School Events

There’s been a lot of things happening in the last couple of days with, for and to #1 Son.

So on Tuesday evening there was his second parent teacher conference. Now I’m pleased to say that I didn’t approach this one with as much trepidation as his initial one back in November.

I knew that there had been some improvements, and that was in both social and academic areas. Of course there were still issues, but what Kindergartener won’t have those?

I also took up his three exercise books that we’ve been working through to show his teacher that we’ve been trying to do improvement work at home on more than just reading.

He has 180 Days of Kindergarten in:

  • Math
  • Writing
  • Reading

The idea is that from the start of the academic year you do one page a day (I assume they mean workdays) and improve as the class and the year goes on. We only picked them up after the 100 days of school celebrations, but they are still worth doing.


I can’t say that he’s been totally thrilled with it but he does it with minimal fighting. Possibly because I mark it as we go along, and he likes to see how well he’s doing. He would do better if he just concentrated but neither me nor his father were particularly good at that either.

And when I say “do better” I mean the difference between getting 6 out of six and 5 out of six. He’s good at it really.

So our 20 minute conference time turned into nearly an hour but fortunately I was her last meeting of the day and apparently she is regularly in school until 6 PM as it is. The woman is a saint, have I mentioned this?

She talked me through his systems for taking breaks, how he concentrates (better than it has been, though there is obviously still room for improvement), and perhaps more interestingly the system she has devised for tracking his particular outbursts and what triggers them. Spoiler: there is no apparent pattern. Although the day when he has music as his “special” (Wednesday) seem to have more outbursts. This does make sense to me, as it’s a very noisy class and he gets overstimulated.

I also noted that he seems to work better in a classroom setting when he is buddied up with a female friend. And interestingly his teacher noted that he will play outside with his peers now and that when he does, it is normally with the boys! I think I don’t need to explain how absolutely ecstatic this information made me.

Don’t get me wrong, he does still have days when during recess he will just walk round and round in circles talking to himself. But that’s fewer and he’s playing with children his own age!

For the sake of brevity (and so that you, dear audience, do not die of boredom) I will skip over the academic stuff except to say that he is doing better and concentrating for longer. And I will now move to the most important part of the session where she told me something that made me literally dance around the classroom which was:

He is no longer the child causing her the most grief!!!

Okay so there is still the caveat of “for now” but let me have my moment in the sun here!!!!

They do want either myself or his dad to go with him to supervise in a couple of upcoming field trips, but I can’t really blame them on that.

All in all after the conversation I had with his therapist regarding playing with peers and her concern that he wasn’t, I left that meeting pretty much walking on air. One darn proud mama bear.

Then came Wednesday. Which was a pretty normal day. Except at about 11:30 I got a phone call from the school nurse. To tell me that my poor son had gotten into a fight with the playground. Not in the playground with another child oh no with the ground itself. And he lost. Except at about 1130 I got a phone call from the school nurse. To tell me that my poor son had gotten into a fight with the playground. Not in the playground with another child, oh no, with the ground itself. And he lost.

The top photos were taken just after he came home on Wednesday afternoon, and the bottom two were taken the next morning.

He still feeling very very sad and sorry for himself. I’m not surprised. It’s still sore and he still wants band aids on the grazes. I have no problem with this, as apart from anything else it helps prevent infection. He’s been talking about not wanting to play outside at recess and “keeping everybody safe”. Perhaps he will learn to look before he runs?

Honestly? I doubt it but it’s taught him a valuable lesson I think.

Today I went up to school for a Math Fun morning (!)

No really. The idea was that you would undertake different activities with your child and see what they have been learning.

He made me a chain link necklace – a rainbow necklace πŸ’—

He needed to take a 5 minute break in the middle of the work, and when there was only 5 minutes left of the session because he had run out of steam. So with the second I decided to leave a little early, as by the time he was done with his break it would be time for the parents to leave anyway.

