My Little Zebra

You may have notice a new tab at the top of my blog with says My Little Zebra, this is where I am now going to keep my posts about Star and her progress and problems.
Currently I am trying to get a proper diagnosis for her, she has already been diagnosed as having high functioning autism and hypermobility syndrome, but I want further investigation into the hypermobility syndrome in a vain hope that she will get better treatment in the future.
Earlier this year at the beginning of the school holidays, Star woke up with, what is effectively, a slipped disc in her neck. At this moment in time she still has that slipped disc and all the physiotherapy she has been given has strengthened her neck so she can hold this twisted position without so much pain. No treatment she has been given has actually improved the position of her neck and I’m beginning to believe that it may be permanent. The medical slang for someone with a rare or obscure medial condition is a Zebra. Medical students are sometimes taught ‘when you hear hoof beats, think horses not zebras’ In other words, always look for the obvious problem rather than the unusual. In many ways this is a good thing, but not when it gets to the point where people are forgetting what zebras look like, or even the fact that they exist. I believe that Star has Elhers Danlos Syndrome (or Hypermobility Syndrome type III) and this is considered a rare zebra condition.

The past few months have been difficult for the whole family but even more so for Star. First she had to leave a school where she was progressing well. She had lots of help in place and I had a good relationship with the school and we worked together. It was sad that she had to leave but we really had no choice. Then she had her neck problem, the hospital still insist she must have fallen or injured it somehow, they won’t accept that it happened while she was sleeping. Most of the school summer holiday was spent in hospital or visiting hospital. We barely had time for anything else. Although we did manage a couple of days away in Blackpool.
Then we moved house. That was traumatic for all of us, I had lived in our old house for twenty four years. We left behind family and friends and although we didn’t move very far, it’s not the same being on the same street.

in hospital

Next up was a new school. I’d had real problems finding a school for the littlies because there were no places for all of them at any one school and I didn’t really want them separated. Also the school holidays hampered my looking and contacting schools, especially as the Local Education Authority in our area had recently handed back the school admissions back to the schools rather than taking applications themselves. By a stroke of luck I managed to find a school that had just take on a new teachers so they could have another year two class and the girls where accepted. This meant no planning, no visits, no preparing. Just one morning to say hello to the teachers and tour the school and then BAM back to school after nine weeks off. Of course, Star is still visiting the hospital twice a week so that has been another thing to contend with, as well as still having to wear a collar.

back to school, finally

So now we are currently seeing a severe regression in Stars behaviour. She’s not sleeping again, she’s having tantrums, being miserable and refusing to go to school. She has lost all control over her emotions and is constantly breaking down. I am hoping that this is just a temporary back step, only time will tell. It’s half term this week but my plan is to go into the school when they return and see what I can do to make school life more easy for her and make sure she has everything she needs in place.

However, despite this being a fairly negative post I still have to think of all the positive things we have achieved. We had a lovely new home for one, after being cramped up in a tiny house for so long it’s like a dream come true having somewhere big enough for all of us. Also, I did manage to find a school where they could all attend together, I really thought for a while that they would be split and I would be working out how to be in two different places at the same time every morning and afternoon. Finally, despite everything, Star has made a new friend. She doesn’t make friends easily, but she has really clicked with a little lad who lives in our street and goes to the same school. They walk to school together and really enjoy each other’s company. That’s a big achievement for Star, a little shining light amongst all this stress.

Ethans Escapades

I Wish I’d Looked After Me Teeth!

Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth,
And spotted the dangers beneath
All the toffees I chewed,
And the sweet sticky food.
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me teeth.

My mother, she told me no end,
‘If you got a tooth, you got a friend.’
I was young then, and careless,
My toothbrush was hairless,
I never had much time to spend.

Oh I showed them the toothpaste all right,
I flashed it about late at night,
But up-and-down brushin’
And pokin’ and fussin’
Didn’t seem worth the time – I could bite!

Exctract from Oh I Wished I’d looked after me teeth by Pam Ayers.
Taken from the The Works: The Classic Collection 2008.

