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.

Sunday, 27 December 2020

Seven For Small!

Zac. Already seven for a month and a day.  But as ever his birthday merges into the beginning of the Christmas season and reminding myself to write his birthday update gets lost in amongst the Christmas Chaos.  Less chaos this year, many many less engagements in the non-existent diary but chaos of sorts still the same. 


What a year he has had! Turbulent to say the least in parts - because whose life hasn't been coloured by Covid this year?! But boy did he take it hard. The foundations of his world and his oh so important need to know what to expect swept from beneath his feet. Those first few days of lockdown were a novelty, no school, almost like a school holiday. And then when the normal pattern of school holidays and back to school didn't materialise?! Wow. If we hadn't been concerned about some of his "Zac'isms" before, we certainly were then.  

Our lovely boy, completely floored by lockdown and unsettled to say the least. His behaviour was challenging, all his senses were on high alert. He wore his ear defenders more regularly than he had ever worn them, he frequently stripped down to his pants and wouldn't tolerate clothes, barely ate anything that wasn't complete rubbish, more demand avoidant than ever before, even more sensitive to interactions with others, had many a meltdown if we went for a walk and didn't want to leave the house. We had a week or two where we couldn't persuade him to even go into the garden without a fight; and if we did get him out he would be back in again within minutes. Home-school was on the light 'jobs without challenge' side. 



Lots of April and May were hard. So I pulled on all my experience and resources. And with the implementation on 'Now and Next' and a 'Visual Schedule' - that he clearly didn't need for the symbols. But definitely for the concrete representation of what was going to happen each day and what demands he could expect to come up. That, combined with maybe just getting used to what was now the new normal, he settled down.  Not without spikes at all, but a little boy whose anxiety levels mellowed significantly. 

Last years said referral got lost in the system, and so has recently been expediated again; and at least this time he has got through the first hurdle and panel and we now just await an appointment to explore all his sensory and otherwise concerns. We expect it to continue to be months or more. 

  

Zachary Stephen. This was the year you had a growth and weight spurt. Your diet remains as terrible and basic as ever but for what nutritious food you refused over that first lockdown period, you made up for in crisps and biscuits which I can only imagine accounts for the 2kg you finally put on and your few cm of growth!  You now wear a 5-6 wardrobe for the most part with a small mix of 4-5 still left in. 

A week after turning six you lost your first wobbly tooth. You had found the whole wobbly tooth thing quite difficult, constantly complained it hurt or that it was bothering you, and then on Christmas Eve you lost your second wobbly tooth. Fancy sending the tooth fairy as well as Santa to our house on the same night! Since then we've had no wobbly teeth at all and you've still got your cute face full of baby teeth and haven't lost your young child looks yet! 

One of your favourite colours to wear at the moment is pink. Over the summer your favourite outfit was "all pink" shorts and tshirts and you were thrilled when I managed to find you plain pink joggers and hoody for the colder season. Although to be fair we go hardly anywhere to wear such clothes at the moment and Autumn and Winter life has so far, once again, been mostly a lockdown!   We all seem to live mostly in our house clothes or pyjamas. 

You continue to fit your own mold, for sure! 

Your absolute loves are still Disney Princesses and especially Frozen. You adore all the Princess Lego sets and have quite the collection of castles now.  You are getting a little bit better at keeping your Lego sets intact and your bedroom is a Princess castle treasure trove, but even when you take them apart and all the pieces drive us to distraction when they litter the floor - no sooner do you just seem to remember how to put them back together without instruction or just create your own pretty spectacular version instead.   If it is princess castle sets are you persuading Daddy to search for the long retired Palace Pets sets for you to buy as well! 

You other interests this year have also been Trolls following the release of the Trolls World Tour film, and I think we've probably watched or listened to the soundtracks of Frozen 2 and Trolls World Tour at least a million times!    Otherwise this year we've realised your love of soft toys. What an epic collection now resides in your bed; with your own unique system of putting them into a specific teddy tower each bedtime to the side of your pillow! 

You have found lots of this year unsettling and challenging. Whoever thought you would live through a worldwide pandemic at the tender age of six?  We had months of wobbles and difficult behaviour as your tried to navigate the floor and your routine falling from beneath you. To be honest Zac, there were many adults who struggled to figure out the same; anxiety was as high for you as it was for me.  But we eventually figured out a visual schedule strategy that worked to make you feel safer and more in control of what to expect each day. A strategy we've fallen back on a few times since as well! 

But amongst all of that chaos you have blossomed some more. You transitioned from your far too small for you PJ masks bike onto the bigger bike. You experimented with some balance biking late in the summer despite your reservations and then, days before your 7th birthday you did it... you learnt to ride your bike without stabilisers. I cannot tell you just how proud of you I am for persevering even when you were feeling exceptionally nervous and fearful of it all. What an achievement and milestone! 

We're also proud of how you have settled back into school. Missing half of year one was less than ideal for sure and then having to return to a new year group, new teacher in a new classroom had you experiencing all the nerves. But you did it, and did it amazingly. Instantly gelling with your new teacher and decided he was in fact nice and not mean! Haha! It has been a relief quite frankly and we're so pleased that he really seems to get you; putting little adjustments in place that have made all the difference to our after school experience at home. Going on the yard appears to be on your terms and you are able to use that time instead having quiet time if you want it and decompressing. Between that time during the school day and your new self-implemented strategy of going upstairs and hiding under the covers with an ipad straight after school for quiet time when you want to, we've had far less after school meltdowns in Year 2 than we've had for the whole of school so far. 

And now you are seven! Which I can't quite believe!   We were lucky that you're birthday fell between Firebreak Lockdown and what is now the Alert Level 4 Lockdown - which meant were able to venture out a bit further to enjoy a proper day out and treat as long as we stayed in Wales. So we popped half hour up the road to Raglan Farm Park. You were absolutely buzzing with all of the soft play on offer and I don't think any of you could believe you were allowed to enjoy soft play after over eight months since your last soft play visit. To be honest, not much notice was taken of the animals but you had a marvellous day enjoying the indoor and outdoor play equipment. We loved the joy on your face. 


And all the more joy on your actual birthday. After very limited contact since the 27th September with the various lockdowns, Nana Bampi and Auntie Bex came to your Frozen themed tea party where we (within the rules) re-extended our household just for your birthday. You had a lovely time celebrating and your beamed all of your day! Which is just as well, because you gave me and Nana a challenge with your Elsa dolly cake and we were ever so please we managed to pull it off! 

We were supposed to weekend in Tenby for your birthday in a caravan but it got cancelled so in salvaged 2020 style, we finished our celebrations with a rare overnight away in a 'sleepy moon place' spending some time with your Godmother and exploring the great outdoors at Pembrey Country Park.  Whoever thought what a luxury just one night away would turn out to be!  The change of scenery was just what we all needed and I'm even more pleased we managed to go now we're living the life of Lockdown. Again. 

So now you're seven and we're at the end of another calendar year!

We cannot promise anything for 2021 and have no idea what adventures we tentatively plan will come to fruition. But we do know that you'll remain our dazzling, bubbly, bright and wonderful boy whatever the next 12 months throw at us. Being you is the very best you to be. 

We love you all the world and more, our Zachy Small. 

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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