Shopping with children

Needs banning. Or needs experience points and levelling up options to make it bearable. 
And honestly? #1 Son was an angel comparatively and Tiny Tyrant wasn’t a total monster type creature. 
He is now kitted out for school for a while. Multiple long sleeved tops, a few new trousers and a new pair of trainers. With. Laces. 
That isn’t going to be a massive problem or anything. 

He saw these and fell in love. Me, not being a total bloody idiot, tried to persuade him to have the black/purple/rainbow ones in non-Adidas. 
It turns out the poor boy has inherited my wide feet.  
They were agonising to him. Another mom told me Adidas were the only ones that helped her wide-footed offspring. 
I couldn’t say no could I? So again, not having come down in the last shower, I asked the sales woman for tips to keep them from being immediately destroyed. 
She sold me some protective spray (and two coats have already been applied) and some cleaning fluid. Who knows how long it will last? But at least I know I made an effort. 
TT missed her usual nap (between 10-11 go down time) and cat-napped for about 20 minutes in the buggy. This was a first. 
Unfortunately it backfired on us spectacularly and she refused an afternoon nap. 
Which meant a completely irrational and inconsolable toddler from roughly 16:30 until bedtime. 

Ended up giving her an emergency calm down bath at 18:15 to chill her the heck out. 

And it’s been over a fortnight since she went on hunger strike. She won’t eat anything that’s not a breakfast waffle or soggy Froot Loops.  Her solid nappies are not. And are green. So I got desperate. 
Normally at weekends I leave the evening meal to daddy. But tonight I took over and created the only goddamned thing that she will eat. 
Which led to the following musing. 
Before I became a parent, I *swore* my children would eat healthy. That junk food would be an *occasional* treat. 

That we would cook for them. 


So I managed to make their baby food. That was it. 
With one child neophobic (thanks autism) and one child on full out hunger strike (thanks teeth) I am making Kraft (box) mac and cheese with added cream cheese and full fat milk. And I’m doing a massive dance that BOTH children ate half a portion each. 

I’m inwardly cringing at how bland and cardboardy it tastes but it’s food.

And my back has given out again. Imma gonna eat dinner, watch Game of Thrones and knit test swatches. 


I apologise to my loyal fans – we have had a stress-filled week, coupled with massive colds hitting the Tiny Tyrant and myself.

We spent much of the last few days like this:

Add this to the fact that our beloved TT is cutting her last three molars simultaneously (no seriously, I can see the spikes poking under the gums in all cases poor wee bugger) it’s been goddamned tough.


Anyone who comes to visit us from the U.K. – bring Calpol.  Also teabags. And Aquafresh. But mainly Calpol.  I ventured to CVS yesterday and bought four bottles of Tylenol (two baby and two child) Grape for both, Cherry for TT and Strawberry for #1 Son (Calpol is strawberry flavoured but #1 Son was unconvinced and wants the grape too)   Interestingly, I was able to buy all four bottles, and they have a higher concentration of active ingredient in them, with no issues.  In the U.K. that would not have been allowed!


So.  School for #1 Son.


After all the paperwork palava, we found out on Wednesday afternoon that he had not been accepted into our first choice school dammit.  

It’s a mile and a half away, there’s no school buses and no public transport. He needs to be there by 08:10 on a standard day. The school website actually states “children are expected to either walk or be driven by caregivers”

In the words of the hus-creature ‘we will make it work’

I then decided to check that he could start on Wednesday August 30 along with all the other Kindergartners.  He can, she also mentioned in passing that there might be a meet and greet on Thursday and the Principal would confirm.


Welp, he didn’t.  So at 09:00 I rang the school to ask.  Yes, there was, at 10:00 at a school over thirty minutes away.  Cue frantic bundling into the car and off we went.


The first hour and half was pure meet and greet.  Which was great actually.  I met several parents and staff, and one member of the PTO has given me her email address as she had emigrated from Western Canada for her husband’s job and was in exactly the same situation as me down to same visa type!

#1 Son had a marvellous time at said Meet and Greet – running around like a mad thing, kicking balls, blowing bubbles, attempting tree climbing and actually interacting with other children – at least vaguely.


Then came the school tour.  TT did not want to go, so daddy stayed with her, and I walked #1 Son around.  That… was not as successful.  First, the school itself was so bloody different.  I am not ashamed to admit that it gave me a sinking feeling, but I bigged it up as much as I could.  They have an excellent music room, I think I caught a glimpse of the art room.

