Archive for the ‘TMD’ Category

Lots of things are more historic than a new famous baby.

July 22, 2013

A lot of historic things have happened in the last week. Marriage equality has happened here. TMD and I went away alone for a night. The kids’ adoption went through – we had no idea till today. But after almost exactly four years, the kids finally have two legal mothers.

And another thing. I wore skintight cropped leggings on the past two evenings for my walk. That shit is something I never thought I would say.

They are so gross but SO COMFORTABLE.

I am trying to reemerge, folks. These nightly walks have literally taken all my time and energy. It is a big commitment. I have a rest when TMD gets home, because my days can be tiring but also because it is currently hotter than the sun, then go on late night walks and come home and write a bit about them.

Oh, the sheer rocky ride of finding the discipline to go out every single night. It has been a tough settling in period, and even now, on day thirty four, I wouldn’t say I’ve settled. I have missed three nights – two due to pelvis problems, one due to a cat slashing my fucking toe open – but I am getting there.

More and more I am thinking about starting a more public blog. I miss posting pictures with heads, real names, being more easily able to connect with people who live near me. I hung out with a good friend I met courtesy of this blog earlier in the week and we discussed this a bit.

I have often started ‘niche’ blogs, only to drop them because I like writing about all of life. So I think a new blog would be like this, but with more personal details…and less ranting about family members. Something to think on. And whether I’d keep this blog going, which I think I might.

It’s a dramatic week. Snort’s collarbone is still causing him pain, I’ve found a brown itchy spot on my labia, of all places, and we both have doctor appointments Thursday. The kids also danced on a stage in front of 7000 people, which was awesome, and I got to hang out with a friend ALL BY MYSELF AT NIGHTTIME. Another historic thing.

Invisibility.

May 25, 2013

The hard thing about being around close friends/family who were not around during my pregnancy is that they only know the old me. Someone healthy, without pain, with no mobility problems. My disability is mostly invisible. I don’t need a wheelchair anymore, and I often do not use crutches. The only things that are easy to see are that I am exhausted and not as active as I used to be.

To someone uninformed, I guess I could look lazy.

But when I have explained the situation, that I can’t lift heavy things, I have to stay still if I can’t walk well, etc…..well, if I’ve explained and you keep calling me lazy, then I suppose that’s the part where I should tell you to fuck off. Or ignore you.

Instead I am slowly being driven crazy, and very hurt that someone I love chooses to only see the worst in me, rather than the difference in me. I’m not the person I once was. I have to take care. Even on a good day, even if I’m walking for miles after taking my meds, I have to always watch myself. It’s very easy to do too much, or to take one misstep and reinjure myself. To prevent a total inability to walk, I have to take it easy.

Right now I need to readjust myself. I can’t force someone to not think I’m lazy, but I can try to use this as an opportunity to regulate my emotions around the issue.

I guess.

I know a rational conversation about it is what is needed, but I am close to snapping and saying very hurtful things I don’t want to say. So I keep my mouth shut. I love these people who think I am making my wife do everything, who think I am an awful, lazy person. I keep my mouth reined in because most of the time, it’s good. We have fun.

But I am feeling very strained, and last night I was very scared about my mobility. This disability is never going away. Neither is the related exhaustion and decreased physical ability. I’m pretty okay with this, trying to accept it and work with it. Most of the time I succeed. Now I just need to realise that I don’t need to be so hurt by this. Does it bother me that someone thinks I prefer sitting on my ass to helping out, even though I physically have no choice? Of course. But I guess there is no point getting so upset about it when I know the truth, when TMD knows the truth, when the way we do things makes sense for us even when other people think she does more than me. And of course she does, but again, that’s not always down to choice.

Adoption update.

May 24, 2013

So, are those kids finally adopted yet, you ask?

Here’s the deal. We submitted the application to court about a month ago. You need three months between the submission of the intent to adopt and the actual application. Through colossal screw ups that were not our fault, the time requirement had not been met. So everything was returned to us.

I went last Monday to submit everything again. The legal team needed TMD to go in to sign something they’d missed spotting the first time around. And now we wait.

The next step is the final hearing, which we are not expected to attend. I guess it is when the judge goes through everything and issues the adoption order. After that is the celebrationary hearing, which is when the adoption certificates are issued. This is when the judge makes a big deal out of it, you can invite your family and friends, and it is like a party in court. For normal adoption proceedings, I think this is nice.

For our particular circumstances, I think it is shit. We don’t want two almost four year olds to have to question things – they are very observant and curious. It would be nightmare. We want to explain things to them organically and in our own time, not because a judge arbitrarily says TMD is now their mother. That’s crap.

So we have talked to the court and elected to not attend the celebration hearing. We will need to confirm it nearer to the date, but our plan is to have all of our documents and the certificates mailed to us. In theory this should all go without a hitch.

The adoption process has taken much longer than we expected, but all in all it has been smooth and easy. Nice social workers, friendly court people, straightforward process. Looking forward to it being done, though! Maybe I’ll host a blog celebration when it happens, which will hopefully be within the next month. We shall see.

Weekly roundup 20 April

April 27, 2013

I’m writing Saturday through Thursday today on Friday. You’re about to be treated to a stunning example of how bad my memory is.

Saturday:

TMD still felt a bit rough, so we kept today low key. Snort went for a haircut, we bought some bread at the baker’s, and we went to a charity shop. Scored a giant Tupperware of weird little toys (littlest pet shop?) for a tenner. Came home, dragged a blanket out to the garden, and the kids played outside with the Tupperware toys for hours. Had both lunch and dinner outside. Was gloriously hot, and therefore the virgin wearing of the new Spiderman Crocs.