He handled that fine. Also I ought to note that it was extremely noisy in the classroom, and he didn’t have one outburst. I was so proud of him πŸ’•

He also came home with this:

It is a “Rainbow Egg for keeping stuff in” πŸ’—

And finally, it seems that due to the late March snow, the Ida, Always author needed to cancel her previously scheduled visit. So, she will return at some as-yet-to-be-determined time, and his copies of the books will be signed!

Spring Break is now upon us, so stand by for stories of trips to the park, ice cream and lots of shenanigans…


IT MIGHT HAPPEN


Oh, and one other lovely thing. When he was dropped off by the lovely A this afternoon she left as normal, and then came back to ask if she could take him to the local ice cream parlour that we also frequent – because her youngest daughter (Grade 5, so aged 11 or thereabouts) and her friends wanted him to come with them.

Okay I know that the therapist wouldn’t have been as pleased as I was, but I was thrilled that he was able to socialise like that in a public place.

I’m one very proud mummy tonight.

Play Dates

A thing that is fraught with pitfalls. Especially for me – a non-standard parent of a very non-standard child.

It may be difficult to believe, but I dread public gatherings. I am not good at small talk. I have odd hobbies. I fear judgement. And I hardly ever open up to people now.

So, all that being said, yesterday I had a full 1:1 meeting with #1 Son’s therapist; and one of the things that came out of this meeting is that he struggles socially with his peers.


And oh dear lord did that sound familiar 😫😞


And I was gently, yet firmly, advised that I have to know “when to push, and when to pull”. Translation: Set up some goddamn play dates woman

But that isn’t easy, precisely because he is struggling with his peers.

We had set up an initial Skype date with his former friend from school for last Sunday, but at the last minute the poor thing got camera shy.

To give her credit, she both broke her leg and their family dog was put down over Easter, so she’s been through one heck of a lot for a 5/6 year old.

So I started to consider options. Which is tough when I barely know any of the kids in his class, and he’s not exactly the best at communicating about them as is.

But, while we were doing homework, he did this:

Now, as an aside, can I just say look at how well his writing is going!!!!

But he not only drew the “snow hills”, he also drew a specific class mate helping him up the hill.

Bazinga

He also went to her birthday party – it was the one at the drama house that, uh, did not go well for him. But never mind, as I result of that I knew I had her mom’s email address.

So I sent an email asking if, since Spring Break is next week, whether said friend would like to come for a play date.

She wanted to!!!!


Side note: I am currently waiting on my appointment for #1 Son’s Parent:Teacher Conference. You have to walk through After School Club to get there. I was stopped by a little girl asking me by name. She asked if she was coming to our house!!!! She seems happy to!!!

πŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠ


So, next Saturday I will be hosting my first ever school play date.

May God have mercy on my soul πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

I just hope that I myself don’t scare anyone off!!!

The therapist also said that he has a beautiful singing voice. Apparently he has perfect pitch! So that is something to consider.

She also stated very firmly that although home schooling “might be tempting” she very definitely believed he was not a candidate for it. He needs the structure and socialising of school.

Since I have no clue how one might go about it, and have no desire to undertake such a mammoth task of significance, school it is!!!

I will update regarding the Parent:Teacher conference soon.

Food decisions

Since mom has been staying we have been trying to expand the food repertoire of both children. On Monday we made home made pizza.

Yes on these pizzas were:

  • Tomato paste
  • Taco cheese
  • Ham
  • Pepperoni
  • Peas
  • And on TT’s only – mushrooms

He tried everything before putting it on the pizza. Everything got the thumbs up.

Then once cooked? Nope. Nothing. Nada. Outright refusal. We then had to persuade him to eat 3/4 of it based on the fact that he had made it himself.

I’ve reached the end of my tether with #1 Son now. Since before he turned two he’s been beyond ridiculously picky about food. It’s been four years.

His sister (who is two) was, I thought, just as picky. But no. She’s just been copying him. I cannot deal anymore.