But he wasn’t convinced.  He found the whole tour ‘not fun’ and as a result went into uber grump mode which is a problem.  It didn’t help that quite a large proportion of the school (including one of the Kindy classrooms) was under construction – summer revamps are a thing.


We also didn’t get to meet his class teacher, as he’d literally just been added to the list, which didn’t help.  Kindergarten is also in the damn basement.  Deep joy.

Interestingly, although allergies are a huge deal (no edible items can be brought into any Melrose school for birthdays – though they have provided a list of acceptable alternatives) peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a daily staple on the lunch menu.

Ah lunch, again something totally different to Dashwood.  The children all have pre-pay cards, from which they pay for lunch in the mornings via the teacher.  Apparently, only the high schools have kitchens, so they send down the lunch orders to the High and they send them up.

So we need to teach him a totally different thing.  Fortunately, the menu contains several acceptable items.  Do I wish there was more fresh food like there was at Dashwood? Yes.  But Winthrop won’t make him a daily cheese baguette so he needs to buy food he’ll eat.  And it’s posted online so we can talk to him about it the night before and simply remind him in the morning.  And he loves PB&J so if nothing else, he can have that.


So we return to daddy, whose first comment to me is “now, while I hesitate to call your daughter a mal-co-ordinated disaster area…” and steps aside to reveal the Tiny Tyrant with a pretty huge graze down her shoulder to elbow.  Apparently they had been walking to the car and back, and she somehow tripped over whilst messing about (she does this a lot) and scraped herself good and proper.  Daddy had cleaned it up as best he could with baby wipes, and once we got home I slathered it in Sudocrem.


Now, #1 Son absolutely loathes any kind of cream/ointment/lotion so I was expecting a real fight.  Nope.  It’s three days later, and she still holds her arm out and says ‘see-oh’ and wants cream on!  Trust me, it doesn’t need it.  It’s healed.  I was a little worried on Thursday night, as the area was pink and slightly warm to the touch – though it was a proper boo-boo, but it was fine by Friday morning.  However it keeps her calm, so therefore we cream it.


Yesterday I also managed a feat of mothering engineering and not only got both kids out of the house, we went to the mall, did shopping, I also managed to buy them dinner, they actually ate it (TT is on hunger strike because teeth) and then we went to the park.  Where they both had a whale of a time, played with each other, with other children, and I actively socialised with other parents… those who know me well will understand why this is a massive deal!


We are off out again today as schools here have no uniforms, and #1 Son has only a limited wardrobe currently, so while I have nails done, daddy will take him shopping for clothes and shoes.  I’m so looking forward to name labelling every single item in his closet, oh yes.

Also all his supplies, as here schools supply a grand total of diddly squat, so I have folders, books, markers, pencils, wipes etc to label up too.  I bought spares of absolutely everything so when they inevitably ‘go missing’ I have time to replace them.  Well, in theory.  I’m actually gobsmacked at the amount needed, guess LEA funding is way more than we think.

Ah well, it’s not thousands, and after the initial expenditure it’s not a lot.  And I went with all the stated brands rather than shopping around until we’re more used to the differences in the systems.

School issuesΒ 

I had a phone call from the superintendent’s office today. There was an issue with the paperwork. 
Apparently the person we spoke to last week was merely covering for the actual superintendent and had not explained things correctly. 

Or perhaps the confused Brits didn’t understand – after all I spent most of the meeting chasing the Tiny Tyrant around πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„
So we needed the notarised address form as soon as possible, as that is what gives us the 30 days to produce the utility bill/other formal proof of residency. 
Oh and we had to choose three schools. The problem is that every thing apart from Lincoln Elementary is over a mile away and I can’t drive here yet. 
(We’ve been focussing on getting the hus-creature’s sorted first as he’s the one on all the car paperwork)   
So when they called me I was more than a little British and affronted.  So, hus-creature booked an appointment with the nearest notary at 14:00 today and dropped the form in the post – yes he paid for uber speedy service at over $10 πŸ™€πŸ™€πŸ™€!!!!
I also emailed all three choices, which included our reasonings for number one, and received confirmation that they have sent emails and letters to schools so, fingers crossed, we will know which school has   accepted him by Thursday. 
So that made me grumpy, so I cross-cleaned. Which was made harder by demands of “mummee bow”

And the following sentence
drink with ice in it” 
from my beloved daughter!!!
I’m both gobsmacked and proud. She used all five words. Okay so it’s garbled but it’s clear and obvious. And it’s a right pain in the proverbial too – trust her πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ’œπŸ˜‚πŸ€£ 
Once again I have been forced to evict the fluff-beast from the cot, but she found a box and so I was forgiven. 

