Snow Days

So, we have had (another) blizzard. Which has included more school closures.

Which normally means that the children have to make up all the relevant days at the end of the school year (the week is already built into the calendar).

However this year the Melrose school district has decided to pilot a School Cancellation Project system to limit the number of additional days required. Which I personally think is great, as teachers need their summer vacation as well as the kids.

So the idea is that per snow day the children pick from a list of published and publicised activities to do an hour’s worth of work. This is both worksheet based and is recorded and signed off by an adult in charge.

Sadly under the current “rules” (as it is a pilot system) if there are two consecutive snow days, the second must be made up in the summer. Which I find ridiculous but I’m presuming that it has something to do with the fact that the teachers are the ones compiling the extra work and it was a system only put into place after the first snow day of the academic year.

Anyway, #1 Son did over two hours worth on his first day – which was mostly with Nanny as I was still in significant recuperation mode. I do hope he gets credit for it.

Day One:

  • Snow Science – where he was to ascertain water in its solid, liquid and gaseous states. Nanny got him to try two examples – which meant we had a plastic beaker full of snow on our mantelpiece and on the front porch. In snow. Much to the amusement of our neighbours πŸ˜‚πŸ€£
  • Snowman Craft – we did several of the listed options, which included a snowman face (which I managed to get a picture of)
  • Snow Book Report – the children were allowed to choose their own book for this, so he chose Robot Rumpus which is one of his cycle of favourite bedtime stories.

Day Two:

For this there was a different set of exercises, which was a crying shame, as I had prepped loads of ideas based upon Day One’s remaining options. However, all was not lost, and this time we completed:

  • Teen Number Practice – which was a maths based colouring worksheet.
  • Roll A Sight Word – the USA ones are different to those taught in the U.K., as phonics are not taught in schools as standard, so that is… fun. However I downloaded a dice app onto my phone and we completed two sets of these on separate sheets. As expected, #1 Son did not enjoy this activity as much.
  • Snow Book Report – yes again. He enjoys them, as he doesn’t have to do the reading himself (listening to someone else read is fine) and he loves the drawing part. So this time we read Kitchen Disco which is another firm favourite.

Sadly there was a consecutive snow day so holidays are affected, but hopefully the snow will soon be over.

Many things

It’s been a busy few days.

TT is (whisper it) 100% reliable during the day on the toilet when it comes to doing a wee!

We have also had two days in a row where she has successfully done a poo in the correct place*

We have had no accidents all week thus far.

Night training is not happening, as we are attempting to wean her away from her middle of the night bottle and it’s just cruel to do both at the same time…


That and the one night we tried it she screamed bloody murder, fully woke up, and then actively refused to go back to sleep without said bottle – she won that round!


But she’s doing amazingly – especially when you consider she’s only 26 months old!!

Okay so she doesn’t now need the “cooling” pull ups we bought, or the plastic pants. Bugger. Ah well, we live and learn. And if we hadn’t have bought them, we would have needed them.

Sadly we had a bit of a backslide with #1 Son on the behaviour at school front today. He ran out not once, not twice but five time today, and even ran back into school at pick up time whilst the Mothership was talking to his teacher about the previous five occurrences.

I received an email from her this afternoon confirming that he had had an “emotional” day (stating that no-one would play with him and that he felt that no one loved him 😰) outlining her strategies for helping him tomorrow and giving us a framework to talk to him.


One of the problems is his refusal to accept that other children might just want to play games of their own choosing too – we are working on this…


He has had two more party invites though (one of which is ice skating – but thankfully with options for non skaters) which ought to help a little.

The other is a bouncing party – your guess is as good as ours on that – but that should at least be fun for him.

The lovely H brought up some presents for the kidlets today and he completed one of them

Momma and I are hoping that H will be able to join us on a small night on the town on Saturday.

His reading has come on in leaps and bounds. He actually asked to read with mom when he got home from school!!!!

