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 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.

Of Field Trips and Spoons

So, last Friday I went on my first ever field trip as a chaperone. It was for TT – who is now in Second Grade. It was to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. I’d never been there before, and as #1 Son missed this Field Trip due to the Pandemic closing everything in March 2020 I think we will all go as a family in the summer as a day trip.

She’s been desperate for me to be more involved with School-based activities since she started Kindergarten. So, after a mere seven years of being a parent in the Melrose schooling system I finally managed to get a CORI check.


A CORI check is the USA equivalent to a UK DBS (formerly CRB) check. I didn’t manage it before #1 Son was in 2nd Grade because as a Green Card holder I caused significant turmoil and confusion when I first asked in 2017. Then in 2020 the Pandemic hit and I just wasn’t mentally able to face the risk involved with being in a classroom with that many other people.


So in early May I was informed that I had been “randomly selected” to be one of the class chaperones.

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Now, initially I did genuinely believe that it was random. Honestly, it’s true.

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However it soon became abundantly clear that it was very definitely done deliberately.

Because TT was assigned to my group. And anyone who know anything about Field Trips, knows damn well that you do not usually have your own child assigned to you. But TT has her particular flavor of special needs, and without me there she would have almost certainly assigned to her Home Room teacher’s group. Which also included the absolute scrote* who has been relentlessly bullying her all year*. Which would have made the trip hideous for her.


*Yes I am working on a post about all of that, but as you might imagine dear audience, that post is taking time as I need to wait for my blood pressure spikes to calm down whilst composing it. Because I. HAVE. VIEWS.


So I turned up to school last Friday at 08:20 and as assigned my group:

  • TT – and she was thrilled – which was genuinely lovely for me.
  • R – One of TT’s current besties.
  • A – The only other girl. She was so sweet and kind.
  • B – whose mom joined us for the ‘free play’ part of the assignment.
  • S – who seemed to be strong buddies with B so that most definitely helped.

So one of the first things I did? Offered an introduction. I told them that I was TT’s mom and that they could call me that, or Mrs. TT’s mom or they could call me by my first name if they felt comfortable doing so and if that made it easier for them.

I then informed them that I am an adult with ADHD and that one of the ways that this might show itself is in anxiety if I could not easily see them at all times, so I would prefer it if they walked in front of me during the Field Trip.

But Mrs. TT’s mom we’re supposed to stay behind you, that’s the Field Trip rules

Don’t ask me to tell you which of them said that, it was in chorus!

However I then explained that whilst I understood that, for my own comfort and brain weasels (it’s amazing how much kids will accept if you make it funny!) I needed to be able to see them. And also that I needed them to regularly sound off on a roll call if I called for one.

And by the end of the trip? B and S would swiftly raise their arms and call ‘Here’ if they saw my head start to turn in either direction. Honestly they were total sweethearts and really well-behaved boys from start to finish. And yes I told them that often and praised them for helping me out.

So we headed out. Rather unsurprisingly the school bus we were assigned to was the one running late but hey ho. I have to admit I am now in awe of how their class teacher keeps them all in check. Her roll call is done numerically – each child knows their own number on the register and they shout them out. She also makes a game of it by seeing how quickly they can do it. And its really efficient.

She also has her method for ensuring both silence and stillness.

Mrs. O:

Hands on top

Class (whilst freezing in place and putting their hands on their heads):

Everybody Stop!

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There were also a number of bus-specific rules, which were followed with various stages of efficacy. The most important one being: Sitting on your Pineapples/Pineapples on bus seats.


Pineapples = butts πŸ€£πŸ˜‚


So I had planned to take many photographs to commemorate the trip, but there just wasn’t time. If I took my eyes off the group for more than 30 seconds at any point? One of them would vanish. And it was often R. So this is us from the bus ride to Harvard Museum:

So the first hour was free play within the main exhibits, which includes but is not limited to:

  • Glass Flowers
  • The Rocks and Minerals Room
  • Climate Change
  • Dinosaurs
  • Sea Life
  • The Taxidermized Animals

Yes these are not the official names, and I’m missing some out, but there was a lot to cover in a very short amount of time. You see, we were given an imformation packet, which inclided activitires focused around the Taxidermized Animals exhibit to try and make it fully educational for the kids. However, allow me to enlighten you on something dear audience:

There is no damn way to do that and keep an eye on five excitable children who all want to see different exhibits at the same time.

