Posted in autism, School holidays

Struggles, day two of school holidays 

Today’s been a long day. 

I feel like I’ve been up all night.

Ok, not all night but most of it! 

Last night Z fell asleep at 7, yup, 7pm, suppose that’s normal for a 4.5 year old, for Z that’s early. We’ve been seeing 10-10.30 and somedays up to 11pm. I knew we were in for an early one, either that or he’d wake at 11 and not go back till 3/4 maybe that would have been better. I was sleeping by 10.30 by 2am we were awake. Not even 3 hours of solid sleep I managed. He went back about 6, I saw the sky turn light and heard the birds wake up. He was back up at 7.15. 

Today he’s been a nightmare. It’s been raining, he’s tried everyway possible to go into the garden, to get to play in the pool. Normally I wouldn’t mind, but today I was tired. It’s wet and actually cold. 

I tried taking him for a walk. He cried, he twisted, he dropped he flopped, he lay on the floor, he tried running away. Yes it’s ok when he was little, I could grab him, now it’s very difficult to grab him and I’m scared it’s going to get worse. Now, he just looks like a big toddler having a paddy, what happens when he gets a little bigger and he drops and flops? To try and keep him safe, I have to try and hold him. I’m guessing tomorrow he’ll have some bruises on his arms, just from me trying to stop him hitting the floor with force, from hurting himself, ironic that trying to keep him safe and not hurt himslef I’ve probably marked him. In the house he would have been left to carry on, outdoors I can’t chance it. There’s cars, bank drops, rivers and forrests. Imagine him running either way into any of those.

He wouldn’t even go play in the park, that’s not like him, after today I’m actually dreading the six weeks holidays. Last years wasn’t too bad, but he wasn’t all day at school either, he hadn’t made any bonds with any teachers, this year he has, when I said ‘car, we’ll go to car’. I had ‘bus, school’. We’re only on Tuesday. I’ll be grey by Friday! 

On the way home, five minutes away from the house he fell asleep, could be the tiredness but also the state he got himself into at the park would have worn him out.  He had five minutes of sleep, at 4, it’s now 9.15pm and he’s still bouncing. More laughing now, but it’s time for bed! 

I have to think positive it’s Wednesday tomorrow, only two more days left after that! We can do it!! 

Posted in Review

Thomas land at Drayton Manor

Last Friday Z had inset day, so I took him to Thomas land at Drayton Manor, I dragged along B and B! 

I was a little worried how Z was going to manage, B also has autism so it was going to a challenge with both boys, both have different needs. 

The disabled badge allowed us to park really close to the main gate, which was a relief as not far there are also disabled toilets. 

We were greeted with smiles and armed police! Obviously after the attacks in Manchester everywhere was on high alert.

We got in, bags searched and away we went. 

First stop Thomas land, even though the park was quiet Thomas land wasn’t! We went to get a wristband that allowed entry via the exit for up to ten rides for Z and up to three others. Four people was great, that means if we went with friends all four could go with Z, whereas B had his own so together we could have used it twenty times, we used it once! Of course I try and teach Z he has to line up, we did do a little bit of waiting, but not that long, the only one that looked like it had a long queue was the rollercoaster in Thomas land. So we did go to the exit, plus we weren’t to sure how to find the start of the queue! 

We could easily have spent all day just in Thomas land, but we couldn’t say we hadn’t seen anything in the park, or the Zoo, so we went for a little walk, after soft play! Yes even have soft play. We didn’t get to go on everything in Thomas land, and we went on loads. Z’s favourite would have been crankys tower drop, he even went on on his own the second time, to hear him giggle and see the huge grin on his face he must have been in sensory heaven! I enjoyed rocking bulstode, was like a mini pirate ship but with the spinning element to it. I also liked the fact that you could get pictures, means now I have a picture of Z’s first time on a rollercoaster. 

I was impressed with the whole park, it was clean, staff were friendly and we were never rushed off any ride. It’s hard trying to explain to a four and five year old that they have to get off when the ride stops and queue back up, in all fairness we only had a handful of meltdowns between both boys. Once they knew the ride finished we’d find another they were more willing to get off and get back in a buggy. 

I also liked the fact that there were plenty of rides in the main park that Z could go on too. Even a second rollercoaster that if you listen to B we went over the ocean! How she kept her eyes open on that when she kept them closed on the one in Thomas land I don’t know! 

