My Kids Room. Toys to get the motor (skills) running.

Play and activities are a crucial part of any child’s development. We have know this for decades. It’s needed for fine and gross motor skills, congenital function and imagination. It teaches kids social skills, language and problem solving.

Selecting activities can be incredibly overwhelming for a parents because basically… the market is saturated with so many things. Most of them lately becoming super small, expensive, over packaged and not much value in the big scheme of things. We discovered an amazing little online store @mykidsroomtas which is choc block full of wonderful and mindful children’s toys and activities. We haven’t looked back since!

With Byron’s diagnosis back in 2013, it was always know that we had to encourage his fine motor skills as much as possible, as it was a huge issue for him and looked like it always would be. The Melissa and Doug range were shown to us by therapists and parents alike and we never looked back. They are FANTASTIC! Colourful, engaging, fun and interactive and the kids he loved every different activity or product we got. Flash forward 5 years and now his sisters too are absolutely enthralled with them. For the particular activities in the photos, the children were able to creatively explore emotions, problem solve, practice writing and tracing of numbers and letters and shared between them what they had done as well as help each other. This went on for hours and the best thing is lots of the charts are reusable, so we have had many hours of use for them.

The coding game ( On the Brink) is a huge interest to Byron and again has given him and his dad hours of entertainment. Most public schools now actually incorporate robotics and coding into the curriculum, so this was something that Byron was already familiar with. Throughout play he gains problem solving skills, mathematics, trial and error , creative strategies, patterns and patience! The beauty of it is you can always try again and that is something that can be difficult to comprehend on the spectrum. I’m happy to report that now he is trying his hardest to teach his younger sisters ( although they don’t get it quite just yet) watching him reiterate what he has learnt is only more confirmation of skills and knowledge being acquired!!!

The value of quality learning activities and tools for any parents are invaluable

If you are time poor like me and can’t get time to get to the shops then I highly recommend @mykidsroomtas as a great alternative. Fast delivery and great service…plus… they offer afterpay! Um… all the yesses there!!

Head over to their Instagram @mykidsroomtas

Or

http://www.mykidsroomtas.com.au

Love

Theummum

Xxx

Winter Skin Care with Mustella

If you have been following me for a while you may remember when Zuzu was smaller she had incredibly sensitive skin including itching,eczema , red patches and would flare up at anytime touching her. Truth is not much has since changed and she is still our little sensitive bunny! I posted about finding that only the Mustella products would calm the skin farm (so to speak) and it was a product that I had used since Byron was a baby. I use every single last drop and dollop of this stuff so it’s safe to say it’s a family staple!

Flash forward another year and another baby and yep…. still using it for Zu and now Darcy ( who thankfully has normal skin). In fact I’m actually using it for all the kids which I’ll get into a bit later.

My actual routine as such changes from week to week but for the girls who usually bath together, I used the eczema prone bath oil every night which calms Zuzus skin immediately down and takes it back to normal (it’s fine for Evie who thankfully has zero issues with her skin), after bath time I use the moisturiser cream on Zu in any areas that are dry or still red (her lower back is common) and then finish with the barrier cream around the nappy area.

For Darcy, I use the normal skin range for bath time ( Gentle Cleansing Gel) then moisturise with the Hyrda Bebe creme and then again finish off with the Vitamin barrier cream. I’ll let you know the normal range smell beautiful. Not over powering like some other ranges are.

Byron has also been using the moisturiser on his face (mainly around under the eyes and nose). He has a tendency to rub his eyes and to top it off the wind burn we get when walking to school can really irritate his face. The face moisturiser works absolute wonders and a little mum hack… so does the Vitamin barrier creme. ( if it’s good enough for baby butts then it’s good enough for the face!) I will admit I also use the face creme and if I want some intense moisturiser I will slather my face in barrier creme before I go to sleep. You wake up with incredibly soft skin trust me!

I’m am so excited to again be teaming up with the guys from Mustella to be giving a lucky follower a beautiful gift pack for their little one.

The guys at Mustella will tailor the pack to suit the skin needs of your family!

All you have to do is check out my Instagram account.

Follow @theummum

@mustellaAU

Tag a friend and you have entered! You can enter as many times as you like.

