Thursday, 22 August 2013

#LDWeek13 - Our Superhero, Our Kyd


This week is Learning Disability Week and unlike Katie 'Media Whore' Hopkins I think it is a bloody important thing to celebrate and share.

Learning disabilities come in all shapes and sizes and some aren't seen as 'serious' or 'real' in some people's eyes, which is a real shame in this day and age.... this week celebrates all of the people who deal or cope with, teach, diagnose, help and understand all the different types of learning disabilities, whether it be helping a child/adult with them or showing faith and confidence in yourself to achieve all that you can whilst having them... you are all superheroes to me.

Learning Disability Week is an annual awareness-raising campaign organised by Mencap. This year it is taking place from 19-25 August 2013 and will celebrate people with a learning disability, their families and supporters by asking the question; who is your real-life superhero?

So here goes...

My Real Life Superhero

It has to be...

Our Kyd....
He changed my life, like the Spider who bit Spiderman.
He made me see things differently, like Superman sees through walls.
He taught me to love, like Spotty loves SuperTed.
He taught me to see, like he was The Human Torch.
He is a fighter, like Flash Gordon.
He is as strong as Iron Man but as vulnerable as Clark Kent.
He taught me to speak my mind, like Captain America.
He taught me to smile, like The Joker (I know he's the villain but you know).
He amazes me everyday, like watching The Silver Surfer fly through the sky.
He changes all the time, like the Hulk... no, really, it's quite scary.
His force is strong in the world like Thing.
AND...
He eats more than Bananaman.
He is MY superhero.
He is MY Batman... & Rocky is his Robin.

A little obvious, yes, but for me his strength, determination and pride in himself teaches so many, so much, that he screams SUPERHERO to me.

He conquers every task life throws at him and in fact he has a better life than most for doing so.
Life changed for me on 28/09/2002 and much to people's surprise when they heard the news, it changed for the better. It took me a while to see that. The shock and pain actually drifts through my mind still now, mainly when I see him struggling with pain and fighting with something he's struggling to do, it hurts my insides to think I can't help him sometimes. 
So I have to remind myself this...

I CAN...
I can be there to push him forward when he needs it. 
Cuddle him when he can't take the pain anymore.
Wipe his tears when it gets too much.
Share his laughter when he starts to feel better.
Join him in his celebrations when he succeeds in a task.
Love him when he feels the world on his shoulders...

I can be his Sidekick forever...
Well until he gets older and tells me I'm embarrassing and to get the pants off my head and sod off that is...

But until then... just call me... 
ummmm..... What can I be....
I like Cats...
Damn It... Cat Woman is taken!!
Ummmm OK I can't think of my Sidekick name
I'll leave that for your imagination!



 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Dear So and So - Rude People's Opinions on Buses

Dear The rather rude Old Lady on the no.24 bus,

I fully saw that you and 2 other people were sat at the bus stop before I pulled up with my Joolz buggy and a rather happy Kyd eating his McDonalds.

I am fully aware that in this country Queuing is indeed a highly thought about tradition of which we all like to do at any given opportunity. Yet, and I apologise as I bow my British born and bred head, sometimes when you are at a bus stop with a buggy there is only a small amount of room to stand and manoeuvre whilst the bus stop gets ever busier. So when the bus pulls up and the doors open right in front of you, with eagerly awaiting bus passengers at either side and behind, you have nowhere to go but straight on the bus. 

Sorry about that.

On top of that, as I went to wave you on, in front of my buggy, in the 2cm gap that I had to wiggle a path to create, the bus driver said 'Let the Buggy on first so she has room to get on', meaning when I went to got on I was only following orders from the man in charge.... not my fault.

SO, when you placed your open toed Jesus sandaled foot underneath my large back wheel to prevent me from getting on in front of you, the queen of queuing, it was indeed rolled over, weight of baby and bags and all. 

I did instantly apologise, even though I noticed you purposely place your toes there, as I'm actually quite polite you know. Only for you to scowl at me as you watch my disabled son and myself, buggy and all, board the bus. Not only did we receive a scowl for doing as we were told but then you have the nerve to say to the driver...

'Have you both never heard of queuing, it is disgusting that you let her on with that first'... 

Now, I am assuming by 'That' you meant the pushchair, as if for the life of me I thought you meant Kyd, I'd have gone all Mother Bear on your ass and have beaten you down (verbally of course) for discrimination. 