We had a quick walk around the zoo, but it was the hottest day of the year, so walking was going to put Z to sleep! Next time I go It won’t be so hot and I can have another look! 

There were disabled toilets dotted about, what I liked about these is there was a bench type place that I could lay Z down to change him which is a huge plus, I’ve mentioned before about how hard it is to change Z this was a godsend. 

I will take him back I think the holidays will be busy, but knowing that the fast pass is available I think I’d be brave enough to try it. 

If I don’t get there during the holidays I know this is where I’m going to take him for his birthday, they even have a party room.  Z’s not into Thomas but it may be nicer than a party, I’ll have to have a look into it. 

We really enjoyed our day out at Drayton manor, I rang to book and could have the blue badge price of £20 and as a carer I paid £20, Z had a lovely day and it was well worth the money! 

Posted in Review

The crucible. 

Last night I went to see the opening of Arthur Miller’s The crucible at the New theatre Cardiff. *

Up until a few weeks back I had never been to the theatre, now I think I’m a pro! 

So first off was a musical, then a ballet and now an actual play. This one I had been waiting excitedly for as I knew the story. I covered the play for my GCSE English exam. When I seen this one advertised I knew it was something I would want to see. 

The one thing that stood out for me was how plain the props were. Maybe because of the nature of the play, and the fact it was set in 1692, so of course no fancy TV sets in the bedrooms! The main rotating block in the centre with the erire background worked well. I found I was listening more to the actors, maybe awaiting the music and the singing, which there wasn’t any! There was a little music just to show when people entered this helped keep the seriousness of the play, there were a few times that comedy was used in particular by Giles Corey played by David Delve. 

What I liked about the play last night was it was much easier to understand than the book if you didn’t know the story. The language spoken kept some of the same as the book. 

From the beginning you could see it was based on lies, and how something got twisted and turned, to save themselves. That small little lie got bigger and bigger. What started as jealously and ended in death could have been stopped if he contributed the lie, but staying true to himself and not letting anyone judge him as only God can judge. 

When watching it, it really shows how easily one small lie can snowball out of control. Then who do you believe a group of children or an adult? The children obviously using their vulnerability as a way of getting out of admitting they were wrong. 

John Proctor played by Eoin Slattery, played a good part. The way he knew from the start that Abigail, played by Lucy Keira, was after revenge and his wife dead. He knew he had made a mistake and when he admitted it to save his wife but wouldn’t lie to save himself you knew he was one of the good guys even after making a mistake.

The play is still relevant to today’s world in some way that we are all living in a twisted world, one that’s a lot of times based on lies. Politics takes over and all common sense is lost and in the end innocent people die. 

The Cruicble is on at New Theatre until Saturday 27th may 2017.
* I was given tickets in exchange for my review. 

Posted in autism

Who are disabled toilets for? 

When a child hits four if they are still in nappies then they are entitled to some off the NHS.  

Z is entitled to three a day, yes three, that means he’s allowed say two wees a day and allowed to open his bowels once going on that theory and god forbid you get a stomach bug! 

The only problems with nappies is I have to lay him down to change him. Also with the supermarket nappies they only go to a size 6, meaning that they rub in between his legs. When he was younger after they stopped selling Huggies I tried every nappy from pampers to Aldi, he had a huge reaction to pampers which needed cream off the gp. So we stuck with Tesco.  They started irritating him last year, so we started pull ups. Pull ups at £7 for two packs, 9 in a pack. I change his bum before school. During school he can get changed between 3-4 times. He has a change as soon as he gets home and 1-2 more changes before bed. That’s 7-8 changes a day. That’s £7 for two days, so £21 a week on pull ups. £84 a month. I don’t begrudge paying it he needs it, its one of those things. 
But why do prices go higher the older they get? I was paying £10 for three packets of nappies 36 in a bag, 108 nappies, one pack of nappies would last 4-5 days. See the saving by wearing nappies. But the problem is the nappies don’t go big enough! 

I’ve been offered a size 6 nappy a small adult or a pad to put in underware. Imagine giving these options to an adult, a small nappy, a pad or an xxxl, that’s what in effect they are offering Z. If I put small adult pants on him imagine what he would look like. There’s more choice of sanity towel for a woman than there are of nappies for children older than 3. 

When there’s so many children and young adults needing this service why isn’t there more choice. What disabled people don’t get a choice? Are they not people the same as you and I? Don’t they deserve underwear that fit? 

