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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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!!!

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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»

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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?

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Of Diagnosis and (Self)Acceptance

So, just over a year ago I wrote Of (undiagnosed) ADHD and Executive Dysfunction. Where I outlined my reasons (which at the time seemed completely reasonable, cogent and sane) for not getting an official diagnosis of my own brainworms.

It wasn’t all bullhockey. I genuinely had terror of either being told that there was nothing wrong with me OR, more terrifyingly, that there was something wrong, but that there was nothing they could or would do.

I was worried that if they prescribed me medication that it wouldn’t work. Or, worse, if it DID work and then either I couldn’t afford it (thanks America) or insurance wouldn’t cover it (thanks America) or it would suddenly be taken away from me due to FDA fuckery or the (apparently global) ADHD medication shortage.


Because apparently The Powers That Be feel that these late-in-life-diagnoses for people my generation and older (especially women) is a fad, or excessive, or we are just making it up. Because the fact that ADHD has been considered a boys-only disorder for decades has nothing to do with this right????

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But, I bit the bullet. At my physical last year I had a new doctor. So I opened up about what I thought was wrong with me. I talked to her, she listened and gave me the forms I needed to complete for a late-in-life ADHD assessment.

I don’t want to cast aspersions, but I do feel like her being young (younger than me in fact) and female actually meant she was willing to consider that I wasn’t just drug-seeking or being “trendy”.

So I have a diagnosis.

I have ADHD. Combined Type.

I have an ADA-recognized disability.

This was surprisingly hard to accept. I knew it. Logically I truly did, but it’s been a real rocky road towards self-acceptance.

And a big part of this is accepting the medication I need to take. You see, I am now prescribed Adderall. Which, for those who don’t know (because I sure didn’t) is a drug known as Dextroamphetamine.

Why yes you are reading that correctly dear viewer. I am now legally prescribed 5mg (twice a day) of speed. That… took a lot of coming to terms with. Especially the simple fact that it worked. My brain was quiet.

The doctors wanted me to start on one 5mg tablet a day or 10-14 days, then to titrate up to the two pill dose if it was working for me.

So I chose a Sunday to start. Because it was a day where I wouldn’t be busy. I took the pill and sat and waited for the 30 minutes recommended.


I’m on the quick-acting version rather than slow-release. And I currently do not wish to change this. In the main because this current regime is working, but also because the slow-release tablets are currently in extremely short supply.


It was… overwhelming. The silence was so much. I hadn’t realised just how much noise was in my head. Imagine several hundred conversations constantly being the background noise in your head. That being your normal. Then that suddenly stopping. I nearly cried. I did tear up. I had to just sit, in silence, on the sofa until I adjusted to what was not happening in my head.

Then we went to the mall. Which, looking back probably wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had, but we needed to buy some performance clothes for #1 Son – as he has been in chorus full time in Middle School (!) this year and he needed gear.

I had impulse control. I didn’t buy everything I saw in the children’s clothing stores ‘because they might need it later’

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I saw these amazing bottle green velvet (tailored) pants in Old Navy. I fell in love with them. I wanted them so badly. But I… walked away. Because I told myself that I’d never wear them, even though I loved them. And I believed me. I left them there.

Do I still think of them wistfully from time to time?

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But do I still believe I did the right thing?

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And that is purely because of the pills. I will not claim to understand why speed slows me down, but it does. And my life is infinitely better. My anxiety is significantly improved – and definitely under control when the meds are actively in my system. The same is true of my temper. I always knew I had one, but I didn’t understand that my bouts of rage were often disproportionate. I blamed on hormones what was often dysregulation.

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I want to be clear – I followed the advice on titrating up to the letter. It was Day 15 before I took the second 5mg pill.

And in the last six months I have had two bouts of Strep and one of COVID-19 (which sucked) and in each case I had to come off the Adderall completely. And after each infection I had to re-start my medication from Day 1. Because when I don’t? My blood pressure sky rockets and I get debilitating headaches – alongside other side effects within my body that might not be as immediately clear and present as said headaches.

I had my 6-month follow up appointment today. And I am not ashamed to say that I begged the doctor not to take the pills away. Because I’m functioning. I can housework. I can parent. I’ve even been able to sign up to have a CORI check and will be chaperoning my ever first field trip for TT on Friday.

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It’s taken 40 years, but I’m finally able to function as a ‘normal’ human and I’m finally becoming the parent I wanted to be.

I’m also taking the medication because I have a strong suspicion that TT is going to need it within the next few years to help her with school. So I’m modelling it for my kids. If they see how much these pills help me? Then hopefully they will not be too scared or ashamed to ask for them themselves.

Oh and I just realised (whilst writing this post) that one of the main reasons I stop(ped) posting on my blog is because “they” keep changing the settings and layouts in the apps and on the websites that I use to create it. This is really fucking hard for me to deal with. I do not deal well with change and when my creative outlets get messed about with, outside of my control and without my consent, it sends me into a spiral. And I have a meltdown. I used to refer to it and internalize it as a tantrum. And as an adult who knew damn well that she was too old to have tantrums I would shut away whatever hurt or upset me, and ignore it. Which often included this blog.

I ADHD-d my own blog!

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But it’s not a tantrum. It’s overload. Be it sensory, or emotional, I become dysregulated and I have to handle that. And there’s a real sense of shame that comes with that. Or it did. Now I know why and how it (often) happens, and I am handling it better.

