Posted in Brief updates, Dads Journey

Co-Parenting

Today’s topic of conversation is co-parenting. I wanted to do some research into the types of co-parenting, purely to make sure William’s dad and I are doing it right and hopefully improve upon it if necessary or make sure we are at least heading in the right direction.

There are 3 types of coparenting.

High conflict co-parenting

High conflict parenting is exactly as it sounds, it’s difficult for some to put personal reasons aside and focus on what’s best for the child. This is often the style used in the aftermath of a separation. This style of parenting can be detrimental to the child and makes it almost impossible for both parents to have equal say in the way in which a child is raised. Usually in high conflict parenting relationships one parents tries to maintain control of the child and their Ex, often being unable to make a courteous, decent, or even ethical choice for their child.
I read an article recently about the signs of High conflict parents and it is usually because one or both parents are narcissists, but this article was very informative on spotting the traits of the high conflict parent.

  • The blame is always on the other person, they themselves can do no wrong and often portray themselves as the victim.
  • They lie, they often don’t think of any repercussions or simply don’t care.
  • They seem to enjoy the conflict, relishing in the attention it brings them. Their behaviour can be classed as gaslighting, using your natural emotions against you to cause a reaction. It often means its their way or no way.
  • They use your child against you, refusing or restricting access. This may also include speaking poorly of the other parent in front of the child.

Parallel co-parenting

The most common type of coparenting is Parallel Co-parenting, this is usually when two parents are unable to communicate with each other but have learned to tolerate one and other but lead two separate parenting strategies with little to no discussion. It is possible to transition from high conflict to parallel co-parenting but can take lots of work from both parties and may result in legal mediation or court ordered access rules restricting the need for the parents to communicate.

Cooperative and collaborative co-parenting

Finally, we have the category that William’s dad and I seem to fall into. Learning how to co-parent is difficult but I don’t think we really had a choice, because of Williams additional needs, we had to make sure we were on the ball with it and singing from the same hymn sheet so to speak. This is the pinnacle of co-parenting and what all parents that are separated such be aiming towards. It’s kind of weird how when we were married, we couldn’t communicate but now we do it easily and without thinking. I would even say we have a sort of friendship (we won’t be having movie nights and braiding each others hair though 🤣) Our conversations are mainly about William but we can also ask how one and other are. He even went out of the way to have William so that I could recover from my shoulder injury and the flu. Don’t get me wrong both David and I would probably agree that it wasn’t easy to begin with but just short of a year on we have it running like clockwork. 🕒

I think with the way our marriage crashed and burned that it would have been easier to slip into high conflict and then just coast through parallel co-parenting, but we persevered, and it’s paid off because it was the right thing to do.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that despite the past and any hurt, that we both consistently put William first, as any parent should, and I am grateful that we are able to do that. I remember my post announcing our split and how I wrote that we would be co-parenting, and that Williams dad would be involved in all decisions etc, but I don’t think I believed it at the time. Maybe writing it was a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Needless to say, I believe and always have done that both parents should have an equal say, rights and access to a child they helped produce and I am very proud of both myself and David for putting everything aside and working together to ensure Williams best interests are upheld and I hope we can continue to do so no matter what the future holds.

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Posted in Dads Journey, Emotions

WARNING!!!

Vaccines cause adults!!!!

Anything in this world has people who are ‘For it’ and people who are ‘Against it’ this applies to everything… here are some easy ones
Pineapple on pizza ✔
Milk in a coffee first ✔
Free TV licence for pensioners ✔

When it comes to certain things people often take a leap of faith in the hope that what they are routing for is for the overall good.
Then you have those people who are unable to take that leap who will cling to the edge of cliff by the smallest bits of earth.
Until very recently I have always ignored the ‘Anti-vaxxers’ but recently I have found the whole concept very engaging; forgive me if this gets a little ranty.

Jenny McCarthy; a world famous immunisation microbiologist has claimed… no wait. Sorry that isn’t what she is famous for. She is in fact famous for getting her cooch out for magazines. This obviously makes her thoroughly educated to be able to accurately dispute the effectiveness of vaccines. Well not the effectiveness so to speak but the side effects. She has continuously spread the disproven idea that vaccines cause autism. More specifically the MMR vaccine which coincidentally is given at the same age in which Autistic tendencies begin to show. Correlation does not imply causation!
Her son Evan was diagnosed with Autism in 2005 which she categorically claims was caused by a vaccines. Experts have since claimed based on his symptoms that he was misdiagnosed and he actually has Landau Kleffner Syndrome. Something in which she vehemently disputes.

