Saturday August 27, 2016

Emma’s hockey team won their game last night, so they have next week off and will then play in the Grand Final the week after! Emma’s really happy. I’m happy that she’s so happy – honestly, hockey has been so good for her this year. Her individual and teamwork skills have improved immensely. Their coach works them hard, and it’s been really good to see Emma rising to the challenge. She’s so much more determined as a player than she used to be and I think she really feels herself a part of the team, which is wonderful. She has really enjoyed it, and I definitely think it’s been worth all the hours in the car and freezing my ass off while she trains!

Sometimes she’s still such a child though. She was messing around with her dinner tonight and Troy told her not to play with her food. In response she said with great dignity, “I’m not playing with it, I’m eating it artistically.”

We all went to watch her last night. It was pretty late and cold for the boys, just hanging around watching, but Jericho and Soren didn’t really mind. Nicholai did, but Nicholai dislikes everything that that doesn’t directly benefit him and really, there’s no making him happy no matter what you do. But I think it does him good to actually have to be part of the family and come to family events, no matter how boring he thinks they are, or how much it embarrasses him to be publically associated with us.

We took a drive down to Frankston today and went for a walk along the beach and the pier, so it has been quite a bit of a family togetherness. I kind of love Frankston. It’s kind of grungy and full of ferals, but it’s where Troy and I lived together before we had kids and it always makes me happy to think about that. The wind off the ocean was really cold today, but walking warms you up and the kids had fun picking through things that had been washed up on the sand (most notably a dead puffer fish – they threw it back and claimed it as a gift for Poseidon, the god of the sea, and then went into hysterics when Poseidon clearly rejected their offering and it washed back up again). The foreshore was crowded with pokemon, pokestops and people wandering around playing, as well as a group of teenagers doing parkour, so we kind of hung around there for a while, and then walked along the pier. We ate lunch on the way home, did a quick grocery shop, and then came home for the children to spend their poker chips on playing. I guess nothing really spectacular happened, but I really enjoyed the day – I like hanging out with Troy and the kids.

Wednesday 24th August 2016

There is not too much else that evokes the same level of futile rage in me as non-working computer things. I think because I can do absolutely nothing to even attempt to fix it – if things go wrong all I can do is turn it off and turn it back on, and that’s it. Apart from that, I just have to rely on Troy to fix it. It’s worse too when he’s just done something to “fix” it or “improve” it. Like now- last week we had reliable internet and I could print from my computer, and we had two children who were constantly sneaking their ipads and phones during off-times. I was informed that a new router could be set with timed parental controls for the children’s devices, and so one was purchased. Now I have unreliable internet, a computer that can’t connect to the printer to print out my stuff for work tomorrow, and two children who still have constant access to the same (albeit now unreliable) internet that I do!

Although something that possibly came close to being that annoying was the way Soren threw a hissy fit this morning because he “didn’t have a school jumper!” And then, when I forced him into his room, he found one folded up in the drawer right where you’d expect it to be. And then Jericho found another one of his school jumpers just sitting on top of his bag. Honestly, it would save a lot of hassle and drama if I could just duct tape Soren’s clothes to his body.

I’m still going through all my old photos. I’m up to mid 2011 now – my kids were so little and adorable! (Although I really wish I’d taken them to the hairdresser more often, they keep looking all shaggy and neglected.) But Soren and his beads, and Jericho in his Harry Potter glasses, and the way they wore wizard cloaks out shopping and always had Harry Potter lightning scars drawn on their foreheads with texta! Oh my heart.


Okay, I wrote that this afternoon, but while I was out at hockey training with Emma Troy fixed all the printer issues. So now I have no room to complain.

And really, it was a pretty nice day. I did most of my planning this morning and then went for a walk with Jean, which was quite lovely in the sunshine. I finished my planning off this afternoon, then went to hockey training with Emma (and hatched a Lapras in Pokemon Go on the way). Came home to a very quiet house with all other children asleep, had some tea, and now this. So, it was good.

