Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Monday, 30 December 2019

Small is SIX!

Unbelievably a year has gone by since I last updated about Zac. Facebook memories reminded me yesterday that on the day last year I published his "Five" update, which gave me a kick up the bum to actually make an effort to make a start on "Six". What a year it has been. 

Zachary, ever my Small one, ever my sensitive sweet little boy, ever not confined by societal 'norms' and expectations. So perfectly uniquely delightfully himself. This last couple of months has been one of realisation I guess. I've always said he was our 'worry'; sensitive yes, but sometimes extremely so and so genuinely distressed in some situations, sometimes some really extreme reactions and meltdowns over seemingly 'nothing'. It has been becoming more and more evident there are just some events, changes and routine disruptions that he really struggles to cope with.   

So in October we bit the bullet (after a few years of pondering I suppose, you would think being an SEN professional would help in this situation, but if anything it has not helped at all - so many conflicted thoughts about if we needed to start this process or not, if I was over-reacting, over thinking, over-recognising etc etc.)  and reached out to his school ALNCo and detailed our concerns; we think Zac is experiencing Sensory Processing Disorder / Difficulties; after some research we think Zac is struggling with Auditory and Tactile input along with some organisational difficulties and social/emotional difficulties. Namely being that he is hypersensitive to stimulus in some situations. Reading "The Out-of-Sync Child" has been a revelation and really helped us already support him better when we've come up against a tricky day.

School support has been great, they recognise our concerns in him even though they haven't raised any huge concerns themselves since Nursery. His ALNCo said it is also very likely that he 'masks' in the school environment and has developed his own self-coping strategies. So those little blips he does have, just haven't yet been linked together to a highlight a sensory trigger or recognised within the context of our concerns. She described it like a bucket; we meet his needs so well at home that he sent to school with his bucket full; through the day he comes up against situations which may unsettle him but he uses the reserves in his bucket to see him through them all, comes home empty and then we meet all those needs to fill him up again. And so on, and so forth.

We've already seen Ed Psych who was equally supportive and said the family concerns are more valuable than school and a referral has now been made to ISCAN to see if a) he meets their threshold and b) if he does meet threshold which agencies can offer him support.  Basically we're not sure where this goes now and its been quite overwhelming to take the step. We were just aware that he was almost six, and that things you would expect him to have grown out of by now he just hasn't. Sometimes it really feels like we have two threenagers in the house!   

I desperately didn't / don't want to be in a situation 18 months to 2 years from now where we set him up to fail if we hadn't at least seen if seeking support now was appropriate, because the process is LONG and you know when he is finishing Infants and transitioning to Juniors when the young 'age excuse' disappears and expectations wildly change. I so don't want him to be labelled difficult or naughty. Because he isn't, he is a really sweet kid who sometimes struggles to self-regulate.  I think we have a way to go for everyone to 'get him' and not just assume he can be a tricky at-times over-emotional boy but I think Jon and I have got much better recently at recognising what is usual and normal difficult child-behaviour and what is his anxiety / sensory related behaviour. Because you know what; there is no way any child would consciously choose to be wired and unsettled on high alert like Zac appears sometimes.  (Boxing Day was a prime example, wow!) 

All that being said, Zac has continued to thrive; he is such a marvellous boy. He HAS matured, he has continued to blow us away all of the time.  Reception year was brilliant, his teachers 'got him' with the perfect gentle and nurturing approach for him. They were so blown away by his work that they kept his Reception books as one of the their top end examples on writing improvement for moderation!  He has started Year 1 with continued brilliance and we love how he loves to read.  He is such a happy boy with an infectious giggle and silly funny sense of humour.

It all reads so ridiculously negative when its down like that above - and that above doesn't even really scratch the surface but even that makes him sound like incredibly hard work; and boy does he have his off days and moments, but he is a little joy all the same! 

Zachy, beautiful boy! You are SIX! Which sounds far too grown up really. Each year just zooms by.  Grown up you certainly have. A whole 6+ cm in a year! But still my Small!  Your first day in Year 1 photo compared your first day in Reception photo really shows the difference a year makes; honestly - you've shot up the front door! 

Growing up in height and growing up in your ways too.  Ever blossoming into big brother roles now. Of course you and Lucas have the mightiest of clashes (too many shared likes!) but you are the cutest when you spot him after Nursery at pick up time or when you get protective of Luc at the park! I love watching you play big brother - those moments where you steal cuddles with Lucas and you tell each other 'I love you'.  What a super place to be in; a big brother and a little brother. Being able to look up to Xander and be looked up to by Lucas.  You really live up to the middle spot if I'm honest; playing Small when you want to but equally bolstering big when you want to too! 

A lot has happened between five and six.   

To start off 2019, and not that long after your fifth birthday, this happened... 

Glasses!  It was strange at first, but they suit you so much that whenever you're not wearing your glasses now you don't look like you anymore! My little mini-me.  You went for a routine eye-test and the optician discovered you have mild astigmatism in both eyes. I kinda knew that one of you would need glasses one day; the odds were high since I started wearing glasses at age 6, but I expected the reason to be short-sightedness like me and not because your eyes were a funny shape!  You look the cutest in your glasses Zachy and I love the bright coloured frames on you. You rock them my Small! 

