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.

An incredibly successful day

For both #1 Son and myself.

At 09:00 this morning I strode off to school suited and booted for #1 Son’s initial evaluation meeting for Special Education Provision.

I’ve been both dreading and looking forward to this by turns.

He had to meet certain specific criteria to qualify for an IEP – which is an Individualised Education Programme.

Basically it was to see whether or not he could be statemented.

I spent a year working in the SEN department of Oxfordshire County Council, so I knew how hard getting one of these could be, at least without a metric tone of supporting documentation and medical backup.

And the autism assessment process is stalled a bit. It’s just so slow.

So I had reports from:

  • An Educational Psychologist.
  • An Occupational Therapist.
  • A Speech and Language Therapist
  • The School’s own SENCO

Which came home on Friday, which I read, re-read, highlighted and annotated.

I went up to this meeting agreeing with the reports, but prepared for battle if needed. I knew they wanted to help him, but criteria are criteria and he had to meet them to get the extra help.

At the meeting were:

  • Myself – daddy stayed at home with TT
  • The Principal
  • His class teacher
  • The school nurse
  • Head of SEN services for the district as meeting co-ordinator
  • The school Counsellor – who #1 Son has dubbed “The Feelings Lady”
  • The SENCO
  • The Occupational Therapist
  • The Speech and Language Therapist
  • The Educational Psychologist

It was a full meeting. I was completely drained both physically and emotionally after it. He’s not the only one in this household who can get overwhelmed.

So he couldn’t be registered with a disability due to autism, as the school cannot diagnose that.

He couldn’t get the IEP on cognitive ability because the reports proved he is average to above average in almost all areas.

So what’s left? Well, a few things but the main one is Developmental Delay.

That is a blanket term that covers a lot of things, but the one that covers him best is social, emotional or adaptive functioning.

I don’t disagree. He has severe sensory issues, cannot relate to his peers (but is great with much older and much younger children), confidence issues and is struggling generally.

I just feel a massive sense of relief.

Within 10 school days we will get a copy of the IEP and once we read it, sign it and return it, it becomes “activated” and off we go.

There will be more meetings, more reviews. This is not a one-off thing, but the main hurdle has been jumped and he will get more help.

And now for the second good thing of the day.

I went for a pre-operative assessment with the surgeon who would perform my hysterectomy if agreed to.

Well, take a shufty at this ladies and gentlemen:

For those in the audience who cannot read doctor handwriting (it’s a skill), he had agreed, without any hesitation, to perform:

A TOTAL ABDOMINAL HYSTERECTOMY

WITH BILATERAL SALPINGO OOPHERECTOMY

They are taking Every. Single. Thing. Out!!!!

I could have kissed Mr. Surgeon Man.

๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽŠ

I’ve been warned that because they will go in through the belly it’s going to be the full six weeks recovery time for the procedure alone, coupled with six months to feel myself and back to normal again.

That’s fine.

The Thanksgiving Break

It’s taken me a little while to write this as I am missing everyone like crazy so it’s been tough to get things written down.

It was wonderful.

We stayed for three days in the company of family (on the hus-creature’s side) in their stunning guest apartment.

I got to know a number of my lovely in-laws a lot better, which was really something special.

We had the turkey. And the hus-creature and I most generously offered to save everyone from the dreaded dark meat.

Honestly we truly prefer it.

Let me see if I can list the culinary delights:

  • Turkey – of course
  • Mac and cheese (delicious)
  • Jalapeรฑo cheddar corn bread (I need the recipe for this wonder)
  • Sweet potato bourbon maple mash (oh so good)
  • Green beans
  • Gravy
  • Cranberry sauce

Then there was pie. Oh so much pie.

  • Chocolate peanut butter
  • Apple
  • Pumpkin
  • There were two more but I forgot.

Apart from the apple briefly going missing, it was all delicious.

The kids were remarkably well behaved.

TT ate actual food:

#1 Son… did not. But I didn’t really expect that he would.

They had loads of fun outside in the gorgeous grounds of the main house.

TT made daddy take her for a ride in the cart:

There was much happy shouting of “wheee” and “MORE” ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’—

#1 Son just ran about a LOT.

There was a brief moment of panic. Do you see the large body of water? There was a moment when Daddy could not find him. He had wandered in to tell me about his “club house” and wandered off again. He meant the guest apartment, which is where he had gone.

Without telling us that he was going there!!!

So no, he had not drowned himself, but we all panicked. He was most confused as to why.

On Friday, almost everyone else took the train to visit New York and do the tour of Lady Liberty.