We also watched some of the marathon, followed by rapid channel switching when we saw some gymnastics championships were also on. Cue manic gymnastics ‘shows’ in the lounge.

Sunday:

Wickedly awesome. We have a medieval barn near us, and they were hosting a spring festival. We saw an old fashioned cider press, and the older guys near it were so pleased to have two children show an interest. They told us all about apples being pressed, where the juice was stored, etc. kids played old fashioned skittles and beanbag toss games, looked at vintage motorbikes and cars, and bought some chocolate cake to take home(yum) and their first marshmallows (both were disgusted by them)….and organic ice cream to be consumed while watching a ferrier at work. Learned about horseshoes – why horses have them, how they are put on, etc. Also taste tested cheeses and i discovered a passion for spring onion and sundried tomato cheddar. Amazing.

There were vintage tractors outside and Coco spent ages on lots of them, shifting gears and totally in her own tractor driving world.

The best thing about this place was the old fashioned engines and smaller machines. Kids loved it, especially Snort. Saw electricity generated, grain being ground, etc etc. Lots of them were steam powered and has Snort’s major love, pipes, so it was fascinating to see how they worked and the water being spit out.

I don’t recall the afternoon. I think we were out in the garden again, though it was not sunny or warm. Brr.

Monday:

Snort had gym this morning. There were like 6,000 kids there and it was vaguely unpleasant. If this wasn’t a fluke, we may consider other options. He really wants to join Coco’s class, and she is open to that, but I’m not sure. I think he had more instruction on the beam today, and the coach attempted a half hearted, ‘Hey, while you’re jumping on the trampoline, can you do circles with your arms?’ He was like, ‘No.’ Ha.

After we drove to collect Coco and then went over to Snort’s boy-crush’s house, a friend from his old football class. What shall I call this kid. Wonderboy. So Wonderboy, my two, and Shorty spent all afternoon running free. I’m noticing a change in the flavour of play dates, for sure, and I don’t know if it is that kids are ageing, or because these particular kids know each other well. The adults are left alone most of the time while the kids play. Wonderboy’s outdoor trampoline had a big pull over Coco, and Snort fell hard for his Spiderman soft toy.

Tuesday:

Best. Day. Ever.

Started with Snort’s dream, a trip to the post office to collect missed parcels with Grampy. He is very into ‘our whole family’ doing things together, and delights in having relatives around. Much talk about when my parents are coming, and when we will next see his Auntie. I mentioned to Grampy that I wanted to go out into nature somewhere – it was so sunny and beautifully warm. He’s all, hey, I’ll show you something.

And hell if FIVE MINUTES FROM OUR HOUSE isn’t a giant corridor of woodlands, with paths spidering off in every direction. Lots of hills, scary drop offs, apparently a river (!), and flowers exploding everywhere. I am never as happy as I am in the woods. I want to go here every day. I want to get rich and buy a big chunk of forest and live there. One of the best years of my life was giving alone at camp in the off season – five hundred acres of woods and only little old me there. It was amazing, except at night when I thought axe murderers lurked behind every tree.

We then dropped Grampy at home and went to, uh, a place with lots of horses and donkeys and playgrounds and magic. They both groomed a donkey, I gently brought up the subject of riding horses again (don’t ask), they spent ages in the giant outdoor sandpit, the soft play, etc etc. we bumped into TWO families from his old football class, and hung out with one for a long time. We also bumped into another home ed family that we see everywhere we go. They seem awesomely nice but I cannot remember the mum’s name. Clearly I need to ask her. I keep wanting to call her Nori, but I think that is the seaweed you make sushi from? They are vegan and she once talked me through how to make sushi, it sounds easy and delicious, I still have not tried it.

Side note: this home ed thing is socialising ME. I have to get over myself and ask people for phone numbers all the time. I’ve never done this in a dating way as I’m a serial monogamist and people have always approached me, and I’ve always been someone to have a small but very close circle of friends. So this faux hitting on families is a new experience and going well!

We tried to make this recipe for one minute chocolate mug cake. It was not a success. Ha. Instead we invested cheese and veggie sausage tacos and had dinner in the garden.

When TMD came home we all played in the garden awhile. Bubbles are a constant delight to the children.

Wednesday:

I wanted today to be an at home day. Those hills and treacherous, yet beautiful, hours in the woods were like a full body workout. All my muscles hurt. So why I allowed the kids to talk me into taking them to soft play, I don’t fucking know. We were there almost all bloody day until I called uncle and begged to go home. They made lots of little friends of all ages, including some adults who Snort utterly charmed, and it was nice, but damn. Sore muscles!

Really noteable thing for me is Snort’s determination. The kids were in the toddler area, and one of them decided they were pirate and the ball pit was the sea. So they dived for treasure, which was balls. Treasure was thrown out of the pit today’s me, who was the land. Snort eventually determined he would empty the ball pit and worked like a fiend. I felt a bit of uncomfortable social pressure because, shit, ball pits are not ‘supposed’ to be emptied, but we knew we would clear up afterward and I was not going to quash him. Soon other kids came to help. Soon older kids (in school uniforms) came to tell him off and immediately try to tidy. It was an interesting dynamic and gave me much to observe.

Think more garden time in the afternoon, largely consisting of me sitting in a comfy chair inside and counting down for them to have horse races. Yeah.

Thursday:

Okay. Second best day ever.

We started a pottery class for home educated kids this morning. Was amazing! Coco was pleased there was a ‘teacher,’ and I was pleased he said this would be a self-directed learning experience. He was on hand to offer helpful techniques and answer questions, didn’t talk down to the kids, let the, use sharp knives which mine loved, and was just chilled. Lots of familiar faces, and lots of new faces. Look forward to the next session very much!