Tuesday 23rd August 2016

Knitpicks (the company I bought the yarn from) saw my Game of Thrones socks on Instagram and asked if they could share them on their facebook wall. That is amazing – this is not someone selling yarn out of their back room, this is huge business and they liked my socks! I mean, I love them, but I still tend to feel as though I’m often just floundering my way through knitting things so this was some awesome approbation.

It was good to have something to pick me up a bit, because I was feeling pretty bad after I weighed myself and realised I’ve gained a bit of weight. I know that it’s my own fault, and I know what I’ve been doing to cause it, but I’m still feeling really demoralised by own obvious lack of self-control. Because that’s what it comes down to – I eat things I shouldn’t in amounts that I definitely shouldn’t.

I think it all just seemed extra depressing because, in going through all my photos, I have realised how few photos there are of me and of the ones we have I mostly feel bad when I look at them because of my weight. I hate that the kids won’t have pictures of me with them, because I don’t like for them to be taken. It is also incredibly discouraging to see how many years worth of gradual weight gain I’m dealing with, and see the correlation with my bipolar depression and the meds, and the PCOS. This is really, really hard and so far I’m not doing very well.

And while last night I dealt with my misery over gaining weight by eating ice cream (see: lack of self control and eating my feelings), this morning I took the dog and walked around the lake. It was funny actually, Luna saw me pick up my jacket and that obviously means “walk” to her because before I even said her name she ran to the front door wagging her tail all excitedly. She likes walking round the lake and sniffing all the other dogs, and she seems to like being able to run around a little bit in the off-lead area. The first time I took her there she didn’t go very far from me, but she was a lot more adventurous today.

I caught a lot of pokemon while I was there too, which was quite fun. I am a little bit bored with catching the same ones over and over and over again (it’s been an endless parade of Pidgeys and Zubats and Eevees) but I caught one new one which kind of made up for it. After school I took Jericho and Soren to Yering Station for a Pokemon walk, since they have two gyms and about five pokestops there. Jericho cracked me up, when I drove in through the gates he said, sounding really alarmed, “Isn’t this a fancy place? We won’t be welcomed in a fancy place!” He’s not wrong, it IS a fancy place, but it was pretty deserted this afternoon. It turned out to be the best pokemon walk of them all though, because we finally caught a Pikachu!

Apart from walking around catching Pokemon, I did a lot of cleaning today. The children’s toilet – ugh, it’s disgusting. Seriously, do those boys just pee on the floor or something? I did a very thorough scrub in my bathroom too, cobwebs and mirrors and every single nook and cranny. It was embarrassing though, I always clean the bathroom in my underwear so my clothes don’t get wet or get bleach products on them, which would be fine if Jean didn’t just walk in on me! She had come to borrow Troy’s car and she knew I was home, so when I wasn’t in the loungeroom she came looking for me. I had the fan on in the bathroom so I hadn’t heard her. I don’t know, she watched me give birth, but I was still pretty embarrassed about that today!

Monday 22 August 2016

I’m still going through my photos. I’m working my way backwards and have reached the beginning of 2012 – I am pretty amazed at how many photos I actually took and how long it’s taking to go through them. I’m so glad I did take them though. My kids were so funny and beautiful! It’s fascinating to look at the photos all together like this, and be able to see how their personalities were expressed two, or three, or four years ago.

It felt like they’d be little forever; that we would always be that family with babies or toddlers or pre-schoolers. But it’s like it changed when I wasn’t even looking, and now we’re a family with schoolkids and those baby and toddler years seem a long way away. It was only four years though…four years from now I guess I’ll be looking at my teenagers, and wondering where all my schoolkids went.

Time is really kind of crazy.

