And then he was TWELVE

Yes, today #1 Son turned 12. And I… well..

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I mean, I’m so bloody proud of this kid. Truly I am. But when you look back?

How has that little, tiny premature squish turned into that amazing last-year-of-being-a-preteen???

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And honestly? I can only take so much credit. He’s so much himself. I mean, obviously both the hus-creature and myself are raising him.


And boy howdy can we see individual traits of ourselves in him. Often. But I do often expound:

That? That right there? That is your son

— Me. Often

However he is so clearly on his own journey. And he is firmly himself. He believes in himself. And that is down to us. Because he has neurodivergences that will make his life harder, so he must have courage. And that? He has in spades.

He’s whip smart. He’s funny. Kind. Caring. Compassionate. And my goodness is he aware of social justice issues. Thanks ADHD.

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And he is so scarily cynical for a 12 year old!!! That… is most probably my influence, since I do talk to him as a small adult. But, it’s not like he’s wrong.

I still worry for him, but he’s doing ok. He had an amazing day, with lots of gifts and love. TT’s school held it’s Open House tonight so I persuaded him to pop up with us – after all, it is his old stomping ground. And all of his former teachers and aides were just so happy to see him.


It more than made up for a very disappointing Field Trip in NH today. How disappointing?

Mom, I’d have preferred to be in school today. I’d have got more done.

#1 Son

I’d consider that a pretty damning indictment if I’m honest!


But we have two weeks left of the school year. He actually has two weeks and one day due to an unexpected closure in September due to a burst water main. So eyes are on the prize, and then we can relax a bit. Things are always fraught in Maycember, but we will get there. I’m off to sob quietly in pride into my bedtime cuppa now.

Adieu sweet audience. Bonne nuit.

Of Diagnosis and (Self)Acceptance

So, just over a year ago I wrote Of (undiagnosed) ADHD and Executive Dysfunction. Where I outlined my reasons (which at the time seemed completely reasonable, cogent and sane) for not getting an official diagnosis of my own brainworms.

It wasn’t all bullhockey. I genuinely had terror of either being told that there was nothing wrong with me OR, more terrifyingly, that there was something wrong, but that there was nothing they could or would do.

I was worried that if they prescribed me medication that it wouldn’t work. Or, worse, if it DID work and then either I couldn’t afford it (thanks America) or insurance wouldn’t cover it (thanks America) or it would suddenly be taken away from me due to FDA fuckery or the (apparently global) ADHD medication shortage.


Because apparently The Powers That Be feel that these late-in-life-diagnoses for people my generation and older (especially women) is a fad, or excessive, or we are just making it up. Because the fact that ADHD has been considered a boys-only disorder for decades has nothing to do with this right????

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But, I bit the bullet. At my physical last year I had a new doctor. So I opened up about what I thought was wrong with me. I talked to her, she listened and gave me the forms I needed to complete for a late-in-life ADHD assessment.

I don’t want to cast aspersions, but I do feel like her being young (younger than me in fact) and female actually meant she was willing to consider that I wasn’t just drug-seeking or being “trendy”.

So I have a diagnosis.

I have ADHD. Combined Type.

I have an ADA-recognized disability.

This was surprisingly hard to accept. I knew it. Logically I truly did, but it’s been a real rocky road towards self-acceptance.

And a big part of this is accepting the medication I need to take. You see, I am now prescribed Adderall. Which, for those who don’t know (because I sure didn’t) is a drug known as Dextroamphetamine.

Why yes you are reading that correctly dear viewer. I am now legally prescribed 5mg (twice a day) of speed. That… took a lot of coming to terms with. Especially the simple fact that it worked. My brain was quiet.

The doctors wanted me to start on one 5mg tablet a day or 10-14 days, then to titrate up to the two pill dose if it was working for me.

So I chose a Sunday to start. Because it was a day where I wouldn’t be busy. I took the pill and sat and waited for the 30 minutes recommended.


I’m on the quick-acting version rather than slow-release. And I currently do not wish to change this. In the main because this current regime is working, but also because the slow-release tablets are currently in extremely short supply.


It was… overwhelming. The silence was so much. I hadn’t realised just how much noise was in my head. Imagine several hundred conversations constantly being the background noise in your head. That being your normal. Then that suddenly stopping. I nearly cried. I did tear up. I had to just sit, in silence, on the sofa until I adjusted to what was not happening in my head.

Then we went to the mall. Which, looking back probably wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had, but we needed to buy some performance clothes for #1 Son – as he has been in chorus full time in Middle School (!) this year and he needed gear.

