We made it!!! I can’t believe the end of the summer holidays is here! We have managed a lot of sensory and craft activities and it’s kept Lou going, along with some play dates, trips out, parties and weekly sessions at the SMILE therapy centre in Malvern. As with any plans, we didn’t achieve everything and had to alter things here and there depending on the weather and availability of materials. But I’m proud of what we’ve achieved.
1. Family time.
On bank holiday Monday we had a family barbecue and Lou received a watch ready for starting school. Lou has been fascinated with time for a while now and she’s picking it up really well. It helps her to understand things like “when the hand gets to the 6 it’s time to…”
The girls also received a play kitchen as a gift. Playing ‘shops’ has been a favourite for a while now, this kept them occupied for hours!
2. Last play therapy session of these holidays.
On Tuesday Lou had her weekly session at the SMILE Centre in Malvern. We were lucky that it was a beautiful day and we were able to visit the park opposite the centre. The girls were so happy to see that there were baby ducklings! We absolutely love Malvern, it’s one of my all time favourite places, I hope to take the girls up the Malvern Hills when they are a bit older.
This week’s SMILE session was for Lou to make her own scones. I was amazed that the recipe that the staff had found used lemonade and double cream with self-raising flour to create the scones, which I’d never heard of before! Lou was able to feel the textures of all the ingredients and absolutely loved mixing it all together with her hands, the mixture foamed up once the lemonade was added! Lou got the chance to try Lemonade for the first time but she wasn’t keen as she said: “the bubbles are getting in my face!”
The scones were baked and we got to taste them and took loads home! It’s amazing how we couldn’t tell the difference with using these ingredients to the usual way we’ve made scones with butter!
I’ve written a lot of research posts recently, sometimes this blows my mind, but it’s so helpful in my quest to try and understand my child’s behaviour more and why she does what she does! This post is more of a ‘what’s on my mind’ post, and there’s always a lot on my mind!
The summer holidays will soon be upon us, it feels like I’ve blinked and missed the past few months, When i was working in education I remember that feeling of elation that the end if term was nearing, knowing that you’d given your absolute all during the term and this was rewarded often with a meal, several drinks and socialising with chilled out colleagues! When I returned to work after having Lou we explored everywhere possible during the holidays, we went to parks, visiting friends and relatives and walked for miles with Lou enjoying the scenery of the countryside from the comfort of her pushchair. The last summer holidays in 2015 was the first time that Lou had experienced ending Pre School and not returning for 6 weeks. We lived in an upper floor flat on a new build estate with a park that wasn’t completed. We had to walk for about 30 mins until we reached a park or a shop, with Lou saying “my legs hurt” which since I recently found out she has hypermobile joints, does make me feel very guilty. The times we were inside the flat Lou would get frustrated and would throw any item she could get her hands on, which she is currently repeating at the moment. Even though she now has full access to a garden! I remember that feeling of absolute desperation, of trying to interact with Lou, setting up activities but she wasn’t interested in spending time with me, she wanted other children and was craving the routine that pre school provided.
Around June time in the back if my mind I started to get anxious about the impending holidays as I’ll do anything I can to avoid a repeat performance of last year’s holidays.I often feel guilty about the fact that I don’t drive, I wonder if I took the children out further afield if this would reduce some of the stresses, I’ve tried lessons a few times since having an accident at 17, but it just petrifies me, I just don’t feel safe as I go into a trance like state when panic takes over behind the wheel, I don’t feel that it’s me controlling the car, and it’s very scary. I would also worry about distractions if Lou wasnt coping in the car. I’d love to be able to take my girls here there and anywhere but I also have to keep in mind that as I’m not currently working and we’re a one income family for the time being, and we’re busy saving for certain equipment for our home in order to help to keep Lou safe. I am also at the point where I cannot take both children out without the help of someone else there, as Lou has had a meltdown everytime we’re in public and I’m often having to abandon Moo, like the time Lou ran upstairs in our local library and I had to leave Moo downstairs to quickly retrieve Lou as she was also screaming loudly and running around! I’ve had to accept that for the time being my child sees the world differently and therefore I can’t be getting jealous about what other people are doing with their children, as we have to take small steps with everything. We are lucky that we live only a few minutes walk from a train station and this allows myself and my partner to take both girls on days out, as Lou gets older she may cope better with train journeys so that we can visit places in the holidays, but as with everything, we’ve just got to wait and see.
My key is to plan, plan, plan. Here’s a few ways I think I’ll try and survive the weeks:
1. Make a sensory diet plan – As I discussed in my previous ‘sensory diet’ post I will set out specific activities to allow Lou to thrive in her ‘sensory seeking’ this will have a big emphasis on messy play. If there’s a time when we are at home and Lou is getting a bit frustrated or is running around I will get out the plan and offer her an experience that will hopefully keep her focused and absorbed. See: http://wp.me/p7BVlE-6S
2. Use Pinterest ! I get a great deal if my ideas and activities from here. I found a picture of a fairy jar recently and this was a huge successful activity for engagging Lou. Lou loves craft, getting the glue and the glitter out. See: http://wp.me/p7BVlE-4l
3. Outings with friends and play dates – we are extremely lucky to have made a wonderful and supportive network of friends in the past 12 months of living here, they understand Lou has certain difficulties and are so accommodating. Lou thrives when in the company of others, she responds better when it’s not just myself and Moo in the picture. Some days out are trips to a park or play dates around at each other’s houses which doesn’t cost anything.
4. Visiting grandparent’s – Lou and Moo are very lucky to have their grandparents (my parents) only a 6 minute drive away! Lou absolutely loves my parent’s garden it’s far bigger than ours and she has a slide, swing and climbing frame that we can’t fit in our garden, Lou has named their garden ‘The Park.’ Lou also enjoys a visit to the park in the village, and there are some lovely parks to visit in the surrounding villages.
5. If in doubt… get outside! Fresh air does wonders, we have noticed after time outdoors, the public access walks through fields and countryside, that our children sleep better. Lou is a born explorer, she will collect stones, flowers etc, and is more chilled in an outdoor environment.
6. Accessing the SMILE centre in Malvern, Worcestershire. I’ve written a post regarding the benefits of Lou attending the SMILE therapy centre. She has requested sand messy play for her first session of the holidays. We hope to see the benefits of these sessions such as a calmer approach to situations, as these sessions allow Lou to be in full ‘seeker’ mode – she will attend for 1 hour per week of the holidays. For more information please see: http://wp.me/p7BVlE-Y
I hope to report back on how our holidays are going, I look forward to taking lots more photos to share the experiences we have.