A Chouxnut Learning Experience

This season of Great British Bake-Off, my brilliant sister came up with the idea of a weekly betting pool to guess who is star baker and who is eliminated. On Sundays we convene in Zoom to rehash what happened that week.

We bet nothing and win nothing beyond the thrill of guessing right, yet we’ve had such a fun time every week! I’m far more invested and interested in the show every week, literally cheering when my pick for star baker proves right (this is extremely rare, although odds get better as the season progresses). And, as Colleen intended, it gives us all something to gather around. Continue Reading >>

Apartment living

I mentioned previously that Benji joined me for our first week flying solo this last week. Benji’s never lived in an apartment before, and honestly I haven’t lived in one for well over a decade. 

As a result, we’re used to making noise levels appropriate to a single-family home. One day when Benji was here visiting, our downstairs neighbor came up and mentioned he could hear Benji’s running. We apologized and promised to try to keep it down.

Then during the week when Benji was gone, I walked across the house in my bike shoes — which do tend to be pretty noisy, with the stiff plastic soles and cleats — and within about 30 seconds the downstairs neighbor banged on the ceiling (I assume) to tell me to quiet down. Continue Reading >>

First week in the apartment with Benji

This week marked the first week Benji joined me in my new apartment. I’ll be honest: I felt deeply apprehensive. I’d done weeks with him before, but at my parents’ house, where things were familiar and, worst comes to worst, there’s other adults around. This was the first time I’d really be 100% flying solo with him.

Sunday night, I put him to bed and he came in twice – once to “get help falling asleep,” and once to adjust his nightlight. After I finished up with him the second time, this huge wave of feeling overwhelmed washed over me. How was I going to do this?! Continue Reading >>

The shape of life

Normally my life is shaped like a circle. Everything repeats on some cycle: daily, weekly, monthly, annually… family life consists of routine and then more routine.

But now I’ve thrown all the routines out the window. We’re renegotiating every single thing, large and small. (I started to list some examples but honestly it really was everything, and I don’t think listing every darn thing in my life is going to be very interesting.) I don’t think I’ve had so much uncertainty in my life since I went to college. Continue Reading >>

Candy-themed frozen yogurt

After school on Thursday, I took Benji clothes and shoe shopping. To overcome his initial resistance, I pretty unashamedly bribed him with the promise of frozen yogurt if he cooperated. One very cooperative shopping trip later, we found ourselves at the Menchie’s in Bothell surveying the available flavors.

I’m going to try to report Benji’s frozen yogurt mix without any obvious bias. He selected toasted marshmallow and cookies & cream frozen yogurt plus a dab of Swedish fish sorbet, topped with gummy worms and Sour Patch Kids. Continue Reading >>

Processing… please stand by.

I think I mentioned Benji’s neuro testing previously. On Thursday we finally got the results: ADHD, with a side of something I forget that distilled to “totally clueless about social cues.” (I assume the written report, which we’re still waiting for, will have those details.)

It’s been such a long road already, and it feels like we’re just starting the journey. There’s so much to learn about how kids’ brains work when they have ADHD and how we adapt our parenting now we know this is Benji’s deal. It doesn’t change who he is; it’s just another piece in the puzzle of understanding him. Continue Reading >>

Hammock time

Before they left for Seaside, Benji and I talked about putting up a hammock in his room. He really likes the hammock area at the physical/occupational therapy clinic, and I thought putting one up in his room might give him a way to calm down and settle a bit better.

I ordered the hammock before they left, and it arrived fairly quickly. Hanging a hammock is pretty easy; you just have to make sure you go into a stud, and use a sturdy enough hook.

Hammock 1

I sent Ian and Benji a picture of the finished hammock, and Benji loved it. He told me to allow only three snuggles in at one time. Continue Reading >>