I had impulse control. I didn’t buy everything I saw in the children’s clothing stores ‘because they might need it later’

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I saw these amazing bottle green velvet (tailored) pants in Old Navy. I fell in love with them. I wanted them so badly. But I… walked away. Because I told myself that I’d never wear them, even though I loved them. And I believed me. I left them there.

Do I still think of them wistfully from time to time?

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But do I still believe I did the right thing?

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And that is purely because of the pills. I will not claim to understand why speed slows me down, but it does. And my life is infinitely better. My anxiety is significantly improved – and definitely under control when the meds are actively in my system. The same is true of my temper. I always knew I had one, but I didn’t understand that my bouts of rage were often disproportionate. I blamed on hormones what was often dysregulation.

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I want to be clear – I followed the advice on titrating up to the letter. It was Day 15 before I took the second 5mg pill.

And in the last six months I have had two bouts of Strep and one of COVID-19 (which sucked) and in each case I had to come off the Adderall completely. And after each infection I had to re-start my medication from Day 1. Because when I don’t? My blood pressure sky rockets and I get debilitating headaches – alongside other side effects within my body that might not be as immediately clear and present as said headaches.

I had my 6-month follow up appointment today. And I am not ashamed to say that I begged the doctor not to take the pills away. Because I’m functioning. I can housework. I can parent. I’ve even been able to sign up to have a CORI check and will be chaperoning my ever first field trip for TT on Friday.

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It’s taken 40 years, but I’m finally able to function as a ‘normal’ human and I’m finally becoming the parent I wanted to be.

I’m also taking the medication because I have a strong suspicion that TT is going to need it within the next few years to help her with school. So I’m modelling it for my kids. If they see how much these pills help me? Then hopefully they will not be too scared or ashamed to ask for them themselves.

Oh and I just realised (whilst writing this post) that one of the main reasons I stop(ped) posting on my blog is because “they” keep changing the settings and layouts in the apps and on the websites that I use to create it. This is really fucking hard for me to deal with. I do not deal well with change and when my creative outlets get messed about with, outside of my control and without my consent, it sends me into a spiral. And I have a meltdown. I used to refer to it and internalize it as a tantrum. And as an adult who knew damn well that she was too old to have tantrums I would shut away whatever hurt or upset me, and ignore it. Which often included this blog.

I ADHD-d my own blog!

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But it’s not a tantrum. It’s overload. Be it sensory, or emotional, I become dysregulated and I have to handle that. And there’s a real sense of shame that comes with that. Or it did. Now I know why and how it (often) happens, and I am handling it better.

So I’m no longer going to apologise for taking space or breaks from here. Clearly sometimes I need them. It’s not dramatic, and it’s not attention seeking. It’s working within the confines and limitations of my own brain and headspace.

I’m still internally yelling at these website developers who keep bloody changing things and that’s not good for neurospicy humans but I’m going to try and work within the system and keep at this. Because writing in this space makes me happy. It’s an outlet I need, and I hope that by continuing to share my journey with my little family I can maybe help other humans who might not have realised that they too fall on the neuro-spicy spectrum.

Of (undiagnosed) ADHD and Executive Dysfunction

So, I have ADHD. That is completely and blatantly obvious to everyone. Myself included. However, mine has yet to be confirmed by the medical profession.

But Fliss, you are a firm proponent of getting help and support. You’ve fought like a tiger to get #1 Son diagnosed and supported. Why won’t you do this for yourself?

And that is a very good question.

Especially as several persons in my close circle have recently been both diagnosed and put on the relevant medications.

Well, I have a few reasons. They are mostly practical in nature. I’m already on multiple medications:

  • Estrogen – HRT (to deal with my hysterectomy).
  • Amlodipine/Valsartan – Blood Pressure (so I don’t stroke out and die).
  • Pantoprazole – a seriously high dose GI med (it has healed some esophageal damage and seems to be dealing with some of my endometriosis related issues).
  • Fluconazole – I’ve been having issues with recurrent yeast infections since a misdiagnosed infection so I’m on a standing prescription for the rest of the year.

I also take a number of supplements to try and deal with other issues. I basically rattle. So the idea of adding more medications to the rotation doesn’t exactly fill me with joy.

In addition, I live in the USA. So I rely heavily on the insurance gods – and they have a tendency to either refuse to cover treatment, or to decide (with zero medical knowledge) that you don’t need the dosage level that your actual doctor prescribed for you. My pantoprazole costs circa $200 a month with insurance! So, I’d really rather not be in the position of getting reliant on a medication that could be yanked out from under me at any moment because someone who ‘doesn’t believe in ADHD’ doesn’t feel like I deserve my medication.