So we’ve decided that we cannot simply cater to the lowest common denominator anymore, as she is suffering for it.

I’ve had a rule in place for at least the last year, that if you just try the thing on your plate, and you cannot eat it, I will make toast to replace it BUT YOU HAVE TO TRY.

So last night he went to bed both early AND hungry, because he refused to try potage. It was basically just highly blended down slow cooked beef stew with pasta. We had made it into a sauce dammit.

He just had to TRY IT. And he refused. While his sister wolfed it down. Followed by a dessert of oven baked banana, with a topping of natural yoghurt and a shall amount of melted (Hershey) chocolate. No, he didn’t get any.

I’m at the end of my rope. It’s not purely sensory as he eats things of various consistencies.

I also feel guilt because he’s been recently complaining that meals are β€œboring” but what am I supposed to do?

This morning we had a breakfast treat of chocolate cherry pie. He REFUSED. Then when finally argued into it claimed it made his tongue β€œminty”. It wasn’t a sour cherry pie, he’s eaten frosted cherry pop tarts and loved them.

He has particularly been grumping about breakfast being boring. But when I actually try and get him out of his rut? Meltdown.

He did have cereal first, so it’s not like he has gone to school hungry – that would be academic suicide – but lord.

I’m just exhausted from the daily battles. If it’s not food, it’s school, if it’s not school it’s some other perceived unfairness.

Can I have booze yet?

Many things

It’s been a busy few days.

TT is (whisper it) 100% reliable during the day on the toilet when it comes to doing a wee!

We have also had two days in a row where she has successfully done a poo in the correct place*

We have had no accidents all week thus far.

Night training is not happening, as we are attempting to wean her away from her middle of the night bottle and it’s just cruel to do both at the same time…


That and the one night we tried it she screamed bloody murder, fully woke up, and then actively refused to go back to sleep without said bottle – she won that round!


But she’s doing amazingly – especially when you consider she’s only 26 months old!!

Okay so she doesn’t now need the “cooling” pull ups we bought, or the plastic pants. Bugger. Ah well, we live and learn. And if we hadn’t have bought them, we would have needed them.

Sadly we had a bit of a backslide with #1 Son on the behaviour at school front today. He ran out not once, not twice but five time today, and even ran back into school at pick up time whilst the Mothership was talking to his teacher about the previous five occurrences.

I received an email from her this afternoon confirming that he had had an “emotional” day (stating that no-one would play with him and that he felt that no one loved him 😰) outlining her strategies for helping him tomorrow and giving us a framework to talk to him.


One of the problems is his refusal to accept that other children might just want to play games of their own choosing too – we are working on this…


He has had two more party invites though (one of which is ice skating – but thankfully with options for non skaters) which ought to help a little.

The other is a bouncing party – your guess is as good as ours on that – but that should at least be fun for him.

The lovely H brought up some presents for the kidlets today and he completed one of them

Momma and I are hoping that H will be able to join us on a small night on the town on Saturday.

His reading has come on in leaps and bounds. He actually asked to read with mom when he got home from school!!!!

He still hates writing, so I think that will have to be the next point of focus, but it’s amazing to see how well he is doing.

Mom met up with his teacher on Tuesday afternoon to discuss his progress and ensure that we (mostly her) are not confusing him compared to how they are teaching him in class.

It meant she got to meet his support team, and see his little cubby that they’ve built for him to (effectively) escape into when he gets overwhelmed.

Yes, it is literally a cupboard – it works for him.

He will also be having weekly sessions with his therapist every Tuesday at 07:15 – this means he won’t be too late into school, thus not impacting on his daddy’s work day too much.

As for me? I’m slowly getting back behind the wheel. I’m not great, but at least when I screw up I’m following through and have not (for example) crashed into a roundabout, nor ran a red light, nor turned into oncoming traffic without signalling.


Which are all things I did back in England prior to passing my U.K. licence


So I consider that I am doing okay. I need practice, and I need to pass my theory test (yet again) but I am studying and having gotten through half of the USA equivalent to the Highway Code today.