Afterward we walked to a nearby square for a picnic with Catgirl, and a new mum and her two slightly older boys joined us. Snort and these two kids were like fucking hooligans (aka like every home educated kid in a park, when did he get so old?!), brandishing sticks and chasing pigeons while screaming with abandon. I found myself totally immersed in chatting with the adults, only having to occasionally check on him. Then our other friends we see every week, let’s see, we shall call the kids …I don’t know….came. The older boy, who struggles with aggression, shoved Snort really hard into the ground. Sigh. This happens every time we see these people, and Snort in general is so sensitive he often falls prey to this sort of thing. Whereas the boy tried to shove Coco, who shifted her body weight away and gave him such a cautious, menacing look he stopped dead in his tracks. Snort in generally is very joyful and trusting and open, and can’t understand why anyone would purposely do anything to hurt someone. Coco is more guarded with new people or people that she knows can be rough.

Catgirl, Artiste, and us decided to head over to the science museum, and on the way we bumped into another home ed family we know. Had a quick, nice chat. (Also, the quiet joy of always seeing people we know, feeling we belong, it is nice.)

Science museum was deeply awesome. They had a new exhibit with giant Lego blocks, hard hats, diggers, and construction jackets. Saw ANOTHER home ed family there, and I spent ages chatting with the mum because her kid has severe allergies as well. Going to meet up with them soon. Again, it hit me how old the kids seem because they were able to play and run around to find Catgirl and I trusted them. That simple act of trusting my children pays off hugely.

Snort had a devastating moment. He’d been working with a group of about nine year old boys on a school trip to construct an absolutely massive house, and was totally captivated with it. Of course, once it was built the older boys knocked it down. He cried so hard and so noisily that staff came over to make sure he wasn’t hurt. My sweet boy.

We spent hours there, loosely doing our own thing and then joining back with Catgirl. Had a big talk with the kids about blood – red blood travelling through the body to feed it, then turning blue when the air is used up, so it travels back to the lungs for more. This was really mainly Coco and me, so imagine my surprise when TMD came home and Snort gave her a big explanation about the blood, and he had all the concepts right and was so enthusiastic. Also had a good look at the brains, saw blood being pumped through our veins (Snort remembered the word ‘veins’ from a few weeks ago!), made giant bubbles, and Coco made another stop animation movie. She concentrates hard when doing these movies, loves taking the pictures, and is generally more interested in the process of creation than the final project. She’s amazing.

Snort was very interested in the movie set lighting controls (a famous series of shows and movies are made here in the city, and they donated some stuff to the museum).

Again, we could have stayed here all day and basically did, but I was achey. Unfortunately we missed seeing Jazz…..I thought of inviting ourselves to her house but thought that would make me an ass. Little did I realise that Lauren had texted to invite us. Whoops. Hope to see them soon!

Late afternoon we watched 101 Dalmatians for the first time. We all enjoyed it. It was literally the first tv/DVD they’d seen all week. Guess they overdosed on it when they were ill!

Friday:

Kids made a giant ‘bed’ filling the entire upstairs hallway while I was in the shower. They took care of their babies for a long time, then gradually wandering downstairs. I stayed upstairs listening to the radio and writing this post (bliss) and came downstairs to an elaborate toy layout. No wonder they’d been so quiet. Every small toy they owned was neatly laid out on the floor in a giant area. If you’re my fb friend you may have seen the pic!

Snort has been carrying around a picture his friend Walnut made, so we decided to make some pictures for Walnut (Aussie’s boy) as we decided we quite like mailing things to people. Coco picked Halloween stickers and therefore followed a bizarre conversation I never expected with a three year old, whereby I explained Frankenstein and vampires (which she was particularly interested in), along with candy corn and ghosts stuck in bottles. I helped the kids write their names on their respective pictures, and they were SO CHUFFED.

Ten minutes later and Coco is using a blue circular laundry basket as a pool. Bunny is under her shirt. She proceeds to climb into the pool, have a water birth, and then put Bunny straight to her chest with a cloth over Bunny. Can you guess what sort of YouTube videos we have been watching lately? Ha.

At gym the coach wanted to see Coconut on the balance beam. She froze when the coach held her hand and backed off. She agreed to do it with me holding her hand and coach watching – interesting as Coco always does the middle of the big beam by herself but wouldn’t with the coach watching. Yet she was confident enough to run up to her and ask her what a piece of equipment did. We then talked about how Coco loves handstands, and the coach showed her a great thick pole to put her feet up against to help her balance. She absolutely refused to try it, and from then in just wanted to sit. Coco is definitely a perfectionist and I found the whole thing interesting, and also from a schooling point of view I wonder what it would have done to her self esteem.

Catgirl randomly said to Coco while at gym, ‘I love you!’ This is a pretty big deal and I’m happy the kids are fostering a close friendship with her.

After gym, Catgirl and Artiste, Chuckles and Actor, and Coco and myself went across the street to the playground for a picnic and a run around. I texted another home ed mum who we had happily ran into before gym, and she came over to join us. Snort’s footie friends invited us to the zoo this afternoon, but I’m just not feeling it and Artiste and Actor were like my booster club, encouraging me to remember that this journey involves me and I’m not a martyr. They are correct!

Instead the kids played together inside for quite some time, before we spilled into the garden. snort was bottomless. Neither kid had a sweatshirt on. I was wearing a sweater and a scarf. Our internal temperatures do not match up. They pretended they were angry birds for quite some time, and I was drafted into being a bad piggy who got chased around. We had dinner outside, and then I brought music outside and we gave quite an elaborate dance show to anyone who happened to be overlooking our garden. Keeping it classy. We also read graphic novels/comic books. Ironman, of course. Snort loved it. Coco was more interested in some new medical apps I downloaded, kids ones where you pretend to be the doctor for animals or babies. Though she also loves one for medical students that has detailed pics of the body.

