Harry's Current Favourites

In today's post I want to talk about some of the things Harry is loving at the moment.

It's crazy how fast his interests are changing at times. Somethings he really gets stuck on and others he is only interested in for a few weeks or months.

As you may know Harry is nearly 3 - Where did that go?! His personality is really coming out now and he isn't afraid to let you know when he doesn't like something or doesn't want to do something, but he is also really expressive when he enjoys something or wants something so at this stage, its been really easy to recognise what some of his favourite things are now.

1. Sausages.  Anyone who really knows Harry knows how much he loves food, so its not really surprising that the first thing on this list is a food item.
Harry's loved sausages from the first time he tried them. Every child has that one go to meal for when they just wont eat anything else, and for Harry that is definitely sausages, chips and beans. He loves the sausages and I have honestly never seen a child eat anything as fast as when Harry is eating sausages!

2. The Twirly-woos. Harry finally seems to have found something else to watch on the TV. I think Sam and I were really starting to get sick of Mr Tumble and PAW patrol that we were desperate to get Harry to even attempt something else - Not that Harry doesn't still love Mr T and PAW patrol. We are still objected to this most days as well - But when Harry saw the Twirly-woos it was instant and he screamed when we turned it off.
I sometimes question how many times a child can watch the same three seasons of a programme but it doesn't really seem to bother Harry that hes seen every episode 4 times already he will watch and watch. It has gotten to the point where me and Sam wish we had never put it on... But if Harry likes it, just like with Mr Tumble and PAW patrol he can always have it on. We just love to see him smile.

3. Alexa. I am extremely lucky that I have two Amazon Echos and so a few months ago we decided to put one of them in Harry's room as we spend a lot of time in there, and Harry is obsessed.
Its becoming a regular occurrence to hear him shouting 'LEXA' at the top of his voice. He does tend to get frustrated that she doesn't seem to understand his signing yet but we are hoping that this will also encourage his speech and getting him to talk more.

4. The Gruffalo.  I don't really know what to say about this one - Harry has always loved books but there is something about the Gruffalo that really excites him. The book is one of the only things that he will sit still and listen to all the way through.

5. Slides Harry has always been a big fan of the swings whenever we go to the park - and we have enough pictures to prove it! But since moving up to the toddler room at nursery and having access the 'the big garden' with a climbing frame and slide, he hasn't given swings a second look. Its all about the slides.
He's really independent with them too which used to terrify me, but now i love watching my little daredevil - he seriously has no fear and will just throw himself down the slide!

What are your toddlers favourites?

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Let's talk about bath time products

So today I wanted to talk about Harry's bath time products we use and why we use them. 

Bath time in our house is called 'splash splash'. Sam started this when Harry was really little and really hated a bath. He's never been a fan of getting a bath, and even now at nearly 3 he still hates having his hair washed.

Harry would scream the moment we put him in the water, sometimes even when he knew we were running him a bath. We tried to make it as easy as possible for him, we even got one of those changing tables with the bath in so he could be in the familiar surroundings of his bedroom but nothing helped, until he was able to sit up in the bath. There is something about being laid down in the bath that really gets to Harry.

Once he grew out of the changing table bath and was sitting up properly we started to put him in the proper bath and he started to enjoy bath time a little more and Sam started to teach him how to splash in the water - hence splash splash. 

We don't, and never have bathed Harry everyday. Its not recommended and Harry has extremely dry skin, something to do with the UV lamps he was under when he was first born to help with the jaundice. 

Harry generally has a bath every other day, unless he needs it more often. He does get a wash down every day but we try not to bath him too often as it can aggravate his skin making it drier and irritating for him. This is also why we have to be really careful with what products we use on him and in the bath.

We have tried a lot of different products in Harry's bath, but the best things we have found for him have been;

1. Bedtime bath - It hasn't ever matter what brand of this we use, Johnson's or a supermarket own brand it doesn't seem to affect his skin, which is obviously lovely, but we also have noticed how much this has actually been helping with his sleeping. On nights where Harry doesn't have a bath or if he has a bath without this in he doesn't seem to sleep as well. 
When we first used it we never thought it would make that much of a difference but he sleeps so much better using this and doesn't toss and turn in bed as much. We also use this as his soap as it works so well on his skin. 