Troy is away at hockey tonight. It’s his last game of the season but they’ve done well and will play in at least one final. I’m crossing my fingers that his hockey t-shirt lasts the final games without completely falling apart, but I’m doubtful. Although now that I think about it, he has been wearing this hockey t-shirt since before I met him, so he has probably played fifteen seasons in it or something. No wonder it needs to be replaced.

I made Jericho a beard and wreath today, for his Zeus costume. It took hours. Not that I’m complaining, it was quite fun to watch multiple episodes in a row of Orange is the New Black while constructing it, but I was a bit surprised by how long it actually took. I crocheted a base for it, and then I cut a million long bits of yarn to hook onto the base. I then braided the moustache bits so that they go to the sides rather than covering his mouth, and braided a big chunk under the mouth just to make it look fancy. It actually looks pretty awesome, as far as fake yarn beards go! It attaches to the leafy wreath that he’s going to wear on his head, so it will stay put on his face for as long as he needs it to. We just need to make him a lightning bolt and then wrap him up in a toga on the day and he’s good to go.

He’s funny though, he’s rather concerned that people are just going to go in any old costume, rather than dressing up as an actual book character. His friend has said he’s going as Ash from Pokemon, and Jericho does not approve of this at all. (“It’s a game! And a cartoon! Not a book!”)

Sunday August 21, 2016

I finished my Game of Thrones socks! They fit really well, and the yarn is so soft and warm, I am totally in love with them. The cabling is beautiful, and I even made the cables run directly into the ribbing at the top, which gives them a much better look. It felt like they took forever to make though. Doing two at a time makes progress feel much slower I think, although having them be the exact same length and having them both finish at the same time is so delightful that I think I’ll continue to do them this way whenever possible. Also, the cable was pretty fiddly – worth it in the end, but it definitely takes extra time. Anyway, I am pretty proud of them, considering I made them up and didn’t use an actual sock pattern, just combined different bits and made it all work. Yay! I’ve got crochet Jericho’s beard next, and then I think I’ll finish my baby blanket for donation before I start knitting anything else.

It was such a lazy day for everyone today, it was lovely. We had no obligations and the weather was all over the place so, apart from a run to IGA for food, we just stayed home. I finished my socks and worked on my story, and Jericho and Soren made puppets out of a Pringles can and a Pepsi Max box (clearly their Friday puppetry sessions have inspired them). The kids all used up the last of their poker chips playing on the Wii and the computer, and they watched a lot of Olympic coverage. Troy and I even went through the giant pile of mail and school newsletters that always appears on the end of the bench. We weren’t even overdue on any notices and permission slips that have to be returned to school, so that was rather encouraging.

Ha ha, Jericho just came out of bed to tell me that his eyebrows hurt. Do you think that he’s maybe trying to stall on going to bed???

Troy has gone round to Brett’s house to play x-box or something tonight. I kind of wanted him to stay home, since he is out two nights a week with his hockey and Emma’s hockey anyway, but it’s probably good for him to spend time with his brother so I told him to go. He won’t be home late, and there’s usually some gossip about Brett and co. that gives us an excuse to bitch about him for a while, and that’s quite fun in its own weird way. It also probably makes me a horrible person, but I don’t really care.

Saturday 20 August 2016

Well, buying the new router and attempting to set up timed internet access for the children’s devices has resulted in an internet that randomly refuses access to anyone. I should have known this would happen…any time we do something that’s supposed to make our technology ‘better’ it always makes it worse! Seriously, I don’t know why we haven’t internalised that yet, and just stop messing with a good thing.

So besides random internet outages, today was okay. Troy had to work so Soren and I took Jericho to his last hockey game. They won, which was a nice way to finish the season, and his coaches even gave them all a present which lovely of them! They gave them each a little lunch bag with a sandwich keeper (with candy in it) and a drink bottle in it, and told them that they would have no excuse for forgetting their water bottles next season!

