Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy Hogger's! Listography - Scottish Styleeee!

This has to be one of my favourite days of the year. 

Being Scottish, we really do know how to celebrate the end of one year and how to celebrate bringing in a new one. This doesn't always involve getting absolutely blootered (drunk) and communing with the porcelain God for the majority of New Year's Day. We get all misty eyed and reflect on our luck and experiences of the last year. For being a remarkably dour and pessimistic people, the majority of Scots I know refrain from whining about their lot in the last year and we look forward with hope and excitement to the coming year.





Having regrets at this time of year, being overly dramatic so as to draw attention to yourself is a waste of time. I'm staying off of Facebook because it's doing my head in already. I'd send the lot of them to a Third World bootcamp so they could see what real hardship and real illnesses and diseases are.

I came across this poem this morning that sums up exactly how I see New Year:

We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths; 
In feelings, not in figures on a dial. 
We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives 
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best. 
And he whose heart beats quickest lives the longest: 
Lives in one hour more than in years do some 
Whose fat blood sleeps as it slips along their veins... P.J Bailey

The theme for this week's Listography is top five 2011 photographs and so I thought I would share mine here.


My babies. I am so lucky to have such wonderful, happy, healthy, charismatic kids. I hope that 2012 will be just as wonderful and eventful as this last year has been for them.


Our cheeky chops, Miss B or Boo as she is more commonly called these days. This picture is from the beginning of the year and my how she has grown since. She is so full of fun and brings us so much joy. I can't wait to see how she grows and blossoms this year.


My big guy. Well, what can I say about him? He is just amazing. The amount of people who stop me and say to me that he is just a wonderful guy is awesome. I'm so proud of all that he has achieved in 2011 and the huge strides that he has made and how well he has coped with his autism. I'm sure that as he becomes a teenager this year, 2012 will be even smellier than 2011!



My family featuring the big guy himself. Every year has been amazing for us and every year our love gets stronger and deeper. He is my best friend and my one true love. I'm hoping that 2012 sees more beard action!


 And finally... OD proposed on Christmas eve (after nearly 9 years together) in what is quite possibly the most romantic thing he has ever done! 2012 will see a fair bit of wedding planning and a whole new theme to my blog!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

My Child isn't Perfect. Part Two.

Last week I reacted to the ITV's airing of part one of a two part series named My Child isn't Perfect

My reaction at that time was just that, reactionary. I was pretty angry about the production of the programme and it's message. I didn't provide any deep insight into another reality of raising a child whom the ITV deem not to be perfect because that would take forever. I did, however, fail to give any information on the show for those who haven't seen it so here is a fleshed out version along with more comments. These comments are largely negative I am afraid. I wanted to write objectively about the combined programmer but the manner in which the information, the experiences and the impression left on the viewer is still maddening. My heart is also still recovering from an hour long session with my son last night where he broke down in tears. In lieu of his annual peadiatrician visit, he is feeling frustrated at being different. I tried my hardest not to cry when he looked at me through his tears and said to me that he just wanted to be perfect. Just like everybody else.


From the ITV website:

Episode 1
In episode one we meet Katherine, a lively little six year old who is the life and soul of the family at home. However, as soon as she passes through the school gates each day, she becomes mute. Unable to speak a word for eight hours a day, her family embarks on a course of intensive speech therapy to get to the cause of her resistance to talk.

For 16 year old Henry, the problem isn’t talking, it’s what he says: Henry has Tourette’s Syndrome. Diagnosed just over a year ago, following a sudden seizure, Henry and his family’s lives were turned upside down in an instant. Unable to control either physical movement or vocal expression, he’s coming to terms with the impact of this incurable condition and seeking alternative therapies to manage it, while studying for his GCSEs.

The programme also features Charlotte, who has been searching for a diagnosis to explain her ten year old son Adam’s behaviour. Convinced that something just ‘wasn’t right’ since he was a baby, she has come to the mental health unit of the Priory in Cheadle, near Stockport, to meet Dr Faeza Khan. She assesses Adam and diagnoses him with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, which comes as a relief to his mother, who has spent his life searching for a diagnosis which will hopefully enable the family to access services and support to formulate a long-term care package for him.

Episode 2
The programme follows a 15 year old girl struggling with bulimia. Hazel is sick up to 20 times a day and can’t seem to escape the cycle of binge eating and vomiting. She has been under the care of the Maudsley Hospital, one of the UK’s leading NHS institutions for child and adolescent mental health services with a specialist knowledge of eating disorders. Hazel has attended therapy sessions for the past twelve months, and with her GCSEs approaching, she’s desperately trying to take control of her condition.

