Wednesday 1st October 2014

Okay, I think I’m ready for school holidays to be over now! The kids were going nuts today. Emma, Soren and Jericho were playing together and having a great time, but there was an element of out of control hysteria about it all.

Nicholai is just starting to get anxious over things. He needs school to give his mind something to focus on, rather than spiralling off into angst. He’s starting to spend more time rocking from foot to foot and telling me things than he was, and today he kept telling me repeatedly that he was nervous about cricket, which starts on Saturday. He’s nervous about his own skills, and he’s nervous that they won’t have enough players since apparently several people from his team last summer have changed clubs this year. I’m sure it will all work out, but he’ll probably be stressed about it until it’s over.

Soren lost his second tooth today, so the tooth fairy is paying another visit tonight! It was the one at the bottom in front, beside the other tooth that fell out, so he’s got a double gap there now. The two adult teeth can be seen though, so they won’t take long to come in.

I must make dental appointments and orthodontist appointments. Ugh, that’s not something I’m looking forward to.

The kids and I all watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire this morning. I really love it when we all watch a movie together- I think it just felt like such a long time getting to this point! And it’s still not always the case of course, in fact it’s still only an occasional thing, but it’s something I really like. There’s just something kind of cosy and friendly about watching a movie together.

I also spoke to the psychologist from EACH this morning. Hopefully this one is here to stay! We talked about Emma and what’s been going on, and what we’d like her to get out of sessions with the psychologist.

I also mentioned that she might end up with Jericho too, since his teacher wants to refer him, so we talked a lot about his issues too. I think she’d be good for him, and I actually think it would be really good to have the same person dealing with both of the children. Their issues are individual, but you can’t get away from the family influence and impact. If the same person deals with both of them and talks with me, I think she’d develop a much deeper understanding of where they’re coming from and it would probably be easier to create effective strategies to help them.

We talked for a long time. She said I sounded like an impressively insightful and caring mother. Perhaps all my angst and navel gazing about the children and their issues actually counts for something in the end?

Although, talk about feeling like a drama queen! I really feel ridiculous when I start going into the history of all that has influenced the children during their lives- the bipolar, the depression, Nicholai’s Aspergers, family history of mental illness, moving, Black Saturday, Jericho’s appendix etc etc etc. It feels like every second sentence I’m saying “Oh, and then there’s this…”

I got a lot of writing done. Jericho was sitting beside me tonight while I was doing some, and he looked at me and said really admiring, “That’s some really mad typing.” Although then he frowned at me and said primly, “I wish you’d stop it because it’s very distracting when I’m trying to read.”

Tuesday 30 September 2014

I met up with Ellen and her kids for a picnic today, which was lovely! We had beautiful weather for it (actually too beautiful, I got sunburned!) and everyone had a good time. We met a park in Seymour, the one with the train and the playground that she and I once met at years ago, so it’s not really a bad drive for either of us.

Her kids are adorable. I’ve really enjoyed seeing all the nieces and nephews over these holidays, it’s amazing how much they’re all growing up! But Jesse’s going to school next year, and Quinn was sitting up today and Skyla is just the most hilariously adorable little thing ever. She’s so round and sturdy and has the funniest run and the cutest look about her; every time I looked at her I just laughed at the cuteness.

My kids had fun playing with their cousins too. It makes me proud of them that they do play so nicely with the younger kids. It’s also funny that they’re getting so BIG- Nicholai and Emma got bored with the playground and just wanted to hang around on the blanket and listen to the gossip!

Nicholai also sold a footy report to Ellen, who was very impressed. I believe the child made over $20 with this- I confess to being surprised that so many people paid money for his report, but to be honest it’s probably worth a dollar, and I have loved how proud and happy he has been to see other people enjoying and admiring his creation.

It also cracks me up that he signs them for people. Because his autograph is going to make it worth more, of course!

Nicholai and Quinn

Emma

Jericho

Soren, showing the gap in his mouth where his tooth fell out. The tooth next to it that looks so crooked is also wobbly and should fall out soon, so he’ll have a double gap across the bottom until the big ones grow in.

