Pumpkins, Mums and the PTO

Oh my!

There was a Pumpkin and Mums sale up at #1 Son’s school today.


Last year I was completely confused as to why they might potentially be auctioning off fellow mothers…

It turns out the hus-creature was also, as he checked – ‘mums = chrysanthemums

Which was a relief I have to admit πŸ€£πŸ˜‚


There was also hot apple cider sadly, (or perhaps not given my liver still seems to be crying after Friday), not alcoholic, and ring donuts and…. a petting zoo.

I’ve made a vow this year to actually do more of the after/outside of school activities and so I insisted we head up.

First came the petting zoo:

Sadly, #1 Son was not keen, but TT was enthralled. So I sent my boys off to forage for pumpkins – but sadly not mums as it turns out that they are highly toxic to cats and dogs, so no plant for me – while TT went in with the animals.

It wasn’t completely successful as she has actually listened to me about not petting strange animals it seems, and took a lot of convincing that it was ok to do so. There was a lot of “Mummy no, I not touch animals” but she had fun.

Then came… pumpkin decorating:

Both kids had so much fun. I had to intervene a little when #1 Son kept trying to attach stickers to his sister’s pumpkin (and believe me, she was not impressed by that!), and my role was “Chief re-attacher of pen lids”, but they both had so much fun.

Also TT was hilarious – she was most definitely choosing her own pen colours and would not be swayed.

Serious artist is serious

She would not relinquish that red marker.

Then it came time to leave. She would not be parted from her precious pumpkin. She had a full on level 10 meltdown when we left it in the boot of the car to, you know, dry and set.

Her precious:

Both children decorated a pumpkin of course:

And we had to let her have it on the way home from lunch, so she cradled it like a teddy bear:

Such pride many happy πŸ€£πŸ˜‚β€οΈπŸ’—

But then once we returned what were we to do? I had visions of her sleeping with the darned thing. However through some judicious use of lollipop based bribery, to prevent her from sitting outside all afternoon, both pumpkins now have pride of place on our front porch:

But this does mean that for once I have contributed to the Halloween decorations hurrah!

Self improvement

Starts here.

Actually, it started last week when both the hus-creature and I joined a gym!

Yes I know, I can hear you all laughing hysterically. But it’s true.

Through ruthless calorie counting, and as close to a daily walk around beautiful Melrose as I can, I have managed to shift just over 20lb.

And I’m really proud of that. But I need to keep the momentum going. And I’m getting very familiar with my town now, and I needed to step it up a gear. So gym it was. You have 24/7 access and, after the first 30 day’s, can access any branch globally as part of your membership πŸ™€

So, yesterday I went for my induction session.


I feel that it should be noted that I had attended the gym pretty much daily last week barring Wednesday. I had signed the “I promise I won’t sue you if I hurt myself” disclaimer, and I remembered how most of the main machines worked so while I was waiting for them to book me in, off I went.


With the lovely Erik. Well he was very friendly and very good at his job.

I told him I hated him at least twenty times during the course of that hour, to which he merely laughed – the evil man!

But I did recant at the end of the session.

They seem positive that if I regularly attend (and I will) I should be able to reach my initial goal weight within a reasonable time frame – which I want to have done by next summer.

I will wear a pretty bikini goddammit

However I seem to have mildly overdone it πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

I will also in part attribute this to going out on the town last night with my wonderful H πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—

We danced, we laughed and we got very, very drunk πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ we were total dirty stop outs and didn’t get home til 1am!

Yes, I am rocking navy lipstick πŸ˜‰

It matched my dress. My TARDIS dress. No I won’t be wearing it as an everyday look, but I put full face on for the first time ever by myself

It all comes under the self care banner. I’ll never be a “girly girl” but I can enjoy the occasional benefit from it.

Oh and the hus-creature? He still needs to sort out his induction – but he threw his back out again this week. Hopefully he can sort it out next week.

Me, I won’t be going to the gym tomorrow. We have a stupidly full schedule and I can barely walk so…

It’s the differences that hurt

I started writing this post in late May this year. Mostly to quietly vent. I’m not sure if I ever intended to publish it. But I feel I should. It’s important to be honest, with myself as well as everyone else.


I’ve been ruminating on this post for a while, and I suspect that it will be a good few days in the writing before I hit the publish button to be honest.

We all know that I have my two kidlets:

And

And I love them both to death. I do. I would both die and kill for these two. I have been a mama lion for #1 Son over the last year or so, and will continue to be for as long as he needs or wants me to be. But, can I admit something?

