Holiday for one?

When a holiday is not a holiday. That’s what my last week has been. Reilly’s need to be beside me 24/7 has excelled this week. Probably because he’s out of his comfort zone but by Christ it’s hard work.  He wants me ALL of the time which sounds really cute.  Sometimes I can give it the smug one ooo look how I’m his favourite then other times I could pull my hair out to be alone for half an hour. It’s exhausting. Not only does he have to be with me constantly he has super enforced his rules of no one eats before him or takes a drink. If I’m caught having a sly swig of Diet Coke WW3 erupts.

Shane has tried many times to lure him away. In total in 6 days I’ve had my morning out with Ellis plus 3 hours on a sun lounger with my book. The time we are all in the pool together is great as I’m still there but try sneaking off to look in the tat shops not a chance. He’s got a built in radar that goes off everytime my invisible tag drops below 6ft radius. Other kids are invisible to him, even his grandma and granda have barely had a glance from him. The big bonus is we’ve had time as a foursome to splash about that never happens at home. Thank god Ellis has made some amazing friends to go on the slides and play footy with.

He has once made the kids disco, the one where you absolutely must not dance on the stage or go behind the wall where the equipment is 😬 but when he’s done he’s done, no negotiation thats near impossible with a non verbal child, he’s off as fast as a whippet back to the room.

My time for relaxing has been when I’m back in the room with Reilly at 7.30 after his chips. Tonight is 7pm and he’s sat with his lego on the floor happy as Larry. I haven’t got as far as getting into night time clothes. We’ve been for a walk to a cute ice cream parlour and Shane attempted to get him back to the room so I could sit down with a drink and eat my tea. I hadn’t even got back from the pop machine when he appeared at my side and tried to tip my plate for having the audacity to get my food before him. Screams, pouring pop on himself and throwing chips to the back of his mouth later I abandoned ship for the sake of the other diners and my own sanity , not for the German cow who glared at us the whole time for spoiling her Torte and came back to our room. All calm restored. Peace. Silence and half decent wifi. Just how he likes it, im fond too

I said after last years never again but we all love the sun and the beach and the food how do we find a balance? A villa I think.   Ellis looks forward to his holidays so much it’s unfair for him to miss out so much.

So holiday for one anyone?

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Helpful holidays

Today’s musings. I’m so nosey when I’m on holiday. I’m always watching other families and how they interact, I’ve also spoken to quite a few other parents of autistic kids. We all have the same struggles. Why not just get a villa? I have a ten year old who loves making friends, getting ready for the ‘night time’, playing footy. And I’m a people person. I like talking to complete strangers and walk away content that I know where they are from and what they’ve had for their tea. I also want Reilly to be around others, it’s life. People won’t disappear as he gets older there’ll be more need for interaction. And most importantly I am not cooking on holiday. There are many millionaires in this world, billionaires in fact. I would really like it if one of them or even a double dragon would create a disability friendly resort.

Not just autism, any disability. Accessible toilets, parks, water parks. Rooms designed with people of a disability or different ability in mind. Here’s what would work for me if anyone would like to give Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden a nudge.

1 month prior to departing hotel to send pictures of the resort, not the ones an estate agent would use, the nitty gritty. How big the dining room is, what the air conditioner looks like, what type of toilet flush and shower head. What the beds looks like. You get the idea.

On arrival at said airport. Resort needs to be near airport no more than 30 mins drive. Accessible bus. No collapsing buggies or not being able to board with a wheelchair.

The rooms should have balconies that tall you couldn’t climb over but can still see out. They should have a means to lock the door or gate it from the inside. Everyone fears the child waking in the night and doing a runner. Rooms should be soundproofed too. Bathrooms again fully accessible. TVs should always have Disney kids channels available 24/7. Autism doesn’t sleep, neither do we. Hearing loops, signed welcome meetings, Braille hotel guides. You get the picture.

Specialised medical equipment that is bulky and essential should be available for hire without a charge and sterilising facilities available. Nappy store in every size and variety.

Dining room should be loaded with Nutella and sliced bread 24/7 😂 this is possibly one of the most important factors for us. Times should not be strict around dining. There should always be chips, chicken nuggets and drinks available at ALL times. Plastic plates to stop the clattering. Food could be packed into takeaway cartons and taken to the rooms. PECS visuals.

Entertainment should not be as loud and god forbid I even say it but children should be able to dance on the stage!! A playroom available at all times again 24/7 not just 1-3 and 5-7 for the kids who don’t like gangnam style.

DVD players in all rooms and a selection on DVDs available from reception.

The hotel should have direct access to the beach with walkways provided for wheelchairs, buggies etc. All parents should have walker talkies to summon bar service so you don’t have to disrupt said child.

