Brain Squirrels

Click here for a fabulous picture of a Brain Squirrel!

I had my birthday last week. 47.

A few weeks before that, I had an experience that forced me to confront the fact that my attention issues really were a thing. There was a job vacancy that I thought I would be perfect for, and I wasn’t asked to apply. There may be other reasons too, but the brain squirrels weren’t helping.

That neurotypical people don’t develop post office phobias. That neurotypical people can live their lives without losing something every single day. They can break down a task (like writing an essay, or going to the post office) into logical steps, and then tick them off a mental list as they are achieved. They can complete higher education. They can maintain relationships with people they care about, and if those relationships end, they understand why. They can keep a stable, boring job. They can stay awake through a powerpoint presentation.

That neurotypical people don’t have squirrels in their brains. And the squirrels aren’t on party drugs.

The day after my birthday I forced myself to go to the GP and talk about my symptoms. My mouth opened, and it all came out at once. Before I had barely begun to explain, the GP swivelled on her chair and started to write the referral to a psychiatrist.

A week later almost to the hour, I was in the office of a psychiatrist who has a special interest in adult ADHD. I filled out the screening test paper, and was told that in the spectrum of ADHD symptoms, from mild to “holy shit, I can’t believe you survived to adulthood”, he said that I have been “suffering under a heavy burden of symptoms”.

Here is a pretty clear description of the inattentive subtype of ADHD. This is what I have, not the better known variety with hyperactivity.

Yesterday, I started medication. It’s going to take a while before we will get the correct dosage and medication, and find the right combination of long acting and short acting meds, but I am hopeful that within a few months, life will stop being so hard. And maybe I’ll be able to get to the post office to send you that baby vest I knit when your three year old was a newborn.

Harry Potter Themed 9th Birthday Party

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Guests were asked to arrive promptly for sorting into houses. They were then sent in for wand making (sticking washi tape and sparkles on to chopsticks), and then to Professor Moody for Defense Against the Dark Arts (Pin the Wand on a large poster of Harry).

Then they were sent outside to practice Wingardiam Leviosa (balacing a baloon on a wand tip), while waiting for Divination class.

Cheryl made a brilliant Professor Trelawney (albeit without the sherry fumes), and some kids loved her class so much they wanted to do it twice!

While Divination was in session for one house at a time, Brooke ran History of Magic (Harry Potter trivia), and Vish ran them ragged with outdoor games.

We then had snacks and cake and present opening, and finished up with a herbology class, putting Extract of Murtlap and Bubotuber Pus into small jars for potions lessons at home. Preferably in the bathtub!

A wonderful time was had by all the kids, and all of the adults were driven to gin. Thank you to my wonderful professors, and Angi who quietly helped where it was needed and helped everything to run smoothly. I have had some lovely thank you messages from parents, which make all the effort worthwhile (as well as having a happy kid!).

Happy Birthday Squidilng

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Kid went to bed 8, woke up 9.

Went to bed with Ogden the Octopus, and his new favourite soft toy “Zombunny” tucked inside his pyjamas. Zombunny was an early Christmas present made by the wonderful Cheryl, and he is perfect. At nine, he is still the kid that is late for school to stay with a dying monarch butterfly, has meaningful relationships with soft toys, and one particular tree at school.

At nine, he is still generous with his kisses and cuddles, still loves extravagantly, and still holds my hand to cross the road. But he also plays chess like a fiend, can ride his bike all the way to school, and climbs all the way to the top of the indoor climbing wall without a trace of fear.

He is brave, he is sweet, he is kind and he is clever. He is every bit as wonderful as I ever hoped he might be, and he keeps getting more and more himself, which is an absolute joy to watch. The last few years have brought some tough challenges, and he has recently proved to be more than a match for them. With the support of his teachers, he has gone from strength to strength this year, and (touch wood!), we may have found the magic formula for engagement at school. See the previous few posts for more detail.

And today, we finally had the initial assessment with an Occupational Therapist. It will be a while before we get the report back, but it looks like we might be finally on the road to a diagnosis, and some support for his challenges.

After the OT, we had lunch at his favourite restaurant Ras Vatika (Dosa and dhai Puri with a mango lassi), then went into town to see the windows at Smith & Caugheys. We wandered inside and discovered the Magical Forest, so we decided to check that out (highly recommended if you’re in Auckland with a kid), and then to Aotea Square for the giant lego Christmas tree.

Daddy then met us at the cinema for “Fantastic Beasts”, sushi for dinner, and then a trip to Giappo for the world’s best ice cream.

Which apparently comes with a candle for your ninth birthday.

On the way home he told me that he wished he had a time turner so he could live today over and over again. “It’s like I drank a whole bottle of Felix Felicis last night, and I’ve had a whole day of perfection”. I hear you kid.

Lara’s Magic Cast On

I really love Judy’s Magic Cast on for toe up socks. And now I am teaching toe up sock knitting, and about to release my first sock pattern, I have been knitting a lot of socks.

Judy’s cast on gives a great finish, but it’s just a bit too fiddly for me. I am a very lazy knitter, so if I can find a short cut, or a way to fudge something, I’ll do it. This is a very quick and basic video, and hope someone finds it useful.

Just remember that on the second needle (the one on the “top” in this video), you will need to knit the first round of stitches through the back loop to untwist them. The ones on bottom needle can be knit normally.