To the elderly lady at the mall

Who tutted and shook her head at us while we were having lunch.

What I want to say is unrepeatable and certainly unprintable.

I will therefore settle for this:

  • I have a special needs child, probably ADHD. He was sitting quietly with his tablet. Do you have any idea what a goddamned miracle that is?!?!?!?
  • Yes, my toddler was running around. In a circle. Around our table. That again is contained.
  • Yes, she was disobeying me and lying on the floor under her chair. Yes, I could have dragged her bodily out and forced her to sit on said chair. But do you know what? That just might have caused Armageddon in terms of shrieking and other loud-decibel sounds. So I stuck to our normal parenting methods and persuaded her out verbally.
  • Yes, I was *shock, horror* using my smartphone at the table. I can do this if I wish. My children were not being loud (unduly anyway, see point 1). They were supervised and I’m a goddamn adult. These are my children and they were ignoring you. At worst, TT was interacting with the slightly older little girl at the table behind us, who kept coming over to play/chat/stare at other children.
  • I am so sorry that things might not be as they were “in your day” but I’m guessing they didn’t have overstimulating, loud strip malls in your day.

So, with the greatest of respect*

Go and sit on a cactus

And breathe. I feel so much better now.

Overall the trip out goes in the plus column. #1 Son behaved relatively well. The only sticky moment came when he wanted to use allowance money to buy another vinyl figurine like the CyberMan one he bought last time.

Which he has since lost. So we have said that if he can tidy his room to a reasonable state (he’s still only 5 after all) and (ideally) find said CyberMan then he may buy something else.

I went to the mall to track down hair dye, as one of the lovely H’s equally lovely daughters has offered to do my hair. They are both professional stylists so I’m thrilled.

Yes, I will be paying them ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ

So this is my current collection:

She will do me full Galaxy/Unicorn ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

I also went into Hot Topic and came out with these:

And Yankee Candle we’re having a 3 for $10 (plus tax) sale and I have these:

Yes, there are three the same – I love their festive scents so much!

So far a good-ish day. If you ignore the old fart that precipitated this post.


*Not really

A trying week

It hasn’t been great this week. It’s one of those tales that if I’d read on say “Hurrah for gin” I’d chuckle and think, thank goodness it’s not me.

But yeah.

I can’t pinpoint all of it but it has consisted of:

Wall Art:

TT has drawn on the walls almost every day this week. Yesterday, I took #1 Son downstairs to J for her to take him to school. Daddy upstairs on the sofa with TT.

I come back up. SHE HAS DRAWN ON THE WALL. Daddy didn’t see her do it. He was sat in the room! This made me feel so much better as I’ve been feeling like I’ve been going blind or mad not seeing it.


ยฟยฟยฟPorque no los dos???


So, used over half a tub of wipes scrubbing that off.

Then, we had to pick #1 son up from school because our lovely J had an appointment. Ten minutes before we were due to leave, I actually caught her mid-scribble on the same bit of wall.

Incandescent did not cover it. I shouted, raged and made her watch me throw the crayon in the bin.

I then cleared away all of the remaining crayons I could find. Or so I thought…

You know what’s coming right?

This morning I caught her standing up in her bed, with a piece of crayon – and she had drawn all over the two walls.

This time rage didn’t cover it. I have made her stand there watching me whilst I snapped and binned an entire pack of the bloody crayons.

Expensive? Probably (but Santa got some good Amazon deals) Cathartic? Most definitely. Done any actual measurable good? Meh, who knows?

I’ve told the hus-creature that he needs to get something more heavy duty than what I’ve been using. My hands are shot, my nails this close to wrecked, and I’ve used over an entire tub of wipes.

She just came into the room and asked for kee-ons (crayons)

Rooms:

I had gotten all the new Christmas stuff packed away and sorted on Monday. Their rooms were amazing.

By the end of the day? Oh gods.

Then on Wednesday the following:

#1 Son had a half day. When he came home, he was sporting more marker pen on his face. About two hours after he came home, I noticed his palms were blue. I asked why. I got a shrug.

I later caught him trying to turn the sofa into its bed form. I sent him to his room for that one. He knows to leave that alone for safety. After a couple of minutes, I went in to check on him. To be greeted with:

That would be a refill from a Crayola Marker Maker set.

Again, incandescent with fury. Not because it happened – I can accept it happened. But because he had had at least two opportunities to tell me about it and he didn’t.

There’s only so much I will let him get away with – this is not one of those things.

Thankfully, Crayola do not lie when they say “washable”. Ten minutes scrubbing with floor wipes and it is gone. Thank god for wooden flooring.

