I’ve not written much about my mum on this blog before but I believe the experience of five years ago changed me and made me look at life so differently. I’ve been pondering what to actually write, even considering extracts from the blog I was writing at the time, but to be honest it’s not easy reading and not easy for me to go over it all again.

So please let me share some facts about  my mum.
She was an older mum when she had me, already in her late 30s. When I came along I had two teenage brothers. I wasn’t the last child however, when I was eight she gave me a baby brother.
As a young child I remember her preferred birthday presents were chocolate and hair dye. She always died her hair a really dark brown colour, almost black which is what colour it was before she went grey. I believe my eldest son has inherited her dark thick hair, I know I didn’t!
She was always incredibly close to her mum and became her carer for many years when she got sick.
Both of her husbands died suddenly at early ages.
Mum was very musical, she could play the piano, accordion and sing. I have inherited none of her talents.

On November 30th 2008 mum was taken to hospital very ill. On 11th December she was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the liver and lungs. On Christmas day 2008 she passed away in a hospice. 25 days. Some people have less notice I know, but is it easier knowing that someone is going to die, or having someone die suddenly? I think I can speak from experience, neither is easier, both are so so hard.

As the years have passed the pain has eased slightly. At one point I held on tight to the pain because it felt like pain was all I had left. Time doesn’t heal, it just helps you deal with things better. I still miss my mum every day and always will.

In memory of mum, January 2nd 1931 – December 25th 2008

Every year we have a fantastic German Market in our City Centre. Loads of wooden cabins selling lovely gifts and crafts and delicious food. I love the Bratwurst sausages and the crepes, but the very best are the schokokuss, gorgeous chocolate marshmallows in lots of different flavours.

schokokuss – chocolate kisses

I took the girls to the market for a browse. We all had a ride on the wonderful carousel and enjoyed some yummy doughnuts filled with chocolate. We also had a look at the skating rink, we couldn’t skate as it would have been unfair on Star. So we went up to the first balcony on the new library and watched the skaters and the big wheel in action. (One day I will get them to go all the way up to the rooftop, it’s amazing up there!)

I love the German market, it really gets you in the mood for Christmas. Although this was the girl’s first visit this year, I’ve already been twice before! Next time I’m aiming for a nice mug of hot chocolate with a little something naughty added 😉 Although the last time I went on the evening I ended up in the jacuzzi with the floozie as there was really no space left for standing! (for none Brummies this is a large statue in a fountain which we have lovingly nicknamed the floozie in the jacuzzi, and fortunately on that evening they had taken all the water out!)

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

After much pushing I was pleased to hear that the hospital wanted to see Star for another CT scan. Not exactly the result I wanted, but an opportunity to get myself to the consultant and ask a few important questions. My plan was to attend the scan then make my way up to the consultants office and sit outside, all day if necessary, to get my questions answered.
So we arrived first thing this morning and were soon told that the consultant would be joining us for the scan. Whoo hoo, I had my opportunity to speak to him without making a nuisance of myself.
Of course he was very busy so we had to wait nearly an hour past our appointment time before…his assistant, turned up. The scan was detailed with Star having to go in twice in different positions. The second position was really uncomfortable for her and she ended up in tears.The consultants assistant then asked me if I was able to stay and join him up on the ward with the consultant so they could discuss with me what was going to happen next. Of course I wasn’t going to refuse.

It took another two hours but I eventually got my questions answered and a plan of action. Star is going back into hospital on Monday for a manipulation under a general anaesthetic. Now just in case you’ve not been following her story, the simplest way to put it is; the joint at the top of the spine has moved a little due to the top disc of her spine rotating and now Star’s neck is stuck in a ‘cock robin’ position.

excuse the tongue, she’s at that stage where every photo is accompanied by a tongue out or silly face.

Star normally wears a collar, day and night, to keep her neck up. It hasn’t really helped in keeping it straight although that was what it was intended for originally. However, keeping her neck up means she can eat, drink and breathe normally, things she was having problems with before she had the collar. The photo above shows her with the collar off for a short time. An hour or so later and her head would fall further and further towards her shoulder and that’s when the pain and problems occur.

