Sunday 23 November 2014

Troy and I are watching The Rover tonight. I laughed a lot when Troy put it on and told me seriously that it might be too intellectual for us, since it refers to itself as a ‘film’ on the menu screen. Considering the last movie we hired was Sharknado 2, he may be right that we’re not up for much.

It’s been a pretty nice weekend. Nicholai had cricket yesterday but his game was just here in town so Troy dropped him off and then went and bought him a cricket bat for Christmas. The other present he wanted was a retro World Cup Australia cricket shirt, but they were all sold out so we’ll have to find something else for him. He wrote his Christmas list on Saturday (although he hasn’t printed it out yet) so hopefully there’s something else on it that’s priced appropriately that we can buy for him.

Troy played golf with his dad in the afternoon, so it was just the kids and I at home. I did some re-potting of cacti, and then ran out of potting mix and had to go to Bunnings. The kids had to come with me (they helped choose the plants), so we all had a Slurpee for afternoon tea since the weather was so terrible.

I finished doing the re-potting and then arranged the pots next to the front door. Emma was helping me, and then the two of us put the children’s zen rock garden back together next to the pots. Emma had collected a bag of rocks while she was at camp so she put those in it too. The rest of the porch is still a mess, but there is at least one little patch of prettiness. And I love the zen garden.

I also spent a lot of time crocheting yesterday, making another one of those little cat people that I’m going to give to Hayley tomorrow as a thank you for looking after Emma so well on camp. I mean, I know as a teacher it’s her job, but she really did go above and beyond. It’s not only Emma on camp too- Hayley’s been so great with Jericho this year and been a great help to me as a teacher too. Anyway, I crocheted her one of my little crochet things because I know she loves them, and it really did turn out very cute.

The kids had hockey this morning, and Jericho’s friend Ry came home with them afterwards. The two of them together are SO silly, it’s ridiculous the way eight year old boys behave sometimes.

Troy had to go over to his mum and dad’s house this afternoon to help pull down the lean-to, so he took Nicholai, Emma and Soren with him. That worked out pretty well, they could play with their cousins over there and Jericho could play with Ry here. Apparently they did manage to get the lean-to pulled down and all the kids went fishing in the dam so it was a successful afternoon. They stayed for tea (Jericho and I made ourselves pizzas with corn thins, which were amazingly delicious) and when they came home we threw them in a much needed bath and then bedtime.

I’m really tired. Emma was so needy and clingy all weekend- honestly I was surprised when she said she’d go to Grandma and Pop’s house without me. She originally wasn’t going to, but we played up the fact that her cousins would be there and she could play with Charlotte, so she agreed to go. I’m glad she did, not only because she spent a fun afternoon with Charlotte but because she was tired enough to go to bed and go to sleep almost immediately, instead of staying awake and fretting over what’s going to happen at school tomorrow.

Friday 21 November 2014

I don’t even know where to start talking about today. Too many things happened and too many things to think about.

The kids came home from camp. They were supposed to arrive around 3.30 so I stayed to pick them up when I went up to collect Jericho and Soren. They didn’t get there until nearly an hour later, but Jericho and Soren were actually really good about just playing on the playground and with Luna while we waited.

Nicholai came up and gave me a hug and told me it was good to see me and he was glad to be home because he was really looking forward to going on the computer again. Okay then.

Emma came up and hugged me and hid her face in my neck and just stayed there for quite a long time. I think she cried a little bit, but then she had to go off and find her sleeping bag and Hayley (Jericho’s teacher who had gone on camp) asked if she could talk to me for a bit.

Emma had a really rough week on camp. She was homesick, she missed me, she cried. A lot. She cried while they were white water rafting, she cried while they were abseiling, she cried while they were doing other activities. She cried at night time. She slept in a room with the other girls the first night, then she slept in Hayley’s room for the next two nights. She and the other grade 5 girls ended up screaming at each other Thursday night (don’t know the full story about that, but it was mostly Emma saying how much she hates S because since she came to the school she and M have been best friends, and since M was previously Emma’s best friend she now feels left out) and so Emma slept in a different room with the grade 6 girls. She spent a bit of time by herself reading her e-reader. She sat by herself on the bus and cried and wrote mean notes. So…pretty much a week of her crying and feeling horrible.