2. Dove baby shampoo - This stuff is WOW! I use a lot of dove products myself but when I smelt this range I was obsessed. I don't know what it is about the smell of this but its amazing, which is reason enough to keep using it in my book, but we noticed when we started using this Harry's cradle cap, or dry skin on his scalp started to disappear and now he has none. Win Win in my book.

3. Childs farm moisturiser - I had heard so much about this range we decided to give it a go to try and help with Harry's skin. We use a tiny amount mainly on his legs and arms and again the smell of this is reason enough to buy it. I cant get enough of it.

4. Diprobase - Harry has aeriously dry skin on his face, especially if he has a cold or running nose. The GP prescribed diprobase for him and it helps to clear it up a lot. Its the only thing we reguarlly use on Harrys face and even Sam and I will steal a little if we are having a little trouble wth dry skin. Diprobase is also great for nappy rash and you can buy it over the counter at boots so we don't have to keep bugging the doctor about it.

More about me and where we started

I realise that some people who will read this will know me very well, where others will know nothing at all about me so I thought this week I would write a bit more about me.

So where to start...

So my name is Katherine, but if you call me that I won't answer. I'm Kat. I was born on the 10th of June 1992, which means as I write this I am almost 27.

I was born in East London and spent the first part of my childhood in Tottenham, North London. I am the oldest of 3, with a sister then a brother following after me.

We moved from North London to Peterborough when I was almost 10 after my grandparents on my dads side moved here and we all loved it when we visited. My mum had wanted to get out of London for the longest time.

When we first moved to Peterborough, I hated it. It was too quiet and I didn't know anyone. I had what all the kids at school thought was a hilarious accent and I hated feeling like an outsider. I joined the school at the beginning of year 6. It was a really small school full of kids who had literally grown up together and I was the new kid, but it wasn't long before I made some really good friends.

It didn't take long for me to start loving where we lived. My parents felt safer there and so gave me so much more freedom. I had never had kids 'call for me' before and never ever been able to 'play out' without adult supervision so I felt like I had a massive amount of freedom.

In the summer after year 7 we moved again to a different part of Peterborough and I had to change schools again. I again hated being the new girl but soon found some great friends.

When I was 17 I met Sam. He had been my brothers football coach and my dad was the assistant coach. I'm pretty sure my dad had been trying to set us up for a while, not that he will ever admit it.

We met at a summer BBQ for the football team and I really did not want to be there, then I met Sam. I have to say it definitely wasn't love at first sight or anything like that. We both got amazingly drunk and flirted ridiculously, with my mum and her friend egging us on. We exchanged numbers and when I left I honestly never thought I would see him again. He was leaving for university in the September.

So boy was I shocked when I woke up the next morning to a text from Sam asking if I would like to meet again. I said yes and we had a great day together. We both agreed that we weren't looking for anything serious and didn't think it would last once Sam went to Uni. Boy were we wrong.

We survived Sam going to Uni in Coventry, me moving to Norwich, Me going to Uni in Bolton and then me dropping out of Uni.

We decided to move in together once Sam had finished his degree and looked at all of our options. We had both loved being in Coventry and so we decided to move there. We lived in Coventry for exactly a year and it was the hardest year of our life, but we both agree now that it was the best thing we could have done for our relationship. Living away from all of our family meant that we learnt to work through any problems we had and grow as a couple.

It was just under a year after we moved back to Peterborough that we found out we were having Harry, and the rest is history!

12 books in 12 months - Book 1. Eve Of Man

So, I have set myself a little goal this year. I want to read 12 brand new books, so nothing I have read before.

Anyone who knew me before I had Harry knows I have always had my nose in a book. But since becoming a mum I seem to have forgotten everything I love about reading and I missed it. I missed the feeling when you get to a really good part of a book and you have no idea where its going, I missed the feeling of achievement when you get to the end of the book and the anticipation of waiting for the next instalment. I even missed the smell of the paper and the feel of the book in my hand (I don't think I will ever be an e reader girl - sorry!).

So this year I wanted to have all of these things again and remember why I loved reading so much and to be able to take the time to read a few chapters every so often. But I'm a mum now and to be honest I don't have the time to sit and devour all the books I want to so I wanted to come up with a realistic goal for this.

12 books in a year seemed doable, so that's what I decided to do.

The plan had been to read a new book every month, but January turned out to be super busy, both at work and home so I struggled to find the time or energy to do any reading.