I get so tired.

It’s so hard. So so hard. And half the time at least it’s just not his fault or anything to do with him as himself. He continues to be one of the kindest, funniest, sweetest boys that anyone would be lucky to know.

But it’s his condition. It’s his disability (and I bloody loathe that word).

He is not a standard child. And this world is set up for the standard. For the “normal”. And everyone else is left to sink or swim.

TT is growing up. Every day it seems she does something new.

And she is blowing right past him

I don’t mean like for like now, at almost six he still ahead of her, but at their comparative ages she’s miles ahead.

  • She plays with toys.
  • She has proper imaginative play.
  • She is capable of playing on her own.
  • She wants to play with her brother. She idolises him if truth be known.
  • Her language skills are amazing
  • She has concepts such as sharing down. Admittedly mostly when they benefit her but she’s got them.
  • Milestones such as crawling, walking etc she already blew past him with.

There are more, so many more, but these are the ones that stick in my head.

It’s almost daily that I will look at the hus-creature and say:

He was never like this.

Or

He never did this/that.

And I wonder if he has somehow been short changed by my just not knowing that he was non-standard.

How did I not know? Well for a premature child and a boy, he was hitting all the relevant milestones within the age-appropriate ranges.

We didn’t see a problem until he first started formal schooling.

I worry for him. I worry about him. If I, as his mother, can get upset and frustrated


And I do, believe me I do


Then how will the rest of the world cope? How will he cope with it?!?!?


And that is where I stopped. I couldn’t carry it on.

I think my pain, worry, fear is quite obvious no? But, I’m pleased to say, that things are once again on the upswing.

He’s had a few knocks since the start of the school year. For example he started leaving class again, particularly after we got back from England. However that was two weeks ago, and he’s getting better.

I still haven’t had to visit the new Principal (which is great) and he’s making great strides in his reading, writing and math.

I’m just so proud of this kid.

He’s a trooper. He’s my best boy. And I will continue to be the Mamasaurus that he needs me to be.

He got that star in his first week and we have also had another since.

Where the heck

🎡🎢Is Carmen Sandiago. Carmen SanDiago. Where on earth can she be?🎢🎡

Now I cannot answer this eternal 90s conundrum dearest audience, but I can tell you where the bleeding hell I’ve been for the last month.

Well we made a very short (and fraught) journey back to the U.K. for the absolute best wedding ever.

And I was so focused on that, and travelling with two small children, flying over eight hours, jet lag, more jet lag and did I mention the jet lag? That everything else just flew by the wayside. Honestly it’s true, I have so many blog posts in training here that I can’t even sort out what’s going on there.

But you know, now we are back the wedding was amazing, life is settling back to normal and is normal service I hope will shortly resume.

Summer Days Out

So over the summer we had so many plans to have outings with the kids.

But the weather laughed at us! We’ve had glorious weeks and the weekends have been utterly shocking!


Very British in fact πŸ€£πŸ˜‚


So we decided to say sod it and the hus-creature took the day off work on Thursday (almost two weeks ago now, yes I know I know!) and we went up to the beach.

Which is a specific beach about 30 more minutes away that is spelt almost the same as #1 Son’s given name.

Oh it was amazing. We played, we built sandcastles, we splashed, we swam. TT proved to be a complete and total water baby. Yes, she was more than a little apprehensive on the first couple of tries but then she was racing into the waves shouting “more ocean” and I have never seen her grin more.

Actually it backfired on us spectacularly though! First when it came time to go get lunch. Cue a massive meltdown and I had to bodily drag her to the restaurant – as a result we were all leaking sand and sea water on the way there sigh.

The second time was when it came time to go home. She did not want to leave. At all.

Anyway, pictures:

TT playing on the beach. Please bear in mind the last time she was on the beach she was only just crawling πŸ’— also note #1 Son’s new “rock collection” (yes I still have it – it’s out on the balcony!)

Daddy-offspring bonding:

Gittish seagulls were everywhere – honest to god they had no fear. None. Attacking belongings and tourists alike. Gits.

#1 Son made a friend – one with similar issues to himself. He was a little older and showed him how to build tide pools and how to catch small Crustacea for it πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—

Sadly there were no photos with me, the mother, because I didn’t take my phone into the ocean and the hus-creature doesn’t think to take them. Ever.

But it was an amazing day out. The kids had a blast and we will go back.