Why should I have to change Z on the floor of some dirty stinking smelly toilet just because he’s in a nappy? I’m lucky Z can stand, that’s why I choose pull ups. Yes I have to take his bottoms off but id rather that than lay him on a floor.  Again, I could take a mat with me, but then what part of his body gets to lay on that, his head or his bum? 

Every opportunity to take Z out I do, most bum changes take place in the car. But what happens when he gets a little bigger? Where do I change him then?  At the moment I can sit him down and quickly and discreetly put a  pull up a on him. Don’t he deserve that small part of being descret? Just because he’s not talking doesn’t mean he can be treated like a baby and just lay him down anywhere. 

Until I had Z I’m not going to lie I can’t say I thought much of toilets, there’s always been male, female and disabled. But those disabled who are they really for? Now it’s looking at places I know I can change him. Believe it or not there’s only ONE changing places in my area, that shocked me I wasn’t expecting any. There’s not even one in the local leisure centre. Well when they don’t have any parks either what can I expect. Yet Cardiff a city, 30 minutes away only had twelve, and that was including the bay and pennarth.

It’s one of those things that you can get an disabled act, but we really are no closer to accepting disabled people really truth be told. Only this week I was reading about a toy store that had just opened yet there was no lift access to upstairs? 

So big companies if you starting selling things like bigger nappies people would by them. What part of there is no market for them? Please do bigger sizes!! 

Posted in autism

I am me 

There’s a few posts out there saying about how they hate autism. Many are from parents. 

There’s days I can relate, I’m not going to lie it’s not always rainbows and butterflies, ok it’s very rarely rainbows and butterflies it’s mostly thunderstorms and dragons. The lack of sleep, the no speech,the constant game of guess what, the not being able to go somewhere different or a spontaneous evening out, the daily struggles of things so simple like changing a nappy and everything else you can not think of or would think you wouldn’t have to think of but I have to. 

You get days when you hate autism, when you ask yourself why me? Yea why me not why him, wonder why that is? Maybe because he’s happy? Maybe because he doesn’t have any expectations and he is who he is or maybe you’re just going through that pity party for one. That pity party is never just for one there’s always someone in the same place as you. As soon as that stage passes yes there will be others but they will pass. That’s when those days turn into rainbows and butterflies. 

Autism, I don’t hate who or what it makes Z, autism doesn’t make him who he is it’s a part of him. I like to look for the positives there’s always too many posts about the negative side of autism, why, most probably because that’s all you ever get judged on as a parent, oh what he’s nearly 5 still can’t talk and still in nappies, yup, that’s some of the bad side. Yes, he may have one huge tantrum (most likely a meltdown but never saying it’s not a tantrum) as you try walking into the shop but most kids do, autism or not all kids do that at some point. 

So what do I like about autism? 

I like the fact that most parents are complaining about their children playing up, lying, not listening and just generally being children, learning about the world and where they fit in, consequences and cause and effect. I’m not getting any of that with Z! Ok maybe because he’s not talking or maybe the autism is helping him listen. There’s rules and possibly he don’t want to break them. Taking things literal?   He’s learning in his own way, not the way the education department wants him to learn. He listens, as he understands the word no, and I know he knows that word he knows the word no and that when it’s mentioned I mean no, ok don’t think he can rationalise that it’s for a reason but who knows. Same as my when it’s time to go, I say Z shoes he knows he puts shoes on to leave, he listens. I could say it’s all me I’m that amazing parent who knows what she’s doing but you know what nope, that’s not true. That’s on Z he’s learning in his own way finding his own way, learning that his own actions have consequences . 

How clever he is, ok again that could just be him, he could again just follow in his mams footsteps, and yup that’s not on me either! He sees patterns, he notices things that others don’t and he thinks about things, you can just see those little cogs working. 

I’d say I love the fact that he has no fear, but this one he does follow his Mam for that was me as a kid! I’d jump off anything. Maybe that’s an autism thing maybe it’s genetics! 

You see where I’m going with this? Autism doesn’t make Z, Z makes himself. Ok he may struggle with things and hopefully with the correct support in place he’ll learn to not struggle as much, I’d say not struggle but he will always struggle with certain things. 

Z is Z I suppose autism adds something to him but he his him. Not the boy down the road who didn’t speak till 8, not the guy who could give you any day from a date, he’s him. He don’t have any magical powers, oh he has autism what is he clever at? Really?! 