I also struggled with finding the perfect new book to bring back that love again. I was really worried about picking a book and not enjoying it and so not carrying on with the whole thing because I would be so disappointed.

Then one day early February Sam came home with part of my Valentines day present - Eve of Man by Tom and Giovanna Fletcher. He knew I had been desperate to read it since it first came out and he knew I was trying to get back into reading so he even gave it to me early so I could get going.

And I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!

The whole idea of the book fascinated me. It sounded really up my street and Sam knew that too. I got started that very night and finished it a few nights later.

If you don't know the book is based on Eve who is the first girl born in 50 years anywhere in the world. The book starts just after Eve's sixteenth birthday as she is preparing to meet three 'potentials' one of whom she will need to start re populating the earth with. Of course like any good book it just doesn't work out that way and I was hooked. All of a sudden I was approaching the end of the book and was torn between needing to know what happens and not wanting to finish because it was just so good!

Obviously the need to know what happened won and I am now desperately waiting on the next book!

The story isn't the only thing about it that got me hooked. The writing was amazing - I have to confess I have never read anything by either Fletcher's but that will certainly be changing very soon! Another thing is how seamless the writing is - If i didn't know the book was written by two separate people I would have never been able to tell. I never felt like anything didn't fit.

The book reminded me of the hunger games and divergent series - both of which I love and have audiobooks of every book in both series and listen too on repeat and still love every single time. I have a feeling this trilogy will join them on my shelf of favourites - Along with the Harry Potter series of course!

So far my 12 books in 12 months has started brilliantly and left me looking forward to jumping into more books. I have a few books that I have had my eye on for a while so these should be coming up very soon!

Any book recommendations for me?

1 month in... Where I am with my 2019 Goals

Well, January is finally over. It can't just be me that feels like that was the longest month?
But its over now, and we are a full month into 2019 so I thought I would do an update of where I am with my personal 2019 goals!
1. Blogging more regularly has gone really well! I know its only a month but I'm really proud that I've managed to get a post up every Friday this month and fingers crossed I will continue to do so. I've really actually been enjoying having the routine of it all and I'm feeling great that I have a post up every week!
I feel like I blog differently to others where i will write the post down in a notebook first. I honestly have no idea why but this always works better for me. I've always been a pen and paper girl and its gone over into my blogging style although it is definitely more work, I can write and edit a blog post anywhere and never leave the house without my little blogging notebook and pen!
2. More organised? Well, I don't really know that I've seen much of a difference with this one. I still seem to run around like a headless chicken in the mornings trying to get everything ready for work, but I feel that I have more of a routine with Harry and getting things ready and I don't really seem to be forgetting anything anymore,  I suppose organisation will come with time. I'm also managing to actually get things done from my to do list instead of just writing a list and then never looking at it again. Lets hope I can improve even more as the months go on. I don't feel like I've got the most out of my bullet journal this month either so hoping to make sure I use this a bit more in the future.
3. I have completely failed at taking more pictures. I don't think I've turned my big camera on this whole month and I have very little new pictures on my phone. January is always a hard one for me with taking pictures but hey! Can't win them all. Let's try again next month!
4. Well..... The less said about this one the better. Moving on next month. Hopefully getting my bike sorted and gunna start taking Harry swimming when the weather warms up so that should help!
5. I've been feeling loads better mentally this month, and I think I have been taking more time to be Kat, rather then mummy all the time. It definitely helps that Sam and I have great supportive families that offer to have Harry so much! It kind of feels like Harry hasn't been home too much this month but I've managed to have good sleep and do little things for myself which is just what the doctor ordered.
How are you all doing with your goals? Do you think, now we are a month in they are realistic and achievable? Are you wishing you had made different goals?

5 things we will try to do in 2019

So this post is really similar to the 2019 goals post from a few weeks ago. That one was my personal goals, this one is things we want to achieve or do as a family in 2019.

We want to make this the best year so far for Harry. He's so much more aware of everything that's going on around him now, so we really want to have some fun and create great memories for not just Harry, but all of us.

Obviously we have more goals as a family but some of them are quite personal and not really something we want to be spreading all over the internet, but we do have some good ones that we are happy to share and hopefully with having them here we will be more encouraged to stick to them!

