Elliott Update

For those of you who have been following my blog will know that we recently were told the surprising news that his school had concerns regarding his social communication.

Well this week has been a BIG week for Elliott as over the past 3 days he has been for an assessment of his speech, been seen a pediatric specialist not to mention going to the eye clinic. We know his eyes are fine bt are still waiting to read the full reports on the other two appointments although they have discussed their findings with us in brief.

In the speech session Elliott was required to put a simple wooden puzzle together, repeating the words of the pictures and also follow instruction “Elliott where is the dog?” He also was put in front of a large A4 book where each page was divided into 4 sections with a picture in each section. He would have to turn the page and each time answer questions about the 4 pictures “where is the ball, which man is walking?” The results were that Elliott currently has very few verbs and this is making his verbal communication difficult; also that he has difficulty understanding two-part questions. My biggest concern was that they were going to be sending Elliott for group therapy sessions, as has been the case with a lot of his friends, this is due to Elliott’s reluctance to join in with group situations, however he has been prescribed a 4 week one-two-one course of sessions followed by a visit to his school to help his keyworkers continue the work he has started to bring him forward.

Todays pediatric assessment mainly involved us speaking to the doctor and answering a long questionnaire of questions which required us to quantify Elliott’s problems, whether he had never done something, he had and had stopped, he was still doing something and it was mild, moderate or severe. Aside from this the doctor, weighed, measured and took Elliot’s head circumference.

The results for this assessment were that Elliott is on the mild end of the “autistic spectrum”. This does not mean that Elliott is autistic, it covers a lot of conditions, or and because he is at the mild end it doesn’t necessarily mean that he even has a condition, what it means is that there is enough traits in his behaviour that it warrants further investigation.

The plan now is that we wont see the doctor again for 6 months and in the mean time Elliott will have to go for various tests with various specialists for assessment as well as having to have a couple of blood tests (that’s not going to be fun!) A specialist will also visit Elliott at school and asses him there as well as advising them (again) on ways they can help him further. I should say Elliot’s school are superb and I have no doubt in my mind that they will be more than happy to accommodate all of this.

So how am I feeling about all of this? Well I’m not down about it, Elliott is Elliott and any problems he has are mild and therefore we can help him. We are no closer to knowing if our little boy is “normal” and just a little pickle or if he has anything else going on but I didn’t expect that we would. I am just so pleased that we are getting all this support and help for him and I am convinced that because of that and because it has been caught so early he will, in the long run, be fine whatever the outcome.

The next step is that we have a family support worker coming to visit us on Monday to try to help and advise me. I am going to ask her about courses that may help me handle Elliott’s behaviour – I should add Elliott is an average child when it comes to being naughty it’s just harder to rectify his behaviour due to lack of understanding from him. We also have been told by the doctor to look at something called 1-2-3 Magic.

So this is where we are. I still feel as though blogging about this may help someone somewhere along the line and maybe in years to come Elliott will be able to read it all back and see what was happening with him at the age of 3.

With Sam at the moment we have a whole other stress as he is constantly coming down with chest infections and the doctor is considering whether he may be asthmatic ….. well you may have noticed that in this family we don’t do things by halves!

 

Advertisements

Georges Dragon Tale – Wow Toys Review!

A few weeks ago we received a parcel from the lovely people at WOW toys with a couple of their products for Elliott to put through their paces. Now I know some of you are probably thinking, why has taken time to write the review, well aside from the fact we have had an unusual amount going on this is my reasoning why I prefer not to write some of my reviews the day after the product has arrived on my doorstep.

Any parent will know that when it comes to children and toys there are a number of things to consider when discussing how good it really is, the first is novelty value – any child given a new toy will LOVE it for the first day but how long will it take before it disappears to the bottom of the toy box never to be played with again. The other thing is durability, a toy may be wonderful for the first week but we have all given our children toys that within a short amount if time look as though they have been dragged through a hedge backwards because they just don’t stand up to the demands of play the way we would like them too.

So as a first review for a toy thought I would like to give that toy time to “settle in” to family life before I start to write, I feel as though this is the only way I can truly asses the benefits for other parents.

So here it is our first toy review!!!

Here is the official information

Join the gallant duo Sir George the Knight and his friendly red dragon Smokey as they set out on a heroic quest through dark, enchanted forests and magical, fairytale worlds in their trusty chariot. Launch the boulder from the catapult and rescue the fair maiden from the castle tower. How will your Knight’s tale unfold?

