Friday 24 October 2014

It was a hair cutting day today. Emma and I had an appointment at the hairdresser’s after school. Mine is just around my shoulders and she cut the side fringe back into it, and Emma had a good ten inches lopped off the bottom of hers. It’s just below her shoulders now- she looks really cute and I can’t wait to see what it looks like after she’s washed it and it’s settled a bit more.

Troy cut Jericho’s hair with the clippers once we all got home too. This came about because when I cut Troy’s hair with the clippers yesterday I asked all the boys if they’d want theirs done too. Jericho, for some reason I’m not really sure of, said we could clipper his hair if we hosed him off instead of making him have a bath. It was too late to do that yesterday, but that’s exactly what happened today! Troy clippered his hair on the back porch and then we took him down into the yard and hosed him down- he thought it was hilariously good fun. And he’s now got a short and easily maintained hairstyle for summer, so I’m going to encourage him to keep it for a while. His hair is so thick, it must be cooler to have it super short during the hot weather.

I taught today which, as always, had its good and bad moments. It seemed to go quickly though, which was good!

I saw Martine, the psychologist, and spoke to her after she’d spoken to Emma. She doesn’t tell me specifically what Emma says of course, but we talk in general terms about what’s worrying her and Martine tells me how she’s approaching things. She said today that Emma’s a very sensitive child and is easily upset talking about things, but she seems very comfortable sharing with Martine and they’re working on some concrete actions and goals.

I find this so difficult, but I do really like Martine. She definitely seems to understand Emma and her approach is very slow and gentle and based a lot on art and creativity. She said that they don’t just sit there and talk- they made a ‘worry tree’ and have been drawing a lot of things to illustrate feelings, and even when they are just talking they were decorating butterflies with textas. She said today that it’s going to take a while though. Emma’s feeling pretty fragile, and there’s a lot that we need to do to build up her confidence and resilience.

I guess I just kind of hate that so much of it is my fault. I totally understand that there’s nothing I could have done that would change this, and that really we shielded the kids as much as we could and probably better than a lot of people in the same situation would have been able to…but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck.

Thursday 23 October 2014

I just had a somewhat frustrating reading session with Soren. Nothing too terrible honestly, the child is learning to read at a steady pace, but he keeps completely ignoring the words printed in front of him and just makes stuff up. I know that all kids do that to an extent, but he seems to be taking it to an extreme. And not because he can’t read the words either, just because he can’t be bothered actually looking at them. Maybe he needs glasses or something.

I think I just feel guilty about his reading. I can’t help thinking that it’s because I was so depressed and completely checked out of his schooling that he’s not learning to read as quickly and easily as the others did. I mean, he really didn’t get the reinforcement and practice at home that kids need for quite a long chunk of time this year. I also feel bad that maybe it’s just because he’s the fourth child and we’re too slack now.

Then of course I read what I’m writing and just roll my eyes at myself, because Soren’s reading is perfectly fine! He does need practice, but he’s not falling behind or anything. This isn’t something I need to be overly concerned about. Just keep on doing his readers with him and go back to practising his rainbow words and wait for it all to click for him.

I did all my Indo prep today. I’m getting a bit quicker at whipping up some worksheet activities! The preps are still doing food and I thought I’d mix it up by introducing some animals to them, so I’ve got a page with animals down one side and foods down the other and they’ll have to draw a line connecting the animal to its food. Grade 1s are going to make up word searches with their animal words and then swap them around to do them, Grade 2s are still doing food so we’re doing an unscramble the word, Grade 3s are doing prepositions (which they will have forgotten, we’ll go over them again and then they can draw and illustrate them in their books).