Weekly roundup 13 – 19 April 2013

April 20, 2013

Saturday:

Well, it was Coco’s turn for the high fever. And TMD got sick as well. Snort was a bit chirpier, but we were all definitely unwell. Handy as we had booked non refundable hotel rooms for the weekend, as we were supposed to be going to see family. Oh well. That’s all that can really be said, because most of the day was spent lying listlessly and watching tv. Again.

Tonight and last night I did the bedtime thang alone with Coconut, as TMD stayed down with Snort. Coconut liked the one on one time, we had baths together, cuddled till she fell asleep, etc. Was really nice.

Till about eleven pm, when hell cracked open. Cue two very confused and uncomfortable hours where both children are alternating earth shattering screaming, requesting apple juice, and somehow we all ended up together in the lounge. Of course the kids got the couches, TMD was on the floor, and I was sitting upright wrapped in a sleeping bag until I escaped upstairs. Awesome.

I couldn’t sleep most of the night because I found out our friends from our last home, who have a set of twins six months younger than ours, well…both of the parents have cancer. It makes me very anxious to think about it. Very. So I will stop writing now.

Sunday:

Snort much better. Coco still unwell and fevered. Odd for her because I swear I don’t think she has ever had a fever. I think this is the flu. Again, not much can be said about today except that Snort wanted to have some fun, but was trapped in by the rest of us. He and TMD did go on a mercy mission to buy bananas and chocolate bourbons, but again, lots of everyone laying around, wanting an adult to lean on.

Had a post bathtime discussion with Coconut where she clarified she wants to learn to read now, and was keen for me to teach her. Uh, okay. I thought she was coming on really well anyway, probably ‘advanced’ for her age, though we don’t place much stock in that, and I sort of didn’t think ‘teaching’ was going to be required. Well, whatever. I anticipate staying in again tomorrow so people can continue to mend, and if we don’t all go batshit stir crazy, perhaps she’ll be reading Shakespeare by nightfall. Wish me luck! Ha.

Monday:

Woe is me, etc etc. Kids much chirpier and playing, but still spouting snot and coughs and gag induced vomiting over fever medicine. TV is finally blessedly off, though, as they are no long limpets on the couch. I guess that’s a good thing. I still feel like a limpet, though.

Um, writing this next bit Tuesday night. Yesterday is a blur. I had a great hour and a half in the morning where I actually did some stuff around the house, played with the kids, and soldiered on pretending I was Ma Ingalls. I even whipped out sharpies and index cards and started labelling the hell out of everything we own in the ‘learn to read’ quest, ably helped by children scribbling pictures on paper and sticking them everywhere with blue tac.

The next thing you know, it’s evening and I have a migraine and everything is shit again.

This is the day I finally understood the phrase ‘touched out.’

Tuesday:

Every single night since The Sickness has been hell. Imagine my delight when I woke up at 8 am. I was very confused because normally I have to be up by 7, but…

TMD stayed home from work today and spent the day in a coma in bed. Coconut still has bright red cheeks and can’t stop coughing. Snort is dripping snot but appears to have finally semi-mastered blowing his nose. He also is totally covered in a rash I’ve never seen before. Luckily, we had a pre-booked doctor appointment, so my crazy out of control worry and diarrhoea only had to last twenty minutes before we found out it is viral rash.

My crazy self may have also mentioned to the doctor that Dr Google may have suggested that one of my kids’ constantly itchy bum and crazy personality for the last couple of weeks may be worms, and she was like, well, it’s really fucking common. So is dry skin. So keep the area round the ass lubricated, and hey, let’s treat you all for worms just in case.

This is the day I learned that liquid worming medicine for humans in ‘white banana’ flavour tastes just like banana flavoured Runts, my favourite childhood candy. It was so awesome I wanted to drink the whole bottle.

(It tasted so good I am sharing this gross bit of our lives on here because it made it bearable. In reality, I don’t think this kid has worms but wouldn’t it be great if they DID and this one small spoonful of awesomeness could cure them?)

Snort has not dropped another centile and is, in fact, holding steady at his new shorter centile, somewhere below 50 percent. Coconut holds rock steady at somewhere between the 9th and 25th. You’d have thought I was short. I’m not. I’m tall for a woman, the sperm donor was 6 foot. My parents are both very tall, my sister is a giant (about an inch taller than me, though she claims more) TMD says this is my grandmother’s genes coming through.

I honestly remember nothing about the morning before our 11:40 doctor’s appointment. Genuine giant hole in my recall. At the appointment I ripped a leg muscle by, oh, standing up. So my memory of this afternoon is icing my leg, massaging myself with Arnica, grimacing over (unrelated) sore boobs, and lying still on the couch while the mostly recovered children are acting like wild animals. Snort informs us,’I am all better now. I’m ready for adventures. Swimming pool adventures, outside adventures, even riding in the car adventures.’

I also asked what they’d like to do when they grow up.

Coconut: Be a doctor.

Snort: Be Spiderman! I want to have webs, to have little buttons to push to make webs.

Okay then.

Wednesday:

TMD home sick again after a night of hacking her lungs out and helping children who are also doing so. The air is perfumed with Vicks.

Still, we had a nice family chat this morning. In the autumn we are going abroad with my family, to Italy for a short break, and we were talking about who was going, how we’d get there, etc. We also starting learning the Italian for ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ ‘hello,’ ‘goodbye,’ and ‘ice cream.’ Obviously the phrase ‘ice cream, please’ garnered much interest, and a talk about what sort of gelato they plan to have. As always, she wants chocolate, he wants ‘white.’ I think their minds will be blown by the gelato displays there.