We opted not to attempt to drag the offspring up 200+ steps. Granddad also decided not to go. So there was brief discussion on how to entertain said childer-beasts, and we decided to go to the nearby aquarium, and leave granddad to rest.

However he decided that he would like to join, which was lovely. However there wasn’t room for five people in our car, lovely though it is.

Therefore, rather than take a Lyft on a very busy day, I selflessly (honestly, see the halo ๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ˜‡) opted to stay behind in the guesthouse with my knitting, tea and leftover turkey.

Totally generous of me wasn’t it? ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ

They had a lot of fun:

Right until they found a soft play area. Whereupon #1 Son had a full on meltdown, including trying to escape from granddad, because other children wanted to play with the things he was building an invention out of.

How very dare they ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜

And so the trip was cut short and they all came home.

All in all it was a lovely visit with family with many moments of happy.

The drive home was much less eventful than the trek up, we managed it on a full ‘tank’.

However upon our return we discovered that when, in his haste, the hus-creature had dropped the car charger to the ground before we embarked, it had gone kaput.

Which, in my humble opinion, makes it entirely unfit for purpose. Sadly it is still busted over a week later but the company are working on it. Stand by for that update.

So yes, that was our Thanksgiving Break. Many thanks are extended to Domi et al for putting us up and for inviting us up for Christmas.

We are very much looking forward to it ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜˜

Parent-Teacher Conference

We had our first one for #1 Son last night.

I would be lying if I hadn’t been approaching it with at least a modicum of trepidation.

But honestly? It was amazing.

They have kept such good notes on his progress, both educationally and behaviourally.

He is improving. Slowly, gradually, but it’s visible and it’s there.

Perhaps the most important takeaway?

HE CAN READ!!!!

 

Honestly? I didn’t think he could. I knew he knew his letters, but stringing them into words (at least at home) is something he apparently couldn’t do. I now know it’s wouldn’t.

Busted kiddo ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ

He is getting a lot of 1:1 support with the paras during centres, and when that happens he does well. But at the moment he doesn’t have one of his own and he’s one in a class of twenty. So they are trying, gradually, to scale back and seeing what he can cope with.

Basically it’s data gathering to bolster their bid for extra support for him. That will either start or happen next Tuesday at the Special Education meeting.

I am behind them 100% and fully intend to say so. Apparently having parental agreement and support really helps.

I would walk through fire to get him the help he needs, so let’s hope that the relevant professionals are on the sensible side and that I don’t have to go full on mama bear rage mode on them.

Or worse. Be British at them ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ

His teacher also said that cognitively he is exactly where he needs to be. That he’s smart and funny. That he’s kind hearted. He’s also a perfectionist and sensitive.

She’s a true angel she really is.

Completing the Turkey Trot

Well #1 Son did complete his Fun Run ๐Ÿ…

It didn’t quite go according to plan however…

First was the change in venue from outside at Melrose Common to inside in the school using the All Purpose Hall.

Which meant that there was some confusion over whether we could actually cheer him on. However we were let in (very reluctantly by the stalwart Office Manager).

They then split the Kindergarten classes into two groups, and he was running in the second so we had to wrangle a very grumpy TT for 40 min rather than 20.

But the run started and started well.

Then #1 son tripped over one of the cones. And I could see the meltdown coming. So. I pulled up my big girl pants,

AND I RAN WITH HIM

I grabbed his hand and did several circuits while cheering him on.

I am unfit. I was wearing my galaxy leggings.

And this t-shirt:

But we did it. And he was so pleased. Both that we were there, and that I ran with him.

He hasn’t quite grasped that it was a Fun Run and keeps asking if he won gold, but for everyone that sponsored him yes he ran it thank you.

He raised $170 before the run. And the school have met their target

And not only will there be a Popsicle Party for all students, the top performing class per grade get an individual reward.

Stay tuned to hear if his have won.

Happy Veteransโ€™ Day

Or otherwise entitled happy enforced bring your children into work day.

At least as far as the hus-creature’s colleagues are concerned.

For you see, there is no school today. And actually there was no school on Tuesday either as it was an election day. Don’t ask me why, no idea, couldn’t vote anyway but the kids had a day off school.

We declared it a pyjama day today as it’s suddenly really cold, and the electrician is in the middle of digging a trench to run cables to allow us to plug in the car – and it has to be done quick before this cold snap turns more permanent.

And also because neither child wanted to get dressed and I couldn’t be bothered to have an argument when we didn’t need to – it’s not like we had to go anywhere.

Today’s attempt at feeding children part the first:

TT ate barely anything, but #1 Son ate everything apart from the banana (and he at least bit that).