12 year old Lewis has immersed himself in the silent world of photography because his stammer, which he has suffered with for the last four years since changing schools, means that talking is an internal battle, one which he constantly loses. Lewis attends a three day intensive course using revolutionary breathing techniques to try to overcome his stammer.

Tracy has known her daughter Maddy was different since she was just eight months old. Her aggressive behaviour, inability to make friends and constant defiance has threatened to pull their family apart. Early intervention in any mental health issue is vital, and now she is eight years old, Maddy’s parents realise they don’t have long to get her a diagnosis and hopefully help her control her behaviour. A thorough assessment under the care of the world renowned child psychologist Professor Stephen Scott and his team at the Maudsley Hospital diagnoses ADHD and he prescribes a multi-pronged approach to managing the condition including medication and arming her parents with some new parenting techniques.

Before I start I would like to point out that none of what I have to say is NOT a direct slur on any of these parents. It is hard and I know their hardships. My comments reflect what I believe was the way on which their individual circumstances was portrayed by ITV and what the general public will have taken away from the programme. I also focus more on the representation of ASD and autism as that is what I know most about. 

So, the intention of the programme is to highlight the difficulties that parents of children who are 'different' face. There is even a minor attempt to deal with public perceptions of conditions that they do not understand. A reading of the programme as this is too forgiving and certainly not the message that is communicated by the programme as a whole. The programme did show one thing that previous coverage of disabilities and behavioural problems like these hasn't until now, is that yes, even children of Middle Class parents can have what the programme makers refer to as behavioural problems. It is not solely confined to your scheme dwellers, your single parents and your teenage parents. 

I found it hard to relate to the parents in the programme. Yes, people need to hear about our experiences as parents of children with disabilities but they need to hear about it in a what that creates empathy. The public need an insight, they need to see you struggle and they need to see you coping to grasp a glimmer of what life is really like. Giving ITV soundbites like "I wish it was a brain tumour. At least that could be cut out" and "Why do they get to have normal children and I don't" does nothing to change public perception of us as parents or of our children. I really felt that the message that came across was that these parents were struggling to cope with or at least accept who their children are. I admire Henry's mother for attempting to help him out using holistic methods rather than the drugs that he grudges taking. But calling herself a reiki master is a bit of a push, isn't it? While the programme's is intention to highlight the hardships that the parents face, I do not think that I would be incredibly far off the mark in saying that the children are sidelined to create pity for the poor parents who have to raise them. The programme also lacks any real opinion or commentary from the children themselves. Henry is lucky in that he has a wonderful support network of friends. He is able to articulate himself incredibly well and seems to be coping admirably with the late onset at such a difficult phase in his life. 

Also a major problem is created in the editing process of both episodes. We are told in the opening of each programme that the children with the psychological conditions have been struggling with them for a number of years. However, relatively little work within a short space of time reveals a startling transformation. Katherine, after only one session talks to her speech therapist in her classroom setting, then moves on to a friend and then a small group. Lewis' programme in Sussex lasts only three days. Hazel after being able to talk through her obsession with food, decides she is going to change and does. This is fantastic news. Finally these beautiful children can progress and grow and get past their obstacles. However to the lay person this creates the impression that these obstacles were relatively minor if they could be treated so easily. 

In their interaction with professionals, their resources are distinctly Middle Class. None of the actions are typical and are certainly not ways of coping, treating or dealing with any of these disabilities are that accessible to all. Henry's mother spent over £10,000 on dentistry. It is not clear whether she has sought help for this on the NHS or has forked out for this herself. Adam only receives a diagnosis when his mother eventually stops lounging by the pool and takes him to the Priory. The parents of the girl with Selective Mutism wait after she has completed two full years in primary school before they seek any intervention. And either they are incredibly fortunate to be in a local authority where a speech therapist would come into her school three times a week or they paid for that themselves. Again in the second part, Lewis' parents are able to pay for him to attend the Starfish programme in Sussex. 