A few days back we started looking at a guide book of the city we will be in. I think this Italy flavoured learning will probably loosely carry on, reaching fever pitch excitement just before the trip. Still, September is a long time away! We shall see.

The kids and I played a few apps, then spent the bulk of the morning cleaning the kitchen. Coconut is always the first to volunteer to help and is so keen, and Snort joined her. I’m on a mission to get things back on track, and it was great to have help.

We then spent a big hunk of time reading together on the couch, followed by pursuing Coconut’s idea to make glasses like the character in one of the books. She did all the cutting herself while I held the paper. They look totally fierce. She is fierce.

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Snort’s nose dripping is slowing. Coco is still coughing a lot, and both cheeks are bright red. She is also walking the tightrope between low and high fever. We begged off meeting with friends today and tomorrow, and I think that was a solid choice.

The kids played in their rooms awhile, then TMD woke up and played with them. Both my leg muscles on the outside of my thighs are very painful, so it was a relief! I then started getting another wicked headache so came upstairs. I immediately passed out and woke at six, when I discover TMD had watched two Toy Story movies with our recovering kiddos. The kids also spent some ti,e sticking oddly shaped sequin things (a leaping stag, wth) onto card with glitter pens. They also all rescued a butterfly (?) in the garden, and planted more chili pepper seeds in empty butter containers. Snort’s previous batch haven’t grown at all. Coco’s tomatoes are doing okay. And the cool potato experiment we have going, allowing us to see the roots and develop of potatoes, is smashing! Will probably detail this in another post as I bet some of you would like to try it.

Snort is desperate for us to go out and buy Kinder Eggs. He has set up all his cars on the landing upstairs and wants to make a video for YouTube like the ones he watches. Maybe tomorrow will be his lucky day.

Thursday:

Begged off home ed meet up. Coco had a raging temperature in the night and was very unsettled. She is obviously getting better, but on the other hand that fever and the coughing shows she still needs rest. Snort is gutted. He said, ‘Oh, man, please. I want to go on an adventure. Please.’ Adventure is our word for basically everything we do, and considering we haven’t left the house except for the doctor since last Wednesday, we are totally overdue an adventure. I just don’t think today is the day.

Played a few apps, Snort played wildly with his homemade Angry Birds toys, we watched a bit of Toy Story 2. Coco played with our red and white dry lentils in a box filled with some Cars guys. She’s now playing with a toy dog she’s calling Snoopy and taking him to the vet.

Coco then asked to lay down with me. We agreed we’d eat first – her and Snort played like maniacs while I cooked lunch. Then she asked for a cuddle and snuggle. Next thing I know, she’s asleep in my bed. This kid has not slept during the day in almost two years. She’s poorly. So I go hang out with Snort, who also passes out. I enjoy the breeze through the windows, the time to read, and then she wakes up screaming in pain. She’s obviously got another ear infection, on top of everything else. That poor fucking kid. I ran down here to get pain meds and the thermometer, as she’s covered in sweat and raging hot, but she passed back out before I got back upstairs. Add this to Snort’s horrible crackly breathing, and the crazy mom in me wouldn’t be surprised if we end up in hospital.

I jinxed it all. I made a joking comment to TMD this morning like, ‘Man, she will need a nap today after the hell of last night. But I know she won’t sleep. Hell, if she did I’d know to call an ambulance.’ Nice, huh.

And TMD said to me this morning, ‘We are so lucky he’s on his inhalers daily. Otherwise he’d be admitted to hospital with this thing.’ And after days of clear breathing, brotha needs rescue inhalers and sounds like I’ve sounded on days I could barely breathe.

Now that I’ve got that all out, I’m sure they will both be fine. I’m also sure we will be cancelling gymnastics tomorrow.

Okay, post nap they were noticeably better. We still essentially hung out in my bed and watched movies. A bit of reading. Coco went to sleep as normal, and Snort was up till all hours due to the gigantic nap.

Highlight of the day was TMD bringing home Kinder Egg knockoffs with mini superheroes inside. Seriously dope. Yes, I said it. Snort’s dreams came true because we made a video of him and Coconut and the beloved eggs against a backdrop of cars. He watched his video a lot. I’d show it to you, but we discovered too late he was bottomless and this ain’t that kind of blog.

Friday:

Went to Nana’s, which was possibly too much as Coco spent much of the day in her tired zone, where she constantly gets hurt and then cries. Once home, Snort kept falling asleep sitting up and I experienced hell trying to keep him awake. Fun day, though.

We did lots of free play, drew pictures, chased bubbles in Nana’s garden, and unravelled a ball of red wool multiple times and spun a giant web in the lounge, then pretended to be bank robbers and stepped around/under them. I also invented a wicked game – well, bastardised an existing one. Have you ever done that team building exercise where you write your name at the top of a paper then hand it round….everyone writes a nice comment then folds it over so no one can see what they’ve written. I did that but with sight words, lots of names that are important to us, emotion words, random words, etc. The folding meant they only had one word to focus on at a time, but at the end a sheet of about ten words to pick words from. Sounds lame but was totally fun. I swear.

Only other noteable from this day is that we have been talking about right and left for a few weeks. As we got into the car, I made a crack about wondering if I would remember how to get to Nana’s house since it had been so long since we’d been there. Cue two kids who gave me perfect directions. ‘You’re going to turn left here at the shops.’ ‘Right! Turn right here! No, I mean the next street!’ Was cool.