Keep your eyes on our pages for when the winner will be drawn and get tagging 😀

The Ummum

Xxxx

It’s not failure to get the extra help.

Having kids is a mission and a half! It’s the one job you get where it’s no training, no pay, no manual and it’s literally life or death. I’ve never heard in my life so far, a parent say they have it all down pat. It was easy. What’s the issue?.

So on top of that, what if your child isn’t reaching milestones they way they should?

I don’t mean from that “leap” ( each week “your child may or may not” … slow clap for you app… the definition of useless)

I mean major milestones like , walking , talking, eating, socialisation, comprehension milestones. The big ones!

And let me stop here before we go any further and I’ll just clarify … EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT and develops at different rates. This post is more for parents who have that suspicion that something may need to be addressed and I am supporting that feeling. I am not saying that something must be wrong if your child has a delay in an area. Welcome to childhood. It is a post to say if you have any worries about development in your child, don’t delay and get it checked out.

Whenever we get asked about Byron, the first thing that is asked is “what made you think there was an issue?” And “ how old was he”. In fact this is one of the most common questions we ever get so I thought a post in regards to it all was warranted.

Byron typically reached all his milestones to the age of one. A fairly early walker, babbled, ate, super affectionate , very happy and then after he turned one his babbling came to a complete halt. His temperament changed and he became increasingly upset to almost enraged. He ran from social issues, became fixated on patterns and routines to the point it became in interruption everyday and he stopped eating.

For a while, and because he was my first, I tried to justify the change in him with different thoughts. The biggest being, he is so young, it will sort itself out. Yep I said it!

Other people too would say it to I guess make me feel better or put my mind at rest. The reality was in the back of my mind that feeling that something wasn’t right was still there, stronger than ever. And after 6 months of that and no change at all, it was a relief to get to speech therapy and have the therapist say, “there are some definite issues, but they can ALL be helped . Especially because he is so young.”

And here is the thing. The younger your child is, the better chance you can have if you get help. No matter how big or small the issue may be. There is help out there!

There is no failure as a parent if your child isn’t hitting milestones. None at all! The first thing that may go through your head is reasons of what you have done as a parent that may have caused it. It ain’t the case and remember you aren’t the only parent who has gone through it.

The support is out there. The hardest part will be taking the first step. Sometimes that’s listening to your instincts. Seek help. Get a second opinion. Ask around ( we live in an age of social media and people LOVE to engage and help) . Research. Talk. Don’t let anyone minimise it or brush it off until you feel secure.

And in al honestly too… financially it can be a very expensive process which scares people off and one I hear all the time. The younger an issue is picked up, the earlier the support will kick in and that can mean help with the costs too.

I do not regret one therapy session, or appointment that we went through ever with Byron ( and there was a lot. Sometimes 3 or more a week). Now the kid is flourishing. Yep there are still issues but it’s not terrifying anymore. I will say it again and again to any parent who is worried about their child, make an appointment today. Even if it’s to put your mind at rest. But by doing that you are really giving your family the best chance you can.

It’s so understandable to be scared of the unknown but once you step into it, the relief it can give you is very much worth it.

If you ever have any questions please feel free to reach out! As a mum who has traveled the road well in this area I am happy to provide any support and encouragement I can if you need it

