Of Updates, Self Expression and Bodily Autonomy

So, we have two children. This is not (or should not be) a surprise to my regular audience. If any of you still exist of course!

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#1 Son

He’s almost 12. In exactly 2 weeks in fact! No, I can’t believe it either. My baby boy has graduated Elementary School, begun Middle School and has damn well nearly finished 6th Grade!

From this:

From Kindergarten all the way through 5th Grade

To this:

This is Sixth Grade!

And while I tell myself he’s still my baby (I mean, he’s my son, he’ll always be my baby!)? There’s no denying he’s growing up. Faster than I think even he is ready for. Because puberty? Is heading towards us hard and fast! Boy howdy is it!

Anyone who says that only girls are emotional? And that puberty isn’t rough on boys? Does not have a gosh darned monkey fudging clue – and has likely either forgotten or has never been around pre-teen boys. Add in ADHD rage to a puberty hair-trigger and life is becoming… interesting. Which would be fine but TT is both a target and an antagonist. She is definitely a ‘morning person’ at the moment (in direct opposition to what everybody tells you about kids with ADHD!) and he… is not. At all. And as caffeine has the same effect upon him as it does upon me?

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There’s really nothing we can do to jump-start his brain in the mornings. And for school he has to be up at 06:30!!! So at weekends we are currently letting him sleep as long as he likes – with the caveat that I’ll let his sister be her usual levels of noisy from 10:30 and I’ll start pointedly yelling at around 11am. He needs to get up some time! That’s going to get ‘worse’ before it improves, but that’s normal.

He’s also struggling to study appropriately because all he wants to do is hang out with his friends and play video games.

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And he’s a bright kid so he’s coasting. Sadly, because we are in the USA and no longer in the UK, the grades he’s currently getting aren’t worth the equivalent they would have been were I or his dad the student attaining them. In Trimester 1 he was averaging A- which was awesome. He did have a chance to aim for an accelerated Math programme which would begin in 7th Grade but… Trimester 2 he completely tanked his grades because of the above.

Now, ADHD does impact here of course – but the kid has made choices. Including lying to me about completing a project then doubling down. Which, when I figured that out?

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Fortunately (for him) the child got lucky and there was an unexpected Snow Day called and he managed to complete a 10-slide presentation in 24 hours. And also managed to present it to the class for Extra Credit eventually.


The kid has his dad’s sense of humour (Goddess help me!) and he has no fear of public speaking as yet. Totally opposite to me there. Long may that continue!


So sadly he’s unlikely to be in Compacted Math program, at least from the start of 7th Grade. Which frustrates me, as I know he’s got the aptitude – but he hasn’t demonstrated it. So as much as I hate the saying? He has only himself to blame. Apparently though if he excels during 7th Grade he could be moved up. This is good because there’s a couple of Modules that are only available in 12th Grade if you’re on the Accelerated route – and I think they’ll interest him. But on the other hand, it’s a lot of pressure on 11/12 year olds.

We’ve also had a little discussion about him not being pissy if TT manages to get on to this program if he doesn’t. I will never ever compare my kids – they are light and dark – but if she managed it it would be through her own effort so I don’t want him salty with her.


And I did talk to him seriously about the program. What it would mean, how much work it would be both to get on it and what it would mean load wise going forward. I did not just throw him in at the deep end and force him to do it.


He was initially interested. And I gave him every opportunity to back out. He just didn’t like the effort required. Which is all normal. Honestly I’m completely relieved to be dealing with normal pre-teen kid issues that have nothing to do with ADHD. Obviously it’s always a contributing factor, but this is fine. See there are multiple steps he needed to complete to qualify, and I am certain he hasn’t met enough.

There have been other minor squabbles around school work. As I have his academic life on my phone – because Google Classroom allows for that. So oftentimes I can see when he hasn’t handed something in, or if it’s late. Which led to the following:

If you could see I’d forgotten to hand it in Mom, why didn’t you just turn it in for me?

Frustrated #1 Son – age 11

Ah nope Sonny Jim. That’s not how any of this works. If I started turning in his assignments for him, then it’s becomes a potentially slippery slope to simply doing the work for him. And that? Just won’t happen.