Ode to Plants vs Zombies

April 9, 2013

People say, what does home education look like? What do you do? For us, we are child led. Of course the kids are only 3.5, but we have no plans to try to recreate school at home as they get older.

What does child led mean?

Well, they like Plants vs Zombies, Snort in particular. The game itself offers a child a chance to learn strategy, use maths (storing those suns to buy plants, people!), basic reading (‘It says a huge amount of zombies are going to attack,’ says Coconut), develop memory skills (all those fucking plants, my god), talk about emotions (Why does that potato guy look sad? etc), and have fun. The fun is the incentive and the reward, as well as the fact that all three of us often play together all snuggled up in one chair.

But the spin off activities have been adding to the great fun. I’ll write some of them here, but hastily add that I did no lesson planning, and actually most of these were child inspired. I often follow their lead and am pleasantly surprised by how accidentally creative we are, and how many subjects actually branch off from one hobby.

brains

Coco loves medical stuff, and always has, and the whole zombies eating brains thing has prompted ongoing discussions about brains. The skull that keeps them safe, the different parts of the brain and how they have different jobs, how the brain interacts with muscles, etc. and then obviously quite a lot of science spin off stuff from there!

drama

Snort can do a wicked impersonation of a wide variety of the zombies from the game, and we often have fun physically acting out the game. Some of us are plants, some zombies, and sometimes we just sit back and watch Snort perform.

art

Using a deep lid of a cardboard box, we lined it with green felt for grass, and TMD helped the kids make trees and other plants so we could build our own Plants vs Zombies set.

gardening

Snort almost shat himself with joy when he saw chili pepper seeds at the shop. Now we have planted chili peppers and tomatoes, along with some potatoes that we have been chitting for a few weeks. Lots of talk of how plants grow, etc, which is also science, of course. Photosynthesis for the win!

exercise

Yes, I jest, but the ten minutes of zombie exercises the other day were truly awesome.

taste tests

Waiting for the chili peppers to grow is agonising, so we had some chili peppers delivered with our shopping last night. Hence having a taste test of green and red peppers this morning at 7:30 am. Snort, king of not trying vegetables, was keen to reassure us that Coco was wrong, that his mouth would not be on fire. Ha. One absolutely GIANT bite directly into the middle of a green pepper promoted a facial expression that is burned into my retinas. He deigned to lick the outside of the red one, hammed it up, and then watched with interest as I fanned my mouth and gulped milk.

I’m sure there’s been lots more related stuff, but these are the first examples I could come up with in a limited span of time.

Stay tuned for a possible upcoming ode to Angry Birds, which is promoting an ongoing explosion of creative thinking, crafting, and physics. I never thought I’d let my kids play video games this young, but am seeing them as a valid and fun way to spend some time, and seeing the continuous outpouring of creative learning is winning me over.

Weekly roundup 23 March – 29 March

March 31, 2013

Saturday:

Brilliant day! Headed over to a food festival and basically spent all day there! We did some jammin’ public dancing, painting, playing, trying on silly hats and gaping at ourselves in the mirror, making homemade juggling balls, crafting, and creating junk art ladybird (Snort) and bee (Coconut). Oh, and ate some amazing locally sourced food….and Snort’s main objective, buying a shitload of strawberries and eating them in one go. The kids also handmade pasta and pesto and got to use a pasta noodle making roller thingie, though we got away lucky because it didn’t occur to us that the pasta had raw egg in until well after he’d finished the activity.

Snort was also thrilled to get his face painted like Spiderman, with a healthy dash of glitter on top. He looked incredible! He also assumed everyone in the place was talking about how great he looked. Coconut wanted to be Green Goblin, but by the time Snort was done she decided she didn’t want her face painted after all. I don’t know how much this was influenced by the face painter saying, ‘And what do you want to be? A butterfly? A fairy? A unicorn?’ Coconut is not into princess culture, and she is sensitive enough to be realising that many people have the expectation she should be because she is a girl. We are always confident in asserting that the kids pick what they like – Snort’s first face painting adventure was similar, when he wanted to be a sparkly pink butterfly and the face painter made several comments and painted him brown….before we asserted to let him pick his own colours! Honestly.

After we left the festival, we rode a bendy bus back to the car. Snort stood in the middle twisty bit holding a pole the entire way, and he loved it. LOVED IT. We then made a quick trip to the scrap shop, inspired by all the junk art crafts we made today. 3.00 for all sorts of recycled materials, including a giant red rope net which I foresee will get heavy use. Also found wicked trays to use in future maths games. Came home to find a delivery of Levels 1-3 ‘Kipper books,’ as we call them – massive sale online (let me know if you want the website) and scored all twenty five for 14.00, saving over 100.00. Yeah. We read all twenty five books in one go, Coconut intensely interested in all books and exercises, Snort probably listening to about half. He played with Hamas beads as well.

Sunday:

Hamas beads again featuring large in Snort’s love life. He and TMD have put beads on the thingie, ironed, and then made them into magnets. Meanwhile I’ve been trapped into reading Coconut 20 of the Kipper books! I then disappeared upstairs for most of the day, so let’s hope TMD will add on here…

This morning started pretty slowly with some tv, books and playing while I did endless chores. Snort and i made hama bead magnets for the fridge while existere read all the new biff, chip and kipper books to coco. Much of the morning was taken up with them both pretending to be firefighters (coco was fireman sam, snort was penny) and i had to call from various rooms of the house and tell them there was a fire which they would put out. they used a variety of objects as masks (mussies, playmobil trees!) and extinguished fires by either squirting with water from a pirate hook (coco) or throwing a red net (red water) over the flames (snort).

