Monday, 28 October 2013

The EPIC Florida Adventure - Day 1

So as I may have mentioned we have had an EPIC adventure to Florida planned....

It has felt like a long time coming but for us our trip couldn't have come any quicker....

And today was the day.... The day we set off on our EPIC Florida adventure.

Day 1:
So today came after the day after the night before, in which we may have been slightly drunk whilst wishing a very new, but dear, friend and soon to be wife all the best in their new Aussie Life. We had actually put off our flights to be there and I am so pleased we did. What a night but that's a different story so... Anyway....

Today was an early start but not as early as it could've been as we travelled up to Gatwick last night in order to miss the disastrously timed hurricane that was hitting the UK. You know the one that was hitting the exact same day we had planned to fly of on our big adventure.... How rude of it to mess us about like that.... Stupid hurricane. We decided we'd avoid the stress of messing around in traffic and missing our flight and be prepared.... And around the corner.... For any eventuality.

Waking up was hard, we had a wriggly baby in our bed and both were sleep deprived from drinking the night before, but we made it up and dressed and ready.

We drove the tiny distance to the long stay parking that we had booked and shuttled it across to our terminal. Simples

Storms have caused Delays to flights and public transport....
We'd expected a delay, of epic proportions I might add, so we'd prepared and packed for such events  but actually considering we had been hit by a storm of similar proportions, we had only a 15 minute delay and we hardly noticed it.


I'm really looking forward to a long flight with an 11yr old flying enthusiast and a 16mth old tornado of terror... Said nobody EVER

9 1/2 hours later...
A longer than usual flight from London to orlando, due to avoiding said
storm, and we are here. Both children remarkably well behaved and actually easily entertained. Rocky slept through the turbulence of lift off and then again when we landed.... Very helpful. Kyd stayed awake the entire time through pure excitement and made use of Virgin Atlantic's in flight entertainment... Which is epic in itself. Pure thanks goes out to the angels that are Virgin Atlantic, as they make flying with a disabled child
so so so easy and stress free. Angels I tell thee.

6pm Orlando time, 10pm UK time.
Kyd has been awake since 7am UK time, it is now 11pm orlando time.... 3am UK time.... He has just crashed.

We had to get the bags, then the hire car, get to the office where the keys to the villa were, drive to the villa, drop the bags off, go to Walmart to get Rocky some milk and bits, eat a much needed Subway whilst paying (because they have subways in Walmart... As you do) annnnd then drive back to the villa and collapse... Which we have successfully done.

Tomorrow we start the adventure properly... Seaworld here we come!!!!!!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Pride and Prejudice

Noooo I'm not reviewing the book, although I do love a bit of Mr Darcy.

Today was parents evening... should I say 'this evening was parents evening'... *shrugs* either way.

It was our first parents evening at Kyd's new special educational needs school. I am used to going along to these things at mainstream and them saying 'he needs to practice this and that and he needs to wear his hearing aids more.... blah blah blah'. Never anything bad just never really that insightful as we were always in contact anyway.

This was different. 

This felt very strange, I was scared almost.

I have always had this slight prejudice against SEN schools so moving him over from mainstream was a huge deal and only came about because of near future changes in medical needs. I always knew they serve their purpose and were perfect for some but I was very much a 'mainstream is the way forward' kind of gal.

I know that sounds stupid, how can you be prejudice against a way of schooling, but when your child has special needs you don't just have to battle the post code lottery of schooling places, it's the decision to push for mainstream or stick to a special needs school. Then finding a mainstream school suitable and trying to battle getting your child statemented, which is even harder than you'd ever dream of.... the whole thing is a trial and error based thing too, you don't know unless you try and if you don't you always wander 'what if?'.

I think my prejudice comes from the fact they are called 'Special Schools' I HATE the word 'Special' it really grates me. 

Controversially, I actually prefer the word different. Although 'Different Schools' doesn't have the same ring to it.... but he is different. He will always be different.... Just the same way WE are all different. I am not the same as you. You are not the same as me. We will never be the same as the next person... in the same way they will never be the same as their peers of the same disability..... are you still following?.... yes?... 

Well 'Special', to me and so many other parents of children with several disabilities agree... is bloody patronising. I think to start with when it took over from words more likely to offend, it was a great way of describing people with different abilities and disabilities but now... it is over used, comes with an odd sympathetic tone in peoples voices when said and screams Political Correctness to me as people are scared to use any other word in case they offend... *shakes head*

I am part of a new 'un PC' generation of parent. Not in a rude way, a discriminative way or even an ignorant way... just a way that means I am not offended by many words others might be. Depending on the way they are said that is. If nastiness is the sentiment behind a word and used in a vile way then, yes, I am the first to bitch slap the offender verbally down off their high horse and shove them on the naughty step. BUT if they are genuinely using a word out of ignorance of the meaning and in a completely different context then why would I be upset?... it is after all, just a word.... and if I'm not upset as a parent... why should you be on my behalf? 

I believe that the English language has changed over the course of my lifetime, words in which we used when I was Kyd's age are now slang for a completely different word. The meanings and feelings towards words are now completely different to the actual English Dictionary original meaning and when asked, most wouldn't be able to tell you the actual meaning to the word in the first place... if you get what I mean?! It is the same for many things not just words regarding SEN or words describing disabilities... just about everything has been taken over by random uses for quite normal words... which in turn is quite normal.