Much love

The Ummum

Xxx

In the Begining…

In the beginning I sat across from the doctor’s desk with my partner and son and started to well up. Like girly, sappy, you should really pull yourself together before you utterly embarrass everyone, well up.
Luckily for me my partner beat me to the punch. “Jess, it’s just autism babe”. Now to many people that may seem like the most heartless and ignorant thing someone could say to a mother who’s 3 year old was just given the ‘BIG A’ diagnosis, but here are 2 facts about this situation.
First , my partner ( now husband) has an extensive background in disabilities and mental health (It’s his profession). And secondly, it was the best thing anyone has ever said to me in regards to our situation with our son. It has literally kept me sane and smiling the whole time.
“That’s super bloody weird” some of you may think, but in our case it really is our little family motto. It’s just Autism. It’s not cancer. It’s not a death sentence. It’s not social out casting. It’s not corruption or greedy or pollution or global warming…or the million other things in this world that make it so fucked up a lot of the time. It’s just something that we all as a family can manage and get the best out of for our awesome little super boy.
Now, I totally get that this would not apply for every family. Believe me I know that there are so, so, so many various forms and every single child is different, hence why they call it a spectrum. Just watch a parents face when someone asks them …’So…..what kind of Autism has he/she got?”  You see this half smile almost curl onto their face and that glazed look in their eye as they repeat the memorised paragraph they have recited to probably every single person they have met since their child was diagnosed. You have to you see…to keep sane and not punch  people
( I do not incite violence here) But in essence a spectrum means…..EVERY CHILD IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. We will get to that at a later time.
Back to the doctor’s office.
 So he has autism. After my partner dropped his comment on me something really strange started to sink in. I started to feel (again this is going seem weird) but, I started to feel relief and a bit of…So I was right! See after a year and a half of speech therapy and different testing and millions of break downs, well we were right. Something was up. I will admit at the beginning I was in denial before I started to see the signs but it quickly disappeared when you see your child completely stop babbling and communicating or fall off a huge jungle gym and not make a peep, or watch the washing machine spin for an entire hour. And when your child is super young all you hear is….”oh you know…every child develops in their own way at the own time”. Yeah that’s true…but when a parent thinks something is up….they are usually right. So yeah, in essence I was like ..ha…yep I was right people don’t ever question us again.  And that year and a half previously meant we got somewhere. Little did I know that things for us actually got a lot better than the time before,.
It was like this golden gate of support opened up. Funding, Therapies, networks, workshops. It is so hard and heart breaking in the lead up to a diagnosis because you just don’t know what is going to happen and honestly, you are so bloody drained,  but after, well you don’t feel as alone. You still have your moments don’t get me wrong but it can and in in our case did get a lot better. Admittedly after a bottle of wine that night (do not judge) we had figured out an incredible, bullet proof game plan.
I’m just joking…. but the wine did help.
If you would like any information regarding the funding packages available to your family after a diagnosis contact Autism Queensland at http://www.autismqld.com.au  or 1800 428847 and speak to one of the friendly staff or alternatively discuss with your care provider.
SMLXL

Emily’s Birth Story : Mary Clare

Childbirth was hands down the most exhilarating experience of my life. Was it painful? Well of course and yes I had an epidural! Though I found labor to be more mentally challenging than physically. Yet as I look back on this birth, the overwhelming feelings are pride and strength. I feel excited by the prospect of doing it again sometime soon! I’m truly in awe of the female body! So here it is, the story of two births…Mary Clare’s and the birth of a mother.

I felt like I’d been pregnant for so long that I had taken to telling people, “I’ve been pregnant every single day of 2017.” Needless to say, I was ready to get the show on the road and meet our baby. I did all the tricks to bring on labor. I ate 4 dates a day. I drank red raspberry leaf tea. I walked and walked and walked. Nothing.

So there I was, wearily waddling my way into my doctor’s office, four days late and utterly exasperated. I sat down to have my nonstress test after drinking a cloying sweet strawberry kiwi Capri Sun, YUCK! I thought “how am I going to make it through the next four days before my scheduled induction?” My doctor came in and gave me the low down. Nothing had changed down there. Plus he was headed on vacation in a few days, so if I wanted him to be the doctor to deliver the baby, I should consider inducing tomorrow. “SAY WHAT??? Tomorrow? Wait, like as in next time I wake up?” I thought. I was totally caught off guard but wasn’t this what I wanted? I walked out of the office and I headed for home because I knew Rob and I would need to figure out what to do.

We weighed the pros and cons, feeling incredibly unsure. We wondered…what if induction didn’t work and I needed a c-section…what if I waited and the baby got too big to deliver? There were too many what ifs and we felt that the stress of more waiting was not worth it. We also trust my doctor implicitly. So we decided the that if he believed it was a safe route to go, then it would be more than okay.

On Saturday September 16th, we woke up, had breakfast and headed to the hospital. It was not what I had imagined or seen in the movies but is it ever? Around 1pm, the resident on call inserted cervidil to soften my cervix. Rob and I hung out, watching Netflix on my laptop and unsuccessfully trying to nap. Our parents visited that evening and around 10pm we tried to go to sleep for the night. Though, it’s hard to get comfortable with the fetal monitor on your belly….or in Rob’s case, in those hospital “recliners.”

