Career changes

I realised that yesterday was THE BIG DEADLINE for my former office.

Which made me blink in shock and reflect on the last few months. For the first time in a decade I was able to relax over the festive period.

I’m not working 12+ days and 40+ hours of overtime. I was able to visit (extended) family, spend time with my hus-creature and kidlets without feeling guilt.

It felt/feels amazing. My stress levels are much reduced, at least in one way. Yes, my blood pressure is still an issue, and I’ve had/have other stressors, but those are gradually reducing.

I’m happy. I’m missing work, but mostly in the “having my own money” arena and some occasional adult conversation.

I’m going to make a serious attempt at doing something with my yarn skills. I do have my knitting group for at least weekly human interaction, plus the lovely J and H when our schedules allow. I actually planned some colorways last night. I have a specific notebook and I’m writing things down. I also have the hus-creature asking me practical questions, which really helps, as I have a slight tendency to just think about the creative side πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

Six months!

(And two days πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ – but I was busy with MLK stuff on Monday!).

I can’t believe we’ve been on this crazy adventure for half a year!!!

Well it’s not quite as crazy anymore – unless you count the weather!

We’re settling down into something like a routine I think. It’s been a blast, but something resembling normalcy cannot be sneezed at.

So, the hus-creature is pretty settled in his job. He actively prefers being in an office, even with a sucky commute (certainly compared to what it was whilst we lived in Cambridge). He’s happy and stuff gets done, and he has a great work-home life balance, which means I don’t have to get the thumbscrews out.


I mean, if he chooses to work on a sudden brainstorm after I’ve gone to bed? No skin off my nose!


TT is happy. She’s got her toys, access to her favourite films, her brother after 3pm and me. And I come quite high up the list it seems actually – and not just in a “I am bored of this film parental unit, change it”

And it’s been amazing to watch her grow and change.


I do wish she would stop throwing her meal plates and bowls in the kitchen bin though. I know she believes she is helping, but I swear we have lost at least a few that way now!


It’s harder to quantify with #1 Son. He still has moments when he talks about missing England, his old house, his old school, his friends. But he’s getting there. He’s a special boy who needs extra support and he’s getting it. We still have bad school days, but the bad moments at home at least are much less. And the levels of bad at school are overall reduced. We have to remember to adjust our own expectations of him at times, yet the moments when he surpasses or blows right past them make it worthwhile. His therapy will help him, the school are supporting him, and we have documented proof that he’s bright.


I’ll turn cartwheels when he has his first birthday party or play date though.


The cat? She also seems happier overall. She’s eating more, has more places to hide and nest in, and still has human company as and when she desires it. I think this has been as good for her as it has for the children – unexpected bonus.

Me? Again hard to quantify. I’m doing well, I think. I’ve got my operation soon (eeeeep), the Mothership is coming to visit and look after me and the monkeys (love you Momma!). I’ve applied for my SSN, and got my work permit.

My knitting is coming along amazingly, and I have projects planned for recovery and convalescence.

I’m firmly heading down the path to setting up my own dyeing side business. The hus-creature is helping with the practical questions, as I’m still stuck on “what should I call it”. But I can’t put us in the hole to do this!

I’ve got time to sort it. I know I won’t be doing Advent Calendar boxes for 2018 at least.

I’m still going to knitting group – it’s going okay. They are helpful and lovely ladies. One of them bought me a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints cookies as (obviously) I have never had them before! And apparently I should expect casseroles etc to be left on my front porch post-surgery which is amazing.

I do still have bad days. I am still really bad at this domestic goddess malarkey, but I’m getting there. It’s becoming the new normal.

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.

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.


ΒΏΒΏΒΏPorque 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

πŸ™„πŸ€­πŸ˜’πŸ™„πŸ€­πŸ˜’πŸ™„πŸ€­πŸ˜’πŸ™„πŸ€­πŸ˜’

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.