Contents:

1 x Push-along chariot
1 x Removable boulder
1 x Removable knight
1 x Removable dragon

Functions & Features:

Push-along chariot
Realistic clippety-clop sound
Removable boulder
Removable knight
Removable ride on dragon
Working catapult

Developmental benefits:

From 1½ years – Sensory stimulation and motor skill development
From 2 years – Discovery & learning
From 2½ years – Social interaction
From 3 years – Role-play & exploration

On arrival Elliott saw the box and his pupils dilated with excitement, he just wanted to get the box open as quickly as possible! Upon examination I had 2 personal concerns about this toy, the first being the flying boulder! Elliott could not be described as a careful child, in fact he has been likened to the Tasmanian Devil on a slow day so the thought of objects being catapulted across my living room, particularly at a passing cat or his brother’s head, was somewhat worrisome. My second concern was how well the dragon was attached to the chariot. If it wouldn’t come off he would get cross and frustrated, if it came off too easily I was going to get pestered every 5 minutes to put it back on and he would get equally cross and frustrated – we have a rocket ship from a well-known toy store and the doors on that thing come off every 30 seconds and its a nightmare, lovely looking toy but the worst one we have bought for him for that reason! Anyway I digress.

In response to my first concern – well the only solution was to wrestle the child to the ground and rip the toy from his sticky toddler hand and play with it before he had a chance to find that lovely catapult element. Upon my careful testing (I could get used to Elliott getting new toys for me – I mean him to play with) I found that the boulder didn’t go that high or that far, at which point I felt it was safe enough to take the american football padding off of Sam and felt that actually it got enough propulsion to satisfy the child but without need to put away all your fine china. The boulder shape is actually really good because it isn’t round – it rolls but doesn’t roll too far or fast so when it skids across our wooden floor I am rarely required to go fishing for it under the sofa – again another source of both our frustration with such things

The dragon – well he is great, clicks into place and stays put and then comes off with a little persuasion from Elliott – I havent been bugged once!

Now a week into having this toy a sad thing to happen to dear old “Rory” the Knight – Elliott named him Rory due to his Dr Who obsession – The little people in the WOW Range really are little people and this gives them the advantage of being very portable but it also gives them the disadvantage of being very portable. On a trip to the hospital to visit his little brother Elliott somehow managed to lose Rory. I loved that Elliott enjoyed the toy enough to take it out of the house, this privilege is only reserved for his absolute favorite toys, but it isn’t something I would want him to do again due to the fact that they are so dinky.

However as I say the portability can also be a huge benefit; when we went on a trip on the train Elliott was able to fit his new toy in his small rucksack along with other toys and books, which is great because on a long trip the more you can take in a small space the better!

As the dragon and chariot get pulled by the child it makes a “clip clop” sound – this is a nice feature but I don’t think Elliott would have minded if it was silent; on the other hand however Sam found it really interesting – he is not in the target age range but did make me think it had cause and effect educational benefits.

So where are we weeks on? Well It has been well-played with but there is no wear and tear visible on the toy itself. The boulder gets resigned to the bottom of the toy box often but that’s mainly because Elliott is too lazy to go looking for it and will happily play without the boulder or substitute it for something else, The loss of “Rory” was sad but there was a hero lurking in the mist waiting to step into his shoes and two days ago I found this set up in front of the television!

(apologies for the poor quality my mobile was the only thing to hand)

Yes Postman Pat not only has a helicopter but now, apparently, a dragon and a twin brother! – I need to point out here that the additional dragon that Pat is sitting on is not part of this set, he was given to Elliott at the Lollibop festival.

Elliott has had a lot of play value from this toy and it has sparked his imagination as you can see. We are generally a wooden toy family however the quality and feel of WOW toys is so lovely and I fully believe that when Sam turns 3 they will still be going strong for him to play with.

If you have a little boy who has a love of knights and castles or even just a great imagination this is a lovely toy that is a great alternative to another toy car.

In order to write this review Elliott was sent a George’s Dragon Tale toy to play with

Move Over Millie!!!!

Well I for one love a Millies Cookies cookies (is that a sentence?) but I refuse to buy them anymore because quite frankly they are far too expensive and every time I go there they have shrunk even further. So if anyone has read my about section….I’m sure I put it in there….I was going to include on my blog recipes and so here is my first one!!!!!

