Jodie Alice Fisher https://jodiefisher.co.uk A personal blog from the heart of a young Mum Wed, 14 Oct 2020 11:17:13 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 98180168 Travelling To The Isle Of Wight 2020 – Day 1 https://jodiefisher.co.uk/travelling-to-the-isle-of-wight-2020-day-1/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=travelling-to-the-isle-of-wight-2020-day-1 https://jodiefisher.co.uk/travelling-to-the-isle-of-wight-2020-day-1/#respond Wed, 14 Oct 2020 09:00:00 +0000 https://jodiefisher.co.uk/?p=37806 We had booked a trip to the Isle Of Wight last year. It was going to be a family getaway with Hubby’s Mum, her partner, his brother and his grandparents. Then the pandemic set in and our hopes to have a family getaway started to sink away.

The initial and main lockdown in the UK felt long and tiresome. We had home learning, new routines, worries about whether our food shop would be delivered, grieving of normal life and not seeing family for so many weeks. It was tough for the entire world!

Thankfully, the lockdown was eased and restrictions lifted enabling us to start seeing family members again or going on days out. The prospect of getting away became hopeful, absolutely terrifying but it was exciting. 

The Isle Of Wight most definitely holds a special place in our hearts. It’s without a doubt our second favourite destination in the entire world. We talked through the risks and decided to embark on our first mini-break since the coronavirus hit the UK.

My husband’s Grandparents had decided to not come, and are actually still isolating themselves due to being high risk. So we created our own little bubble with my mother-in-law.

Hubby had booked us into a Premier Inn for the night before our ferry to the Isle Of Wight. We’ve never stayed down in Portsmouth so it was a lovely way to kick start our mini-break.

The girls had been asking to stay at a hotel for a long time and this gave us the perfect opportunity. Premier Inn had put in place lots of safety measures and extra cleaning too, however, I did take our own disinfectant and Hubby did a quick whip-round on high-touch areas before we entered.

We had been blessed with glorious sunshine. So we spent the majority of the afternoon chilling out on the rocky beach. It was right next to the hovercraft port so the girls thoroughly enjoyed watching that come and go, including getting sprayed at one point too. 

Elsa can become a bit agitated at the start of holidays, wanting to go home usually. We settled down into the hotel room a bit earlier than we’d hoped to but enjoyed the chill out time watching live TV. We actually don’t have live TV at home, so this was a real treat for them. 

We kick-started our travel day with breakfast in the Premier Inn’s attached restaurant. It was an unlimited breakfast so Hubby took full advantage of that.

My mother-in-law, her partner and my brother-in-law were meeting us at the ferry terminal so we had a little bit of time to walk along the waterfront and watch some of the cruise ships going by. We also spotted some military ships too.

I do sometimes wish I lived closer to the sea. It’s so peaceful and beautiful. My girls are in their element when they are outside and there’s definitely something about the smell of fresh sea air.

Elsa, in particular, was so excited to be reunited with her Grandad. We hadn’t spent much time with him over lockdown and seeing her cling hold of him with so much love was heartwarming.

We always travel to the Isle Of Wight with Wightlink Ferries. As a family, we’d decided to be wearing our face masks whilst on board, but it was a requirement too as it’s public transport.

As the weather was glorious, we headed straight for the outside deck. It was the perfect place to keep out in the open and get some fresh air. The crossing doesn’t take too long, less than an hour but we’d actually been slightly delayed as a lorry had managed to get stuck. This meant we had a little bit longer in the sea.

It was a pleasant trip across and the only time I felt a little uneasy about our safety with regards to social distancing etc, was when everyone was asked to get back in their cars to disembark. It felt a bit chaotic especially as known of us were used to that amount of people traffic, after isolating for 5 months!

We couldn’t check in to our holiday home for a good few hours so we’d decided to enjoy a beach day. I had packed a beach bag ahead of our travels that was easy to access in the car.

Honestly, I always tell myself to pack lightly but the car is always full to the brim no matter how “lightly” I try to pack it. At least I can be proud that it was an organised luggage situation.

The beach destination of choice was one that I’ve never been to – Brook Chine Bay. this is located to the South-West of the island and took about 40 minutes to get to. There’s a National Trust car park that you can pay to be in or it’s free if you have a membership.

As we arrived, I was recognised by someone who reads my blog or watches my YouTube channel. We only briefly spoke as we tried to navigate a parking space. It was quite busy!

The beach was not busy at all, in fact, everyone was very respectful of social distancing and it enabled us to feel a sense of normality for a few hours. Choosing to head to the beach as our first-holiday adventure was a perfect choice.

Our holiday home for the week was Kemphill Farm. We stayed here for our first-ever holiday on the Isle Of Wight. It was exciting to head back.

