Wednesday 25 May 2016

Hi there!
If you’re reading this card, you asked why I am carrying a towel around with me.
Because I thought I’d get tired of having to explain that over and over and over again, I made cards in preparation.
Anyway, today is Towel Day. You are probably thinking, “What the heck is Towel Day?”
Towel Day is a day to celebrate Douglas Adams, in particular, his famous book series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. One of the best passages in the book explains the importance of towels, and you can find it at this link http://bit.ly/1OCC6Sf
If you’ve read the book, good job. If you haven’t read the book, then you should. And remember: DON’T PANIC.

 Nicholai went well prepared for Towel Day, with this typed up and ready to hand out. He said that there were about twenty people watching the TV show in the library at lunch, several of them teachers and all holding towels. He also said the towel came in handy – he used it as a scarf, as a pouch to carry his things, as a weapon when someone stole something from him, as a blanket when he was a bit chilly, as an umbrella on the way home in the rain… He makes me laugh, and I’m really glad he had a fun day with it.

In news quite apart from Nicholai – I have booked tickets for my next holiday in Indonesia! And I’ve booked two tickets, because I’m going to take my Emmanuella with me. (You have to imagine me flailing around with a lot of internal screaming here.)

The plan since last year has been to go to Indonesia in 2017 with Alyssa. Because she is apparently much smarter than I am, she’s been keeping an eye on flight prices and this afternoon rang me to say that if I could commit now to go sometime between the end of January and the end of March, we could get return flights to Denpasar in Bali for $200. Obviously a deal WAY too good to pass up! And considering that doubling it to $400 was still less than I had been expecting to pay for my own ticket, I thought that maybe I should do what I’ve always wanted to do and take one of the kids with me. Emma does Indonesian at school and has asked more than once about coming with me some time, so she was kind of the obvious choice. Aack!

I told her on the way to hockey training, and she was suitably excited. Slightly shocked and intimidated too I think! I’ll have to give her some time to get used to the idea, and then we can start looking in to what we might want to do while we’re there. We’ve got fourteen days, flying in and out of Bali.

I admit I do feel guilty that I can only take one of them, and I really hope Nicholai isn’t too upset. I thought about taking him instead, since he’s the oldest, but I honestly don’t think he would enjoy it as much or get as much out of it as Emma will at this point. He’s never expressed any interest in going either, but I totally wouldn’t blame him for being upset that Ems gets an overseas trip and he doesn’t. But taking her is only $200 – it’s a hell of a lot more to take him to France!

Anyway, it is what it is. I’m sure Jericho and Soren will be jealous, but they are still little – if taking Emma this time works out well, then in the future I can take the others. We’ll have to talk about it with them tomorrow.

We’re leaving at the end of January and getting back on Valentines day. This does mean that Emma and I will both miss the first two weeks of school, but it can’t be helped. I’ll make sure to contact the school at the end of this year and speak to the Year 8 coordinator so that they know Emma will be away and can make arrangements for her to get any important start of the year info she misses out on. We’ll have to get a passport for her, and her vaccinations done – I’m guessing mine are still good. She can use Troy’s backpack and rain jacket that we bought to go last time, and apart from that it’s just clothes. Maybe I’ll buy her a good pair of walking shoes/boots, but she won’t need anything else much. And we’ll have Alyssa along to bargain for us…Emma can probably buy a whole new wardrobe cheaper than it would cost to pay for baggage.

I’m just so excited and terrified and my mind is in chaos about the whole thing. It’s just all come out of the blue and happened so suddenly, I wasn’t ready for it! But I’m mostly happy…it’s going to be amazing.

Tuesday 24th May 2016

It was Science Night at the primary school tonight, so Troy and I attended that with Soren, Jericho and Emma. It was really fun. In Soren’s classroom we did experiments with surface tension, and in Jericho’s classroom we built a windchime as one of their activities about sound. We had to leave at 6 to pick Nicholai up from football training, so we didn’t get a chance to go to the other classrooms but Jericho and Soren were just happy that we’d been to their rooms so that was okay.

There was a sausage sizzle and a Guess the Jellybeans in the Jar to raise money for more science equipment too, so after we’d done our experiments we went and bought the kids some dinner. Along with sausages they were also selling regular lemonade and spiders to drink, which was a big hit with the kids (and a pretty effective fundraiser to boot).