Jesse’s footy skills pretty much put my kids to shame, but he had a good time playing with Nicholai today.

Emma and Skyla collected flowers and rocks in the dry streambed.

Skyla showing Nick who’s boss.

This is how Quinn felt about being left with me while Elle took the other kids to the toilet!

Monday 29 September 2014

School holidays at home mode today. We drove back from Mum and Dad’s place yesterday, it was a long drive but not too bad. The kids are really good in the car for the most part, and even the dog isn’t any real trouble. We got home mid afternoon I guess, and basically just pulled everything out of the car and unpacked. Everyone was pretty tired, and it’s always nice to get back home.

The kids had a good time at Mum and Dad’s place. We went to the playground by the lake on Friday afternoon, and then Troy and the kids stayed at Mum and Dad’s house on Saturday and watched the (pretty terrible) grand final game. Mutari came over with Kareem and Samira and Jordan was there with Landon and Logan so it would have been a pretty busy house. I went to Rhiannon’s house with Mum and Lee and we all stayed there for some girly chat.

We did have a run-through footy banner though! Nicholai asked me a few times before we went if I thought “Nan would be hard at work on the banner?” I was not too sure about this, I think mum’s interest in making football banners has waned, but Nicholai really wanted one. In the end mum bought the crepe paper and said if Nicholai would help her she would make one, and even my son the anti-crafter couldn’t turn down an offer like that.

Soren lost his first tooth on the drive home though, that was probably the most excitement we had! It’s been wobbly for ages and now it’s finally out. He got his $2 from the tooth fairy last night and is quite impressed with the whole deal.

Today was good. The kids entertained themselves quite well this morning, I think being away for a couple of days makes them rediscover all their toys and the things they have to do here. They all went on the Wii and computer this afternoon and played outside in the beautiful sunshine. We went for a drive this afternoon, I had to get petrol so we did that, picked up my newest photobook of Emma at three years old, and bought picnic food to eat tomorrow when we meet up with Ellen and her kids.

I did a little bit of gardening this afternoon. The poison has worked on most of the things in the garden that I wanted to kill, so I pulled out a bit of dead and dying weedy growth. I found two skinks too, which was fun- they’re so cute. The kids and I all got to have a little hold and look at them and then we let them go. Anyway, the garden still looks like a disaster but maybe one day it won’t.

I know this journal is really boring and blah tonight, but I’m just not feeling it. We had fish and chips for tea tonight and I actually asked Troy to go and get the dinner and the dog with all the children, just so I could have some silence and alone time. It was good, although perhaps not long enough!

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Friday 26 September 2014

Nicholai’s career as a paid sports journalist has begun. He’s created a 14 page Grand Final Record which he somehow conned my dad into printing out and selling to his friends at work at for $1. So far he’s made $8 and he’s over the moon. He keeps picking up the little plastic money bag and looking at it, and making his already neat remainder copies into a neater pile, and it’s awesome to see him so happy.

He did a good job with it too! It looks quite slick- it’s all done in columns with pictures and it’s actually quite readable (which is not always Nicholai’s strong suit). He’s included some stats and info about past grand finals, and he’s written some articles about the Brownlow medal winner, about the upcoming grand final and what he thinks is going to happen and what will be important in influencing the result, and a recap of the season that was. There are a few tables for information, and then he’s also written a quiz and word search for the back puzzle pages.

Anyway, after all that, if anyone would like a mail order copy send him a dollar and he’ll post one back to you, ha ha ha!

We’ve been hanging out at Mum and Dad’s house, which has been good. The kids have been playing a lot of games, playing outside, drawing…the usual things. They play on the computer here but there’s no internet and no Zoo Tycoon (which is their favourite offline game at the moment) so they’re happy to just have their regular turns and then go and do other things.

We’ve seen Lee and Rhiannon and their children too, which I love. Although I’ve been so surprised this time by how much all those kids have grown! I think part of it is that I have the ‘big’ kids, so in my mind the cousins are younger and I think of half of them as being babies/ toddlers…but of course they’ve all grown up into real kids by now! I always wish we could see them more often, but since we don’t it’s sometimes fun to see how changed they are since the last time.

