answer! “Yes, I pay him £5 an hour!” to “No, he’s the Dad!”.  No way would anyone ask if I was home babysitting if it was the other way around so what’s that all about?

When I decide I’m going to have an early night, I need to plan ahead at least an hour before I want to get some shut eye.  Men, pretty much, simply go to bed.  Before I head up, I will always find a washing machine full of wet washing (shit), then a tumble dryer full of dry washing (shit), then realise its PE tomorrow and those elusive football socks have disappeared again (ffs!) oh yes, and the kids sandwiches are still not made! (Bollocks!). Early night my arse!

Now, I’m not going to lie, I’m not always the best person at remembering birthday cards.  It’s usually when everyone starts posting birthday wishes on timelines that I dash out and get a card/present and have to hand deliver it ! But what would happen if you left all the birthday cards to your other half… I dread to think! I know that at least three birthdays would be remembered… the rest? Not so much!

My hubby has learnt that he must never, EVER, ring during the morning school routine.  Unless you’re on a death wish dads, do not attempt it!

Weekend away?  Yes please you say… but before you go, do remember to account for every eventuality that might happen during the weekend.  This gets slightly better as the kids get older, but my point here is, Dad’s just pack their cases and go… fat chance we could ever do that!

Its the holidays… you’ve had the kids all day and you’ve just about managed to hold your shit together, although there has been plenty of two fingers up behind the fridge door and countless ‘for fcuk sakes’ muttered under your breath. However, for the past ten hours you’ve stuck it out.  Dad walks in and lasts about three minutes before he blows!  The only thing to do is crack open the wine… I mean, its sophisticated to have it with ‘dinner’ right?!

Men in general (not just our wonderful baby daddy’s) are a bit special though!  I mean, how bloody difficult is it to put the actual dish in the actual dishwasher? Placing it above it on the side really doesn’t count!!

And what on earth do they do on the toilet?  I’m not sure I really want to know the answer, but for the love of god lads, you’re taking the piss here! Do your bowels work differently from ours? No!!

Why is it that when Hubby kindly offers to got shopping, I’m running some kind of ‘shoppers helpline’? Seriously, just ask someone!

Why do men expect you to know the exact location of things?  If its gone missing, it’s assumed that I have obviously put it in a special place (sometimes I have, because its been left out for so sodding long) but in general, I’m meant to know the whereabouts of any specific item of clothing/shoes/keys!

Of course, most of this is said purely tongue in cheek and the men and dads in our lives are wonderful people.  Let’s face it, as much as they can be a pain in the butt, having control of all things ‘family’ is what we’re good at… and truth be told, we wouldn’t want it any other way!!

Until next time…. Love and hugs xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 ❤🐻

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

D-DAY! Diagnosis Day… choices to be made and the surprising grief that followed.

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D-DAY! Diagnosis Day… choices to be made and the surprising grief that followed.

I’m heading back to our Autism journey, back to the summer of 2010.  Since ‘the dark winter’ as I call it, of 2008 we had seen many consultants, registrars, speech & language therapists, other therapists with fancy names, Autism Advisory Teachers and Child Development Practitioners.   Today, we thought was going to be just another appointment with the consultant… the one we finally found that took us seriously, who could see that there was something not right and recognised a link between diet and the brain.

We’d already seen Dr McGreggor several times where she assessed Ellie’s behaviour, how she played and interacted and took a ‘progress report’ from us.  What we weren’t expecting was for her to offer us a diagnosis.  It had been two and a half years since we started this journey and now my heart was galloping at what she was about to say.

“Ellie is certainly on the autistic spectrum and I would say she has high functioning Autism.  I would say she is borderline, and with that, you don’t have to take the diagnosis, if you’d rather not?”

I heard the words, I nodded, but it was like one of those outer body experiences.  Were we being asked whether we would like to take the diagnosis?  WTF!

The consultant went through the pros and cons (of which I just don’t remember now) but one was that with a diagnosis, we would be able to access better support.  If having a diagnosis meant a better chance of getting help, then there was no question.  Whilst I would’ve loved to stick my head in the sand and pretend this wasn’t happening, it really wasn’t an option.  Ellie was still the same little girl, with or without a label.  Plus, she had only just turned five years old.  We had no idea how things would progress and change as she got older.

Looking back, I know it was the absolute right decision to make, as things really have changed as Ellie has grown up.  For one, there seems to be an ever increasing gap between her and her peers and she continues to have a 1:1 support at secondary school. I’m sure this wouldn’t have been the case had we not made that choice.

The consultant also agreed that diet had played a huge part in Ellie’s symptoms and confirmed that if we had not changed her diet when we did, she would be in a very different place by now.  The relief to hear that was immense.  Thank god we did what we did and took those ‘poisonous’ foods out.  I won’t lie, back in 2008 it was really hard work as the mainstream supermarkets had barely anything ‘free from’.  My family, especially my mum, played such a huge part in making those dietary changes… it would’ve been so much tougher without them.  I fear, that we may have even given up if it wasn’t for their support and understanding.

