5 wishes for Harry's Future

Sam and I are often asked what school we will be hoping to send Harry to, special needs or mainstream? It seems important for people to know and, even though they have no idea what they are talking about, to question our answer.
Our answer has always been the same. Whatever works for Harry. He currently attends a mainstream nursery and is blooming there, so ideally we would love for a mainstream school to work for him. We swore when we found out his diagnosis that we would never treat him any differently then we would have if he didn't have Down's syndrome or Klinefelter's syndrome, and we have worked hard to keep to that as much as possible. So it always confuses me that people question why we would attempt mainstream schooling. If it doesn't work, we step back and reconsider, as we always have with Harry.
This got me thinking, What things are really important for us to aim for with Harry. What dreams do we have for his future, this is the list we came up with;

1. Do well in school. For this one we aren't talking about grades necessarily, I mean that we want him to be involved in things, like teams or after school clubs, making friends and just generally enjoy school. For me, this is what doing well in school means.

2. Achieve. We are very much in the frame of mind that Harry is a person, and as such we try not to dictate things for him, such as things like which football team he will support (I have refused point blank to let anyone buy him anything to do with football teams) or what we want him to be interested in. if he wants to be a dancer, go for it, if he wants to be a poet good on him. We really have no preference, but the most important things for us is that he works hard and gives it everything he's got to achieve his dreams.

3. To be accepted. This is a great fear for us. It took a long time for us to accept that, as much as we treat him as normally as possible there are people we know who don't and who he will come in contact with in the future who won't. To them he is different. I work hard every single day to try and raise awareness in the hope that Harry will never meet people who will treat him badly because of his diagnosis.

4. He lives in a world that he feels safe in. As an adult and a parent, I am shocked at all the things in the world that make me scared or feel unsafe. I wish I could protect Harry from these things forever, but most of all I want him to feel safe walking down the street or driving a car and the things that scare me aren't there when he's out in the world on his own.

5. That he can look after himself. This one is my most important and actually didn't come around because of his diagnosis. Sam and I aren't going to be around forever, and I want to leave Harry, as well as any other children we may have, with all the skills he will need to look after himself when we are gone. I want him to know the value of money and that nothing is handed to you on a plate. That bills need paying and debt is a dangerous thing. I want him to be able to cook and use the washing machine and all the other things that come with 'Adulting'

What's in my toddler's changing bag?

I've seen a lot of these video's on Youtube and decided to do my own version here on the blog. These are some of my favourite video's to watch, mostly because I'm nosy, but also because I'm always worried I'm not carrying the right stuff for Harry. So hopefully, if you are looking for what to pack in your changing bag for your toddler, this will give you some ideas.

Let's start with the bag we use itself. When Harry was around 14 months old the original changing bag we used broke and we started looking at new bags for him. With him starting nursery we wanted something he could take with him that would last for the entire time he was there and so decided that a normal baby changing bag just wouldn't work for us, and we didn't want to spend that kind of money, as many of them are between £60 and £120, on something that just wouldn't last, so we started looking at backpacks. This in itself came with its own set of dilemmas, do we go for a character backpack, like paw patrol, and risk him growing out of paw patrol before we finished with the bag or a nice simple one? It needed to be big enough to carry all of the bits he needed at 14 months but small enough that he could carry it himself if he wanted to once he started walking. I looked everywhere and FINALLY found myfirstyears.com. I had heard about them before and eyed up a few things but I had never seen the backpacks. It had everything that we had been looking for and I loved that we could personalise it too! I fell instantly in love with the blue star design and for £30 with free personalisation, it felt like a steal! I'm actually looking into ordering another bag in a different design because I honestly feel that they are perfect! (you can find Harry's backpack here https://www.my1styears.com/large-personalised-star-backpack.html)

Now let's move on to changing bag essentials. Nappies first of all. We like to keep at least six nappies in Harry's changing bag at any one time, just to be safe and to ensure he has enough when he is at nursery. Currently, Harry is in size 5 nappies and we use the mamia brand from Aldi as we have since birth.
Choosing the right nappies was a very important decision for Sam and me when we found out we were having Harry. Price, although we didn't want to be spending huge amounts on them, was never the point so we did lots of research into finding what people believed was the best nappies and mamia came up time and time again during this searching so we decided to give them a try, especially after Sam's cousin had her baby in the January of 2016 and recommended them to us over Pampers which she had used first of all. In a pinch, Harry has used Pampers but we have found that they have leaked and even gave Harry a rash once.