1. Take a holiday! This one I am determined to stick to this year. To be fair we are incredibly lucky that Sam's parents have a caravan on the Norfolk coast that we are able to use quite often - and we do- but the last holiday Sam and I took was for my 20th and his 22nd birthday - coming up 7 years ago now! So this year I really want to get away properly.
We are looking at North Cornwall for our birthday again this year. Cornwall is one of our favourite places to visit in the UK and we are so excited to be taking Harry there to show him the beautiful scenery and of course all of our favourite little places.
We have plans for our holiday next year to somewhere much more exotic but as Harry and I don't have passports and have never been abroad we felt that Cornwall was the perfect destination for our first proper family holiday, but watch out for next year!

2. Spend more time together without electronics. We rely far too much lately on the TV, Harry's tablet and our phones, especially as a way to keep Harry entertained when Sam and I have has a long day at work and just want to relax - The joys of working full time as a parent - but we want to make an effort to spend some real quality time with Harry without being sat in front of the TV or giving him his tablet. Then again I would really love an excuse not to have to hear the Twirlywoo's or Baby Shark again! We want to spend the little time we have together as a family going to the park, taking walks or even just playing with Harry in his bedroom or the garden and  we have a few exciting day trips planned for the summer. Sam's goal is for Harry to love being outdoors as much as he does as he doesn't seemed to be able to get me to enjoy it quite that much. He's also majorly excited that Harry is loving kicking a ball around lately and has big plans for the summer for the two of them.

3. Don't make everything about spending money This one is defiantly one for Sam but if I'm honest mostly me. I'm the spender in the family and always seem to think the more money I spend the more fun everyone is going to have - which is definatly not the case. As Sam and I approach our 10 year anniversary - How is that even possible? - I think back to the days we've had that we've enjoyed most, and honestly some of our best days have been when we don't spend a lot, with things like picnics - which is one of my favourite things to do- or even for a walk with a coffee and an ice cream. Its harder in the winter to think of cheap or free things to do because lets face it I don't want to take Harry out in the freezing cold all the time but sometimes going for a chilly winter walk is the best!

4. Save Money! Who doesn't have this as a goal 99% of the time? I suppose this one follows on from the last. Sam and I have no savings - literally zero. For the first few years living together we really struggled and basically lived pay check to pay check, getting into all sort of money troubles that we are slowly clawing our way out of due to one thing or another like being on maternity pay and paying for childcare. There was just nothing to spare.
We are now finally n a place where we can live somewhat comfortably and have a little spare money and would like to put some of this away for a rainy day. We would also like to be completely debt free - isn't that the dream? And eventually save to buy our own house. We want to make sure Harry has everything he needs and we can give him the best opportunities and experiences.

5. Live a healthier lifestyle. This one doesn't really apply to Harry because for some reason we have always been quite health conscious when it comes to what Harry eats, and he definitely gets enough exercise running around like a headless chicken all day everyday, but Sam and I seem to have fallen into a rut again with food and I get next to no exercise - at least Sam has a physical job.
But we are making a real conscious decision to make healthier choices. I'm not saying that it means there will be no more McDonalds. They just won't be happening as often!

Why sometimes being a mum SUCKS

I love being a mum. Honestly. I love waking up in the morning hearing Harry calling for me through the monitor (yes we still use a monitor, I'm paranoid) and seeing his little face light up. I love having him run to me with a massive smile on his face and watching him grow and develop.

Being a mum has taught me so much. Taught me how much it is possible to love someone and how little I knew about love and sacrifice before Harry came along. 

But sometimes, being a mum sucks.

I know, I know, I'm not supposed to say that. I'm supposed to keep on about how amazing it is and how I wouldn't change it for the world. And it is. And I wouldn't.

But it still really sucks sometimes. 

I became a mum at 23. I was nowhere near ready to look after another human being, I could barely look after myself. Becoming a mum forced me to grow up and quickly at that.

Being a mum means I can't be selfish. I can be spontaneous anymore, not that I ever really was, but before Harry, I had that option. I can't just wake up in the morning and decide I want to go out all day, I can just decide to nip to the pub with friends after work because I need to make sure someone is there for Harry. I always need to have things planned well in advance and even then they might not happen because my babysitter falls through or Harry becomes ill. My leaving the house depends on so much now, where it never used to depend on anything.

When I became a mum, I was over the moon, but I couldn't help feeling that I had lost my freedom.