I could go on. Maybe a petting zoo and a couple of accessible rides. Staff trained in special and medical needs would help enormously.

I’m waiting …….. until I win the lottery we’re relying on you Peter Jones. If you build it they will come 😬

Hola again!

Back in Majorca one of my favourite places. I was dreading the journey, I’ve been anxious about it for weeks! I found the downloads from the Newcastle Airport website really useful this year as Reilly knew each step. I downloaded the autism passport from Newcastle Airport website in preparation. I was disappointed with it last year, not sure if it was jut a blip because this year it was brilliant. It doesn’t allow you to check in first which would be a major bonus for us but luckily there was no queue. The girl on the Jet2 desk rang and arranged for someone to meet us at the gate before everyone else was called. We chose to board first which was brilliant none of the pushing and shoving of people terrified that they aren’t going to get their hand luggage stowed away before we take off 😂.

The plane only had 50 people on it so we ended up with a row each. Reilly never really removed his cheek from mine so not the most comfortable but his behaviour was just brilliant.

The transfer in Majorca took for ever. We were last off and in future I’ll be getting a taxi, Reilly wanted off at every stop understandably and got quite upset when we stayed put. We arrived at the resort past meal time and were given a picnic. It was nice but Reilly simply wasn’t eating a ham and cheese sandwich he regarded it with the same enthusiasm as he would a shit sandwich. We located our room at 10 o clock through what I can only describe as similar to the gathering from Battle of the Bastards,Game of Thrones. There were kids EVERYWHERE some big, some small, all running, some with weapons and all screeching. My immediate thought was WTF have I done. The second we entered our room Reilly put his pyjamas on and Shane went on adventure and returned with a pizza and 2 chicken wraps 30 mins later. Things were looking up. I unravelled Reilly’s melatonin from the 4ft of bubble wrap (extra security) I had wrapped it in to ensure are arrival and he was asleep within 30 minutes and taped that way until 8am 😀.

Breakfast was horrific. Reilly walked in to the extremely busy dining room and turned on his heel back out. Only one place Reilly wanted to be and that was the pool, thats where he stayed for the rest of the day. Me and Shane split shifts to get time with Ellis and 10 minutes on a lounger. He even managed to dodge the 6pm winning pool closure guards and jumped back in at 7.20! He’s ate chips and bread,typical beige. The hoodlums from last night turn out to be really nice kids and families I’m pleased to say.

I’ve only had one run in with a Dutch gentleman. Reilly while running away from me stopped to throw a doll in the pool. He wasn’t happy and came to tell Reilly off. Asking which language he spoke. Now this is a tricky one. I said he understands English. The bloke got hold of Reilly’s arm and demanded an explanation as to why he threw the doll in the pool. I was torn between riding it out waiting for Reilly to answer or pushing him in the pool. I chose to swat his hand off and tell him Reilly can’t talk and gives no shits about what goes in the pool. If it’s on the ledge it’s going in, he understood exactly what I was saying and I apologised that the doll got wet and he shuffled off.

Tonight Reilly has made a new friend in the old Spanish lady on the onsite shop, everyone is terrified of her but I caught her watching Reilly organising the planes etc so I flashed her his card I made which say he’s non verbal autistic in Spanish. Ah she loves him. She said Bye Weilly (yes a W not an R) and he gave her a kiss! WTF? Dinner was chips and bread again.

We are now in the room while Reilly enjoys the kids disco but from our balcony instead where he can hear and see the flashing lights, it’s all a bit too busy for the lad.

Groundhog Day tomorrow I’m sure. Ellis has made friends to play football with and saw Fraser Foster (England Keeper) in the airport so he’s happy, they even played a teeny bit together today!

50 shades of green in Ireland

I’m in Ireland! We decided after our semi disastrous Ibiza trip we’d try something closer to home with no airports.  Driving from Newcastle to Stranraer with Reilly was ok, not great, we’ll leave it there. Scotland is stunning, I’ve only ever bounced along the Royal Mile and drooled over Outlander. I’ve much more exploring to do.

I was dreading the ferry. I’m anxious most of the time and the thought of who could I save first if we sink despite the fact that I can tread water for all of 5 minutes was haunting me. I needn’t have worried. The boat from Cairnryan to Belfast was like a cruise ship! I was expecting water pounding off the windows, people being sick overboard, Reilly in the lifeboats and dropping anchor.  Instead we were greeted with Alvin and the Chipmunks in the cinema, free PS4s, soft play area, free internet and swanky lounges. Brilliant- what wasn’t brilliant was the folks staring at me trying to calm a screaming Reilly while they stampeded for the stairs to get back in their cars I only said ‘what the fuck you looking at?’ three times so not too bad I suppose.