I’m now exhausted and have an incipient migraine πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

I also had my second post-op checkup yesterday.

My doctor is very pleased with my progress. I am to increase my doing of things, though not to lift anything heavier than a gallon until I’m the full six weeks post-surgery.

He does however want me to break up with dairy πŸ™€πŸ™€πŸ™€

(I mentioned I wanted to lose weight)

At the moment dairy and I are merely agreeing to see other people πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

I can cope with losing chocolate but not my cheese. And I’m trying to work out what I could put in my tea instead of cow’s milk.

But I’m going to try.

He next wants to see me in six months, and this appointment is already booked 😱

Mom and I also went up to knitting group yesterday and had much fun πŸ‘πŸ»


*With many apologies to the non-parents in my audience, this sort of thing is big news when you are a stay at home parent!

A slight backslide today

Maybe I overdid it. Maybe this is normal. But I feel rotten. My stomach is sore and crampy, and my incision hurts a bit.

I have sent the hus-creature to make me a hot water bottle whilst I hide in bed. He is happy to do this. He has also made me a cup of tea and brushed my hair πŸ’—πŸ’•

He is a lovely man person 😘

Poor old TT has had a bit of a rotten day too. She is severely constipated right now 😰 So the Mothership and I are putting our heads together to find ways of sneaking more fibre into her. I am deeply sympathetic to the poor wee thing.

#1 Son came home with a Valentine he made for me:

I’m not crying – you’re crying.

He’s so proud of it too πŸ’•

The first party

Yes, today #1 Son went to his first party stateside.

Overall experience? Meh *Gallic shrug*

If he were a standard child it probably would have been fine, but as he’s not? Not as well as I hoped, but better than I feared.

Nanny volunteered to take him, whilst daddy stayed with TT.


I don’t think either volunteer got an easy job there to be fair πŸ˜‚πŸ€£


He chose his own outfit:

So smart πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

Now it was one of these activity based ones – all the children taken into a room to rehearse to put on a play at the end for the grown ups.

Would anyone like to guess how this turned out?!?!

Anyone?

Suffice it to say, they left half an hour before the advertised end time, and Momma has had a G&T and a beer or two to calm her nerves!

Now he did have some measure of fun, but missed the cake (which he’s sore about) and didn’t eat the pizza they were serving. My own thinking is that he was over-stimulated (it was very loud) and felt out of control so he seized on one thing he could control – whether or not he ate.

But it’s ok. I sent a thank you email to the birthday girl’s mother, making it clear he had had fun (maybe I took a little creative licence) because I’m grateful he had the chance to have a normal experience.

Slow and steady. That’s how we roll.

And for cuteness, here is a montage of daddy and childer-beasts taken today

My cup runneth over tonight.

Angry mama bear is angry

I just had a call from the counselling centre where #1 Son is registered. His therapist quit. Effective immediately. With zero communication to clients.

I’m furious.

It explains so. much.

  • Why she cancelled last week’s appointment with less than two hour’s notice 😑🀬
  • Why she failed to reschedule it at all.
  • Why she never answered my email when I copied her in to one sent to his school guidance counsellor.
  • Why, despite promising me for over three weeks that she would do so, she has never followed up with the school.

I’m just speechless and furious.

I give major props to the counselling centre though. They stayed 100% professional. Although when I commented that “it made sense” a bit more came out when I read between the lines (see the above list).

They’ve gotten him in with a new therapist. Who specialises in kids with sensory and emotional issues, and is a music therapist.

I’m a bit anxious though, as it isn’t a proven to work with him technique. And he does have an issue with loud noise. But he needs to see someone, so we will give it a go.

It also throws a spanner in the works of the diagnosis procedure.

Argh.

In slightly lighter news, TT ate half an adult portion of yesterday’s vegetable lasagne – including picking out the courgettes and mushrooms to eat.