I also really struggled with finding a balance between 'Mummy' and 'Kat'. For so long I didn't understand that there was a difference. But there is, and I am more than just Mummy. I am also more than just Kat but for the longest time I felt like I had changed into a mummy, I had completely lost my identity. I still struggle with the balance sometimes but I am making more of an effort to really embrace the Kat in me. Work certainly helps with that, but I'm pretty sure that my work friends are sick of hearing my Harry stories because let's face it, I don't really have much else to take about.

The pressure to be a perfect mum made parenting so much harder. I had pressure from right when I first found out I was pregnant. But its never good enough. Breastfeed, bottle feed, wean at 4 months, wait until 6 months, don't use this, don't do that.

And then there is the money side of it. Kids are expensive. Like really expensive. It's not just the nappies and wipes and milk and clothes, it's the childcare fees and the gas bill that shoots up because you have to now keep your house at a certain temperature to make sure the baby is healthy. It's not having enough money to buy yourself the desperately needed clothes because once again your child has gone through a growth spurt and none of his clothes fit him.

If we didn't have Harry, Sam and I would be in such a better situation financially. Thankfully Harry now gets free hours at nursery and the bill is slowly decreasing, but when I first went back to work I was pretty much working to pay his childcare. I will always be a big advocate for nursery and would never dream about taking Harry out of nursery because they have truly been and continue to be an amazing support for not only Harry but us as well as parents who clearly have no idea what we are doing. But gosh it's expensive.

I know this post has seemed really negative about being a parent, but I don't want to lie. I don't want to pretend being a mum is all rainbows and kittens because it really isn't. There are some days when I sit there and think, I just can't do this anymore. Your life is not your own anymore and its something that when thinking about having a child you really have to be willing to accept.

There are some truly magical moments being a mum, and these make the sucky moments worth it. 

Future plans for Raising Harry

Blogging. It was never something I had thought about doing growing up. Mind you when I was growing up I'm not even sure blogging existed, but now my dream is to blog full time.

I've always wanted to be a writer. It is the only thing I've ever really wanted to do, but it wasn't a stable career choice and so I decided to follow other paths, then id discovered the online community of Youtube and blogging and vlogging, and I knew then, this is what I wanted to do. But I never had anything to write about, writing about my life seemed boring and I honestly felt like no one would ever want to read it.

Then came Harry. And I have blogged about being a Down Syndrome mummy, but that's not all I am, and this blog is my little space. So I want to write about things that I love, whether people want to read it or not.

So from 2019, you will see some variety in the posts. There will still be lots of mummy content because let's face it, I am a mummy, but I don't just want to write about down syndrome anymore. I want to show that Harry's diagnosis hasn't taken over my life. He still has downs and I will still write about it but that just isn't going to be my only focus.

There are some big things coming to the Raising Harry family so keep tuned!

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My 2019 Goals

WOW! Where did 2018 go? I honestly cannot believe we are in 2019 already! Christmas and new year, usually my favourite time of the year, just seemed to go by in a blur. I worked right up to Christmas for the first time since having Harry and that was hard, not being with him especially this Christmas when he really seemed to know what was going on, but we got through it and I think he had a great day.

I was ill over new year, again. I'm really not even surprised it happens every single year. Luckily, Sam and I aren't really partiers and so it was our usual few drinks with a Chinese in front of the TV. We watched the BBC's ABC Murders, which was really good! (and Rupert Grint... Hello).

It's amazing how much things change when you become a parent. Years ago we would have stayed up literally all night drinking on New Year's Eve, playing games and listening to music and generally being rowdy. This year we were struggling to stay awake and just about saw in midnight before passing out in bed.

Ah, what a life we lead!

2018 for us was a year of ups and downs, I'm not going to go into it into too many details in this post, but looking back at it all got me thinking about the things I want to achieve this year.

I never call them New Year's Resolutions because it feels like something I would set in January and completely forget about in the months to come. I prefer to think of them as 'goals'. Something to work towards throughout the year.

Obviously, I have some personal goals that I won't be sharing on here but there are some I'm excited to share certain ones with you, more in the hope that putting it out there on the internet means I may actually achieve them!

1. Blog more regularly. My blog is my space, my little piece of the internet where I can be me, not mummy. It's something I love doing and this year I really want to take time to focus more on this blog.

