Monday, November 17, 2014

Sports Day

Most schools hold a family sportsfest once a year, when parents and siblings join in games and friendly competition for trophies and medals. Little A's school has their own version of this, this marking their second year.

Last year, we were horribly late and missed all the fun. This year, despite Big A being out of town on business and both Little A and I down with bad colds, we made it on time and had an amazingly active hour completing six different activities. 

Instead of team sports, the teachers prepared games stations that exercised the students' developmental skills but kept things fun. I was impressed, and Little A acquitted himself brilliantly, trying everything and finishing with plenty of cheers and encouragement. 

This school year is going well for him so far, in terms of trying new things. We look forward to seeing what the second half will bring. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dietary Restrictions

Shortly after Little A was diagnosed five years ago, we decided to try the GFCF diet. Weaning him off his then favourite snack, yogurt, was extremely hard, and he had to give up pasta as well, leaving him with just rice for meals and popcorn for snack time.

Not wanting to limit his diet further and given that popcorn was not allowed in school as it was considered a choking hazard, I tried all sorts of deathly expensive gluten free snacks, nearly all of which he rejected save two - pretzels and corn balls.

The hardest to quit were his cornflakes, the last remaining favourite snack once all other biscuits were given up. It was difficult to find gluten free cornflakes, and we only managed it in the last two or so years, so he has only been truly gluten free that long, though wheat free much longer. 

My main concern with this was that Little A didn't seem any less hyper or more focused by being gluten free, nor did his verbal skills improve markedly, which are the main improvements parents claim the diet brings. Add to this his sensory integration issues, and I was very worried he'd be limited to rice meals for the rest of his life, refusing to try anything new.

Every Sunday evening, Big A orders pizza for our (mine and his) dinner. This has been a tradition for several years now, and recently even the cat has begun to enjoy these meals as there is usually an accompanying portion of fried chicken which he shares with us. 

Little A has lately been showing an interest in the pizza. He opens the box amd takes a sniff, and sometimes carefully licks a slice. Not wanting to deny him new experiences, and knowing how "safe" he is with food choices, we've been putting a slice on a plate for him. It usually remains uneaten - licked maybe once in a small corner, but never bitten. Until tonight.

This evening, Big A went to meet a friend for coffee after dinner. Little A and I had just sat down when he left, and our slices of pizza were on our respective plates. Little A was daring enough to take a bite out of his for the first time. First he just bit it, then he tried chewing a tiny piece. Aided with plenty of water, he tried more small bites, with no prompting from me at all. While he had his plate of rice next to the pizza amd still ate from it, he kept nibbling at his pizza until he had consumed 3/4 of the slice. 

I was amazed, proud, and a little apprehensive. Will this mark the beginning of the "junk food only" stage, or herald the addition, finally, to Little A's food repertoire? More importantly, will he now become even more hyper, less focused and increasingly tantrumic? He has been fairly even tempered lately and I don't want this to change. 

Naturally, all we can do is wait and see. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Boys will be boys. Muddy, messy, perpetually sweaty, smelling of sun and the outdoors. Little A, despite his many challenges, is just like his peers that way. Perhaps even more so than the children who refuse to play outside and stay in all weekend glued to screens.

While fine motor skills, social interaction and verbal communication are still his Waterloo, my son's gross motor skills are developing just fine considering his motor planning and sensory integration issues. 

A few months ago, he spent most of his outdoor time on his scooter/skateboard. Recently, he finally decided it was time to learn the mechanics of bicycle riding. 

As a toddler he had a tricycle, but could never master the art of forward pedalling. The trike came with a push bar, so it was essentially a pushchair. His cousins handed down a bicycle with stabilisers that sat on our balcony for well over two years.

Beginning a few weeks ago, he would climb onto that balcony (over some plants and a fence) and try and pull the bicycle out onto the podium. The tyres were flat, so we dissuaded him until they were properly inflated again. 

Once seated, he delighted us by pedalling properly after just a couple of tries. It took him several rounds to get the hang of steering, but he persisted and soon got the hang of it despite the fact that the bike was now too small for him.

Then came the Sunday we were at my best friend's house to celebrate her new daughter's Christening. Little A went for a swim in their shallow lap pool, then spotted my godson's bike and wanted a go. For the first time, he was on a bike that was the right size for him, and he was able to pedal down a proper quiet street. Excited, I told Big A and we decided to get a new bike the following weekend.

Now Little A has his own red bike, and makes the rounds formerly taken in his scooter on two (plus two) wheels. He should manage the transition to two wheels quite quickly, provided we get him a helmet, and he agrees to wear it.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Tricks and Treats

This year, Little A celebrated Halloween properly. Last year, I was in London on a mini-break (my first since he was born) with my mum and niece, and while my dad did take him candy gathering, Little A couldn't be persuaded to don a costume.

This year though, he had lots of practice, thanks to the numerous dress-up events at school, culminating in their Halloween party to make half-term.

Little A was a scuba diver for that one, in a clever trompe l'oiel pair of pajamas that was fairly accurate, according to his Certified Technical Diver father.

A week later was Halloween proper. While I spent every morning of his half term at work, I made a point of keeping Friday afternoon free to take him to my parents' and his godmother's houses, plus the others around the village that were giving out treats.

Before the grand sweet collection session though, Little A attended the building's Halloween party, where he sat quite well for a fair few minutes, according to the Au Pair. 

For this event he donned a skeleton printed outfit, and gamely wore it throughout the day with minimal fuss. 

While he has yet to eat a piece of candy, the queuing up for it was fun, and so was the dividing up between myself, Big A, and the Au Pair that came afterwards.

Next year, we already have a family costume planned. Let's hope we get the chance to put them on.