Coco had a melt down just before lunch – I think due to Snort wanting one of the 3 green dinosaurs from toy story that we own to play with while Coco thought she should have all of them. And most of the other toy story characters too. Having calmed down she helped me make lunch. We had a conversation about tin cans as we got out her (vile) yellow soup she likes. This led onto recycling and me trying to find videos on YouTube about this. We watched some rubbish being sorted, some paper being made and some aluminium being recycled – this was by far the favourite. Existere was bemused when we all sat down to lunch and, asking what we’d done this morning Coco says “we watched some rubbish on the computer”.

After lunch we went to see their great Nana which involved much running around, disrespecting furniture and dropping crumbs on the floor. Things you don’t notice in your own home. When we got home Snort wanted to stay outside in the freezing cold to kick a ball around while Coco decided that going straight inside was a much better option. The kids played while I made dinner and Snort cracked out a wipe clean book of mazes that we bought yesterday. Dinner, bath and bed and two very tired children were asleep 5 minutes after the stories finished. That makes for a happy TMD.

Monday:

Gym is closed for two weeks, so this morning the kids, myself, and Mil went to a museum/art gallery. Lots of dinosaur bones and exhibitiony fun. Snort did not like the taxidermy animals, so he went down with Mil to people watch. Coconut and I spent a big chunk of time in the ceramics/glass area. She found a computer and somehow navigated around the website (second time using a mouse, ever) to click individual pictures of pottery/etc. For each piece she selected, we then looked through the small gallery to find. And repeat. Was actually really lovely.

We then went to a couple of shops where I oogled filofax goodies, before heading home. The afternoon was spent playing with Grampy….the old ball game on the stairs, plus the newer (but still verging on traditional) game of Grampy being a baddy while Snort was Spiderman and Coco was Tree Fu Tom.

I then made dinner, washing up while it cooked. I heard Coco say, ‘Can I help you wash the dishes, Mama?’ so she got a stool and I moved over. We did the dishes together, agreeing that we really quite liked washing up when we did it with other people, and that we were a good team. It really struck me as a beautiful moment, especially as all day I watched her with her verging on blonde ponytail and pink turtleneck, and I saw a younger me. Of course she is her own person, but today I thought of generations of women, of what I might have been like at Coconut’s age, of what she might be like at mine.

Tuesday:

Em, I’m writing this and the rest on the following Sunday, so it’s tricky to remember much!

The main bit of this day was a playdate at one of Snort’s friends from football. Yet again, another day of Coconut wanting a gun like the boys, and Snort wanting to pet his friend’s baby sister. They got an invite to a superhero birthday party, and Snort held onto that paper like it was gold. We were there most of the day. We had the chance to try Reading Eggs, and Coconut liked it.

Wednesday:

Went over to Lauren and Jazz’s house first thing in the morning. The three kids spent a healthy amount of time jumping on Jazz’s bed, which always is a highlight. Also a lot of rescuing people with a rescus dog to help – Coconut being required to save us all multiple times. I got good advice from Lauren re: a thieving person who visits our house – such good advice the rest of you miss out on a crazy post about it.

Leaving Lauren’s house I had a godawful time. Her road is the tiniest road on the planet. We are talking cars less than an inch away from each side of the car as you drive down, and I happened to be parked on a road at right angles, packed with cars, and cars right up to every edge of the junction. I drive a loooooong car. I had to yell out the window for some innocent passerby to help me, and by the time we got out we were in a mega rush. We had to skip a trip out to eat, pick up Mil, and then race back across the city.

We went to the kids’ first musical and it was AWESOME. I was worried Snort wouldn’t like it as it would be too loud, but he was entranced – laughing and commenting and staring. And Coconut was REALLY INTO IT. Joining in, making the international sign for rocking out, totally involved. At the end was a dance contest on stage, and both kids ran for the stage – no looking back- and just danced for….for Earth. Hardcore dancing, and they looked so joyful. They were the youngest kids up there and I think they represented three year olds well!

Thursday:

God along remembers what we did in the early hours, but we then headed over to court to drop off our applications for adoption. We had a ridiculously cool time. The kids were asking all sorts of questions, and we ended up discussing metal detectors, sound travel, retractable fences, etc. the security guard fucking loved us and we had a great convo with him.

We then headed over to Catgirl’s house. Of course I had a satnav disaster on the way, but we eventually got there. It was fab. A highlight for me was the three kids sat round the table, which was heaped with mixed up piles of craft stuff. Snort was running a shop selling feathers, mini umbrellas, glitter, etc. The girls each had a giant piece of coloured paper, glue, glitter, and plastic animals.

We also spent a big chunk of time outside – some of it erecting little flags from around the world in the garden. So that was a chance to learn a bit about different countries.

The MOMENT for me was Catgirl (who was pretending to be a lion cub, and that Coco was one too) saying to her mum, ‘One lion cub forms a close friendship with another lion cub.’ That shit about melted me. I love little Catgirl, and as she spends more time with us, her inhibitions around touch and play are lowering. She let Coco pet her, give her pretend medicine (another kids who likes the medical/veterinary play), sit on her, etc. All in all, I’m so glad her mum (does she have a blog name? Is her code name Artiste? I think so) and their family moved to our city.

Of course, Coconut also smashed her face on the floor and cut her frenulum. Again. It wasn’t as bloody as I remember the first time around, but it was still but churning fun.