He still hates writing, so I think that will have to be the next point of focus, but it’s amazing to see how well he is doing.

Mom met up with his teacher on Tuesday afternoon to discuss his progress and ensure that we (mostly her) are not confusing him compared to how they are teaching him in class.

It meant she got to meet his support team, and see his little cubby that they’ve built for him to (effectively) escape into when he gets overwhelmed.

Yes, it is literally a cupboard – it works for him.

He will also be having weekly sessions with his therapist every Tuesday at 07:15 – this means he won’t be too late into school, thus not impacting on his daddy’s work day too much.

As for me? I’m slowly getting back behind the wheel. I’m not great, but at least when I screw up I’m following through and have not (for example) crashed into a roundabout, nor ran a red light, nor turned into oncoming traffic without signalling.


Which are all things I did back in England prior to passing my U.K. licence


So I consider that I am doing okay. I need practice, and I need to pass my theory test (yet again) but I am studying and having gotten through half of the USA equivalent to the Highway Code today.

I’m now exhausted and have an incipient migraine πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

I also had my second post-op checkup yesterday.

My doctor is very pleased with my progress. I am to increase my doing of things, though not to lift anything heavier than a gallon until I’m the full six weeks post-surgery.

He does however want me to break up with dairy πŸ™€πŸ™€πŸ™€

(I mentioned I wanted to lose weight)

At the moment dairy and I are merely agreeing to see other people πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

I can cope with losing chocolate but not my cheese. And I’m trying to work out what I could put in my tea instead of cow’s milk.

But I’m going to try.

He next wants to see me in six months, and this appointment is already booked 😱

Mom and I also went up to knitting group yesterday and had much fun πŸ‘πŸ»


*With many apologies to the non-parents in my audience, this sort of thing is big news when you are a stay at home parent!

Several important milestones

So yesterday wasn’t your average Sunday.

I was going to walk to the pub with mum but it was raining really heavily. So we all had a baguette meal at #1 Son’s request. Both children really enjoyed themselves and actually ate real food. TT also tried various adult foods such as horseradish cheese and Gorgonzola dip. No, she didn’t like them but at least it was funny when she tried.

TT has been trying bunches again:

I’m not sure she approves yet πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ whatever we do she yanks out within 10-30 minutes anyway sigh.

We decided that it was a good idea to actually get some exercise, so when we discovered we were almost out of cat food (I know right how did I let this happen?) We decided that I would go to Shaws with the sprogs and the hus-creature, and get some fresh air.

Well we managed it. Nobody ran off, broke anything and I didn’t collapse. Then something very amazing happened.

I drove the car home!!!!

Yes, me – who hasn’t been behind the wheel in over six months!!!

I was probably more than a little aggravating to the other drivers, but I made it home.

#1 Son even told me “you have done well Mommy, good job”

And trust me, I needed to hear that!!!

We went out tonight for a small spin around the immediate estate and to the train station and back – a bit of road position practice mainly. Again, nobody died and there was only one instance of my getting my side of the road screwed up – approaching a one-way gyratory on the left whilst turning left fired up my dormant muscle-memory neurons, but I moved over before there was an issue and didn’t even get beeped so all is good.

I need to be able to do the school run before Momma returns to good ole Blighty.

Tosay #1 Son voluntarily tidied TT’s room – it was done very well. What was amusing was TT checking all the cupboards in her little kitchen to see what he had put in there.

TT is now very upset to wake up to a wet nappy, and for the last two nights has insisted on “wee wee” within 10 min of her bedroom door closing.

So tonight we cut down her bedtime bottle amount and as of last night have cut out her 11pm bottle πŸ™€

We will be attempting to sit her on a potty at 11pm instead after getting #1 Son up for his middle of the night toilet break.

Both of them are growing up. TT is now almost 100% reliable on the #1 front, so now we are working on #2.

Night-dry may well be possible much sooner with her…

I’m also three weeks post-op now. Time flies when you’re “having fun” I guess.

Midweek Madness

Well not so much but things have been happening.