For grade 4-6 I thought I’d introduce them to google translate. I want them to see that learning a language is about so much more than just direct translations of words- you need to understand the different meanings and nuances of words and sentences to make it flow. Google translate is awesome, but if they think they need never learn a language because they can just translate everything via that then they’re going to have to think again. What I’ll get them to do is just type a little paragraph into it in English, have it translated to Indonesian, then cut and paste it and translate it back to English and see what they get. They can try writing in different styles or about different topics and see what comes up. I think they’ll find it interesting, and it’s a pretty good point for them to make. Since their computers are limited I guess they’ll do that in pairs, and the other kids can play bingo while they wait for a turn.

I went on the treadmill today. I know, I was shocked too. Really, I’m kind of surprised the thing still works after aeons of neglect, but it does. So I guess I’m back to trying to get some actual, quantifiable exercise into my life. I have no great hopes for success, but that’s no reason not to try again.

Wednesday 22nd October 2014

It was quite hot today, and I didn’t like it at all. I don’t think it’s a good sign for summer that we’re having hot days now.

I slept in today. I actually forgot to take my medicine until really late last night, and so Troy thought maybe I should just sleep in and he got his mother to take the kids to school. I was quite grateful for it- basically I think that I need a few extra hours of catch up sleep every week if it’s at all possible so that I can function, so god bless Troy for making it possible.

I didn’t do too much with my day, honestly. The usual house stuff, some writing, some thinking about my Indo classes for Friday. Another episode of True Blood. I’m nearly finished season six, and I know it was apparently wildly hated but to be quite honest I’ve found vamp camp and the return of Sarah Newlin to be extremely entertaining. I don’t really care about Sookie and her vampire fairy lover and all, but I love all the Jessica and Pam and Eric and Jason storylines going on. Not that anyone is that interested in my opinion of True Blood.

The three younger kids had swimming again today. That’s going well, Jericho told me he is very good at sidestroke now. He and Emma were also very tired because they’re in the same class and they were the only two in it today so the teacher worked them hard! It meant Nicholai and I were the only ones at home this afternoon so he talked to me about cricket a lot, which was as exciting as you can imagine!

I need to get it together. I’m being kind of lazy and just drifting along and periodically panicking about all the things I need to do, which isn’t a constructive way to live. I need to think about this and get myself going again.

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Emma’s birthday is nearly organised. I went shopping for her today and got most of what we wanted to buy for her.

I stopped at Spotlight first, because she’s mentioned wanting to learn to knit and so I thought some needles and a knitting bag and yarn might make a good present for her. I haven’t been to Spotlight for ages and I really didn’t enjoy it as much as I used to- they seem to have cut their craft section down dramatically so now it’s really a homewares store with a craft section, rather than a craft and homewares store. However despite that I found a sheep bag that I’m sure Emma will love, and I bought her a couple of chunky yarn and a set of chunky needles for her. I’ve got several knitting books saved as pdfs on my computer, so I’m going to get Troy to print and bind the ‘kids knit’ one for her, and then I’ll teach her.

I went to Knox after that because I wanted to go to Toys’r’Us to buy her other things. Although I wandered into Target first and was rewarded by finding all their Lego sets were 20% today. So Emma’s getting the Lego Friends juice bar set, and the ‘Emma’s lifeguard station’ set (so she’ll get the Emma Lego girl) for her birthday, and the Hartlake High Lego friends set for Christmas.

I also bought the fire station Lego set and will put it away for Jericho and Soren as a shared Christmas gift. Troy and I are slightly uncertain as to how a shared gift will work with those two (Jericho is not the best at sharing) but I think it should be okay. The set has the fire station building and a fire truck and a fire helicopter and a small fire vehicle as well as several minifigures, so there’s a lot in it for them to take turns with. Besides, if they didn’t get it to share they wouldn’t get it because it’s too expensive to buy for just one of them.

I went to Toys’r’Us after that because I was going to buy some more of the Shleich animals figures that Emma wanted. That would have made her birthday all done, but much to my disappointment they didn’t have any good ones! They had heaps of horses (which she already has) and almost nothing else. So I’ve had to put off buying the Schleichs- she’ll want the mum, dad and baby set so I’ll leave it until next week and go to Eastland and see what I can get for her.