We checked in to the barn and I busied myself with unpacking. Hubby never understands why I unpack when we go away, do you unpack? It helps me to feel organised and I can pretend to live a minimalistic life for a while.

Our girls enjoyed running around freely as the sun began to set and my mother-in-law’s partner cooked a wonderful dinner for us all. In fact, he ended up being the chef for the holiday and did a brilliant job!

We had a lovely start to our Isle Of Wight mini-break. I hope you’ll come back soon to read more about our trip.

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What Is Selective Mutism? https://jodiefisher.co.uk/what-is-selective-mutism/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-is-selective-mutism https://jodiefisher.co.uk/what-is-selective-mutism/#respond Fri, 09 Oct 2020 07:00:37 +0000 https://jodiefisher.co.uk/?p=37630 If you have been a regular and loyal reader of my blog then you will know that my eldest daughter, Freya, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in January last year.

Our family is somewhat experienced when it comes to autism and I had noticed complications in Elsa, my youngest daughter, from a very young age. In fact, something was different right from the beginning with excessive crying, irritability and sensory issues.

Although my husband agreed that things didn’t seem right, he wanted to wait until she started school before we began any medical involvement. However, Elsa’s preschool had also noted down some issues and was supportive when I approached them with concerns. Our wonderful Health Visitor who had been our point of call as I had raised concerns several times over the years, didn’t hesitate to get us referred to see a community paediatrician.

As I said, I am not new to the process of seeing Community Paediatricians. I went to the appointment with a whole page of notes and symptoms that I felt proved Elsa has Autism just like her biggest sister. It was a positive appointment and we left with the paediatrician agreeing to put her on the waiting list for an autism assessment. A week later, I received a phone call from the paediatrician. It was a concerned follow-up call that I never expected to get. In past experiences, once you see a paediatrician you don’t really hear from them again until the next appointment up to a year later!

The Paediatrician was concerned by some of the symptoms and declared that Elsa may have a disorder called Selective Mutism. She was also very worried about Elsa’s height and weight but that will be another blog post at some point. I had never heard of Selective Mutism and of course, instantly went onto the internet to find out more. Just like I did for Freya’s diagnosis, I felt like I needed to absorb every bit of information so that I could understand and help Elsa the best way I could.

Selective Mutism is a complex childhood anxiety disorder. It is the child’s inability to speak and communicate effectively in select social settings, such as school. These children are able to speak and communicate in settings where they are comfortable, secure, and relaxed. There is a whole range of signs of Selective Mutism but most commonly, the child may avoid eye contact and appear:

  • nervous, uneasy or socially awkward
  • rude, disinterested or sulky
  • clingy
  • shy and withdrawn
  • stiff, tense or poorly co-ordinated
  • stubborn or aggressive, having temper tantrums when they get home from school or getting angry when questioned by parents

It instantly became obvious to me that Elsa had this anxiety disorder. The things we’d noticed that were different about Elsa, were suddenly making sense to me.

I am being a little bit cryptic and haven’t really explained why we have thought Elsa was different from a “normal” child. It’s time I explain the symptoms we’ve seen in Elsa which I will list below:

  1. As a baby, Elsa would cry extremely often. To the point that I even spoke to a GP because her crying was far more excessive than a normal baby especially when in a crowded or new place. Now that she is older, she becomes irritable in crowded situations and clingy.
  2. Will not do anything unless on her terms. Even going to the toilet can cause tantrums and arguments.
  3. Hates the attention or focus being on her. Singing happy birthday ends in tears. If she falls over or hurts herself, Elsa will cry more from potential embarrassment than the injury itself.
  4. Gets very upset if somebody touches her. This could be a simple and innocent pat or being brushed past on the playground.
  5. Very nervous around new people, comfortable with those she knows. May not speak to people she has known for years including some family members like grandparents. There are members of our family that have never heard her speak but some close friends are able to have full conversations with her.
  6. Separation anxiety. At home, Elsa will not let us leave the room without her or without shouting for us or one of her sisters to be with her. For a very long time, the separation anxiety continued into the night and her sleep pattern was terrible, she just wanted me with her.
  7. Elsa has never had a hair cut because she hates people touching her or the attention being on her. It causes lots of distress. This includes visits to the doctors and dentist.
  8. At school friend’s parties, she becomes very irritable, screaming and doesn’t know what she wants. Elsa copes better when she has noise-cancelling headphones.
  9. Becomes a dog/cat/baby voice when she doesn’t feel comfortable being herself.
  10. Her most recent school report said that Elsa is struggling with her phonics and reading. This is due to the fact she finds it hard to talk to her teacher so they haven’t heard her recite her phonics. At home, she knows all the phonics and has begun to read.