Of course I bawled my eyes out while Hayley was telling me all this. It’s just so hard to know that Emma is struggling, and that I can’t do anything but try and help her through it as best I can. Hayley obviously had a pretty tough week with Emma, but she was also positive about it. She said that despite all the tears, Emma actually DID push through a lot of it. She did the activities and Hayley also said she was bright and funny and having a great time in between times. Hayley just said it was hard to see her so anxious, that it was a mix of her own anxiety issues and then trouble between the girls that Emma basically didn’t deal with well. Next week Hayley is going to get the girls together and try and talk about all this, which I’m sure will be fun.

Emma spent a lot of the evening wrapped around me and kind of crying, and then when she went to bed she really cried a lot until I went in and sat with her. She feels really bad about the thing with her friends. She’s completely exhausted.

I don’t know how we’re going to get through all this.

So yeah, there was all that Emma stuff. Then when I was driving the kids home after that I had a car accident in the roundabout just before my street.

It was totally the other person’s fault. He entered the roundabout when I was already in it and here wasn’t any time to stop so I just drove straight into him. It felt like a hard bump and it sounded much worse than it was- fortunately since it was a roundabout I wasn’t actually going all that fast. We both drove out of the roundabout and parked in front of the bank, and I was pretty much a giant mess and called Troy (who was still at the office) to come over before I even got out of the car.

The kids and I got out of the car and I was looking for the damage and expecting something bad, but there was only a little dent and scrape on the front corner of the bumper. Then the man came over and said, “Didn’t you see me?” and I got mad because it wasn’t my fault and told him that I was already in the roundabout and had right of way. He said we’d have to exchange information and went back to his car for a bit of paper.

Troy came over and then he and I went and looked at the man’s car, which had a much bigger dent than ours, also on the front corner bumper but on the opposite side. This pretty much supports the fact that I was already in the roundabout and he came in when he shouldn’t have- I couldn’t have hit him like that if he was in there first.

Anyway, I doubt he’s going to contest this. It’s pretty straightforward from the dents in the cars what happened. Also, when Troy gave him his name the man just looked surprised and said, “Are you related to Steve?” Turns out he used to work with Steve at Telecom a million years ago and Steve was also his accountant for a while. So there’s that.

God, I don’t know. Just all this stuff with Emma and hitting that car (which none of the kids seemed at all upset or concerned about, fortunately- they really are so good) and all of that coming on top of a morning teaching which always wipes me out anyway.

Although teaching went surprisingly well this morning, despite being a bit muddled. I managed, and I taught the new little preps for next year for a lesson, which was adorable. They’re going to be SO much easier to manage than this year’s preps. Although I did have a chaotic lesson in the grade 1 room because we were just settling down to do some drawing when a freaking king parrot came into the room! A bird in the classroom is an excuse for chaos at any time, but that bird was BIG. He must have flown in through the open door, but no one noticed him until one child gleefully pointed out the parrot sitting on the string that crosses the room that they hang their work on. We opened up the windows but the bird was flying too high and kept flying across the room and bashing into the windows at the top, rather than going lower and going through. The kids were all screaming and laughing and hiding under the tables, which of course just got the bird even more freaked out. Eventually I got the kids to settle down and keep quiet so they wouldn’t scare it more, and once they went out to play time another teacher and I managed to trap it in a jumper and shoo it out the window.

So really, after today I’ve just got nothing left. I’m tired, and I’m lost, and I don’t know what I’m going to do about anything.

(Well, except the car. Troy’s already called the insurance company and got that in motion, so at least one thing might not be too problematic. Emma on the other hand…)

Thursday 20 November 2014

Steve picked Jericho and Soren up from school this afternoon and took them to the chocolaterie for afternoon tea, where Jericho convinced him to buy something that Jericho could bring home to me as a present- a metre long bar of chocolate. Which is delicious, delicious chocolaterie chocolate, but a metre of it is actually quite a lot of chocolate! I’m sure Troy and I will cope though.

It’s one of the things I love about Jericho- the way he gets such joy about giving you something. It was good to see him so happy and animated when he walked in wielding this chocolate bar too, because he’s been a bit low. I think he misses Emma, and his teacher is away at camp so he’s in a different class which he’s finding stressful too. He’s just been complaining a bit lately about having a stomach ache, and this morning he cried because he didn’t want to go to school. I think he’s just a bit tired and unsettled at the moment, but unfortunately at this time of year it’s just going to keep going because there are so many out of the norm things that happen.

