Chrimbo 2021

This Christmas I finally feel like I have nailed our Xmas decorations. Im so happy with how I have decorated the lounge (and bathroom!) this year. So, so happy!

Fuck, is it a fully grown up, proper adult, adulting type thing to invest in a proper Christmas decor aesthetic?

‘Cos if it is Im all for it!

My Christmas decor aesthetic this year is pink kitsch. A pink kitschy kitschmas! And I effing love it!

Bet you never saw that one coming, eh?

TBH Im a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to doing the whole Xmas decs thang properly. If you care to peruse my “Christmas” tab you can see how my Xmas decor style has evolved. Disclaimer – Honestly, I would not recommend that you do peruse it. There’s a lot of me droning on about how I don’t like the commercial side of Xmas. Blah, blah, blah. Yawn!

I mean, I’ve always had a thing for glittery deers. But for my home’s Xmas decorations I just used to cobble together a few hand me down bits and pieces with stuff that I bought cheap in the January sales. My whole look was “that will do” and I wasn’t really bothered about it. My cobbled together Xmas decs were a unstlylish mix and match. Not that it was a bad thing, but I’ve evolved now.

Evolved into my very own pink Kitschmas amazingness!!!

As I said in my last post, I’ve gone a bit spending mad, buying every sparkly, shiney, glittery Xmas thing that takes my fancy. And I refuse to feel bad about it. No ragrets. None.

I’ve not gone too crazy by most standards. Im talking about the odd glittery deer for less than a tenner here, a Poundland bottle brush tree (or six) here, and a £1 bit of tinsel from Tesco there. So not a bankrupting Instagram haul type spend. Im still a bargain hunter me!

I also took the plunge and treated myself to some new pink Paperchase deers. They were a totally necessary purchase. Totally necessary. ‘Cos kitsch, pink deers are good for the soul. Fact.

Every year I eye up the glittery deers in Paperchase, drool over them, but miss out because I cannot justify the cost of them and I wait for them to go in the sale.

Welp, guess what? They never get reduced! Or if they do I never seem to find them!

So every year I regret not buying one. Not this year though. Sod it, YOLO etc. This year I treated myself!

I got them in a 3 for 2 deal with an extra added 20% off (you know me, I never pay full price!) and Im not going to give myself a hard time or feel guilty about buying them. No post spending splurge anxiety here. Nope, no siree.

…..Instead Im just gonna write a lenghty blog post about how I have spent more money on Christmas decorations this year than I have in my entire life! Oops!

Again blame lockdown! It’s Covid 19’s fault. Bloody Covid! It’s made my rubber duck and glittery deer collections grow!

I know, how terrible, eh?!!!!

Here is a sneek peak of a few fave baubles and the shelves in the the kids room that their elf called Mimi (Dylan named them when he couldn’t really talk properly, but its an awesome elf name!) decorated for them. Their elf decorated the shelf! I will upload some more photos of the lounge propely in a separate post once I have finished the final faffing!

Here I Am Again

Lets dip my toes back into the murky waters of blogging and start back again with an old school blogging cliche™ and blog about why I haven’t blogged for nearly a year.

Its the vintage version of a social media break.

You know how it goes, you gotta make a big deal about how you are fed up with social media/taking a mental health break/getting disillusioned with all the fakeness/too busy with real life, etc, etc before disappearing and taking a social media break.

The old shool blogging cliche™ blog post about not blogging is exactly the same, but doing it in reverse. You announce afterwards that you took a break.

So yeah, I haven’t blogged for aaaaaaaaages mainly ‘cos I couldn’t be arsed.

Really, really couldn’t be arsed. Cos, you know, 2020 and 2021.

We all know what a shit show 2020 was. TBH in some ways 2021 has been even harder. On a personal level all the constant rules and restrictions changes have been a head fuck. Trying not to judge people for wearing masks just on their chins or not at all has been a drain. Seeing customers at work licking their fingers and picking their noses (or both, seriously people are gross! And nearly all the customers do it!) before handing me money etc has been hard. Not getting any speech therapy for my son because a higher paid NHS worker is deemed too important to work and be put in harms way, but yet I have to face unmasked people licking their fingers and coughing in my face at work during lockdowns. Ugh. Double ugh. What a head fuck.