Oh, and we received our health insurance cards today. Therefore tomorrow I will endeavour to book my operation.  
An unexpected windfall means we can pay the insurance excess immediately, thus meaning we can get this done
I have promised that I will not ignore medical advice on other possible treatments, but if the suggestion is “let’s carry on with the very strong cancer medication” welp how about noooooooo Scott. 
Watch this space.  


Work permit application was popped in the hus-creature’s internal post today. 

Kidlets were remarkably good also. #1 Son ate brilliantly. Tiny Tyrant ate breakfast and dinner and didn’t draw on the walls. 
She also played by herself with both her stacking rings and her Duplo. 

Her talking is coming on in leaps and bounds too. Today we had “more ice yeah” holding out her beaker. Which now cannot have a lid.  Which makes me cry. A lot. The carpets here are hydro phobic so…

We didn’t go see the eclipse today – I knew I’d end up with blind children! 😱

Phone interviewed two further potential babysitters for Saturday. I don’t know how to choose between them πŸ™€πŸ˜³

Freedom of speech

I’ve gathered that it’s a big thing here and all. 
But this was apparently the weekend where you could be out and proud as a Nazi and it was all good. 
They were protesting on Boston Common. About 15-250 in total.  These buggers destroyed the Holocaust Memorial statue last week 😑😑😑😑
I am pleased to report that it will be repaired and re-erected. Yah boo sucks to you assholes. 
There was a police presence of 500. 
The anti protestors (not Nazis and proud of it) numbered in thousands. 
Boston I’m proud of you
We decided that it would be most politic to not go anywhere in Central Boston for an excursion this weekend. 

We had originally planned on going on a jolly to Cape Cod, but Mister Weatherman told us that there would be thunderstorms and torrential rain – so we nixed that plan. 

Looks at the sunny, if a little overcast sky and grumbles

So, we thought we might go to the zoo. Except that is in central Boston so nope. Thought about the Legoland Discovery Centre, but that was apparently in Boston. 
This morning the hus-creature double checked and it is apparently in Somerville. So once TT got up from her nap (my beloved second born has recently decided that 05:00 is an excellent time to arise for the day 😩😭 which means nap time is currently 10:30) we would head out. 
Well she slept til 13:15! 

Seriously child, sleep at night. Or at least til 06:00/07:00 – we aren’t asking much here!
So we got in the car and headed out. Of course both kids were (apparently) ravenous and TT was demanding a burk-uh (burger) so we pulled into a local burger place.  

They did margaritas:

I had one. 
#1 Son was well behaved. 


Tiny Tyrant less so. 

However we all ate good food. They gave the kids free meals because the Red Sox were playing. Our lovely server Wanda also comped my steak because I ordered it medium rare and the chef cooked it medium. 
I also had my first taste of American corn on the cob (nice but totally different taste and texture) and biscuits with honey glaze. Also tasty and I’m going to learn how to bake them. 
We then went to Legoland Discovery Center MA – I thought #1 Son would have an aneurism from joy, shock and surprise πŸ˜‚πŸ€£
We also found the Duplo Land. Cue one ecstatic Tiny Tyrant:

Seriously. Happiest. Toddler. Ever
#1 Son had a great time just playing with blocks and building vehicles to race:

TT also found all the Lego fascinating:

“Look mommy she’s my size”

Some of the constructs were amazing. 
#1 Son also had a whale of a time with the giant Lego in the soft play bit:

It’s a raft. 
All in all we had a lovely day. I wish these children would eat more, but what can you do eh?
**drink margaritas

Rain rain go away

So I finally managed to drag #1 Son away from his nest of Lego/Minecraft/drawing/Netflix/random running and spinning and take the kidlets to the park. 

We are there less than fifteen minutes when the heavens open and it starts to rain. 

Cue one furious TT and one despondent small boy (who, incidentally, had spent the whole walk there mumbling and grumbling about the unfairness of life and the universe in general, and of his mother in particular)
Amazon sent new diapers and wipes in a ginormous box – #1 Son, Tiny Tyrant and the cat are all fighting for it πŸ˜‚πŸ€£
The following arrived in this order

It is a loom set for #1 Son. He is very excited, and hat yarn of suitably selected colouration is winging its way. Wish I had some spare so that I could practice, but YouTube tutorials appear vaguely helpful at least. 
When he went to bed tonight he asked me to tuck him in (this is normally daddy’s job) so I peeked in at TT, only to discover the cat curled up at the foot of the cot. 
I mean yes, totally adorable and all that but sheesh cat – you do like taking risks! She was gently, but firmly, evicted. 

