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!

via GIPHY

#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?

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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?

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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).

via GIPHY

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:

via GIPHY

To:

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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

via GIPHY

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!

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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!!!

via GIPHY

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»

via GIPHY

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?

via GIPHY

Last Day of Summer 2019

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

I am nervous.

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

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

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

I. Am. Not. Happy.

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

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

She has brown hair.

She is a girl.

It’s something I guess? πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So that was my weekend.

So I had my one-week follow up today and as the doctor was running over an hour late I spent that time sitting in typical doctor’s office chairs which completely did me in – I’m not supposed to sit completely upright for extended periods of time right now πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

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

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


It did remind me of what happens when you trim the fat off of raw chicken before you cook it though πŸ€£πŸ˜‚


They also included some incidental shots of my β€œvery healthy” appendix and liver which is always good to know πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so the end of Summer Camp

And, as we were leaving? This quote from #1 Son:

It’s going to be a whole year before I come back

Honestly? You could have knocked me down with a feather.

He’s grown so much. His progress report has him so much improved from Week 1 to Week 6 that I could just burst with pride.

His teacher was full of praise for him

#1 Son is a child with a lot of love to give

She also noted that Math is his strongest subject, but that he needs to continue with daily reading aloud practice to maintain fluency.

You can imagine his joy with that πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

I also got to go in to get him an hour early on Thursday to see what he had been doing, and to watch the children put on two plays.

He was in The Three Little Pigs and he played The Big Bad Wolf. And he did so, so well. He only got a little overexcited at the third “act” and did his bit over the narrator. But the other little pigs just rolled with it- so it was only the narrator herself I ended up feeling sorry for.

Then we were shown examples of their “Persuasive Writing”

And my son?

Where the other children had written statements and arguments about why they should be allowed a puppy? (Or at the very least a bunny?)

My little socialist is trying to persuade his teachers that they need a recess.

He was also the only kid in his class to receive a certificate for 100% attendance. Which I struggle to understand, but a. It’s a free programme and b. The sheer cost of summer vacations of any sort more than triples in August.

But it’s a programme run for kids with IEPs, so in my opinion it’s beneficial for them to attend the full 5 weeks (and change)

However I can see why it might not happen, and I’m pleased his perseverance was acknowledged.

And I very much hope all the teachers who have given up so much of their summer now have a very well-deserved break!!!!!

The First Day of Summer Camp

Which is what we are calling the “Summer Learning Academy” which is a 6 week long, 4 day a week (except the week of Independence Day πŸ˜‚πŸ€£) for Elementary aged kiddos with IEPs.

#1 Son is enrolled and it started today.

Last year he was put on the fast track side for education. This year they will be focusing on the social side of it.


He’s actually got a specific slot every Tuesday for it, which is great!


That wasn’t too successful, as he resented having to redo Kindergarten work. Now today when I picked him up?

Came running out with a big smile 😍

Now, admittedly it’s only Day 1, and we’ve just had a pretty decent family vacation, but I’m taking that as a positive sign.

Also, given he read an entire story to his sister first thing this morning, and did a reasonable amount of additional reading in class today, he’s thrilled to be told he doesn’t have to do more today πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

So, since it’s being held 8-12 at the most local school, which is next to our usual playground, I’ve decided to let them both spend an hour or so (depending on weather) in said playground to burn off some energy.


You never know, it might help with the whole “herd of elephants” issue πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„

And then he was 7

Yes today my pride and joy, the light of my life and my first born turned seven years old.

What a ride it has been.

The Birthday Boy with his (ice cream) cake ❀️

I couldn’t ever have predicted parenthood. Certainly not the journey we’ve had.

But, and I really feel the need to state this:

I would not change him for the world.

I’m so gosh-darned proud of my boy. He’s kind, funny, caring, intelligent and just all-around amazing.

Do I wish he didn’t have certain struggles? Yes, yes I do. But only because I worry about the world. He has such a beautiful soul, I don’t want anything to harm or mar it.

But, those struggles have helped me grow. Through him I’ve become a parent and he helps me become a better one. Day by day, week by week, month by month and year on year.

I know what is and isn’t important. It’s not about grades or accomplishments or academics. He will find his place in the world without those should that be necessary (though I don’t believe that it will).

I shall end with sharing the First Grade section of the school concert we went to last night. We stayed through Act 1, which was Grades K-2 and not only did he perform, he stayed through the whole thing.

Readers may remember last academic year’s Christmas concert, where they moved him into the first part of the performance because he just couldn’t handle it.

Not this year – he did it all. And if TT hadn’t been nearly an hour past her bedtime we might have stayed for the rest.

First Grade Concert – listen at your own peril πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

(For the relatives reading this, he’s in the second row from the front in a grey hoodie and camo pants)

I cried many happy tears last night.

I love you kiddo. Here’s to the next trip around the sun.

I am one very proud (and introspective πŸ€£πŸ˜‚) momma this evening.


I also turned 36 yesterday – but no one needed a blog post about that!!! πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£


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.

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?