Another hard thing this year is seeing the anti vaxx movement grow. More friends and acquaintances are becoming free thinkers (conspiracy theorists). They post some really horrible, hateful shit on social media. Fucking awful stuff. I am a over thinking, over sensitive type. Im a self diagnosed HSP in fact. So I find it really hard to ingore and forget about this stuff. I get it, people are angry and hurting, but to me, social media should be a lighthearted place to chat shit and have a laugh with your mates. Not to tell them they are stupid for having a different opinion to you. So yeah, social media hasn’t been much fun this year either.

Hmmm,…… maybe I should get with the times and announce a social media break!

Talking of social media, I saw someone (sorry, I can’t remember who it was to credit them!) post about how 2021 feels like a bad hangover from 2020 that no amount of carbs and nurofen can fix. Ain’t that the truth!

So 2021 has been a ride. Not a great one. But not all bad. We’ve had some good times. Lets focus on those good times going forward.

Anyway, enough about why I haven’t blogged. Here’s why I want to blog again. In 2021 we built a garden office, did yet more decorating in the house all of which I must share here. We’ve seen our family members again, had some good days out and the kids are ok. All of which I am thankful for.

Plus I want to share our christmas decorations when we put them up!

Back soon! And keeping the content here as thrilling as ever, hey!

Is This Thing On?

*Taps mic*

Hello?

Is anybody out there? Is this thing still on? Hello? Hello?…… *Tumbleweeds*

So yeah, I’ve decided to dust off the keypad and have another go at blogging.

Can’t promise I will be here often. But I will give it a bash. Stay tuned folks.

The Kids Bedroom Mark 3

Back in July 2020 we decided to redo the kids bedroom.

Ok, redo is a bit of an overstatement, but after ditching R’s cot, and putting him in a toddler bed, it all spiralled from there!

And by spiralled, I mean that we switched up the chest of drawers for another wardrobe and then had a bit of a shift around with the layout of the room.

So nothing too major, really!

The below photos show the before. Their bedroom was fine, it just needed a few tweeks to suit the boys changing needs. My babies are now no longer babies, they are both preschoolers now! Oh, and here is the before of the room, before this before!

We ordered a double roller blind, as they had slowly (Ok, not really slowly at all) destroyed the vertical blind that came with the house. It has a voile roller for privacy and a black out roller for the blessed extra couple of hours sleep each morning. They did have black out curtains, but they can only do so much. We are kicking ourselves that we did not order this blind sooner. Worth. Every. Penny.

Then we placed their beds side by side, instead of one against each wall. Suprisingly the room seems bigger now. Strange!

Eventually they will either have bunk beds or a bedroom each, that is if Rob can work elsewhere. Time will tell. For now this is working for them.

Welp, mostly working, as R can be a little shit at bedtime sometimes. As I say, time will tell!

Chrimbo 2020 Part 2

Following on from this post I thought that I would memory dump a few more photos of this years Chrimbo celebrations, just for posterity’s sake.

Look, I made some homemade bunting! Its not going to win any awards but it makes me smile!

Let me explain – It has become a sort of yearly tradition for us to take the kids to see Santa to freak them out and get a photo of them screaming. It might be a tad cruel, but we find it funny! And this year, while still in tier 3, we managed to visit the big man in a Covid safe manner via a live video link! So we got ourselves a couple of 2020 bad Santa photos. Hurrah!

I had been wondering what to do with my collection of bad Santa snaps for a while now. Ideas included framing them in those multi apeture photo frames, framing them in a diorama picture frame and glue gunning lots of kitschy Xmas ornaments around them or, erm…just framing them maybe?

But thanks to the Pinterest alogorithm gods, I happened upon the idea of crafting together some laminated photo snow globes! I even made Rob buy me a laminator (as a early Xmas gift!) in order to do this!

They might be unprofessional and verging on a Pinstrosity, but I love my homemade bad Santa snow globe bunting (I gotta trademark that one!) In fact, I have gone a little bunting mad this Xmas! All hail the mighty command hook!