I still struggle with the intentions of the two programmes. A wide and varied range of disabilities, conditions and mental health issues are dealt with and perhaps this is it's fault.In their intention to cover a myriad of problems, they have covered too much and so the overall message is lost, empathy is lacking and any real understanding of the problems themselves or what life is like for the parents is still as muddy as at the start of the programme. Adam's lack of diagnosis is illustrative of a great number of children on the autistic spectrum but there are more people who have to fight for support for their children and who cannot access a private institution like the Priory to facilitate a diagnosis. Maddy is another example of the realities of having a child with a neurological condition. The fact that somewhere along the line she was actually misdiagnosed with Attachment Disorder and her poor mother was told that it was all her fault, might be shocking but is common. Less than 50 years ago women were being told that their parenting was the cause of their child's autism. 

The buzzwords of the programme are behaviour and difficulties. This muddies the line between neurological conditions, psychological conditions. Something that is treatable, curable and something that is not. Indeed the choice of showing three children in the first programme, two with diagnosable neurological conditions and one with a psychological one suggests that they are similar. Ergo something that you can be counselled out of. ADHD, ASD and Tourette's are very, very different to Mutism, Bulimia and Stammering and perhaps the programmes would have been better if they had separated them. Also, I cannot recall the word disability every being used in the programme. That is what these children are.

I didn't start out with the intentions of being so negative about both programmes but I am so disappointed with them. I am not the only one who is disappointed with the programme or in the message that the soundbites have conveyed. A charity that focuses on brain tumour research have registered a huge number of complaints to Ofcom about the soundbite which was actually shown in the official trailer as well as in the main body of the first episode. I think that anything that highlights what the kids have to go through and cope with is admirable but a corporation of this size, with its resources could have done a much better job. Viewers will sit down for two hours, mutter "aw...that's such a shame" and flick over to the next programme with very little thought. 



Monday, 12 December 2011

Don't forget the Grinch. I know he's mean and hairy and smelly. His hands might be cold and clammy, but I think he's actually kinda... sweet.



“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons.
It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”


- How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Dr Seuss.


Ladies, do you live with a man who isn't bothered about the festive season?

I have been unusually quiet this year about Christmas. I am starting to think that years of living with the Grinch has taken it's toll. Or has it? Could it be that the Grinch has discovered the true meaning of Christmas?

I have always loved Christmas and I have a tendency to go over the top every year. I always do it in a classy way of course because I'm a classy bird! There are no animatronic festive figures and my lights are all one colour but I do get the festive bug in a big way and I'm generally a pain the backside for the festive period. OD spends the majority of the festive period rolling his eyes at me, so much so that outsiders may think that he was having a seizure!

When I met OD he possessed a sad little fibre optic tree that looked like it should've been taken outside and put out of its misery. I, on the other would buy the biggest tree I could every year, put the carols on and decorate it with A with mugs of cocoa and marshmallows. When A was three years old, I actually lived on Edinburgh's famous Canongate, four doors away from Edinburgh's only Christmas Shop! For the entire month of December the house would smell of mulled wine, gingerbread and cookies. Oh, I was in my element!

I have lots of little traditions that drive OD mad. I spend hours delicately wrapping gifts, decorations appear everywhere and I fill the house with Christmas scents! I like to do lots of little touches that add a bit if spark to the festive season in the run up to the big guys visit. The kids get special Christmas pyjamas, we visit santa a few times, we make a special effort to see friends who have been busy. OD still refuses to wear special Christmas pyjamas. He moans about my excessive spending, my excessive cooking and usually mutters under his breath for the entire month. Something has changed this year...

I was lucky in that I got to spend every Christmas with A from the beginning to watch his awareness and appreciation of the festive season develop and change over time. OD didn't and so hadn't really witnessed those magical moments of the first few Christmases. Christmas decorating and its accompanying festivities were A and I's thing and he was happy to watch. Now he is experiencing it with B I think his attitude is changing slightly. He was excited about picking the tree this year and did it with A and we had a ball decorating it together as a family. I watched his face as he helped both kids put the baubles on the tree and something has changed. This year when I mentioned that there would be 14 of us for our main Christmas dinner (something I had been building up to for about a week!) he didn't even blink...

...I may even get him in some festive pj's next year!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad. Please excuse any typing errors as my fat fingers and Apple's touch screen technology are not a good combination.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

#youmightbeanautismparentif



I am a bit late to the table but I have just had five minutes to myself to look at this wonderful hashtag that has been trending on Twitter. I adore the idea and the sentiment behind the tweets. Some are bittersweet, some are heartbreaking, some are hilarious, some are sad but all of them are familiar.