She has claimed on numerous talk shows that Chelation Therapy has helped her son recover from Autism?! There is no cure for Autism! It is not a disease! It is a disorder meaning an irregularity, disturbance, or interruption of normal functions.
Chelation Therapy is used for patients with metal poisoning, certain vaccines contain mercury (not the same as fish) which causes for Autism 🙄 and C.T uses drugs to bind the metals in your body so that they are expelled through your body when you pee.
C.T is dangerous and if not done correctly can result in death!
1 in 100 people in the UK have been diagnosed with Autism. If there was such a cure this would be going down and if vaccines causes autism this figure would be much higher.
C.T comes with risks of kidney damage, heart failure or even death. I’m sorry but I would rather have an Autistic child than a dead child!

Lets take a moment to discuss Dr Andrew Wakefield Andy Wakefield. In 1998 he carried out a study of 12 children to try and establish a link between the MMR vaccine and Autism and published his findings in a medical journal called The Lancet. However his findings were completely speculative and had no fact based proof to back up his results and the results he did publish were embellished. To make matters a little more convoluted Wakefield had failed to disclose that he was receiving funding from lawyers that had been engaged by parents in lawsuits against vaccine-producing companies.
It took up until 2010 for the The Lancet to publish a retraction which ended up as a small, anonymous paragraph hidden in the journal, on behalf of the editors. I suppose its like any article weather its in a local paper or a national one, online or on Youtube etc the big headline is what you remember. Not the small apology in the back.
People never read the small print. Have a loan, 0% interest free… miss a payment and we take your soul 🔥🔥🔥
Wakefield falsifying his results will forever be one of the biggest and most serious medical frauds in history. Scientists who publish their studies have an ethical responsibility to ensure the highest standards of research, data collection, data analysis, data reporting, and interpretation of findings; there can be no compromises because any error, any deceit, can result in a lot of cases with severe health implications for patients or even death.
In 2010 the British Medical Council banned Wakefield from practising medicine within the UK for repeated ethical lapses, including conducting invasive medical procedures on children that they did not need!!!
Conveniently Wakefield has also applied for a patent on a design for singular vaccines to replace the MMR one… You know because pharmaceuticals in where the money is at! 💰💰💰

I can completely understand why parents of Autistic children can easily jump on this bandwagon. I still have moments in which I blame myself for Williams Autism; Could I have done something differently? Was is that 1 puff of a cigarette before I knew I was pregnant? Was my BMI too high to have a baby? was it because I had gestational diabetes? I know it isn’t any of these things but if I could just pick one to blame in those moments I blame myself then I think I would cling on to that because ‘Its just one of those things’ doesn’t really help placate most people and sometimes not even us.

I have done a lot of reading about celebrities and their very public views on vaccinations, I have never been someone who put much thought in to what celebrities endorse and what they don’t however I know there are millions of people out there that follow their celebrities like religious idols. Even if they are the Jenny McCarthys of this world.

Whilst searching for celebrity opinions I found that Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars/Gossip Girl) had some really wise words regarding her decision to vaccinate her children published in The Huffington Post back in 2015.
‘I couldn’t rely on word of mouth, facts were my friends and it’s been proven that vaccinations work and that enough for me to make my choice and let all other mothers know it is safe, It’s important and much bigger than emotions; it’s the truth.’ 🙌

Coronation Street recently ran a great story line about the potential ramifications of not vaccinating our children which was brilliant to see played out and hopefully opened up some eyes about not only what could happen to your own child but others around them.

Anyone that knows us personally will know I am and always have been a very opinionated person and in case you haven’t clicked on just yet, I have super strong opinions about vaccinations. I completely understand if you want to put your own child at risk. Actually scratch that, No parent should ever knowingly put their child at risk!
By choosing not to vaccinate, you are not only putting your own child at risk but also those they come into contact with. You wouldn’t go and see a new born baby or elderly relative if you had the flu or a tummy bug but if you haven’t been vaccinated you could potentially be carrying something much much worse.
In 2015 there were more than 140 thousand deaths from Measles worldwide. Most of these deaths were in children under 5 years of age. Would you want your child to be on of those statistics? or be the cause of someone else child being one? I know I would never forgive myself either way.

