The cub has had a good first week, with a routine of evening reading that got him a reading star, and comments from his teacher when I picked him up that he was settling in well.
We gave him a day off yesterday but today Lady M has engaged him to do his homework with the promise of boardgames afterwards. Only minor active resistance was employed, mostly because we’ve waved a game he’s been wanting to play for ages at him, and because Lady M has negotiated a pocket money earning scheme depending on his doing homework and housework.
I’m currently sitting opposite him while Lady M uses a combination of open questions and humour to head off his deflections when he can’t see an immediate answer.
He’s also rocking a new haircut, following a sneak booking into the barbers in our local Tesco. I went to do the shopping accompanied by the cub and boy s, and then handled the queue and payment while boy s took him for his booking. The cub apparently uttered a ” Oh no…” when he saw where they were – which feels a fitting response to the almost passive resistance we’ve had all week to the concept.
Now he’s got it, he is of course very pleased but like many typical ten year olds he won’t be told. So far, so normal.
The cub starts at his new school tomorrow, which came as something of a shock to him while we were being shown round this morning. As you might expect, all the stages of grief and protestations have been rapidly cycling today as a result.
Behind the snark and angst and sarcasm however, it all comes back to him being a very anxious young boy who has had a lot of change and upheaval in the last few weeks. It makes the outbursts easier to put in context even when we’re being driven to distraction.
But we’re working together and supporting each other and him, and I’m sure that once he’s actually started he’ll calm down and resume his ordinary goblin behaviour. Let’s see what the morning brings
Despite the foggy start we headed out to the wilds of Hounslow today in search of school uniform items for the cub. The boy s was down in Portsmouth getting more work done on his leg so it was just the three of us piled into the car as the sun burned through.
I grew up in the area but haven’t really been back in years. The High Street is still bustling and energetic, but recession has bitten it hard, and I felt saddened to see what it is now compared to what I was even ten years ago. There’s what feels like an undertone of desperation rather than the busy hustle that I would have previously characterised as its mood.
And yet at the same time there’s life and energy rather than the flat despair of some high streets. It was a strange mix, and perhaps I felt it more because I had a youngster with me and was therefore more consciously watchful.
With all that said, the school shop was a step back in time both to equipping the Charleesi for her own school journey, and memories of my own trips for The Mall, and St John’s. The staff were friendly, and I slipped into a comfortable space as we assembled all the elements we needed. I even enjoyed the dust and fabric scents of the shop as a sensory treat – it was all very familiar in a comforting sense.
We’re meeting the Headmaster of the school that the cub is transferring to on Tuesday – well boy s and I are anyway. It does feel very strange to be diving back into this mode again with the Charleesi all grown up now. That said I’m in a very different headspace and set of circumstances this time. I’m not deeply unwell in the throes of clinical depression for starters. Maybe I should just accept this as the universe offering me a chance to experience all this with a clearer and healthier head.
I can accept that gift now. There’s a lot of experiences that I didn’t appreciate as much as I should have when I was ill and there’s still guilt around that that I work through in counselling. Today has stirred up rather more than I was expecting but it feels healthy even if it has been exhausting.
Another busy couple of days, largely based around personnel and hiring issues and processes, and it does feel like progress of sorts. The boy s has started his new job too and is, predictably, exhausted from the step change in physical activity that comes with it.
What seems to have been a consistent element in our collective week has been conversations around pronouns in and around our respective work places. Both myself and Lady M are among those championing the wider placement of pronouns in online and physical spaces.
Explaining why I wear a pronouns badge and put them in my email signature and Teams profile is another aspect of my drive to be visible and normalising their use, as well as a statement in support for those who may not feel safe or able to express their real selves at this time.
The real delight this week has been hearing how boy s’ new workplace has so actively championed this since reopening post-covid and the supportive and open feel that his workplace has as a result. This has proved especially important in the face of aggressive and malicious misgendering that he has faced from members of the public and that has been both draining and dispiriting for him.
This maliciousness is something I’ve experienced for myself in response to pronoun use, but as I’m cis I can’t even begin to feel the depths of how nasty and abusive this is for trans people. Seeing and hearing the hurt and exhaustion experienced by boy s is very difficult, makes me angry, and makes me more determined than ever to support friends, partners, and anyone else that needs it.
With new staff starting this week, some dynamics have of course shifted a little, and I was pleasantly surprised at lunchtime to hear something from the staffroom that I’ve not heard in a while: happy people. There was laughter, even.
It took me a moment even to place it, what with the blur of change and stress that covid and restructures and new systems have put on people. But there it was: a lightness of tone in people’s voices, laughter, and a general relaxation even if just in that moment.
Here’s to more to come.
I’m pretty sure I mentioned a while back that I’d been notified that Amazon were about to start widening my access to various markets with a program of translation into various languages in an automated process.
Well, that process is now underway, and my Ludd Clothing items are now available in not only the UK and US versions of Amazon but also the French, German, and Japanese markets as well. Looking at my visitor statistics I can see regular visitors from each of those areas, so if you’re interested please take a look and I’ll endeavour to put direct links up for each of the .de .fr .jp and .com versions in addition to the .co.uk version above.
So, that’s a thing that’s happening.
I think the most vivid memory of Pride this year has been how many young families and indeed young people were visible and active in the Parade. The streets were lined with people of all ages as you might expect, but it was the youthful contingent that stood out for me – happy and vibrant no matter the waiting or the weather.
There was… a sense of opportunity to raise the roof. I’m glad I was there.
We have a household of nervous people, but all be well. An early start planned, and then Pride in Surrey awaits.
I have plans. There will be photos. It’s going to be a good day.
I’ve been banned from putting glitter in my beard for Saturday. I’m in the Parade on Saturday so I was heard to opine at work that I needed to decide on an outfit.
Glitter was mentioned. I teased boy s with that when I got home and saw a look of horror on his face that would have made Munch reach for a new canvas. And so, with a joke about glitter being the herpes of the craft world, that idea was nixed.
I may wander to Partica in my lunchbreak and see what they have in the way of hair spray colours instead.
It’s official, boy s and the goblin are both installed at home with us now. All we need to do now is get the unpacking and decluttering coordinated with the blending and shifting. I’ve just settled the goblin with a bedside story from The Graveyard Book and promised to do some sketches of him.
My price for doing so will be for him to do some of the homework set by his school to do while we get him registered with one of the local schools.
We’re going for calm and steady rather than dramatic and panicky. This isn’t exactly difficult – they’re both already so much more relaxed now the move has happened, and that alone is a joy.