If you are unfamiliar with twitter, a hashtag before a word or words denotes tweets that have been made under a particular topic. In this case the topic is: you might be an autism parent if…you then fill in the blank. If you have one that you would like to add then pop over to twitter or post one below as a comment.

Something that I'm often thinking about is how I see myself as a parent. Parenting a child with autism is a challenge but I have always accepted this challenge with good grace. Kids are hard work and they are meant to be. They are malleable beings whose future and personality are shaped by how we nurture them. There is something, however, inbuilt in me that stops me from making a big deal about this my particular job. In real life I tend not to shout from the rooftops that I am the mother of a disabled child and in our little bubbie we can exist like this. Over the years I have put the work in to absorb all of the negativity and glaringly obvious differences and difficulties that he faces on a daily basis so he could just trot along on his merry way. In this plan I really didn't account for him becoming older, I didn't account on him prying himself away from our protective arms. I didn't account for him having to bar his disability on hs own and having to deal with it on his own, in his own way.

It feels okay for me to say now at this point in my life that it has been hard. It has been incredibly hard to raise a child who is different in a world that wants everyone to be the same. It will always be hard. My son is different and that makes me a different type of parent. I've always felt uncomfortable saying that my job is harder than the parent of a child without difficulties but it is. I think that I will start giving myself some slack when I fully accept that this is our reality. Unconsciously, I have kept friends and even the majority of our family out of loop by covering up the difficulties that we face. I have kept people at arms length so they wouldn't judge him and this has left them judging me.

A friend of mine recently celebrated a step forward in her little girls life and what struck me most was that she called it "an autism mummy moment". I realised that this is true, so very true. Not just in the hardships that we face that others do not but in the things we celebrate and what we celebrate will always be different to that of another child. Any recently acquired friends of mine on Facebook will think that my constant posting about my son is that of a smug SAHM who has nothing else to focus on. This is really not the case at all, but our moments are different and mean something very different to us. We inhabited a world for such a long time that focused on all of the things that our son couldn't do and would never achieve. Breaking free from this world means that a world of possibility has opened up for him and even the triumph warms my heart.

Days after this realisation, I found the hashtag. You might be an autism parent if... Reading them, I laughed and I cried and nodded profusely all the while being envious of the ways in which these parents could articulate our differences. I would like to share a few with you now.

#youmightbeanautismparentif you find yourself explaining autism and aspergers to professionals.

#youmightbeanautismparentif you think that neurotypicality is HIGHLY overrated.

#youmightbeanautismparentif you are amazed at how much more compassionate kids can be than their parents.

#youmightbeanautismparentif your heart skips a beat (or 10) if the school calls during class time.

#youmightbeanautismparentif u've held your head a little bit higher during a public meltdown & thought: I dare U 2 say something.

#youmightbeanautismparentif You have restrained yourself from punching an elderly person for telling you to control your child.

#youmightbeanautismparentif You are afraid of dying, but not for the traditional reasons.

#youmightbeanautismparentif you lost a bunch of friends bc they don't even try to understand.


I'd like to add some of my own:


#youmightbeanautismparentif your 12 year old can't ride a bike.

#youmightbeanautismparentif if you have become immune to your child flapping constantly.

#youmightbeanautismparentif if you been told that your child needs a good hiding.

#youmightbeanautismparentif if you've heard the phrase 'he's not that autistic, is he?

#youmightbeanautismparentif if your proud of how far he's come but fear how far he has to go.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad. Please excuse any typing errors as my fat fingers and Apple's touch screen technology are not a good combination.

Silent Sunday - Mother's Pride.




- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad. Please excuse any typing errors as my fat fingers and Apple's touch screen technology are not a good combination.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

We have a Winner!

Ladies and gentlemen...we have a winner!




Thanks to all of you who entered my first competition. There were over 170 entries! I hope that there will be many more in the future. Stay tuned!

I chose the winner using the Random Number Selector at Random.org.

True Random Number Generator
Min: 1
Max: 173
Result:
65
Powered by RANDOM.ORG

...and the winner is: caro.tonge(at)tesco.com

Congratulations! You ave exciting news in your inbox!




Thanks again to all who entered!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad. Please excuse any typing errors as my fat fingers and Apple's touch screen technology are not a good combination.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

My Child isn't Perfect.

My Child isn't Perfect. (My thoughts on Part two can be found HERE.)

Really? Who says?

Tonight I watched a new two part special on children with disabilities. Aired on ITV, the programme was supposed to show examples of what life is like for parents with disabled children. I usually lap these things up viewing them as another worthy step in increasing awareness of the complex world some of us inhabit.