In a week my Momma will be here πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

I can’t wait.

She’s coming out to help me recover from the operation, which is about a week and a half away 😱😱

As she has been reading the blog you can’t say she doesn’t know what she’s letting herself in for.


There is a pink metallic marker somewhere in this house minus its lid. TT knows where it is. I do not. Many wall cleanings. Much frustration.


Yesterday I had the fun of handling her and #1 Son from 08:00 – 17:00 without being able to use running water. We had previously been given 24 hours notice of sewer pipe work.

Actually they did finish an hour early, but next time that happens I’m filling my dye pots with clean water as well as my kettle.

It is not pleasant washing your hands with baby wipes all day!

I am laying down the groundwork for my main convalescence project.

Yes, it is a 24-Skein project!!! I’m sure there will be others, but this is a simple crochet pattern that will keep my hands busy without overtaxing my brain too much.

Don’t worry Mothership – we will knit socks etc together.

I had already touched on the upcoming surgery with #1 Son, but as it’s getting closer, I had another talk with him.

Do you know what he said?

Don’t worry mommy. I will look after you. And if you need food or drinks I will bring them to you.

Is someone cutting onions in here? I swear my tiny Grinch heart just grew three sizes. My boy is the sweetest kid ever.

Yes, he discovered Snapchat today – J sent me this.

What else has been happening? Not much new really.

Well, except I now have a SSN card!!!!

I am a legitimate proper (alien) person! Roll on everything. I need to start writing stuff down for my Etsy shop now!

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.

School dinners

Are very different here.

Admittedly, it’s really difficult to get out of #1 Son what he’s had of a school day – he tends to forget.

But yesterday when I asked, he was adamant it was cereal. I shrugged it off because it was a half day and maybe he was overexcited. But today he told me he had French toast with syrup.

πŸ€­πŸ€”πŸ˜―πŸ˜¦πŸ˜§

So I thought I would investigate.

10 January 2018:

Now, you know what? This isn’t too bad. I mean, there’s yoghurt and cheese. I’m shocked that he apparently ate Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but hey this is good.

Now for today,

11 January 2018:

This? This I am less impressed with. Again it’s a one off, and most days he has a blasted peanut butter and (grape) jelly sandwich, so as a treat fine.

But it has definitely reminded me that I am in the country where pizza is considered a vegetable. I’m not taking his choice away from him though. He’s eating so much better at school than he was. The agency of choice there is vital.

I’m just going to mumble and grumble about options.

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 πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

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.

An incredibly successful day

For both #1 Son and myself.

At 09:00 this morning I strode off to school suited and booted for #1 Son’s initial evaluation meeting for Special Education Provision.

I’ve been both dreading and looking forward to this by turns.

He had to meet certain specific criteria to qualify for an IEP – which is an Individualised Education Programme.

Basically it was to see whether or not he could be statemented.

I spent a year working in the SEN department of Oxfordshire County Council, so I knew how hard getting one of these could be, at least without a metric tone of supporting documentation and medical backup.

And the autism assessment process is stalled a bit. It’s just so slow.

So I had reports from:

  • An Educational Psychologist.
  • An Occupational Therapist.
  • A Speech and Language Therapist
  • The School’s own SENCO

Which came home on Friday, which I read, re-read, highlighted and annotated.

I went up to this meeting agreeing with the reports, but prepared for battle if needed. I knew they wanted to help him, but criteria are criteria and he had to meet them to get the extra help.

At the meeting were:

  • Myself – daddy stayed at home with TT
  • The Principal
  • His class teacher
  • The school nurse
  • Head of SEN services for the district as meeting co-ordinator
  • The school Counsellor – who #1 Son has dubbed “The Feelings Lady”
  • The SENCO
  • The Occupational Therapist
  • The Speech and Language Therapist
  • The Educational Psychologist

It was a full meeting. I was completely drained both physically and emotionally after it. He’s not the only one in this household who can get overwhelmed.