Our drive up wasn’t too bad. It will be so much easier a year from now when Soren can read enough to amuse himself with books in the car! As it is he sits there and stares out the window for a while and once we get to Ballarat we usually put on a dvd. The others read and then watch the dvd and I don’t think they really mind the time. I like having the chance to just sit and talk with Troy for a couple of hours too.

I don’t think we’re going to do anything super exciting while we’re here. Maybe just go to the playground and ordinary fun things like that. Tomorrow is the grand final so Nicholai will certainly watch that with Dad. I might do what we did last year and go with Mum and Lee and Rhiannon and hang out somewhere else, away from the football!

Tuesday 23 September 2014

I am so mad and frustrated right now. Troy left work early this afternoon, so I was looking forward to having someone to help me get ready to go to Mum and Dad’s place. Just once I didn’t want to be one person getting everything six people and a dog need to go away organised, as well as organising the animals left behind. We also needed to clean out the car because it’s full of rubbish and coats and plastic tubs and won’t fit in any of our bags.

But my previous computer was ready to be picked up at the shop so when Troy left work he wen to get that. Which is only in freaking Clayton, mind you. Anyway, he gets there and they bring out the computer and tell him that Samsung replaced the harddrive or the motherboard or whatever vital part wasn’t working. That’s all good, and then Troy asks about the 4gb of memory that was never connected (it was supposed to have 8 I think, but only half of it was connected- no wonder the thing worked like crap) and they had to check and OH NO, it’s not done. So they then rang Samsung, who want the computer back. So they’ve had this computer since the SECOND OF AUGUST and it’s still not fixed.

I am absolutely overcome with impotent rage. Because this is absolutely APPALLING service and there is not one single damn thing I can do about it!

Except you know, hate Samsung and never buy another computer from them ever again. Which I’m sure has them crying into their millions of dollars.

And because he had to drive all that way and then wait while the shop called Samsung and sorted out what to do with the computer, Troy is now driving back in peak hour traffic and won’t get home until after our regular tea time. So the car will not be cleaned properly (or at all, let’s be honest) and I have to do all the packing ANYWAY and now I’m crying because life is just too hard.

I’m never going anywhere again. I hate packing and I hate driving five hours with four kids in the car and really I just hate everything.

I was already stressed anyway, because we had a letter from the high school yesterday detailing what they want with their ipad program for next year. So that’s a lot of money, obviously, and then today I went on their website and discovered price lists for uniforms, books, and school fees and realised that it’s going to cost close to $2000 for us to start Nicholai off at school next year. (Which is excluding the computer that we had to buy for him this year, with next year in mind). Let me just say that once you have to buy ipads and $50 school trousers, a free education isn’t all that free.

It was all set up to be a calm and relaxing day too! Jericho, Emma and Nicholai were booked into a kids cartooning activity at the RACV club in the city so Jean picked them up at 8.30 this morning. I was up then, to help organise them and do Emma’s hair (she really has to learn to do that herself) and so once they’d all gone and Troy had gone to work, Soren and I took off for the shopping centre.

It was fun being just the two of us really. “Like when I was four!” he told me, like it was a million years ago. Soren was actually quite delighted to have me all to himself for the day, he always was a big mama’s boy.

We didn’t have anything very exciting to buy- just a couple of short sleeve t-shirts for Nicholai, since all his ones from last year have either been thrown in the bin or given to Jericho. So we bought them and some socks, and then went to the supermarket for lunch things and cat food.

When we came home we snuggled up on the couch and he watched Star Wars- the Clone Wars, then we just had lunch and kind of hung out until he went on the computer, where he stayed until the others came home. It was good.

The older three had a great time at the cartooning class, and bought their beautiful drawings home for me. They got a couple of little ‘how to draw’ booklets from the artist who ran the class and they’ve shared them with Soren, so he’s trying to do it too. Now I’m organising to go them through the bath and to help packing their stuff up, and whenever Troy gets back we’ll have pizza for tea.

