Worries are like growing tomatoes!

IMG_2403My son is a very anxious child, bless him. It breaks my heart some days. Every day things which others take in their stride is one big trauma for him. He spends time worrying about it, thinking about it and unable to sleep or even eat! It turns into an obsession.

As the end of the summer holidays loom his anxiety about going back to school is escalating. This happens every year, you would think we would have got used to it. But every year it takes me by surprise and I think, help, I don’t know how to deal with this?

So before we broke up for the holidays I asked the school for help and his school counsellor gave us a book all about how worries are like growing tomatoes. You feed and water the plant, you look after them, and think about them all the time and soon you have tomatoes everywhere and you have to eat tomatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s a fabulous book. When we read it I thought to myself I don’t think he has understood that at all, back to the drawing board. What shall I do now to try and explain anxiety to a child which has no real idea about feelings, emotions etc.

Yesterday we went to buy new school trousers. I have put it off for as long as possible but now it has to be done. It started off ok, we were browsing and having a little jokey moment when suddenly Bam! Out of nowhere total meltdown. Hiding in amongst the clothes, shouting and crying. Other parents and children staring, wondering what on earth is going on.

There I am sitting on the floor trying to talk him down and I can hear others criticising my technique. Well, I don’t blame them. I guess to the outside world it looks like I  am talking to a very rude child and I have no discipline techniques whatsoever! Yes, I guess in that instance they are right, it must be my lack of parenting skills as you would never normally have a child of this age behaving like a toddler going through the terrible twos! Well how do I explain to them that my son is behaving like this because he is stressed, scared, anxious, that he wants to run away from the world and never return? How do I tell them that he has a variety of complex needs and that he isn’t naughty he is just struggling with the world?

So I just continue talking him down and ignore the comments and eventually he crawls out from his hiding place and rather exhausted falls into my arms. We hold each other for what seems like an age, I am not too sure which one of us needs the hug more at this point in time! I think we were both trying to support each other. And then he looks up to me with a sad face and says “sorry Mummy but it is the tomatoes, they made me do it!”.

Spring has sprung

IMG_1995I look out in the garden this morning and I see these beautiful flowers which have just literally popped open! Yay spring has finally sprung I think, all is well in my world.

I then try to remember the “jobs for the weekend” as suggested by Monty Don on Gardeners World. As I am now over 40 I have to admit that I do spend my Friday nights watching this program even though my fingers are definitely not green!

Anyways, I decide that I really don’t think Monty gave any job suggestions so my suggestion is to sit back, enjoy natures beauty and sip a cuppa, oh and eat cake. Definitely always eat cake!



Not that I am having a midlife crisis or anything….

“Not that I am having a midlife crisis or anything”  I say but am I trying to convince myself or the very young and beautiful hairdresser I am chatting to.

You see I hit the big 40 last year and ever since then I have been trying to recapture some youth; coming up with hairbrain ideas. So far the list is as follows;

1. Repierce my belly button.

2. Have a meaningful tattoo.

3. Dye my hair pink.

4. Start Mindfulness classes.

So I look at the list and ponder where to start. I am not great with pain so I decide to put the repiercing and the tattoo on the back burner. “Just for now” I say but who am I kidding!

So it’s the pink hair then, I can do that.

Seeing as I am not one for impulsiveness I spend time researching Pinterest and find a few photos of hair styles I like so off to the hairdressers I go.

As I sit in the chair I begin waffling. I am prone to verbal diarrhoea when nervous and right now I am really waffling!

“I have always wanted to do this since Scarlette Johansonn’s wig in that Lost In Translation movie” I say to the now slightly confused young lady who is staring back at me in the mirror. I realise then that she has no idea what I am talking about, that movie must be 15 years old, she probably wasn’t even in primary school when it came out.

I then decide to show my Pinterest photos. As I start to scan through my boards entitled; Garden Ideas, Recipes, Family meals, Parenting Tips it dawns on me. I am not a pink hair type of lady. I am a 40 year old brunette with grey hair, wrinkles, stretch marks and who enjoys watching Mary Berry on TV. Being outrageous means eating a packet of chocolate digestive biscuits for dinner and consuming a rather lovely glass of Cabernet Sauvignon on a week night!

“On second thoughts perhaps an all over brown and just a trim” I say the hairdresser just nods and looks relieved.

As I sit there having a rather ‘safe’ long bob cut and an all over colour brown to hide the grey I get out my mobile and begin researching mindfulness classes. Surely that is one thing even I can pull off?


how do I keep the children entertained today?

Coping with Easter Holidays and a child with SPD, anxiety and autism can be like negotiating a mindfield! It’s not just thinking about ‘how do I keep the kids entertained today’ stress. But also how do I keep them entertained and keep my son from not getting too stressed, too angry, too emotional….

We went to the garden centre yesterday for an Easter Hunt. Sounds nice you all say and yes it was. But can anybody relate to this?

We go to the check out to pick up our entry forms. I have no pen (my first mistake) nobody seems to have a pen so we need to wait. Stress out number 1.

We get the pens Yay! But my sons pen does not work No! Stress out number 2.

We finally get a pen so we set off looking for the first clue. My other two children wander off enjoying the sunshine. My son however is worried he won’t find it first, this worry overwhelms him and he starts running around like a headless chicken. Stress out number 3.

One of my daughters finds the said clue first and tries to be helpful by sharing her find with her siblings. Stress out number 4.