Some elf buning from Poundland

I made one for Mum as well. She insisted!

I also want to share some photos of D’s bday celebrations. He turned 4 near the Xmas period. To maintain some kind of separation between the two celebrations and the decorations, we kept the Xmas stuff in the lounge end of our lounge-diner and the bday stuff in the dining end of our lounge-diner.

Our lounge-diner looked like someone had vomited the contents of Card Factory on the walls. It was a colourful, shiney, tacky mish mash that involved helium. It was great!


Anyway, I hope that desipite all the rules, regulations and crappy Covid stuff that everyone reading this has a good Christmas. It will be different for a lot of us, but I hope it is still enjoyable for everyone. Best wishes see you all on the other side. xoxox

A Mind Dump About Speech Delays

Its no secret that I like to use my blog for a bit of free therapy. Following on from this post, I still have so much more to say on parenting a child with a speech delay*.

*Disclamer – I am not an expert and I can only share my perpective on things. All children are different and all parents will think and deal with things differently. These are just my thoughts, feelings and experiences on parenting a kid with a speech delay for the last four years.

  • Living with a late talker doesn’t sound all that hard. But it is. Speech and language affect every aspect of our lives. Communicating our needs and communicating with others is something that we do everyday in our lives without thinking about and we take for granted. (Maybe not after 2020 though!)  Imagine not being able to do this. You might not be able to work, socialise, make friends or ask a supermarket worker if they have anymore bogroll out the back etc. (Again, maybe not so after 2020!)
  • The deaf, speech impedament and post-stroke communities etc (sorry to those I have forgot) who have S&L challenges adapt to communicate with lip reading, sign language and using electronic devises, pictures and notes etc.
  • Toddlers cannot adapt their methods of communication. They can only communicate their needs by screaming.
  • OMG, the screaming! Can you imagine the constant meltdowns over the slightest tiny thing? And in my situation, throwing a fussy baby into the mix? Eek! Some days were pretty hellish.
  • Its so hard seeing your child struggle.
  • We all know that all kids are different and everyone does things in their own time, however the education system and society is set up in a manner that all kids should be doing this by this age and that by that age. So when your kid doesn’t it is hard. Very hard.
  • When your baby is born, if they have 10 fingers and 10 toes then they are perfect. Why can’t it stay that way? Why do the have to follow the path of the typical norm for the rest of their lives?
  • Why is it that a screaming kid is deemed as “naughty” rather than frustrated because they cannot communicate their needs?
  • TBH I have been as frustrated as D at times. I wish he could just f**king tell me instead of screaming.
  • I honestly think that we put far too many expectations on toddlers and preschoolers. Society expects them to be kind, to share, be sweet, funny and polite and to walk into a room and instantly make friends with the other kids there. Toddlers and preschoolers should have amazing social skills from the get go apparently! I know that I am not perfect, and at my grand old age, I am still working on my social skills (never mastered the art of working a room, me!) So WTF should toddlers and preschoolers be instant social masters?
  • Is it people bullshitting about their precious darlings too much on social media? Maybe I am being too honest saying that my kids are arseholes at times?
  • They are also sweet, amazing, cute and very funny sometimes. But unfortunately people chose to remember the tantrums and meltdowns.
  • So while we are on the subject, please don’t tell a parent that you think their child is neurodiverse. Don’t even ask a parent if they think this about their kid. If you want to support your friend with a challenging child, the best thing you can do is to just be there and to listen to them. Let them offload. Let them tell you as much or as little as they want to. Its best not to pry. And do not make suggestions like “you should take your kid to the doctor”!
  • If only getting help and answers was as simple as that. The reality is a year long waiting list for speech therapy, years ahead of educational bureaucracy, a NHS at breaking point. Then throw in a worldwide pandemic to put the brakes on pretty much everything! So yeah, a trip to the quacks will solve everything, thanks for that!
  • Another thing I have learnt is when you mention that your kid has a speech delay, folks will ask if you sing, read, play with your kid etc. I have even been asked if I talk to D! So never ever mention that you hate singing to your kid. BTW I do talk to my kids all day long thanks, but I really, really hate singing! D is exposed to plenty of nursery rhymes at toddler groups, preschool and the TV etc, just not from my dulcet tones that often! But if you give even the slightest hint that you are not doing something, then people will jump on that, and think that your kids speech delay is because of this.
  • I understand that people are just trying to advise and help you. But if you are doing everything you can with your abilities, you still feel a bit of a failure for not being Mary Fucking Poppins.
  • Remember that its not you, its them. Your kid has the speech delay. You are being the best parent you can.
  • It is hard though. I sometimes feel that I put in triple the average parenting effort – i.e dealing with epic meltdowns, saying no all day long, trying not to lose my shit constantly etc, but getting bugger all to show for it. Why doesn’t my kid talk, play nicely all the time, listen to me etc? Im parenting just the same as Brenda, karen and all the other fuckers, but getting none of the results to show for it.
  • You try not to compare your kid to their peers, but its hard not to. Comparision is the thief of joy well and truely.
  • Its hard not to think sometimes about how things could be different. If only you had a completely different kid!
  • Its hard picking up your kid from preschool hearing all the other kids chat away to their parents about their morning when you get nothing.
  • You do feel robbed of some things and that you are missing out sometimes.
  • However I love my kids with all my heart. I will do anything I can for them. I am not perfect. I just hope that they realise that I am doing my best.
  • During early lockdown we sheltered the kids as much as possible. We didn’t take them out on walks, just let them play in the garden. I was still working, no furlough here, but I did my own ameture version of speech therapy with one to one time doing jigsaws, crafts, games, cue cards etc.
  • Then R dropped his nap and it all went to shit! But Rob and I can look back on this time and say that it wasn’t down to professional speech therapy or sending him to nursery that got him talking. It was us. We helped him find his voice. So fuck you Brenda!
  • D currently has a lady from the council go into his preschool, to help him and another kid, 2 x 1 hour sessions per week. Thanks to Covid I have not been able to meet her etc, but we will get feedback eventually. His speech and language is improving all the time. But I still say that we did all of the groundwork!
  • Also, while on the subject of bigging up myself – kudos to me for potty training a non-verbal child!
  • So lets end this on a positive note. D is improving. He is still hard work, shouty, defiant and strong willed but I wouldn’t change him for the world. If I need to, I will just change the fucking world for him!…Or at least change preschools!
  • Except for when he rolls around in the mud. If he could do as he is told on that one, that would be awesome!

