Sunday, 27 November 2011

Great Gizmos Great Pretenders Butterfly Dress Review

Recently we were lucky enough to be chosen to review the Butterfly dress from Great Gizmo's Great Pretenders range of costumes. When it arrived, I unpacked it and hung it by the door. The beam on our little girl's face when she saw it was HUGE! 

The Butterfly dress is a lovely mixture of aqua, lime, and lilac fabrics - an elasticated chest area for easy on and off, and a net skirt which looks like petals. It has satin covered elasticated shoulder straps, with matching net petals on.

The set includes the most gorgeous pair of wings I have ever seen, a really decent size, in matching colours and with a flower style centre piece. The elasticated straps to hold the wings on are just right - not too large or small, so they do stay on easily! Also included is a fairy wand -a Perspex stick with matching net decorations and filled with beads to produce a satisfying shaking sound. 

Sasha couldn't wait to put it on and waft around the room, zapping us with spells. Even better, she was lucky enough to have an invite to a fairy tea party today, and despite not being in the mood to go originally, once there she couldn't wait to do a quick change into her whole outfit. Sadly I didn't manage to get a picture of her in it without any other children in, so can't post those I'm afraid. It has most definitely been a huge success though! 

This range of premium dressing up costumes includes everything from super heroes, knights and pirates to princesses, dragons and fairies. They come in sizes small, for age 2-4, medium for 4-6 and large for 6-8. My favourite is probably the cute bumble bee outfit, although all of them look fantastic. The range is available from and I would definitely recommend them as top quality items, sure to last and make any child happy.
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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Poorly girl. Won't take Medicine!

The first 2 days of this week have gone very slowly indeed. Sasha is off school poorly, at home with me. One minute she is bouncing around manically laughing and the next she is crying and screaming because she is so poorly and I can't make her better. She has a full on heavy cold with blocked AND runny nose, a bad cough, blotchy face and pimply type rash on her body. We are lucky that she is very rarely ill, but that means that she's not used to the feelings at all and so doesn't understand why she feels so rough, poor thing.

She still refuses to take any medicine orally, not even the tiny melt-in-mouth tablets that I requested from a homeopath as a last resource. The paracetamol suppositories are no longer really an option, as she'd definitely have to be in agreement for that - and she definitely isn't! It doesn't matter how many times we explain it would make her feel better, there is no way she will take anything when she's poorly. So I suspected a trip to the doctor's would be useless, but as that was the only thing she would agree to do (but only when she started to feel a bit better anyway), I made the call. Our local surgery is closed on a Tuesday afternoon apparently, and the linked surgery the other side of town was also helpfully closed today for staff training. So what, we're just not supposed to get sick?! Anyhow I got a call back from a doctor on call (ha), who suggested it probably was just a virus. Non-specific, anyone?! 'Just keep trying to get the Calpol into her'. Mmmm. We have. You wanna try?!

Anyhow in a strange way I was quite glad she was poorly today..... her school was closed due to flooding, and they were going to hold the classes for her age group in the church hall. Great fun and excitement for the other children maybe, but a nightmare for Sasha who just wouldn't have understand why they were there and what they were doing. I'm sure the teachers were probably relieved she was off too!!!

Last Friday Chris and I were so proud to watch her stand out at the front of assembly with 4 other children to get her certificate. The school cycles the awarding of these so every child gets one each term (ssshh, don't tell the kids!) and they are usually for fairly minor 'achievements'. Sasha's was for 'working so well on the computer'. I was particularly proud because during all the times I've watched Tamsin up at the front, I've thought that Sasha would never be there - well at least not calmly and quietly! I'm happy to admit I was wrong - Sasha jumped up on cue, stood still in the line and even said 'thank you' (well I always did say she was the politest non-speaker I know!) when the head gave her the certificate. Nothing unusual there, I'm sure most of the other parents thought. But for her that was an achievement in itself, although she's not really aware of that. She's just good at following routine, and having seen the other children do it over previous weeks, she knew what was expected. To not let anything else bother her, like the attention, the noise, the clapping, is an achievement.