I might change my mind in one of two situations.

  • When I have to come off of HRT – menopause really makes ADHD symptoms worse.
  • If/when I go “back to work” as I know from bitter experience that I do not cope well with an office environment, but there’s no way I’m going back into the work system in a customer service role.

And certainly not while the pandemic rages on – essential workers have been shafted on both sides of the Atlantic – and I can’t do that.

I’ve developed coping mechanisms that work. Now, admittedly, quite a large number of them have either been newly developed or refined since the pandemic started, but realizing why I’m not ‘normal’ and how my specific neurodivergence works has enabled me to work with my brain, instead of constantly fighting it.

That doesn’t mean I’m cured. Far from it. I never will be. This is permanent. But now I understand.

  • Why I listen to the same songs/audiobooks over and over again.
  • Why I space out.
  • Why I ‘squirrel’ even while spaced out.
  • Why I get so uncomfortable if I get interrupted (by anything) whilst I am mid task.
  • Why I can be happily enjoying a TV show/series/video game one day and then the next just think “nope, I just don’t want to watch/play this ever again”.
  • Why I obsess and why I hyper-fixate on things.
  • Why I hate change, and need routines.
  • Why I never ever stop talking, especially if I’m hyper-fixated on the subject.
  • Why I speak so fucking fast – especially if I’m excited – it’s my superpower bitches!

I’ve learned about dopamine – and the fact my brain doesn’t make it. So it finds it elsewhere. But that the supplies of dopamine can suddenly just… stop. And will they come back? Who knows. Which can often be more than a little distressing.

And perhaps most importantly? I’ve learned about executive dysfunction – and how mine works. There are days, sometimes over a week, when I cannot do ‘stuff’. That fortunately is nowhere near as common as it once was – and it usually coincides with a depression or anxiety flare up.

Why am I writing this? Because today has been a bad one. It took me over 30 minutes to decide to complete the getting of the dressed. Then a further 30 minutes to actually do it.

Then I was attempting to do my usual housework. I have discovered that if I leave the dishwasher ‘for the morning’, it’s the worst thing I can do for myself. Because if I walk into the kitchen and see that? It just kills me mentally for the rest of the day. I can’t. So last night I filled and ran the dishwasher, so I just had to empty it. But I also needed to start my cleaning. And that? That took over two hours to complete. Not because the rooms were dirty, but because I just couldn’t even. Mopping each room only takes five minutes, but I had to prepare the relevant things… and I just couldn’t.

So today? A bad day. But I managed to clean my kitchen and my dining room, which are the two highest traffic rooms in the house. So, I managed to get shit done today. But that’s it now. I’m not fighting my brain anymore. Laundry day is tomorrow, so I’m not going to quibble over that today.

And that’s another bugbear. I hate laundry. And I’ve had to change laundry day due to outside factors. It used to be Monday, now it’s mostly Wednesdays. Did you know that children keep growing? Now I no longer have one whites/lights and one darks/colors load a week. Nope, now both kids are big enough that it’s a minimum of three loads a week. Also, because of cloth masks, I’m also laundering all the towels every week. I used to be able to get away with it every week and a half to two weeks because our machine is ludicrously oversized! Not anymore, nope. Sigh.

So now I’m going to veg on the sofa with my heated froggy slippers, a drink and a streaming service – IF my brain will let me focus on any one thing this afternoon.

ADHD sucks.

And that’s the FOURTH letter of notification

Of two further positive COVID-19 cases in my kids’ school.

And round and round we go again 🤦🏼‍♀️

Fortunately (and I cannot believe I’m typing this) these individuals had been previously identified as close contacts of one of the preceding cases.

So no new infection right? Especially as they hadn’t been in school since they were notified.

Except that Massachussetts is running a fucking ludicrous “Test and Stay” programme which means if you remain symptom free after an exposure and agree to daily tests you get to stay in school.

Yup yet again I’m breaking out one of my favourite memes

So yet again my anxiety is spiking and I await the news on the test reports for my children – as they are tested every Monday..


No, they aren’t impressed by this. Especially #1 Son – he hates it. But they both understand why they have to do it.


But I have overcome one level of anxiety and have agreed to sign #1 Son up for Choir after school every Thursday from next week. This technically counts as an “out of school” extracurricular so we shall see how we go on this. I’m telling myself it’s only an extra 30 minutes – but it’s with the entire 4th and 5th grades. Or at least all those that want to sing – there’s no auditions. I can’t decide if this is a good thing or not.

