And then he was SIX

Yes, today is #1 Son’s birthday!

Can I get a small round of applause for keeping a small human alive, healthy, and reasonably well-adjusted for six whole years?

No?

Ah well, worth a shot πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

Today was a slightly hard one for him, as he had to go to school on his birthday. Something that, if we had stayed in the UK, (barring royal jubilees) he wouldn’t have had to deal with.

However we dealt with it by opening a few presents this morning:

We then had a pretty amazing day at school. When A dropped him home she apologised for being late as he had been mobbed with birthday wishes.

She commented that she often feels like she is a bodyguard for a film star, like she needs to smuggle him out under her coat πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

He got a Happy Birthday card from his SENCO.

We then opened just one present (the biggest πŸ€£πŸ˜‚) while waiting for daddy to get home with cake.


Birthday cakes here tend to be sold “fresh”. Boxed cake is something very different.


We did candles

And why yes that is a chocolate cake, with vanilla buttercream frosting, surrounded with kitkats and covered in M&Ms!!!!

Don’t think he was too sad that mummy didn’t bake for him πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

We opened more presents – my boy has been thoroughly spoiled πŸ’• and we watched about 2/3 of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.


Or as he knows it: Harry Potter 2


Which we will finish tomorrow.

He was sad when he went to bed tonight as it was “the end of his birthday” but the reminder that his party is next weekend had cheered him up muchly.

God I adore thiskid πŸ’—

School Science Fair

Well not really, but sort of.

On Thursday #1 Son had his Kids Enquiry Conference. It was 18:30-19:30 and attendance was strongly encouraged.

I can’t say that I was particularly happy about it as it was after TT’s bedtime and ran past his own for a school night. Still, since it was the school making him go, I figured that they could just suck up any residual issues potentially caused by him being late to bed.

As it turned out, it was more of a “kids showing parents what they had been up to during science” in the same manner as the writing wherein we learned all about dolphins

(Please to be remembering that it is, in fact, about dolphins):

And the Maths one I previously wrote about.

So daddy took him up as someone needed to stay behind with TT and I had seen the others. I felt it would be good for #1 Son to spend some time with daddy.

I think they had fun?

πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

It was all pretty standard. The class had been doing group projects building bridges out of cardboard, egg cartons etc.

We also had the school reading and maths lists for the summer sent home.

Big stuff to do sigh. I just hope we can get most of it done.

We are now all signed up with the Melrose Public Library now at least.


And I am also endeavouring to ascertain whether all the reading he does must be off of the prescribed reading list. I’m hoping not.


I am in shock.

Total shock. I am stunned. I am speechless.

Tonight I made (another) soup.

  • Rainbow new potatoes – 1 bag
  • Rainbow carrots – 1 bag
  • 1 boneless pork chop
  • Acorn squash – roasted with olive oil and maple syrup (and I tipped the maple-y juice back into the pan)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 apples
  • A good handful of kale
  • Veggie stock from the last two soups
  • 2 cloves of garlic

Did the usual 6-7 hours in the slow cooker and blitzed it down:

#1 Son’s is on the top,TT’s is underneath.

I used some leftover baguette from yesterday’s lunch as the dippable item. TT yummed that up.

#1 Son was much more reticent, but that’s kind of standard and expected these days.

He actually dipped the bread though. And ate it. He told me “I don’t actually like it mom, but I want my sister to eat it, so I am saying how yummy it is”

I could have burst with pride.

And this was what was left:

The bowls are in the same order. Yes TT practically wiped hers out, which is great, but look.

He. Ate. Food.

Real food.

Food I cooked.

And, and and he asked to have it again tomorrow!!! I damn well nearly keeled over in shock.

And I may have been *this* close to crying tears of happiness and shock.

I can’t not share this

I made a meal that both kids ate!!!!!

I am astounded and amazed and slightly scared to be honest.

It was another stew/soup thing made of the following:

  • Fingerling potatoes – white, russet, purple.
  • Sweet potato/yams.
  • Rainbow carrots – orange, yellow, white, purple.
  • Red onion.
  • Beef.
  • Roasted Acorn squash – roasted with olive oil and maple syrup.
  • Frozen peas (because it needed something green!)
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • My homemade vegetable stock from the last batch of soup, leftover store-bought chicken stock (yes, yes, I know it’s not normal but it’s what I had on hand)
  • A sachet of posh beef bullion to deal with the above.
  • A good dash of salt

And I don’t mind admitting it tasted bloody awesome! Heck, I had some for my lunch today.

I decided that since there was so many carbs in it, that I wasn’t going to add pasta to it. However, based on observation, I felt it best to blend it down and turn it into potage for them.

And wow am I glad I did!

Now admittedly #1 Son’s bowl is the one on the right, but look – it’s half empty!!!!

Okay, it took patience and cajoling and persuasion to get him to do that, but it’s homemade and nutritious and he ate it!!!

I’m not foolish enough to believe that it’s any kind of breakthrough, but it progress!!!!