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What the hell will I be teaching him if I start going down that route? So we butt heads often. We occasionally fight. But, as I’ve said to both of them:

I am your mom. Not your friend. At least not yet. Hopefully when you’re grown, we will become friends. But right now? My job is to parent you. So that is what I’m doing. You’ll probably (often) hate me a lot before I’m through. But I’ll never ever stop loving you, and doing my darndest to turn you into a reasonably competent adult.

Me. Perpetually. Often exhaustedly

In other respects though, he is firmly coming into his own. He now self-identifies as HatBoy!

In summer 2023 one of his best mates gifted him a Boston Bruins baseball cap. This thing did not leave his head for weeks. He realized he loved wearing a hat. We did have some issues with older/other MVMMS students knocking them off his head and dropping them in puddles, but apparently you can wash baseball caps so that’s fine.

Then he discovered beanies/toques. He wanted to wear one constantly. So in a winter sale I nabbed multiple. Then I remembered I can knit/crochet. But the vast majority of my yarn stash is sock weight (yes yes it’s also known as fingering weight) I can feel you all sniggering in the back there.

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And whilst I love knitting, and I love the colours and variations you get in sock yarn (most of my stash is hand dyed and it’s all stunning).

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Unfortunately it is as thin as a very thin thing. As a result it means all items made have to have literally hundreds of stitches. And, as I may have mentioned? I have ADHD. So I go from:

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To:

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Practically instantaneously, and certainly with little to no warning. And I needed to churn a few of these buggers out and quickly. So I went scouring the internet for a pattern or two. Because I do not have a head for Math and so I couldn’t work out a way to do this myself from scratch.

Ironically it was a short video on the Book of Faces that found me what I needed. A designer has created a stash busting set of patterns (@knitstitchrepeat) and her Monster Hat gave me exactly what I needed. It’s designed for Super Bulky Weight but gives detailed instructions on how to make up that weight with multiple strands of thinner yarns. So I thought, why not try Fingering Weight yarn? I’ve got so bloody much of the stuff.

I didn’t jump in completely at the deep end and instantly start using all my ‘good’ yarn. I knitted up a few test ones in bog standard DK weight first.

This was my first attempt. I made a hat, but sadly it was slightly too short in the length for #1 Son so we threw that one at TT and I attempted another.
Much more successful, please excuse his rashy face – during the multiple bouts of strep and (in his case) Walking Pneumonia we have discovered that both kiddos are allergic to penicillin’s goddammit.

TT then demanded one made just for her. Which, fair.

Then I accidentally made a Minecraft inspired one:

No, I don’t remember what I said to make him laugh his head off. I might have asked him to discuss his veganism. Which… he’s not vegan so… laughter?

Once I had the basics for a well-fitting hat for him in yarn I didn’t particularly care about, it was time to move on to the stuff I did. Now, the designer herself isn’t insane and so hadn’t tried it using sock, because guess what? It takes nine or ten strands of yarn to do this. So yes, they get tangled. Yes there is swearing. But it’s damn worth it for the smile on his face and the fact that he is loving wearing hats that I have made for him!!!!

I was particularly proud of this one, as it was a really subtle play of colour and neutrals – with a bit of sparkle.
And, as you can see, it earned the seal of approval.
He picked the colours out for himself. All 10 of them. I had no idea that it would work up as pretty as it did.
It’s now one of his most-worn hats.

This isn’t all of them, I’ve put together a lot. Especially whilst the hus-creature was convalescing the basement with the dreaded ‘vid. As it turns out? I craft when I’m stressed. And the ones I’ve made for TT I may include in her section/post.

So now he is HatBoy. But summer is once again heading our way, so we will need to obtain a few baseball caps for him. Because sadly I can’t craft those.

I’m so damn proud of this kid. He frustrates me to death sometimes, but when I look back on where we were a few years ago? I can scarcely believe it. My current phase of parenting my eldest child can be summed up by vaguely mis-quoting a song:

At the same time, I wanna hug you
I wanna wrap my hands around your neck
You’re an asshole but I love you

True Love – P!nk & Lily Allen

And even though I am regularly Bad Cop? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Please stay tuned for TT’s update in a Part 2. Because it’s late, and I’m tired and arguing with technology takes it out of me! And she deserves equal page time.

Author: Fliss

Wife, mum (of two), yarn-obsessed cat-slave

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