So, we decided to go for the diagnosis – High Functioning Autism (or Aspergers), although on our letter it actually says ‘Allergy Induced Autism’.

What I didn’t expect was how I felt in the coming weeks.  Instead of relief… I felt grief.  I definitely went through a grieving process for a good two weeks. Grieving over the daughter we thought we had, worrying about the things she wouldn’t be able to do, fearful for how she would ‘fit in’ with her peers and unsure of where this journey would take us next.

Until next time,

Love and Hugs xxx

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Rice, Rice Baby! What happened when another food becomes a bad guy!(Blog#14)

So, lets get back to the story.  If I’m honest, most of the summer of 2008 was a bit of a blur.  We had returned from Florida, which went ok considering how poorly Ellie had been in the previous months.

There’d been doctors appointments (but that’s for another blog). We’d also decided that we wanted to try for another baby.  I remember this news shocking my mum as she felt that now wasn’t the best time to be thinking about trying for another child with everything that was going on with Ellie.   Why would we want to risk having another autistic child? What if Ellie didn’t get better?  I knew that’s what she was thinking.

Ellie had been following the diet for six months now and we felt we were getting a handle on the situation (how naive!) and considering our past complications with not conceiving in a previous life (that’s a whole other story!) we figured we may not be as lucky to get caught again anyway. Plus, we couldn’t see ourselves just having the one child – I certainly didn’t feel like I was done with the whole babies and pregnancy thing.

So, with a possible pregnancy on the cards, we decided to book a little getaway for ourselves to New York (ok, not that little) in November – at the earliest, I could be in the early stages of pregnancy – and if we didn’t do it now, we might not get around to it.  Mum and Dad kindly agreed to have Ellie while we were away.

So, lets fast forward to late November.  I was 12 weeks pregnant (wooo hooo!) and we were going to New York in two days  but for the past week Ellie really hasn’t been very good.  A lot more moany and any little instruction was met with confusion and meltdowns.  Simple things like ‘sit down’ and ‘put your coat on’ was lost on her.  It was clear to see that she was starting to regress again.

So, in a panic we made a quick dash to the Kinesiology lady that did the weird stuff with little bottles.  Once again, I held Ellie’s hand whilst she sat on my mum’s lap and I raised my arm up (and sometimes not) each time the lady put a little bottle of something on my cheek.  I didn’t know what was being tested and neither did the Kinesiologist but it turned out that along with the usual suspects, Rice was now a bad guy!

WHAT!! Something else we now had to eliminate!  When we thought about it, Rice was in a lot of what Ellie was eating as a substitute to the wheat and gluten so she had now become intolerant to it.  That seemed to happen pretty quickly with Soya earlier in the year which we were warned about from the York Test Nutritionists on one of our telephone appointments.

This was not great timing.  We were due to go to New York in less than two days, we now needed to sort through what Ellie could eat while we were away. Thankfully, Mum was ‘on it’ even quicker than I was.  She had everything sorted out ready for when we went and assured me that Ellie would be fine.

So we went to New York and had an amazing time – apart from feeling absolutely shattered from walking for 10 hours a day and growing a baby… and not being able to enjoy a beer in a New York bar 😦   We rang home often to check on Ellie and was assured that everything was fine.  Apart from it wasn’t.  Mum and Dad had taken Ellie to visit my brother and his family for the weekend and whilst she was there she was extremely upset, and unsettled… they just didn’t want to tell us while we were away.

By the time we got home the following Wednesday Ellie was just coming out of this withdrawal period and was starting to follow things a little better.  Mum knew that had we known how bad she was on the Saturday before we flew, we may not have gone.  We couldn’t believe the effect food had on her.  Once again, Ellie had become intolerant to something that made her regress.

Thankfully, over the months, we managed to reintroduce Rice back into the diet.  We now knew that too much of anything could cause Ellie to become intolerant.

For this last year or so (2016-2017), we have become a little more relaxed with the diet. Back in the day we were so anal – making sure there could be no contamination of wheat or dairy. However for a while now, we’ve allowed the odd bit of chocolate or a burger if we’ve been out and stuck for food options and some cheese on her gluten free pizza on ‘Pizza Friday’!