The snow:

It can bugger off back to Hades now thank you very much. As previously mentioned, I had to go pick up #1 Son from school yesterday. That’s fine think I, the sidewalks have been shovelled, it’s warming up a bit.

Oh no. Puddles. Sidewalk lakes. TT thought it was great. Up until I got the pram (stroller) stuck in a narrow corridor of snow.

More. Than. Once.

Honestly if you are shovelling – make it wide enough for a goddamn stroller. Oh and let’s not talk about whoever shovelled off a crossroads and blocked off the sidewalk. So I had to walk in the road for half a block til we could mount the kerb again.


And everyone who beeped me? May the fleas of 1,000 camels infest your underwear drawer.


My feet were sodden. TT was grumpy, but we got to school on time.

Only to be told he has spent a good part of the afternoon in the principal’s office

๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿ˜ข

I’m waiting for an email as to why. But I didn’t get called in, so whatever it was, it could have been worse I suppose…

I have made enquiries as to how we go about registering him in the after school club – it will come in handy for days like yesterday, and give him vital socialising opportunities. Apparently you can pre-register and then, in some manner, drop off on the day. That’s handy.

But it has not been all bad: Today he came home with this:

I’m bloody proud.

And I needed it today. Today (thanks to Timehop) I’m really homesick. I don’t like it, and I need it to feck orf.

Yarn therapy is the order of the day/evening.

School dinners

Are very different here.

Admittedly, it’s really difficult to get out of #1 Son what he’s had of a school day – he tends to forget.

But yesterday when I asked, he was adamant it was cereal. I shrugged it off because it was a half day and maybe he was overexcited. But today he told me he had French toast with syrup.

๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜ฏ๐Ÿ˜ฆ๐Ÿ˜ง

So I thought I would investigate.

10 January 2018:

Now, you know what? This isn’t too bad. I mean, there’s yoghurt and cheese. I’m shocked that he apparently ate Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but hey this is good.

Now for today,

11 January 2018:

This? This I am less impressed with. Again it’s a one off, and most days he has a blasted peanut butter and (grape) jelly sandwich, so as a treat fine.

But it has definitely reminded me that I am in the country where pizza is considered a vegetable. I’m not taking his choice away from him though. He’s eating so much better at school than he was. The agency of choice there is vital.

I’m just going to mumble and grumble about options.

Back to normality

Well mostly. Tomorrow is a half day for #1 Son. I don’t know why. Just because I think.

He also gets Monday off next week because it’s Martin Luther King Day.

But the school system here has much shorter holidays and no “half terms” so I don’t begrudge the random days. It’s part of the reason I’m not rushing the work stuff.

While I still doubt my domestic goddessing skills, it is pleasant being home with the kids. I’m actually watching TT grow, and know I can take credit for her development rather than feeling guilt.

I do miss working, but I’m makes tentative steps to earn some pennies at home – but I’m still blocked by not having an SSN, which I can’t apply for until my permit is actually in my hands. We did however have confirmation today that this is actually in the post now!!!

W00t w00t!!!!

Yesterday #1 Son came home with this:

REACH Star? Wahey ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

“Pirate mask”? ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ

He did not appreciate the bath and face (and chest) scrubbing he received in a vain attempt to remove them. He believed he was face painting. And apparently we cannot convince him that scented colouring markers are not the same as face paints ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„

Today wasn’t as good. Apparently he refused to leave school (I know right? ๐Ÿ™€๐Ÿ™„) so our lovely J went in to get him.

His teacher believes that it is because he loves to play in the snow, but refuses to wear his boots, therefore his socks get wet. We are to provide either snow boots or spare socks.


He is convinced there are “bugs” in his current Wellington boots, and we cannot convince him otherwise.


 

I have been known to complain about the speed of USPS in comparison to good old Royal Mail. This was underlined today, when my Christmas present from my lovely sister in law (you may pick a blog nickname if you like lovely ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ) finally arrived.

Worth. The. Wait.

A wonderful alpaca yarn sock knitting kit. With pattern, and new (wooden) needles and pettable, snuggleable alpaca yarn.

I was actually able to sit on the sofa and knit tonight. I am braving the hedgehog that is knitting in the round with double pointed needles to do this.

I think someone was jealous of my pettable yarn – she doesn’t normally sit on my lap like that ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚

It knits up so fast too ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

My other pair of socks has had to be shelved for now until I can replace the circular needle I was using – an unknown child snapped one of the needles ๐Ÿ™„


This pair of bloody socks is cursed I swear!


So at least I have a non-shawl project for tomorrow’s knitting class.

And TT? Well she has re-discovered crayons. And walls. Green crayon comes off of painted walls much easier than red or yellow.