When I was a child I remember watching Opportunity Knocks with my mum when Pam Ayres came on and recited her poem, Oh, I Wish I’d Looked After Me Teeth. Even back then I hated my teeth, and I hated my mum’s teeth even more because she didn’t have any. She was brought up during the war when toothpaste was rare and gum disease abundant. If you were unfortunate to suffer gum disease then your teeth were taken out and you were given false ones. This happened to mum when she was only nineteen years old!
I wasn’t happy with my teeth because they were crooked, but not crooked enough for a brace, and the enamel was already damaged. Mum said it was because of all the Penicillin I’d taken for my constant ear and throat infections. In those days it was not sugar free. As I grew up I hated showing my teeth and rarely smiled properly for photos.  I tried all sorts to get them looking whiter, even bleaching with a home kit, but nothing worked. Then one day, my dentist, the lovely Gino, asked me if I’d like him to ‘do something’ to make my teeth nicer. I said yes, of course, and wondered why I hadn’t been asked this before at the dentist? A few weeks later all my front teeth were covered with veneers, they were made to look straighter and for the first time ever I was happy to see my own smile. 
Nearly ten years later and I’ve had most of my five veneers replaced at least once, and two of them have been replaced with full crowns. I’m still fairly happy to smile. 
Sadly, my gums have suffered too. I’ve had five children and although I managed the first two unscathed, the other three caused me gum problems during pregnancy and I have lost two of my back teeth. 
So I’m not a perfect example of how your teeth should be, I’ve had plenty of problems and my nicer teeth are ‘fake’
The advice I give my children is to clean their teeth regularly, visit the dentist regularly and report any bleeding or sore  gums. We usually have around four or five tubes of toothpaste in our house so there is something to suit everyone because even in the same family our teeth are not the same. 
To make teeth cleaning fun for the littlies we have a little song we brush to, it goes to the tune of the Okey Cokey.

Put your toothbrush in, your toothbrush out
In out, in out, brush it all about
First you do the front and then you do the sides
Then spit the toothpaste out.

We sing it twice, once with toothpaste, once with water.

I have been trying out Oral B Pro-Expert Premium Gum Protection toothpaste for the last couple of weeks. I do still occasionally have problems with my gums so anything that can help prevent that is welcome. I like the taste of Oral B Pro-Expert Premium Gum Protection, it is not too strong, just a mild minty flavour, it leaves a tingly fresh feeling in your mouth. For adults and Children over 12 years it claims to prevent and reduce gum problems in just four weeks of regular use. 
This post is an entry for Britmums  #ORALBLoveYourGums Challenge sponsored by Oral B, promoting healthy gums – something especially important for pregnant women. Get tips and advice on www.oralb-loveyourgums.com 
All thoughts and opinions are my own, and so are (most of) my teeth.

Halloween Craft and Story Time

The Little Man has settled well into his nursery, he’s had a few teething problems getting on with the other children but nothing too bad, he seems to have made friends anyway. Today I joined him for the last hour before he broke up for half term. We did some crafts together, we decorated an orange (like a scary pumpkin) and made some spider cupcakes as well as some cutting and sticking activities. Afterwards we were stuffed with lots of sweet sugary things and E numbers before being allowed home for the afternoon. I thought he would be all hyped up, but quite the opposite, he’s currently snoring his little head off here next to me.

The Little Man’s Halloween crafts (no cupcake, he ate it!)

Yesterday while in the bath he told me that he had heard the story of Snow White in nursery. So I asked him who Snow White lived with and he replied ‘her daddy’ mmmm I thought, so I asked him ‘what about the seven dwarfs’? He replied, ‘they huffed and they puffed and they blowed the house down’

I’m thinking he may have got his stories a little mixed up!

Wot So Funee?

Soft Play, Free Fun from Bassetts Soft and Chewy Vitamins

Today I took the Little Man along with a couple of friends to soft play. My friend commented that there was nothing like soft play around when we were young and she’s right, that got me thinking how about how excited I would have been as a child. Of course, these days I have to help Little Man climb around, and go down the bigger slides with him, it’s a tough life but someone has to do it. (No, honestly, it’s tough, I was shattered at the end of it!)
For me, soft play means giving the children an opportunity to get some exercise and have fun while being indoors. Great for winter days out. It’s also a chance for me to catch up with friends while our children have fun. If I’m honest though, I prefer soft play centres when they are quiet and full of younger rather than older children. The older children do tend to go a little crazy, and sometimes the noise levels are astounding. All my children love soft play, although the Little Man is only just getting to grips with climbing. Star sometimes gets worked up if there are too many children or it’s too noisy, but mostly she just joins in and enjoys herself.

Here are some photos of today’s venture, although not very good as it’s difficult to take decent pics of children rushing around especially on your phone.

Our soft play session today was paid for by the vouchers you can collect with Bassetts Soft and Chewy Vitamins. A recent survey by Bassetts showed that 71% of mums in the Uk enjoy treating their children to a soft play day because it is guaranteed high-energy entertainment that can be enjoyed whatever the weather.*

Bassetts Soft and Chewy Vitamins come in a range of flavours for children to take one-a-day to support a healthy lifestyle. We tried out the orange and strawberry flavours and the children liked the flavours and the chewy texture.