Admin Things

So, yesterday we had the meeting at the Superintendent’s office to sort out schooling for #1 Son. 
Although we took all the paperwork we could, we still need one further proof of residency, but we have 30 days to provide that, so hurrah. 
However we did discover that not only are towns the same name across multiple states, we have same road names, and same road numbers across the road. So putting in an address in Google maps took us to the same number on the road but to a residential house in a different town because long ass road πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„
Still, we made our meeting and it’s all good. We should find out by Tuesday which school he has been placed in, and we got to make a set of selections. 
Fingers crossed for Lincoln Elementary, Melrose please good audience.  All schools have before and after school programmes (for a fee) so that’s a useful thing to know for as and when I go back to work. 
On the work permit front, I need a new passport photo. So today (at 16:30) I took us all out to the local USPS.  However they only take photos (no booths here) between 09:00-15:00 Monday – Friday. So we will be going back tomorrow morning. 
However we did a little window shopping on the way back. #1 Son chose a gift for daddy:

He was so proud of his surprise πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™
And today the kids actually played together nicely for a while:

Then TT threw a tennis ball down the toilet πŸ™„

She also insisted I hold her seated on said toilet today for over 10 minutes. 
And we got a lovely surprise in the mail today:

I may not need to buy a hat, but a new dress will most certainly be required πŸ‘πŸ»πŸŽ‰πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

A month here

Seems like only a couple of days, but my calendar informs me it has been a month. 
In the household admin column I have today ticked off: Contact Melrose School’s Superintendent for #1 Son. 
We have an appointment tomorrow. 
When I listed all the paperwork I had gathered and asked if there was anything else we needed, I was told I had been very thorough. 
*pats self on back*
Today the building threw a Sangria and Tapas party (for an hour) which I was dispatched to for R&R. 
I took my current knitting project, intending to use it to strike up conversation. It worked – but only with young children πŸ˜‚πŸ€£
TT has drawn on the walks again but it is no longer coming off πŸ™„πŸ˜©
I have finally reached new episodes of GoT and I have a crochet hook blister (whhhhhhhhhhhhy?!?!?) so I am going to bed. 

The Poor Maintenance Man

He’s been out again. It’s the same bloke every time – either he’s on his own, or he’s just getting very lucky. 
But he has fixed our bath!!!

It’s faster, smoother and generally wow. Oh such a relief. 
(Yes that’s gunk from the fixing, yes I’ve cleaned it)
Tiny Tyrant did harass the poor man a lot, then spent about half an hour standing in the bathroom mumbling and grumbling and pointing at the bath. Think she wants one!

Even had a small breakthrough with lunch today:

#1 Son ate everything except the banana (he’s gone off them for some reason) and TT ate some of most of it.  
They did so well I cracked open the Birthday Cake Yo-Yos (what #1 Son calls Oreos) and was told “Mommy these yo-yos are the softest, stickiest and yummiest of all!”
Safe to say he approves I think πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£
And for you tea lovers out there, we have found a brand that doesn’t require two bags per cup to be decent!!!! πŸ™€πŸ™€πŸ™€πŸ™€
Amazingly it’s by Trader Joe’s and it’s Irish breakfast tea and it’s awesome.  
I’m fighting some kind of hideous neck-migraine so I’m going to relax in our new bath with a glass of wine and Netflix for a bit then catch up with Game of Thrones and knit. 

Weekend Shenanigans

It’s been a mixed bag of a weekend.

Saturday: Maintenance arrived while we were out.  They opened the drain.  They did not fix the ‘plug’.  So we have no bath in which to bathe two shower-averse children.  Well, it’s not like they are filthy or anything is it?

Oh.  Wait.  They are.

You see, on Saturday I actually had a little bitty bit of ‘me time’ and I GOT MY NAILS DONE!


In the daylight:

In unnatural light, but against a white background:

Aren’t they beautiful?  I’m in love.  I found this gorgeous salon (well the hus-creature actually gave me the details) in Cambridge.  It’s a spa type, which I admit was initially more than a tad intimidating when I first walked in, as I was in my standard SAHM getup of jeans and t-shirt.  But they were wonderfully friendly and accommodating, and actually made me a decent cup of tea (I will forgive them the UHT milk as that’s a sensible option for any business).


