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BACK | TO | BLIGHTY.

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The first weekend back in England and we had a forage in our new back garden, where we found the most marvellous rhubarb! 

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…and just like that, we’re back in Blighty.

For me, our secondment to Berlin feels like such a whirlwind. A total blur. We were there 9 months, and for the most part, I loved it. Loved being at work, loved the people, the culture, the places to see and the things to do. Berlin was incredible for kids. Which I had never anticipated! Even restaurants will go out of their way for children. It’s a highly child-friendly City.

But the truth is, England is home. And in Essex, we’ve found a county that I’m not sure I could ever move away from again.

Also, just wanted to shout out to some new friends. I felt majorly disconnected and really quite lonely when we were living out in Berlin. Whilst this may, or may not, come as a surprise, I found the Insta-Community to be ERRRRRRRRYTHING. I can’t tell you how much the chatter and support helped me. Even if I wasn’t mustering the energies to join in – just keeping abreast of how everyone else was getting on, also helped. Never underestimate the power of a Digital-shoulder, and how it can impact on others! I look forward to meeting you all IRL soon.

It feels good to be back.

I have started writing a Things I Missed list, in true Mother Of All Lists (aka and/or Clemmie @Peckham_Mamma) style! Might be helpful for prospective/current Ex-Pat’s living in all different corners of this lovely globe of ours.

So here is to being back in Blighty. I’ve missed you, you gorgeous thing.

MM.

 

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CALLING ALL > Music-Loving Mama’s!

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After having Eli my go-to daily outfit was a pair of wet-look leggings and the baggiest top I could find. I’d worked in Fashion since leaving Uni and had completely lost my way with getting dressed when King Eli arrived. 18 months later I had become so lazy and boring with my day-to-day outfits and didn’t feel like ME anymore. My excuse for everything was my 18 month old toddler, I didn’t need to dress up for him…

I had an epiphany when I stopped working from home and ventured back into the office. I started grabbing for those sacred pieces in my wardrobe that I’d kept “for best” and I started to wear them as everyday clothes. (Considering we rarely go dancing or even for meals anymore!). I became ME again. Dressing for YOU, makes YOU so much happier. (Gotta say here though, since moving to Berlin, 70% of my wardrobe is in storage, so I don’t really have a “for best” section anymore… I’m fairly happy with my wardrobe. Despite the constant stream DHL deliveries from Topshop, Zara and ASOS… (I send back more than I keep 😉 ). I’m more or less me though, depending on how much sleep I’ve had… ). But what’s important is these changes make YOU, YOU again.

I hadn’t realised until only recently, but I’d forgotten about MUSIC. Actual MUSIC. I’d always been an avid gig-goer from my teens; going to a gig every week (at least) whilst at Uni. We did the Festivals and the more intimate gig’s. Music was my EVERYTHING, just like my dressing up; from growing up, getting ready and going out, to my daily London commute! Even with my work, I had musicians come in weekly, sometimes daily, doing a session that I’d be posting across the HQ Social channels, or just help out with picking clothing from the shop-floor. Music was always with me. How had I forgotten about it? How had I forgotten how good music can be, how good it can make you feel?

Being in the office in Berlin, we have a communal Sonos system, which is great on a good day! But the majority of the time, the music can be, let’s say, eclectic (to be polite).  Which is fine, not everyone has to agree on everything, all of the time! I also work from a very old laptop that doesn’t even connect to the Sonos system, so rarely, if ever, do I input to the playlist. I have resorted to listening to Radio 1 through my headphones during work hours. But the music is pretty dire from Radio 1, it’s repetitive and monotonous. Don’t get me wrong,  I enjoy the laughs from Grimmy in the morning, Scott & Chris after 1pm and then Greg in the afternoon. But I dislike the 10am-1pm slot. A lot. Not to be rude about it. But I switch off. It’s certainly not the music that I liked to listen to. I either then grin & bare the Sonos playlist or put my Apple Music catalogue, consisting of mostly 2004, on shuffle. Last week I realised I hadn’t really listened to any new music since having Eli. I turn to The Beatles, Nirvana, David Bowie and The Lib’s for continued listening or we have shuffle on when we’re cooking or tidying up.

I’m eager to find out what other Mama’s enjoy… and what you’re listening to, right now. Basically, I want to know what exactly is ace of base! Or are you like me? Had you forgotten that music actually existed outside of that annoying Nursery Rhymes CD, the Peppa Pig theme tune or the Disney Top 100 tracks ? (Or indeed outside of Radio 1?). If you are stuck in a musical-rut then I propose a new hashtag!

 

#MamaMusicMonday

 

Going forward, I want to start my new Monday-week with some new listening. So Mama’s, let’s get sharing! What are you listening to in work, at the gym, on the school run, on the commute? What do you listen to when you’re doing a tidy up with the kids at the end of the day? What do you dance around to in the kitchen? (Or prance around to when you’ve poured that so-needed Gin when the kids are eventually asleep?!).  Share absolutely anything and everything with the hashtag #MamaMusicMonday – at any time in the week. From easy-listening to fast-paced! Any genre. Old or new! Just something with a beat that can set the tone for a new week – perhaps something none of us have listened to before – and definitely nothing remotely toddler related (please!). Music can help us in a million ways – it can do so much more than make your feet tap. And I’d so sadly forgotten that bit too. It wasn’t until darling Bowie passed away that I remembered how much music can mean, for so many. The emotions and memories you can feel from hearing one of your favourites…

SO with all that, I’m ready to resuscitate my musical education. I’m ready to regain that old ME who loved music so much. And you never know, you might spy me at a gig near you again soon 😉

MM.

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Hello 2016…

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YESMUM Cards, by Hollie de Cruz, available in her shop,  here.


Better late, than never, right? Happy New Year.

2016: The dawn of a new age for me. 2016 is all about positive vibes only.

I ended the year on a not so good note, I’ll be honest. I’ll go into further details when I get round to blogging about my wonderful YESMUM Cards. But that aside, I wanted to bring the old blog up to date now we’re in 2016.  So what’s happened so far in 2016? Well, we’ve had the coldest of January days we’ve ever had, ever, a flight back to our Motherland in the North of England, the death of the incredible David Bowie – which has left me somewhat broken hearted, amazing snow-filled fun, a cough, a cold, a stomach bug and Tonsillitis. The past few weeks have also cemented the fact that I need to step back and CHILL – for someone with anxiety, this is obviously a bigger thing than just ‘chilling out’. I’m taking steps to indeed ‘chill the hell out’, and I feel much happier stepping into February. Onwards and upwards, eh!

Here are a few snaps from January and into February:
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Our first flight of 2016, at 10am on 01/01/2016 – start the year as you mean to go on?!

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Haupstr. 155, Schöneberg, Berlin – the apartment where the wonderful David Bowie lived during his Berlin years. Myself and Mr Memoirs were always Bowie fans, but something really struck us about his shock passing. Perhaps it was because we’re in Berlin and he did so much for this incredible city? We genuinely felt heartbroken and haven’t stopped listening to his back catalogue since. We found the trip to his apartment so emotional – albeit, Eli referring to Bowie as ‘The Starman’ and picking yellow flowers for him definitely didn’t help things! We’re so sad he’s gone, but so happy he existed. Wonderful Starman, we will be forever indebted to you for the musical education and creativity. Our son will live in a happier place for your music and choice-looks, and for that we will be eternally grateful. 

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We hope Berlin does change the street permanently! 

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Winter MOTHER – Jewels by the absolute SuperMum that is Kelly Seymour of Cult Of Youth.

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FINALLY! The schnee arrived!

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Wanna build a schneemann?

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Eli got a mega bike for Christmas and refused to part ways on the Kita-run, regardless of terrain! 

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CHEEKY SNOW-CHOPS!

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…tea solves everything. Especially a proper cuppa!

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We dressed in lots of red to show our support for the recent British Heart Foundation #WearItBeatIt campaign. See more on my post, here: Our personal account, and #WearItForIvy!

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…and here we are, today. Today saw the bluest of skies and a mild 12c! Spring is certainly in the air, and I for one cannot wait for sunshine filled adventures!

For now, over and out!

 

MM.

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Oh darling, let’s be ADVENTURERS!

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Another year has passed since I opened the dashboard to this blog. And my feet have barely touched the ground.

We’ve had birthday’s and Christmas, losing job’s, starting a new business, starting a new/old job, more birthday’s and the beginning of our biggest adventure yet – a move across the land and water to BERLIN. As most folk know, we love an adventure. We also love a house move (not the actual packing and unpacking bit though!) This time, we packed up our suitcases (x3) and somehow managed to get our entire home into a single storage unit and flew out of London Southend airport on 31st August; marking our 9th house move in the near-12 years we’ve been together. And definitely the most exciting house move to date.

We’ve relocated to Prenzlauer Berg, in central Berlin with work. Having been here a fortnight now, we absolutely love it! We will be registering as Berlin resident’s next week, which has so far hindered a lot of other registrations – such as applying for a Kita-Gutschein (I’ll document this process once we have one in hand!) and applying for a bank account etc. So we’ll be able to start to really settle into Berlin life once all these last hurdles have been overcome. PHEW!

In the meantime, I’ll be getting back into engaging with my blog. I’ve missed it so much. But living literally just around the corner from work and Eli’s prospective nursery, I’ll finally be able to find the time to go back to writing and reviewing – and of course, documenting our adventures along the way. I can’t wait!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram to keep up with the latest: @JudyPink

Tschüß, bis bald!

MM.

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“Beep beep’m beep beep yeah” | I FINALLY passed!

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This time last week I was plodding about the house… already getting nervous about Thursday. For Thursday I would be having ANOTHER driving test. I hadn’t told anyone when my test was (aside from work). Mr Memoirs didn’t even have a clue. I have a terrible habit of getting myself worked up over things. I’ve always been a worrier. More so since having Eli of course, but still, I worry needlessly. Much to my disadvantage when I have an impending driving test!

After all these years of not driving… and not even wanting to drive, to it becoming such a necessity in my life that I was without. It wasn’t just the umpteenth walk up to the ‘local’ hospital for Eli’s physio appointment, or the walk up to Sainsbury’s for the second time that day, for the million things I’d forgotten (and having to cart it all back on the back of the pram)… or the fact I was trekking 2 HOURS every day to get Eli to nursery and back. It’s so much more than that. It’s the freedom to whisk my family away if need’s be. To be able to do things my friends do; and not miss out because the car seat would be a problem. Of course, I really wanted to be without the trek to the nursery. Nobody want’s to walk 2 hours every day in the howling wind and rain (granted, it was a lovely walk when the sun shone, but since July the path has been treacherous to say the very least – thank you Brentwood Council for making a massive pig’s ear of your roads – which in turn, made a massive pig’s ear of the path!). We’re free – as a family. And that’s so exciting.

I honestly cannot believe it. It feels very surreal.

My first drive was the nursery run. I felt liberated and a nervous wreck. I parked 5 minutes walk away in a pub car park because the nursery forecourt is a driving nightmare. Picking Eli up on Friday felt amazing. I did feel like I was an illegal driver however, and it really felt like all the other drivers KNEW I was new to the roads… it’s like they were all looking at me in my car. So very strange. I know they weren’t looking, at all!

The car still feels very big and I must have stalled about 40 times in the 6 drives I’ve done (mostly trying to get off the drive – it’s a hill). But all in all, I *think* I’m getting there. I CAN drive. I AM a driver. And that feels nice.

MM.

NB: I took 5 driving tests. Proof that you shouldn’t ever give up – if you want something, you will achieve it, eventually. Also, Brentwood Test Centre has a pass rate of 36% – they’re ridiculously harsh; to the point that I was failed on my last test because I wasn’t dramatic enough with how I was making observations – the examiner agreed that during the “incident” in question, I “did look”, it just wasn’t “obvious enough”.  I’d failed my previous tests for similar issues. I knew I was a good driver at heart, I let the nerves get the better of me, but this time I wasn’t going to be beaten! Plus my Provisional License was due to expire in October this year and I sure as hell was not going to get that renewed – I NEEDED that Full License! And I got it! DON’T GIVE UP – KEEP ON PLODDING! And you never know, if you’re taking your driving test as a ‘mature student’ like I was, maybe you might have a nicer test centre who appreciate how difficult it is to not be that ruthless and overly confident 17 year old! I will keep my fingers crossed for you. 

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The Big Feastival 2014 | We’re ACTUALLY going!

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I enter competitions on a whim. I forget about them. I entered The Big Feastival competition via the Jamie Oliver ‘Gold Club’ back in December… at the time, I remember saying to Mr Memoirs, “We should keep that weekend free, just incase!”. His obvious reaction was “No need, we never win anything…”. He’s eating those words right now, because I DID WIN!

We’re so so excited, I can’t even put it into words! And that is saying something.

I’m even excited about the camping part! Which is DEFINITELY saying something.

We’ve always wanted to go to The Big Feastival – as we’re huge fans of Jamie Oliver, and Alex James fan’s to boot (I was always on team BLUR, of course). This is literally the perfect festival for us, especially with Eli in tow too. It’s hugely family-friendly (heck, Justin Fletcher A.K.A Mr Tumble and actual Mr Bloom swoon are there too!). There are dozens of activities and area’s to keep little ones entertained. Plus, and most importantly, this is a foodie festival. With all our favourite chef’s in attendance! You can see the list of who’s-who, here> CHEF’s.

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The marketing team at Jamie Oliver have been absolutely fantastic. They’ve been super swift to reply to any queries we’ve had and have kept me up to date with everything. The tickets landed on my doormat this morning, giving me a new lease of excitement – WE’RE ACTUALLY GOING!

So – what’s the plan when we get there?

Well, we’ll unload the car and get the tent up as soon as possible – and get settled in! We tested the tent a few weekend’s ago and it was super easy to assemble – which is good news because I would get bored so quickly otherwise! For the first time ever, we also have a camp bed; there was no way we could sleep on the actual floor for a few nights (we literally have the bones of elderly people!).

We’ll then head into the festival, which open’s at 11am!

We’re really looking forward to seeing presentations/tasting’s with our favourite Chef’s, as well as joining in all the toddler activities we can feast on! Eli is very, very good with his food, so we’re certain he’ll get stuck into munching whatever he can. As reader’s of my blog, and friends of mine IRL, will know, I’m massively mildly obsessed with Little Bird by Jools. Basically, there is little else that I will dress Mr Eli in, other than Little Bird. It is my imaginary children’s fashion made reality (and probably better than my imagination to be honest!). And guess what? Little Bird will be at The Big Feastival too! Last year there was even a catwalk (I can’t cope!), which I’ll so be FROW of with Eli. Hoping he doesn’t gatecrash though – I know he has a soft spot for Jools and her design’s too! I’m literally so excited I can’t even contain myself!

Just look how adorable these kids are man! LOVE LOVE LOVE Little Bird!

So the countdown is officially on, now that tickets are in hand! T-minus 13 day’s! This weekend we’ve bought Eli some new threads to keep him cool or warm and dry across the Big Feastival weekend. That’s the only trouble with a British festival, you really need to pack for ALL weather! I’m certain we’ll have an amazing time whatever the weather will be. There are adventures and memories to be made… and that’s the main thing.

 

MM.

 

PS – any tips you have for camping with a 2 year old would be greatly appreciated!

Here is the line-up (in full, more or less).

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Me & Mine | Me and my shadow.

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This is me and my shadow. My darling boy.

We were walking back from an afternoon at the local park. Eli was obsessed with the big boat, that is on springs, kind of bouncy-see-saw-thing. It doesn’t do an awful lot, but it definitely captured Eli’s imagination.

MM.

 

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Another one of ‘those’ blog posts…

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Yes, I am sorry. But this is another one of ‘those’ blog posts where I apologise for not writing for so long.

Life – as I always say – has taken over! I work more or less full time right now. Which is great for exercising my brain. But my god, do I miss my little boy. Needs must however, and the work is fun, engaging and what I’m passionate about. So it’s not dull in the slightest! I’m very lucky that I can work from my own office space at home, so I know Eli isn’t too far away. And the best thing? I know I can wear my onesie to the office, if I feel so inclined! But yes, it’s been pretty full on…

So much has happened in the past few months. We were discharged from the consultant who looks after Eli’s Torticollis back in May – due to their being no treatment, cure or support. We will self-refer should our situation change. But right now, *touch wood*, things are working as they should be. We also saw our consultant who looks after Eli’s Talipes on the same day. We will go back for a review in around November/December time. But overall, he was over the moon with Eli’s progress, as are we! We certainly have a very fast little runner in Eli. Well, he is an Olympic baby afterall!

Just this week we have started the 5:2 diet – which I hope to document through my blog and my Instagram (click here to follow me, @JudyPink!). Yesterday was my first fast day, (I’ll write a separate blog on this), and I survived!

I’m sure a whole lot of other stuff has happened inbetween (like Mother’s Day, Easter, failing 3 driving tests, Tonsillitis, being asked to be a bridesmaid, meeting Iggle Piggle, turning 28, Father’s Day… oh and seeing One Direction!) So I’m sorry I won’t be catching up on that stuff – probably for the best. BUT I do promise to try and spend a little bit more time on my blog again. I do miss my writing and documenting Eli’s progress and lovely outfits that he has 🙂 (Plus it means that Mr Memoirs can play on his PS4 at the same time! 😉 )

For now, I bid you a pleasant day!
MM.

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#ThisIsMyChild Talipes and Torticollis | MR ELI WALKS!

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I have been waiting to write this blog post for SO SO LONG.

Mr Eli was diagnosed with Bilateral Talipes when he was 25 weeks old, in utero. We were told it would be mild when he was born. Granted, it didn’t look anywhere near as bad as we were expecting when he was born – and there was a lot of flexibility in his feet, which was good news.

8 weeks into doing stretching exercises at home, we hit a brick wall (I was also told at Eli’s 8 week check by the top GP in the practice that his feet would “correct themselves”). I finally got a physio appointment for Eli when he was 10 weeks old. Roll onto 13 weeks and we were seeing our Consultant, who said Eli would be following the Ponseti Method of treatment for Talipes – plaster casts followed by wearing Ponseti Boots & Bar. Eli had plaster casts for 6 weeks, up to the top of his thighs. It was quite frankly, horrendous. He was old enough to understand a bedtime routine with his lovely soothing bath. He was old enough to want to roll over. We were without these things for 6 weeks and of course, without any sleep too! In December 2012 Eli began wearing his Ponseti Boots & Bar, 23 hours a day. For the one hour he had the boots off, he had a ‘run around’ and his lovely bath. He wore the boots & bar full time for 6 months, going down to just wearing them at nighttime (12 hours) after our 6 month appointment. At 10 months old Eli started cruising the furniture (and anything else he could get his hands on!). Since then, Eli has had several good reviews with his Consultant. The last appointment we had in November 2013 was amazing – his feet look just like a ‘normal’ child’s’ feet. Our Consultant was so happy, he almost packed the boots & bar in for good – but we have to be sensible, there’s always a chance of relapse and we didn’t want Eli to stop wearing the boots & bar too soon; after all, most Talipes children wear the boots & bar until they reach 5 years old.

At 16 months, Eli took his first few steps between Mr Memoirs and me – aided by the bribe of a dummy (which he only has for bed).

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At 17 months old he’s walking, completely unaided and with a degree of good balance (he’s currently having a bout of Torticollis at the minute, so he’s sloping off to the one side). When his Torticollis sorts itself out in the next few days we’re very confident that Eli will be dashing everywhere. Of course, the Torticollis does coincide with the fact he has reached yet another milestone. (He also has Chickenpox, to boot! That’s another blog post in itself).

We’ve had this lots before, but I know most people would be saying:

“Keep him crawling as long as you can, you don’t want him running about yet – you’ll be shattered!”

“Hope you’re ready for all that running about!” 

“Oh god, now the fun really starts.” (AS IF it’s a negative thing?!).

“You’ll regret saying you want a walker!”

But my goodness me, we’ve wanted nothing more than to be worn out after running around with our little boy. I don’t think people realise sometimes – and I understand that people do speak without thinking too. This still feels very surreal to us. An absolutely amazing achievement for our darling boy – we’re so proud we could BURST.

Without the treatment that Eli has gone through, he would not be walking – full stop. All the tears, endless sleepless nights, stress and strain was all completely worth it.

There is literally nothing more wonderful in life than seeing your child grow and develop. And our brave little soldier is growing and developing just perfectly.

MAGIC.

MM.

 

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UPDATE | Mr Eli has Talipes and Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis.

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Last week wasn’t a very nice week, at all.

Mr Eli has been suffering with his Torticollis more frequently since I wrote my epicly long blog post, Mumsnet: This Is My Child | Mr Eli has Talipes and Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis. We haven’t had any attacks with the accompanying sickness and drowsiness since Eli’s 1st birthday; it has been just his head tilting to his shoulder. He’s been teething quite badly (well, he’s been teething constantly since he was 8 weeks old…). His Torticollis tends to flare up more when he’s teething – or when he reaches milestones. We were so hoping he’d started to outgrow the attacks.

His neck had been tilting to the left side since 24th October – coincidentally, OH’s birthday. It finally straightened up, to a perfect mid-line by Friday 1st November, 8 days later. Then on Tuesday 5th November Eli’s head started to gradually tilt towards the right. He had been unaffected for just 3 days. By the evening of Wednesday 6th November, poor Eli looked horrendously uncomfortable and was very clingy. We had a physio appointment at the local hospital at 11am on Thursday 7th November. This would be the first time our physio had seen him so badly affected with the Torticollis.

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Eating an apple after breakfast on Wednesday 6th November.

On Thursday 7th November, Eli woke up crying. He never wakes up crying… apart from when he’s been severely affected with his Torticollis, and we’re due an attack.

I struggled to get Eli into his high chair, he was so off balanced and crying in discomfort. He barely ate any breakfast. His head was completely touching his shoulder.

I got us both ready for the hospital appointment; we walked the 25 minute journey and Eli was fast asleep as soon as he went into his pram. He NEVER sleeps in his pram when we’re out and about now. He’s too nosey.

When we got to the hospital he started to wake up with the lights and noises. As he gradually came round, I noticed his eyes weren’t quite right. They looked misaligned. I pulled him out of his pram for a cuddle and closer look. And as I did so, he projectile vomited. EVERYWHERE. He was having the first full blown Torticollis attack in 3 months. His eyes rolled back and he passed out into my arms. There were such lovely people in the waiting room, rallying round with tissues and water for us both! It’s so scary and upsetting when it happens. This is the first time it’s happened outside of our house too.

I then went into the physio room. Our physio was in a state of shock I think – she’s always seen him when he’s been unaffected and his usual jolly self. She admitted she never realised the extent of the attacks and began noting down everything that had happened, so she could write to the big hospital in Chelmsford for a referral to a specialist.

We know that there is no treatment or cure for Torticollis. It is something that Eli must grow out of, and should grow out of by the time he is 3. But I would still like him to be seen by a specialist.

He was sick a further 3 times in the physio room. The physio took a video of how the Torticollis was affecting him during his attacks; so we can use it as reference for any further appointments, where hopefully Eli will not be affected. OH and I watched this back on Thursday night together and it was very, very distressing to watch back.

Eli continued to be sick all of the day on Thursday – something that doesn’t usually happen. Eli had changed through 6 tops, 2 pairs of trousers and I used 12 muslins and 4 tea towels to clean things up. It was too chilly to not have his clothes on. I kept him nil by mouth… aside from syringing water into his mouth as he just couldn’t drink from anything else. He slept on me in-between the sickness. As he snored in my arms, I sobbed. I don’t think there’s anything that quite prepares you for feeling so helpless as a parent – not being able to make Eli better is just the WORST feeling in the entire world. For his last nap that day, I put him into his pram – where he slept for 90s mins.

When Eli woke up, he was chatting away. I pulled him up and out of his pram for a cuddle. He wanted to be down and straight away grabbed his beaker! He was almost back to his usual jolly self again – aside from his head was still tilting to the right, just not as severely; but it was a huge improvement on how it had been when he woke up that morning. It was almost as though the earlier part of the day hadn’t happened.

He ate toast, a banana and some biscuits for his tea that evening, along with 2 beakers of water. He went to bed normally with his bottle of milk.

He was clingy on Friday 8th November and looked very uncomfortable still. His balance was still affected by the Torticollis so he was very clumsy and couldn’t sit upright on the floor or in his highchair, choosing to slant to the affected side.

Fast forward a few days to today. Eli is much better now, sitting comfortably and back to his usual routine. His head is more or less perfectly straight in the mid-line again. After previous attacks, his head has straightened back during the course of the day. So this has been a lengthy process, this time.

Eli has an appointment to review his Talipes at the end of this month – which we’re so looking forward to as his feet are remarkable now. His referral regarding his Torticollis will be at the beginning of December, at the same hospital.

If you or your child has been affected by Torticollis, or indeed Talipes, please do get in touch. I’d really like to hear your experiences with both – Torticollis a rare condition and there is not a lot of information out there.

MM.