Chrimbo 2020

Its time for my (sort of) annual lets show my Christmas tat decs blogpost.

This year so many people have been putting up their decorations earlier than ever. I don’t blame them. 2020 will be remembered, amongst other things (obvs), as the year that literally everyone decorated their homes.

I know this because I work in a DIY store. I am worn out from lugging 20 ltr trade sized paint tubs all day long. Phew!

So when all the freshly painted interior walls have dried, why not stick some embellishments on them? And then go that bit extra this year with all the tinsle, turkey, fairy lights, glitter and elves? If it brings people joy and comfort, why not stick the tree up in October! And this is coming from me – Ms Bah Humbug! These are strange times indeed!

We bucked the trend as per usual though, and finally put up our tree on 16/12/20. Part in due to laziness, part in due to toddlers, but we did it eventually!

Plus a few embellishments on our freshly painted walls. And now I want all the glittery deers! Gimme gimme gimme! More is more! Screw you 2020!


Above, how my Xmas duck collection looked when we got them down from the loft.


How things look right now. Yes I have a Xmas rubber ducky problem. I will seek help eventually.


My kistchy, glittery deer collection. I feel there is room for more deer on these shelves. That is if I can get into town/lucky in the Paperchase etc sales this year!

Here is how our tree looked after we put it up while the kids were sleeping. We are keeping it low key this year with no breakable, kitshy baubles, because, you know, toddlers.


And here is how it looked after one day, minus a couple of smashed breakable baubles which slipped through the net. The 3 (nearly 4!) year old leaves the tree alone, but the 2.5 year old is still in his full on destructive stage right now.


