Tatty, on her son George
Tell me about yourself
I am Tatty, amateur gardener, enthusiastic cook and Facebook addict and mum to George and Izzy and a new friend in Coraline’s life.
Liz and Kevin contacted me and I was so happy to welcome them into our little charity – 21&Co. They join a busy, trail blazing group of people, all passionate advocates of children with Down’s syndrome. And boy did they fit right in! They immediately agreed to get more involved and help us make a difference. How amazing are they! And all because of our wonderful children.
Tell me about George
I have a son, George who is 13 now. I would love to tell you a bit about him because I think he’s pretty extraordinary. He was just a lovely little baby – cute and lovable, with enormous blue eyes and a huge gummy grin. Once we got over the shock and a certain amount of sadness due to his Down’s Syndrome diagnosis, we moved forward and learned as much as we could in order to help George progress. We loved life with him and his big sister Izzy.
When George was three and being assessed for his mainstream reception class we were hit by another tornedo. He was diagnosed with Autism as well as Down’s. This dual diagnosis was a blow to Mark and me and we cried all over again. In truth I had noticed George was different from his peers who just had Down’s but I couldn’t put my finger on it. The diagnosis made complete sense and as always Mark was the voice of reason. Now that George had dual diagnosis he could receive the correct help to give him the best chances to succeed at school and in life. So off we went again on a slightly different journey!
How do we know each other?
We know each other because we live nearby and we are both mothers of children with Down’s syndrome. Liz wrote to me on 30/10/17 about wanting to get involved with 21&Co and telling me about Coraline; I knew about Liz through Coraline & Us which I was already following, without realising she was so nearby!!
What did you write to me in the early days of Coraline’s arrival?
“Your email is amazing and encouraging and lovely and of course we need you to be involved in our charity! I am so happy you have so much energy! Thanks and welcome to 21&Co, Tatty x”
And then on January 8th Liz and Kevin came over and we made plans to strengthen our relationship with Kingston Hospital, where Coraline was born. I got my first and very joyous cuddle with Coraline the following week :)
Talk to me about George
George is a fantastic young person – full of joy. George and Izzy are happy and love each other fiercely and Izzy is a wonderful sister, patient and kind. My son is non-verbal, has autism as well, needs help with almost every task and will never live independently. Mark and I do think about George’s future but we have no control over what hasn’t happened yet so we try to keep things in perspective. Sure we have our worries and our difficulties... but then again - who doesn’t! Our joys outweigh those challenges and we have become stronger for it. Because of George I don’t sweat the small stuff, I appreciate and am grateful for everything, however small, and have experienced the wild boundless love you can feel for a child.
I also know that the way forward when you have a child with special needs is with support and friendship.
You meet a lot of new people. I cannot tell you how many new people I have met since George came into our lives and how some of those people are now the best friends anyone could ever wish for. We help each other through all the ups and downs with advice, empathy, love and a certain amount of wine!! So, unless it’s dry January - a bottle of wine is always available for Liz and Kevin at my house!
What is George passionate about?
My son loves his life. He is truly happy; he loves his family and friends and is so loved in return. He likes music, rollercoasters and dogs and he adores swimming and the seaside – and his smile is joyous.
What would you like to say to Coraline?
Coraline - you will be able to follow your dreams and you will be able to achieve them. You will have friends and interests and talents. You will be happy.
Anything you would like to add?
My ambition is to tell the world how wonderful our children are and your blog is doing just that.
In my capacity as 21&Co’s Co-Chair I often visit new families and I remember when I first hold a new baby with Down's Syndrome (and I have held many!). When I first held your Coraline, I vividly remember the beginning of the journey. I remember that it’s not always easy and some emotions can be difficult to feel. But the most important thing is that she will make you so happy and she will love her life! Also I would like to add these pictures of my precious boy, his beautiful sister and my wonderful husband.
What are you currently reading?
‘The Keeper of Lost Things’ by Ruth Hogan.
Note from Liz
21&Co is a charity run by parents which organises all sorts of activities and events locally enhancing the lives of children with Down's Syndrome, and Tatty is Co-Chair. We are going to a quiz night they're running later this month. And Coraline will be able to go to a monthly "Stay and Play" group and weekly Speech and Language classes. They had ice skating at Hampton Court at Christmas but Coraline was a bit young! Kevin and I will work with them on a project with the hospital where Coraline was born on information given and terminology used when giving pre and post natal diagnosis.