So I’m no longer going to apologise for taking space or breaks from here. Clearly sometimes I need them. It’s not dramatic, and it’s not attention seeking. It’s working within the confines and limitations of my own brain and headspace.

I’m still internally yelling at these website developers who keep bloody changing things and that’s not good for neurospicy humans but I’m going to try and work within the system and keep at this. Because writing in this space makes me happy. It’s an outlet I need, and I hope that by continuing to share my journey with my little family I can maybe help other humans who might not have realised that they too fall on the neuro-spicy spectrum.

Of (undiagnosed) ADHD and Executive Dysfunction

So, I have ADHD. That is completely and blatantly obvious to everyone. Myself included. However, mine has yet to be confirmed by the medical profession.

But Fliss, you are a firm proponent of getting help and support. You’ve fought like a tiger to get #1 Son diagnosed and supported. Why won’t you do this for yourself?

And that is a very good question.

Especially as several persons in my close circle have recently been both diagnosed and put on the relevant medications.

Well, I have a few reasons. They are mostly practical in nature. I’m already on multiple medications:

  • Estrogen – HRT (to deal with my hysterectomy).
  • Amlodipine/Valsartan – Blood Pressure (so I don’t stroke out and die).
  • Pantoprazole – a seriously high dose GI med (it has healed some esophageal damage and seems to be dealing with some of my endometriosis related issues).
  • Fluconazole – I’ve been having issues with recurrent yeast infections since a misdiagnosed infection so I’m on a standing prescription for the rest of the year.

I also take a number of supplements to try and deal with other issues. I basically rattle. So the idea of adding more medications to the rotation doesn’t exactly fill me with joy.

In addition, I live in the USA. So I rely heavily on the insurance gods – and they have a tendency to either refuse to cover treatment, or to decide (with zero medical knowledge) that you don’t need the dosage level that your actual doctor prescribed for you. My pantoprazole costs circa $200 a month with insurance! So, I’d really rather not be in the position of getting reliant on a medication that could be yanked out from under me at any moment because someone who ‘doesn’t believe in ADHD’ doesn’t feel like I deserve my medication.

I might change my mind in one of two situations.

  • When I have to come off of HRT – menopause really makes ADHD symptoms worse.
  • If/when I go “back to work” as I know from bitter experience that I do not cope well with an office environment, but there’s no way I’m going back into the work system in a customer service role.

And certainly not while the pandemic rages on – essential workers have been shafted on both sides of the Atlantic – and I can’t do that.

I’ve developed coping mechanisms that work. Now, admittedly, quite a large number of them have either been newly developed or refined since the pandemic started, but realizing why I’m not ‘normal’ and how my specific neurodivergence works has enabled me to work with my brain, instead of constantly fighting it.

That doesn’t mean I’m cured. Far from it. I never will be. This is permanent. But now I understand.

  • Why I listen to the same songs/audiobooks over and over again.
  • Why I space out.
  • Why I ‘squirrel’ even while spaced out.
  • Why I get so uncomfortable if I get interrupted (by anything) whilst I am mid task.
  • Why I can be happily enjoying a TV show/series/video game one day and then the next just think “nope, I just don’t want to watch/play this ever again”.
  • Why I obsess and why I hyper-fixate on things.
  • Why I hate change, and need routines.
  • Why I never ever stop talking, especially if I’m hyper-fixated on the subject.
  • Why I speak so fucking fast – especially if I’m excited – it’s my superpower bitches!

I’ve learned about dopamine – and the fact my brain doesn’t make it. So it finds it elsewhere. But that the supplies of dopamine can suddenly just… stop. And will they come back? Who knows. Which can often be more than a little distressing.

And perhaps most importantly? I’ve learned about executive dysfunction – and how mine works. There are days, sometimes over a week, when I cannot do ‘stuff’. That fortunately is nowhere near as common as it once was – and it usually coincides with a depression or anxiety flare up.

Why am I writing this? Because today has been a bad one. It took me over 30 minutes to decide to complete the getting of the dressed. Then a further 30 minutes to actually do it.

Then I was attempting to do my usual housework. I have discovered that if I leave the dishwasher ‘for the morning’, it’s the worst thing I can do for myself. Because if I walk into the kitchen and see that? It just kills me mentally for the rest of the day. I can’t. So last night I filled and ran the dishwasher, so I just had to empty it. But I also needed to start my cleaning. And that? That took over two hours to complete. Not because the rooms were dirty, but because I just couldn’t even. Mopping each room only takes five minutes, but I had to prepare the relevant things… and I just couldn’t.

So today? A bad day. But I managed to clean my kitchen and my dining room, which are the two highest traffic rooms in the house. So, I managed to get shit done today. But that’s it now. I’m not fighting my brain anymore. Laundry day is tomorrow, so I’m not going to quibble over that today.

And that’s another bugbear. I hate laundry. And I’ve had to change laundry day due to outside factors. It used to be Monday, now it’s mostly Wednesdays. Did you know that children keep growing? Now I no longer have one whites/lights and one darks/colors load a week. Nope, now both kids are big enough that it’s a minimum of three loads a week. Also, because of cloth masks, I’m also laundering all the towels every week. I used to be able to get away with it every week and a half to two weeks because our machine is ludicrously oversized! Not anymore, nope. Sigh.

So now I’m going to veg on the sofa with my heated froggy slippers, a drink and a streaming service – IF my brain will let me focus on any one thing this afternoon.

ADHD sucks.

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.

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 😰

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 🀒

#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!!!

πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

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.