About Little Puddins,
I am Amanda, I am wife to Michael and mother to Hailey, Conor, Jack and Max.
Little Puddins started in 2015, a short while after my second son Jack was diagnosed with having Autism. The Blog originally started as a forum to help other parents of children with Special Needs, by my writing about our experiences (I have two children with Special Needs Conor and Jack), writing about what did or did work for us. I provided Free Printable documents that helped those that needed them and shared stories from our lives that we lived and look back on even now.
Then in late 2016 I became pregnant with my youngest child Max (now 1) and I had to stop writing as I became seriously ill with pregnancy related illnesses (I’ll catch you up on all that soon in a Family Blog Post). Max arrived in August 2017 and he turned our worlds upside down in the most positive of ways. It was extremely full on and overwhelming and I found old anxieties and worries coming back like they had when Conor was a baby.
I was so overwhelmed with all I had to do, trying to take care of a new born, continue with the boys Therapy appointments, have time for Hailey and be a mom in general. I decided then to continue my break from writing until I was mentally, physically and energetically in a place where I could apportion time from my busy life to sit down and write.
The new Little Puddins website is under construction as I type these very words! Literally! I am working in the background on layout and how I want it all to look.
There will be a lot of new information and stories with regards to the children and you will find that mainly in the Family Blog section of the website.
I am conscious of the fact Hailey is growing up and soon will be in Secondary School. I am also super aware that as she grows up she may not want her personal information so freely available on line so I am thinking it over right now what will/will not appear in her section of the website. I have discussed this with her a lot over hot chocolate (her favourite drink FYI) and she thinks she would like to have posts about things she likes to do creatively appear on the website, also possibly some Reviews. She is a bookworm like me, so that is more than a possibility lol! She will definitely have a section on the website about being a sibling of brothers with Special Needs. This is something she wants herself and she says she wants to be able to help other children like herself who need people just like them to talk to.
Outside of that I am not sure what direction to go with her section of the website. It’s a big decision to make on her behalf when I do not know and cannot know right now what her opinion will be as she grows up.
I better stop waffling and get back to the actual ABOUT section, (sorry I do tend to waffle off on a tangent (a lot!). So finally here is the About section-
I am Amanda, married mom of 4. A Law Graduate, Artist and Writer. Before I had children, I compulsively watched TV shows that were set in the Court Room, and I dreamed of becoming a Solicitor someday.
I worked in a Law Office and in the Courts before I had my children.
I met my husband Michael just after I finished University. We met randomly in a Bar where we were both working for the Summer. He is without doubt my best friend, and I really do not believe I would still be in this world if it was not for him. We have had a great many ups and possibly even more downs, and yes; a lot of that is due to the stresses of raising children with Special Needs with essentially little to no help except for his brilliant Mom and Dad, who are elderly.
We don’t like to bother my husband’s parents too much for help; but we are always so thankful and appreciative when they arrive, ready and willing to give us a shoulder to lean on.
Many of my own family work away in a different Country so there isn’t any available physical help with the exception of: my husband’s parents.
We don’t get to go anywhere together as a married couple. I don’t know when we last went somewhere over night, I am sure it must be 6/7 years ago at least. Our daily lives revolve around our children and in particular: looking after our eldest son Conor who is 8 and needs round the clock care. It brings its own stresses looking after and loving children. Unfortunately: there isn’t respite available here in Mayo, and if there is, I haven’t ever been offered it.
Essentially when you become Parents of children with Special Needs you become the 24/7 Carer, and there is no holiday or day off from that.
I am happy but I am exhausted.
Our Children/The Little Puddins:
Little Puddins the website domain was inspired by Hailey and Conor initially. If you are from Ireland then you will know the phrase “ah, he/she is a Little Puddin”. It is a positive term that describes usually a happy child. For me a Little Puddin is every child. Special Needs or not, different or the same, they are all Little Puddins to me.
I love each of my children equally, there is no question in my mind to that. Below you will find a snippet of information on each child and a link to each of their sections on the Blog. Be aware that the website is in the midst of a makeover so each of their sections will be added to weekly as I get free time to do so.
Hailey is 10 years old now. She is super tall and really into music and singing. She loves to write songs and stories in the notebooks I regularly find underneath her pillows when I dress her bed in the morning. She is very creative and you will often find her at her desk creating something she pulled out of her imagination. She loves her brothers and is lucky enough to have some amazing friends who live near door and some more fantastic friends at school too.
Her favourite colour right now is Purple, weekly but that changes usually when I bring her home something as a present and she tells me “Mom! My favourite colour is red now” So for now it is purple, but next week? Who knows lol!
She loves baking, and I am trying to do more of that with her, when we can. She also loves the Movies and I try at least once a month to bring her to our local Cinema so she can spend time with me on her own without my attention being pulled away by one of her brothers needing me.