This was dinner:

#1 Son has decided this is evil, but TT cleared her plate.

I give up.

So #1 Son has only had a three day week. Surprisingly he has handled it far better than I expected. I choose to infer nothing from this as it could mean absolutely anything. So yesterday we had to walk home from school as our lovely J had another appointment. So we went and got our usual ice creams.

The irony of buying ice cream when the temperature has dropped significantly is not lost on me but a mile and a half walk is tiring for him and it’s a nice little treat and it’s something that both children eat and enjoy.

Actually as we were walking to school we walked past our usual ice cream shop and the Tiny Tyrant pointed at it and said “Hello ice cream yay bye-bye” as I had told her we were getting ice cream after picking up #1 Son.

Her comprehension and vocabulary appear to be expanding by the day. I’m doomed!!!!

On Wednesday (yes I know I’m jumping around a bit) I had my (now becoming usual) “Sit ‘N Knit” class and as this one is from 7 to 9 PM I miss children bedtime so I make sure that I say goodnight to them before I leave. When I said goodbye to TT she said “no mummy no out not yet. Cuddle”

Which is a bloody good sentence, shows incredible comprehension and is manipulative as all get out.

Yep doomed.

So I sat and knitted my sock I have managed to start on the heel! Huzzah! Yes yes I am very well aware that a sock needs a friend but let’s just go one at a time shall we?

And the long-memoried in the audience may recall that last week I was obsessing over a certain skein of yarn…

Well the precious is mine:

Wonder. Woman. Socks.

I think it might have been the final skein from the current batch. I had to rummage to find it.

I will knit them. I will stroke them. I will love them. I will wear them.

I so rarely make things for me.

Oh and I got my first knitting friend cell number ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

Yesterday I popped downstairs to give H another bag of outgrown TT clothes (thankfully she seems happy to have them – I always worry in case it’s seen negatively somehow) and we finally managed to exchange numbers.

I also met her twin grandsons – very sweet boys ๐Ÿ˜Š

It also seems she’s as keen on Christmas as she is on Halloween – so I’ve happily handed over outside decorating to her.

I can handle a tree (and finally a real tree – the cat will be a bastard with whatever we get, and after all, she is a forest cat) and maybe some indoor decorations, but I’m not ready to tackle outside yet…

Another great day

For #1 Son.

I was more than a little surprised when I read his daily report sheet* yesterday and it was glowing, yet he did not have a REACH star sticker, but I shrugged it off.

But our lovely J handed me one this morning that he must have peeled off of his t-shirt.

So I have recorded it in our โ€œFolder of Awesomeโ€

He has six now, which is one per month, with two scored in October and two already for this month – IN ONE WEEK!!!!

I could just burst with pride and happy. I know we are nowhere near the end of the war, but for now at least, it feels like we are winning.

*His teacher created a daily checklist of his academic centres and puts stickers on the ones he completes. She also writes me a daily report of good and bad – did I mention the woman is a saint?

Physicals

Are not fun.

At least my beloved childer-beasts do not think so.

The appointments began at 09:30. We were not home until 11:22!!!

Both children had:

  • Flu shot
  • Chicken Pox shot (#1 Son had a booster)
  • Hepatitis A shot
  • Hepatitis B shot
  • Blood drawn (finger stick) for iron levels etc.
  • Wellness check which was gender specific
  • Height and weight

#1 Son is on the 74th centile. TT is 91st. The doctor said she had a โ€œcushionโ€ so despite the frustrating faddy eating, beyond a multivitamin daily to not worry so much.

They will start the referrals for #1 Son. They commented he was bright, on target, and were generally positive.

He however did not handle the sticks and jabs brilliantly. Donโ€™t get me wrong, he was very brave honestly, but oh my the histrionics after were by turns heart wrenching and hilarious.

โ€œWhy does this happen whenever I come here?โ€ – this was his first visit

โ€œI donโ€™t want to be healthyโ€ – he rejects our explanation of why it had to happen

โ€œI am never going to be healthy ever everโ€

Heโ€™s either going to be an actor or the teenage years will be… FUN

As it happened to be a half day yesterday, wherein school finished at 12:22 I opted to keep him at home with me and we had a โ€œduvet dayโ€ – only with Minecraft in lieu of an actual duvet.

It just seemed prudent.

 

TT was well overdue for a nap by the time we were done so she threw a tantrum the likes of which I had never seen. Blimey. Screaming, sobbing, sweating, clinging, hitting everything and everyone… the sucker pop calmed her down though.

This counted as her Two Year Review, so barring illness or emergency they donโ€™t need to see her again for 12 months.