Back to today – the consultant wants to manipulate the joint back to it’s proper position. This means her neck will be straight again and the pain will go away eventually, it’s bound to hurt for a while afterwards. Worst case scenarios are also there but I don’t want to think about them. Currently I’m stressing out about my little girl having a general anaesthetic, it’s not a good experience. 
All along I’ve been hoping we could get away with this but the none-invasive methods haven’t worked so I have to go with whatever will make my little girl well again. 
The consultant also said that she may need a halo collar. This is an over the shoulders collar that hold a ring, or halo, that is attached to the skull so that the neck does not move at all. I’m hoping that it doesn’t come to that, I’ve read all about them and I don’t think Star would be happy at all.
So for now I’m hoping and praying for the best possible outcome, that the manipulation works and my little girl is fixed at last. She could be well and ‘normal’ for Christmas.

Just one month to go until the big day, hopefully most shopping will be done by now. (ah who am I kidding, I’m only about half way there!) Now is the time that most  are looking towards the little stocking fillers. I have to admit, my littlies do have stocking but they only get sweets and pack of raisins in them. I might push the boat out though and give them a little toy in their stockings, especially when you can get them cheap enough. Kiddicare have a great range of stocking fillers for under £10 ( music to my ears!)

Kiddicare’s Top Ten stocking Fillers:

Cute Disney Minnie Rattle £5.99 a perfect little gift for baby a lovely soft rattle.

Buzzing Brains Rocking Rings £6.99 five colourful rings for ages 6 months plus.

Press and go Bunny £7.99 a cute little bunny with light up sounds and melodies

Buzzing Brains lights and sounds mini driver £7.99 every child loves to pretend to drive, this toy is for 12 months plus

Colour Changing Ducks £5.99 amazing bath ducks that change colour in the water, 18 months plus

Hape Little Pounder £8.75 classic wooden hammer and pegs

Lego Duplo Busy Farm £7.99 listen and build with this books and bricks set

Buzzing Brains my first shape puzzle £6.99 great for little hands

Buzzing Brains My first Piano £9.99 light and sound piano with lots of features 18 months plus

There are loads more on offer at Kiddicare for under £10, so go and fill your stockings and remember, up until 2nd December it’s 3 for 2 on Buzzing Brains, Sunny Safari and Woodland ranges.

Do you have a list of anything related to Christmas? Come and join our Christmas List Linky.

Every year I attend parents evening at the littlies school and every year I know exactly what to expect. This year however was a little different. First up, I had the Little Man’s first ever parents evening, plus the girls have just changed schools so things are very different for them.

The Little Man is now in nursery. He has attended pre-school before so he is comfortable in a school environment. He settled in quite well from the beginning, although he did keep asking for his old school and Margaret his carer there. However, just a few weeks in and he was fine. His nursery teacher is happy with his progress. He is the youngest in the class being an August baby, this means he is a little behind in some things, but she believes that starting school late (because of moving house) has more to do with this than his age. He plays well with the other children and is well behaved. So a good report there, well done Little Man.

Boo was very popular in her old school so I thought she would have difficulty settling in to a new school and making new friends. Her teacher (who is most definitely young enough to be my daughter) said that she settled almost straight away and has lots of friends. At her old school she struggled a little with her work but always tried hard even when it was difficult for her. Now she is not struggling so much and managing to keep up with the other children. She is very determined to get things right and works very hard. She strives on praise so if her work doesn’t get her praise she will try even more to get it right. Her teacher said she is well behaved, kind, caring, friendly and very well mannered. Well done Boo, I’m so proud of you.

Star’s story is a little different. She has found it harder to adjust to the change. At her old school they understood her needs and she had a fantastic support system in place. At her new school her teacher had only just found out about her autism. She had noticed that Star did not relate to the other children and preferred to be on her own, but she thought this was just because she was having difficulty adjusting to a new school. Star has never really had many friends. She is also falling behind in her work because of starting the term late and having so many hospital appointments for her neck. She still tries very hard though. In her old school she was on the ‘top table’ for all subjects but mathematics, now she is nearer the bottom of the class and has actually been moved down a class for math. They are starting to get her support back in place after liaising with her old school, and once she is more settled and her neck is sorted, I have no doubt that she will catch up again. She is a clever girl, she’s just suffered a lot of setbacks. Her teacher said she is well behaved, good mannered and works really hard when she puts her mind to it. I know Star has found the move and all the changes the most difficult to deal with so I’m really proud that she is able to behave at school and try her best.

I am currently a very proud mummy.

Ethans Escapades