My new tech is called Lily.  She’s no Nat, but she’s equally thrilled at the idea of a new client who basically hands her full free reign and says ‘get the glitters/additives/chromes and go nuts‘  Sadly there wasn’t time for more than basic (if snazzy) polish and one glittery nail as we need to book extra time for ‘nail art’.  Which I have done for a fortnight’s time.

So that’s great, I have a new lovely lady I can build a rapport with right?

But, see, we’ve recently moved to a new town, in a new state, in a new goddamn country.  And one of my ‘things’ (alright, call it what it is, an issue) is terror of getting lost, which has apparently been exacerbated by the move.

Hus-creature to the rescue.

We had lunch in Cambridge, then he corralled the kidlet while I was salon-ing.

They went to Cambridge Common.  There was a playground.

TT also saw her first guggle. Sorry, we mean squirrel.

Cute right? But there was also sand.  And water.

Do I need to draw a diagram of where this went?  Yup, cue one Tiny Tyrant covered in sand.  #1 Son was equally filthy but it was at least dry filth.  He took immense (and smug) delight in informing me that he had stayed out of the sand whilst TT had not.

Well, not a problem, kids will be kids right?  Well remember that we have no bath?  And two shower-averse kidlets?

#1 Son took one for the team and had a good shower and hair wash last night.  TT absolutely refused.  And I wasn’t in the mood to wrestle a sackful of cats and octopi so we left it yesterday, I just tossed her overnight sleeping bag in the wash today.

Last night was our first date night since we got here.  Oh it was so nice to get out and just be Fliss and Jo for a few hours, rather than SAHM and Working Dad.

Happy people. We went to Legal Seafoods. Had glorious food (Tuna Sashimi, Swordfish  and pudding) A bottle of lovely wine was also shared. I originally ordered a bottle of Moscato off the “sweet but not dessert wine” list.
It arrived and was clearly a dessert wine, and so with a tiny hint from the hus-creature I sent it back and exchanged it.
I wasn’t British about it! And as such we had a gorgeous bottle of wine that went stunningly with our spicy tuna.
After the meal we decided that we were too full for cocktails and do we went for a lovely and romantic walk along the Charles river:

Please do not fret dear audience.  The children were safely in the care of a lovely sitter who I had telephone interviewed earlier in the week.  She was lovely and emptied the dishwasher and put everything away for us – wonderful woman!  Yes, I left her a 5* rating and glowing review on


She was sadly not graced by a visit from her catliness, but the kidlets were excellently behaved, so I believe all parties concerned would be amenable to repeating the transaction.  I do plan on having more than one person on speed dial so to speak for practical purposes, but this is a load off for now.


The cat clearly was miffed at us for abandoning her with a stranger and showed her displeasure by peeing on TT’s splash mat.  FFS.  I mean, if she’d deigned to emerge she’d have had all the fussing and cuddles she could have dreamed of.  Stupid animal.


As for today, we had planned to return to the scene of the breakfast crime on our first morning here – The Friendly Toast Diner – for lunch.  We did not book in advance.


Rookie Mistake


There was a wait of 45-60 minutes.  With two hungry kids this wasn’t good.  So we bit the bullet and decided to go to a BBQ place just across the square.  They didn’t appear to have a kids menu… we were concerned.

Fear not brave audience, for they did buttermilk chicken sticks.  Which both children nommed up.

I ordered brisket (which I remembered from our jaunt to Florida six years ago) and corn bread (always wanted to try real corn bread) and pit beans – which were more sharp and vinegary than I’d expected but tasty.

I thought it was glorious.  Problem? So did TT!!!  The little bugger nommed up half my corn bread (which was effectively cake) a good portion of my brisket, and the beans!!!  My lunch dammit.


I also tried three authentic BBQ sauces – Sweet (bleugh 🀒), Hot (woah that blew the roof of my mouth off 😑) and Gold (num num NUM 😻😻)


The hus-creature was gobsmacked I loved that one – it’s mustard based,  But honestly, that is one delicious sauce – and I don’t like BBQ.  He’s bought me one for home use!!!
TT needed a shower so I bit the bullet and hopped in with her. Holding a pissed off flaily toddler whilst trying to wash her hair was… fun. 
She’s also almost certainly ready to start potty training too – so this is a warning to my audience. Disgusting updates for non parents may be upcoming
But it won’t be til we move – hardwood flooring is a must for this after what we went through with #1 Son.