Steve picked up the boys from school because I was out shopping with Jean, who wanted some help picking out something for the boys for Christmas. So I dropped the kids at school, came home and did my Indo planning really quickly, and then met Jean at Nana’s house, since she always does Nana’s grocery shopping on Thursday mornings.

We drove to Knox so we could go to Toys’R’Us, because Troy and I thought more of the soldier play sets would be something Jericho and Soren would like. It was actually really good shopping, Jean had a list and we pretty much managed to to get most of it. Books for her and Steve, the soldier playsets for Jericho and Soren, Meccano for Will, Lego for Zac and Duplo for Elroy, books for the Berry Street Appeal, and the activity tracker I’m going to get for my birthday. Jean also bought Soren some Playmobil for his birthday. So it was a very successful shopping trip, but I am so tired tonight it’s ridiculous.

Since I was at the shopping centre I bought a couple of books for Santa to give to Emma, so her Christmas is taken care of now. We need to go to Amart sports to buy Nicholai’s presents, wait for the other stuff to come in the post, and do something for Troy and I. And Kris Kringle for Troy’s family (which we weren’t going to do, in an effort to save money, but then Jean just gave Troy the Kris Kringle names and the money so that we would be part of it too) and Kris Kringle for work. Blah. At least the kids are not doing a school wide Kris Kringle this year. It’s always been really fun, and it was a great idea when the school was small enough that you knew everyone, but it hasn’t been as good the last couple of years and so I’m glad they’re skipping it this year.

I’m teaching tomorrow, and it’s going to be so messy. The grade 5 and 6 kids are away on camp, and the grade 2 teacher is away on camp. So the grade 2 kids are shared amongst the other grades, all the grade 4s are together, and then just to make it all more fun tomorrow is a transition day, so who knows what kids are going to be in what classroom! I’ve planned for the groups I think I’ll have and prepared activities that can be done by a wider variety of ages, and I’ll do those if it’s possible. If not, I’m taking my book of Indo folk tales and can pull a lesson out of that at the last minute if all else fails.

Wednesday 19th November 2014

90’s fashion is really back, and it really continues to surprise me. I was served by a girl at IGA today who was wearing one of those plastic, tattoo chokers that we used to have- the ones that stretch out like an accordion to go around your neck. Such retro realness.

I am closer to being organised for the children’s Christmas presents, which is quite good for this time in November. All my panic about having no money and wanting to buy early seems to be paying off. Troy and I pulled everything we’ve already bought out tonight and wrote a list of what we had and then a list of what we want to get. We’ve gone online tonight and bought some other things which finish of Jericho’s Christmas presents and Soren’s Christmas and birthday presents. We’ve bought a couple of things for Nicholai’s birthday too, and even Jericho’s birthday in six months- football beanies and scarves were on clearance at Target online. I love online shopping so much. We still have to shop for a couple more things for Nicholai, but we know what we want and where to get it. I need to buy Emma a couple of books, but I can pick those up anywhere.

I have to say, all the birthdays at this time of year really make organising Christmas a little more challenging. With Troy’s on November 28, mine on Christmas day and Soren’s on January 2nd, we’re really not spacing anything out here. And of course Emma’s being on November 1 and Nicholai’s being on February 27 means they’re only two months out from Christmas each anyway. Bless Jericho and his July birthday!

Our house is really quiet at the moment. Nicholai and Emma left for camp on Monday morning at 7.45am and won’t be back until approximately 5pm on Friday. Taking two of the kids away at once makes such a big difference! It’s been nice though. Jericho and Soren are being best friends since there is only the two of them, which is really nice. Normally Jericho and Emma are buddies, and Soren plays with them too but does tend to get a bit frustrated or unhappy with them. Jericho is much more patient with Soren when it’s just the two of them- working with him to play games and giving him more time to get his words out rather than just talking over the top of him like he tends to do when Emma’s there.

I hope they’re having fun at camp. I’m sure they are, but it does feel a little bit odd to not speak to them and check that they’re okay for so long.