We then complete the question. Name a famous rabbit? Phew I think not too tricky as everyone can name Bugs Bunny surely? The pressure is overwhelming for my son whose mind goes blank and cannot think of one. He does not want help! Stress out number 5.

Yes, Bugs Bunny! Well done clever boy I say. And lots of high fives later we are ready to start on the next clue. Or so I think…my son looks at the entry form. It clearly states one famous rabbit but it has three lines to write on, so do they want three famous rabbits or just one? “What should I do” he keeps asking me. It is pointless to say not to worry about the other two lines so we decide to go and ask somebody. Right problem solved, now on to clue two.

Clue two is equally challenging; there are strange smells in the garden centre which upset him, making him feel sick. The loud noises agitate him and the constant worry of not finding the clues start to become too much. Stress out number 6.

I bump into a friend and stop to chat politely whilst trying to keep one eye on my son. He gets more and more agitated that my attention has strayed from the Easter Hunt. He cannot understand that social etiquette dictates that I should at least say hello. He believes that if the Easter Hunt is all consuming for him then surely I must think and feel the same? My friend asks how the holidays have been oblivious to my son now rolled up in the foetal position in amongst the flower pot display. “Isn’t it lovely to not have any routine” she says, I just nod and agree as I have not got the time or inclination to explain how important routine is to our family and without things can start to unravel. Finally I extract myself from the conversation as quick as poss so I can extract my son from the display without breaking any pots!

After about an hour of this and many stress outs later we finally queue up to get the prize. Which is a small chocolate lolly.

Was all that worth it? Should I have put my son in that stressful situation in the first place? Yes I believe I should. You see today it was just an Easter Hunt but tomorrow, next week, next year and for his whole life he will be facing challenges and I won’t always be around to support him. I guess it is about learning life skills, to be able to cope in the real world.

I feel like a mean Mum but then as I sit in the sunshine with my three beautiful children, each one unique and the chocolate rush hits my brain I think “yes it certainly is all worth it”.

The Battle Continues….

Living without a diagnosis can be so hard at times.

Today I had an appointment with an Educational Psychologist. We have waited for this appointment for 3 months. I don’t know what I hoped to achieve today but I was obviously holding onto a hope that she would perhaps meet us, wave her magic wand and make things ok. Silly I know and so ridiculous.

I am now sitting here writing this and feeling so sad.

Over the last few years we have had to sit and watch our beautiful first born child struggle with the world. We don’t know why, we have no answers to our questions, we have no solutions, no way forward.

Sometimes we feel so alone. Our own little family unit against the rest of the world.

Life shouldn’t be so hard.

It shouldn’t be this much of a battle just to get some help.


To Homeschool or not to Homeschool that is the question?

This week I have been mostly thinking about homeschooling.

It has crossed my mind so many times before but now I am really seriously thinking about it.

So, here is the situation…. my eldest child is now nine and in year 5. He HATES school with a passion. He really struggles. He has severe general anxiety, seperation anxiety, Sensory processing difficulties and currently assessing for ASD. All of these issues are now impacting on his mental health which is resulting in a depressed, frustrated, emotional, angry and unhappy little boy.

His life can be one big nightmare and it is breaking my heart to stand by and watch it. I need to make a change, perhaps a drastic change?

You see when we have holidays or weekends he is his usual self, still quirky, still Sensory, still struggling to make sense of the world but HAPPY. And because I know him inside, outside and back to front, I know how he ticks, I know how to calm the waters etc we are able to live life relatively “normally”. But then I guess I have just 3 children to worry about and all the time in the world as I am Mum. I love them all unconditionally and they feel safe. I understand that his teacher is unable to offer that, I really am not criticising I am just saying it as it is.

This is why I am considering homeschooling. But these are my current thought;

Would this help?

Could it make the separation anxiety worse?

Am I confident and capable enough?

Am I just trying to avoid life?

should we be working with the therapists to overcome this rather than avoiding school?

Should he spend half the day at school and half at home or is that confusing?

Any thoughts, comments and ideas are greatly received.

Thank you for listening. X

Monday Blues

So it was the first day back today. Me to work and the children to school. We have had a lovely week off together. No need to wear a watch. No timetable with routine out of the window. Eat when you feel hungry, sleep when your tired, that was my motto and that’s how we lived for one whole glorious week. It was luxury.

One thing I noticed was the effect the holiday had on my eldest child.

Two weeks ago he was stressed out, anxious, angry and depressed.

Two weeks ago my husband and I were discussing our child’s mental health! This has been a shock and sometimes I find it hard to really contemplate that my beautiful nine year old could have mental health problems. It scares us to the core.

But each day being at home I started to see a renewed, happy and relaxed person. It was an amazing transformation.


I had a meeting at school recently and said why does he find school so hard? What causes the trigger? What can we change? I wish the teachers could see the happy, go lucky child I have during the holidays. The teachers said yes, school is a problem for him but there is not a trigger we can change. It is just school and he finds it a struggle.

As a parent I both understand this but also hate this answer. As a parent I want to wave a magic wand and change his life for him. But I also realise I can’t protect him from everything. Unfortunately we can’t avoid life!

So, how do I make this better?

Is home schooling the answer? I don’t know. Is pursuing an ASD diagnosis the answer? I don’t know.

I wish I had the answers, I wish I had that magic wand, I wish we could stay on half term holidays forever!!!

I am sure there are others living my life too. Any comments, advice and thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for listening.