Monday 22nd May 2017

Our move to Ballarat started to feel a bit more real today, when Troy, Jericho, Soren and I toured their new school.

It’s all so different! The numbers are obviously the biggest change for us; there are about 550 kids there, which just seems enormous compared to what we’re used to. The school is also pretty new (it was built in 1987, to replace an old West Ballarat Primary school that was on Gillies street, which I thought was interesting) and because of that and because of being made for such big numbers it’s a really different physical space to our school too. There are several different buildings, and while they do have some portables most of the classrooms open off hallway space where the kids keep their bags and can eat their lunch or whatever if it’s raining. Actually, they’re really well off in terms of space, better then I thought they would be. Considering the numbers, and that the school is growing (there’s a whole new suburb being created just up the road, that so far only has a Catholic primary) the buildings were pretty spacious, there were several different play areas, and they have a really big oval. It’s also right next to the community recreation reserve, and so the kids are allowed to use the netball courts there at recess and lunch time. Maybe they go out for PE too, but they have a gym/community hall so I think they probably do pe inside most of the time. The uniform is green and yellow (or ‘bottle’ and ‘gold’ as Jericho informed me after he read the handbook) which looks okay. They learn Japanese for their LOTE. They do half a year of visual art and half a year of performing art. They send the grade 3 and 4s on a camp to Queenscliff every second year, but we’ve missed that for Soren. Jericho has also missed the grade 5 camp, but that was to Sovereign Hill and he went there in grade 3, so doesn’t mind. Camp in grade 6 is Canberra, so he thought that made up for it. The school does a swimming program, which our school hasn’t done for the past few years, so both the boys are looking forward to doing that.

I feel so much better about it after going there today. Honestly, I’ve been really apprehensive about the whole primary school situation – academically I knew that the boys would do well anywhere, but their social and emotional wellbeing is so important, and they’ve been served so well by the school we’re at now, that I was really terrified that I was about to do something that would end in disaster. And of course we won’t know until we’re there and they’ve had time to settle in, but at least after today I can see how it CAN work. The kids we saw were all busy doing things, there was lots of artwork and displays up everywhere, it seemed just the right amount of messy-neat for a school, and the lady who showed us around was lovely and sounded genuinely affectionate about the school, which I think is a good sign.

Probably the biggest factor that’s reassured me now though, is that Jericho and Soren liked it. I think the woman who showed us around was pretty surprised that we are looking so far ahead, but I’m so glad we did. Jericho especially was visibly more relaxed as the tour went on, and both he and Soren have mentioned things that they liked about the new school. They’re both still nervous about making friends, but I don’t think it will take either of them too long. I actually suggested to them that if they wanted to write a letter to their new teacher and introduce themselves, we could put it in with the enrolment forms when we send them, and maybe that would help their teacher find someone to look after them on the first day. I mean, with that many kids it shouldn’t be too hard to hook either of them up with another kid who likes Pokemon and drawing rather than footy, should it?

We dropped Nicholai and Emma’s enrolment forms off at the high school too. The person who took them was concerned that we had no proof of address with them, and said that they couldn’t really process them without that- they really are incredibly hardcore about their zoning. We left them anyway, and Troy emailed them a copy of our sale contract once we got home, so that’s done. I wouldn’t mind having a tour of that place- honestly it was hard just to find the front door.

Sunday 21st May 2017

I had eight primary school jumpers from Jericho and Soren in the clean washing today. Two of them weren’t even ours! The whole situation is ridiculous- I think I need to staple Soren’s school jumpers to his body to have any hope of him keeping track of them.

Jericho and Soren are having the day off school tomorrow, as they’re coming to Ballarat with Troy and I. We’re going to have a tour of their new school, which should be interesting. I’m hoping that seeing it and knowing a little more about what they can expect after the move will alleviate a little bit of stress for them. I am just crossing my fingers that the school is good- there is literally nothing on their website or online to give me any sense of what it is like. We’ve just been so fortunate to have the kids in such a lovely, nurturing school here that I’m pretty anxious about making a change. (Not that I’m letting on to Jericho and Soren!) So with all that, I’m kind of nervous but also really glad that we’re going there tomorrow.