The bus driver responded to you by saying that it made sense to let the buggy get on first as then it wasn't blocking other people's way, yet still you scowl and mutter some vile spiel under your breath about queuing and us being disgusting as you walk to your seat. 

I held my breath for a few seconds but as I released it these words flew out of my mouth...

'sorry were you talking to me then? because I think you'll find that I was doing what I was told to and if you look around it isn't as if you were not going to get a seat the bus was empty when it arrived!' 

No response, just a head bowed down, with a nasty glance my way.

Hurrrrrah I win... 

or so I thought....

*Minutes later*

Whilst I sat, minding my own business playing with my rather smiley baby and talking to my son about where we were going, I saw you glance my way. You caught my eye and I stopped playing with my kids for a brief second. 

Then I heard you say this to the bemused lady sat next to you... Which I don't even think you even knew...

'Young parents are so horrid, they spend their time shopping and not parenting their children. They only have them to get a house and they don't even stay with the father. They don't bother working to support them. I think if they knew what real life was about then they'd not have children until they were old enough to know better and actually take care of them. The types that do have them young just have no manners and obviously don't care.'

Right, so as I sat opened mouthed, aged 27, with my nearly 11 year old and 1 year old sat close by, I knew you were aiming that vile bit of spiel at me. The lady sat next to you looked straight at me with a look of horror in her eyes as I stared straight at you whilst you finished your vicious attack on a subject you obviously have no understanding of.

I tried to stay stum and again I held my breath... 

But again, the words just sort of fell out of my mouth as I exhaled and the rage was only held back by the fact I was sat with my children. Although I actually said it rather calmly albeit in a sarcastic manner.

'Excuse me, I couldn't help over hearing that, were you talking about me? Because I think you'll find that I am in fact married *points at wedding ring*, I OWN my own house and I have no problem taking care of my children, as you can see. Oh and I work from home, so that I can spend as much time as possible with them and don't dump them in a nursery so I can have the best of both worlds. Oh and that is on top of the hospital appointments, illness', operations and general problems of my disabled child *looks at Kyd* that I also have to work my ever so selfish shopping life around. I think you'll find that it is in fact judgemental people like you and your vile opinions and ways that need to change, not 'young' mothers like me.'

If you remember, this was followed by pure silence, a smile from the lady next to you, aimed at me not you, and a knowing nod from another younger looking mum with her 2 children at the back of the bus.

You actually went quite pale. Like a ghost. Like you actually knew that you were in the wrong. Disturbed that someone had called you out on your vicious tongue.

Yet I received no apology or even an apologetic glance, you just looked at the floor like a child who'd been caught with a hand in the cookie jar. 

If I had responded verbally the same way my brain was telling me to, you could have accused me of being aggressive or even confrontational. But instead I smiled as I slapped you verbally with the truth and I calmly told you where to stick it without even a hint of the swearing or chavvy behaviour you were so obviously expecting.

If this hasn't taught you a lesson then I pity you. Even at your time of life you can change your ways, especially when you get so publicly humiliated by the very person you were trying to place on the floor and walk over with your poorly chosen footwear.

Shame on you and your bitter tongue. 

Next time try thinking it, not saying it out loud for you to be publicly and quite amusingly bitch slapped by what you class as the 'lower class'.

Best Wishes


The not so young girl with the 2 children sat minding her own business on the no.24 bus.



P.S. I am so sorry I ran over your foot again on the way off the bus, but there is not much room to move the pushchair around when the bus is full, other people's feet just seem to jump in the way.... funny that!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Kyd's 1stFone - For Emergency's and Beyond


So we recently had the pleasure of speaking with the clever folks at 1stFone, a mobile phone that connects your child with the most important people in their life – and that’s it. No games, No internet, No accidentally calling the doctors, their nan or the neighbour 2 doors down. Just the names and numbers stored on separate, simple, easy to read buttons.

It is literally as simple as that.

I know, I know...

A phone??? He's only 10...

But I read up on it, spoke to people about the concept, then decided that as a mother of a disabled child, it was probably the best emergency, safety, yet fun idea I've come across in ages and that was actually the general thoughts of all I spoke to. Not only from SEN parents but from parents in general.