When the vaccine for Polio was released parents queued up for hours and hours to get one for their child… I imagine it been a bit like trying to get into ASDA during this lockdown.

The president of the USA advised his stance on vaccinations during his presidential campaign (and he still won😳) he didn’t actively stand against vaccinations but advises against full doses. Advocating for smaller doses over a longer period of time.
To slightly misquote one of Greenday’s worst songs (but best albums) American idiots even swap bodily fluids with strangers to purposely get their children ill. Hello!!! HIV!!!
Now 10% of parents in the USA skip certain vaccines and 1% don’t get any at all.
Measles was once eradicated in the USA. In Minnesota more of the population in that one state has contracted measles than every other state in the USA combined. This state was heavily preyed upon by Andrew Wakefield and other Anti-Vaxx activities due the large amount of ethnic minority groups in the area. Wakefield preyed upon parents particularly within the Somali communities. Meeting privately with hundred of Somali parents and barring journalists and other medical professionals from attending. Since these meetings the rate for vaccinations within that community dropped from 92% to only 42%
In 2014-2015 a Measles outbreak infected 147 people across seven states, Mexico and Canada. High school students were sent home because of infected classmates.
One patient who was unknowingly infectious visited a hospital and exposed dozens of pregnant women and babies, including those in the neonatal intensive care unit. Another adult patient was hospitalised and on a breathing machine for three weeks.

Dr Bob Sears, famous for his dangerous views on vaccinations has been quoted saying “Vaccines don’t cause Autism except when they do”
This man who should be an ethical man. He has taken the Hippocratic Oath – I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
He wrote ‘The Vaccines Book’ in which he recommend alternate Vaccination treatments and schedules despite there been no proof of this been effective. His book has brought him in a revenue of 20k a month since publication. That’s over 2 million quid!!!! He obviously has no ulterior motives… 🤑🤑🤑 Wanker 😡

Dave’s opinion – Yes he is allowed one occasionally.
I feel vaccinations are a pivotal part of our healthcare system. I understand that there is such a thing as ‘herd immunity’ which helps protect those who can not get vaccinated for legitimate health reasons. Those who have weakened immune systems are unable to get certain types of vaccine and rely on ‘the herd’ to keep them alive. However this only works if 19 out of 20 people have been vaccinated.
The ‘Wakefield’ study was proven to be falsified and the “good” doctor was disbarred however people still quote him as the pioneer that established a link between the MMR vaccine and Autism when there is in fact no link! He goes and does public speeches in America about it and spreads his lies putting more and more people at risk every single day.

There as two types of English language when it comes to scientists and doctors; the main English language and the medical English language.
‘There is no evidence of a link between vaccines and Autism”
Read into that statement as you like but one scientist trying to explain it also said
“There is no link between vaccines and humans not been able to jump off a cliff fly

I feel celebrities shouldn’t be using their influence to sway people against vaccinating their kids. Jenny McCarthy is a fucking idiot. Will she be held accountable if someone who believed her bullshit let their kid catch something and die? Is that grounds for an involuntary manslaughter charge? Would she be accountable?
I can not quote a pro-vaxxer like Marie but in my opinion everyone should be pro-vax. Why as a parent would you be against something that could save your child’s life?

Don’t get me wrong I’m the bad guy who takes William for all his injections and has to watch him become distressed and fight sand cry. We then have the delightful couple of days which he is out of sorts (aka possessed by the devil 👿) but… a couple of days is nothing in the grand scheme of things.

I would rather have a couple of bad days than no more days.

Posted in Appointments, Dads Journey, PCP & TAF Meetings

TAF Meeting… Part 3

Dave here 👋🏻 I was trusted to attend a meeting solo as Marie had work commitments. This was a huge deal as she is always the one with the notebook who asks all the questions but I’m still alive so I guess I did well… 🤞🏻

Firsty the wife loves a good snapchat filter but never smiles in any photo. She says she has resting bitch face. I say she is just a massive poser.