BREAKING NEWS:

Whilst writing this post, TT has done….

*drum roll please*

A wee wee on the toilet. Unprompted!!!

Much praise, dancing (though not by me) and chocolate have been administered.

I am tired now πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

Midweek Madness

Well not so much but things have been happening.

In a week my Momma will be here πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

I can’t wait.

She’s coming out to help me recover from the operation, which is about a week and a half away 😱😱

As she has been reading the blog you can’t say she doesn’t know what she’s letting herself in for.


There is a pink metallic marker somewhere in this house minus its lid. TT knows where it is. I do not. Many wall cleanings. Much frustration.


Yesterday I had the fun of handling her and #1 Son from 08:00 – 17:00 without being able to use running water. We had previously been given 24 hours notice of sewer pipe work.

Actually they did finish an hour early, but next time that happens I’m filling my dye pots with clean water as well as my kettle.

It is not pleasant washing your hands with baby wipes all day!

I am laying down the groundwork for my main convalescence project.

Yes, it is a 24-Skein project!!! I’m sure there will be others, but this is a simple crochet pattern that will keep my hands busy without overtaxing my brain too much.

Don’t worry Mothership – we will knit socks etc together.

I had already touched on the upcoming surgery with #1 Son, but as it’s getting closer, I had another talk with him.

Do you know what he said?

Don’t worry mommy. I will look after you. And if you need food or drinks I will bring them to you.

Is someone cutting onions in here? I swear my tiny Grinch heart just grew three sizes. My boy is the sweetest kid ever.

Yes, he discovered Snapchat today – J sent me this.

What else has been happening? Not much new really.

Well, except I now have a SSN card!!!!

I am a legitimate proper (alien) person! Roll on everything. I need to start writing stuff down for my Etsy shop now!

Our weekend

It’s been another up and down-er.

Saturday, well a few good things happened.

The lady lady sent her handyman fiancΓ© down to fix our various issues.


Let us just gloss over the fact that we were given six minutes notice, and that I was still in my pyjamas.


So he fixed Nathan’s door handle straight away (though borrowing our tools to do it) but needed to return later to affix the new toilet seat and deal with the bathroom lock*

Which he did, at 17:00 with ten minutes notice this time.

The new toilet seat was equipped, and a hook and eye lock installed – almost out of my reach, so no worries about the children in the main.

He also noted that they were getting in a plasterer to fix H’s bathroom ceiling next month** so if we had any similar issues to report them and they would get them seen to at the same time.

Considering I will be recuperating from major abdominal surgery, how about no to random people in my house doing random crap? Plus H sent her son up two weeks ago and he dealt with the holes in our walls.

We then had Date Night. We saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

I liked it. I mean yes there was some sad stuff, and some stuff that could have been better. I wonder what they will do about the next film given Carrie Fisher is no longer with us. But there were some adorable moments.

I want a Porg. And a Crystal Critter. And I used my scary spooky abilities and spotted the actress who played Dr. Ellie Stadler in Jurassic Park.

Which, leads me nearly on to some of the trailers I watched.

Films Which I Now NEED To See:

  • A Quiet Place
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • A Wrinkle In Time
  • Panther
  • JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM***

There were a few others, but given you cannot have your phone in the cinema, I’ve forgotten some.

So that was lovely. Film was good. Food at the cinema in-house bar wasn’t great but they do good cocktails. We had 45min to spare before the film, so we went to the arcade and played a Jurassic Park shooter – and I didn’t totally suck!!! So that was fun.

Behold the awesome that is reclining cinema seats though!!!

Didn’t get home til half midnight, but the sitter had cable and snacks and the kids hadn’t been evil, so she’s happy to come back next week for our Burns Night shenanigans.

Then came Sunday.

We had a visit from the lovely Libidia, and First and Third. Sadly Second was poorly-sick five minutes from our place, so his daddy took him home and vowed to return to collect his lady and remaining offspring anon.