Then this last Saturday we went to a theme park just across the state line in New Hampshire.

I didn’t take many photos this time because we were focussed on having fun, but we took these:

TT went on her first rides. The Ferris wheel – which she liked a lot:

WHEEL!

And then she went on her first proper roller coaster. She loved it. There was much crying of “more ride more ride” but her brother was not impressed.

So we took them across to the newly-built water park bit – it was so newly built that only about a third of it was actually operational. Again, TT adored the water slides and was devastated she couldn’t go on the bigger ones.

#1 Son? Nope. He still can’t deal with water being splashed in his face. But they both had a blast. Prying TT away from the water was as bad as at the beach. Needed to bribe her with the promise of an ice cream πŸ€­πŸ˜¬πŸ™„


It worked though!


But honestly? Comparing the free (mostly) trip to the beach, and the over $100 tickets for the park? Not worth it. They are both still too young and short.

There are a few other options, including an indoor, climate controlled, water park so we will look into that.

Daddy and I both needed a stiff drink or two by the end of those days!

And, oddly enough? I didn’t need to go for a walk either day!

Letting Go (in a good way)

Bonjour mes amies. I was planning on writing a long post about yesterday’s journey to the seaside, and I will, but I felt this was worth chronicling first.

Warning, hippy dippy potentially New Age-y shite incoming.

(Also swearing)

As many of my readers know, my kids are remarkably picky eaters. To the extent that I often wonder why they aren’t more skinny. In fact, whilst I think they are fine they certainly aren’t underweight.

You know that I’ve tried everything to get them to eat. To eat more, eat healthy(er), to eat variety.

It has, quite frankly, killed me. Both mentally and physically. There has been such an attempt made to:

But it has more often resulted in:

We all know about healthy eating. We know about food groups, vitamins, minerals, “5 a Day” but what do you do when, despite your best efforts, they just won’t?!?!?

Well, if you are me dear audience, you fret, and stress, cry, feel like a failure, and let it beat you down until it becomes (yet another) reason to push you back in your depression spiral/box.

But, the hus-creature loves me, and his kids, and hates to see us like this.

And he read a study on it. A study that showed that forcing picky eaters to eat outside of their comfort zone actually causes way more harm than good.

There was more to it of course, but it’s what it boiled down to.

That it is better that they are given what they will eat, rather than not.

So, that’s what I have been doing.

Peanut butter and jam sandwiches are now a daily meal staple. I sometimes vary it like the above, sometimes not.

And this is the result of careful theorising. I’m always left with a small amount of boxed macaroni and cheese after I make it for them.


Probably because I add the peas!!!


But it’s never enough for an additional two meals on its own.

Voila! Side dish. And yes, one child has broccoli (TT) and one child has cucumber (#1 Son) because of preferences. But I am working on that too. Do you see the tiny amount of each on the other’s plate? It works.

And no, they won’t accept home made macaroni and cheese sauce. I tried.

So yes, their diets are limited, bland and (to me) frankly appalling. But they are happy. They are eating. Meal times aren’t a battle anymore. No more tears.

They have a set “routine” of meals now:

  • Boxed mac ‘n cheese with added peas. At least it’s the organic kind.
  • PB&J
  • Hot dogs
  • Chicken nuggets (hidden veg brand whoo) with shaped potato of some kind.
  • Tinned spaghetti with meatballs – but that is significantly less successful than the boxed type.
  • Cheese quesadilla (again hidden veg) and that is #1 Son more than TT.

There might be more, but I forget.
Thankfully they do also eat:

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Ham
  • Cheese
  • Grapes
  • Cucumber (more #1 Son)
  • Broccoli (TT)
  • Carrots (TT)

I’ve excluded the “junk food” they will have when we go out but even that is predetermined and a small list.

  • Cheese pizza (more #1 Son than TT)
  • Cheeseburgers
  • Chicken tenders

Rarely they will accede to a pasta dish.

But gummy multivitamins are aces, and now I’ve embraced my reality? I’m much calmer.

TT also likes to stand on the scales after we do once a week, so that allows me to keep track of her weight, and she’s fine. She even gained a little last week.

So to any haters out there I say, walk a mile in my shoes before you judge. And until then:

Updates on things

So. # Son has his polio shot yesterday. He freaked out so much that they had to hold him down then inject him in the leg.

Afterwards? He looked at his dad and said “Oh. That didn’t even hurt. It was just cold

No. Shit.