They do want to see #1 Son within 6 months to keep an eye on him given the recommendations.

Sadly, the waiting lists are long so itโ€™ll take time, but the doctor wants to see all school reports to talk us through them so I feel much better.

My Sit โ€˜N Knit class was great – stay tuned for Wonder Woman socks if thereโ€™s a skein of that yarn left in the shop next week…

It will have been there, unsought, unloved, for three weeks – it will deserve to be mine!!!!

I also bought a clothing pattern. Iโ€™m coming out of my comfort zone.

I also put down the kitten deposit. Missy Kitty Pants will probably be grumpy for a while but meh. She is being a madam at the moment – hiding etc.

Our week

But not in pictures.

It was pretty normal up until Thursday.

On Wednesday I went up to my yarn shop to their โ€œSit โ€˜N Knitโ€ class – which is $7 per session and you can pay in blocks but as the current block finishes in three weeks, Iโ€™m paying the instalments until then, then I will buy the block.

Itโ€™s been lovely to hang out with like-minded ladies. Iโ€™m hoping they will teach me the Continental style.

Now, on to Thursday.

#1 Son has been pretty stable at school for the last few weeks. His days average around 50:50 with some escapes out of the classroom but usually only into another kindergarten classroom.

Which does make me feel a little sorry for the other teachers. But they donโ€™t seem to mind too much.

The overall actual classwork amount he completes varies day to day. But he is at least managing some per day. Although I canโ€™t shake the feeling that he is starting to lose the advantage he had from a year in reception class.

However I think I got cocky. I was starting to feel that just maybe he was settling down. Thursday put the kibosh on that one a bit.

I missed a phone call from the school at roughly 11 oโ€™clock. That will teach me to change the Tiny Tyrantโ€™s nappies!!!

They then rang the husband creature who texted me in a bit of a flap. Actually that is unkind of me, as he was really very calm and controlled. (This normally doesnโ€™t herald anything good).

The school were ringing to tell us that #1 Son had escaped out of his classroom and actually managed to escape out of the school. This has been something they have feared since he started playing this particular little trick.

They didnโ€™t have a choice and this time had to call the police to go and find him. They apparently allowed one of the paras (which seems to be the equivalent of a teaching assistant) go with the police so that he had a familiar face. Which was a good thing as the whole โ€œstranger dangerโ€ conversation is not one we had really been focusing on because of his tendency to focus on the exact opposite point of the conversation.

This has now been rectified.

With some urgency!!!

It was all hands on deck. Daddy raced home from work and I called the lovely J for a lift to school to collect him.

Gave TT a chance to model her new coat which is for three year olds:

So we got him home. School were apologetic and we would โ€œstart again tomorrowโ€

I rained hell fire on him without shouting. I never thought I could do that but it is possible.

I also docked his allowance. Which he was more upset about than losing screen privileges. (Which also happened)

Itโ€™s not been a fun day, and I am then dreading parent-teacher conference but onwards and upwards.

Friday was much better. I had to pick him up from school so as he had a very good day, we went for ice cream.

After ice cream we went to the park.

TT decided that swinging for an extended period (rather than < 30 seconds) was fun and #1 Son was playing appropriately!!!

I did find myself saying โ€œI donโ€™t care what the other little boy is doing, he is not my sonโ€ when I caught #1 Son trying to climb up onto the roof of a playhouse to copy one of his new little friends, and was outraged that I wouldnโ€™t let him follow suit.

And, perhaps most importantly, we met another little boy and his older brother, who is also on the spectrum. There was only a dayโ€™s difference in their ages too.

Although he seemed further along the spectrum, they played together so nicely. Both boys played with both #1 Son and TT, and I had a lovely chat with a mom who โ€œgot itโ€ and could advise me on Stateside services.

Iโ€™m hoping that we might catch up with them this Friday too.

School Update

Well since Iโ€™ve ranted here, I feel I should also twirl with excitement.

We are seeing improvements!!!!!!

Heโ€™s had over a week of decent days, and at least one excellent one. Two that his teacher has termed awesome.

  • He has done work.
  • He has used words when upset.
  • He has told a teacher before leaving the classroom

And

  • He is leaving the classroom less

 

I could just burst with pride I really could.

Heโ€™s also undertaking homework with me with minimal fuss and getting it done.

I am so proud of my boy.

Here is his school picture, which is, quite frankly, his best ever:

Oh, and he wrote a book today at school (Well he illustrated it and dictated the words to his teacher, who was his willing transcriber) and wanted us to read it to him at bedtime.

We of course obliged.

๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’—