Category Archives: Children

Limb difference awareness month

The joy of a cardboard box

Just the norm

Tommy and LJ had a ‘sleepover’ yesterday ( the reason for the inverted commas will be obvious to any grandparents out there). I’ve watched Tommy develop and am struggling with being amazed at what he can do with his little arm and being cross with myself for being amazed, as to him this is just the norm.He was ‘decorating’ ( yes those inverted commas again) the Christmas tree and couldn’t get the bauble string to go over the branch. I never do things like that for him although the grandma in me often has to sit on her hands to stop herself! He held the bauble with his left hand and pushed his little arm Into the middle of the string to hold it open. Amazing he’s worked it out, but why wouldn’t he it’s normal for him?

We snuggled reading books and he had a bottle of juice with a stopper, he opened with his left arm whilst tucking the bottle under his little arm, he used his little arm to press it down, he opened it with his teeth. I watched in fascination. He is oblivious as this is his world. I have hundreds of examples of where he amazes me but then I make myself remember he’s an ordinary little boy learning to do things his way.

He climbed over his baby gate yesterday and found his advent bag – one book a day for December and a toy on Christmas Eve -really grandma?? – well at least he and LJ have lots of books to read and play with now – my poor son was distraught and was going to wrap them up again but it’s just Tommy being a 2 year old.

LJ is now one and is the most independent child I’ve ever met. She meets life on her own terms, cuddles when she wants, climbs, feeds herself potters happily and has been walking for ages! Having Tommy so close in age she just copies everything he does – they come as a pair and he greets her like he’s not seen her for months when you pick them up from nursery where she is in a different room – here she is and a hug.


I’m so proud of the pair of them, I know they will cope with whatever life brings them – they will both have their own challenges and I need to be amazed by them as the brilliant children they are. 

For the love of books …

It’s advent soon and I’ve nearly completed the advent sacks for Tommy and LJ. This isn’t my idea or even a new idea but it is lovely and I decided a bit of positivity was called for today.

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Instead of chocolate I wrap up 24 different books and number them, then put them in a sack for my grandchildren to open one each day. It’s great that they love books, there is something so special about having a warm wriggly child snuggled next to you listening in awe or playing with the interactive books with a giggle. Seeing books as a treat and as something to associate spending time with someone you love is priceless. 

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It doesn’t have to cost a fortune – I bought a pack of 10 books in TKMaxx this morning that had a RRP of over £60 for £12.99. I add a couple of Christmas books but many of the classic children’s books too. There is a special one for Christmas Eve, I included  a personalised one and a beautifully illustrated one from YSP last year. 

Ps there are ideas on Pinterest if you want an alternate to using a sack.

Share your ideas for what books would be great in an advent sack?

 I love the ‘Feel Brave‘ series by  Avril McDonald

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This is hopefully going to be a family tradition that we do every year, I love being a grandma!

Why are there no left handed cameras?

Surely in this technological age it wouldn’t take too much to design and manufacture a left handed camera?

I’m a right handed photographer so didn’t give this a thought before Tommy was born with a missing right hand. He is now at an age where he is curious about everything but he loves my camera. Let’s be honest he rarely sees me without it. He is awesome and can do most things with one hand and the support of his little arm. He uses his mouth, his feet and his little arm without thinking – it’s the norm. BUT he can’t cope with a camera without my help. Yes I know I could set up a tripod, a remote release etc etc but where is the fun in that – he wants to play!

I love this photo – not because of its technical quality, not even because it has my beautiful Layla- Jane in it BUT because Tommy took it! (with help from his doting grandma)

Even toy cameras are all right handed so very difficult for Tommy to use alone. I’ve googled and researched but although there are societies which help people with different needs – to me it seems simple – can someone just make a left handed camera so I can share my love of photography with my grandson?!

His little arm doesn’t stop him doing anything – he’s a normal, loving mischievous little boy  can anyone help us?

A strange time of year

The run up to Christmas is always busy but this year everything feels very strange. It’s sad that mum isn’t here and dad is struggling. Its wonderful that Layla-Jane grows a little every day and that Tommy is just so amazing.PicMonkey Collage

Its very much sadness and joy all mixed in.

Fundraising from the Dearne, trying to publicise our den book (On Amazon here )have been highlights but I must say thank you to my amazing friend Sharon @elaronndy for her funny account of den building for adults – please take 5 minutes to read it will make you smile. http://sharonabbott155.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/den-building-for-grown-ups.html

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I’ve worked hard on my sewing and gone from completely awful to maybe I could give this to a good friend as a present as they will understand and love me anyway! But I will keep working at it.

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The Christmas tree is up! Thanks to Zoe Whitaker! This is as festive as it gets as Tony is definitely from the ‘Bah humbug’ school of Christmas.

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I hope you all have a good week running up to the holidays, remember your loved ones and those who maybe need a bit of a hug J x

Celebrating den building

For the past two years Cathy (@cathy_cross) and I have met regularly in Manchester (sort of half way between Barnsley and Liverpool). We have a favourite cafe and we have spent hours there just throwing around ideas and drinking huge cups of coffee.

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We promised ourselves that when the book was completed we would celebrate here- with cake. I think you will agree that this is CAKE! Cathy had to take some home.

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I had toast! – Well it sounds good until you actually look at the photo.

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We wandered around with our book, took photos, met new friends who were painting amazing street art (@aylo_nomad ) on bollards – celebrating amazing women in history – check out the @16daysStreetArt project.

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The book is now available on Amazon HERE. It would make a brilliant Christmas present (shameless plug) – it’s amazing how animated adults become when they start to talk about the dens they made as a child – go for it – order the book and get those cardboard boxes and blankets out x

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Den Building

 

Sometimes …

…you encounter an amazing group of people. This morning I had the privilege of thanking a group of around 1,000 pupils who had ALL, along with staff, parents and the community, raised £5,600 to build a classroom in Kakuma Refugee Camp.

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A mud built classroom in Kakuma refugee camp

The classrooms such as the one above are in a desperate state and often house classes of anything up to 200 children.

The morning was a mixture of reflection, pride, celebration and empathy. The concentration on the faces of all throughout the assembly was inspirational. I went with Simon Devine who thanked the school on behalf of the WorldWide Education Project and spoke about how this school is putting their value words into action. These are not random words to make walls and planners pretty they are a set of values to live by! The values of determination, inclusion, enthusiasm were what had lead to this amazing achievement.

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Assembly at The Dearne ALC

I am proud of all of them and felt very emotional. A special thank you to Ben @thebenhorbury who had the vision and determination to see this through. The spontaneous singing of Happy Birthday to a valued member of staff just reinforced the sense of community. There will shortly be a ‘Dearne ALC’ in Kakuma and these young people have really made a difference – thank you all x

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An alternative to Christmas Cards

I’ve tried to ignore the impending chaos and panic that Christmas inevitably brings. Yesterday my neighbours decorated the outside of their house with lights. I am groaning – it’s too early! It will however, shortly be December so I wanted to propose an alternative to Christmas cards. I won’t be trying to remember who lives at what number, sending cards from ‘Number 2’. I won’t be sitting up late writing cards to catch the last post. I simply am only going to send cards to grandchildren, children and parents. I will wish everyone a ‘Happy Christmas’ and make a donation to the  #classroomchallenge  instead.

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You are more than welcome to download this and use it too!

 

The video below is a clip of the children singing to us as we left the classroom x