Still they are only 9-10 years old so 🤷🏻‍♀️

But it’s still an additional level of exposure. I hope to God that they let the kids keep their masks on, else I will be yanking him out faster than you can say Jack Robinson.

After all, I do own Harley’s bat now…

Another Positive Case

That’s two in the school since the start of the year. Which may not sound like a whole lot, but the first one was Day 2 and was a staff member!!!

This next one is in #1 Son’s grade!


Though fortunately not in his class!


And so round and round we go again. I’ve told both kiddos and reinforced my masking rules again. Fortunately they are part of the pooled testing programme so get tested every Monday morning anyway but it does not help my anxiety.

Literally me right now

I simply feel like we are just waiting for it to hit again. And please allow me to explain just what it is I fear – exactly.

It’s not that I’ll lose my kids. Statistically I’m aware that’s improbable. They’ve had a version of the virus before. Though over 8 months ago and not Delta.

It’s the long term effects on their health and overall well being I’m terrified for.

For example, #1 Son still has his cough. And there’s little data on long hauler syndrome in children. But we’ve seen the effects on previously star athletes and similar.

Forgive me for not wanting that for my children.

So just at the point I was beginning to contemplate relaxing my grip on my anxiety, the midden has hit the windmill again.

However tomorrow I will probably begin discussions on one of the highlights of my year:

Fat Bear Week ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Oh where oh where to begin

I disappeared. I know I did. I’m aware. The Instagram kept me on the social media radar, as has The TikTok to a lesser extent.


Though my work there is veering more into feminist/political content far more than I ever intended this blog to do.


I also completely hate, and I mean truly loathe and despise the new WordPress interface. I used to simply compose posts on my phone, add gifs and photos practically instantly, then post up. Now? I can’t do it. And with everything that has gone down in the last 20+ months? I just didn’t have the head space for it at all.

Now? I need something more to focus on. There’s been so much anxiety and fear, and despair and depression. I’m coping – I have kids, I have to cope – but the Black Dog is definitely nipping at my heels, and in a way that isn’t usual for me.

I usually simply shut down. Climb into my box without even being aware that it’s what I’m doing, but right now, it’s sheer exhaustion. On a weekday I am crashing out regularly for a minimum of an hour, sometimes two, long nap. Usually after the afternoon school run, but not exclusively. Today it was after – from 2:50ish til about 4:20ish. I can’t help it – I try so hard to keep my eyes open, but it just… stops. And although I am walking to and from the Elementary school twice a day most days (on rainy/stormy days the hus-creature tends to take pity on us and agrees to take the car) it’s only a 40 minute walk in total, and we are already speeding up.

It is uphill in both directions though – and yes that is possible 🥺🙄🥺🙄

So, let’s divide this post up into some things of note that have occurred since I was last here. The first obvious one would be:

School:

Yessiree Bob, both kiddos are now proud Winthrop Wild Cats. And while I can’t believe that #1 Son is now in Fourth Grade, I find it even harder to credit that TT is now a KINDERGARTENER.

First Day of 4th Grade ❤️❤️❤️
First Day of Kindergarten 🙀😭🙀😭
I couldn’t resist the tshirts for their respective first days 🤣😂
So grown up 😭😭😭

Those of you who followed me purely on the Book of Faces know that #1 Son basically rocked out Third Grade entirely remotely. We did an entire full school year via Zoom and associated technological processes. And for a kiddo with ADHD and related issues? I truly, truly, could not be more proud of him. He met his academic expectations in 99% of all subjects and areas within them. And the areas he didn’t? I truly don’t remember where those are.

And he learned to play the violin entirely remotely. And the kid has TALENT he really does! He’s agreed to keep it as his ‘in-school extra curricular activity’ for this year, so watch this space to see how that goes. I can’t wait to see how his skill expands with proper 1:1 in-person learning. There’s serious musical talent on his dad’s side of the family, so I know it’s not just the usual parental bias of ‘oh, my kid is just amazing’ – begone Roald Dahl, thou hast no power here!

He even had his first recital ❤️

TT? Well her last year home with me was not what I had planned. I mean, she shared me with her brother – he was around 100% of the time. And he was her only source of social interaction for 95% of the time. We kept her in her Dance Class, but that was remote for most of 2020 and early 2021. The girl has suffered. She has always been my social butterfly and this has become more and more painfully obvious since the start of school.