This one left a bad taste in my mouth. I may be being pedantic here but I have a problem with ITV's general representation of disability in general. All of these bloody award ceremonies so the public can indulge their craving for X-Factor-style heartwarming stories. How about donating the cost of such nonsense to the causes that desperately need help so that they can provide help for the people picked to be awarded. I'm sure they would appreciate that more than something to put on their mantle.

Take the title for example. No child is perfect. Full stop. But being disabled or having behavioural, mental or social issues doesn't automatically mean that they are any less perfect than a 'normal' child.

I also shuddered when the narrator, when talking about the lengthy diagnosis process that the family with the autistic boy were going through described it as wanting to know what is WRONG with their son. There's nothing WRONG with the boy!

Oh and if you throw money at a private clinic then it's dead easy to get a diagnosis?! That should keep the Priory in business for a while.

As per usual the programme lacked any real depth and even as a mother of an autistic child, I couldn't relate to the boys mother. There was very little coherence or even insight provided by her rants. It's not fair, why do they get to have normal children and not me?

Also, while we all find this hand we've been dealt incredibly hard at time wishing a brain tumour on your child instead of Tourettes is a silly thing to say. The poor production values of the programme has actually taken away the true struggle that these parents face on a daily basis.

I can't wait for the second installment!

Monday, 5 December 2011

This too shall pass...

I had to share this. On my Terrible Two researching adventures, I managed to find this. It is a Terrible Two's Countdown designed to predict when the Terrible Two's will end!

Suddenly, I've come over all Jack Bauer...

I'm federal agent Jack Bauer. This is the longest day of my life.



This was our result:

Terrible Twos Countdown Calculator When will the terrible twos be over?

Miss B was born on November 17, 2009 and is 2 years and 0 months old.

You have 353 days - 13 hours - 19 minutes - and 56 seconds until your child is out of the terrible twos phase.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Struggle for Independence.

No, don't worry I am not about to start spouting Nationalist sentiments and justifying Big 'Eck's demented vision for Scotland's future...

I've been reading. Researching the Terrible Two's to arm myself with information of our impending developmental stage. I've not been reading Skinner's behaviour theory (I've read it before), but I have been looking through forums and medical pages, looking for some insight into this precious stage. To survive a zombie apocalypse, you must be armed with knowledge and weapons and the ability to think whilst running from a building. I am taking the same approach to the Terrible Two's... 
A recent article in the Australian Telegraph informs us that our children, if we put them into childcare, will exhibit the Terrible Two's to a bigger degree than a child at home. Given that I have just started B at playgroup, this makes my knees knock!

Aparently, the Terrible Two's happen because as a parent, I will have failed to meet my child's growing need for independence. From the very moment that she started to walk, Miss B began a struggle; the struggle for autonomy. This provides an explanation for toddler tantrums and all related fiendish behaviour. Their own frustrating incompetence drives them over the edge and lead them to explode in a tantrum. My duty as her mother is to pre-empt negative outcomes from my child's exploration and learning while maximizing the opportunity for positive outcomes.

While this is all very true and I'm always the first to reach for professional advice but to read about the TT's in such terms, I cannot help but laugh. Perhaps it's a nervous laughter? I can laugh now but follow my posts over the next year and please, remind me that I thought this was hilarious! Remind me after walking out of Sainsbury's without any shopping because Queenie Bee has thrown a wobbler in the sweetie aisle.
Here's some of the titbits that I've found so far:

'Most children over the age of one year become quite negative'.- What a bad press for the little people!

'By this stage of life, if you haven't already baby-proofed the home, do so.' - I'm going to show my rage by sticking my finger in this plug socket! 

'Self-esteem grows the more the child gains mastery over their environment and self.' - This image of the Narmer Palette comes to mind. The Egyptian ruler is shown smiting his enemies...




'During the terrible twos, however, children may not truly know their own mind.' - Is it some sort of Government Acid Test?

'Surviving the terrible twos boils down to remembering that children at this age are not logical and rational.' - Yes, I can see that going down well with B in the middle of the supermarket. No, you cannot have this because your choice is neither logical nor rational. 

'Avoid falling into the toddler-trap.' - Beware of secret trenches lined with sharpened stakes and covered with leaves whilst taking your toddler for a walk in the park. 

'Don’t get mad – get better!' - or get even?