I’m sure there are many other hinting factors that we deal with on a daily basis, but they are the initial things that have come to mind.

Just before the lockdown was put in place, we headed on to a course all about SM. Hubby and I both attended and found it so useful in gathering up information, learning about the diagnosis and how we can help Elsa.

Selective Mutism is an anxiety disorder that can be overcome. This was the good news of it all. To overcome SM, it’s all about having a gentle, slow exposure kind of treatment plan. Things that make her feel overwhelmed like parties are places she needs to experience instead of avoiding them altogether.

Ultimately, Elsa comes across as incredibly shy. I find myself explaining her diagnosis a lot to people so that when she ignores someone saying hello, that it doesn’t come across as rude. It’s just that she’s finding it hard to communicate.

Anybody that has heard Elsa’s voice is lucky. There are some family members that have never heard her speak. In fact, there are only a handful of adults that Elsa will openly talk to and initiate a suitable conversation. There’s no pattern as to what type of person she finds it easiest to talk to although she is more likely to talk in her home environment or with one of her big sisters by her side. 

I do feel incredibly lucky to have such a supportive community around us. People that know Elsa and accept her for who she is. They are patient and reassuring which is exactly what she needs to overcome this anxiety disorder. Those people are rewarded by hearing Elsa speak and are key to helping her overcome this, and they probably don’t even realise that!

The school have been equally as supportive. Over lockdown, I sent them heaps of information so they could be completely aware of the situation for when she returned to school. We had popped some ear defenders into class for those moments when she feels overwhelmed.

I have no idea what the future will be like for Elsa and Selective Mutism. The biggest goal would be for her to feel comfortable in all social situations. However, I suffer from social anxiety and know how hard it can be and how controlling it is sometimes.

I try to update on both Freya’s special needs journey and now Elsa’s over on my YouTube channel and my instagram far more often than over here, so I’d love to have you follow me on those to keep up to date.

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Letter To Elsa On Her 6th Birthday https://jodiefisher.co.uk/letter-to-elsa-on-her-6th-birthday/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=letter-to-elsa-on-her-6th-birthday https://jodiefisher.co.uk/letter-to-elsa-on-her-6th-birthday/#respond Wed, 07 Oct 2020 09:00:00 +0000 https://lifewithpinkprincesses.co.uk/?p=36533 Elsa’s birthday this year has been rather different. With the rule of 6 coming into place not long before, it made celebrating the occasion a little complicated but also wonderful.

She got to enjoy two little celebrations; one with my Mum ahead of her birthday, and then one with my mother-in-law on her birthday day.

The early birthday celebration was spent with a wonderfully chilled out Sunday. We had a roast dinner followed by a homemade brownie cake. We’d actually forgotten to get her a birthday cake for the pre-birthday fun, so we whipped one up together that we knew she’d love. Little fuss-pot. My mum gave her some thoughtful presents and it was lovely to see her so excited.

On her birthday, we had to wake her up. The rest of us were so eager to get her awake to open presents. I find it heartwarming to see as each year passes, her excitement and appreciation for presents grow.

Sadly her birthday was on a school day, so we whisked her off to spend the day with her friends. Hubby and I went to collect her birthday balloon – a dinosaur with the number 6.

In the afternoon, we invited my mother-in-law over. As we are a family of five, we can only meet one other person. My mother-in-law gave Elsa her presents, she loved the cute Scruff-a-Luv and raced off to wash it. Then Elsa spent the afternoon playing with her sisters and we had her favourite Chicken Tikka Masala for dinner.

I’d been so excited to show Elsa her cake. She’s not really a cake person and I begrudge the price of the supermarket birthday cakes, so this year we decided to create a doughnut tower. Perfectly portioned and one of Elsa’s favourite treats. Her little face as she saw it was so cute!

Weirdly and wonderfully, I’m pretty sure that my youngest little lady had one of the best birthdays as she turned six years old.

I used to write letters to my daughters on their birthdays, I took a quick look through my blog archives and realised that I haven’t done one of these for a while. What better chance to start them back up again, than with Elsa’s 6th birthday! So here goes:

To my darling Elsa,

I have to pinch myself each time you celebrate a birthday. Another whole year of knowing you and learning all about you. I feel it’s going far too quickly but it’s also so exciting to see you grow.

So far, as you turn 6 years old, you have all your baby teeth still sitting nicely. We’ve visited the dentist a few times and it’s definitely something you find hard. He’s told us that you grind your teeth which explains why your little teeth are shorter than they probably should be. I hope this will be something you grow out of.

During your 5th year, we saw a paediatrician. There are some things you find difficult to cope with. You’ve actually been diagnosed with Selective Mutism and this has helped us to understand you and your personality so much better. Mummy and Daddy can now support you in the way you truly need.