Wipes are the next most important thing in Harry's changing bag and we always ensure there is at least one pack in the bag at all times, depending on how full the pack is sometimes two. We are using the Tesco baby ultra soft fragrance-free wipes but this was not always the case.
At our baby shower, we were brought a johnsons gift pack which along with bath things had a pack of their Johnsons baby extra sensitive wipes. We used these from when Harry was about six weeks old once we felt he didn't need for us to use cotton wool and water anymore. However, after a few months, we noticed that wherever we were using the wipes on Harry like to wipe his face or hands and cleaning his nappy area, he was getting irritated skin and so we decided to try out some different wipes and found that the Tesco ones worked for him.

For a nappy cream, we use the Palmers cocoa butter bottom butter. This again was a gift from our baby shower and although expensive (£3.75 for 125g) you only need the tiniest bit and this is the only cream that helped with Harry's nappy rash. Sudocreme was recommended to us by dozens of people, including my mum, we found that it dried out Harry's skin and actually made the rash and irritation worse so we stopped using it and tried the bottom butter, and honestly have never looked back even though its incredibly hard to find for some reason (although its available from Sainsburys here; https://www.sainsburys.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/gb/groceries/palmers-bottom-butter-125g?langId=44&storeId=10151&krypto=M%2FtWXsSl6S75epnWtsCQsX5H0vFaV2OTMK0cPtWIEozLJyCKV1G%2BevzNwyUMuJAv8YV0L5Nfek0npezW8zZ2WC1ga0T4efwy5wsOvv%2FaYcg9bfho85SSHqa1d5gBquuVuU7XufyzcwvKJSLS2ZtbAstCJ6hqAec4JlVacI4hgno%3D&ddkey=https%3Agb%2Fgroceries%2Fpalmers-bottom-butter-125g)

Becuase we are using the backpack as Harry's changing bag, it obviously doesn't come with a changing mat. The one from our old changing bag had seen better days and so we found this one (https://direct.asda.com/george/baby/changing/red-kite-on-the-go-travel-changing-mat/050178435,default,pd.html) in the Asda baby event that I think works brilliantly, making quick nappy changes easier with a pocket for a nappy and wipes if you need it

We always a full set of spare clothes for Harry in his changing bag, no matter where we are going we always have spare trousers, t shirt and vest at the very least. We also try to carry a dribble bandana bid and a pull over bib if we are going to be eating anywhere because we all know what toddlers are like!!

Having a child with a low immune system makes me slightly obsessive about keeping Harry healthy, and so you will always find antibac wipes and hand sanitiser in my changing bag. I wipe down every public changing table and highchair we may use with the antibac wipes and always use hand sanitiser if I feel like I have touched something that may not be as clean as I would like it, such as bus bells or shop door handles, and even use it after washing my hands after a nappy change or going to the toilet myself. I wouldn't call these essentials but for me its very important to keep everything as clean as possible. I adore the detol antibac wipes and always try to by the bumper packs if i can, but also recently have been loving the Wilkos antibac wipes in the fuji apple and apricot sent, at 50p a pack you can't really go wrong and they smell amazing!

When Harry is out and about with us we obviously take his sippy cup. Harry is really funny about sippy cups and so we usually take two choices with us. Recently I ordered the easter surprise box from Nuby which came with an insulated version of their 360 cup. Harry uses the munchkin version at nursery but doesn't like it when his drink goes warm and so with the insulated one keeping his drink chilled for up to 12 hours he has been really enjoying this one, so much so that I went out the other day and purchased a back up just in case (you can Harry's cup here; https://www.nuby-uk.com/view-product?path=66_150&product_id=1501 with different designs on the nuby uk website!)
The second cup that we like to take with us is the Tommee Tippee sports bottle. We searched high and low for a sippy cup that Harry would take to and after months of trying (we thought we had it with the nuby sip and grip but it seemed to be too fast flowing for him) I stumbled on this in Wilkos one day. I liked the look of the spout as it was similar to a bottle. We decided to give it a go and haven't looked back since! They have recently redesigned the range and so the two that Harry has you can no longer get but the new design can be found here (and they are super cute) https://www.tommeetippee.co.uk/product/sports-bottle

For snacks to take around with us, Harry adores Ella's kitchen fruit pouches, especially now he has worked out how to eat them himself without a spoon. We also love the Kiddylisious smoothie melts or the Bear fruit paws as they are super healthy and basically just fruit. We call them Harry's sweets and he feels like he is getting a real treat if we pull these out, and we feel great because he's eating something healthy (not that he doesn't have the odd 'naughty' treat or meal!)

And that, on most days is what you can find in our changing bag! Hope you've enjoyed this peek and if you were struggling with what to pack this gives you some ideas!

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...