Breakfast – USA Style

I think anyone who knows me well in real life probably knows I have a teeny tiny obsession with Froot Loops.


Also American candy, but right now I am yearning for an old fashioned creme egg, or Hotel Chocolat pralines


But as it’s bloody cold, and I used to love flavoured porridge (I was gutted when Graze stopped doing their breakfasts) and I was watching the Cinnabon Undercover Boss episode where it came up, I thought I would try this:

This is Brown Sugar Maple flavoured Cream of Wheat.

I admit I was a little sceptical, but thought I’d treat it like Ready Brek and give it a go.

It’s like semolina pudding.

I love semolina pudding!!!!

Basically, this is my perfect hot breakfast food and I’m thrilled.

For once, a positive change!

I’m still bitter about bacon 😫😂🤣

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 🤣😂) #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 puréed 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

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 😂🤣

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.

The (apparent) aftermath

I am unwell today.

I’ve had killer headaches off and on for over a month – a lot of that can most likely be attributed to my untreated hypertension (started my new medication yesterday – I am now on three pills a day 👍🏻😂)

But at 3am this morning I was dragged awake with a screaming head – to the extent I actually woke the poor hus-creature by sobbing.

And I remained awake for at least an hour.

This beautiful creature kept me company though:

I’ve often said we have a dog-cat 😂🤣

Sadly kitty-snuggles were not sufficient and at 4am I was calling God on the porcelain telephone.


Note: American toilets are not comfy for doing this if you are used to British plumbing.


Oddly I felt better enough to then snuggle down with my furry companion and my cuddly hot water bottle (that would be the hus-creature) and basically pass out until the alarms went off.

I’ve pretty much been a zombie for the rest of the day though. Just mainlining stodge, carbs, sugar and caffeine to get through.

No it’s not healthy but lord has it helped.

My head is still pounding, and #1 Son has a half day today, but he’s being lovely and TT is also being reasonable.

A little Christmas present from me to me arrived today:

Which has helped.

I am so tired of feeling sick and tired. Endometriosis is a bastard, and all the other conditions can get in the sea as well.

Pyjama Party

It was noisy and crowded but I think the kidlets had fun

We met the School mascot, Willy the Winthrop Wildcat:

He was attempting to be mascot-y but a number of the older children were pulling his tail and attempting to knock his head off

😡😡😡😡

TT was by turns enthralled and enchanted:

She kept sidling up close to him, laughing uproariously and declaring “cat” but was sadly too shy to give him a cuddle, which quite frankly I think he would have appreciated too.

She did keep wandering out to the front where he had been sitting to try and find him though after the stories.

He and the Principal read all the children a bedtime story. It was very sweet. And he (the principal) is a man who clearly loves his job. I truly think he is awesome.

All in all it was a nice way to spend a little time.

We are also now the proud owners of a sofa bed!!!

We do not talk about the hassle it took to install it oh no.

We do not speak of

  • The rain.
  • The hoisting it over the (second level) balcony one way and it not going over.
  • The re-lowering to the ground.
  • The re-positioning and re-hoisting.
  • The having to take not one but two doors out of the frames. Yes they were put back!
  • The holding of the breath whilst it was manhandled through the kitchen and subsequent archway.

But it is safely installed.

Trying to keep TT out of the way of the workmen was… fun. I mean the cat was easy, we just shut the door to the walk-in when she darted in there to get away from said strange workmen. Who were very perplexed at both my effusive gratitude and my insistence on offering tea/coffee.

I am British – when men are undertaking work for me, particularly hard, strenuous or complex work, I must offer hot beverages. It is a cultural thing. My mammy trained me well.

But the toddler? Oh no. She had to flirt, and hand them shoes and be interested in wide open door frames 🙄🙄🙄

All members of the Shields’ clan approve.

Oh and so far #1 Son has raised $100 for his Turkey Trot next week.

Thank you!!!! Donations are both gratefully acknowledged and would still be gratefully received.

4 months in

Well. I (we) have now been living in the USA for a third of a year 🙀

Have I learned anything?

Nothing earth shattering. People are people everywhere. Some suck. Others do not. I still struggle making friends but maybe that’s just how it is.

I’ve invited H up to ours for a coffee on Friday as we will (hopefully) have a sofa arrive tomorrow so I will have somewhere for her to sit comfortably while we natter. And she really seems nice, so perhaps I can manage that? She seemed really happy to accept and has been so friendly.

———-

I’ve drawn a line under the possibility of friendship from the knitting class. I’m looking on it as purely educational with a hint of social, and that’s okay. I’ve done it before.

As the weather is changing and getting colder, I’m going to stick it out until the sock(s) are finished then explore other options towards the spring. I’ve got a (probably irrational) fear of being stuck in an unfamiliar town in the snow with no way to get home.

————

I wrote the above before going to my group tonight. I actually had fun. I am officially still confused as to what the hell is going on though.

It was the start of a new 10-week session tonight and there were a lot of people. Including one lady who hadn’t been there in a while due to being hit by a car. She was bubbly and fun and, when she realised I am British, basically grabbed on to me and asked me to talk to her all night.

I didn’t, but people chuckled and found it charming. I am not trying to work it out anymore.

I got a lift home with the lovely G (the lady who gave me her cell number) and she asked if, when I have my hysterectomy, if I want company for an hour or two for knitting and a cuppa she would be happy to.

She had the op at 31 and for the same reasons, so she “gets” it.

Surely you don’t make that sort of offer if you don’t like the person right? Perhaps I have made a friend?

Oh, and I’ve worked out how to share the Fun Run link:

Turkey Trot weblink: Here

Gastronomy is not this

Pumpkin. Pie. Soda.

😮😐😶😦🤔

Pumpkin Pie, as a flavour, is BIG here.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love pumpkin SPICE – but this? This is a travesty and an abomination to my palate.

Even the hus-creature could not finish it, and he relishes the weird when it comes to comestibles.

Pumpkin pie soda will not be existing in this house again.

Apologies to my American friends, but no, this I do not get.

Our week

But not in pictures.

It was pretty normal up until Thursday.

On Wednesday I went up to my yarn shop to their “Sit ‘N Knit” class – which is $7 per session and you can pay in blocks but as the current block finishes in three weeks, I’m paying the instalments until then, then I will buy the block.

It’s been lovely to hang out with like-minded ladies. I’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 don’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 can’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 o’clock. That will teach me to change the Tiny Tyrant’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 doesn’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 didn’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 “stranger danger” 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 “start again tomorrow”

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)

It’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 “I don’t care what the other little boy is doing, he is not my son” 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 wouldn’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 day’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 “got it” and could advise me on Stateside services.

I’m hoping that we might catch up with them this Friday too.