Of course when he came home he tried to tell me that _I_ said it would hurt – which, anyone who knows me as a parent knows I have done my damnedest to ensure my kids do not inherit any of the phobias/issues either myself or their dad have in (unfortunate) abundance.

So I was very offended at this suggestion. However the hus-creature stepped in and defended me (to my six year old πŸ˜‚πŸ€£) so all is good there.


We also discovered why the poor little bugger needed to have it – in the U.K. it forms part of the pre-school jabs. He had it at 3.5 years of age. The schedule here has children having it at age 4. Therefore the school system deemed that he hadn’t had it πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈπŸ™‡πŸΌβ€β™€οΈπŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ


Well he definitely has now!

In another proud mom moment, he has made significant strides in his reading. Today he read 21 pages of a level appropriate book. With:

  • No complaining(!)
  • Full (for him) concentration.
  • Barely any help from me.
  • Read full pages with no stumbling.
  • And, most impressively
  • Read full pages without me tracing the lines with my fingers!!!!

I mean, any of these are impressive, but all together? And for a full twenty minutes?!?!?

I could burst with pride.

TT is coming on in leaps and bounds. She is happy that objects have more than one colour. One of her games now is “Mommy, what colour dis?”

Which, you know, is such fun twenty times in a row…

The next thing is “context sensitive” statements. Twice she has *ahem* broken wind in my presence, looked at me, and then said “s’alright mommy you not farted”

And finally. Sass. She is now capable of sassing us. It’s mostly irritating but occasionally there is comedy gold.

Yesterday she was wearing a t-shirt which read:

I’m a princess.

Mommy’s a Queen

Daddy’s… around here somewhere…


Quick side note, I’ve received a compliment from an elderly gentleman when we were out and about eating lunch
specifically on this shirt!


So daddy decided to tease her after she told him what a beautiful t-shirt she was wearing by telling her:

“That is a very pretty shirt TT – look it has cupcakes and animals on it”

She stopped, looked him dead in the eye and said “no daddy no an-mals. It’s ABC-s”

I’m just thrilled at her trolling skills πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

My little dinosaur-loving unicorn πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—

Summer update

Wow it’s been a while (again) hasn’t it?

The issue is that for us, summer rolls on and on and therefore nothing really changes on a daily or, even weekly, basis.

#1 Son finished his summer camps. The reading one keeps trying to coax us into a fall programme for a mere $199 but given how disruptive he was for a good period of the first one, I really can’t justify that.

The Summer Learning Academy was much more successful, and I really hope we can build on it from August 29 when he starts 1st Grade.

Don’t know who his teacher is yet, nor have the supplies lists been issued, so I await that with bated breath.

He is signed up for Education Stations (basically after school club) for one day a week – pending cashing of cheque as I let that little bit of house admin slip past me!

Which will give him a little socialisation outside of school hours with his peers. I’m hopeful about it. It coincides with knitting group as daddy needs to pick him up so that seemed smart.

The wonderful A has agreed to pick him up from school for the rest of the week for the foreseeable. Yes, I will get my MA licence – I’ve just been terrified. I’m actually considering learning to ride a bicycle instead. I mean, it’s good exercise, but it’s mostly because driving here scares the beejeebus outta me!

As for me? Well I’ve lost almost 20lb and can fit into dresses I was wearing four years ago! Admittedly those are merely a (U.K.) size 16 but hey it’s progress in the correct direction.

I have finally gone to the dark side of men’s sandals but goddamnit they are comfortable. And they don’t look too bad with the dress – which is actually loose in this picture as it’s (U.K.) 18 but I felt good.

I’ve been baking more and it’s nice to find my zen.

These are the stages of a butterscotch pie – so good. I will be baking that one again!

Next up this week is homemade lemon curd.

TT continues to amaze and amuse. Her language is coming on in leaps and bounds. She is such a determined funny little person. She seems to finally have accepted that daytime clothing is a good thing. Occasionally she even lets me brush her hair!!!

She has also rediscovered her love of baths and even occasionally asks for a hair washing!

We still haven’t made it up to the damn beach as every free weekend we’ve had, the weather has been shite.


Not unlike Old England really πŸ˜‚πŸ€£


So the current plan is for the hus-creature to take a midweek day off and we will either head up to the beach or to the local indoor water park we’ve found.

In less than a month we are heading back to the U.K. for about a week for the wedding of my gorgeous sister in law and her handsome soon-to-be husband and I cannot wait. I’ve missed them so much.