Each packet of Bassetts Soft and Chewy Vitamins comes with a Free Soft Play Sticker. By going online to https://www.bassettsvitaminssoftplay.co.uk/ you can enter the code and print off a voucher. You then need to stick the sticker off the pack onto the voucher and then take it along to your soft play centre of choice. With half term coming up it will be a great way of entertaining your child for free.

I received two packs of Bassetts Soft and Chewy Vitamins to try along with the free soft play stickers. All thoughts and opinions are my own apart from the survey statistics.

*Bassetts Soft and Chewy Vitamins research study of 1,000 mums of 4-10 year old children carried out between 25/06/13-27/06/13

Please Note: Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied diet and healthy lifestyle.

Andy and Mike’s Tick Tock Time Machine

On Saturday we were lucky enough to go and see Andy and Mike’s Tick Tock Time Machine at Solihull Arts Complex. The littlies were really excited as they are already a big fan of Andy and Andy’s Wild Adventures on CBeebies.

Tick Tock Time Machine
The Stage

Waiting for the show

Right from the start the littlies were captivated, joining in with everything and having a real good time. Even the Little Man sat in his seat for the first half which is good going for him as he can’t seem to sit still for a full episode of Peppa Pig lately. He became a little restless in the second half but for a hyper active three year old I think he was pretty well entertained.

So we all knew Andy (The tall one with lots of hair) from CBeebies, but this was our first time meeting Mike and I’m so glad we did. He was really funny and energetic (and a bit sweaty) and he and Andy make a great team. They really are BFF (whatever that means, I’m trying to appeal to a younger audience here)
The show, which is totally interactive from beginning to end, takes you on a journey through time including the wild west and medieval times and ending up in the future, where Strictly Come Dancing is still going. 
Although it is a two man show, you do get to meet a lot of other characters thanks to the incredible shrinking machine and a little help from the audience. 
The audience get to join along with clapping, singing and dancing all the way through. But beware of the things they teach your children, the Babybel dance was a big favourite along with the very noisy version of Rock, Paper Scissors. At least we know now how to win every time, if you want to find out how you’ll have to watch the show. 
The humour is great for kids and adults alike, no-one is left out, and the way Andy and Mike tease each other throughout is bound to cause a giggle or two. You’ll definitely leave with a smile on your face. 
The show is now touring until 3rd November and then continues 15th February 2014 until 9th March. For a full list of venues and dates please visit Andy and Mike’s website
Andy and Mikes
Visiting Medieval Times and Sir Posealot
After the show we got to meet Andy and Mike which was a real nice touch. They signed pictures for the littlies and posed for photo’s.
Andy and Mike
happy smiley children
When I told Andy that a couple of weeks before I’d had my photo taken with Dr Ranj (CBeebies, Get Well Soon) he jumped up to have a photo with me. The lovely Mike kindly took a couple of pics for me. (Thanks Mike)

no knee bending involved

They have a great competition over on their Facebook page where you can win a mega Lego Duplo prize just for uploading a photo of you with Andy and Mike’s cardboard cutout and telling them where you’d like to travel back in time. I think we would like to go back to Saturday and watch the show again.

Visit Andy and Mike’s Tick Tock Time Machine website and watch a preview video as well as finding out tour dates and where you can meet Andy and Mike in shopping centres around the country.
Follow Andy and Mike on Facebook and Twitter for all their latest news.

It would be lovely to see Mike on CBeebies too, and there is currently a Facebook page in support of this. I will be contacted CBeebies to say how much my children would like to see him on TV too. It would be fantastic if Andy and Mike’s shows were aired as well.

Also, Andy and Mike are supporting the Lullaby Trust in memory of Matilda Mae. The Lullaby Trust provides specialist support for bereaved families and promotes expert advice on safer sleep, working to raise money for research into SIDS. You can make a donation online at www.justgiving.com/TickTockTimeMachine
or you can make a donation of £3 by texting Tock13 to 70070
or even better, go and see Andy and Mike’s Tick Tock Time machine and make a donation there!

We received tickets to see the show for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own. So is the photo of me and Andy which I am framing for my bedside table 😉 (ah I have a mummy crush!)


A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

Some people only write reviews when things go wrong with products, which is good because it lets people know that there could be potential problems. I’ve also seen negative feedback with say things like, I had to return this item because the colour did not suit me…is this useful?

I write reviews on most items I buy because I like to give genuine feedback. If I have a genuine problem with a product I will write my review in the appropriate place.

I write reviews on my blog too, but they are mostly positive. Why? Because I only write reviews for the things I’ve loved. If I don’t love them I let the person who sent me them know with details why and then let them decided if they would rather me write a negative review or not write one at all. It’s always the latter.

This is my blog, my place and I’ll let you know about the things I love. If you want to find out what other people have hated about the product then you will need to look elsewhere.

My reviews may all be positive, but they are still genuine.