Then we moved your swimming lessons. Out of 'Bubble Tots' and into standard big boy leisure centre swimming lessons.  I couldn't make heads or tails of your progress really with Bubble Tots anymore so we made  the jump to put you with the same swimming teacher as Xander. It could've gone one of two ways as major change is always a challenge.  But luckily it went the right way and you've gelled well with Sian.  You still need lots of encouragement to stay on task for the whole of your lesson, you still have weeks where it is too much and you opt out by the end of the lesson and you still find 'watch weeks' quite tricky. However, you're getting more confident in the water and starting to resemble something of a swimmer; you've already achieved Wave 1 back on 23rd July (look at that proud little face, we were bursting for you Zachy!) and I bet you'll have your 5m badge before we know it!

We have had so many lovely adventures this year.  We've had holidays at Bluestone, Looe, Disneyland, Warwick Castle and Bournemouth.  February was a particularly crazy month where we started with snow and at the end of the month you were running through the waves on a beach in Cornwall on a 23 degree summer-like day.   Bonkers! 

We've been to so many places and some of my favourites days this year were our Mummy and Zac adventure days; the day we caught the train to Cardiff in March and the day we went to Legoland Discovery Centre in Birmingham just us in May.  

But I think some of my favourite memories of all this year was the day you met the Princesses at Disneyland. The joy on your face after we queued for two hours for you to meet Rapunzal and how utterly ecstatic you were at the Princess dinner in the restaurant underneath the castle.  Cuddles with Cinderella and Snow White and Merida.  Disneyland was just gorgeous; I would love to take you again one day, you were so happy and so immersed in all the magic. 

Another year where you've remained free-from-the-mold my beautiful boy. Not constrained by things that should be boys or girls but just loving whatever you love. And you still love Princesses and unicorns and magic.  You totally love Frozen and Elsa right now! For your birthday trip we went to London (more on that shortly) and you spent lots of your money on Frozen merchandise and insisted you wanted Elsa's dress; you've remained absolutely joyful dressing up in that dress since! You can totally pull it off and even more exciting is that we were able to match in our Elsa dresses, because Mummy has a snowflake print dress named Elsa! 

As well as Princesses, you love Lego and Paw Patrol Mighty Pups too.  I thought we had escaped the Paw Patrol phrase, but now there are Mighty Pups you and Lucas are all over it; so it is unsurprising lots of Mighty Pup toys have arrived in the house over your birthday and Christmas! You love drawing and colouring in and being creative. Your attention to detail is gorgeous.  You love painting and getting messy - you can guarantee every time the paint comes out you'll find an excuse to get it all over your hands!  

Little boy. At the end of Reception you said you wanted to be a Ninja. Which is quite an interesting occupational choice! Reception was a great year for you. You had the best teachers that totally got you. I think one of your favourite things in Reception was the sunflower project. It started as planting a seed with Nana in Family Thursday. You bought the pot home and Bampi helped you keep it alive, re-potting it into a bigger pot, and then a bigger pot again! It kept growing and growing until it was nearly the size of two of you!   

My highlight of Reception was Sport's Day; oh my boy you were amazing. Joining in so beautifully and even winning one of your running races. It was so lovely to see you enjoying yourself. You had had enough by the time it got to the medal ceremony, but that didn't matter because you had done so so well up to then.    I can't tell you how proud of you we are when you try your hardest to cope in situations where you are clearly become saturated and overwhelmed or out of your comfort zone.

And now you are a big boy in Year 1. It is a different set of challenges but you are rising to them. Your reading is coming on leaps and bounds at the moment and your handwriting is superb. You've joined Yoga Club which you really seem to enjoy and most of all you seem happy in school and enjoy learning. You've really enjoyed your Autumn Term project of Africa!  I think you kind of miss the routine of school days when we're in school holidays like we are now. 

We had such a wonderful time celebrating your 6th birthday. We made a week of it, like we always tend to do. Birthdays are such an important milestone event and we're so thankful for every one that you have.   This year we celebrated your birthday with a whole family sleepover; your cousins, Auntie and Uncle came for party food and games and some sleep of sorts! Then for your actual birthday you wanted your Cheeky Monkey's Soft Play birthday party - after school chaos! Then the weekend after you turned six we did your London weekend. Much like we had for Xander when he turned six, and now it was your turn. 


You were so excited about your Mummy, Daddy and just you trip to London. It took you the first three or four hours to settle into the big city; you just seemed on high alert for those first few hours, overwhelmed maybe by the frequent train hopping, how busy it was, the noise level, the crowds and size of the buildings. We started in the Lego shop and it was tricky to get you to look around properly; you were on a one track mind to find the Elsa set that you wanted and you couldn't focus on anything else until we had exchanged money for it!  

You were excited about Elsa things all weekend; none more so than when we watched Frozen 2 in Leicester Square on a VIP balcony (that had 100 seats I imagine up there but the only seats that were booked out on the balcony were the three Daddy had booked for us - which made it feel properly VIP!) and the visit to the Disney shop where you bought your Elsa dress and mini Elsa dolls house and when you saw Anna and Elsa statues too! It was a proper Frozen weekend.  Sunday we went to Shrek's Adventure and then you were ready to come home, so we did.  I absolutely loved our London weekend with you and hope to take you back next year to watch Frozen on the West End Stage. 

Here we are then, SIX! I'm excited to see where the next year takes us and what adventures we'll have. One thing I do know though is how amazing you're going to be through it all. 

You make us burst, Zachy.  

We love you so very much our Small. 
Always, Mummy and Daddy xXx 


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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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