2. Become more organised. This is one I hate myself for because for a really long time I was super organised, but somehow I just let it slip away. I'm going to be taking steps to ensure I am more organised this year. I've done a load of research on this and discovered bullet journalling, which to me just seemed completely AMAZING. My bullet journal is ready to go now and I'm excited to start getting the best use out of it. Would anyone like to see a post on bullet journalling? I'm thinking I could do a whole series through the year on my experience with my bullet journal.

3. Take more pictures. This one seems to be on my list EVERY year. Hopefully, I will stick to it this year!

4. Lose weight. It's not even about losing the baby weight anymore. I have finally admitted I am seriously overweight but have a plan in place to help me shift some of that extra weight and start to feel good about myself again.

5. Focus on Me. This one is a really big one for me. I'm a people pleaser mostly and will always put anyone else needs before my own. I want to focus on me this year. (obviously, I will still be putting Harry first)

What are your 2019 goals?

Top Tips for helping your Child when they have a cold.

The common cold. How I hate the common cold! Harry always seems to have a cold from the minute it starts to cool down until its so hot he's running around naked he's sneezing and coughing all over the place.

Sam and I have tried everything to prevent it, it never works. Every winter guaranteed. So we've learnt how to help the poor little mite through it.

Here are our top tips.

1. Calpol Vapour Plug-in and Nightlight - This is a lifesaver! How we ever got by without it I will never know! There are no medicines as such in it, but the aromatic oils of Chamomile and Lavender help your child to sleep, meaning more time for recovery. Each refill lasts 8 hours and we ALWAYS have spares in the house.

We turn ours on just as Harry is getting in the bath, with his bedroom door shut so the oils gently fill his room for when he's ready to get out of the bath and into bed. Harry always sleeps much better when we use this, and I have to say, I've been known to steal it for our room if I'm feeling a bit rough from it all too!

Please be aware this is not suitable for babies under 3 months or pregnant women.

2. Olbas oil for children - Again, this just contains decongestants, but if Harry is feeling a bit bunged up we will put this in an oil burner (usually 1 drop in some water) in whatever room Harry is in. This makes it better for all of us to breath and Harry is usually a lot happier once we have this going! You can also add a few drops to a tissue and hold this close to your child's nose, but Harry never sits still long enough for that to work!

Again, not suitable for babies under 3 months.

3. Tissues with Balsam - Running noses means millions of tissues. We all know how sore your nose can get with the continuous wiping. Imagine how bad it is for our little ones. Balsam tissues aren't going to prevent the sore nose completely but they will definitely help more than tissues without.

4. Calpol and Ibruprofen - We all know what these are for! But I live by Calpol for Harry.

5. Fluids - My Nan has always said to me, 'Feed a cold, starve a fever'. I don't know how true this is but I do know it is almost impossible to get Harry to eat anything when he's feeling poorly, so I always try to make sure he drinks plenty. It helps to soothe his poor throat and keeps something in his stomach if we have a day where he will refuse all food. I will try to fill him up with milk and squash as well as water because he is missing out on all the vitamins he would normally take in if he had eaten.

6. Steam - Steam is the best quick relief for a child with a cold. Turn on your shower - quite hot! Close the bathroom window and shut yourself with the child in for 5 minutes at a time. It will open up the sinuses and help to breathe. Try not to stay there, especially with smaller children, for too long as it will dehydrate. Also, make sure to hydrate yourself and your child after to avoid feeling worse!

Let us know if you have any other tips to help out a child with a cold!!

Telling our family Harry has downs.

Sam and I have always had so much support when it comes to raising Harry. And we will always be beyond grateful for every single person.

Telling our families about Harry's diagnosis was hard. It wasn't something anyone had ever expected, with us being so young, and let's be honest, you don't ever think it will happen to you. 

I remember after the doctor had spoken to us about running the tests. I couldn't think. The first thing I did after getting back to my hospital room was calling my mum. 

My mum lived just over 100 miles away at the time. When we told her I was pregnant she had planned to come down for the last two weeks of my pregnancy, but I had put her off. You can't know for definite when you will go into labour and I didn't want her to get excited, book time off work and come down, for me to go 2 weeks over. So when we told her Harry was in NICU she again offered to come down and again I put her off, what could she do? She wasn't able to visit Harry for the first week or so and she would have just been sitting at mine for the whole time she was down, with me and Sam at the hospital. But at that moment, making that phone call, I just wanted her here. She didn't get to meet Harry until just after he turned a month old with having to book the time off work and everything and while she wasn't here I felt kind of alone. She had missed the majority of my pregnancy and didn't get to meet my little boy for a month.