I packed a couple of boxes today- all my sewing stuff. I can’t carry the full boxes out to the shed, so I left them in an extremely prominent position in the middle of the loungeroom in the hopes that someone would notice them and move them for me. Someone did indeed notice them and say, “I suppose I should take those out to the shed,” to which I replied in the affirmative. I thought it was sorted. However, it’s now 8.40 pm and there are still two tea chest boxes in the middle of my loungeroom. I think we need to have words.

Saturday 20th May 2017

We should take tech off Nicholai more often. He was so bored he came along on a shopping trip and so was there to carry everything, and then he poisoned the grass that’s beginning to show through on the driveway.

Today someone bought the fireguard we used way back when we lived in the Steels Creek Road house. I listed it (and another firescreen we had) on Gumtree the other day and someone messaged me about it this morning and came and picked it up this afternoon. It was funny though, I wanted $50 for it but accidently listed it at $60, then she messaged and asked if we’d take $30, I told her we’d let it for for $45, she said okay and then paid for it with a $50 note and told me not to worry about any change. So I ended up with exactly what I’d wanted.

It was a handy $50 too- it meant I was able to buy myself a pair of thermal pyjamas at the Aldi ski sale without worrying about it. We have to be super careful about money at the moment, but the Aldi ski sale only comes around every now and then so it was good to be able to take advantage of it.

The trip to Aldi also paid dividends in that I found elbow supports there for $3! This was immediately after we had been to the chemist and bought the only elbow wrap they had for $15 – I tried the Aldi one this afternoon and it was great, so I will return the chemist one next time I am out that way.

We’ve got the other firescreen listed for sale, and the armchair out of the library listed for free just to get rid of it. We are also going to list our old double bed for sale – we thought we’d be able to do it today, after we went to Bunnings to buy replacement bolts, but we bought the wrong bolts! So we’ll have to go back for different ones before we advertise, and then hopefully it will sell and I’ll get a couple more dollars, since every single little bit counts at the moment.

We had a good talk with Nicholai in the car today, about moving and priorities and what we’re trying to help him achieve in his life. It’s really nice to actually talk to him when he’s not rolling his eyes and stomping off in a huff declaring how unfair we are.

There’s been a lot of talk of priorities in this house lately. After Nicholai once again prioritising computer gaming over homework the other day, I wondered if it might help him to have a visual of the (ideal) order of priorities. So I sat down with my trusty bucket of Sharpies and some butcher paper to create one. It turned into a really interesting exercise though, because rather than writing something that only targeted Nicholai (which would be kind of mean and would get his back up enough that he would gain no benefit from it anyway) I tried to word the priorities in a way that was applicable to everyone in the family, including Troy and I. I stuck it up on the freezer when I was finished and invited the children’s comments on it the next day, which was interesting. They agreed with the order of things and thought that it was good and not missing anything. It has also been surprisingly informative for all of us to be able to talk about family decisions (discipline, moving, working) or individual things (school, activities) within the framework of these five priorities.

Our family order of priorities is

  1. Health and emotional wellbeing -sleep/ healthy food/ self esteem/ hygiene/ mental health.
  2. Family- relationships with: parents, siblings, spouse, children/ pets/ household
  3. School/ Work – effort/ attendance/ homework/ responsibilities (notices, possessions etc).
  4. Friends – teams/ clubs/ groups/ individual friends
  5. Hobbies – tv/ internet/ computer games/ Wii/ Twitter/ blogs/ instagram etc

Friday 19 May 2017

I do so much laundry, it constantly surprises me. I think when the kids were little I thought that the washing would get less as they got older and weren’t wearing multiple outfits a day, but I was sadly mistaken. They take the easy way out of throwing everything into the washing basket rather than taking it to their rooms to wear again, even if they only wore it for five minutes. And all the clothes are so much BIGGER that I have to do multiple loads because the washing machine can’t handle 20kg of washing! Maybe I ought to investigate getting a commercial washing machine?