She runs in every day – she doesn’t even glance back. In fact, 3 days out of 5 she tells us both very specifically:

Mommy/Daddy don’t follow me in!

TT – aged 5

I mean, we get a hug and a “see you after school” but she’s completely independent!

For any of the audience who remembers the year that was #1 Son’s adventures in Kindergarten it already couldn’t be more different. I mean, she’s sassed the Superintendent (Day 1) and the Principal (Day -1 – the week before school started!) but honestly? She’s happy. She’s learning and she’s thriving.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve already had to sign and return a “home – school behaviour form”, but it’s still so much better overall.

It’s not what I wanted for her, it’s not. I fully expected the complete William Wallace effect.

Literal footage of me…

Instead, I’m stuck on the side lines, praying (to a God I don’t believe in – don’t @ me) that masks, hand washing/sanitizer, social distancing (of only 3ft), assigned seating and eating outside (weather permitting) is enough to keep them both safe. But what else can I do? Massachusetts beloved Governor has decreed that schools are safe. That the virus will, of course, respect all of the rules laid out above, and of course will take weekends off.


Believe me, I’ve seen the back of my own skull so many times since the option of remote learning was taken off the table for the 2021/22 School Year.


But what else is open to me beyond de-registering them then attempting to homeschool them both? By myself. With no classroom support. I mean, I did manage to teach TT to both read and write her letters, the short version of her name, and read 1,000 books before Kindergarten.

All 1,000 recorded ❤️
Her sticker ❤️❤️❤️

But that’s basic skills only. Social Studies? Science? Art? Music? Digital Literacy? I can’t do those. So, I take all the precautions I can, and pray. And count down the days until the end of the school year 🤬😬🤦🏼‍♀️

And believe me, my own rules? Draconian compared to those of the District.

  • Masks are worn at all times – NO mask breaks.
  • This includes eating – they raise the mask, take a bite/sip, then lower it, chew and swallow.
  • We wear our masks on the walks to and from school – I am allowing us all to not have to wear them whilst schlepping up the big hill on the way home.
  • If anyone tries to tell them they don’t need to wear them? I’ve told them to tell them that “these are our family rules and my mom says I have to.” And then to tell me, whereupon I will rain true hellfire and damnation down. I have already sent multiple emails to the school over lack of rule enforcement and policy weakness. I do not give a flying fuck what they think of me – I am keeping my children safe. Every other person can fuck right off.

In case it wasn’t obvious? I AM TIRED. So tired. Once my kiddos are fully vaccinated, I will have nothing left.


And that is looking like being possible from October (plus 5 weeks to full vaccination status)


For every other utter moron who wants to claim their Darwin/Herman Caine Award? Please do so. I’m done arguing with you. Get the vaccine or don’t. I no longer care. But you are not taking my family with you. And if you are unvaccinated? You are not coming into my house. End of. I’m not even thinking about boosters yet – though as I am J&J I am desperate for one – but no needle? No visit. I’m not even joking.

This segues me in a little to the topic of:

Homework:

Yep, as of next week they both have the dreaded homework.

TT’s is, fortunately, currently nothing more than reading for 20 minutes a day. Which can be in numerous formats:

  • Reading with someone
  • Having someone read to them.
  • Audiobooks
  • Closed captions on streamed programmes – which I have as standard on all my own accounts anyway.

So she has a 5-10 minute bedtime story every night, so adding in additional minutes shouldn’t be too difficult right?

Well, what about #1 Son?

Well, the expectation for homework is: Grade level times 10 for number of minutes. A night. So, for him that’s 40 minutes a night. For a child with ADHD. Oh deep joy. At least it’s being divided into 20 minutes Math – which is a major area of strength for him, and 20 minutes reading. Which again, everything listed above counts, plus:

  • Reading aloud
  • Reading silently (in his own head)

Now, as I have zero desire to play the ‘let me test you on what you’ve read’ game, option two is out. However has anyone else spotted what I have?

He can read aloud to his sister for 20 minutes, and that covers BOTH of their reading homework.

And yes, I checked with his teacher, reading books at her level rather than his own will count. Especially if he does the voices. Which he does. She’s already noticed that, and she finds it just as adorable as I do!

So he started that tonight and it seems to be acceptable for both of them… For now 😬😬😬

I was going to write more, but I’m hitting a wall, so dear audience?

À bientôt mes amies. À toute à l’heure!

Screaming into the void

That’s what I’m doing right now. Only figuratively at least – to do so literally would risk:

  • Scaring and distracting the kids.
  • Annoying/scaring the neighbors.
  • Terrifying the cat.
  • Perturbing the hus-creature

None of which options seem like a particularly smart plan.