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Honest to goodness it isn’t. I somehow managed to ensure each child got to spend a decent amount of time in their expressed favorite exhibit, and we did manage to see everything on our list – but with no depth of inquiry time really. Highlights included:

  • Glass Flowers – they were astounded by the fact that each piece was hand blown/created but that lasted for less than 5 minutes before they were bored AF.
  • Rocks and Minerals – I managed to get them all to find their favorite stone, and kept them engaged with the Birth Stone case that the Museum had put together.
  • Climate Change – I forced them to do the interactive bits and read the main exhibits within this room because goddammit this matters for them.
  • Dinosaurs – enough said. Show me a kid who doesn’t like dinosaurs and I’ll show you a liar!**
  • Sea Life – TT adores sharks so this kept her on an even keel during a potential meltdown.
  • The Taxidermized Animals – I had some stories about some of them, comparing them to the Tring Museum of my own childhood, and the times I’d ridden a camel and seen Orangutans in the wild.

**I gained a lot of Street Cred with B and S because I love dinosaurs. They had what we all initially thought was a Mosasaurus – but it was actually a Kronosaurus – and the world’s only wall-mounted one at that. B and S were asking how I knew about them, and I explained that I had been re-watching the fourth and fifth Jurassic Park movies a lot recently. Thanks ADHD hyper fixations!


There are SIX Jurassic Park Movies????

B with his mind thoroughly blown!

I then explained about the later three films. Either he didn’t know that the three Jurassic World movies are part of the JP franchise, or wasn’t aware that those films even existed. Either way, I suspect he went home full of the news that not only are there more dinosaur films and that adults watch them!!!

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Then we took a break for lunch. At 11am. That honestly felt like cruel and unusual punishment. I have the utmost respect for teachers. I ended up cooking and eating my own dinner at 6pm that evening because I was hungry to the point of nausea.

The aforementioned little scrote randomly spent a lot of that time peppering me with questions. I promise I was civil, but I had very little desire to spend time indulging him when each new question caused my daughter’s face to fall more and more. She doesn’t like him (I don’t blame her!) and she does not want me spending time with him (again I don’t blame her). But in observing him I become more and more convinced that he has no idea that his behavior is causing him to be disliked. Because it wasn’t only my child giving him a wide berth.

After lunch came my only real chance to take pictures whilst we had an presentation about fossils and fossilization as a concept. It was truly fascinating. I did mention I liked dinosaurs etc. right?

This is fossilized poop. Yep, excrement. I have no idea how that occurs but I find genuine joy in the idea that we keep preserved poop simply because it’s millions of years old

After this, it was bathroom break and journey home time. And that led to a conversation between myself, TT and A that I was not expecting or prepared for. In the Ladies toilet was this:

Side note: Excellent job Harvard Museum – having free tampons readily available? Yes. Great. Good job. Keep it up! πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»

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However, TT was curious and wanted to know what they were. So I simply said ‘Tampons’. To which both TT and A asked: “What are tampons?”

Which, fair question. However, A is not my child. And is only 8 or 9 years old. And the thought of A going home and telling her parents:

TT’s Mom told me what tampons are today.

Quite frankly filled me with cold dread. That’s not something I want to have happen. Therefore I was completely honest and told her that they were something she needed to ask her mom about. That it was nothing bad, they were completely normal but that as she was not my child I didn’t personally feel comfortable discussing them with her, since her own mom might not want me to.

A couple of other adult women in the bathroom did compliment me on how well I apparently handled that situation so that made me feel better.

I explained to TT a few days later what tampons are. And she actually spontaneously said:

I understand why you didn’t want to tell A about those mom. I think that is something her mom needs to talk to her about.

Which again reassured me. I did tell her that when she and her friends are older I would be happy to talk to them about this type of thing. But from around age 13+ I think. I do want to be known as a Safe House for both kids and their friends overall but it just felt a bit young to start, especially as I’ve never met her parents so I didn’t know anything about them or their own personal beliefs.

So after that little interlude we were to leave. The bus actually arrived on time and we all piled on. And TT just shut down.

This happened as soon as the bus engine fired up πŸ₯ΊπŸ₯ΊπŸ₯Ί

I’ve suspected for a while that TT might not simply be ADHD. That she (and indeed both of them) are AuDHD. Now I’m certain. I literally watched the mask fall away from her and she was just done. She didn’t fall asleep – she passed TF out. You can see how pale she is in the photo. It sadly only last about 10-15 minutes, because the rest of the kids on the bus were truly hyped. They were wilder on the way back than on the way there. She had her hands clamped over her ears for the majority of the trip home. I’ve therefore informed the hus-creature that we need to get her a proper pair of ear defenders for the next field trip.