TT adores Third. However she constantly refers to them as “baby”, which, as they are actually older than her we all find hilarious.

#1 Son gets on amazingly with both First and Second, so he was sad at the diminution of expected guests but they had fun.

However. I learned that I cannot trust him to play in his room at the moment.

During the course of the visit, we noticed three separate small marker pen drawings on the hallway wall. They were too well formed to be TT or Third. And Libidia knows her offspring well enough to know their “lying face”


I wish I did!!!!


#1 Son however not only denied it vociferously but blamed his sister. Now, one of these smaller drawings was a traced handprint. And he had the offending marker on his hand and palm. Yet continued to deny and deflect blame.

So we left that for a bit, until at the end of the visit we went to find them. To be greeted with this:

Now, he was not alone in this. First did assist. Libidia offered to help pay for cost of supplies to repaint.

Fortunately this was not required. Though it did take more than two tubs of wipes to clean off:

And it ruined my poor nails:

So, as you can imagine, neither myself nor the hus-creature were enamoured of our eldest yesterday.

And do not worry dear audience, he did not escape unpunished:

  • No allowance for last week.
  • Costs of materials needed to repaint were to be taken out of his savings.
  • No screens for the rest of the day.
  • I confiscated all colouring materials.
  • I made him tidy his room unaided whilst I scrubbed his walls.

He was not impressed. But he couldn’t, or wouldn’t, tell me why he had done it.

So I shot off a quick email to his therapist, enclosing those photos and asked her to talk to him about it – if she deemed it appropriate.

So that was not a good end to the day.

However, look what I finished:

Yes – IT IS THE SOCKS.

The socks of wonder and joy.

My photo shoot got photobombed!

Despite all the trials and tribulations, I love this kid so darn much πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•


*There was much blathering about the existing one being a Mortise Lock and worry about the kids getting the key and similar.

Look, at this point I don’t frigging care – just get us a damn door lock!!!!

**Uh huh – we all believe that.

***No, really I NEED to. I regress to being an over-excited 10-year-old whenever there’s a Jurassic Park film involved (well except Lost World, but that was due to my disappointment with the book) this is one of my all-time favourite franchises and I cannot wait!!!!!

Martin Luther King Day

I’m not sure whether to wish people a happy one or not.

It’s an important day of cultural significance and I felt it should be marked.

So we had a lovely family day today. We:

  • Went out for lunch.
  • Baked cookie-brownies.
  • #1 Son played with daddy on his computer games.

We think I might have been too enthusiastic with my Kitchen Aid and overbeaten the brownie mix. I’ll learn! The kids enjoyed them anyway, and that’s all that matters. *

#1 Son also had his second full counselling session today. He seemed to enjoy it. He did lots of drawing, and his counsellor was impressed with him.

We do not push or pry with him. Both the hus-creature and myself firmly believe that it’s vital he feels and believes that it is a safe space for him, and that we will only be told what we need to be told, or, what he chooses to tell us.

She will send me notes, hopefully tomorrow, and will send a letter to the school with how she is forming a diagnosis by the end of the week.

She did mention that he was able to accurately depict six separate emotions on faces – I could have burst with pride/relief at that.

If he is still proved to be “on the spectrum” I will deal with it, but if he’s not? Life will be infinitely easier for him. So I cannot apologise for wanting that for him. **

TT continues to alternate between “cute as a button” and “truly demonic“. And it’s impossible to guess where she will fall.

New phrases include:

  • I want it <thing>
  • I get it <thing>

The standard “no”, “my do it” are constant and it’s draining.

She pushes boundaries and rules so much more than #1 Son ever did. She’s bright, stubborn and goddamned exhausting.

And she can count up to eight, and can manipulate jigsaw puzzles on her tablet, and is coming up with names for things.

And has discovered a love of Coraline. Of which I approve.


*I will keep telling myself that darn it.


**But please know I will never love him any less, or be any less proud of him – it’s a complicated set of emotions.