Around 2am the doctor started a very slow dose of pitocin, I didn’t feel a thing. At 7am, my doctor quickly and deftly broke my water. Then the contractions came and oh did they come. I used breathing techniques, changed positions and used pressure points to work through the pain. Rob was the best support – rubbing my shoulders, breathing with me and knowing just what to say. It must be impossibly hard to see someone you love in such pain. Then around noon, it was time, I asked for an epidural. I held off as long as I could, knowing I would not be able to get out of bed once I got it. When I had my epidural Rob left the room as it must be a sterile environment. I was very lucky that the nurse with me when they shoved a massive needle in my spine, was the mom of a childhood friend. I was a coincidence or maybe not, regardless it was comforting to have her with me when I was in some of my most intense pain.

I continued to labor for hours, feeling some pressure but almost no pain. Thank heavens for modern medicine, am I right? Then around 5pm I started feeling pain, big time. So I asked for a bolus. The anesthesiologist came in to give me more medicine and encouraged me to drink a protein drink for strength. Bear in mind, save for the tootsie rolls Rob was sneaking me, I had not eaten anything since 8am the day prior. I agreed and guzzled the metallic cherry flavored stuff and started to feel real nauseous. Almost immediately after, my doctor did an internal exam and it seemed I was stalling out at 5cm, I had been there for few hours. I started to feel even more nauseous as I began to worry. I know several women who did not progress when induced and went through hours of labor only to be cut open. I did a lot of comparing myself to these situations. Suddenly, I shouted, “get a bedpan,” and projectile vomited that cherry drink all over the place. I started crying.

I was at a crossroads. I was at my lowest point. I could continue to worry and probably have that work against me or I could choose to turn my thoughts toward the positive. My nurse, Rose, told me to focus on what my body was doing right, to actively decide that I could do this. It was no longer a matter of if, it was a matter of when. I began reciting a Joan of Arc quote in my head, “I am not afraid, I was born to do this.” Rob turned on the diffuser and calming music. Things picked up and I began to progress again. As I got close to 10cm, around 8pm, I was howling. I could not believe it. I tried to breathe through it but at the top of each contraction, I cried out “I can’t do this anymore.” Rob begged me to get more medicine but I felt I’d had too much already. I worried I would barf again. The pain only worsened, finally, I agreed to a little more medicine to take the edge off. Thank goodness, I did. It helped me when it was time for the big show!

At about 9pm, my doctor came in and said “it’s time to have a baby, Emily!” It certainly was not sudden but it felt like it. Suddenly, the bed rose up, my legs were in the stirrups and there was a light shining on my…well, you know. The room filled with people. Nurses, student doctors and who knows who else. The custodial staff could have joined for all I cared. I just wanted that baby out! The doctor coached me how to push properly. Rob and the nurse held my legs back. And then the real work began. What a relief it is to push, right? I felt like finally I could do something. After 30 minutes of pushing (I know, I am very lucky), out she came.

I’ll never forget the moment I saw my daughter for the first time. We kept the gender a surprise until she was born. So the moment she came out and the doctor held her up, I was searching for any indication of whether it was a boy or girl.

Even now, I can close my eyes and see, hear and feel it. Two seemingly giant hands holding up this tiny screaming body, backlit by that huge spotlight. Suddenly the doctors hand moved and I knew. “It’s a girl, it’s a girl, it’s a girl!” I shouted it over and over again through exhausted, joyful tears as they laid her on my chest.

It all happened so quickly. Yet from the moment she came out, to the moment she was laid on my chest it feels like I can remember each second. This is a memory I call upon often because it was so pure. And because it reminds me that no matter how I’m feeling in the moment, the feelings I had for her when we met earthside are and will always be the truest love I have ever known.

About Emily: I’m the new mama to my beautiful, 6 month old Mary Clare. About 6 weeks after she was born, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety. As part of my recovery, I began sharing my journey on Instagram and then through the launch of my blog in January 2018. I am recovering well and finally enjoying motherhood. Come along for the ride @mamacoaster and at www.themamacoaster.com