School Events

There’s been a lot of things happening in the last couple of days with, for and to #1 Son.

So on Tuesday evening there was his second parent teacher conference. Now I’m pleased to say that I didn’t approach this one with as much trepidation as his initial one back in November.

I knew that there had been some improvements, and that was in both social and academic areas. Of course there were still issues, but what Kindergartener won’t have those?

I also took up his three exercise books that we’ve been working through to show his teacher that we’ve been trying to do improvement work at home on more than just reading.

He has 180 Days of Kindergarten in:

  • Math
  • Writing
  • Reading

The idea is that from the start of the academic year you do one page a day (I assume they mean workdays) and improve as the class and the year goes on. We only picked them up after the 100 days of school celebrations, but they are still worth doing.


I can’t say that he’s been totally thrilled with it but he does it with minimal fighting. Possibly because I mark it as we go along, and he likes to see how well he’s doing. He would do better if he just concentrated but neither me nor his father were particularly good at that either.

And when I say “do better” I mean the difference between getting 6 out of six and 5 out of six. He’s good at it really.

So our 20 minute conference time turned into nearly an hour but fortunately I was her last meeting of the day and apparently she is regularly in school until 6 PM as it is. The woman is a saint, have I mentioned this?

She talked me through his systems for taking breaks, how he concentrates (better than it has been, though there is obviously still room for improvement), and perhaps more interestingly the system she has devised for tracking his particular outbursts and what triggers them. Spoiler: there is no apparent pattern. Although the day when he has music as his “special” (Wednesday) seem to have more outbursts. This does make sense to me, as it’s a very noisy class and he gets overstimulated.

I also noted that he seems to work better in a classroom setting when he is buddied up with a female friend. And interestingly his teacher noted that he will play outside with his peers now and that when he does, it is normally with the boys! I think I don’t need to explain how absolutely ecstatic this information made me.

Don’t get me wrong, he does still have days when during recess he will just walk round and round in circles talking to himself. But that’s fewer and he’s playing with children his own age!

For the sake of brevity (and so that you, dear audience, do not die of boredom) I will skip over the academic stuff except to say that he is doing better and concentrating for longer. And I will now move to the most important part of the session where she told me something that made me literally dance around the classroom which was:

He is no longer the child causing her the most grief!!!

Okay so there is still the caveat of “for now” but let me have my moment in the sun here!!!!

They do want either myself or his dad to go with him to supervise in a couple of upcoming field trips, but I can’t really blame them on that.

All in all after the conversation I had with his therapist regarding playing with peers and her concern that he wasn’t, I left that meeting pretty much walking on air. One darn proud mama bear.

Then came Wednesday. Which was a pretty normal day. Except at about 11:30 I got a phone call from the school nurse. To tell me that my poor son had gotten into a fight with the playground. Not in the playground with another child oh no with the ground itself. And he lost. Except at about 1130 I got a phone call from the school nurse. To tell me that my poor son had gotten into a fight with the playground. Not in the playground with another child, oh no, with the ground itself. And he lost.

The top photos were taken just after he came home on Wednesday afternoon, and the bottom two were taken the next morning.

He still feeling very very sad and sorry for himself. I’m not surprised. It’s still sore and he still wants band aids on the grazes. I have no problem with this, as apart from anything else it helps prevent infection. He’s been talking about not wanting to play outside at recess and “keeping everybody safe”. Perhaps he will learn to look before he runs?

Honestly? I doubt it but it’s taught him a valuable lesson I think.

Today I went up to school for a Math Fun morning (!)

No really. The idea was that you would undertake different activities with your child and see what they have been learning.

He made me a chain link necklace – a rainbow necklace πŸ’—

He needed to take a 5 minute break in the middle of the work, and when there was only 5 minutes left of the session because he had run out of steam. So with the second I decided to leave a little early, as by the time he was done with his break it would be time for the parents to leave anyway.

He handled that fine. Also I ought to note that it was extremely noisy in the classroom, and he didn’t have one outburst. I was so proud of him πŸ’•

He also came home with this:

It is a “Rainbow Egg for keeping stuff in” πŸ’—

And finally, it seems that due to the late March snow, the Ida, Always author needed to cancel her previously scheduled visit. So, she will return at some as-yet-to-be-determined time, and his copies of the books will be signed!

Spring Break is now upon us, so stand by for stories of trips to the park, ice cream and lots of shenanigans…


IT MIGHT HAPPEN


Oh, and one other lovely thing. When he was dropped off by the lovely A this afternoon she left as normal, and then came back to ask if she could take him to the local ice cream parlour that we also frequent – because her youngest daughter (Grade 5, so aged 11 or thereabouts) and her friends wanted him to come with them.

Okay I know that the therapist wouldn’t have been as pleased as I was, but I was thrilled that he was able to socialise like that in a public place.

I’m one very proud mummy tonight.