Buying a phone for a child of primary school is frowned upon. It makes them a target for street crime, if it's a smart phone it makes them vulnerable to online idiots and has recently been in the news that Smart Phones have been the main cause of suicide over online bullying in the past decade. 

No parent wants that.

Every parent though, wants their kids to be safe and being able to have contact with them helps us know that in an emergency or when out and about if they get lost, they can reach us.... It is such a hard task to pick between the pro's and con's of your child having a mobile phone as a parent and it is one we all have to come across eventually as they get older.

For parents of children with SEN, this is a harder task. Our children are vulnerable and having a phone would both benefit and hinder their lives in my opinion. Whilst I like to think the best of people, I know that there are some idiots out there that would prey on our children and take a smart phone right out of their hands and they wouldn't do anything about it because they'd think they couldn't. Kyd would probably just hand it over to someone if they asked to see it and off they'd go phone in and all, leaving Kyd phoneless and upset. Then there's the internet... Don't get me started on that.

This upsets me. I hate the idea of having to hold back on getting a phone for their own safety just because of other people's actions.

Anyway this is for me  
The pro's of our Kyd and other SEN kids having a 1stFone.
  • For the parents of 'Runners', this would mean you could contact them if they run off. 
  • For the parents of kids with 'Speech and Language' issues, where only you can understand them and where anyone who found them couldn't get a sentence out of them, it would help them calm them down and find you.
  • For the parents who have 'Respite Care' or overnight stays away from home, this would give them contact with you if they become distressed, making a hard situation much easier.
  • For the parents whose children have long trips with 'School Transport' and get upset leaving home. Easy and simple way of calming a situation.
  • For the parents of children with 'Anxiety Problems' this is a comfort for both you and them.
  • For parents of children with 'Health Issues' stay in contact in case of emergency and have access to 999 at all times.
  • For parents of children who have 'Problems at School' teachers can help your child get in contact with you at the touch of a button and in the comfort of their space, wherever that may be, rather than the school office.
  • For parents of children who have 'Long Stays in Hospital', keep in touch on those trips home to get freshened up and the rest of the family and friends get to keep in touch too.
 In general for ALL children SEN or not...
  • For kids with parents who are separated, keep in contact with them and them with you, without contact with the ex... always a bonus.
  • For kids who have grandparents and family members who live far away let them stay in contact for those special moments where only Grandad will understand.
  • For parents who take their kids to big events like Festivals, Theme Parks, Football matches, UK holidays and so on.
Perfect for us I thought.
So we went over to the 1stFone website and looked into it more. 

What We Thought
 Kyd had loads of fun designing his phone it was amazing. They even do Photo buttons now which instead of the names of the people they call it's their faces. Perfect for children who struggle to read. 
Picking the names of who he had on it - We picked the people closer to home so if he got lost in town he could ring the people who could get him. We also had Nanny & Grumps on their as he loves them and they are so far away he can now reach them when he wants to. We clicked yes on the 999 button as he knows only to use it in an emergency. I think this should only be used for children who know the difference between what calling 999 means as it can get them into trouble otherwise.
He was even more excited when it turned up and he instantly phoned Grumps and Nanny and found it really easy to use. The fact it comes fully charged also really helped as he was straight on it and charging it would have been a nightmare trying to explain he couldn't play for ages.
We have used it loads since getting it.
Trips to town
Football
Respite
Thorpe Park
We have really put it to the test. It has been lovely as I found it quite relaxing knowing he had it. Plus when my phone died at the end of the day at Thorpe Park I had that to call Hoff on... hahahaha.

More about the actual phone...
This is the info they have on their website. I thought it summed it perfectly so that I couldn't write it any better so thought I'd just quote them. Here is what they say.

Made for you
• It's fun and easy to design your 1stFone on this website.
• Design it with your child or create a style for them.
• When you're happy with your design, we make it for you.
Your 1stFone is delivered ready to use in a few days time.
Personalised
The 1stFone comes in a wide range of colours and styles.
You can have two, four, eight or twelve Name buttons.
For ease of use, the buttons get bigger the fewer you have.
Small and light
1stFone is credit card sized and only 7mm thick.
It’s extremely lightweight at only 40 grams.
Wear it around the neck or tuck it in a small pocket.
Easy to use
• 1stFone arrives ready-to-use straight out of the box.
Simply press a Name button to make a call.
Press the Answer button to receive a call.
Long life
Use 1stFone regularly and charge every few days or put it in
   shut down mode and the battery will last up to one year.