Secondly but more importantly can we just address the fact that William looks cute as hell. I do love a good dickie bow on him.

This picture was taken before went out for Big Nans 90th birthday party. 90!!! When you think of a 90 year old, you would never picture Big Nan. She acts younger than us sometimes and is so full of energy. She once cut through a small tree using a saw that only had about 3 teeth!



It was a great get together but the older generation don’t seem to understand what is wrong with William and asked thing like ‘will he get better?’ which is heartbreaking because the answer is ‘no’ but at the same time he isn’t poorly so the question isn’t relevant. The understanding we have now about ASD wasn’t available to them and is still a growing knowledgebase.

FYI – the consent forms for the ASD waiting list have been signed so we are just waiting for acceptance now but will keep you updated

I won’t lie and tell you I was looking forward to a solo meeting because I really wasn’t. I was nervous and worried I would say the wrong thing or not ask the right questions. Marie is always really prepared and has a notebook full of notes from every single meeting we have had so far. True to form she had made notes for me to guide me with questions and made sure I went armed with the notebook so I could update her as soon as I left.

As the meeting was at 9am getting to the nursery with the boy in tow in a buggy was difficult. It was raining which didn’t help the public transport situation and I struggled to get on a bus and had to wait for a third bus in order to be able to fit on one… after the second one went passed I was very grateful Marie wasn’t there as she would have been what I like to call ‘a bitch’ and I mean that with love but when she is stressed she gets angry and can be mean 😢 a bit like the incredible hulk… you wouldn’t like her when she’s angry.

The usual crew were all in attendance and Sarah our health visitor was late as usual. Health visitors are so overworked and underpaid that I am shocked she has time to attend at all and we are always grateful.

Let’s get the bullshit out the way first. There is apparently only an 18 month wait list for the ASD panel 🤥 they’ve hired new staff and it may be even less…
So firstly they haven’t hired new staff… they have connected with a company called Healios who are an online based company who allow people to connect with health professionals via video link. Since they have been on board the waiting list has reduced from 3 years to 2 years and 4 months. This is based on first appointments given to parents in our online support group and their referral date so unless they are recruiting their own staff as well I can’t see it reducing that much more.
Apparently a long wait is good at Williams age as diagnosis’ can be seen as a label and they don’t like to label younger children etc etc etc… I understand that but surely it should be done before school? and as it stands now it won’t be and it worries us that his needs may not be met without it.

Going forward William will be set targets by speech and language for us all to work together on to help him develop and improve but until then we aren’t fully sure what we are aiming for.
Lisa from Early Years Development will continue to assess his funding and ensure he has the right amount of support each term at nursery.

I also gained a little insight into what will happen next with the ASD panel. This is after our long wait… we will get a large questionnaire which will ask the same medical kind of questions Marie gets asked at every new meeting about her pregnancy and labour etc and about Williams behaviours.
They will then want to speak to us about day to day life and then in a separate session will observe William. I worry that if this is online that they won’t be able to get him to cooperate and we would have to wait even longer.
In some instances a diagnosis has been given then and there which would be great for us as everyone has said all along he has autism and a severe developmental delay BUT if they can’t do that they will do a ‘watch and wait’ this puts a stopper on it all for 6 to 12 months to see if anything changes. I’m not going to sugar coat it but I would be super pissed if we waited almost 2 and a half years to be told we needed to wait another year!

The paediatrician – she wasn’t at the meeting. Thank fuck.
Basically all parties had presumed she would have referred the boy to Physiotherapy due to his movement and the way he holds himself. When I told Marie this she was raging. The woman deffinately rubbed her up the wrong way and told me off. She was not a people person and if you’re good at your job it wouldn’t matter but apparently she isn’t either! We will chase this when we get our next appointment through. She did say it may be with another paediatrician so here’s hoping 🤞🏻

Check out this adorable moment!

William has started sorting his toys and will collect certain types and compile them.