Why does society insist on making people something? He’s the same as the kid down the road the same age, he has ten fingers ten toes, a head, two eyes, yes he has the same as you and I. The only difference is he sees the world a different way, he learns in his own unique way, and that is the part of autism I love. 

Posted in Bank holiday

Bank Holiday.

With another bank holiday coming up everybody is already asking what the plans are. Well, we have been asked to work with Provident on their ‘don’t break the bank holiday’ campaign to advise families across the UK on what do but on a budget. 

Bank Holiday weekends can cost a lot when it comes to finding things to do for the whole family therefore here’s my tip on what to do without spending lots of money, you can find more tips here

As Z is off on the Friday and the following week for Whistsun, our plans for the bank holiday . This bank holiday tends to be when we sort the garden out. Tidy away all the rubbish that’s blown around during the winter. 

 Sometimes we have a BBQ, sometimes we invite mates around others we just don’t do anything! 

If it’s nice Z will play in his pool, we may get the paint out and let him paint the wall, it washes away with the rain! 

Bank holiday places are always busy, far to busy for Z, so it’s not worth trying to go anywhere and they seem to up the prices on things when you get to a park. It’s much easier and cheaper to stay at home. Maybe take the pooch for a little walk. 

But I do know that this Bank holiday there’ll be lots of bouncing.

Posted in Competition

Win tickets to The Crucible 

The cruicible is a 1953 play by American playwrighter Arthur Miller. 

It’s a fictionalised story of the Salem witch trials that took place in Massachusetts Bay Colony 1692/1693. 

This play I studied for my GCSE many years ago! I read the book, there’s also a film and yes you’ve guessed correctly I’ve not seen it! Now it’s coming to the New Theatre Cardiff, and I’m actually quite excited about it. Opening night Tuesday 23rd May, showing until Saturday 27th May 7.30pm With Wednesday Thursday and Saturday Matinee 2.30pm . You can book tickets Here.

After reading an interview with two of the main characters Reverand John Hale, who’s being played by Charlie Condou, and Elizabeth Proctor being played by Victoria Yeates there’s two main questions that stick out for me. 

The first one being, ‘What is the biggest challenge for you in playing Elizabeth?’

It’s hard because, at the beginning of the play, she’s so conflicted; she has five things going on at the same time. She loves her husband John but he has been unfaithful to her so you see her as being aggressive, defensive, guilty, scared that he might leave her and on top of that she also wants to be the best wife to him. It’s what happens when someone is having an affair but here the stakes are so high and she doesn’t know how to express herself. It’s a complicated part but it makes it really interesting.

The second being, ‘ What interests you about Reverend Hale, the part you play?’

He’s certainly the character that goes through the biggest change. He comes to Salem with a good idea of what’s happening. He’s not convinced there is a witch there but if there is, he knows that he is the person who’ll be able to find it, or them. He’s the one that kicks everything off; he’s the one who starts the court cases and the trials but then throughout the course of the play he comes to realise that the girls are completely making it up and from that point, he ends up unbelievably wracked with guilt. He feels like he’s created this monster, if you like, and he’s responsible for the deaths.’ 

The play is quite powerful, from what starts off as innocent dancing in the woods, we see adultery to lies, you learn how paranoia turns everyone against one another!  I’m sure it’s going to keep the audience gripped. 

                          Win tickets !! 

For a chance to win a pair of tickets for the opening night of The Crucible, Tuesday 23 May 2017, 7.30pm. Answer one simple question and leave your answer on my crucible post on first time valley Mam on Facebook . 

Entry’s will close Tuesday 16thMay 11.59pm. 

            Who wrote the play the crucible? 
Terms and conditions. 
Prize is two tickets to the showing of crucible on  Tuesday 23rd May at New theatre Cardiff.                                                

The competition will close on Tuesday 16th May 11.59pm

There is no cash alternative or any other prize, the prize is two tickets to the crucible showing at 23rd may 7.30pm 

First time valley Mam reserves the right to end the competition and cannot be hold accountable for third parties not providing the prize. 

First time valley Mam will not be accountable for any loss or damage. 

The winner will be randomly be chosen from all correct entries. 

First time valley Mam will notify the winner by 12pm on Wednesday 17th May if the winner cannot be contacted and haven’t acknowledged they are the winner then another random person will be chosen on Sunday  21st may at