This, however, was not her first certificate. The previous Friday I was really upset to find out, when I picked her up from school, that she had received her first certificate that day - when neither I nor Chris could be at the assembly to see her. I know many parents don't get the opportunity at all, so I should be thankful, but I was more upset because I know I've been at every assembly for Tamsin, and I would have liked the opportunity to be there for Sasha too. The standard process is that a child will get a slip in their book bag the day before getting a certificate, to alert the parents to the occasion. Then if parents are not able to be present at assembly that week, but want to be there the following week, the giving of the certificate can be postponed.

However when I read the slip and asked Sasha if she was getting a certificate the next day, she gave me a blank look and didn't register what I was asking at all. I tried again but got nothing, so I assumed she hadn't understood what was going to happen. On the Friday morning when I mentioned again that I wouldn't be there at assembly, she was blank. I asked in school if they had told her, and they said they had, so I did suggest that if she was waiting and ready, expecting to go up for it, they had better give it to her to avoid the confusion and a meltdown, and bless her, she was. So although she didn't understand or engage in my questioning her about it, she did know that it was her turn to stand up with those other children. And we missed it. Smiley

This flagged up to me that although she is doing amazingly well at school, and on the whole they are handling her well, they sadly still don't fully understand her. Whilst I appreciate the school can't check with every parent whether they can be there for assembly each week, I do think they should have thought to mention it to me before Sasha. I never asked for this approach for Tamsin - but that's because other children can have it explained to them why they need to wait a week before getting their certificates (disappointed as they may be, it's not the end of the world to them). Obviously for Sasha that doesn't work. Am now making a mental note to write this to them somehow so it doesn't happen again....

I took Sasha to the birthday party of a girl in her class this weekend. It wasn't a huge party, but the room it was being held in was fairly narrow, and to get to it we had to walk through a very busy cafe in the park. As soon as we entered the cafe, Sasha's hands went to her ears, and she told me it was too loud. I had to physically carry her over the doorway to the party room, as she really didn't want to go in. She was already asking to go home. I sat her on my knee for a few minutes, hoping she would see all her friends having fun and join in, but she really just couldn't take the volume. So we had to leave, and I felt terrible, worried that the host would think we were ungrateful (and/or overreacting) and also anxious that the birthday girl would feel upset that Sasha didn't want to be at her party. Once Sasha wants to leave though, I just resign myself to it, as there is no point in forcing her to stay. Once in a blue moon she can be distracted, but as you know, that's rare! I think the fact that she was obviously coming down with something has made her hearing/sensory issues worse recently. Poor thing, there's no fun in wanting to miss a fun birthday party!! I'm now just going round in circles trying to decide whether to attempt the other 3 parties she currently has invites for - especially seeing as one will have over 50 children at it!!!! Tamsin would most probably have been overwhelmed by that at this age too, but as long as I was there with her she would never have wanted to leave. The sensory issues common with autism are not something to be overlooked, for sure.
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Sunday, 13 November 2011

Back on the Rollercoaster

So. Another couple of weeks of ups and downs have passed. I'll try and summarise briefly, as right now I'm concentrating on my PMA (Positive Mental Attitude!), and really I know no-one enjoys whinging all the time - that's what we keep telling the girls, anyhow Smiley

Half term started really well, with a planned but unusual trip out to a stables where they hold special riding days for children with autism and siblings. I knew Tamsin would enjoy the horse riding, having been whilst we were away on holiday, but I had no idea what Sasha would make of it. When I asked her if she wanted to go, she was fairly non-committal so it could have gone either way. I think I was the most scared when we turned up to find the horses were actually fairly large! There was a little bit of waiting around and we nearly had to leave for home as Sasha was becoming disinterested, but fortunately we got chance to ride just in time and both girls loved it. My main worry was that she was slipping sideways and didn't really have the strength or the sense to shift herself back centrally, but she stayed on. Very short clip below:

The rest of half term was up and down - one day I attempted a trip to the supermarket but we only ended up making it to the local shop, as Sasha decided she wasn't going out. Cue a minor meltdown and me having to bundle her in the car with no shoes on, then carry her round the shop. Having the two girls at home is difficult, as they would both like my full attention on different things and I end up feeling guilty that I'm not balancing that, or giving either of them the real quality time. I had suggested Sasha might go back to her special nursery, Tracks, but she clearly told me that Tracks was for little girls, and she was a big school girl now! So that was nice as it shows she has moved on, but that also sadly takes away the chance I had of spending any 'alone' time with Tamsin.