I also went to Best and Less (haven’t been there for years) and bought some socks and sports shorts for various children who required them, and then I was home by lunchtime. Spent the afternoon doing stuff around home and then went and picked up the kids, who had all had good days at school. It’s nice when I can pick them up and we can just chat and enjoy being with each other.

I’ve made an appointment For Emma and I to get haircuts on Friday. Emma decided she’s ready to let go of all her beautiful, long, thick hair for a while and she’s going to get it cut so that it’s only around her shoulders. This is mostly because despite being almost eleven, she can’t even brush it. It’s too long and thick and so easily tangled that she just can’t deal with it. I don’t mind doing her ponytail and plait for school, but she has to learn to do it herself at some point. And that point is now! So we’ve decided that if she cuts a lot of it off she’ll be able to manage it by herself, and by the time it grows back she’ll be an expert at doing her own brushing and ponytailing. Hopefully, anyway!

Monday 20 October 2014

Soren seems to have finally made a friend. It wasn’t that he hasn’t got along with the other kids at school before now, he’s always seemed to socialise well enough and have people to play with when he wanted to, but he’s also spent a lot of time playing alone and has never really become friends with anyone in particular. It’s one of those things, if he seemed lonely or unhappy about this I might have worried about it but as long as he’s been enjoying himself at school and his teacher said he socialises appropriately I figured we’d just wait and he’d make stronger friendships when he was ready.

Over the last couple of weeks he’s been talking more about Billy E and telling me that they’ve been playing together. It was so funny last week actually, he was holding my hand as we were walking out of school and telling me that Billy E was so nice that he (Soren) had told him a secret. I said, “Oh, that sounds interesting…are you going to tell me the secret too.” Soren beckoned for me to put my head down next to him so that he lean in and whisper in my ear, “No. It’s a secret!”

I talked to his teacher last Friday when I was there for Indonesian, and she was telling me about Soren and Billy E being friends. She said she was so happy about it, that she’s always thought they would be good together and it’s very cute to see them playing together now. Billy’s mum and I were talking at pick up today and she said Billy was sad at school drop off this morning and Soren came over and asked him if he would like a hug. Billy said yes and then they hugged and went off to play together which she said was just so funny. Anyway, while I wasn’t worried about Soren’s slow social start I’m glad to see him happy and having a buddy.

I really enjoyed the beautiful sunny day today. I don’t know, I even just sat out on the porch for a while having a drink and not doing anything else, just enjoying the sunshine. Sue from the office came over for some apple cake and gossip during her lunch break, and that was good too.

Here are some photos of the work we’ve been doing in the front yard.

Oh, and it’s not the garden, but this is what we bought to decorate for Christmas- just testing it out. I wanted something to go in the fireplace, so what better than an LED reindeer? (We’ll take the guard out though, i think!)

Sunday 19 October 2014

We had the school fair today. It was huge, I’ve got to say that the school mums who organised it (and no, that was definitely NOT me!) did a really amazing job. We spent a few hours there and the kids had a great time. We bought them each a wristband so they could go on the rides as much as they wanted to which was definitely worth it, even if you only looked at how many times each of them rode the mechanical bull, ha ha ha! They also had a fun time on the inflatable climb-and-slide thing, the rock climbing wall, the jumping castles and fighting in the sumo suits. They played tennis, Soren played on the playground, we watched the SES cut up a car and petted the dog at the animal aid tent. (Oh, I wanted to take her home so much, she was such a sweetheart!). We ate lunch at the fair and then the kids bought a lucky jar and some giant candy and then we came home.

The kids were wrecked after it. I don’t know, my kids behave like hyperactive maniacs a lot of the time but I don’t think they actually have that much stamina! The fair was totally tiring though, I came home and had a nap, and the kids spent the afternoon just kind of hanging out. We gave them an early bath and then they watched the Bee Movie on tv, had tea, then early to bed. We haven’t heard a sound out of any of them.