I love cooking but I don’t even have time to take a bath these days so I like my recipes simple and tasty and if Elliott can join in with the cooking process then all the better I say. So today while Sam took a short nap (and these really are quick to make) we whipped up a batch

Now I’m not going to claim to have written this recipe, I’m not that clever, but it will give a certain cookie company a run for its money because these taste just like the “real” thing, it’s that good!! Loosen your trousers people this isn’t for the calorie counters.

The picture above is not the full batch

125g butter, softened
100g light brown soft sugar
125g caster
sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g self-raising
flour
½ tsp salt
200g chocolate chips**

cream butter and sugars, add egg and vanilla, sift in flour and salt, then choc chips.

180°C, gas mark 4 for 10 or so minutes – leave room for spreading and until they are just starting to get a tan colour

** You can use all sorts of variations, nuts, toffee,
rolos, raisins, chunks of chocolate, fruit…..

Elliott enjoyed baking the cookies; however his patience didn’t exactly extend to Mummy messing about taking blog photos! (can’t blame him)

So what did the kids think….

The less said about the state of Elliott in that picture the better I think!

Sam’s very first taste of a cookie

The only complaints coming from Sam were that he wanted more and I wouldn’t give him any!

The Other Story….

Well now it’s been almost another week but the weeks in our house seem to be more dramatic than most.

So here is that other story. I booked two things this year, a holiday and tickets to go and see Idina Menzel in concert; what did stupid here do, book them both for THE SAME WEEK! Ok not my brightest moment. So the decision was made that as the concert was on the Thursday and we were returning from holiday on Friday anyway Sam and I would catch the train back to London a day earlier than Elliott and Steve and then when I got to London I would meet Steve’s sister to go to the concert with and THEN meet my friend who would collect Sam and take him home with her while I was out having him for the night and I would get the tube home with Steve’s sister who would stay the night with us…..you think that’s complicated you wait for what actually happened!

My thoughts were that the worst that could happen would be that I would miss my train and so after Sam and I had boarded, found a seat next to a lovely baby and had started the 2 and a bit hour journey I figured the biggest stress was over; then my phone rang!

It transpired that when the car was unloaded at the station my handbag had been left behind so I had no tickets, no glasses, no make-up, no keys and NO MONEY!!!!! – “oh dear” I said!

I amazed myself with my sense of calm and clear thinking, Steve was ordered to phone the Royal Albert Hall and sort out replacement tickets and I counted my lucky stars that I was a Natwest customer who paid attention the adverts. I called them canceled my debit card and asked if I could access their emergency cash from a cash machine service – two tunnel disconnection, answering my security question wrong, being told I couldn’t have cash and explaining I was heading into London with a 5 month old baby and no way of getting home I had secured myself some money.

At this point I was feeling as though everything was going smoothly, we got off the train, we found Steve’s sister and she then told me she was going home that night due to a work commitment – I was going to have to travel on the tube, on my own, at night with NO idea what I was doing!

Sam was collected from the Royal Albert Hall with only a mild drama and the concert was fantastic and it was so lovely to spend the time with Steves sister, who is quite frankly way cooler than her older brother and I should have just married her instead – Here is a video from that night this isnt my video btw but in case you are interested I thought I would pop on something; Im greatful for these videos, due to no glasses it was all a bit of a literal blur!

Then it was to the tube. I wouldn’t mind getting on the wrong train if I made a mistake but I asked the man at the station and HE PUT ME ON THE WRONG TRAIN! I then get on the train saying it’s going where I want it to go and it terminates before I get anywhere near where I need to be. Oh and I’ve found the tube crazy man and not only do I find him but he finds me! So not only am I lost, not only is it FREEZING, not only is it late but I have found the one guy on the tube network that is off his meds! At this point I jump on the first train going vaguely in the right direction, call Steve and he tells me where I need to get off the train and back on another — don’t you love the tube!

I reach my tube stop and all I have to do is get home. On Steve’s insistence I agree to get a cab, as he feels the bus isn’t safe at midnight (pah! I’m so peeved and COLD I don’t think anyone dare mess with me), I watch my bus home pass me by, find the cab office and IT’S SHUT! At this point drunk crazy man gets off the train and I decided to go and camp outside the vets till a cab arrives, Steve then informs me that it will be another 20 minutes just as a fight breaks out on the other side of the street and it starts to rain! At this point I’ve had enough I’m walking! 2 minutes later my friend (who has left Sam with her husband) not only arrives in her car in her dressing gown but also armed with chocolate and the information that the kettle is already on! Now THAT’S what you call a friend!!!!