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 πŸ€£πŸ˜‚) #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 purΓ©ed 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

And then she was two

Two years ago, after a hellish induction, I was staring in wonderment at the most beautiful baby girl in the world.

No, really, no other baby girl was ever this pretty. (The most beautiful baby boy in the world ever had been born three years prior you see).

And now? She’s two.

She’s a stroppy, opinionated, smart, strong bundle of amazingness, and I am the luckiest mama bear ever.

She had her new big girl bed as her main present from us:

With bedding from nanny and granddad and Lola-dog.

(Happy gotcha day Lola-dog)

We then added Aunty Harri’s canopy:

Whereupon she began practicing for the teenage years early.

She bloody loves the bed.

She did refuse to nap though, which ended in her passing out on me at around 15:30:

We then had cake when she woke up – well, when I woke her – she was not impressed. Aunty H came to join us for cake and TT ended up covered. So we had a bath.

With new toys. And bath markers.

Which she ruined by pooping in the bath πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„

Then we put her to bed. For the first time. And, well, it was not as successful as it was for #1 Son.

TT on the other hand, was up and out before daddy finished reading her bedtime story!!!

She was then up and rattling the door handle after daddy left the room. I resettled her then.

When #1 Son went to bed she was still awake!!!! BUT was under the covers and stayed there while I went to get another bottle (that she requested).

We checked on her at 21:00 and she was asleep, still in bed, and mostly under the blanket. She had unilaterally decided no more sleeping bags dammit. We shall see how this goes – it’s bitterly cold right now, and duvets are not a thing for toddlers here it seems.

When we checked on her whilst getting #1 son up for his middle of the night wee, she was fast asleep, with that second bottle untouched which was great.

I can hear her occasionally drinking from her second official bottle through the monitor.

All in all, not as good as I hoped, but as well as I expected. Well, apart from the poop πŸ™„

Also, after we washed her hair, through judicious application of tablet, I was able to completely blow dry her hair, which left her rocking the Smokey Quartz (rather than Amethyst) look:

And the curls are dropping out at last!

Christmas Aftermath

Well the children have been thoroughly spoiled and I am so so grateful.

Firstly, it seems Santa got a tad confused and left presents in two places:

The kids were gobsmacked, and TT loved her “pin-gin” paper πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

The Big Man listens you know πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»

But why all this play food and sets you wonder? Because someone dropped a line to him on what her “main” present was going to be:

(Can I admit that I’m more than slightly jealous? πŸ˜‚πŸ€£)

She has spent all day playing with it, with various play foods. I have extracted her lunch pizza from a pot on the hob, and most play foods have ended up in the freezer compartment!

Not to be outdone, #1 Son has completed construction of his main Lego set:

Even without the stickers he appears as pleased as Punch.

Tomorrow TT turns two. Tonight is therefore the last night for her in her cot.

Tomorrow she gets her first “Big Girl” bed.

Part of me is really sad about this. But she’s growing up. She’s not a baby anymore.

Christmas Day (2017)

Oh what a wonderful day we’ve had.

Santa visited:

#1 Son loves his Lego’s. Not so much his crayons and similar. Ah well.

TT was really happy with her hair bows and dinosaurs and other similar items.

We then had breakfast. TT ended up trying my scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, and she bloody loved it!!!

πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

She cleared that plate! We also watched squirrels for a bit.

After breakfast we opened presents.

As previously mentioned, we left a lot of presents behind, but as a result the kids really enjoyed what they opened.

Lunch was awesome:

  • Pork with cranberry sauce and stuffing – yum! (Too much turkey previously consumed)
  • Macaroni cheese
  • Sliced potatoes – with herbs and other yummies
  • Crab cakes

TT stole a crab cake and scoffed it before we even noticed πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ and these were tasty cakes (wasabi mayo etc). Guess she’s taking after us more than her brother.

Then came dessert:

  • Chocolate peanut pie
  • Key lime pie

So. Good.