The three boys also had haircuts today. Finally! It was definitely long overdue, which was my fault, I’m terrible at making appointments for things. Anyway, it was the easiest haircut we’ve ever had – there was no one there before us so we walked in, they sat the three boys down in a row, and then the three hairdressers took one each and snipped away. We were done in fifteen minutes, and all the boys look great. Jericho and Soren were happy, Nick not so much. I don’t know what he wants his hair to look like, but apparently his new haircut is not it. It’s frustrating though, he knew this haircut appointment was scheduled and I reminded him more than once that he would have to tell the hairdresser what he wants and maybe he should find a picture or something, but he didn’t do it.

He’s being a little frustrating in general lately. He seems a little unhappy about school, but it’s like pulling teeth trying to get anything out of him about what is going on there. (This is a lifelong thing, not a teenage thing either.) He is not as happy about football either – he actually cried and banged his head against the goal post on Sunday apparently, which is certainly not a reaction he has had for a long time.

He seems to be having a little trouble organising himself in regards to schoolwork and homework too – he had several overdue learning tasks which resulted in last week’s technology restrictions, but when I checked him out yesterday he still had a bunch of things that he either hasn’t done or handed in late. But again, trying to talk to him about it is impossible. The thing is, kids with Aspergers are significantly more likely than the general population to have weak executive function. Trouble organising themselves is just part of the deal! It may not be a matter of ‘try harder’ with him – it is possible that as the expectations from school are rising and the tasks required of him are getting more complex that he genuinely isn’t able to keep up with it. And if that’s the case, we need to work with it so he has the best chance for success. Whether that’s extra support at school, working with him on using his school planner, having Troy or I help him with keeping track of his homework…whatever.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s time to get the school involved with it? I don’t know if Nicholai would like that, and since he doesn’t actually talk to us about what happens at school I don’t even really know if it’s needed! But it’s something to think about.

In slightly more positive news about Nicholai, tomorrow is apparently ‘Towel Day’ – a day in which people are supposed to carry a towel along with them as a celebration of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – and he is very much looking forward to it. He has chosen a plain maroon bath towel…whatever makes him happy.

Monday 23rd May 2016

I have just learned that Nicholai has had his twitter for a year and he averages out at about ten tweets a day!!!! What IS this?? For a kid who is supposed to be spending six and a half hours a day learning things in school, ten hours sleeping, and supposedly only has access to internet enabled devices on a 15 minute bus ride in the morning and then from after school until 5pm….I don’t even know how this is possible!

Anyway, this may change. After his behaviour last week and over the weekend we have now instituted technology jail. At 5pm ipads and phones go into the crate in the loungeroom. Nicholai was appalled when he was informed of this new rule today, and made sure to tell me that NO ONE else, EVER, has to suffer this indignity. My response that I don’t care about anyone else but I love him didn’t really impress him.

I had a doctor’s appointment today. I couldn’t see the doctor I saw last time, so I had someone new, but it wasn’t that big a deal really. I wanted to find out what I was supposed to be doing about my liver and ask about going back on Metformin again. He said my liver wasn’t an urgent problem, and I should continue on with diet and weightloss, add in Metformin, and redo the bloods in another few months and see if there if there is any change. That sounds fine to me. He was happy to re-prescribe Metformin, which should help with losing weight (in combination with eating low-carb I did lose weight on Metformin before) and regulating my period. I’ve only had one period all year – since I do not want to get pregnant it doesn’t really matter that I’m not ovulating, but to be constantly expecting my period to arrive any day for months on end is a little bit frustrating.

I went to Spotlight after the doctor appointment, to buy some yarn to knit a blanket. What I bought was the cheapest kind they had, but it feels quite soft and has a bit of a sheen to it. I hope it knits up nicely.

I have been using up all the odds and ends of acrylic yarn I had by making a scrap blanket, but I honestly hated it. I was knitting it in strips, each strip having blocks of colour of various sizes (basically I would knit until the yarn ran out) and then the strips would be sewed together. It was initially shaping up to look quite good, but some of the yarn was of really horrible quality so it felt awful, and then I sewed two strips together and the seaming was horrendously bad. Basically, it was crap and I would have been embarrassed to donate it – the needy (or whoever gets these charity blankets) don’t deserve an ugly and badly sewn knitted blanket. I thought I’d just have to throw it out, but it turns out that what I had knitted was just the right size to cover the ratty old dog bed in Luna’s crate. It looks warm and cosy in there now, even considering the dark brick surround (her crate sits in the fireplace) that has always made it look a little like she’s in a dungeon. Luna certainly appreciates this blanket – since it’s been in there she’s actually gone into her crate of her own volition and gone to sleep on it. Normally she only goes into her crate to eat, or when we tell her she has to get in there. So now she has an ugly blanket to call her own, and I’ll make a prettier one to donate and everyone can be happy.