Ask me how I know.

Bright side? Yellow is much harder to see at least ๐Ÿ˜ข

Oh, and she found her pretty cloth nappies, which I hadn’t used since we moved, as they arrived by sea crate and I presumed she had outgrown them but couldn’t bear to part with them…

Well, she filled her bed with them, then waved one at me and insisted I put it on her.

Cue much running around the house shouting “Nappy. Yay”

So we will try them again during the day at least – she pees far too much at night!

After all, what else can you do with a sock and trouser refusing toddler?

Dresses and ruffled nappies!

I need a new diaper pail though.

Having a meal out

Is not easy. We’ve mostly taken to having the kid’s tablets with us wherever we go.

In the main, this means that we can eat out, as they keep the children occupied. But, as previously documented, TT managed to shatter the screen of hers (๐Ÿ™„)

Therefore we are back to one tablet between two children and, rather unsurprisingly, #1 Son is more than a tad miffed that he is having to share.

So, we took them out for their first trip to Wendy’s sans tablets.

I am very impressed with Wendy’s I admit. For all it’s being a fast food burger joint (and for its burgers to not be a patch on Wayback) it’s more tasty than Mc Donald’s or Burger King.

It has pretty good kids meal options – with no pickle on them ๐Ÿคข๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคข๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคข๐Ÿคฎ and, most importantly – you can replace fries with a baked potato.

I have occasional cravings for a good old jacket – especially as the hus-creature apparently does not like them ๐Ÿ™€๐Ÿ™€๐Ÿ™€


As well as:

  • Blueberries
  • Rice pudding
  • Fruit in pop tarts/toaster pastries generally
  • Hot Pots
  • Stews with dumplings

In fact, anything that could be termed “Boring British” in cuisine terms.

He will eat roast dinners but hates cooking them (a fair cop guv’nor) and loves Yorkshire puddings.


So it’s a treat for me to get one when we go out, especially if they replace fries.

So the kiddies both have cheeseburgers. #1 Son chose apple pieces instead of fries (and he actually ate them) and so did the hus-creature. TT ate some of her brother’s apple and some of her fries.

The lack of tablets caused a few issues I admit. Firstly, TT wanted to sit on a chair at a 2-person table and would not move. Then #1 Son could not be persuaded to sit still. And, perhaps more importantly when finally corralled into place, began pulling his t-shirt (long sleeved) over his head.

So, bearing everything in mind, we settled on the following:

  • Only walking around our table
  • Leaving his sister alone
  • Keeping his clothes in place

You would think that these were neither difficult nor unreasonable requests.

๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚

๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ข

Ah well. This is why we don’t go out often. #1 Son is hard to contain, TT then feeds off of his energy, and I’m meant to be watching my stress levels and my blood pressure.

Oh, and it is -13C out there right now.

Even the small furnace that is my son is starting to complain of the cold.


Not that he will wear a winter coat – the best we manage is a winter-suitable-for-the-UK one. It is at least fleece lined though.


Yep these were all taken today on the way for lunch. Welcome to New England.

It’s like Old England but on steroids.

But, you know what? For all my complaints and dread, the two of them are at least capable of some cute moments.

And there was the moment where TT demanded “Nanoo KISS”

Where I just about died of the adorable. Despite the fights (which get louder and more physical much quicker these days) these kids do adore each other.

I also let her play with crayons today. Both regular and bath type.

She completely covered several sheets of paper (both sides) and while in the bath declared that several independent and separate drawings were “dinosaurs”.

So I’m a proud mom tonight.

(There was also no poop ๐Ÿ˜‚)

Battling the Hordes

Well, two children anyway.

TT isn’t bad when she’s away from her brother – she will eat pretty much anything I have. And usually off of my plate at that.

(Well admittedly she discovered yesterday that as yet she doesn’t like Camembert ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚) #sorrynotsorry

But when she’s with #1 Son? Oh lord she’s as bad as he is.

And he is bad. I’ve resorted to something my smug, pre-parent, child-free self (and lord do I want to go back in time and smack her around the head with a clue-by-four) swore that she would never do that is: hidden vegetable food.

There’s a brand of kids-only ready meals here that so far include:

  • Cheese pasta
  • Cheesy quesadillas
  • Chicken sticks

And they all contain hidden vegetables! The two cheese based ones contain purรฉed carrots and the chicken sticks contain cauliflower and onions!!!

And tonight #1 Son cleared his plate!!!

TT only ate half of her portion (each child had 5 chicken sticks and 5 potato smiley faces) but she came toddling through announcing “mmmmmmmmm nummy chikkin” so I count it as a win.