I was also completely out of spoons. I cannot cope with doing this again within this school year. I might be on the list for #1 Son’s Field Trip to NH on his birthday, but I’m not chaperoning Friday’s DPW trip. I cannot. It took me the whole weekend to recover! R was… a lot. He would get upset when TT just wanted to look at things herself. He spent a large amount of time during the talk portion of the event trying to get her attention. She had her hands over her ears asking him to leave her alone and let her concentrate because she wanted to learn. So he got upset and went to Mrs. O to tattle. But the teacher was thankfully on TT’s side on that one.

In addition? Poor A appears to be a true introvert, so it was also a lot for her as well. She was so quiet, shy and unassuming that I felt very worried about her. But letting her chill out on whatever benches I could find and checking in with her regularly kept her on an even keel.

When we got back to the school the kids had 50 minutes left of the school day so I wasn’t able to take her home with me. Her teacher did congratulate me on getting through my first chaperoned event and told me that I did an amazing job and should consider doing it again when I could manage it.

I probably will. Next year. I need a chance to recover. But TT’s sheer joy in me attending made it worthwhile. But for now?

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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.

On general home safety

And other animals.

Welp, yesterday we all learned a valuable lesson about fire safety 😬

Now please let me emphasise:

WE ARE ALL FINE

Nobody was hurt, and the house is still in one piece. However, in a stunning and probably preventable turn of events? I accidentally set fire to our kitchen by making my kids dinner. For today, to add insult to injury. I wasn’t even making them dinner for consumption at the time.

But yes, in attempting to make mini toad in the holes for the offspring? There was accidental ignification. Though fortunately only of the second tray! Thank the gods for small mercies πŸ€£πŸ˜‰

No, I didn’t save the few that I was prepping, and yes I did throw the entire tray out.

Now, as I am calmly writing and sharing this you can assume we are all fine.

We are. But that’s not to say it wasn’t traumatising. Because we (the hus-creature and myself) realised that we are woefully, abysmally, underprepared for this type of emergency.

See, I put a hot pan onto a hot hob. I was trying to keep the oil hot because that is *key* to successful Yorkshire Pudding. But either it took too long or the pan was too hot or…

Maybe?

I was using the last of the Christmas goose fat, which it appears has a lower point of ignition than canola or sunflower oil and it went up.

It was a small fire. I stayed calm. I shouted “FIRE” and I also remembered what not to do for an oil-based fire.


You never, ever, throw water on an oil fire. No ifs. No buts. No coconuts.


However there were no fire blanket or fire extinguishers to hand. There may have been an extinguisher in the basement. This is NOT good. And has been rectified.

This is the heir. The spare is safely stored and we will, in future, be operating on a “one to wash and one to wear” principle.

Reluctant praise to Overlord Bezos is forced to be extended here.


So in tackling the (small) blaze I lost a couple of teatowels, the pair of oven gloves, and I had to mop up the floor a bit.

The hus-creature is actually beating himself up far more than is even remotely reasonable considering he is not the one who inadvertently caused a fire. Once everything was safe, secured, and aired out (because even a small amount of oil fire = big smoke) we all went and had a lie down.

And immediately there was Emotional Support Cat ❀️

She leapt up onto the bed, briefly booped me, then settled her full weight onto her daddy’s chest and did her best train impression:

Emotional Support Cat Train

She’s a good kitty πŸ’”

So we are all safe. The kids were mildly freaked out but surprisingly happy to tell us what you are supposed to do in case of fire. So we all learned something I think.

And it proves that the 13th of any month is potentially disastrous for me. Be it a Friday or otherwise 🀣

TT isn’t going to let me forget about it for a while though.

And honestly? That’s fair.

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 πŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ

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 πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

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…

Women’s Rights

I’m just going to say this:

Abortion. Is. Healthcare

That’s it. It’s basic healthcare for uterus owning individuals. No-one should be forced to carry a pregnancy to term if they don’t want to.

That’s it. End of.

I might not have a uterus anymore but this does not change my opinion.

According to a certain subset of humans out here, my hysterectomy means I’m no longer a woman. And that I’m certainly not supposed to have an opinion on this issue any more.

I have a daughter. A daughter who stands a non-zero chance of inheriting my medical conditions. As such she may:

  • Struggle to conceive.
  • Be in extreme physical pain.
  • A seriously increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy. Which could kill her.