That’s Nick in the red and Jericho in the blue.

Saturday 18 October 2014

I felt like I was in a creepy movie this morning while I was shopping. I was in Bunnings for only about ten minutes and I saw three sets of identical twins. Then we went to Officeworks and the only other children in there was another set of identical twins. I also have to mention that all the twin pairs were wearing matching clothes. The whole thing was really quite unnerving.

I was shopping with Emma, Jericho and Soren this morning. Troy had Saturday morning appointments at the office and Nicholai went to cricket with Steve, so it was just the three younger kids and I left at home.

We went out because I had to pick up the most recent photobooks from Officeworks, so we stopped by Bunnings on the way. Last time we were there I saw an LED reindeer decoration that I wanted to buy to put in our fireplace for Christmas. I didn’t buy it at the time because I’m trying to be careful with money and I thought it might just be an impulse purchase, but since I still wanted it the kids and I went back for it today. Then we went to Officeworks and collected the finished photobooks (which were one each of Jericho and Soren, birth – one year) and bought a new four ring binder, plastic pockets and laminating pockets for Indonesian.

The kids were really good. It was a really short trip, and the little boys loved their photobooks. They both want to take them to school on Monday for show and tell, so I guess that’s a good sign that they liked them.

Our yard looks great now, after some more work this afternoon. Troy mowed and used the whipper snipper, and I finished putting down all the mulch we had. It’s still a work in progress, but it looks nice tonight.

I also had to cook this afternoon, because tomorrow is the school fair and we had to do something for the cake stall. I made caramel popcorn because I think it’s delicious and it will be something different for the stall. It worked out okay, although it didn’t fill the Costco pretzel jar I had saved for it so I’m slightly concerned that anyone who looks at it will just think we ate some, rather than that we put in the full amount we made and it’s just a really big jar!

The kids are really excited about the fair tomorrow. I think they’ll have a really good time. Well, I hope they will. We’re going to buy them a wristband so they can go on rides as much as they like, and I guess we’ll take some other money so they can buy some lucky jars and food and stuff.

Teaching went well in the end yesterday. I had a timetable to follow, and it was interesting seeing how the classes are going to be next year. I did a half hour session with the new preps for next year which was really cute. Crazy though, after this year with Soren’s class being made up of 15 boys and 4 girls, prep next year is going to have 11 little girls and 2 boys.

Emma will have the same teacher next year, Soren will have the teacher that Jericho has this year, and Jericho will have the teacher that Nicholai has this year. Apparently Nicholai was not overly thrilled to learn that his teacher would have Jericho next year. I think it was the first time that Nicholai has actually had to face the fact that while he’s going to high school next year and will have a new life, things at the primary school are going to go on and change even without him!

Emma saw Martine, the psychologist again yesterday. I spoke to her later too. She told me a few times that she thinks Emma is a really, lovely sweet girl and that she’s already a pleasure to work with.

Martine also said that she’s really like to refer Emma to a program for children whose parents have a mental illness. She said that she thought that would be really helpful for Emma. The kids in it are given age appropriate, understandable information about mental illness and how that can manifest, and they have a chance to talk about how that works in their family and how the kids feel about it. Martine said the information would be good for Emma, and having a safe space to talk about it would be a benefit, and also knowing that she’s not the only one in the world who deals with this. I think she’s completely right and I said she could refer Emma; she probably wouldn’t be able to start a program until next term (which is now next year) but at least we know that it would be in the works for her.

I’m so glad that we’ve found Martine, who seems so focussed on doing the best for Emma. Emma is really responding to her too, which is great.

But even though all of that is great and I’m really, really grateful that we seem to have an opportunity right now to work on stuff, it just made me feel so shitty. Once again yesterday I kind of had to think about the way I am, and the way I have been and will be in the future, and to once again realise the kind of impact that it can have on the kids. And I know it’s pointless to even think it, let alone write about it here in my journal, but I hate being this way.