UK How Christine and Paddy McGuiness took the parenting positives out of lockdown last minute news


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- Their twins Penelope and Leo, seven, and four-year-old sister Felicity are autistic so their milestones are hard fought, long awaited and mightily celebrated

UK How Christine and Paddy McGuiness took the parenting positives out of lockdown last minute news


PremierLeague-News.Com

- Their twins Penelope and Leo, seven, and four-year-old sister Felicity are autistic so their milestones are hard fought, long awaited and mightily celebrated

UK How Christine and Paddy McGuiness took the parenting positives out of lockdown last minute news
07 April 2021 - 06:00

PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! It's been a tough year, but Christine McGuinness will look back at lockdown and appreciate its parenting positives. Christine and TV star husband Paddy have children with autism. Covid restrictions meant the couple became their kids' therapists, teachers and only playmates. That's meant the hard-fought milestones achieved by Penelope and Leo, seven, and four-year-old sister Felicity are mightily celebrated. It has been hard, but Christine cherishes the beautiful breakthrough moments, the Mirror reports. The 33-year-old says: "Seeing the children do anything new makes us feel like we have won the lottery and want to do cartwheels. "They played in snow for the first time. They were always scared of the snow. I watched the video back and thought 'wow, this is amazing'." Christine McGuiness admits her kids struggled with lockdown at times (Image: ITV) Loose Women and Real Housewives of Cheshire star Christine never pretends parenting is a breeze. Cut off from school, the three children regressed. She adds: "Lockdown was really difficult at first. The children were getting a lot of support at school, but that all stopped. "Suddenly we had to become therapists for them and it wasn’t going too well." Mealtimes became a major stress point. The children did not eat solid foods until they were four. "They just prefer quite dry food, beige food," Christine says. "It’ll be chips, chicken nuggets, fish fingers and one of my daughters will have pizza. Read More Related Articles How to sign up to our newsletter to get the latest headlines from the M.E.N. "The more I learned about autism, the more I understood that this was a sensory thing and not fussy or spoiled children. "Gradually, we tried to introduce new food. We encouraged the children to sit with us at the table as a family, which is something we didn’t really do before the pandemic as we were so busy. "Now having conversations over the table is something we really enjoy. It’s just taken time to become quality time. "Trying new foods is always a big deal for the kids. So when they do, we sit back, say nothing and watch them, nudging each other and thinking, 'Oh my God they’ve eaten!'" Paddy and Christine McGuinness with their three children (Image: Paddy and Christine McGuinness) It is common for children with autism to have speech issues. At the start of lockdown, Christine’s youngest child developed a stutter. "The stutter came out the blue – it was every other word. We think it was all down to anxiety, the changes, and because Felicity wasn’t socialising and seeing the other children at nursery," Christine says. "She’s been to speech and language therapy and her stutter has pretty much gone now. It was just another little hurdle we had to get over. "Because autistic children can be non verbal, I thank God every day my children can speak. "Even when they argue with each other, at least they can speak. We waited four years to hear them say 'Mummy'. When they did it was the best sound in the world.

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. The pair, who married in 2011, hoped to start a family right away. But a decade of anorexia in her teens and polycystic ovaries affected her fertility. Four years of heartbreak ended when a scan showed two heartbeats. By then, Take Me Out host Paddy was in high demand and returned to work when their twins were only four days old. Christine says mealtimes can be a major stress point (Image: ITV) Christine at first believed their sensitivity to noise and tip-toe walking were cute quirks, but did not realise they were signs of autism. Leo and Penelope were diagnosed at the age of three-and-a-half. By the time Felicity was six months old, she started tensing her body – known as 'stimming' when autistic children get excited – and Christine predicted her diagnosis years before it was given. Her devotion to her children is clear. Christine and Paddy make sure only one works away from home at a time because she is nervous about leaving her children in anyone’s care. "Even when they started school I used to sit outside in the car like a nervous wreck waiting for them," she says. And she still cannot bring herself to use babysitters. "Little things like breakfast can take an hour because of their quirky ways with food. The colour of the plate could be an issue, the water bottle or even the temperature of the water. "One likes toast cut in to triangles, one likes squares, one likes the crusts cut, one doesn’t like butter, one likes brown and the others don’t. Christine in 2019 (Image: Manchester Evening News) "I’d have to leave such a big list of minor details that make a huge difference in them having a happy meal." Empathy for parents who struggle at mealtimes is behind her decision to promote McCain and Family’s Mealtimes for All campaign. "This is so close to our hearts," she says. "After the year we’ve had there’s been a huge rise in families struggling, especially families with disabled children. So McCain giving £1m in 150,000 grants is perfect timing." Her 'me time' is mainly spent at the gym. "I found a gym that had a little creche. It became a little bit of therapy for me because I didn’t really ever go out to see friends." Christine and Paddy have never spent a whole night together away from their children and lockdown has pushed the dream further into the future. "It’s a shame as we’d made such big steps. We try to enjoy lunch dates when the children are at school – that’s the only time we get together." During Covid restrictions, Christine endured the worry of her mum going through chemotherapy, and the family faced the upheaval of a house move. It would have sent many over the edge. But Christine’s sunny outlook and hilarious husband helped carry her through. "Laughter has got us through the years. Marrying a comedian was a good idea," she says. McCain believes every family should be able to enjoy mealtimes together, taking time for the little moments that matter. Christine McGuinness is supporting McCain and Family Fund as part of the McCain Nation’s Conversations Mealtimes For All Report which explores the barriers to these moments for families raising disabled or seriously ill children. Please visit www.mccainfamilyfund.co.uk

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