And if we were living in Texas right now, would. Because Texas has banned abortions and all relevant drugs. You cannot seek an abortion in Texas beyond six weeks of pregnancy.

No. Exceptions.

That’s right. None.

  • Been raped? Nope.
  • Sexually assaulted in another way that resulted in pregnancy? Nope.
  • Victim of incest? Nope.
  • You will die if you continue the pregnancy? Nope.
  • Your baby has a condition that is incompatible with life? Nope.
  • Contraception failure? Nope.

No abortion for you.

But that’s OK right? I mean, you can give the baby up for adoption yes? Oh wait you mean there’s no additional services there?

OK, but there will be an additional commensurate increase in social programmes to support these mothers and babies yes?

Because it’s not about the baby. It’s about controlling and punishing women.

The lawmakers who created the bill have a stated publicly that Women should simply practice abstinence if they don’t want to get pregnant.

That’s right ladies – we should just keep our legs crossed.

Which, you know, won’t backfire on us at all will it now? That won’t increase risk of rape – by strangers or by someone we know at all right?

In case I wasn’t clear

I have an idea. If pregnancy is God’s will? So is erectile disfunction. So no abortion for people who need them? No Viagra for men who need it.

I’m done arguing about this.

There were marches today across the whole country. As I still have kiddos who are too young to get vaccinated, I couldn’t risk marching. But I’ve campaigned. I’ve supported. I’m keeping my information current.

The DOJ is actually suing Texas thankfully but this is the thin edge of the wedge. Other states agree. And the Supreme Court desperately wants to try and overturn Roe vs. Wade.

We cannot allow this to happen!

Because make no mistake. Banning abortion doesn’t stop abortion. It just prevents safe abortions.

Women. Will. Die.

And all those Republican men whose wives, mistresses and unwed teenagers (daughter’s or otherwise) will still be able to obtain them.

This is a disgusting piece of legislation designed to target and punish poor women and BIPOC women and other uterus possessors.

I’m angry and I firmly believe that we should all be.

My back yard contains an excavator

Me right now

And lacks a lot of other things. Such as:

  • A crappy 30+ year old chain link fence.
  • A giant overgrown pine tree.
  • A second tree that was growing through the fence.
  • Three really awful wooden planting boxes.
  • The Rose of Sharon (hibiscus) tree – I have a slight sad about this, but she couldn’t really be saved.
  • The full berry patch – which, as it turns out, contained a LOT of poison oak and poison ivy 😬😬😬.
  • The goddamn monkey fudging grape vines πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰.
  • The pool deck – which, as it turns out was not based on anything. There was no structure, support or concrete underneath it at all.
  • No more hog weed or haunted bamboo!
  • The chipmunks and *skunks are almost certainly fully evicted as they were living in the pine tree and berry patch respectively.
  • The hideous side of the house which was, quite frankly, dangerous has now been ripped out. They did discover an awful retaining wall that has just been made of poured concrete and shale stucco**. That’s going to add another $3000+ to the bill, as it needs to be dealt with else all our new work could be destroyed. Repair work will buy us 3-5 years before it needs to be replaced so πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ.

*Yes. Skunks. I have seen them wombling through a few times, and a week or so ago I spotted two Cavorting in the neighbours garden.

Are they fighting? Who knows?
Yes it’s hard to see them – it’s dark!

**It’s cracked to pieces, full of holes and has a bloody triffid living in it.


The front is a separate part of the same main job. They have:

  • Ripped out all the bushes.
  • Grass all dug out – will be installing new sod*

They will be:

  • Installing a new kerb.
  • **Installing an underground drain.

*The back yard is simply going to be grass seeded rather than sod, in order to save some $$$$


**Both of these projects will, in theory, deal with the major flooding issues in our basement – or at any rate a decent part of them. We will still look to install a sump pump. Hopefully next year.


There’s other things happening too. It does turn out that the neighbour’s grandkids had occasionally developed signs of poison ivy/oak and they hadn’t been able to work out from where as there’s none in their yard. I apologised of course, but as I’ve witnessed said (teenage) grandchildren crashing over our fence into the berry patch with very little regard for my property? I don’t feel too guilty and their grandma said pretty much the same thing!


Obviously if it had been the little ones I would be far more concerned! I’m not a monster!


So yes, this year’s major house project is the backyard.

We are attempting to budget one project per year. Last year we had to get the chimney done. Then the A/C happened. Then the plumbing disaster. So this is the first time we’ve been in a position to choose what we do.

House ownership of something that is 120+ years old is… Fun 😬😬😬

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 ❀️❀️❀️❀️