I borrowed the first season of The Walking Dead from the Oovie machine today. It’s incredibly gruesome, but I liked it a lot regardless. I crocheted while I watched it, for the first time in ages, and I couldn’t help thinking how strange it always feels to do something as genteel as crocheting while I’m watching blood and gore and serial killers and zombies (aka Dexter, True Blood, and now Walking Dead).

Saturday 15th November 2014

The only time Troy and I ever really fight is when something comes up about is his brother. Seriously, it seems like that is the only thing that ever gets us riled up enough to turn it on each other.

Today it was because Brett and April’s car (not the Prado, the small car that was April’s before they married) caught fire yesterday. I found this out when I was collecting the dogs from Troy’s mum and dad’s and came home and said to Troy, “Well, I guess I know what they’re buying Brett for Christmas then.” Which was kind of a joke, but of course had a basis in truth- Brett doesn’t take responsibility for his life, his mum and dad always pick up the slack. And yes, Troy came home from cricket today and said that it looks like Brett is going to ‘buy’ Nana’s car. And then he and I had a fight, which really is utterly ridiculous. Why do I still care?

I really don’t know. It’s surprising that I had time to argue with anyone, considering how much time I’ve spent asleep today. I slept in until 10.30 and then fell asleep on my bed in the afternoon for an hour or two as well. I hate that tiredness is like the underlying feeling of my life.

We’re going to the reserve tonight to have tea. One of the exchange students that Troy’s parents hosted a million years ago (okay, when Troy was a teenager) is over in Australia visiting so we’re having a barbecue. This is Anne, from Germany, who I have met before. I don’t know, I don’t really feel like hanging out with Troy’s family, but everyone in my family right here is in such a bad mood it’s probably a good idea to get out for the evening.

Tomorrow we have to organise Nicholai and Emma to go to camp. They leave at 7.30 on Monday, which is very early! Emma was a bit anxious about it the other night, talking about how she felt sad and scared at Licola (I don’t think I wrote about that- she came out during the night we were there and she was crying because she’d been thinking about how Nicholai and Jericho had at least tried to do the leap of faith and the climbing wall and she felt like she was stupid and scared and not as good as them…) and she was worried that camp would be like that because it was all about outdoor activities. We talked her through it at Licola and I’m going to talk to her again about camp- she doesn’t have to do any of the activities she doesn’t want to do, and there’s going to be heaps of stuff that she DOES want to do. Also, it wasn’t as though she did nothing at Licola either- she went on that giant swing! She’s just a bit fragile, although she’s doing good work with Martine and I think she’s getting a little more capable.

Actually, next year at school they’re introducing a program into the senior grades that deals with mental health issues. I was talking to the principal about it yesterday, she said that she was talking to the kids and asking them if they knew what mental health was and basically no one did (They suggested it was things like Sudoku and brain games to keep your brain active) until Emma came in, and she apparently gave a very articulate answer about mental health being about the way your mind works and thinks about things in your life.

I’ll be interested to see how it their program works next year. She and I were talking (and then Emma’s psychologist came in so she was part of the discussion too) about how adolescence is a real risk area for kids’ mental health and that what the school wants to do is really shore kids up against that. Give them a good working knowledge of how to develop mindfulness and self esteem and how to recognise signs of depression and what to do about it.

I admit I have some slight concerns about it, mostly in terms of how Emma will react to such a program. We’re certainly going to talk to her about it beforehand and reassure her that this program isn’t about her and it’s not about me either. It’s about building good mental health before the puberty hormones come along and throw everything out of whack, really!

Oh, and just because I like bragging about my kids, I found out at school yesterday that Jericho is a reading genius. The kids have been doing all this online On Demand testing. The tests are adaptive, which mean they adjust the questions based on the child’s answers, going up or down levels as required. On the reading one Jericho scored a 9.8, which is apparently the expected year 9 level. Like…what? As his teacher said to me, that’s like Nicholai level good. I always feel like a bad mother when this kind of thing surprises me. Like, don’t most people over estimate their children’s brilliance? Why am I surprised to find out that I child I’ve always thought was pretty bright actually is measurably extremely clever? Anyway, I was just really proud of him when his teacher told me that. After all, if they’re talking about your child in the staffroom you want it to be because he’s just rocked out the testing and they’re all impressed with him!


Back now. It turned out tonight wasn’t just the family barbecue that Troy and I thought it was, but a whole Rotary do. A little more stressful than I expected, but not bad. The kids had fun with their cousins, and enjoyed their barbecue and salads for dinner. Okay, they ate sausages and I ate salad, but whatever.

