Tag Archives: haven

Return to normality.


Today we return to normality.

While a lot of the country still have their feet up with the 4 day weekend, we are all back to the grind stone with Hubby returning to work and the kids back to school – there is much negative comment in the playground about the kids going back to-day here in the shire where the city kids have the day off.

These holidays seemed to have passed pretty easily, which is something I don’t often say after a two-week school break.     These shorter holiday usually really mess with M’s head because he just gets used to the change in routine before its time to get back to it.

During the first week, we kept ourselves busy with something planned for every day for the boys to do.    It is a very fine line to walk between keeping them busy enough to allow their minds to keep turning, but not so busy that they don’t realise they are meant to be chilling!

Week two was at Haven at Haggerston Castle.    It was a lovely break, and the weather was good, not warm, but dry and that’s what is important.    The boys love going to Haven.      It is great they have an environment they feel safe in.       I think we all enjoyed the break and came back feeling relaxed.

Now I am not saying we haven’t had our moments.    M has taken to keep telling D that he wishes he was in a grave.    I am not sure where this has come from, or where he might have heard something along these lines, but I find it totally vile, and punishments have been handed out accordingly.      D gets enough bullying out of the house, without feeling he gets more of the same when at home.   M has to learn quickly this type of comment is not acceptable.

D has been on an emotional rollercoaster in the past few days.     Something is worrying him but he doesn’t seem capable of vocalizing what it is.     He will sudden look really sad, and say he wants to cry.     He of course gets big hugs to make him feel safe and secure.   Sometimes this will calm him, but other times the tears have followed and he sobs uncontrollably.        He cant say what the matter is, just that he feels like crying.     Now, I am a great believer that a good cry can help to make things better, and so I would never tell him to stop crying, but it can be quite upsetting for me to see my baby breaking his heart with no rhyme or reason for it.       All we can do is let him have these moments in the hopes that they help him to sort out whatever is going on in his head so he can tell us when we he feels ready to do so.        This melancholy mood he is in, is also effecting his sleep.    Saturday night he was up three times, just needing cuddles  – I just need sleep at 3am, but he is always my priority.       It is so hard to know what to do or how to help him when he says he doesn’t know what is wrong.

Today the kids didn’t want to get organised for school.     M reluctantly got organised, but D was adamant he didn’t want to go as he doesn’t like school – that isn’t really the truth as he loves learning and totally adores his teacher, but his unhappiness is being thrown towards something tangible, and that is school.    I got him dressed and organised but walking up the road was a nightmare.   The walk takes a bout 5 minutes, but with the kids it’s usually 10, however this morning, M went on with the crowd we walk with, as D was in super go slow mood, and just held my hand as tightly as possible.       When I eventually got him into his line, he looked so sad that one Mum actually asked me what was wrong with him!     His head was down and he was focusing about the end of his nose.       I am sure once he was in and saw all of his friends he would have been fine, but it really tugs at your heart-strings to see your child looking so unhappy and knowing there is nothing you can do about it.

I am hoping they have both had a good day, and are ready to fight me over doing their homework!!!!

Getting dirty.


The boys have always enjoyed being outside.      In fact I would say that while both of them love their computers and video games, there is nothing they enjoy more than messing about in the great outdoors.      As far as M is concerned, since he started nursery, and has continued through school, it has often been commented about that he is much happier when he is outdoors.

We have been to Haven many times over the past few years, and one of the things the boys have always enjoyed is the nature walk.    It has previously always been a session taken by one of the play leaders, and they wander a group of children around the park, looking for birds, and plants, and marking them down on a work sheet.    It has always been interesting and one thing the boys expect to do.

This year however it has all change.   When going through the entertainment timetable, there was no nature walk.     Neither boy was happy.      Then we saw something called Nature Rockz – don’t talk to Hubby about the name of the sessions as he gets quite upset by people using a “z” instead of a “s”.       It didn’t give too many details but said additional information was available at the booking point.     After swimming, I went to find out about it, and booked the boys up for the three daily sessions – each afternoon for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

The first session was a bug hunt – sounded perfect for two boys who love getting mucky!     The instructor was a scary sight, in full combat gear and make-up!   Ranger Steve.    He kept the kids in line, but his enthusiasm was amazing, as he got the kids to introduce themselves – M introduced himself to his shoes.         He then marched the kids over to his hideout in the woods – parents could go if they wanted to, so we did, just in case they weren’t happy with somebody they didn’t know.    They were talked through the environment and the type of creature they were looking for and likely to find, before being let loose to find them and get the dirtiest hands possible – M took the dirty hands part very literally and I believe that was a higher priority to him than finding the bugs!    There was great excitement amongst the kids as the first woodlouse was found, but soon all the kids were getting millipedes, worms, wood weevles, snails, and more woodlice, in their jars.         D had a few problems as he is still very aware of his knees so getting down to the dirt wasn’t that easy for him, but he happily pulled bark off dead pieces of wood to see what was under it.