TBH our decorations are low key, and not much to write home (or a blog post) about, but this gives you a quick peek on the progress made decorating this room. Apologies once again for dark photos taken on a crappy, rainy, December afternoon!

Yes, we have a cover on our telly. Only when it comes off can the boys watch the telly. It is, handsdown, the best parenting tool we have invested in!

2020 2020 2020

I am only just beginning to process my thoughts and feelings on this year 2020 the shitshow™ as it is now officially been rebranded as by the internet.

To be honest, I am well aware that even though the pandemic has (rightly and temporarily) taken away many things that I previously took for granted, I am hugely privileged to still have my loved ones here, a roof over my head, food in my belly and toilet roll in my bathroom. I am also hugely lucky to have kept my retail based employment (in fact, I’ve had a lot of overtime this year!) Im glad that I was not furloughed for months on end and that Rob continues to keep his head above water running his small business. Its not easy, but we manage to get by.

So yeah, I cannot complain as I am so, so lucky in many aspects, but I have still found this shitshow™ year challenging. We all have, lets be honest. Its weird living in a world with everyone collectively going through such a tough time. As I said, its going to take me a while to process my feelings.

Covid 19 aside, this year has been a hard year on the parenting front. Whoever said that it gets easier is the biggest bullshitter out there! Far from it!

I thought that I would do a follow up from this post. About a year ago, I wrote about D and his speech delay and people kindly diagnosing him for me etc. This year things got so bad, that back in March, I was almost quite glad to hide away from Joe public and their (unqualified and unasked for) opinions about my son.

Its been tough this year. Inbetween all the daily screaming, fighting, shouting and meltdowns from two toddlers, I had a terrible experience at a toddler group and a friend was being a bit of a head fuck so I had to distance myself from her. Ha! Like I had a choice in the matter!!!!

The toddler groups that I used to go to pre-covid have been cancelled until further notice. These groups are pretty hellish, but I used to attend them to get out of the house and to get the kids socialising around other children. I don’t miss them, but I think the kids are starting to show signs from not doing much this year. Dylan often doesn’t want to leave the house now (something that I know that 3 x other parents of toddlers are also having problems with) and I have no idea how Reece’s rudimentary social skills are, as he has only really been around his brother since March. But everyone is in the same boat. We are all missing out in some shape or form. We will get back in the swing of things eventually, I hope.

Back in January/February the Thursday toddler group I used to attend was getting increasingly emotionally challenging for me. Dylan was difficult. With his speech delay he could still only say “Mummy”, “Daddy”, “Reece”, “no” and “it’s mine”. He was extremely frustrated and prone to meltdowns. I had two toddlers running off in different directions. I was having one of the OAP volunteers talk to me about how she “used to pin a child with autism down, but they didn’t know much about it in those days” and tell me that D would get extra funding at preschool amongst other things. Some of the other Mum’s were very judemental about D’s behaviour. Dylan used to refuse to share one particular toy truck and the other Mums would be upset that their precious darling couldn’t have a turn with this truck (the kids were fine about it BTW, they toddled off to play with something else while the Mum’s hated me and my screaming kid!)

It was tough. I witnessed one of the Mum’s shoo her kid away from Dylan a couple of times. Her son was a similar age to D, and curious, and he wanted to play with D but she wouldn’t let him. Dylan wouldn’t have been able to play with him anyway because of his communication problems, but it still hurt me to see this.

But it all came to a head in February when two Mum’s had a go at me. A full on confrontation that went on for at least half an hour (I stood my ground and stood up for D and I) but it was a horrible experience which left me in tears. I cried non stop in public for the rest of that session (how old am I FFS? Too old for that shit!)

The woman who confonted me was upset because D had hit her son two weeks previously. I didn’t understand how awful it was that my toddler hit her toddler apparently (hold the front page there, shock horror a toddle hit another toddler!!!) She would not accept that Dylan has speech delays etc as a reason for it. I even told her about our concerns about him being neurodiverse (which is hugely emotive for me), and how upsetting it was to me to see him act like that. But she was indignent and had no empathy to me and our situation. She told me that her son said to her that he was scared of D (the irony is how much I wish that my 3 year old could tell me things like that!) and how awful it was to bring him to the group now because of D. That I didn’t understand. That I wasn’t watching him properly.