We went to Spotlight on the way home to pick up things for their book week costumes, since they’re having a character costume parade in a week and a half. Soren wants to go as the boy out of the Beast Quest book he’s reading, so he needs “raggedy clothes” (which will come out of the wardrobe – being the third in line for boy clothes in our family means that he has an embarrassing number of items that qualify as raggedy!) and a sword and shield. I haven’t read the book, but Jericho has and he said he could help Soren make an appropriate sword and shield. They’ll have to make the shield, but we found a sword at Spotlight today. Although I might have to get some duct tape and cover up the grip- it is a “Spooky Sword” sold as part of their Halloween stuff and is shaped like a skull, which Soren doesn’t really like. The shield we’ll make out of cardboard I guess, I’m sure there’s some old moving boxes out in the shed we can cut up.

Jericho will need cardboard too, to make a lightning bolt since he has decided he’s going to dress up as Zeus. We bought some calico today to make him a toga, and some fake ivy to make him a leafy wreath for his head. We also bought a couple of balls of grey yarn and I’m going to make him a beard. I had a look on Ravelry and I think I basically crochet a beard and moustache shape that fits over his face and then just hook lengths of yarn onto that, cutting it into shape once it’s all done. I’m hoping that I can attach it onto his wreath so that it sits securely on his face for the time he’ll want it on there, but we’ll have to see.

Friday 19 August 2016

I’m still going through my photos. I’ve just hit the arrival of Luna and I am in pieces over how utterly adorable she was. I mean, puppies are always adorable but she was so unbelievably delightful I don’t know how on earth I managed to do anything but sit there and ‘awwwww’ over her cuteness twenty-four hours a day. And Soren, with his hair and his sass at that poin…I can’t get enough photos of him.

It’s Friday night and Emma and Troy are out at hockey, Nicholai is out at a football vote count, and Jericho and Soren are in bed and asleep, so it’s just me and the dog. Who is also asleep, might I add. I haven’t even turned on the tv, I’m just enjoying the silence.

I stayed at school this morning for the two puppetry lessons. We started on the papier-mache, doing a layer of paper towel first and then a layer of newspaper. Paper and glue doesn’t stick to tinfoil very well, but apparently the paper towel helps that, and then makes it easier to pull all the tinfoil out of the finished shape. However gluing small pieces of paper towel to scrunched up tinfoil head shapes is quite difficult, and a lot of the kids had trouble with it so there was some frustration today.

Jericho was one of the ones who had trouble with it. Honestly, after today I don’t even know if it’s a good thing I’m there for his lesson or if I should just stay away. His anxiety over doing it ‘right’ and whether or not it’s going to look the way he wants it too is severe enough that he seems to find the whole experience completely unenjoyable. And since I’m sitting right there beside him, he takes it out on me with lots of frantic, angry statements about how stupid it is and how he can’t do it, and how his puppet is going to look terrible. I think he wants me to do something about it, but anything I say just causes him to snap back, or argue, or become even more stressed out. It’s exhausting, and it’s preventing this from being an enjoyable activity for us to do together. He really needs to relax about the process and accept that it IS a process – it’s about being creative and trying something new, not about producing a perfect, professional grade puppet. He has so many really interesting and creative ideas, but he is such a perfectionist that he can’t enjoy them because he’s only happy if the result matches exactly what he saw in his head. (Well, gosh golly gee, where did he get that trait from, Rebecca???)

I don’t want to just stop going though. I mean, it should be a fun activity for us to do together, a way of me sharing part of his school day with him and showing him that I really do value what he does and encouraging him in his creative endeavours. I’d really like to figure out some way of doing it so that it achieves these aims, rather than just throw up my hands and give the whole thing up. Also because I do it with Soren too, and I think it has the same benefits for him as I’m hoping for with Jericho, and I can hardly ditch Jericho’s class and still go to Soren’s class. Plus, I do my actual puppet making with Jericho’s class and spend a lot of the time in Soren’s class helping all the kids with their puppets, since they’re younger and need more help. I know Kylie appreciates the help and I don’t want to leave her in the lurch. I might try and have a word with Jericho’s teacher next week and see what she suggests, she’s been very good about dealing with his anxiety and might have some ideas. (And it makes me wonder about whether he gets this worked up in art, or is it just the somewhat vague instructions in puppetry that gets him so anxious about what he’s doing?)