We will be crashing with my parents, so I get to see everyone which is awesome.

My best friend lives within short driving distance of mom and dad too, so we are going to pop and see them too before we head back. I need my bestie cuddles too.

It’s not long enough, but we can’t keep #1 Son out of school for longer than a week (including jet lag recovery time).

He has a doctor’s appointment today for a Polio shot (he’s going to hate me!) and an IEP update. He’s decided he wants his daddy to take him. Am I a little miffed? Well not really – it’s lovely that he feels able to state a preference for the parent he wants. Daddy is more practical and won’t weep so I get it. I’ll stay home with TT to keep her out of the way, and the boys will go for ice cream after, to deal with any residual trauma.

I have a checkup with my own doctor on the 27th for blood pressure things – maybe I can also get some anxiety meds but we will see.

I also have my six month post operative check up on the 22nd. Since I’ve lost 20lb (and there’s still a little time to shift more) since they last saw me, I’m hopeful I won’t get too big a lecture on not having completely broken up with dairy πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

I shall sign off now. There might be changes in post formats to try and encapsulate more stuff “as it happens” rather than trying to wait for enough to write an epic.

I leave you with a recent collage of my offspring. Because I’m bloody proud of them πŸ’—

Poorly Panda

And mommy senses level up.

I had to look on the bright side.

It is 20:14. At roughly 17:45 I noticed TT running a slight temperature – nothing that was picked up on thermometer, as like her brother, she “runs hot” but I was concerned.

I spooned a dose of Calpol into her. And she rather pathetically demanded “snuggle”.


Which means something specific – she wants to snuggle in our bed with me. Tablet optional.


So feeling like I ought to keep an eye on her we go to do this.

Less that 5 minutes later: copious vomiting. Allllllllll over my bed and her brand new tablet.

And daddy was still on his way home from work 😰

So I had to juggle an hysterical, vomit covered toddler, try and strip my bed, run said toddler a bath, and keep her curious big brother out of the fray single handed!

  1. Deposit toddler in bathroom.
  2. Race back and pull as much as I can off the bed.
  3. Deposit tablet in en suite sink and clean it off as best I could.
  4. Return to toddler and strip her.
  5. Deposit her in the empty bath.
  6. Run her a bath.
  7. Phone daddy and tell him that he needs to get home ASAP.
  8. Realise toddler is distraught at the evidence of vomit in the bath.
  9. Empty bath.
  10. Rerun bath.
  11. Realise she will not sit down and she’s starting to shiver.
  12. Get in bath.
  13. Wash her hair whilst standing in bath with her.
  14. Realise I cannot now get a towel.
  15. Realise she will only calm down enough to be washed if I sit with her.
  16. Sit in rapidly cooling bath.
  17. Run more hot water into bath.
  18. Sit.
  19. Sit more.

Daddy then returned and started on the practicalities whilst I kept TT occupied. She appeared to be returned to normal.

However she regressed to whimpery and sad within ten minutes. And I had to teach her the concept of a sick bowl 😰

And the worst part? The pathetic sobbing of “no thanks” before she puked again. Totally broke my heart 😰
She then just fell asleep on me, without a dummy or bottle, clutching the sick bowl.

Kept her there til I was sure she was asleep (and #1 Son was also in bed) then transferred her to bed. With a dummy. And a cup of water (no milk).

Am now contemplating an early night as I foresee a long one 😞

A year

We have been here, in America, for a year.

Wow.

My babies have grown and changed so much.

I think I have too. I never imagined being a full time stay at home parent.

It’s hard. It’s exhausting. But it’s also amazing.

I get to see my babies grow and change. I see every new skill they develop, and particularly in the case of TT, I know it’s mostly down to me.


Don’t get me wrong, nursery is, and was, great for both of them, but I know I’m teaching her things directly.


There’s still guilt – I’m only human, and there are times when I’m grumpy, or tired, or just missing the company of other adults. Even earning my own money. But that last one lessens slightly. As I keep the house ticking over.

I’m still bad at housework. I still don’t always see what needs doing at a useful point. But that is improving too.

It’s learning what needs doing vs what can wait. And what I can insist the kids do.

As it’s also my job to teach them how to become adults. Fully capable adults who will know this stuff.

Yes, they are 6 and 2. But they already know how to empty the dishwasher (within reason) and where dirty clothes go.

They are capable of putting toys away. Even if TT at least gets them out again immediately πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜­

It’s been a hell of a year, but it’s been a good one.

Here’s to the next one.