Ugh. It wasn’t pretty. We went back and forth. I knew what she was getting at – I said to her what am I supposed to do? Stay indoors with him? (Oh, the Alanis Morrisette levels of irony there!!!) But with some people you will never defuse an argument. Some people are closed minded, self righteous, argumentative dicks. She was one of them.

In the end she and her friend complained about me, and so I was told to let the group volunteers know when I was going to the toilet so that they could watch D for me. I usually got a friend to keep an eye anyway, but that is besides the point. At no point did anyone worry about watching Reece when I went to the toilet FYI. Nor was any of the other mothers expected to do this when they visited the bathroom.

Anyway, suprise suprise the other Mum involved in this row was the one who shooed her kid away from D.

I know you are really shocked, right?

But get this, she had a blond bob haircut and her name is Karen!

No, I am not fucking making this up! I can laugh about it now, but a Karen actually called Karen complained to the manager about my parenting! The memes are real!!! Fuck you 2020! Making me a victim of a Karen in 2020! As if all the covid stuff was not enough!

While all of this was going on, I had also got back in contact with an old school friend who I hadn’t seen for about 15 years, who has a little girl a week or so younger than Reece, so we were attending the toddler group together along with another ex-work collegue. To keep things brief and to respect her privicy etc, she is a very opinionated person, she always has to be right, a Mum to a Autisic teenager and heavily in to her conspiracy therories right now. She is also good company and a nice person, but she is very intense. She sent me links to attending a course on controlling ASD violent behavior, and at the start of lockdown, a link on the Mind website about how neurodiverse people would not be first in line for a ventilator amongst other stuff.

Ugh, as I say she is not a bad person, just not what I need in my headspace at this moment in time. I know that she has a few mental health issues etc, but right now I need to concentrate on myself and my family, so its best to have some space from her. Again, like I had a choice in the matter!!!

Anyway, thats some of the shitty personal stuff that has happened this year, along with the constant 24/7 worry about D’s speech and development, missing my family, my old routine, dealing with a terrible two’s toddler, a threenaged toddler, cancelled appointments for assessments for speech therapy, no preschool for months, lockdown birthdays and cancelled plans etc.

On a positive note, dylan’s speech has improved this year, he finally started talking around 3.5 years old. He is still behind, has trouble pronuncing words, being understood and has a lisp, but is starting to say whats on his mind more and more – for example he told Rob he had a dream about going to the toyshop and said a song on the car radio was lovely (this one). He sings little songs now, bless him. He is potty trained (I trained him in Feb, if only I knew, I would have waited another month!) He is still prone to shouting a lot, but having less tantrums and meltdowns and starting to play a lot better with his brother.

I also had to change preschools this year as his old one that he barely attended was not the right fit. When I picked him up he was always in tears and very distressed, the teachers complained that he wouldn’t sit down (all the other kids did apparently. Their words not mine). They told me to send him there wearing a nappy as he had a couple of accidents. They asked if we sat down together as a family at meals, questioned if I gave into him when he had his outbursts, did not accept that he had a speech delay and generally never had anything good to say about him, which I found quite upsetting. They are not a bad preschool, just too strict and one size fits all mindset for Dylan. And me, if I am honest.

He now attends a lovely preschool who have got an extra person to help him with his speech and language and to assess him for future additional educational needs. They are so lovely and and want to help him. They said that he has made a little friend too, which makes me so happy! Yey, he doesn’t scare the other kids! Fuck you Brenda! – That’s my nickname for Karen’s friend. See other parenting memes for reference!!!

It does worry me what the future holds. Whether I am strong enough to deal with all the challenges ahead. If people like trained professionals at a preschool and fellow parents of young children are not understanding about my child, then who will be? I have had my eyes opened so much this year to what challenges SEN parents and neurodiverse people face. I am still learning and I want to learn more.

What our future holds, who knows? All I can do is the best I can for my kids. I intend to do one of these parenting journey updates every year now. If anyone going through something similar wants to reach out to me Im helshelshels on insta. I am not an expert, but I am a good listener!