Anyway, when I was growing up, kids that went to 'Special Schools' went on the 'Sunshine Bus' and were mocked by the secondary school kids as they went passed, I, myself was guilty of this and the guilt about it haunts me everyday. 

Kids are cruel. They will always be cruel... that is what has scared me the most about the future since Kyd was born. 

When I placed him in a mainstream school I was adamant it would do more for the other children of the school in terms of educating them on Down Syndrome, as it would for Kyd to be there learning from them. Mainstream schools NEED to have SEN children at their schools to help battle ignorance to SEN children from an early age. I would hope that the kids that went to Kyd's 3 different mainstream schools will now think of Kyd when they see an SEN adult or child and remember all they learnt when playing with him in the playground, learning with him in the classroom and talking to him in the street.... 

That, right there, makes me proud.

What also makes me proud is that when discussing his BIG MOVE with his new teacher she said they were all so proud of him too. He has settled so well into the new routine and where he could have potentially buckled under the pressure of the change, he has leaped into his new school life and is now a huge part of the school... and we are only 4 or 5 weeks in. She said she is amazed by his abilities and that his handwriting was the best in the class...... Thank You Mrs Goddard, from George Palmer School, for all your endless work with him on his letter forming, handwriting and reading, it has paid off and he is now soaring ahead. You should be proud of yourself too, teachers like you don't come about that often and we are really lucky that you were there for Kyd when you were... and he misses you lots too.

Whilst we were in the parents evening the kids were allowed to use the sensory room as a creche. They had staff members in there to look after, not only the pupils, but the siblings too. As we walked in and were told they could go in there, Kyd held Rocky's hand and as he showed him to the sensory room he said...

'come on baby, this is MY school, you'll like it here...' 

and as I walked away I had a lump in my throat, from that moment I knew that this meeting was going to go well, I always knew he would make me proud wherever he was...

Because he is different....

But in a better way than you or me.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

What Buggy Should We Take On Holiday?

I have come to the conclusion that going on holiday with a toddler can be a right old polava. I'd not really thought about it until I read a post asking for some advice from other bloggers about the whole thing and was overwhelmed by the things I'd not thought of.

One main point I picked up on... BUGGIES...

'You could really do with a light weight, small folding buggy, for ease. Make sure it is comfy though if baby still naps and easy to fold and unfold so anyone can do it. ALSO don't forget to check with the airline about their policies on buggies, some may charge and some may add the weight in as part of your luggage allowance or make you pay a premium' I read....

I started to panic

This is madness. I'd not thought about the buggy weight. Kyd takes his disability buggy but that is classed as a wheelchair and so I've never had to think about it. Arrrggghhhhhh

OK so I went and looked it up. Here is what Virgin Atlantic (who we are flying with) say about buggies...

Pushchairs and car seats

When travelling with children or infants, you’re welcome to bring one fully collapsible pushchair and a car seat, in addition to your free checked baggage allowance. Note that these will fly in the aircraft’s hold, rather than the cabin. 

See that isn't as worrying as I thought.... *phew*

Although our Joolz is amazing... it isn't small or light weight... it does fully collapse but is heavy and quite big compared to a stroller...

I asked the bloggers who had given me a hint about buggies and flights and they came up with a whole load of amazing, small but comfy, pushchairs I could look at. Donna at Little Lily Pad co had a competition on her blog to win a BabyZen YoYo so I entered... I didn't win dammit! BUT reading the post and the anticipation of waiting to hear if I'd won made me want one.

When I googled BabyZen YoYo I found this video. It shows just how quick and easy the buggy folds, take a look...

I have seen these at the baby show before so I knew a few bits about them and I've had a play. I wasn't too shocked when I read how brilliant they were for holidays.

Here are the BabyZen YoYo Key Features:

  • Most compact buggy ever (52 x 44 x 18 cm when folded) and first buggy in the world to fully comply with size recommendation for cabin baggage. 
  •  Featherweight (only 5.8 kg); comes with a shoulder strap

  • 4-wheel suspension 
  •  Exclusive "soft-drive" system: no need to lock the front swivel wheel, even on rough terrain.
  •  Folding, unfolding and driving, all one-handed

  • Reclinable backrest, removable and washable fabrics

  • Suitable from 6 months up to 15k
  •  5 colours
  • Price: £309 (to find out where to buy a YoYo press HERE)
  •  Find out more here at

I got a little buggy envy after watching that video and wanted to play with one of these bad boys properly. So (some might know that being a blogger has it's perks) I contacted the PR for BabyZen and asked if I could test it out in Florida... they said YES Wuhooooo.... It will only be a loan but I intend to write a full write up on it and give it a full work out around the parks of Orlando. I'm hoping it isn't Pink though as I'm pretty sure Rocky won't be too pleased with that... or should I say Daddy wouldn't be... I however, would love it, I have always wanted a girl hahahaha (sorry to the 18yr old Rocky reading this).

I am so Looking forward to testing this out in Florida in a few weeks time...

Stay Tuned for more updates

I was not paid by BabyZen for writing this post but I did receive one of their products to use on loan in return for my honest review of their product.
 All the content from this post is written in my own words (apart from the quote from Virgin Atlantic and their website) Click here for more information on my disclosure policy