Monday 22 September 2014

I had the joy of Ikea flatpacks today. And the non-joy of the pain in my thumb from using that hard little allen key to screw it all together.

We went to Ikea yesterday and bought two lamps and a metal table thing that we’re going to use just inside the back door to put cat food on the top and shoes on the two shelves. The lamps were for my study (a floor lamp to read by in the armchair) and a floor lamp for Jericho and Soren’s room since their ceiling light is so dim they’re practically playing in the dark in there. It wasn’t a bad trip, especially considering it was a Sunday afternoon- it was crowded but we only had Emma and Soren which made it much easier to navigate.

Nicholai and Jericho weren’t with us because they went with Steve to the VFL grand final. Footscray were playing, and since they’re the reserves team for Nicholai’s beloved Bulldogs he really wanted to see it. They both had a good time, made even better when Footscray won at the end of a close game. Nice for Nick to see his team take victory for once!

Today was the first weekday of the holidays. As always, I am just astounded by how LOUD my kids are! Seriously, they played together really well today (generally speaking) but they do it all at maximum volume and it just makes my head ring! I keep thinking they’re fighting, but they’re all just yelling at each other for fun. They played a game of Monopoly this morning (even Soren, that was a little surprising) and used up all their poker chips on electronics in the afternoon. Nicholai made up a soccer league and planned out the draw, and Emma and Jericho and Soren all played in a mud puddle that smelled like a bog. It was gross.

I made the Ikea stuff and baked a cake and did some writing and refereed the children. The usual stuff. Quite frankly I’m thinking it’s going to be bedtime very soon for some children. Or many children, ha ha ha.

 

Saturday 20 September 2014

Jericho spent part of today hobbling around using the rainbow, glitter filled baton as a cane and peering through Harry Potter glasses while he called himself Professor Pinstall. I have no idea where this character came from, but he was completely hilarious. His voice, his face, his sticking out neck and hunched over back…it was so completely well done. Perhaps he should become an actor?

Professor Pinstall was probably the highlight of my day really, although it wasn’t a bad day. Just a little bit boring? Troy had to work this morning, so it was just the kids and I at first. Troy came home only long enough to collect Emma and take her away to her riding lesson, and then after lunch Steve picked up Nicholai and took him to his football presentation day, so it was just Jericho and Soren and I for a while.

Emma’s riding lesson went well apparently- she was very happy because she “nearly fell off but managed to get back up on the saddle!” Since she seems to take after me in the falling off ponies sense (ie it happens a lot!) this is a good result for her! She rode Caprice again which makes a big difference, as Caprice is clearly a much easier horse to ride than some of the others she’s tried. Jean thought she might get Caprice back home for the summer holidays which would be good, I think Emma would like that.

Emma and Troy came home with afternoon tea and the dvd of Mr Peabody and Sherman, which the kids watched once Nicholai came back home. They all liked it a lot (actually, I liked it too, what I saw of it) and were quiet and happy and not arguing for a couple of hours, which is always nice.

They’ve all gone to bed now, and Troy is currently channel hopping through about four movies…which kind of drives me nuts, but I don’t actually want to watch any of the movies enough to insist he stay on one, so here we are!

I went back to the psychologist last night. It turned out it has been three months since I saw her last, which is longer than I thought. And yes, in case you had any doubts, avoidance is obviously one of my most used strategies for dealing with my psychological issues! As I’ve said, the more I don’t want to go the more I’m actually avoiding something hard to deal with, so the more important it is that I actually pull myself together and go.

I hope that we can get somewhere this time. I do think the medication is working to keep me stable enough and undepressed enough that I can actually start dealing with some of my issues and making changes that will have a positive impact on my life. I can’t change my brain chemistry, but I know there are ways in which my thought processes and inner beliefs hurt my attempts to live an emotionally stable life. Dealing with that won’t change the fact that I have this mental illness, but it might help me cope with it better.

Professor Pinstall’s assistant.