The next day I forget how many times I was asked when we would be seeing Ranger Steve, and we were actually at the meeting point about half an hour early than the time,  because they didn’t want to be late!     M spoke out much easier today, and told Ranger Steve that his favourite thing was getting his hands dirty!!!!      Today the kids were building a bug hotel.     They  had to think about the type of things the bugs like to live in naturally, as so what they could use to make an environment that would make them happy.     Using old pallets, and cardboard they then added dirt, leaves and wood, before finding bugs to stay in the hotel!        Mucky hands were again order of the day.       Once more two totally engaged boys loving the information being fed to them.

The last session was the one D had been looking forward to most as it was about making a fire, and then toasting marshmallows!        It was a very interesting session and I think Hubby learned as much as the kids, so I can only imagine the next barbecue we have will be a real adventure and not just firelighters and matches!!!!      M wasn’t so sure about the burnt, I mean toasted marshmallows, but D loved them and has insisted we buy marshmallow for next time we barbecue!

They were great sessions which were totally the highlight of the holiday for the boys.     It was great to see the boys welcome someone in so easily because their knowledge and enthusiasm was infectious.     For him to engage two ASD boys so completely was amazing to see and just shows that enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm.       The boys are already talking about seeing Ranger Steve again when we go back in October so I am hoping he will still be there!!!

Magic Moments


When on holiday our evenings usually follow a very set pattern. We go to the early character shows, which while billed as for the younger kids are still loved by my boys. We then spend too much money in the arcade before getting a take away which we return to the caravan to eat. However for just one evening we were allowed to change this routine. During one of the entertainment sessions during the day, M heard the announcement that during the evening there would be a magician performing. M has always been fascinated whenever we have seen magic shows in the past, and so was desperate to go. D wasn’t so keen, but agreed we would go, after a lot of huffing and puffing. We therefore decided, if we had our tea after the early show, we could be back in time for the magician. Of course, once they had eaten, they couldn’t be bothered to return to the entertainment complex. After much thinking about it, they decided they did want to return.

The show was scheduled to begin at 9:15pm, so it was going to be a later night for them to be entertained – evenings on holiday are always late ones, but they are usually slobbing back at the caravan by this time. The show bar was heaving from the entertainment for the older children, so there weren’t any available tables, so we bided our time, and were lucky to pounce on one right on the edge of the dance floor when somebody moved. The boys sat looking apprehensive with their ear defenders firmly in place – probably one of the best purchases ever made as they make so many things less difficult for the boys.

Then the lights went down and the music started.

M was in fits of laughter almost instantly as the sound track made it seem as if the magician was still in the loo!!!! The magician was Martin James – http://www.martynjames.com/ His show was a mixture of comedy and magic. Both boys were totally captivated, and I honestly believe if the show had lasted any longer, M would have had tears rolling down his face as he was laughing so hard. Some of the humour was a little naughtier, but it seemed to go over all of the kids heads, but had the parents chuckling!

One of the sections of the show included him lighting his finger, and pushing the glowing embers through his ears, into his mouth and retrieving it from his bum! M was totally sucked into the magic. What was even better was that at the end he showed the kids how it was done – it didn’t take away from the wonder seeing the thumb light he used to do the illusion. Better yet was that the kids were able to purchase the lights after the show. M of course was desperate for them, and has entertained us with his version of the act since.

D doesn’t believe in magic. He will tell you there is no such thing, which I do find a little sad. I think the wonders of life and the world is totally magical if you allow it to be, but his logic says there is an explanation for everything. That said, he was sucked into the whole entertainment of the show, he laughed and gasped at the same places we all did, and gave a huge cheer at the end. He may not believe in the magic, but he certainly suspended his logic while the show was on.     Live theatre is so much more engaging than television that I think it draws you in so much more.

M loved it. He laughed from start to finish. Seeing M laugh is a lovely thing because he totally lights up, and has the most contagious laugh imaginable. What is better, is that it is one of the thing we were told he wasn’t likely to do naturally – we were told he may learn to copy others who were laughing but not to expect him to initiate it. However, when the smile touches the eyes, and the chuckle comes from the mouth, it makes you pleased that the so called experts don’t know everything as each of our children is capable of the most amazing things.

We might say time with our kids teaches us the magic of the world every day.