Itโ€™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.

Summer Camp

For #1 Son.

Well, not exactly. But for the princely sum of $310 I have just enrolled him for five weeks in a summer reading skills class. It included the materials and honestly I think it’s worth the money. It seems geared towards children of his age appropriately: there’s going to be moving and fun with reading skills.

He needs this. He can read, but he doesn’t like reading. Loves books but doesn’t love reading.

Those of you who know me in real life know that I am a complete and total bookworm. The hus-creature not so much. He likes Terry Pratchett, he likes graphic novels but reading isn’t something he really does the recreation. I would therefore very much like my son to follow in my footsteps but we’ve been struggling with the practicalities and mechanics of reading.

This seems like a good balance and will help me to help him solidify the principles. I’ll check back in after the end of July and let you know how it all went.

We only received this leaflet yesterday, and one of the two age-appropriate sessions was already fully booked out!

I will sit in with him, so TT will get valuable daddy-daughter bonding time.

A productive few days

TT has been dry in the day for three days on the trot!!!

This is amazing! And she has completely bypassed the potty and has gone straight to using the toilet.


So I could have saved the $20+ I invested in a mini toilet style potty but never mind eh?


We are struggling a little with #2 at the moment but we are getting there.


We have already thrown at least one pair of underpants out


She has also been a little unwell the last day or so. Wednesday night was awful. She woke screaming in pain at 22:00 and was clearly either constipated or very gassy. We tried a warm bath, Nanny/daddy walking her around, we even gave her an approved constipation tablet – nothing worked.

She was so bad she gave herself a fully hoarse throat the poor wee thing ๐Ÿ˜ฐ

So we ended up co-sleeping because she just would not settle back in her bed alone.

And it reminded me most forcefully why we do not do the co-sleeping thing.

Poor Daddy ended up curled up on the foot of the bed under the duvet whilst I ended up very sore due to the squirming sleep-thief octopus.

So I spent a lot of yesterday resting because I was exhausted and in pain.

Much better today. However TT has had a slightly upset tummy, so the two events may have been linked. Her pjs were a bit of a state this morning ๐Ÿคข

#1 Son has been doing reading and writing practice with Nanny. By reading phonetically with the Biff, Chip and Kipper books supplied by other Nanny he is now romping through, and is already on Level 2.

My pride knows no boundaries. We are more than a little concerned though that we are teaching him the British way and not the American way, but it’s working for him – so Momma has volunteered to chat to his teacher about it next week to see if either they can keep letting him learn this way or provide us with suggested resources to help him move on from phonics.

But he is enjoying reading. This is a bloody miracle.

TT decided yesterday that she wasn’t up to being outdone:

Reading practice with TT

I mean, logically it’s nowhere near as impressive, but it’s pretty cute.

Momma has also been trying to tame and tidy the unruly mop that is her hair:

It lasts about ten minutes but hey it’s progress!

We are planning on working on colours and shapes with her next week once #1 Son returns to school.

And as for writing with #1 Son? Well Momma is working on individual upper and lower case letter formation with him, and we are already up to K!!! The hope is that by Monday he will have done the entire alphabet through, but we shall see.

He has also had a full session with his new therapist and he doesn’t hate the musical therapy.

*collapses in relief*

I’m going for a walk at the weekend!!!

๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

Martin Luther King Day

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

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

So we had a lovely family day today. We:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New phrases include:

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

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

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

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

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


*I will keep telling myself that darn it.


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

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.