Especially annoying the neighbors – since we moved (in May this year) we have some truly wonderful people next door who were:

  • Pleased to see us move in.
  • Made us welcome to the street – on the very day we got the keys in fact.
  • Seem to love the kids – they have a fair number of grandkids so as and when there’s no more goddamn plague maybe there can be some block party type socialization.
  • Have recommended local workmen – one of their grandsons actually cuts our grass every two weeks.
  • Offer advice to us, in a non pushy manner, about things we need to consider/bear in mind when dealing with a 120+ year old home in America.

No, honestly, as weird as it sounds, we’ve never had to deal with an old house and it’s ‘quirks’ before. Our flat in the U.K. was built in 2006. I”ve lived through some of it growing up, but I’ve never owned it.


I’m usually pretty gosh-darned good at putting a brave face on things, it’s something of a specialty of mine. But not today. Not right now. Right now I am this close to doing my Lady Macbeth act again.

We are so close to an election that could break the world into tiny pieces. An election that will materially affect my family and I cannot vote in it.

Normally I can put a brave face on it, and remind myself that part is (hopefully) only temporary, but as it gets closer I can feel my anxiety spiking. There’s so much unknown and no one really thought The Orange One would win 2016 did they?

And 2020 is a whole damn mood on its own.

Today however is a stupidly busy day which probably isn’t helping. Today entails:

  1. Plumbing work – to try and repair major drain issues that mean that we cannot, at the moment flush toilet paper – and haven’t been able to for months – don’t ask. They have to cut a hole in a wall that we didn’t want to use, so that’s another thing to add to the money pit list because it’s in a room that will get a lot of traffic eventually. And the water is switched off so we can’t flush toilets or wash hands (thank the GODS for my hand sanitizers stash)
  2. New freezer being delivered – on the same day as plumbing work. No this was not part of the original plan. But from next week I can finally batch cook and freeze meals for some form of future planning.
  3. It’s snowing. First bloody snow of the season.
  4. It’s bin day and also garden waste collection and the bottom came out of one of the garden waste bags, and the bins aren’t yet collected and did I mention the imminent freezer delivery?

#1 Son also has his second 2:1 violin lesson in less than an hour, which means his concentration for the rest of the day will be shot and after lunch they are allowed to wear their Halloween costumes which means he will be making Pikachu noises all afternoon.


Which will almost certainly mean another email from his teacher about lack of paying attention etcetera


I’m tired. So tired. It’s bone deep at this point.

On being “Mom”

Or:

    Mum
    Mama
    Mummy
    Mater
    Mam
    Mommy
    Madre

Whatever title has been bestowed upon you by your marvellous and beloved offspring? The job is hard. It’s fucking gruelling – and there’s often no respite.

I don’t know if you might have noticed dear audience, but there’s a freaking pandemic going on out there. And it’s taking so much from us. And the burden of children and child-rearing is, as ever falling on us maternal-type units.


Disclaimer: I am bloody lucky in my hus-creature and I love him muchly. He has been awesome in this shitty ass time.


And there’s no answer to it. I’m not going to write about generals. There are a LOT of articles out there at the moment which are saying it so much more eloquently than I feel I can:

Parenting is a job – in a pandemic it’s impossible

Death of the Working Mother

Both of these articles resonate with me so hard. In the first case?

I’m exhausted. I’m touched out.


Seriously – it’s worse than when they were newborns and I didn’t think that was possible quite frankly!


TT is a wreck. She’s always been the most social one of the four of us and lock down and social distancing have destroyed her.

She gets one dance class a week (today as it happens) and the joy when she realises it’s Wednesday is, quite frankly, heartbreaking. Because it’s her only chance to spend time with any humans outside of our bubble. In a mask. Six feet apart. With no contact. But it’s all that we could do.

And it will be taken from her soon enough. Make no mistake about that. Cases are spiking everywhere and I hate every single selfish fucker who won’t wear a mask. If I could send them my daughter’s future therapy bills I would.

We spend a minimum period of two hours every day cuddling on my bed because she just needs that reassurance. It sounds lovely but it’s every day. It’s relentless.

But that’s not the main point of this post. It’s mainly the second linked article I’m pondering.

See, a few nights ago #1 Son wombled into my bedroom and asked me:

Mom, if you could have any career what would it be?

First off, ouch.