Saturday 21 May, 2016

Soren and I went to IGA after school yesterday, so we could buy a snack like we do every Friday. As we were walking back to the car he commented on how busy it always was on a Friday night. I agreed, and then he said to me thoughtfully, “Well, I suppose it’s not surprising. People need to gather their resources for the weekend.”

So far our weekend has been hockey and hanging out at home. Emma played last night and won 1-0. Jericho played this morning and won 6-2, and he shot his very first goal! He usually plays on the backline, but I think with him being one of the biggest and most skilled players on the team he’s been moving up the field a bit more this year.

Nicholai has been miserable today. He had his electronics time reduced at the start of the week due to being behind on his homework, and then he lost them for good for the rest of the week on Wednesday, because he threw a giant fit about having to get off earlier than he would like. He was supposed to get them back today, but what does he do yesterday afternoon but ignore his consequences and go on the ipad anyway! So he didn’t get to use them today, and he was a pain in my ass ALL DAY LONG. He literally does not know what to do with himself if he doesn’t have his devices. He just mooched around the house sighing dramatically and occasionally pontificating about how he has nothing to do.

It made me realise that he must just completely ignore the limits on his devices generally. We’ve never taken them off him when time’s up, just left them in his room charging and trusted him to follow the rules. I knew he probably cheated a little, but I was prepared to turn a blind eye to that. But since today when the computer and ipad were physically out of his room he spent no time in there and didn’t actually DO anything, it’s pretty clear that he must just sit in there and play with them when no one is looking. So, that’s going to change. I’m thinking I’ll have a place in the loungeroom (a crate on the hearth, next to the power board so they can charge) that can act as ipad jail after their time on them is up, and I’m sorry if that’s ridiculous but it’s the way it is.

Although with no devices and the resulting extreme boredom weighing in, late this afternoon Nicholai actually played with Jericho and Soren. I don’t think I would have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. I am not exaggerating when I say that I don’t think I have ever seen the three of them play together like that. Not only were they running around outside with weaponry, but Jericho was apparently the leader and Nicholai was not controlling them to his exacting specifications. It was astonishing. I should take away his computer more often.

Thursday 19 May 2016

Roasted chickpeas and peas as a snack? Really, light and easy people? Most of their food is okay, even if it’s not to my particular tastes I can understand that other people might like it. But this crap is just irredeemable. It tastes kind of like nothing, but worse than that is the way that you bite it and it all crumbles in your mouth. Whoever came up with the phrase “like ashes in my mouth” has clearly eaten roasted chickpeas.

I taught this morning, which went well. The animal masks for the prep-2 children were a big hit. I saw a whole group of them playing animals out in the playground at recess with their masks on, and several of them were still wearing them when they were collected at the end of the day. The other classes were all good too, so I feel quite happy about work today.

Jericho took all the skin off the bottom of his chin this morning, by tripping at school and bashing it onto the wooden edge of the raised garden beds. I was nearby when he did it and clearly heard the noise of his chin against the wood and his teeth smashing together – honestly, I know he hurt himself, but he really got off lucky because he could have broken a tooth or basically bitten his tongue in half he hit it so hard.

It was hard though, because even though he was crying and I really wanted to stay with him, the bell had gone and so I had to get to my classroom. So I had to just give him a kiss and send him off with Kirsten to get all the dirt washed out of the scrape. It’s silly, I mean usually I wouldn’t even be there to give him a hug if he got hurt at school and he’d be fine, but I still felt bad about not being able to help him feel better today!

Still, I think he’s fine. I took him to hockey training tonight, so there was more discussion of Game of Thrones (I got a new phone cover with the Stark direwolf and ‘Winter is Coming’ on it and he’s very impressed) and a discussion on ways that my primary school was different to his primary school, and what games we each played. It was raining pretty heavily at the start of training and although it stopped after a while he was still pretty wet.

Ootchy and Nemesis just had a fight in the loungeroom! Honestly cats, such behaviour is unacceptable. I don’t know if fighting is better or worse than the mouse Nemesis brought in for us last night though.

Wednesday 18 May 2016

Well, I went back on the diet today. Sigh. I suppose it helped that they gave me a pudding as part of my day’s menu.

Jericho stayed home from school today. He said last night that he didn’t feel well and when he still didn’t feel well this morning I let him stay home. I was pretty doubtful about it, but he did look a little pale and seemed a little warm so I made the call. It was the wrong one though, he was pretty much fine all day and could have gone to school.

