Tuesday, 30 September 2014

To The Bully At Soft Play...

To the bully at soft play,

you are young, five or six, it's very typical behaviour for you to not let an unknown child in to the 'den' that you have made at soft play. Pushing and pinning my son to the wall is not!

Our little boy is non-verbal, you may have thought he was ignoring you by not responding, but he could have simply not understood your requests. He also had no way to communicate with you. 

Your mum did not seem bothered when we explained to her what had happened and that our son is autistic/non-verbal. In-fact I don't think she even spoke to you about the incident.

This five minutes in the soft play, that probably won't even cross your mind again, has rocked my son's world.   

It took us over a year to build up our sons confidence so that we didn't have to hold his hand at soft play. He enjoyed going and would be very happy to run off and play. Our son has always had issues with other children but now he won't go near anyone and the slightest touch sends him into floods of tears. 

At home he is very emotional, he has wanted full on cuddles on quite a few occasions, something that is very rare for him. He is crying in his sleep and is very unsettled. 

This new anxiety has even moved into nursery, a place that he felt very safe, he now won't go into the garden with the other children to play. Something he used to enjoy. 

Who knew such a small childish incident could have such massive repercussions, but don't worry little boy at soft play whose mother didn't care. I will take the time to build up my sons confidence no matter how long this takes, days, weeks or even years. We will not stop taking our son to places and no matter how hard it will be to not wrap him in cotton wool, we will again start the process of trying to make him as independent as possible. 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Birds Eye #Afterschoolchefs Challenge

With Little E's arrival and the fact that her regular crying time is when I should be cooking the dinner, teatime has become quite a challenge. 

It has been a nightmare trying to prepare meals that are healthy, include veg and something that Ethan will eat. With Little E's demands the slow cooker meals have been a no go so at the weekends I have been batch cooking and freezing meals. This means lots of meal planning and quite a lot of time in the kitchen but it has meant in the week the dinners don't take lots of thought or time to prepare. The downside being we are living on homemade pasta sauces and currys. Our favourites but we would easily quickly get very bored of the same meals.  

With Ethan being non-verbal and a very fussy eater to make our teatimes easier we, me and our family support key worker, used the twinkl resources to make cards to show Ethan what he is having for dinner.

I select the correct images just before I start cooking the dinner, this also makes Ethan aware that we will be having something to eat soon. 

Taking part in the Birds Eye #Afterschoolchefs Challenge I wanted to find products that contained veg, I try my best to include veg in our meals but that is a challenge in itself! I also wanted to make cooking the meals as stress free as possible and the food needed to appeal to Ethan. 

Armed with the vouchers to take part in this challenge I went to our local supermarket to see what I could find. 

I was very impressed with the Birds Eye selection and also picked items that could be cooked in the microwave. This would mean if Little E only gave me ten minutes grace I would still be able to prepare a meal for Ethan. 

The first meal we tried was Steam Fresh Pasta. 

Not only was this meal a very quick cook in the microwave dinner it included pasta, Ethan's favourite yellow food, and veg. I must admit I was disappointed with the serving size as it said it would feed two to three and this only fed two of us. We did eat it as a main meal but if you had it as a side dish there would be enough for three. It was very tasty and with a little help and persuasion Ethan ate it all. 

Our next meal consisted of chicken cheese and ham inspirations, chicken space shapes for Ethan, mashtags and steam fresh veg.   

I purchased the chicken space shapes in the hope that it would attract Ethan to eat the dinner. One of Ethan's few words is star and I was hoping he would also vocalise this. The microwave veg I thought was a fantastic idea as I am easily put off cooking veg and would normally have just had beans with this dinner. 

We all loved this dinner the stars worked and mashtags are amazing. The chicken inspirations are also nice and we have already purchased more. The veg was OK, I think I just needed to cook it for a little longer to make the carrots a bit softer. 

For our next meal we decided to try the steam fresh rice, Ethan had more stars and we had breaded chicken.  

The rice is easily cooked in the microwave and is amazing. It also includes veg, another bonus. The stars also worked this time as Ethan also eat the rice, with support, a fantastic achievement on his part.  

We also tried the egg fried rice, again with the stars, another hit.  

Fish is also another important thing to include in our diet, we normally did this with fish fingers but this time we tried a fish fillet, with mashtags and beans. 

This was also a hit with Ethan as he also thought the mashtags were stars. Trying the Birds Eye range was very successful with Ethan and his eating. 


We enjoyed taking part in the Birds Eye #Afterschoolchefs Challenge as we were able to experience a week of dinners that were quick and easy to cook. They also contained veg and I didn't have to precook anything at the weekend. This also meant none of the normal planning that can also take lots of time, we had enough in the freezer to be spontaneous.  

The chicken space shapes were easily the best purchase and engaged Ethan to try new foods. We have already stocked up on more Birds Eye products to make our mealtimes stress free.

This post is an entry for #Afterschoolchefs Challenge, sponsored by Birds Eye. Learn more on the Birds Eye Facebook Page.
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