Starting school happened just before you turned 5 years old but you’ve grown into your role as a primary school student so well. You are always so happy to head into the playground and you wave us off sometimes without even looking back.

Although you’ve found parties overwhelming, during school hours you are making lovely little friends and it’s so beautiful to see you skipping off every morning to play with them.

Lockdown was rather difficult for you. Learning at home was always going to be different, so we kept things to the minimum. Your days became more about play-based learning. It was a hard time for everyone and I think we did a great job as creating memories in the sunshine.

Over this past year, we have been using ear defenders in restaurants or other busy places. You have been experiencing some sensory overload issues and having the ear defenders on hand, has really helped you to regain calmness.

You are still loving dinosaurs and we finally allowed you to watch Jurassic Park and Jurassic World films. You adored them! I did think you might find them scary but your love for all things dino took over the worry.

You are happiest going on adventures outside and also being cosy at home. Running around in your underwear is another thing you love to do.

Food is still an issue. However, I love that you are beginning to find the confidence to explore new foods but we still have a long way to go.

I am so proud of the little girl you are becoming. You are funny, a little sponge with knowledge and most of all you are kind. Go and smash this 6th year on Earth!

Love Mummy x

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Siblings 2020 – September https://jodiefisher.co.uk/siblings-2020-september/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=siblings-2020-september https://jodiefisher.co.uk/siblings-2020-september/#respond Wed, 30 Sep 2020 09:00:00 +0000 https://lifewithpinkprincesses.co.uk/?p=36534 I think I say this each time I write the Siblings Post, but it’s been one crazy month. In a weird way, it feels like 2020 has gone by so quickly yet has dragged in the hardest of ways.

September, of course, is the start of a new school year and I feel like we are getting into our new routine. I picked these photos because they really represent our current life. I hope that one day masks will be a thing of the past though.

So here’s how my girls have been this month.

Freya

Freya has started Secondary School. It’s been a pleasant surprise to see how Freya has suddenly become more grown-up and independent. Secondary School has certainly been a big adjustment for everybody but Freya is taking it in her stride. One huge difference has been how happy she is in the mornings, she’s excited about school and that’s something I’m not used to!

Another big thing to happen for Freya is starting her period. I don’t want to talk too much about it as it’s not my news to share but at the same time, I wanted to document the occasion too for my own memories. We’ve stocked up on special teen products and I’m glad we have an open relationship and conversations about this. I want to make sure she knows how normal this part of her life is.

We upgraded Freya’s bedroom too. I will be filming a room tour once she’s managed to put all of her stuff in new places. Basically, she already had a mid/high-ish sleeper bed but it wasn’t tall enough for her to sit under at a desk. With the sheer amount of homework coming in, we decided it was time to give her a high sleeper with a desk and wardrobe built-in. It’s transformed her room and I’m so excited to see how she finishes it off.

Eva

Getting Eva back to school was really exciting. She’d had nearly 6 months at home, some of that spent watching her sisters head off to school. I thought we may experience some separation anxiety, but actually she’s been so eager to get back to learning.

The adjustments of school has definitely piped up a bit of an attitude within her during the first few weeks. We’ve been battling a little bit. I think it’s come from over tiredness and adapting to social situations again. But she’s settling well and my upbeat girly is returning.

For the first time ever, we’ve had to send Eva’s asthma pump into school. Usually she manages quite well but she’s such an active and on the go lady, that shes found herself a bit out of breath lately. We’ve a second pump into the school for precaution.

Elsa

I’ve seen that many people who have a child with selective mutism, have reported lockdown being a benefit. We are in that group of people. Elsa’s been settling in so well at school already, speaking to her teachers and friends more freely than ever before. It’s wonderful to witness.

Elsa needed the structure of school, lockdown was hard and getting her engaged was even harder. School gives her routine and an expectation. She is finding Year 1 to be more intense than her Reception year and the work is increased too with less play. But she’s taking it in her stride.

Elsa turned 6 years old at the end of this month. I know each year that I say how quickly it’s going by, but every time Elsa celebrates a year it feels even more bittersweet. My last baby to turn 6! She loved her birthday day, even though it was spent at school, and even allowed us to whisper-sing happy birthday to her. A big achievement in this household.

Sisters

I’m seeing a bit divide in my girls this month. It saddens me. As Freya is definitely speeding through her childhood and heading into the teenage years, she’s spending more time away from her younger sisters. She doesn’t relate to them anymore and friendships/relationships have always been something Freya finds a struggle to understand.

The other two, Eva and Elsa, are stronger than ever! I think that as they are no longer on the same playground for break and lunch, they have lots more time apart to be their own people. This has brought the relationship closer and they spend nearly every moment within each other’s company. Two peas in a pod.

Check out our previous Siblings Project posts here!

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