We stayed with our fabulous friend Marie and her family in Ardoyne Belfast and Reilly thoroughly enjoyed the parks etc especially throwing my brand new cardigan into the lake. I met an old school friend who jumped ship to Ireland 30 years ago and now has a beautiful restaurant in Belfast called Harlem Cafe.   Reilly toured Belfast in an open top bus while we ate, I genuinely feared for Harlems crockery.  Jon Snow’s spotted = zero.

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Warrenpoint

Next on to Warrenpoint, car journey was hell on earth and I wanted to book a flight home. Reilly tried getting out of his car seat at least 20 times. Tried throwing my shoes etc out of the window and screamed every time I coughed which is approximately every 2 minutes at present. Shane’s granny was born in Warrenpoint and it is outstandingly beautiful. We booked a chalet with the kids in mind, more space, football etc.  When we arrived we were greeted by the owner Jennifer now what would the chances be that she runs her own autism charity MAC Making a changeMAC NI FACEBOOK PAGE helping autistic people enjoy the outdoors with water sports, balancability, orienteering, ziplines, archery, driving range etc  as well as programmes working with siblings, it’s amazing!  And just an hour’s drive from Belfast. It was an instant relax for me. Jennifer gets it, she knows.  Reilly even let himself in their house today and went upstairs for a lie in their bunk beds! Chalet is outstanding and I’d gladly stay longer if I could.  Beech Tree chalet Warrenpoint for anyone interested. We WILL be back.

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Prettiest playground in the world. 50 shades of green.

Reilly has loved today we went to Ring of Cullion which is set in an area of outstanding beauty, huge park and forest walks to the Fairy Village and Giants Lair. Lots of fresh air, stunning views and a bit of magic.  Ellis however not so keen. Bust his lip on a pull up bar and I quote I am 9 year old boy if it’s got fairy in it I’m not interested in it. I’ll ask again in 7 years I bet the response is different!

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Back to Warrenpoint and a play on the beach and in the park for the lads. Sitting on the grass having an Orangina when Shane remembered it’s our wedding anniversary, I’d forgotten. We celebrated by going to the chippy and betting the lady behind the counter she could have the contents of Shane’s wallet if she could cut Reillys hair. She’d have been disappointed if she’d won.

Happy days all in all Reilly is handling his holiday like a boss. Ellis and Reilly are getting much better at being in the same room and I’m a bit smitten with Ireland.

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Never again 

Never again, well not for a while.
I’ll be frank it was way more difficult than I imagined. First couple of days were great but 11 nights was too long for the Reillster, there’s not a hope in hells chance that I’ll be taking him abroad in the near future. Exhaustion is on another level!
Not sure that Shane and I have had 1 meal together if you don’t count the Burger King at the airport on the way out. We’ve both felt the pressure this last couple of weeks. If we’d spent 1 more night I fear that the simmering frustration may have erupted like mount vesuvious. On the good side my dining partner was Ellis for every meal.

Explaining to Reilly that the Panda Club isn’t on and the doors are locked was a mission on its own. Hours of flailing about star fishing and screaming in 30 degree heat is a test for most parents. A trip to the beach was great for 10 minutes then the rest of the time was spent chasing Reilly away from the lifeguards ladders. I knew those surf shorts I bought for myself would come in handy, no one deserves to see that, there’s no filter strong enough to make that photo look ok 😂


Meal times in the restaurant for Reilly consisted of someone standing guard at the rolling toaster machine, which was incredibly hot while Reilly tried to toast anything he could get his hands on.

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said toastie machine

Evenings were spent shielding the pool table, we’ve probably spent 20 euro just refunding people their ruined games much to Ellis’s dismay.

Ellis now hates the sun and doesn’t want to go away again. He also got very embarrassed that when Reilly did try and join in at the disco he didn’t know the moves and just did the aeroplane around the dance floor. One night we came out from dinner to find Reilly in the middle of a 20 strong circle singing brown girl in the ring! I cried tears of joy, Ellis cried tears of mortification.

Reilly has pulled suitcases back and forth to the door for 3 days, very clearly communicating the fact that he wanted to go home which was upsetting. Reilly being unwell will have played a part I’m sure.
Airport coming home was horrendous, he wouldn’t stand, sit, be carried etc for a good hour and we certainly had our fair of haters but to be honest I really didn’t give a shit. Reilly was over the moon to be on the plane eventually and promptly fell asleep due to the medicine we’d slipped him in the airport. He slept for 2 hours on our flight home.

So what I have learned is that I’m a good guard. Balcony, door, toaster, iron, lifeguard station, lift door, peoples flip flops from landing in the pool, the pool table, the sound desk at the evening entertainment. Joking aside I have enjoyed our holiday but by god it was hard work.

Can’t wait to get back to our normal chaotic life. He did so well but to be honest it’s just not worth it. Centreparcs better watch out!