Yes both children do take a daily gummy multi vitamin (as do we actually) but it’s not the same.


However other things are currently more of a trial with TT at the moment.

Teeth Brushing:

For example, did you know that fluoridated toothpaste is not a standard thing over here?

Or mint flavoured toothpaste?

Well for children at least – adults apparently have to lump it.


But this leads me to ponder – the transition from sweet/fruity flavoured toothpaste to harsh mint flavoured ones must totally shock the system. I know it did for me, and it’s why, whilst in the UK, I never bought the children the fruity flavoured ones – I didn’t want to deal with that.


However, we’ve now run out of appropriate-aged mint toothpastes for them.

As it turned out, when the hus-creature realised this, the only open supermarket was Whole Paycheck* and so the only fluoridated (because organic hippies) toothpaste was a $12 WildBerry thing.

Which #1 Son loves but has wasted a fair amount of. It’s also way too fluoridated for TT to use.

So last week he picked up a basic BubbleFruit one from Colgate for her.

And yes it is what it sounds like – bubblegum plus artificial fruit flavour

And it would seem that TT concurs with me, as every night this week we have had screams of “no teeth, no teeth” and sobbing, flailing tantrums.

We will be trying something else this week coming, because I cannot deal with it, and am terrified that she will get a complex.

Nap time:

She had been trying to drop naps before we got rid of the baby jail. Now she can get out at will?

Which would be fine, if she wasn’t awake by 7am (and I’m being generous there) and therefore total demon-spawn-hell-beast by 3pm if she does not nap.

So I am trying a very mature approach.

Bribery and corruption.

I’m putting her in her room, in her bed, with a bottle of milk… and a tablet! She dozes off reasonably quickly and stays asleep for about an hour.

However, my evil genius membership forms are yet to be sent off, because her tablet has been.

Sent back to Amazon I mean. Because she shattered the screen.

So she’s borrowing #1 Son’s at the moment.

World War has yet to break out…

Watch this space.


*Ahem, sorry Whole Foods

Is it Autism or is it ADHD?

And overall does it matter?

This is of course in reference to #1 Son.

The answer is not straightforward. I want to say no, of course it doesn’t.

But you see, it does.

It affects the services he has access to, the support provided, and of course, his future.

So it matters.

As his mom, I don’t care – he’s my amazing boy and I’m proud of him and I love him and I don’t want to change him.

But as a human? As a parent? I know he is struggling and he needs help.

I can’t see him struggle day by day. Which is why he now has fortnightly counselling sessions. Of which we had the first one this week.

And it was interesting.

His assigned counsellor is expert in both fields, and after only one full session, she is querying if he is autistic.

We’ve been wondering ourselves for a while, as he just isn’t ticking all the boxes and the ones he does it’s either inconsistently or not in the right way.

The initial things she has raised are:

  • Eye contact – yes he prefers not to, but he can be directed back and made to keep focus.
  • Conversations – he talks emotively and well.
  • Affection – he shows emotions appropriately.

She also pointed out that he’s young and a boy, and that ADHD in young children, especially boys, is often mis-diagnosed as Aspergers/high functioning autism.

Fortunately this therapist is medication averse, so even if it is ADHD, she won’t immediately throw him into Adderall.

Which is good. He’s too young. The hus-creature has stayed Switzerland through this whole thing, as he feels it’s not his remit. He also (like me) is reluctant to medicate a young child. However he has much more experience within his working field of adults with ADHD and within his own circle Adderall has been touted as a miracle. Some quotes given have included

It lifts the fog from my brain

And

If it’s a choice between eating this month and affording the co-pay for my pills, I am not eating this month.

Side note: hurrah American health care where that is a bloody choice you have to make.

So if it comes down to it, I am reassured that medication could help. But the optimum word there is could. I (we) will not be throwing pills at our boy any time soon.

But if you gave me the choice between the disorders? In my heart of hearts I would prefer it to be ADHD – because it would be easier for him to fit into a “normal” mould.

But it is whatever it is, and whatever that is, we will deal with it.

Because this kid? He’s bloody awesome.

Tears and Tribulations

So, USA annual leave is not the most generous ever. So the hus-creature has to work.

And I am full of a rotten cold and as such am barely holding down the fort. For eg none of the new toys are put away. I’ve barely managed throwing away the paper. The rest of my (meagre) energy has been expended keeping the smalls from fratricide.

So #1 Son has not (yet) been able to build his main Lego set present – a giant Star Wars ship thing.

We told him we would help him this evening. Not good enough. He fixated on that bloody thing.

To the extent he decided to do it himself. Which would have been fine. Except he didn’t ask for help clearing a space and somehow set it up in a puddle – we assume he knocked his own cup of water over.