Troy stayed home with Jericho this morning while I went back to Costco, this time with money in the bank. Since I was there only yesterday, it didn’t take me long to find what I needed. Mostly just the usual stuff, but I also bought a pair of sneakers for Emma. Which I was able to buy because our feet are now the same size and so I could try them on myself! I do like Costco, but I have never shopped anywhere else where there are so many people who are completely incompetent at pushing trolleys.

I spent most of the rest of the day planning for teaching tomorrow. I made up a couple of worksheets that I’m quite happy with (a map one for the middle grades, and one about packing for a holiday for the senior class), and for the animal topic I’m doing with the junior grades I printed and cut out animal masks for us to make tomorrow. That’s what took the most time – cutting eyeholes one at a time with a craft knife was not exactly fun.

Hockey training for Emma tonight. I finished the toe increases for Troy’s sock, but it was definitely hard to knit with such cold fingers.

I had an argument with Nicholai this afternoon. He is behind on his homework, so as a consequence he’s only allowed half an hour on his electronics after school instead of the full hour. However when I told him this punishment yesterday I actually just used the term “ipad”, which he thought meant he was free to play on the internet on his computer all afternoon. He didn’t take kindly to being set straight, and words were exchanged. Loudly. So now there are no electronics at all for the rest of the week. I don’t know, he was probably a bit stressed out because he played soccer for school today. He had fun – they won two out of three games and he kicked two goals – but I think it was one of those things that are as stressful as it is enjoyable for him.

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Well, it’s good that yesterday was nice, because today really came up and kicked me in the teeth.

Things went downhill when I weighed myself. I did this because I had a psychiatrist appointment and she always comments on my ‘fitness’ (ie weight) so I thought it would be nice to be able to tell her that I’m being proactive and working on my diet and have lost weight. Except that my weight has barely changed at all since the last time I weighed myself two weeks ago.

I pretty much fell apart at that point. I mean, I have found this really, really hard, but I’ve pushed myself to follow it properly and apart from the Mother’s Day chocolates I have been rigid about not cheating, and now I find out that it’s barely making any difference. I just felt so hopeless, like there was no point at all in any of it, that I’m making myself miserable for no real reason. And if I can’t lose weight when I’m on a strict 1200 calories a day that someone else counts out for me, how on earth am I meant to lose any weight when I have to do it on my own? So basically there was a lot of ugly crying and wailing to Troy that I’m wasting all our money and that none of it will ever make any difference.

Although after all that, the first thing the psychiatrist said to me was, “You’ve lost weight?” So I suppose I ought to be grateful that the insignificant amount of weight that I’ve lost appears to have been lost from my face.

Anyway, after that appointment (which was good, I’m managing fine so we’re keeping the meds as is and I don’t have to go back for three months) I thought I may as well go to Costco since I was down that way. I spent close to an hour filling up my trolley, and then had my card declined when I went to pay. It was both incredibly embarrassing and incredibly frustrating as I tried to work out what was going on, but the upshot of it all was that I had to just apologise profusely and leave the full trolley there for someone to put it all back.

So I pretty much cried half the way home, and then because everything just seemed impossible to deal with I bought M&Ms and ate them for lunch. It was pathetic and childish and I didn’t even care.

I don’t know. Really I shouldn’t be surprised that the weightloss is so slow. All the reasons that contributed to me getting this fat in the first place, like the PCOS and the medication, are still there, and even with perfect diet and exercise these things make me resistant to losing weight. It’s just so demoralising, and I really wanted to give up today, especially after my card was declined because we have no money left after paying for this diet.

Troy has convinced me to stick with it for the ten weeks we originally planned for though, and see what has happened by the end of that. I’m not hopeful, but I guess we’ll see. I am also wondering if I should go back to the doctor and ask about renewing my prescription for Metformin. The endocrinologist put me on that ages ago, and while I was taking it and doing the low-carb diet I actually did lose weight. I stopped taking it last year because my prescription ran out and I was too deep in my depression to even think about dealing with it, and it was after that that my weight really increased. Of course this was in combination with crazy depression and ridiculous amounts of sleep and a reliance on comfort food and a whole bunch of medication, so who knows what was really responsible? Anyway, I actually need to talk to the GP about my liver specialist referral (as in, has she done one) so I may as well make an appointment and talk about the diet and the weight with her.

And, that’s about all for my crappy day – I’m going to watch Seven Year Switch and hope that they have all left their shitty relationships, and do some knitting on the new beanie I started, and hopefully cheer up a bit.