Friday, 2 December 2011

Can the Terrible Twos really be THAT terrible?

Sitting in the room on our first day at playgroup and watching the rest of the older kids running around, it suddenly occurred to me that Miss B has entered that wonderful stage that is the Terrible Twos.



Later, I started to have a root around the internet for what to expect during this developmental stage. The results did not bode well given that the top link was from the BBC's parenting site entitled 'The Terrible Twos and Threes'. Bugger! Two years of tantrums and diva behaviour?!

Some professionals call the Terrible Two's the first adolescence. Bugger! Bugger! BUGGER!

So with one kid approaching puberty and another, the Terrible Two's, how the heck am I going to survive?


















So folks, help me out and come and share your Terrible Two tales. Did you survive?

Thursday, 1 December 2011

London Baby! Continued...

So, we were up with the lark and enjoyed a fantastic breakfast at the hotel. Neal's Yard yoghurt, granola, fresh fruits and pastries and coffee (for me) and we were ready to face the pace of London at rush hour.



First up was negotiating the tube to get to Kensington.


We had planned a whirlwind tour of the Natural History Museum, the V&A, the Science Museum before lunch! The tube was manic and I tried my hardest to stop A from panicking. He managed to drown out the noise with his iPod and headphones and I kept a hold of his arm.

He was mesmerised by the tube tunnel musicians that we encountered. The city centre in Edinburgh's equivalent is middle aged men in full regalia wheezing away on the bagpipes. We heard Billy Bragg, the Kinks and the Jam.

When we arrived in Kensington, we started at the Science Museum.



A has embraced the new subjects at high school and loves the sciences. He recognised a few of the demonstrations as experiments they had already tried out in class. This was enough to grab his interest and we ran with it. It really is a rare occasion where we see him get excited about school subjects. Primary school was hard for him and high school is proving to be just as difficult to negotiate. A lack of awareness of ASD within the community means that he is an easy target for bullying.

During our visit we stopped for treats at a milkshake bar where we indulged in rather sickly Oreo milkshakes.

This was fine until A found a Red Arrows simulator and booked us tickets for a ride. We were flipped upside down and looped the loop and by the time it was finished, he was absolutely poor less at the quivering wreck I had become and that remained the most amusing event for the rest of the day. Our conversations were peppered with him exclaiming "oh my goodness, your face was hilarious!" and him chuckling away.



After this we went to the Natural History museum and A insisted that the first thing we did was to go and buy dinosaurs (in miniature) for our Miss B. She is a huge fan of them and was delighted when he presented her with them. The place, itself, was fantastic and we're looking forward to taking B when she is older.




After our whirlwind tour of the galleries and museums, we went for a walk through Hyde Park. A's papa (my father) is a huge Rolling Stones fan he regales us with tales of their gigs in his youth and for some reason this stuck with A.



We then visited the Royal Albert Hall and headed back to the Tube to get into the centre.

Once there, A was desperate to visit an underground breakdancing space called the Trocadero near Piccadilly. We went and he hung out with some other guys who were there to practice.



After this we headed to the New Era store in Regent Street where the staff were phenomenal with him. They showed him all of the exclusive caps and I came out with my purse significantly lighter than when I went in. He really is immersing himself in all things breakdancing.


After this we went to see all of the billboards at Leiscter Square and Piccadilly. Then headed to Carnaby Street to dance like Austin Powers and score some ice cream at the Liberty Ice Cream Parlour.
After this we headed for Hamley's to get B another gift and A got to try out some magic tricks with a professional magician.


From here we headed to China Town for some authentic Chinese cuisine. We found a great place called Dumplings Legend where professional dumping chefs were preparing them in a little booth.
A was fascinated by this and we ordered a feast of dumplings and accompaniments and reflected on the day that had been.

We had one last stop before heading back to King's Cross.

Our OD loves doughnuts and a few years ago on my way back from Iran, I brought him home two dozen Krispy Kreme donuts. This is a bigger deal than you think because there are no franchises in Scotland and I think that the furthest North you can buy them is Manchester. A and I resolved to run up Oxford Street to Selfridges where they have a donut counter and ran the entire length (25 minutes) of the street to bag ourselves three dozen donuts!


Triumphantly wielding our donuts, we just about had enough time for a quick visit to platform 9 3/4 and then we were on our way home...


Tired? We certainly were!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad. Please excuse any typing errors as my fat fingers and Apple's touch screen technology are not a good combination.