The magic of Lego at Christmas

Being a mum at Christmas time can be magical and soul lifting. Your children are little bundles of happiness bringing light into the dark. This time of year is no different to any other time of year when raising disabled children. It has its ups and downs, lows and highs but I cope….don’t I? Its christmas, presents have been opened which means lots of new and exciting toys, the big meal has been cooked, eaten for another year and the new year is upon us. Its the time for family, for laughing and for relaxing isn’t it?

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Our house is full to the brim, and usually with four girls it start’s to feel like a battle field on the cusp of war. Each side posturing at each other and goading each other trying to get a reaction. With one of the eldest glued tightly to her phone and the other glued to her laptop with the excuse of doing homework the youngest two have been amazingly entertained with colouring pens, drawing paper and that wonderful invention LEGO!!!!

Usually by now the magic of christmas has worn off and my youngest are fed up and bored and waging war on their older sisters and on me. You see our daughter who has ADD and Anxiety finds the holidays exceptionally difficult as there is no routine. What to you and me would be a time for play and relaxation causes her anxiety and pain. Pain in that she can not cope mentally and physically. The lack of routine disorientates, upsets and angers her. She becomes a social Piraña not able to cope with having her sisters and parents around full time and not being able to have her own space even though she has her own room owing to her little sister wanting to play all the time. This means that she becomes stressed out, hitting out and shouting out. Not unusual with her diagnosis but its so much harder when she is at home and not in a routine. Routines help her

  • Make sense of the world
  • Interact with her elders, Family, Professionals
  • Control her impulses
  • Reduces her anxiety

The exception this year……..

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The exception this year being that the gifts are still being played with. The marvellous discovery of lego this christmas has led to an amazing amount of building, concentrating and general family time. We have had Duplo since the children were little but felt it was time to upgrade and move onto more interesting lego sets. Ergo we have found Lego Creator and Lego Friends and this is something that the whole family has got involved with, so much so we braved the sales to buy some more!!! .

We have found Lego helps:

  • Development of fine motor skills…. the bricks are smaller
  • concentration…..Following the diagrams means that they have been sitting there for ages following the instructions
  • Sharing……helping each other to find the pieces that they need
  • Motivation……..”I’m Bored” is a common saying in our house, Lego has become a good motivator to getting the children to sit still
  • Creativity…….watching the bricks they put together become a car, a plane has been amazing
  • Socialisation………perfect for mummy and daddy time helping the girls to figure out the harder parts

Its been a great success, so much so that we have been looking for more sets to keep the flow going and undoing the sets we have so that they can be built again. The creator 3 in 1 sets are especially amazing as when they are bored with one vehicle they can rebuild it into another one……oh my god why didn’t I discover this beforehand!!!

Don’t get me wrong it hasn’t been all lightness and fun, there has still been times that I feel like walking out especially when I am being hit and shouted at but I have to stand tall and remember that its the condition that makes my daughter feel and act like this. The anxiety and behavioural issues makes her act out and the memory loss makes the world a confusing place and school holidays for us like so many parents with children with ADD and ADHD can be a challenging time.

A great tip for next christmas, try some lego and watch their imagination’s and creativity take flight.

Happy new year to you all see you in 2017

xx Leanne XX

 

 

Christmas Magic… ADD Mayhem

So Christmas is coming…..we started elf on the shelf mid November and been counting down since 98 sleeps till Santa. I feel all Santa’ed out already and we are only on the 1st December. How do I have a child who lives with short term memory problems but can remember every day that santa is coming soon? If I believed in magic I would say it’s magical but it is more down to obsession than it is fairy magic.

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Christmas Magic

What I do love about this time of the year is the enthusiasm and the magic that Christmas still holds for my daughter who has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) . She is 10 and still a firm believer that the elf comes alive at night and that santa brings her presents Christmas Eve. We have written and sent our Royal Mail letter to santa and she is eagerly awaiting a reply which in itself causes problems as she gets upset that the letter hasn’t arrived yet and very day I we wait I wonder if it was worth telling her and sending the letter.

In a society where most children grow up very fast I love that she is still able to hang onto a little childhood magic even if it does drive me mad. So top tips for managing a super excited ADD child 😊

  • Try not to curb their enthusiasm yes it’s only December 1st but if Christmas is something they are excited about I have discovered that it’s also a big motivator. Early elfs on the shelf truly can be magical especially if the elf does something naughty which the child relates to and it can even for a second make them realise a particular thing was naughty for example our daughter wrote on the wall so the elf wrote on her drawers in flour. She immediately told the elf off and so I explained that this situation was similar to what she had done. It’s baby steps to helping understanding.
  • Countdowns are great. Most phones can now down load sleeps to santa apps and these are great for ADD/ADHD for giving them a visual countdown. My daughter checks it several times a day but is comforted by the visual countdown.
  • Advent calendars we don’t tend to have. Tried them a few times and they got eaten in one day. This year I have decided to buy them one and use it as a reward but we shall see if it works otherwise it may be a case of mummy gets to eat lots of chocolate.
  • School holidays for us the kids break up on the 16th December this leaves a whole week of disturbed routine which will have an effect on how my daughter thinks and feels. This is when….”is it Christmas? when is santa coming?” Will start. I plan to have lots of activities and making days with them this week leading up to Xmas day. Yellow moon have lots of amazing craft sets that are very reasonably priced. This won’t solve the issue but will hopefully keep the kids entertained long enough for daddy to get home from work 😂
  • Wrap up warm and go for walks when the sun shines. Break up the monotony of a boring routineless day by getting out for even just a 10 minute walk. Remember when in school they have 15 minute break times. Try to emulate the structure of school as much as possible as this may help with the anxiety of them being at home and in close quarters with siblings.

Don’t get me wrong this holiday like any other will have me likely tearing out my hair with sibling arguements, behaviour issues, frustration and just down right anger but as always and as a mum I will do my best to keep the peace and try and ensure that everyone has a great Christmas. By the end of it I will need some serious pampering and so really need to get my massage treatment booked in ASAP 💆.

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You see there is no day off when you raise disabled children. The problems that are there don’t disappear on Christmas Eve. You still have to be a mum and dad and teach your children and comfort them and care for them. Supporting them in school, trying to get the right care for them, doing your best as a parents. If I was Scrooge I would say that Christmas just adds to the stress, anxiety and frustration especially for us parents. I haven’t even started wrapping presents yet and I have usually finished them by November. I have just been so caught up in my children’s needs and care, work and family that I just don’t have anymore to give at the minute. This makes me look like a miserable cow, someone that lets people down last minute but I just feel so weary and like I am holding my head just above the water. These are the dark days that I talk about in previous blogs. These are the days where I need my arse kicked by someone like my husband or sister. These are the days that are alright to feel, they are not wrong, they are not taboo but neither are they novel. It stinks to feel so crappy one minute and ok the next. But it does not make you a failure, it makes you stronger and it makes you a better parent.

Take care

X Leanne x