Since we were up at the reserve I took some photos of the rebound wall. This was a project that the school worked on- the kids all designed the mural and then took it in turns to go up to the reserve and paint it. Nicholai drew and painted one bird, Emma drew and painted a mermaid and a fish, and Jericho drew three sportspeople and a koala, and painted a cricketer. Soren got to paint some grass, which he was very depressed about tonight when all the other kids were showing off their work!

Troy and I are watching Sharknado 2 tonight…we are so highbrow.

The front of the mural. Soren painted the grass between the tree trunk and the white swan.

The back of the mural.

Nicholai and his bird.

Emma and her mermaid and striped fish.

Jericho and his footballer, cricketer and tennis player all in a row. He also drew the koala that’s on the far right of the picture, but he didn’t tell me that til later so that’s why it’s half cut off in the photo!

Soren, who didn’t want to pose by the mural but wanted his picture taken.

This is for the people who ask about Troy’s watches- he’s still getting them, two a month! He keeps them in the antique china cabinet in our room, and he prints out little labels for the ends of the boxes so he can choose one each morning. He has ten so far, with seventy more to go, ha ha ha! He is also getting the ‘special’ pocket watch they offered last issue, as his birthday present, lol.

Thursday 13 November 2014

My house smells so awful. Troy melted a plastic plate in the microwave last night and the stench of anything that gets burned in the microwave just lingers forever. I’ve got all the doors and windows open and scented candles lit and I’ve sprayed Glen 20 everywhere…just hope it all goes away soon!

Yesterday was a pretty horrible day in general though. The night before (Tuesday night) I forgot to take my medicine until I went to bed and couldn’t settle down to sleep, so I was hours later than normal. Because I took it late I slept in and got up later yesterday, and then somehow managed to forget to take all my morning medicine.

I don’t know. I wasn’t even going to write about it because I feel like such an idiot for constantly being in a mess about my medicine and my prescriptions and everything. I mean, seriously, this shouldn’t be that hard! Once a week I get out my boxes of meds and then divide everything up into my weekly am/pm box (why, yes, I am an old lady). Then all I have to do is take it! It’s so frustrating that I forget though, because I never used to be forgetful about this stuff. It’s only now that it really matters and I get all sick and crazy when I don’t take them that I can’t seem to keep my head on straight.

Really, I’m just sick of taking so many tablets! In the morning I take Lamictal, Effexor (3 tablets), Metformin (3 tablets), vitamin B12, vitamin D and a birth control pill. That’s ten pills! Plus two more at night, another lamictal and some Seroquel.

Blah blah blah- keep taking it, just get used to it, set alarms on your phone…I know. It’s just currently not working out. And I can’t do maths to save my life so I also never know how long the prescriptions and repeats I have will last me and how long I have before my next appointment with the psychiatrist. (Yes, I’m also aware that I should move into the technological era and use the calculator my phone comes with or something).

Basically, I’m just complaining about it. Because that’s all I do.

Today was better though. I did my treadmill and had a shower before I took the kids to school, which was good use of my time. Then I did the vacuuming because the craft girls were coming after lunch, and did my indo prep for tomorrow. I’m all set for that now, although the thing I actually spent the most time preparing was the worksheet for the preps (we’re doing animals) I won’t even use tomorrow because they’ll be swimming and will miss my lesson!

Our new fence was built today, which is awesome. It’s taller than the old fence was, and since it’s also standing vertical instead of leaning drunkenly it really looks taller. I can’t believe they built the whole thing in a day actually. Our side fence is 52 metres long, and they started work at 7 this morning and didn’t finish it until just before 6.30 tonight. I was very impressed with them.

I had a packet from the high school today that has an A4 envelope totally stuffed full with papers that we have to read/ fill out/ pay and return on the orientation day. There’s his book list, uniform list, orientation day information, school fees agreement, camp permission/payment, permission and payment for swimming/ athletics/ fun run, canteen lists and probably other things that I just can’t remember right now.

