Tuesday, 30 September 2014

{Autumn Bucket List} Forage

I remember from my own childhood, afternoons spent with my older sisters clambering through hedges and the fields behind our house (the very same ones as in the picture below) gathering blackberries for mum and nan to make into puddings for us. We'd also go & pick apples off our great aunt's tree in her back garden, & enjoy great big bowls of hot crumble with custard.

There's something about foraging and finding your own food from nature that is just quite lovely. I know that we can easily go to the supermarket and pick up a punnet of berries or even a ready-made crumble, but I really want to try and encourage the kids to get out and find what is already there around them. I obviously don't want them scrumping from other peoples gardens of course, but the blackberry bushes in the hedgerows are teeming with berries at this time of year, & what a waste it would be not to use them.

The Mister and I took E along the road to pick blackberries on Sunday afternoon since it was such a lovely warm day, and she had a great time filling up our tub with the juiciest berries should could find (and reach). They're just starting to go over now, but we still managed a good haul. E was very proud of her hard work.

We brought them home and gave them a good wash, and have now stored them in the freezer as we're going to be off apple picking soon, so we can use it all to make our very own crumble. Our next door neighbours have offered us the pick of the apples from their tree again this year, so H & E are very much looking forward to a bit of tree climbing! Have you been fruit picking for your Autumn bucket list?

Monday, 29 September 2014

Meal Plan Monday 290914

Mon 29th Sept - Sausages, mash & baked beans

Tues 30th Sept - Macaroni cheese with bacon, & steamed broccoli

Thurs 2nd Oct - Steak & chips with veg

Fri 3rd Oct - Cottage pie

Sat 4th Oct - Enchiladas

Sun 5th Oct - Roast

I've joined in with Mrs M's #mealplanningmonday linky with this post

Friday, 26 September 2014

He is worth it.

Imagine writing down every single thing about yourself that you dislike, that you do wrong, things that you can't do, the 'flaws' in your personality. Imagine having to share them with basically everyone you know. Now imagine having to do that about your child.

How do you think that would make you feel?

This week I had to write a 'pen portrait' about L for his tutor group and teachers at his new senior school, to help him settle in, and to help introduce him to everyone. I want them to know what to expect from him, to help them show him what they expect of him, and also for them to know what an amazing kid L is.

It made me so desperately sad to have to sit and list all the things that make him different, and I hated it. I sat and sobbed my heart out until the early hours, in front of a computer screen with a blank document open on it. I know exactly how much work L can be, more than anyone. I am the one that sat by his side when he was so sad that he said he wanted to die, I am the one that stood and fought his corner when he was treated unfairly by kids who should have been taught better and by adults who should bloody well know better, the one that held his hand in the night when he was in pain and discomfort from the casts on his legs.

I have been there throughout. I am still here. It is exhausting.

But he is worth it.

Every hour, every minute of missed sleep. Every single tear I have shed. Every second of every day that I have spent being his mother has been worth it. I will do this every day of my life, until the last breath leaves my body, I will love him and care for him no matter what. Whatever "flaws" he has, whatever makes him different - I will love him, because those things make him the awesome, brilliant, hilarious, clever, lovely young man that he is.

In the pen portrait, I explained a little about Autism, with a little help from The National Autistic Society website because they just explain it so much better than me - how Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people and the world around them. That it is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with Autism share certain areas of difficulty, their condition will affect them in different ways.

I explained that he finds a lot of noise and activity overwhelming. That he will sometimes say inappropriate things, or stand too close to people. That he can be easily led, and doesn't understand sarcasm. How he doesn't like to make eye contact, and sometimes will need to sit and cover his head just to give himself some peace, and I asked them to please let him do this.

But I also told them how funny he is. That his one-liners are quite brilliant if they happen to catch them. I told them that he is honest, how he will always tell me if I look fat in an outfit or if my hair looks stupid - often whether I actually asked for his opinion or not! And how he just wants to learn, & make friends, just like every other kid. I asked them all to please show him how.

I know not everyone will understand, or want to. I know there are people who will abuse, and take advantage, and be unkind. But I hope that by laying my heart bare, by being honest and open - maybe I can help change their thinking. If I can make just one person understand then I know I have helped, even just a little - because a little understanding can go a long way, and it makes a real difference.
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