It’s not the first time either. Over a year ago I was standing in my kitchen doing one of my snow/ice dyeing experiments and #1 Son asked his father what I was doing. When told I was doing a science experiment this was the response:

Why is mom doing that? She’s just mom.

I walked away and left daddy to deal with that.

Way to hit me right between the eyes there son. Because this is a very sore spot for me.

I am a stay at home parent. It’s not a job I ever envisaged for myself; and, if I’m honest? It’s not the job I wanted.

Now, do not get me wrong. I adore my kids with every fibre of my being. I went through hell on earth to have them. But I wanted to keep my job. To keep my paycheck. My independence – in so far as that was possible.

Then we emigrated. And I couldn’t work until I got my work permit. Then #1 Son started school and we realised that, work permit or not, there was no way on Gods Green Earth that I was going to be able to find work whilst dealing with him there.

Then there was TT. Daycare is ludicrously expensive so I was forced to accept I was stuck until she started Kindergarten at least.

However that was OK, after all, my skill set is in higher education administration and from The University of Oxford no less. Surely I would be able to find something when the time came? If not Harvard or MIT then at least Tufts or Boston College etc right? After all, University education is a permanent fixture right?!?!?

Ahem, so sorry.

Because then the pandemic happened. And it’s clear that Higher Education is going to take a massive hit in the short to medium term. So that’s that for now. And it’s been over three years already. God knows what my skill set is going to look like by the time this situation is under control.

So for the foreseeable I’m stuck. Completely.

However hus-creature did put the recent sad into slight perspective.

The fact that my son asked me if I wanted a career? That means he doesn’t remember when I DID.

Which means that he only remembers me being around. So no damage of any kind from me missing those formative moments of ages 1-5.

Some solace perhaps.

But I do still have a sad.

Life is complicated isn’t it?

But I am around. I can help with remote learning. I can comfort my kids and we don’t need me to bring in a paycheck. I’m grateful for that.

But COVID needs to fuck off. Because it’s still a lot. And some days it’s too fucking much. And I’m tired. So tired.

Last Day of Summer 2019

Tomorrow (well today really) my boy starts Second Grade.

I am nervous.

You see there was a chance that he would have been reassigned his Homeroom teacher from last year. Except we found out on August 15th that he hadn’t.

Not only that, but the friend he had specifically been partnered with last year has been given that teacher again, so they have been split up.

So allow me to summarise. The kid who doesn’t deal well with change (understatement of the freaking millennium there) has had everything that he was used to ripped away from him.

I. Am. Not. Happy.

Not one iota. I actually sent an email to the Principal a few days ago outlining my concerns. I received back a reasonably long reply but it mostly just amounted to a hand flap and an “it’s fine”.

Well. Ok that’s the way they want it, fine. I hadn’t ever told #1 Son that it was a possibility (I’m not so green as I am cabbage looking) so he’s not disappointed. He also seems to already know his new teacher and seemed pleased to have her, so that’s a relief.

She has brown hair.

She is a girl.

It’s something I guess? 🤣😂

So I’m trepidatious but hopeful. Hopeful that he will prove my fears groundless. But if he doesn’t? If there is backsliding? Oh you best believe that Mama Dinosaur will be coming out all teeth and claws.


Seriously the T-Rex from Jurassic Park: Lost World will have nothing on me


And the reason I’m still up at almost 2am? I was sewing a name label in his denim jacket. Yes, I was.

See I ran out of spoons again today and did another “Stop, Drop and Nap” at about 5pm so I’m wired.

Which segues me in neatly to my one week post-surgery check update

Overall I was doing pretty well but then I accidentally overdid it somehow on Saturday and paid the price on Sunday – and I crashed out completely whilst feeling exhausted and nauseous, much to the chagrin of TT.

#1 Son had a pool party that day too, and I was determined he was going to go goddammit. However I couldn’t take him for many obvious reasons:

  • Not allowed to get incisions submerged.
  • Not allowed to drive (not that I can out here yet)
  • Still fucking exhausted.
  • Would probably drown.

But the hus-creature did not want to leave me on my own with TT. So we arranged for the eldest daughter of the lovely lady who picks #1 Son up from school to come sit with her and me for those couple of hours. TT was in heaven 🤣😂

The boys had fun, though it was an outdoor pool so the water was cold.

There was also a playground where he chilled out when swimming got a bit much:

So that was my weekend.

So I had my one-week follow up today and as the doctor was running over an hour late I spent that time sitting in typical doctor’s office chairs which completely did me in – I’m not supposed to sit completely upright for extended periods of time right now 🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️

It did go reasonably well though. I’ve had both sets of stitches removed; we’ve gone through the packet of photos I was given immediately post-surgery.