So he couldn’t be registered with a disability due to autism, as the school cannot diagnose that.

He couldn’t get the IEP on cognitive ability because the reports proved he is average to above average in almost all areas.

So what’s left? Well, a few things but the main one is Developmental Delay.

That is a blanket term that covers a lot of things, but the one that covers him best is social, emotional or adaptive functioning.

I don’t disagree. He has severe sensory issues, cannot relate to his peers (but is great with much older and much younger children), confidence issues and is struggling generally.

I just feel a massive sense of relief.

Within 10 school days we will get a copy of the IEP and once we read it, sign it and return it, it becomes “activated” and off we go.

There will be more meetings, more reviews. This is not a one-off thing, but the main hurdle has been jumped and he will get more help.

And now for the second good thing of the day.

I went for a pre-operative assessment with the surgeon who would perform my hysterectomy if agreed to.

Well, take a shufty at this ladies and gentlemen:

For those in the audience who cannot read doctor handwriting (it’s a skill), he had agreed, without any hesitation, to perform:

A TOTAL ABDOMINAL HYSTERECTOMY

WITH BILATERAL SALPINGO OOPHERECTOMY

They are taking Every. Single. Thing. Out!!!!

I could have kissed Mr. Surgeon Man.

πŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠ

I’ve been warned that because they will go in through the belly it’s going to be the full six weeks recovery time for the procedure alone, coupled with six months to feel myself and back to normal again.

That’s fine.

Parent-Teacher Conference

We had our first one for #1 Son last night.

I would be lying if I hadn’t been approaching it with at least a modicum of trepidation.

But honestly? It was amazing.

They have kept such good notes on his progress, both educationally and behaviourally.

He is improving. Slowly, gradually, but it’s visible and it’s there.

Perhaps the most important takeaway?

HE CAN READ!!!!

 

Honestly? I didn’t think he could. I knew he knew his letters, but stringing them into words (at least at home) is something he apparently couldn’t do. I now know it’s wouldn’t.

Busted kiddo πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

He is getting a lot of 1:1 support with the paras during centres, and when that happens he does well. But at the moment he doesn’t have one of his own and he’s one in a class of twenty. So they are trying, gradually, to scale back and seeing what he can cope with.

Basically it’s data gathering to bolster their bid for extra support for him. That will either start or happen next Tuesday at the Special Education meeting.

I am behind them 100% and fully intend to say so. Apparently having parental agreement and support really helps.

I would walk through fire to get him the help he needs, so let’s hope that the relevant professionals are on the sensible side and that I don’t have to go full on mama bear rage mode on them.

Or worse. Be British at them πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

His teacher also said that cognitively he is exactly where he needs to be. That he’s smart and funny. That he’s kind hearted. He’s also a perfectionist and sensitive.

She’s a true angel she really is.

Completing the Turkey Trot

Well #1 Son did complete his Fun Run πŸ…

It didn’t quite go according to plan however…

First was the change in venue from outside at Melrose Common to inside in the school using the All Purpose Hall.

Which meant that there was some confusion over whether we could actually cheer him on. However we were let in (very reluctantly by the stalwart Office Manager).

They then split the Kindergarten classes into two groups, and he was running in the second so we had to wrangle a very grumpy TT for 40 min rather than 20.

But the run started and started well.

Then #1 son tripped over one of the cones. And I could see the meltdown coming. So. I pulled up my big girl pants,

AND I RAN WITH HIM

I grabbed his hand and did several circuits while cheering him on.

I am unfit. I was wearing my galaxy leggings.

And this t-shirt:

But we did it. And he was so pleased. Both that we were there, and that I ran with him.

He hasn’t quite grasped that it was a Fun Run and keeps asking if he won gold, but for everyone that sponsored him yes he ran it thank you.

He raised $170 before the run. And the school have met their target

And not only will there be a Popsicle Party for all students, the top performing class per grade get an individual reward.

Stay tuned to hear if his have won.