It was quite overwhelming actually, and also hideously, painfully expensive. I really wonder what people do who don’t have the money sitting around. I mean, if you’ve got kids and you’re on a low, fixed income, it seems pretty reasonable that you wouldn’t just have over two thousand dollars sitting in an account ready for you to spend on your kid starting high school. To be quite honest we don’t have that money just sitting there- we’re trying to space these expenses out as much as possible. It will all get paid, but between Emma’s palate expander, the new fence, Christmas and all these high school costs I’m just panicking a bit. It also doesn’t help that I don’t work and thus don’t get paid between mid-December and the start of February, and although I don’t earn that much it’s nice to have that little bit extra.

Oh well, no point in worrying about it now! And we’ve already bought some Christmas presents for the kids so hopefully that won’t be a huge drama. Maybe next week when Nicholai and Emma are away at camp Troy and I will go through the top of our wardrobe and see what we’ve got and plan out what we still need. That will be fun- money is always stressful but Christmas is fun.

It is so weird not having the dogs here. Jean took them back to her house after she dropped off the kids after swimming yesterday, so they could be safely contained there while the fence was under construction. All day I’ve felt like something was missing! I went outside and left the front door open and then had a panic because Luna might have gone missing…of course she wasn’t even here in the first place! I’ll pick them up tomorrow on the way home from school, and hopefully neither of them will take it into their heads to dig under the new fence.

Tuesday 11th November 2014

Today a miracle occurred. I hung out the washing and every single sock had a pair. Not one single sock.

A second miracle also occurred, when I wrote out a meal plan for the week and went and did the grocery shopping so we have the ingredients needed for said meal plan. I don’t think I’ve done that since the start of the year. This is one of those things where my depressive episodes screw up our family life in so many ways for a really long time. I mean, obviously we’ve continued to eat meals all year even without a meal plan, but it’s been so haphazard and involved so much takeaway and last minute runs to IGA to grab something. Just a messy and expensive way for our family to be, so even though it’s nearly the end of the year I guess it’s good that we’re trying to get back on track.

I’m even attempting to get back into regular exercise. For the past two weeks I’ve been going on the treadmill most days. It’s nothing great, but it’s a start. Troy suggested I get an activity tracker bracelet and see if that keeps me motivated. I said no because we are too poor for extravagant purchases right now, but I just realised today that his parents will buy me an extravagant purchase for my birthday. Well, a fitness tracker would fit into that anyway, it’s not like by extravagant I mean they’d buy me diamonds or overseas holidays or anything.

It’s not making me happy though. I’m doing every damn thing I can think of, and still I sometimes feel like I’m falling.

I didn’t know this was happening, but the speech therapist came back and reassessed Soren today. She called me this afternoon and I talked to her for a while. She said that his language is excellent, but his speech is strange. She said if anything she thinks he may have gone backwards since she first saw him in the first term. It was funny, she said this all hesitantly, as though she thought I was going to jump up and down in rage and take offence at her saying he’s gone backwards, but the truth is I’ve wondered if he’s having more trouble than he used to as well. Certainly he’s no easier to understand, and I’ve thought I’ve had more difficulty lately so it was actually a little reassuring to know that it’s not just my ears!

Anyway, she said that the mistakes he makes with consonant r/w/l are still age appropriate and not a worry. But his ‘vowel distortion’ is more of a concern. She said that’s what makes his speech so hard to understand, but that he’s interesting because the sounds he makes vary. That’s part of what makes him unintelligible, because it’s not a straightforward substitution. She also said that he seems to have less movement of the lips/ jaw/ cheeks in general than most children, which might mean that part of this is due to a lower than normal muscle tone. That’s something I always thought was a possibility for him, going right back to the drooling problem he had pretty much until the end of last year. Most four year olds don’t wind up with wet patches on the front of their t-shirts because they dribble the way he did.

The speech therapist is going to see Soren and I again in two weeks, and see if there are some exercises he can do that might help him. If she can come up with something that might work she’ll show Soren and I how to do it and we can work on it at home. She did say that working on vowel sounds is very hard, that there’s not a lot of mouth variation that we can get him to focus on or something like that.

It’s all very interesting, and I’m glad we’re at least looking at it, although I’m there’s not going to be any quick or easy solution. It’s really hard to have him talk to me and not understand what he’s saying. It’s not like when he was a toddler and I missed what he was saying in a short sentence or phrase- now he’s telling me whole long, important stories to him and getting so frustrated when I have no idea what he’s saying and he has to start over again.