Poor Reilly – a trip to the hospital.

What an absolute nightmare day.  Holiday as I’ve said has been great but what I hadn’t shared as there was really no need was the fact that Reilly was heading into day 10 without having a number two!

We have tried all week fruit juices, water, laxatives from the pharmacy so today we had to take him to the local hospital.  Anyone who has an autistic child will know you can’t just give them natural lemon juice in some hot water or prunes to eat  like I’ve been to,d 1 hundred times – not happening, never.  Hospital visits are horrendous at home so the thought of the language barriers mixed with Reillys hatred for anywhere remotely medical and him being non verbal had all of us an anxious wreck.  As soon as we arrived he was inconsolable.

Mrs organised with her tracking devices, cards to explain he’s autistic in Spanish etc etc forgets the EHIC cards!! FFS man how dim!

Big Thankyou to my sister in law Kelly sorting us out temporary ones and having it faxed to the hospital. Superstar.

Explaining to Reilly that the lovely doctor who was about to stick a tube up his jacksy was not a monster was really difficult and we opted for a mild sedative.  Reilly is doing really well with his toilet training and I feared this may knock him back a long time as well as be traumatic for him.

Did it the enema work? Of course it didn’t.  This is us we are talking about. Nothing is ever plain sailing.

2nd enema has worked I’m very pleased to report.  So currently Reilly’s sedative is wearing off and he’s hopefully a lot more comfortable and I haven’t had to reach for the diazepam which is a yay for me.  Shane on the other hand is still a wreck pinning your 4 year old down on a sunny Thursday afternoon is not what we had in mind.

My cards helped enormously again with the staff in the hospital who were a bit bewildered by his behaviour.

Let’s hope for a great last day tomorrow.  Keeping everything crossed.


3 hours later …… Quick update our room smells like a drain but he’s now back to his old self again.  Happy days 😀🙈

 

Ibiza 

   
Everyone knows how utterly terrified I was to bring Reilly away on holiday so here’s my quick rundown on how it went.

Firstly  I was pretty underwhelmed by Newcastle Airport special assistance.  I downloaded the form from their website as advised and took it with me.  Queue for checking in was pretty big but this assistance form doesn’t cover checking in first (this would be an enormous help to families with autism and other special needs). Reilly was eager to get up the escalators as always and get exploring so we had a few ahem moments while I stood to the side waiting for Shane to reach the desk.

We were fast tracked through security though so that’s great,  not the friendliest of faces but who knows what goes on in his home let’s not be judgey.

We headed for the quiet area near Dixons.  Not sure what I was expecting but not this,  it consists of about 20 seats no different to the others but to the side of Dixons joined to a cafe.  I will eat my hat if anyone in there needed assistance more a seat in a really busy airport.  One granny was tutting at Reilly on his seat backwards to see the planes. She got the death stare.  Not the best.

The girls from Jet2 were bloody fabulous! Reilly defo felt the love that day.
Reilly was dying to board.  He sat and watched the planes the whole time and was loving it. We got on last and took our seats.  He sat down at the window and put on his seatbelt, secured it and left it alone?!?  What was this wizardry? He NEVER keeps a belt on.  He loved it!! I didn’t even need a diazepam!  He fell asleep for an hour during the flight which was brilliant apart from the numb bum  cheek but to be fair I’d take 2 to keep him happy.  He woke on landing and proceeded to have an absolute wobbler as everyone stood up to get bags from overhead lockers, can’t blame him really. He was wild through the airport but luckily it was really quick and we were soon on our way.  I’m so happy it went well Ellis was so anxious about how others would react to Reilly it had made him incredibly anxious bless him.

He LOVES it! Typical no fear Reilly jumping on the water. We’ve been in the sea or pool from 9am til 6pm today he only came out to eat ice creams no 12,13 & 14.

Ellis and I look like lobsters despite factor 50 applied every 20 mins and Ibiza has the best sunset I’ve ever seen but guess who forgot her flash card for her camera!

 The cards I made with Spanish equivalents of I am autistic/non verbal have been an absolute godsend. Quick flash of the card and attitudes are turned on their heads.  The staff are incredible with him.  The lifeguard on the beach who caught Reilly trying to climb his tower says I must take him to swim with dolphins in Tenerife as that is good for autism 😯Families who were a bit dubious of us this morning have been buying the kids water pistols and floaters as they are fascinated by this little beaut who roars louder than a lion but looks like an angel. His tracking device is now on the canopy 2 floors below attached to his minion keyring 🙈.

Lovely people and fabulous time so far.  I’m off clubbing.  Not really , Im watching taggart while kids are asleep,  I’m so cool.

ps EAR DEFENDERS are a godsend if your little one will keep them on.  The plane was incredibly noisy once everyone stood to retrieve their bags from the overhead lockers.