So I spend the night at my friends, who had already thrown her husband out of their bed to make room for Sam (sorry K!) and as I have a crazy feather allergy and she has a feather duvet we spent what was left of the night trying to sleep under a single duvet in a double bed giggling like school girls!

The next day was the beginning of preparing for Elliott’s third birthday but more on that tomorrow….hopefully!

Hi Honey I’m Home!

I should have really mentioned before, I’m a bit hopeless, but last week I dug a tunnel out of the house with a teaspoon and the 4 of us escaped on holiday for a week!!

We had a lovely week away, 3 days (ish) in North Devon followed by 4 days (ish) in South Devon – We have THE worst travel luck getting to Devon, last year it took us an additional 4 hours because Elliott threw up repeatedly in Bristol and this year it took us an additional 4 hours because we hit the worst traffic going down. The kids were really good but once again we lost the first day of our holiday sitting in the car!!

It was worth it though as we havent been away as a family at all this year and its been a hectic one with the arrival of Sam and all the other everyday dramas. Elliott really seemed to bond with his baby brother and they spent a lot of time playing together in the caravan – it was especially lovely to see Elliott share his own toys with Sam and they spent many a happy 20 minutes playing “Pat vans” together — Elliott’s obsession of the week this week was Postman Pat, which he hasn’t watched once since we arrived home but he tortured us with for a full week in Devon.

We did some lovely day trips while we were away, The Big Sheep is always a nust for us when we are in Devon because Elliott LOVES the place, it was a 4th visit and our 1st time with Sam and Elliott still loved it as much as he did the first time. At the end of the day it is essentially a farm park based around sheep – although to be honest you don’t see that many of them – but it has the nicest atmosphere and I think that’s what Elliott thrives on and the staff are really lovely – last year Elliott fell over and cut his head on his buggy wheel, they made a big fuss of him and gave him an easter egg for being so brave. It is a lovely way to spend a day with young kids, there is a big indoor play barn for bad weather and Elliott absolutely loves the lamb feeding; here is a tip if you go – there are 2 lamb feedings a day, the first at around 10 and the other around 4, the first one is packed and you often have to “share” a lamb but the 4 is a lot quieter and your children have a better chance of having a lamb to themselves to feed.

We also went to Pecorama in South Devon – this was a recommendation from my Dad and Elliott LOVED it. If you have a train obsessed little boy (or old boy because they outnumbered the little ones) then this is the place for you. It is based at the Peco factory (who my dad informs me make bits of model train track etc) and they have made Pecorama around that – there is an exhibition area where there are set ups of lots of model trains and then outside in the beautiful gardens are bigger model trains which you can have a ride on and oh my goodness the view is AMAZING. It is situated in a small fishing town called Beer and if we go again in the future we are defiantly going to make some time for a wonder around. It is another great place for a quiet day out, lots of play areas to explore – defiantly one of those days that would suit a day with kids and elderly relatives. I have to say I was impressed by the pricing, it wasnt an expensive place to visit with tickets costing around £7 per adult but as it was a little chilly the day we went we were charged £1.90 per adult to visit the exhibition and the same if we wanted to ride the train! The gardens were free. We didn’t get all round the gardens but would defiantly visit again to get a better look around and Elliott loved the play area with a big fort to run around and a dungeon to lock Daddy in!

Here is a video of Elliott on the train – this is probably one that would only really interest my dad!

We defiantly had a week of contrasting weather; here is a visual demonstration using Sam

Day 1 – TOO hot!

Day 5

You wouldn’t have thought that it was the same week! Having now done both North and South Devon I have to, annoyingly, agree with my husband that although the south is lovely I much prefer North Devon – it’s a lot more rugged and has a lovely feel too it. We also had our first experience of a BIG caravan park, staying at a Haven. I think as the boys get older Havem and Butlins are going to have an appeal as there are a lot of on site activities but for now as long as there is a decent pool for Elliott to throw himself into I prefer the cosy approach — I think this wasnt aided by getting lost on our first night on site and walking in the PITCH BLACK along a nature trail trying to push a buggy!

Sam and I had to return to smelly old London early as I had a concert to go to but that, as they say, is another story!