I found them deeply fascinating surprisingly; and actually understood a fair amount of what I was looking at. It wasn’t just personal viscera.


It did remind me of what happens when you trim the fat off of raw chicken before you cook it though 🤣😂


They also included some incidental shots of my “very healthy” appendix and liver which is always good to know 🤣😂

I have to see him again in two weeks and am to gradually increase everything activity-wise up to approximately 50% of normal in that fortnight. I’m still not allowed to lift heavy things.

So I can go up to school with #1 Son tomorrow so that’s a relief. To him as well as me – though the sweetheart would never have asked me.

So the doctor says it’s okay for you to come mom? That’s good. You have to do what the doctor says you know – the doctor knows best

I don’t mind admitting that my heart swelled and broke simultaneously there. He’s so so special my lad.

I’ve already decided that I will not be going up to knitting tomorrow, as I can’t face walking that far, or sitting in a hard backed chair for two hours; or to have my nails done on Sunday – that’s an even longer walk, plus two trains and I just cannot justify that. I’ll provisionally rebook for the following Sunday – lord knows that my amazing Matthew will understand.

Goodnight dear audience, I ought to try and get some sleep tonight. Of course I know already that going up to school tomorrow is going to wipe me out.

I don’t care. My boy deserves this. I am going.

He asks for so little, I’m bloody doing it. For him.

Two years

As of today we’ve been living out here, in Massachusetts, for two years!

I’d say I can’t believe it, but I can.

It still doesn’t feel quite like “home” but I’ll say it now feels more like home than not.

Apart from the people we left behind, I don’t honestly think I have any major regrets left.

There have been some very hard moments in the last 12 months. We had to deal with the first death in the family (on the hus-creature’s side) and some similarly hard news on my own and that was tough.

I suspect that if and when the next immediate family baby is born I will find that equally hard but at least that will be a good thing that has happened.

It’s the hard moments that really make you realise what you did once you emigrate.

We’ve been discussing longer term options once (please oh great Flying Spaghetti Monster) our green cards are confirmed, and it’s making me a bit antsy. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to my audience that I very much would like to move out of here as soon as is comfortably feasible.

We’ve definitely decided to stay in Melrose until TT finishes school, but then might move further into Massachusetts but we shall see.

I think it’s part of trying to handle the giant cloud of uncertainty that this process leaves over your life – planning for when it no longer will.

The children are flourishing here though. #1 Son had a birthday party yesterday that was “organised fun” and despite constant orders to

Pay attention

From the party organiser…


No the hus-creature wasn’t able to take them to one side and explain, which I find myself (probably unreasonably) annoyed by…


He was able to come home with a smile on his face and tell me that he had had fun.

We also celebrated 19 years together and 12 of them married last week.


It helps that there’s only 2 days difference I will admit 🤣😂


Due to difficulties with sitter availability we split the difference and the hus-creature took me out on a wonderful romantic dinner cruise on Thursday night ❤️🥰

We spent some quality 1 on 1 time together with food, and booze and fantabulous views and it was amazing.

I was very spoiled and felt very loved.

We are over halfway through #1 Son’s summer camp and he is still coming out with a smile on his face which is such a relief.

We’ve had some minor breakthroughs with eating but are back on the ups and downs there sadly.

(He has now decided he no longer likes peas).

Got about a month and a half to go til Second Grade, and I’m still praying he gets to keep last year’s teacher as a. She is completely amazing and b. A little bit of stability will do him good.

I’m attempting a doctor-recommended diet which we are describing as “Keto aligned” as when you tell the counter staff at Burger King that, they give you this for your lunch:

Which is surprisingly non-horrible. Basically in an attempt to get a handle on my pain I’m to give up:

  • All dairy 😰😰😰😰
  • Enriched processed food
  • All added sugar in everything (including natural sugars like honey, agave etc)

As those of you who know me in real life can probably guess, this has gone down like a lead balloon. He would also very strongly prefer that I go vegetarian, but I put my damn foot down there.

That may well be where this journey ends, but right now? No fucking way.

Tea with cashew milk is 80% tolerable I have discovered:

And one of the local sushi places does a DIY Poke Bowl for $17 which was surprisingly filling:

So all in all? I’m not at “wanting to stab things” level of anger and rage yet. Though mostly that’s down to the hus-creature who is embarking on this with me to support me. Have I mentioned how much I adore this man?

In closing? Two years has flown past.

From this:

To this: