Children & TV characters

I was struggling for what to blog about this week & a friend of mine in Australia jokingly suggested I talk about the global love for Peppa Pig.  I laughed then I stopped & thought about it. I thought about how as a parent you are pretty much forced into watching the worst possible TV programmes.  Literally forced.  And literally the worst programmes!

Before I had my daughter I had heard of certain ones through friends who had kids & then when my niece came along a year before my daughter arrived.  But you never really take much interest.  Until you have a child of your own.

I have talked previously about how I feel there is nothing wrong with children watching TV.  My personal view is that as long as it isn't hours & hours of it continously then I don't see a problem with it.  Some people disagree I know, but that's my opinion. When you suffer from chronic illness, such as M.E, it almost becomes a necessity sometimes too.  If you do not have the energy to do anything else you can at least be with your child & know they are safe while they watch tv or a film & you lie on the sofa!

However, what I hadn't anticipated was how annoying certain programmes would be.  Or how much I couldn't stand certain characters.   For anyone who is familar with In the Night Garden, please tell me I am not the only person who wanted to throw a stone at Makka Pakka?  Talk about weird.  And what on earth was that programme all about anyway!?!  So pleased she grew out of it & also pleased her favourite character from it was Upsy Daisy as oppose to the other strange beings.

I find certain childrens' programmes also have a lot of double entendre in, which may not be deliberate.  Perhaps it is just my dirty mind.  But if you watch Ben & Holly I'm pretty sure you may get a glimpse of what I mean!  Gaston the ladybird is a very naughty little creature.

The other thing about kids' tv is the obsession with certain characters.  They really do become completely & utterly obsessed.  Peppa Pig is the one they all go mad for.  She is a pig who talks, snorts & has various animal friends.  She lives with Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig & her little brother George.  Her favourite hobby is jumping up & down in muddy puddles. What can there possibly be that is so endearing about her? But she must have something as they all love her.  She does have a sweet voice I admit!

My daughter would sit & watch, almost hypnotised by it.  From a very early age too. Of course it isn't just the programme, you get all the merchandise in the shops.. toys, toothbrushes, bedding, clothes which cost more because Peppa is on them! You name it & it is available to buy.  We probably encourage their habit by buying it but what can we do?

On her 2nd birthday she got a Peppa dressing up outfit & wore it when we took her bowling as she wouldn't take it off!

We have now moved on, after years of it, to the Princess obsession.  However I will never be able to forget that little piggy. Why? You may ask. Because guess what my daughter's first word was??......



Guest blog post from a friend, mummy with M.E (1)

I asked a couple of my friends who have children & also have M.E if they would write a guest blog post for me.  Here is the first one, thank you Aly xx

So my lovely friend Ali has invited me to write a guest post for her blog about my experience of ME and being a mum.  To put you in the picture, I met Ali online on an ME/CFS forum in 2007. We began chatting through the messaging service about our experience of having this illness and as we were both planning our weddings within a few months of each other so it was an exciting time for both of us.

Shortly after, we were both trying for a family. Unfortunately due to health concerns with my partner, it was difficult for me to conceive naturally. However in 2009 I began my first course of IVF. This was an anxious time but surprisingly I found the treatment didn't affect me too badly. The process was much less emotional than I thought it would be although it was tough physically and quite invasive. However the outcome was amazing. I got pregnant first cycle and enjoyed a healthy pregnancy. I was one of the lucky ones who seemed to respond well with my ME to the hormones and my symptoms were minimal. I really loved being pregnant. During my pregnancy I had placenta praevia and did up having a c section but it went without incident. I think the fact it was planned helped me feel more in control and organise help for the first few days and weeks after the birth.  In October 2009 I had my lovely healthy little boy.

I  found the newborn stage as much of a challenge as any other new mum but I managed to breastfeed which worked well for me with regard to no bottles during the night etc. and I stayed really healthy during the first year. The fatigue was evident but I rested a lot when he slept and generally had a gentler pace of life. Although I did notice that when I weaned my little boy at six months and the amounts of feeds reduced, that my symptoms became more noticeable. Again this happened when I stopped breastfeeding altogether when he turned one.  I went back to work part time after ten months and although it was a bit of a struggle I managed.

Things became more difficult during the toddler stage. I began to struggle to keep up with the constant entertaining, endless energy he had and the tantrums.
Unfortunately I suffered an awful three month relapse with my ME just after my little boy turned three. This was a very difficult time. My little boy didn't understand why I was sick and could no longer run around with him. My husband worked full time, my parents lived over an hour away and although they were supportive, they couldn't be there every day. My little boy was in nursery three days a week but I still had to do the drop offs and pick ups and the other two days, try to find the energy to look after him. As it was Autumn/ Winter I couldn't just put him out in the garden to play so ended up with a few difficult trips to softplay in an attempt to let him burn off energy, during which time  I was slumped in the corner with noise and light sensitivity. Somehow I got through it and started to improve. I managed to do a gradual return to work at the start of 2013 and it was a further two months before I felt back to how I had been pre-relapse.

Now I consider myself to be only mildly affected again with ME and have mainly good days interspersed with the occasional bad day. My boy is now 4 and able to entertain himself for longer periods,  the tantrums have lessened and I can reason with him. He understands that I sometimes get more tired than usual.

With a long term condition, a lot of consideration has to go into thinking about parenthood. But if it's what you want then there is a lot of help and support out there. For anyone, its an experience that you have to 'learn on the job'. I know its a cliché but there is no rule book and every child is very different. I'm pleased to say that my little boy appears to be growing into a happy, sociable, articulate and confident little boy and I believe I have had a big part to play in that. So it can be done!

Parenthood comes with it's challenges, especially when you have ME and each stage of childhood presents new difficulties but I have to say that I have found it a very rewarding and happy experience and I am so glad our little boy came into our lives.

During pregnancy and the first few years I found the following websites useful: mecfsparents.org.uk, netmums.com here  and mumsnet.com here. If you type ME or CFS in the search facility then a lot of advice and discussions come up which you can browse. I found it very helpful.

Anyway I hope that has provided some insight as to how it can be parenting with ME and a big thanks to Ali for letting me contribute. You can find my blog over at



Holiday! Travelling with a chronic illness/M.E

It's been almost 2 weeks since I got back from Majorca but I haven't felt upto writing as it took it out of me a bit so been trying to rest! I've also had a busy weekend meeting up with a lovely friend who is a fellow M.E sufferer so my body isn't too happy with me at the moment!

I was panicking a bit about the travelling as I knew it would be draining & I'd feel rough afterwards.  However, it actually wasn't as bad as I thought at all!  The staff at the airport, on check in & also wheelchair assistance, were great.  My daughter even got to send off our cases!

We flew from Leeds Bradford airport & it is only a small airport.  Despite there being mayhem the previous day due to French air traffic strikes, the flight was on time.  The wheelchair assistance at the airport is always brilliant, the staff are lovely & it's great not having to queue with everyone else - there has got to be some perks of using a wheelchair!  Wheelchair users usually board first or last but this time, as I can manage the stairs upto the plane, we went on with everyone else.  When I had checked in online with Jet2 they had given us 3 seats separately which amused me as I thought I may get a quiet flight while my daughter annoyed her daddy!! But they had changed them so we were sat together ;-)

I put my heat pads on my back & blew up the neck pillow.  I should have tested it first though as I soon found out it didn't work very well & kept deflating. That will teach me for buying it from Poundland!!  I don't like taking off & always cover my face with my pashmina, much to my daughter's amusement.  In fact her words on the flight home were "don't be a scaredy cat mummy, be a good cat"!!  Bless her.

My sister used to be cabin crew for Jet2 & her friend was the Senior on our flight so it was a nice surprise seeing him.  My daughter was so good, she kept occupied with a 'colour your own' pencil case I had bought her, a sticker book & a princess magazine.  We had some sandwiches & snacks & I didn't feel too bad. The heatpads really helped with the pain in my back.  My legs were a different story though!

Once you arrive at the destination airport & have booked assistance, you stay on the plane until everyone has got off.  They bring an ambi-lift to the plane which takes passengers over to the terminal.  They were waiting for me with my wheelchair (phew, it had made it!) & I was the only wheelchair passenger too so we had it to ourselves. The man there was lovely.  My daughter showed off her limited Spanish (thanks to Dora the Explorer!) & he gave her his ear defenders to wear as well as lifting her up onto the ambi-lift (much to her delight!) which was open at the front.  Health & safety is clearly very different over there!!

Palma airport is massive so it really helps having an extra pair of hands & someone who knows where they are going! Again no having to queue at security, bonus :-)  We found our cases, got on the coach for the transfer to resort with a load of rowdy teens (oh how old I felt!) & it wasn't long before we were off.

Arrived at the hotel & was very happy to find out we were in the one I had asked for - they are twin hotels next to each other - we had been put on the first floor close to the lift.  Glad they had taken on board what I'd asked for as last year when we went they put us on the 8th floor so we spent ages messing about changing it.  I can just about manage 1 flight of stairs but not 8..!

I didn't feel too bad & they went for a wander whilst I (probably very stupidly) started unpacking!  The tiredness soon hit me & we went to bed.  Surprisingly slept well & there is not a lot nicer than getting up & putting your bikini on knowing you have a day of sun to look forward to.  We were all inclusive too so no having to worry about going off to buy drinks or ice-cream!

I hired a mobility scooter which arrived within an hour & I didn't use the wheelchair again until we left for the airport on the way home.   I much prefer using scooters as it gives me much more independence.  Means I can go off whenever I want, to the shops usually!  My daughter hitched many a ride on it too, she didn't want to walk & wasn't happy when I made her!!

The holiday was lovely, the sun always helps my symptoms ease a bit & it was just so nice totally relaxing.   I love the beach so enjoyed chilling there a few times.  Apart from my daughter being stung by a jellyfish on day 2!  I could happily lie on the beach all day.  Love the sound of the waves!

The food was great, lots of choice & we only ate lunch out once.  I usually get fed up of the food on holiday towards the end but never do at that hotel.  I did more walking than I should have, around the pool & in the gift shops etc but I took my painkillers when I needed & used loads of my heat spray before bed!

I have had an intolerance to alcohol since I have had M.E but I have a drink every now & then.  I (over!)indulged in Sangria when I was there.  Didn't think that through very well when having a scooter to drive! Luckily I avoided any incidents.

I don't usually read much these days but I took a book that I had wanted to read with me & finished it within a few days.  It is called One Million Lovely Letters by the amazing & very inspirational Jodi Ann Bickley & I recommend it to everyone.  Jodi also suffers from M.E after dealing with some horrific things & writes the most fantastic letters to people who need it.
More information is on her website here

Being able to spend quality time with my princess & seeing her have loads of fun was brilliant.  She makes me so proud ♥

All in all I would recommend anyone with M.E, if they can, to have a holiday.  When I saw my osteopath after I had got back he asked if I'd been in the swimming pool as my muscles/joints weren't as bad as he was expecting.   I don't really swim much but just being in water helps so it is something I am going to try to do more.

Having some colour makes me feel much better too but that will soon be gone!

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