So all of the decoration stickers are drenched and therefore no longer adhesive in nature. So have been binned. Cue one devastated boy.

He also decided to get into one of his “adult supervision” Santa gifts – a make your own bouncy ball kit.

Which I discovered by finding a suspicious pile of red sand/grit in the kitchen.

After blaming TT (I apologised profusely) I noticed #1 Son shuffling in with something under his top. Which turned out to be a ripped open red and pink pack of the ball mix.

Which he had decided just to rip into and play with.

This child refuses to read.

So how he expected to be able to do this is beyond me.

So. One emergency shower for a shower-phobic small boy and the red and pink packets in the bin because they weren’t salvageable.

He’s distraught. We are stressed and within an hour he will have forgotten any useful lesson from it.

I’m tired. Daddy is building with him now, and I’m snuggling down with a nap-refusing TT and watching Zootopia. I fully expect she will have said nap now.

Of Therapists and friendly gestures

Today we had our initial booking assessment for counselling for #1 Son.

It’s to assist with his IEP – the psychologist referred us and I would be stupid to refuse the help. In my view anything that helps him handle the world and his place in it is a bonus.

Information will be shared between the counsellor, the school and his Primary Care Physician. Again, this just seems smart and sensible – it limits the risks of triangulation and keeps everyone on the same page.

The counsellor seems lovely, and I hope will be dubbed another Feelings Lady. We start fortnightly sessions on Tuesday from 02 January.

This is a very positive step.

Yesterday I had my nails done again

I’ve switched to a more local salon which is half the cost of the one based in Cambridge.

I’m learning the value of shopping around though, as the wonderful H (from downstairs) and her daughter were still shocked at the $30 price tag attached to these festive lovelies.

So, she has suggested that I go with her in the New Year and we get them done together. And I’m really happy to do that.

Last week I popped down with a pretty hamper of goodies to say thank you and merry Christmas, as I firmly believe in kind gestures (and we all know I really want to make friends here)!

She was shocked speechless but in a good way

Last night she came up with a beautiful plate of hand baked cookies on a “Giving Plate” which we are to in some way inscribe our names on and pass on.

I’ve already scoffed about half the cookies (yes I let the kids help), asked for the recipes and offered knitting lessons in return.

I’m so grateful for the offer of friendship. She seems so nice, we seem to get on well and heck she lives downstairs.

Long may this continue.

5 months and a Christmas Concert

So as of today we’ve been here five months.

I got all excited yesterday thinking it had been half a year, but I just can’t count ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ

Yesterday #1 Son earned this:

Which is the first one this month. I suspect it’s because yesterday he had an amazing day compared to three very hard ones.

I am certain that the bar is lower for him than some of his classmates and that’s okay I’m happy that the school are being so amazing for him. It’s giving him the boost he so desperately needs.

We walked home and it was blasted cold. TT refused to wear gloves so I tried this:

She continued taking them off. Repeatedly. Whilst screaming for a “duddle”. So I put them back on and we kept walking for about half a mile. It was biting. Several people told me that “she really should be wearing gloves”

Really? Should she? HAVE YOU EVER MET A TODDLER?! After a while she began screaming in earnest. And within the shouting I could make out “owwwwww” so I stopped, put my (warm, they had been on my hands) gloves over hers.

Got a “ta mommy”. I won’t say she’s learned, but she kept them on until we got home.

We had Snickerdoodle hot cocoa when we got home though.

Cheered everyone up, because I was not stopping for ice cream!!!!

Today was the Third Annual Christmas Concert.

Some readers may remember that at his previous school’s Nativity #1 Son was meant to be a wise man but refused to actually participate until the 11th hour.

He did the same with the concert.

Given that it is a school-wide performance they split it by alphabet A-L then M-Z which made the difference between 08:30 and 10:30 performances.

However yesterday I received an email from the Guidance Counsellor telling me that they felt that since he had been struggling so much, they would prefer if we could attend the earlier performance and he could then not undertake the later one.

We were happy to oblige (the hus-creature had his big office move today, so the earlier he could get into the office the better) so we went up early.

He performed and reasonably well (though not happily). There are no photos because other people’s children.

At the end, they brought him round the front of the stage slowly, and I deduced (correctly) that they wanted him to see me and know we had been there. So I made my way to the front, gave him a huge cuddle and told him how proud I was of him, and that he didn’t have to do it again.

I watched his whole body relax bless him.

Which made it even more amazing that when the lovely J brought him home that she had a message for me from his teacher that he had performed the second time.

My heart could have burst with pride honestly.

It was a very good day.