Safe
1stFone will only call your telephone numbers, so it
   has very little value to anyone else.
Secure
Your phone numbers are not stored in the 1stFone.
They're stored in a secure computer server, so if your
    1stFone is lost or stolen your numbers are protected.

Good value
• A personalised 1stFone handset is available from £55.
OwnFone is the only made-to-order handset in the world.
OwnFone is available on a range of affordable price plans.
Flexible ways to pay
Choose from Pay As You Go or Pay Monthly price plans.
You can also pay for 6 or 12 months of airtime up front at a    
   discounted price.

Find out more about 1stFone on their website HERE
Facebook HERE
Twitter HERE


So what do you think? 
Good idea or crazy times having phones for kids? I'd love to find out what you think so please let me know below.
I think we as a family are very relieved that we have now got an amazing new asset to our days out.
Love It...

 I was not paid by 1stfone for writing this post but I did receive one of their products to use and keep 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 their website) Click here for more information on my disclosure policy

MPSC - A day at THORPE PARK - Tick!!


Yesterday we took our first trip since starting The Merlin Pass Summer Challenge and today I'm struggling to walk.... damn my DVT damaged leg.... anyway despite the fact I now have a swollen leg, that didn't stop us soaking up the Thrills at THORPE PARK.

After following my own advice and prepping for the trip, we all had fun, 3 adults, 2 kids and a baby. Kyd had his mate Flash, aged 12, with him who hadn't done any of the big rides there before... Much to Kyd's amusement and pure glee as Flash screamed his way round Saw and Swarm... the boy is an evil speed demon. Luckily the boy Flash is made of stern stuff and managed to survive the day in tact, even after stating just as he got on Saw that we were all going to die, he seemed quite pleased that we didn't just so that we could go on other rides. Flash amused us all with his little insights into his world lots that day, which made the day that little bit more funny. 

My favourite Flash Quote of the day was:
'Mum, Mum, I need to take my watch off it might electrocute me if it gets wet on the Tidal Wave...' 

He looked so serious when he said it too hahaha.

Anyway here is the photo's from the day

Enjoy!!



I started this challenge so that we made the most of our Merlin Annual Pass 2013 which we purchased in May. Yesterday just showed me the reason why we bought it all over again... The huge smiles you get for a full day of fun. Which is why Flash and his Mum took advantage of the Ticket Offer THORPE PARK had on which meant she could upgrade to an ANNUAL TICKET with the ticket she had bought for the day for only £18. What a billy bargain that was as they are usually £70+ when bought new.

We are planning on going back for Sun SCREAM
which returns to THORPE PARK between 23/08/13 - 01/09/13, thrill seekers of all ages can enjoy 10 days – including TWO weekends – of FREE family fun extras, including daytime silent discos, adrenaline-fuelled stunts, plus freestyle hip-hop and beatbox performances and workshops. We might even crash in The Crash Pad where families can now stay. Kyd was bugging me yesterday to stay at The Crash Pad, and` why not when you get TWO days of Park tickets included in the price of an overnight stay, prices start from £44.50pp and actually when you think about it that isn't too bad. 

Right well... where to next on the MPSC 2013...
Stay Tuned Folks


 **I wasn't paid for this post or for The Merlin Pass Summer Challenge we are doing this year and we paid full price for our Merlin Pass in May 2013. I am doing this challenge off our own back because we are a Thrill Seeking Family who love a bit of fun.... so nerrrrrr.... *smirks with a wink* **

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

MPSC - THORPE PARK - The Preparation & Ticket Deals

The Merlin Pass Summer Challenge 2013
Annnnnnd so it begins... 
Tomorrow we head to THORPE PARK... Again.
We absolutely LOVED IT last time and so this time we have a few extras coming with us. Kyd's friend Flash has decided to take up the challenge of The BIG Rides with his mum too and so we should have loads of funny photos to follow in tomorrows 'What we thought' post.

So here is my...

How to prepare for a day at THORPE PARK 
*order may vary*...