I have noticed recently though, that some of Ellie’s behaviours have become more extreme. She is getting easily confused, not understanding what I am saying, extreme mood swings and slurred speech. Of course, this could all be the process of becoming a teenager (god help us!) but when you have a feeling in your gut (excuse the pun!) you need to act on it.  We’ve already had a Kinesiology test which is great if you want an immediate answer, but it revealed 11 different foods!  We needed something more conclusive (ie; whether something was severe or borderline) – so yesterday, YorkTest received a small blood sample to get Ellie re-tested for food intolerance … so now we wait! :/

For more information on YorkTest visit: http://www.yorktest.com/products/foodscan-junior-test/

Until next time….

love and hugs xxxx

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Mixed Emotions for Little Mix! How we nearly didn’t go to the concert!(blog #13)

Back in May, we surprised the kids with tickets to Little Mix as part of their birthday present (they’re both May babies!).  They were both very excited and for the last few months I’ve heard nothing but how excited they (Ellie) was for the concert.

Fast forward to the night before (Thursday). Ellie had a huge meltdown about how she was going to look rubbish, how she would “look like the donkey” (what!??), how she was going to have her hair – up/down/curly – and which ever way I suggested, it was still going to look rubbish!

Then there was more…. “Are you going to dance?” (Yes Ellie)  “I don’t think you will”.  “Can I dance?”…  “I’m a rubbish singer”… “Shall I sing?”… “My hair is going to look rubbish”…… I zoned out!

Weirdly she said nothing about the crowds and waiting… though I know this was the underlying factor to the anxiety.  There was constant shouting at me of  “I’m excited for Little Mix!”.  I had to resist the urge to shout ‘Tell your face then’ and just replied “Ok babe” but that just got a shout back “Are you excited?”   Well,  right in that moment, no I wasn’t excited.  I really didn’t want to go at all.

Forty-five minutes later and Ellie had finally gone up to bed – crying and mumbling more of the same… and I’m sat with a vodka – on a school night – with work in the morning (I’m hardcore like that 😉 !).  A WhatsApp moan to my best girls and a waffle on my Facebook page and I felt a little better… plus the second vodka was kicking in! (don’t judge).

Next morning… what do you think were the first words I heard?  Yep, you guessed it… “I’m really excited for Little Mix” which would’ve been fine, except it was a moany, shouty noise I heard and not an excitable 12 year old!   Oh god! Here we go again! There was an hour of more of the same – all whilst trying to get us out for the school run and me off to work.  Well, I lasted 45 minutes before I blew my top – which actually could be some kind of a record!  Hubby stayed out of Ellie’s way so as not to add to the anxiety levels!  It’s really not helpful for two parents to lose it!

Later that morning, I hear that the traffic for the the previous night’s gig was horrendous.  Over an hour just to get into the car park, and hours to get out again.  I was really not wanting to go now.  Ellie doesn’t do waiting at the best of times, so this would definitely be meltdown territory.

After much consideration, we came up with the following plan.  Hubby offered to stay at home as he’s not great in traffic either (stressssss head!) and that would take the pressure off of me to try and keep both him and Ellie calm.  I think the thought of a quiet night, hot tub, beer and the TV to himself may have also played a part!  What a trooper! 🙂

We were also taking George’s little friend from school and her mum with us, so that would hopefully be a good distraction for Ellie.   Well, the plan worked!  Despite it taking well over an hour to move the last six miles, the singing in the back of the car and eating of snacks was a complete distraction and we got there meltdown free.

We were lucky at the gate as well.  We arrived just half an hour before the main act – which meant the line for bag search was empty and despite a little wobble as we entered the site, Ellie was doing really well.

The concert was held outside at Powderham Castle in Devon so there were no feelings of claustrophobia and we stood quite near the back (which was handy for later as we got out first).  Ellie didn’t even need her ear defenders (George wore them) and she was now genuinely excited to see her favourite group.

What happened next made all that pain and anxiety (mine as well as Ellie’s) worth it.  As the girls came on, Ellie held her hand to her mouth and started to cry.  She was so happy to see her girls there on stage!  Granted, they were small dots from where we were, but seeing them on the big screen and seeing Ellie so ecstatic was amazing.  She must have cried with joy at least half a dozen times during the concert!

We danced, we sang, we waved and even ‘slut dropped’ a few times! (did I just say slut dropped?!).

Ellie LMix pic
Pure Joy!
Ellie and me LMix
Finally relaxed at the gig!
us at LMix
Fun Times!
 

As I said earlier, being near the back had its advantages.  We left just before the encore (as did a lot of others) and watched the last song as we walked to the car park.  I then made a sprint for the car and picked up the guys on the way out!  We were out of the car park in 5 minutes! Genius!*

Apart from a scary detour up a single car sized country lane which seemed to go up into a forest and me trying to manoeuvre us past several cars coming the other way (Ellie really not keen on that – & nor was I tbh!) the evening was a complete success and I’m so glad we decided to go.  Both Ellie and her brother George were still buzzing when they got up this morning.

So, I might just do it again!

*I heard later that night that two friends were stuck in the car park for over two hours!  So whilst they were still trying to get out, I’d got the kids up to bed and was now sat… having a vodka! Right decision made! 🙂

Until next time….

img_9537-1Love and hugs xxxx