She lived that far away until recently. The 1st of September she officially moved back here and its been fantastic. I know she feels like she has missed out on so much of Harry she's trying to make up for it. Sam and I are super lucky that my mum now has Harry one day a week and my sister has him another now so we can save so much money on our nursery bill. 

My mum was so amazing when we told her about the doctors thinking Harry had down's. Her first words were, 'So? Who cares' She has never seen why it would be a problem. And she has always been one of Harry's biggest cheerleaders.

Telling my dad was harder. We waited until we got our confirmed diagnosis before we worried him because we knew he would worry. 

I have to say, my dad really shocked me. We felt it was best to gather at my grandparents (this has always been a meeting place for my family. If we need a gathering place its always at Nan's!) with my grandparents and dad there. I remember sitting at my nan's dining table, with everyone surrounding Sam and I. I think they had all expected something about Harry being in NICU. I think my dad was convinced he was going to be there for months. And we just came out with it. 'Harry has Down's syndrome.' My dad and my nan cried. I think my mum did too, to be honest, but I wasn't there to see that. We explained that right then we were just focusing on getting him well enough to come home, and we didn't know what Down's syndrome meant for us.

I dread to think what happened when we left.

But my dad did something I never expected of him. My dad has always been a typical Cockney. An East Londoner through and through, but he was confused and concerned. Normally this would just frustrate him, but he got in contact with the local SEN school's headteacher (i think he was a friend of a friend) and he had a meeting, he learnt everything he could about downs. And then when we also got the Klinefelters syndrome diagnosis he did the same. He learnt everything he could. I don't think my dad will ever know how much I love him for that. My little boy is my dad's world, and he wouldn't have it any other way. Growing up I never imagined getting my dad to babysit my children, but now, seeing him with Harry, I couldn't imagine not asking him to look after Harry when I need a break. My dad has given up nights out, football games and events he has brought tickets for, to look after my little boy when I ask. He's always happy to give us lifts and is one of the two other people, that aren't me or Sam allowed to pick Harry up from the nursery. I think my dad is one our biggest supporters, and I know he would do absolutely anything for Harry.

I was never really involved with how Sam told his parents. I was in a state, with having had no sleep while going through my six days of pre-labour and everything going on with Harry. Sam pretty much took over telling everyone to be honest. He has always been my rock and I don't think I have ever needed him more then I did in those weeks Harry was in NICU.

Sam told his parents when they came to the hospital to visit Harry. He sat them down in the atrium while I was in with Harry, wishing I could touch him. We were never concerned about how Sam's parents would react. We knew they would look past all of that and see Harry for who he was.
We are incredibly lucky to have the support we do from Sam's parents. They have done more for us then we care to admit, and I don't think I will ever be able to thank them enough for it all, but most of all I will never be able to thank them enough for how they love Harry. I don't think I've ever told them how grateful I am to have them as my in-laws. 

Sam's mum has been one of our biggest help. Not only does she do EVERYTHING for Harry when we visit, but she was also there for us during my pregnancy whenever we needed some help. She became my support while my mum wasn't able to be here. I'll never forget the first day I was having contractions. Sam called his mum, just to update and they travelled back from their caravan that very night so his she could sit with us at the hospital if we needed anything.

Sam's mum is also a great help thanks to her experience with children with special needs. Sam's mum used to work for the Visual Impairment service and has lots of experience with children with special needs. Although she hasn't done it for a fair few years she is still our first port of call if we are concerned with anything to do with Harry. She may get sick of the many questions but she never lets on. She is always there if we need her. 

Sam's dad is one of Harry's favourite people and we know that he loves Harry just as much as Harry loves him. He lights up whenever he sees our little boy and it's amazing to see them together. I know he will teach Harry to be just as cheeky as Sam is and to tell some brilliantly terrible jokes but I honestly wouldn't have it any other way!

I will always be thankful for our family and how they are with our beautiful little boy. I feel good knowing he has all of these people to support him through everything life is going to throw at him. I know his life may be hard at times, but I also know with the family he's got he will get through anything.

Where It All Started

Birth Story

Harry's birth story seemed like a fitting first post on here. Bear with me because it was written months ago. More posts to follow ever...

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