Search the internet for Ticket Deals... 
(see below for deals on now) 
That's if you don't have a Merlin Pass like us, then it's DON'T FORGET YOUR MERLIN PASS POUCH.
Find your Refillable Drink Bottle... 
That is if you've bought one already, if not you should buy one there. They are a one off purchase that Merlin Pass holders can then take to other Merlin Parks and get free refills Over and Over again... It pays for itself in the first day and is a must have.
Pack a change of clothes...  
For all the family. You WILL end up on the Tidal Wave no matter how much you protest, the kids love to see you drenched.
Pack a few snacks/full lunch... 
I always pack snacks in a bag for everyone, it is hungry work going around that park and snacks can get quite expensive whilst there. I often pack sandwiches for lunch too, but take the weather in to account, if it's hot some things will spoil. You will no doubt get bugged for food there anyway, so add extra funds into your budget just in case. 
Find your Family & Friends Rail Card/Look up parking... 
If you have a F&F rail card this can cut down the cost of your train journey by a huge amount. If you don't and you are planning on going places this summer, I suggest you buy one. You can add an extra adult on too so think about sharing the cost with a friend and then you both get to use it... *I'm a genius*. Parking can be a nightmare anywhere so check online where you need to go etc and it saves the stress on the day.
Look Up Train Times...  
Obvious really, but if you want to get there for opening doors then you'll need to catch the right train to Staines. There is a bus that goes between the train station and the park that goes every 15mins in peak season... EASY. *REMEMBER* Peak times apply on week days so trains after 9.30am are cheaper.
Sort out what you need the night before... 
Sounds uber organised but when you have Hyper children to deal with in the morning, having everything set out and ready means you just have to get dressed and go, no arguing over what to wear and missing your train.
*For disabled Thrill Seekers*
Don't forget that you get disabled access, a carer in for free and queue jump passes. To collect the carer pass ask any member of the staff at the admissions desk or go to the Annual Pass hut. For Queue jump you should go to Customer Services (under the dome) and present them with a letter from your GP stating why you need queue jump *note it needs to be a different letter than the DLA one you need for carer access*... I know that getting a GP letter is a ball ache, I've been in touch with TP and stated as much, a DLA letter should be enough to cover it, GP's have enough to be getting on with without stating the obvious on a letter for us, but hey ho until it changes there you go.


Right there you go that is my plan of action for before I go to bed tonight, get everything ready for tomorrow so we can get up and go. I really hope we have another day like the last one... that was amazing.

 I'll be back tomorrow with a full run down of events... Wish me luck... I may be sick...


*****
Right as promised I've done some leg work for you and found some lovely deals on tickets for those without a Merlin Pass, because lets face it, you want family and friends to join you sometimes.

TICKET DEALS AVAILABLE NOW

BUY A ONE-DAY THORPE PARK TICKET AND GET FREE ENTRY UNTIL NOVEMBER

Thrill-seekers can’t afford to miss this amazing new offer from THORPE PARK. A summer of riding the rollercoasters for the price of one day’s ticket! 
The superb deal is also a gift for families who want to entertain the kids during the school holidays.
Anyone buying a full-price £43.20 adult ticket for one day’s entry gets a pass giving unlimited access to the Park for the rest of the 2013 season – until November 4. And not only that, if you pay just £10 more, you can have a pass for a WHOLE YEAR – worth £85!
The free entry offers apply to any adult or child who buys an adult ticket at the Park entrance.
Anyone buying an adult ticket online at THORPEPARK.com for £24.99 can pay an extra £18.21 at the Park – a total of £43.20 – and get unlimited entry until November 4, or an extra £28.21 – that’s £53.20 – for a 12-month pass. Child tickets can be upgraded too.
People who have bought a 2 for 1 ticket for £21.60 can also get a similar deal at the Park by paying £21.60 or £31.60, respectively. 

There can’t be a better theme park offer this summer. And don’t forget, THORPE PARK now has new on site accommodation The Crash Pad so you don’t even need to go home to sleep!
Oh there are so many more...
  You'll find all the other deals available on the THORPE PARK page on MoneySavingExpert
**Happy Thrill Seeking**
 **I wasn't paid for this post or for The Merlin Pass Summer Challenge we are doing this year and we paid full price for our Merlin Pass in May 2013. I am doing this challenge off our own back because we are a Thrill Seeking Family who love a bit of fun.... so nerrrrrr.... *smirks with a wink* **