Here he is taking all his trains to the dog 🐕

In our last TAF meeting it was devastating to hear that the boy was only at the age of 9-11 months developmentally and as you may have read it hit me really hard and it took a while to get my head around things and I would love to say I have done this fully but there are still some things I struggle with so I had barely slept the night before thinking there would be no improvement (we had seem some but it hard to trust ourselves if that makes sense) and then I would have to break the news to Marie.
so…
He is still in the 9 to 11 month development bracket but is slowly emerging into the up to 20 month bracket. He isn’t there yet but there had been no improvement at all in the last meeting so this to us was amazing! and it’s rare we get good news about his development so it was wonderful to hear. Even slow progress is better than no progress.

There was a lot of discussion about an EHCP and his future education but since the wife knows more about that than I do I will let her fill you in at some point.

‘You are already doing a great job at home to help’

This a quote by from Lisa from Early Years Development. It brought a tear to my eye and when Marie found out she cried happy tears.

I bet you are all totally impressed with my note taking skills, I had a great way to make sure I documented everything to be able to relay info… I had my phone recording in my pocket 🤫

Posted in Dads Journey

I had a dream

Marie is the writer in our family not me. You know for all the important stuff like birthday cards and notes threatening to kill me when I haven’t done the pots so this is a whole new thing for me and I’m not sure if what I’m going say will be more than ranting so please bear with me.

I know it’s a cliché but because of the stigma it’s harder for me as a man to admit when things upset me especially as I am always trying to be the strong and rational one stopping others around me falling apart. I suppose this is why it was easier for me to stay in denial as long as I did.

Even though I’m coming to terms with the fact William has additional needs? Special needs? A development delay? What am I even supposed to call it since we don’t even have a diagnosis? They all sound like such derogative terms like I am insulting him. What I am finding really hard is coming to terms with what this means for him in the future. I always wanted things for him which I didn’t have. We set up a savings account for him before he was a year old. We wanted him to have the money for university so he didn’t become too bogged down with student loans or even use it as the deposit for his first little house with a girlfriend. Will that be possible now? Could he live on his own? Or will he always live with us? I know it may seem like I am thinking of worst outcome but he hasn’t progressed past 11 months old!!!

We specifically moved house back in summer so he was in a better catchment area and had better opportunities for education and now it looks more unlikely as the days pass that he will be going to a mainstream school let alone the one we chose. Marie even asked if there was anything in place to introduce special needs facilities and the answer was no… does that mean that wherever he goes he will need to get the ‘special’ bus? You know the one. The one kids made fun of without understanding its purpose.

I know it’s selfish of me but I can’t help but be sad and angry about all the things we won’t or can’t do together because of this! It feels like I’m grieving for the future I had planned for him and I know it’s ridiculous because he is here and he is so loved but it’s not what I dreamt of. I dreamt of seeing him at rugby training after school and forcing Marie to watch the matches on a weekend come rain or shine. Dreams change and I would like to think we can find some common ground we are both cable of taking part in but that doesn’t stop this loss.

Today when I took him to nursery there was a Mum dropping her daughter off at the same time and in that instant I hated her… she didn’t do anything wrong but she stopped her kid who’s in Williams class and asked her for a kiss goodbye and I hated her for it because we’ve never done that and don’t know if we ever will. I hated her because she will take that for granted and wouldn’t.

I’m scared for him… If he never speaks how can we expect him to learn sign language when he doesn’t look at you, wave or clap… how do you get round that? How can we use PECS when he won’t look at anything you put in front of him and will purposely try to avoid them as if they will burn his eyes? Nursery told us to try and train him! Like a dog basically by rewarding eye contact with a treat. A bit like how we taught Rust to sit. So we have to put his treats in a box he can see through and when he brings you it only give him one if he looks you in the eye but he doesn’t. He will cry and then scream. Occasionally he will slap you and collapse in a mess on the floor only to go to next person and try again. Could you put your child through that when it doesn’t stop, he just gets more and more upset and it so fucking hard.

I worry that he will struggle more as he gets older. Will he be bullied because he’s different? Or because he doesn’t speak? Will he have friends or be sat on the playground alone? Will they laugh at him because he can’t touch bread without having a meltdown? How can we be thinking of sending him to school already when we know how hard it may be?

I still hope that this is just a blip and within a year he will be going into nursery with his friends shouting ‘Bye Daddy’. That hope just gets a little smaller after every passing month but it’s still there and I will hold on to it for as long as I can.

Thanks for reading and all your support.
David