I also have to say that I like helping out in Soren’s class, because doing Indonesian with them is often such a negative experience for all concerned that it’s a really nice change to be working with them in a positive way. It’s lovely to interact with them without being cranky half the time, and really good to be able to give attention to the kids who do behave well since my time is not taken up behaviour managing the challenging children.

Teaching them is not going well. I feel so ineffective with that class, and so frustrated that it’s the same children and the same issues as it was when they started in prep two and a half years ago. I feel so guilty about the children who sit there looking miserable because they do the right thing and yet still have to sit there week after week while I try and deal with the kids who won’t behave.

They are not even getting the work done that I plan for them, because they literally can/will not sit quiet and listen for the less than five minutes it would take me to explain their task. There are activities that I am doing with the prep/1 class that I SHOULD be doing with that grade 1/2 class but that I don’t even bother beginning because I know that it won’t work out. This week we were still working on families, and I had cards made up with pictures of the family members on them and the preps and 1s were asking ‘Who are you?’ and ‘Are you in my family?’ and joining up in little family groups, but I can’t do that with the grade 1/2s because the noise level instantly rises to shouting and when I tell them to stop (well, I actually can’t just SAY stop, I have to use a freaking tambourine to get their attention because they are so loud that they can’t hear my voice!) they basically take ten minutes to actually stop and quiet down. And in a thirty minute lesson…you see my difficulty here.

I mean, yesterday one of the kids actually started shouting at me. Every time they come in and sit down I remind them to sit next to people who help them make good choices about their behaviour (and not sit next to people that their regular teacher has made a rule about not sitting next to), and every week I wind up stopping what I’m doing to make kids move because they obviously made a bad choice. So yesterday I just thought screw that, and I started moving kids before the lesson even started. Except that the first child I told to move immediately started shouting at me that he’s allowed to sit next to the kid he was sitting with, and that it’s those other kids that aren’t allowed to sit together and…blah blah blah. Obviously that’s completely out of line so I told him that his choices were to sit where I had asked him to, or leave the class and go back to his teacher. Instead he storms to the back of the room, still yelling, and refuses to leave. So I have to send another child to fetch the teacher, then she comes and takes him out, and then a little while later he comes back in…and it’s all just disruptive. And it’s not like he came back in chastened by speaking with the teacher either, he sat down on the mat and two minutes later he was being silly with the person beside him and annoying the person sitting in front of him.

Basically, they don’t behave and I can’t make them, and they are kind of ruining my whole teaching gig. Writing this I’m actually sort of crying, because it really does just feel so hopeless.

I mean, I was thinking the other day that I’ve been feeling so good and it would be awesome to have some extra money for Indonesia next year and maybe I should tell the school that I could do the odd day of emergency teaching if they need someone. But the idea that I could have to have that class for a whole day…I can’t even face it. I could make over $200 for ONE day of work AND I WOULD RATHER NOT DO IT THAN BE STUCK IN A ROOM WITH THAT CLASS FOR A DAY. Like…what the fuck?

I know I need to just talk about this at the school, but it’s not as though I haven’t talked about it ad nauseam. They all say just send the kids out, but even when I do that the kid just comes back and apologises and does exactly the same. Or else they refuse to leave when I try and make them, and honestly nothing ever changes. I just feel so shitty about the whole issue and what a crappy teacher I am overall and I think maybe I should just quit. Writing this and crying is not helping anything.

Well, I kind of thought that would just be a paragraph about a difficult teaching day, and then it turned into that. I guess I have much stronger feelings than I thought.