Play Dates

A thing that is fraught with pitfalls. Especially for me – a non-standard parent of a very non-standard child.

It may be difficult to believe, but I dread public gatherings. I am not good at small talk. I have odd hobbies. I fear judgement. And I hardly ever open up to people now.

So, all that being said, yesterday I had a full 1:1 meeting with #1 Son’s therapist; and one of the things that came out of this meeting is that he struggles socially with his peers.


And oh dear lord did that sound familiar 😫😞


And I was gently, yet firmly, advised that I have to know “when to push, and when to pull”. Translation: Set up some goddamn play dates woman

But that isn’t easy, precisely because he is struggling with his peers.

We had set up an initial Skype date with his former friend from school for last Sunday, but at the last minute the poor thing got camera shy.

To give her credit, she both broke her leg and their family dog was put down over Easter, so she’s been through one heck of a lot for a 5/6 year old.

So I started to consider options. Which is tough when I barely know any of the kids in his class, and he’s not exactly the best at communicating about them as is.

But, while we were doing homework, he did this:

Now, as an aside, can I just say look at how well his writing is going!!!!

But he not only drew the “snow hills”, he also drew a specific class mate helping him up the hill.

Bazinga

He also went to her birthday party – it was the one at the drama house that, uh, did not go well for him. But never mind, as I result of that I knew I had her mom’s email address.

So I sent an email asking if, since Spring Break is next week, whether said friend would like to come for a play date.

She wanted to!!!!


Side note: I am currently waiting on my appointment for #1 Son’s Parent:Teacher Conference. You have to walk through After School Club to get there. I was stopped by a little girl asking me by name. She asked if she was coming to our house!!!! She seems happy to!!!

πŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠ


So, next Saturday I will be hosting my first ever school play date.

May God have mercy on my soul πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

I just hope that I myself don’t scare anyone off!!!

The therapist also said that he has a beautiful singing voice. Apparently he has perfect pitch! So that is something to consider.

She also stated very firmly that although home schooling “might be tempting” she very definitely believed he was not a candidate for it. He needs the structure and socialising of school.

Since I have no clue how one might go about it, and have no desire to undertake such a mammoth task of significance, school it is!!!

I will update regarding the Parent:Teacher conference soon.

Ice Skating

On Saturday #1 Son was invited to the local rink – Flynn Rink for those interested – for a birthday party.

The birthday boy’s mother was prepared for there to be non-skaters in the group, and had set up snacks and hot chocolate (with marshmallows and chocolate dragΓ©e candies) for those children to hang out away from the ice.

How Daddy thought it would go:

That he would outright refuse to try it.

How I thought it would go:

That we would persuade him to go out on the ice. After 30 seconds he would slip/fall/be unable to move and probably have a meltdown.

We got him into rented skates. Helmets are apparently not compulsory and as such were not rentable.

We gave him a milk crate for balance and stability, and watched him go out on the ice.

With, I admit, our hearts in our mouths.

And then this happened.

Also this – the kid has moves

Please remember this was the first time he had ever been out on the ice!!!

I’m not ashamed to admit, I cried. Full on blubbed and sobbed. I was overwhelmed with how proud I was. I couldn’t explain it.


In fact I find myself tearing up as I write this post and re-watch the videos


He enjoyed himself.

Yes, he fell down. Yes he blunderbussed his way into other children. Yes I spent an inordinate amount of time apologising to the world in general (as I had no idea which parents belonged to which child) but he had so much fun.

Sadly the rink is now closed, a month early, because they had received a $3 Million grant for refurbishing, but they will reopen at the end of August – so we will see if we can sign him up for lessons.

He showed an interest in learning, the rink is close by, and hockey is BIG in this town. I’m not necessarily thinking we will get him into hockey itself, not for a while, but learning to skate is a really good skill to have while we live here.

After the skating was pizza, juice and cake. Sadly the first few pizzas were more than a little carbonised on the bases and so he refused to eat them. So we said our goodbyes and left a little early, but overall I would consider that party a huge success!

As we grownups hadn’t eaten, and the cat needed food too, that we would go to Wegman’s very nice burger bar via PetCo.

Where there were beautiful Bettas (Siamese Fighting fish) – some of whom had made bubble nests yay!

Also gorgeous reptiles of various persuasions.

All in all, a very very good day.

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!!!

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A slight backslide today

Maybe I overdid it. Maybe this is normal. But I feel rotten. My stomach is sore and crampy, and my incision hurts a bit.

I have sent the hus-creature to make me a hot water bottle whilst I hide in bed. He is happy to do this. He has also made me a cup of tea and brushed my hair πŸ’—πŸ’•

He is a lovely man person 😘

Poor old TT has had a bit of a rotten day too. She is severely constipated right now 😰 So the Mothership and I are putting our heads together to find ways of sneaking more fibre into her. I am deeply sympathetic to the poor wee thing.

#1 Son came home with a Valentine he made for me:

I’m not crying – you’re crying.

He’s so proud of it too πŸ’•