Friday:

I had like twelve hours of sleep, and stumbled all bleary eyed and crazy haired downstairs at the magnificent hour of 8:45. I shit you not, TMD had already done science experiments, art projects, fucking cooking with the kids, etc. I was like, ‘I should not be the parent who is around them the bulk of the time. Seriously.’ Here is TMD’s list of the day:

Shows inc button moons
Choco baskets crispie cakes
Big straw pipe drinking water and bubbles
Free play with mama
Craft chick and nest
Show me show me (Coco)
Playing with cars ( Snort)
Free play
Building dens and visiting each other. Babies, swimming, Snort being Coconut’s baby.
HSM dance party 16 16 16…
Lunch
Visit to T house – pine cone collecting, playing in trees, games on the lawn, look round the house, space hopper, ice cream in cafe
Mr Ben on while everyone played
Dinner
Wipe clean maze book (Coco)
Bath, books, bed

More on the afternoon, from me:

In the afternoon we went off to a sort of local, uh, ‘fancy house’ property. We shall call it House T. House T was fab – huge gardens, lots of winding paths, a FANTASTIC gnarled climbing tree the kids pretended was a pirate ship, etc. They were not enthralled with the house itself, but the outside bit was great. They collected every pinecone on the ground…and it only occurs to me now that im not sure what we did with the bag they were in. That’ll be a nice messed up treat to find in a few months. They also had outdoor games on, and Coconut loved her first go on a space hopper. She has persistence, that girl. Also egg and spoon races, egg basketball, frisbee, etc.

We did a bit of maths while there, with crackers. The kids know about wholes and halves from the moon, and we did it with crackers. Next step: quarters!

Mini break.

March 22, 2013

We had our first night ever without kids last night. Well, since we had kids, but you know what I meant.

We were in separate cars, so as we left MIL’s house to drive to go out to dinner (!), I had my first opportunity to drive alone at night while blaring music. In over thirteen years. Seriously. You guys know I didn’t get my license in Country B till well after the kids were born. I used to LOVE driving and last night was AWESOME. Dinner with TMD was nice, too….heh.

Came home, watched a bit of shitty tv, and then we both just collapsed and passed out. Ah, parenthood.

This morning I have had a couple of hours alone before I need to go pick Coco up for gym. So I have stretched, sat, slumped, and pseudo slept on the couch, alone, under a thick blanket, while watching shitty morning tv. It is AWESOME. Like ten million steps beyond awesome.

I forgot those little pieces of me. I totally forgot how good it feels to sing to very loud music while alone in the night. I never get a blanket to myself.

I love my kids. But wow. I love morning tv, too.

Adoption.

March 17, 2013

Since I know there is at least one other lesbian family that reads this blog and may choose to do a step parent adoption, let me outline our process:

First, we contacted social services to get put on their wait list. After an eternity, we were finally allocated a social worker and also gave permission for a student social worker to help. Our expectation was that it would be a fairly brief process, since this social worker needed to complete the work in under two months. Meetings were every fortnight.

First meeting: the social worker and student came to our house. This was really just an introduction to each other and the process. The kids interrupted loads! Ha. The plan was laid out – the main objective was completing the adoption report. It was divided into manageable chunks; we would complete and email it to them prior to each visit, and the visits would be spent answering any additional questions.

Second visit: The student came on her own. Spent about an hour answering her questions, chatting,etc. This time we sat round the table as we thought the kids might interrupt less….it sort of worked. Ha.

Third visit: the student and social worker came. Again, they only had a few questions about the paperwork (as by this time we had Sussex they liked long, chatty essays for each question!). We discussed the next steps – they are chasing up various references (whoa, TMD needed a lot. Every position where she’d ever worked with children, three personal references, info from the fertility clinic, police check, etc)…. The fertility clinic, in particular, are being an ass. The lady in charge of the sperm is always shocking at getting back to people, but this time I’m seriously annoyed as if we can’t prove the donor has no legal rights, TMD can’t adopt. Ugh. Gave the social worker the contact details as I suspect an official request may bear more weight.

Next step is waiting to hear from the social workers regarding submitting our official application to the court for the adoption. The court then schedules a hearing within three weeks or so. Social workers want us to wait till the report is totally finished so we have no delays before court.

Fourth and final planned visit : cancelled as they don’t need to see us. Our last visit was actually really nice….they told us they may not need another, so I made sure to say a warm thank you for how respectful they have been of our family. We could not have asked for two nicer workers, particularly the student, who I suspect is actually the one doing all the work for our case! The social worker said it was really nice to just ‘get to see a really happy family for once.’

I will say I also asked about the process to foster or adopt further children from the care system. Got a detailed answer and this is not entirely off the table. This would be something we have to think very deeply about, as well as the impact it would have on Snort and Coconut. The average placement age is three years – and by that age, the potential for attachment disorders is just massive. Also not sure how the home educating stuff may influence their willingness to place a child with us. All stuff to think about for the future…

Will obviously update you all as things move forward. Maybe we will have a virtual adoption party! You can bring the streamers and balloons, I’ll bring the dressing up box and the cheese. Deal?

Cheat on enough dentists and eventually you will find the one.

March 12, 2013

Yes, my new dentist is so good it felt like I was almost in Country A. Plus, he grew up in Portugal and was raised on basketball from Country A, and had a friend who lived in the exact place I’m from. So we had a nice ten minute bonding session while waiting for x rays to develop.

He was stunned another dentist said my tooth had bruised. He explained everything he did before he did it. He had excellent bedside manner, and best of all – he really knew his shit. He took me seriously.

I am in dentist love. I promptly registered the rest of us with him. While giving TMD’s name, her mum (who came to watch the kids) was visibly upset that TMD hadn’t told her that TMD had changed her name so it was the same as mine and the kids’. Whoops.

So anyway, this post is for the zero of you who read my last post and thought, ‘Woah, she’s really worked up about this dental shit. She even drank wine!’

Today I’m sober and relieved. Of course my cracked filling isn’t going to be fixed for another MONTH, but at least I trust the guy who will eventually get around to doing so.


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