I don’t really like British traditional puddings of Christmas time – mince pies, Christmas pud & Christmas cake etc, so this was amazing for me.

TT stuck her hand in pie πŸ™„

We shouted.

The dog barked and barked a lot. She was defending TT against us πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

So she got cuddles and we were forgiven by her loyal Guard of Honour!

TT also had a whale of a time just generally:

Yep, that’s a stocking on each foot πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

Aunts Domi and Uncle Gary kindly took the kids out for a brief walk with Fluffy (the dog) and they had a really lovely time. The wagon was involved.

We just had a little rest as wow it’s tiring:

I have read a few chapters of one of my presents:

Which is bloody brilliant and hilarious and everyone should read it. Certainly every parent who worries that they aren’t “doing it right”

Because we are – it’s hard and we are doing okay 😘

We are now watching Ozark for an hour or so’s downtime then bed.

MERRY CHRISTMAS ONE AND ALL

πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸ’•πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸ’•πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸ’•πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸ’•πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸ’•πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸ’•πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸ’•πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸ’•

It’s Christmas (Eve)

And we are safely in Connecticut.

We left without incident at around 11:30.

Stopped for lunch at Mac Donald’s at around 13:00.

When given the choice of burger or chicken, TT declared “chicken burger” so this happened:

20 McNuggets was a mere 11c more than a 10 pack 🧐

I begin to see why there might be an obesity epidemic!

However as both children decided that didn’t want burgers – #1 Son because he saw the onion in the relish when I was removing Satan’s hell snack, the pickle, and TT because burger meant nuggets and chicken meant chips apparently! So those nuggets got demolished.

TT also decided that she wanted to sit in a high chair πŸ™€ she hasn’t used one in months. But she dragged it over to a booth and demanded “‘my chair” and was most happy:

#Stillmybaby

We safely arrived at around 15:30.

Got a phone call from the landlady shortly after arriving worried because she thought she could see smoke coming from our balcony.

It was her own vents! Crisis averted and I had mulled wine πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ‘πŸ»

TT has declared every adult in the house not me or the hus-creature “cake people” because Domi gave her brioche.

She then made friends with the dog by accidentally feeding her said brioche. She was sitting on the floor with her hand out, and the last piece of brioche dangling from it, and the dog snaffled it πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

Kids are now safely in bed, with stockings hanging up in the guest house.

#1 Son didn’t really eat much for dinner – no surprise there, but TT ate risotto. It was seafood and mushroom risotto at that. We let her think it was pasta!

She ate scallops! And then went for mine!!!!!

Kept a whole one in her cheek like a little hamster for about 15 min πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

Relaxing now for a few hours before bed. We need to all be asleep so Santa can come

πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ…πŸ»

As children grow

It leaves you joyful but saddened.

The Tiny Tyrant is our last baby. I’m due to be spayed in less than 2 months.

It was always the plan. I’m happy with my children. My family is complete. I cannot hack being pregnant – I’m basically ill and stressed out for 40 weeks. TT nearly killed me by the end of pregnancy with her.

And with my medical issues I’m bloody lucky to have one child, let alone my perfect pigeon pair.

But she’s two in a week.

And she’s growing so fast.

Things she is now doing:

  • She’s now consistently switching from mummy to mum and from daddy to dad.
  • She’s saying “fank” instead of “ta”
  • “Duddle” is being replaced with “hug”
  • The question “what do we say?” is most often met with “peeeees”
  • Talking in proper sentences – “I hurt it my finger”
  • Attempting to count to 10 – she’s mostly reliable up to 5 already.
  • Opinions – oh the opinions 😬😬😬😬
  • Her birthday present is a bed.
  • When daddy said night night to her just now, she immediately began fake snoring πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

Whilst I am so so proud of her, and of my boy too, I’m sad.

I won’t ever know another baby. I won’t see the firsts again.

I know I am incredibly lucky I am blessed, and believe me I don’t take it for granted. I’m just nostalgic tonight.

So – here are my babies as babies πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•