She is a brilliant big sister to her brothers, and honestly we would be lost without out. She is wise beyond her years in some ways, and that makes me sad as I think if things had been different for her brothers she would be less wise and maybe less responsible. I don’t know, I guess the impact of having brothers with special needs is something only she can say for herself.
You will find posts about Hailey HERE.
Conor is 8 now, he is still non-verbal (cannot speak), he goes to a brilliant Autism Unit in Westport called Knockrooskey. He has an amazing private Therapist called Keira Keogh who in my opinion is his one and only (and last chance) to ever learn to speak! If this woman doesn’t get him talking, no one will!
He loves his Ipad, he loves water (especially flooding the kitchen or bathroom if I don’t get there in time). He loves music and lights especially and you will often find him bopping away in his room to his latest tune on his music player. He is OBSESSED with green apples and crisps and will literally eat you our of house and home if given a chance!
He loves all things sensory so you will be finding a lot more of that here on the website to as I will start to upload various activities we do at home that you might like to do yourself with your children. Almost all children in general like sensory based activities so they will definitely be one to try out.
He struggles generally every day with life skills, toileting, bathing, feeding, sleeping. You name it he struggles with it. I didn’t realise how much I took for granted about Hailey being independent until the day her brother was born and special needs entered our world for the first time.
He is a warrior like no other, because despite all his struggles, he is the nicest child you will ever meet, he isn’t aggressive to anyone ever. He will self-harm unfortunately but he will not ever be aggressive to anyone else ever. He is just happy, being himself. He doesn’t judge anyone else, he isn’t mean spirited at all, it just isn’t in him. The funniest thing he will do is he will come in if he knows you are eating crisps and he will bend down and give you a gentle hug with one hand and then with the other he will grab the crisps and run off laughing lol!
You will find posts about Conor HERE.
Jack is 4 now and he attends the Autism Unit in Knockrooskey with big brother Conor. Initially Jack became non-verbal when he was around I want to say 18 months old. ( I haven’t actually properly written Jack’s Autism Story- but I will get around to that). He is verbal now thanks to Keira Keogh the therapist I mentioned in Conor’s snippet above! You need to make contact with her if you have a child struggling! She is a miracle worker, there is no other way to describe her.
Jack is obsessed with Dinorsaurs, with Diggers, Construction Vehicles, with roads of any time including signs! He is obsessed with it all and has box loads of them in his room. The good thing is he really loves academic work so I can use his obsessions to help motivate him to learn.
He has serious struggles with Anxiety and Panic Attacks. He “tracks” everyone around him constantly, watching what they are doing and he tries to control you so he can keep what he thinks should be happening in check. His need for control stems directly from his anxieties in my opinion.
He loves sensory play too just like Conor but absolutely HATES showers so we have after a lot of effort got him used to going in a bath. I have a tonne of tips around sensory issues and bathing that I will share in a blog post when I have time.
He loves watching Tractor Ted and he loves Coleslaw! No joke, a tub of coleslaw to him is like heaven.
I cannot tell you how overwhelming it is to hear him say Mammy, or “one last kiss” before he goes to bed. I am equally full of love for him and heartbroken for Conor at the same time.
You will find posts about Jack HERE.
Max is one and is a mini tornado who has just learned to walk. He loves destruction and if you follow the trail of toys thrown everywhere you will find a brown eyed cute one year with his head stuck inside the cupboard shelves as he pulls out more treasures to explore.
He loves Peppa Pig and always has a huge smile when he sees Nanny Plum arrive on the screen in Ben and Hollys Little Kingdom.
He likes to go out walking but will not keep his shoes on so that is a daily struggle at the moment. As far as Autism goes (I have been asked a lot recently about Max etc), the answer is I don’t know. He seems to be getting on okay, not loads of speech like I had hoped, a few unusual habits I personally as a mum with two kids already on the spectrum would associate with Autism, but then again maybe that’s me being paranoid.
We are at the wait and see stage right now. Giving him time to progress and just be a baby. If there are any changes with that, you will find it out here on the Blog.
You can read more about Max HERE.
There really should be five names under the title Little Puddins. Before I was pregnant with Jack, I lost a baby. People for some reason don’t often mention when they have lost a child in early pregnancy. I was just shy of my 3 month mark when I lost a Little Puddin that would have been Conor or Hailey’s little brother or sister. It was a heart-breaking experience, that I will never forget nor will I ever forget the baby that wasn’t just ready to be born. As a family we have talked about it and Hailey in particular knows that she has a little brother or sister in heaven, waiting to meet us all one day in the distant future.
So that is the About Section finally finished, sorry for my long-winded way of writing, I generally write as I think. Some write in a more structured almost clinical way, I just write the truth from the heart in particular when it comes to my children, I just love them too much to write any other way.
The new Little Puddins Website will be complete come early 2019 and there will be some online events as a result, but more about that later.
Thank you as always for taking time out of your day to read my words.