For the weekend, I had booked us tickets for a family outing to see Disney on Ice at Wembley Arena. I booked them months ago, and was really looking forward to the whole trip out at the end of a quiet-ish week. I knew Tamsin would be thrilled, and Sasha would enjoy the train ride (daddy's daughter Smiley ). Initially I had been concerned that Sasha's attention span wasn't long enough to sit still for something like that, so I was pleased when I managed to get front row seats, as I thought she would then be able to see everything and be amazed. Not quite. She did try and enjoy it, but the extra loud PA system which was booming out the story and the songs non-stop was something I hadn't anticipated. I had taken a gadget along to occupy her if it didn't work out, thankfully, so after 10 minutes I put just the headphones from that on her and they seemed to help for another short while. By the time we got to just the middle of the first half though, she was repeatedly asking to go home and so I had to take her out. We found a nice security man who informed us you can hire ear defenders there, which hadn't occurred to me, so I handed over the deposit hopefully and Sasha was happy to go back in. That lasted until the interval though, where she became fixated on the extortionately priced (don't ask!) twirly whirly light up toys. Tamsin melted my heart when she quickly said she didn't mind if Sasha had a toy and she didn't (not her usual stance, I might add!!) so that put a huge grin back on Sasha's face. But when the second half, and the noise, started up again, it was clear to see it was still too much for Sasha, even with the defenders, and she begged to leave,so I had to take her out once more and sit on a wooden bench in the foyer for the next hour, whilst Tamsin enjoyed the show and Sasha played with her gadget. Ho hum. In some ways her sensory issues are becoming more apparent now and that is something I'll be following up at our paediatrician review next week.

The following weekend also didn't quite go to plan - first a party of two boys from school which Sasha had been invited to. It's always particularly lovely to get invitations (Sasha has another 3 on the fridge!) as a big worry is how Sasha is 'different' and can't relaly make friends easily - she doesn't relaly understand that concept fully. we're really lucky that Sasha is so confident and sociable, as it seems that for now at least, the other children seem to love her and take her under their wings. Long may that last.... Anyhow back to the party, which was sadly not a great one for Sasha - one entertainer lady with a very loud PA, who got all the children to sit on a mat for and hour and a quarter, shouting things out while she did silly jokes and magic. All the children except Sasha that is - we had to go and play outside the front door because it was just too noisy for Sasha and she was asking to go home! I kept hoping it would switch to more standard party games, but sadly they didn't come until after the food. As I was outside looking in, it struck me again how compliant all other children are, sitting still and following instructions for so long. No problem for Tamsin, but big issue for Sasha.

That evening was fireworks night, and we had tickets for a display in the local village. Looking back, I'm not sure why I ever thought that was a good idea, but Sasha seemed keen on the idea, even though it was a late start at 7pm. We left home all wrapped up with no issues, but the second we stepped foot inside the gate and onto the large field holding a fair few people (but not crowded), Sasha wanted to go home. She was scared of the big bonfire when they lit that, and wanted to sit inside right next to the DJ's speakers (loud!) rather than be outside. I tried to hold on until the fireworks started, but she just got more and more upset and so we (Sasha and I, Daddy and Tamsin stayed to enjoy...again...!) left for home. I spent the next day feeling sorry for myself, and bemoaning the fact it's difficult for us to go to nice 'family' events and occasions such as that. Then it occurred to me how lucky we are, and how much more we get to do than lots of people, and how much more difficult our lives could be and hence now the PMA.

That doesn't mean I won't blog about the bad things any more I'm afraid - I've got a good one for next time about how we couldn't see Sasha get her first ever certificate in assembly - but I do want to be thakful for what we have and enjoy life. I'll be back to the random, inane blogging before you know it Smiley.

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