I had my last dental treatment today, for a filling and some sealers that will hopefully prevent me from needing more fillings in the future. When she drilled into the tooth it was worse than she had expected though, so the whole thing took ages. My jaw is killing me- not from anything she did to the teeth, but just from holding it open for nearly an hour.

Although I’m done, I’ll be back there next Friday anyway, because today I booked appointments for Jericho and Soren to have the sealants put on their teeth. They’ve got a curriculum day, so I thought what better way to spend a day off school than going to the dentist?

I also had an appointment with the doctor in the morning, which was really pretty depressing, as they tend to be. She had the report back from the radiologist, and I took my x-rays in for her to have a look at, and I have visible damage to the joints in my fingers and wrists from arthritis. Whether this is related to/caused by the psoriasis is not really clear- time will probably tell with that. It isn’t rheumatoid arthritis though, since I had a blood test and have no inflammatory markers, so that’s apparently a good thing. She’s written me a referral to a physio, who will be able to give me some hand exercises and explain what I should or shouldn’t do in order to alleviate the symptoms and not make anything worse. I can take painkillers if I need them, but I should keep my liver in mind and not overdo it.

The blood test also showed that my thyroid levels continue to be a bit low. I’ve been taking two of the tablets each morning (at 4am, it seemed the only solution but it seems to be working) so she wants me to continue doing that and we’ll retest in another month. That will be right before we move, so I’ll probably get her to write me out a million prescriptions so that they’ll last until I find a new doctor in Ballarat.

As far as finding that new doctor goes…I have no idea. Ideally I need someone who is both lovely and available, and also excellent at managing bipolar, depression, anxiety, arthritis, psoriasis, PCOS, metabolic syndrome, underactive thyroid, and mildly damaged livers. Not asking for much really, is it?!?!

Nicholai has lost tech for the weekend for not doing his homework. He has spent the whole evening flopping around and sighing so frequently, heavily, and dramatically, that I feel the oxygen level in the room lowering.

Thursday 18 May 2017

Teaching today, which went pretty well. I do wonder if my instructions are really not clear- though I thought an activity today was really simple, but they all seemed so confused! I actually think that they’re overthinking it, and making it all much more complicated than it is. I’m not trying to trick them with the translations! Anyway, I explained again, and I think everyone got it in the end.

Nicholai and Emma had a curriculum day today, so they were home when I got home. It throws off my day! No American Horror Story with lunch while they’re there.

I drove Nicholai to his LGBT group this afternoon. This is the second one he’s been too, and he seems to enjoy it. It’s pretty inconvenient though- it’s in Yarra Junction and I have to drive him to it, wait for an hour and a half, and then drive him home, while Troy has to leave work early to go and pick up Jericho and Soren. It’s every fortnight, so that’s a little bit better, but I think if we weren’t moving we would have to look at him catching a bus there from school or something.

Although I’m not happy with Nicholai- despite having had all week and a DAY OFF today, he still hasn’t done his maths homework. So I don’t know…no tech over the weekend? How do you motivate the unmotivated? And why does the school not care? When did they stop making you stay in at lunch time to do homework that you hadn’t done?

Wednesday May 17, 2017

I was in Soren’s classroom this afternoon while he was packing up his bag (I had been listening to kids read), and I went through his cubby- he had FOUR school jumpers stuffed in there behind his bag! No wonder he can never find clothes to wear!

Emma had an orthodontist appointment first thing this morning, so I took her to the while Troy drove the little boys to school. It was just to tighten up her braces a bit, so it went pretty quickly. I asked them about transferring to a new orthodontist, and she said that they give us Emma’s file with her moulds and x-rays to take with us, and once we choose one they will write a letter to them laying out what we were quoted, what we’ve paid, and what we still owe. She said that while we may need to pay a little bit extra, for the most part the clinics try to work with each other, so that’s good to know. I did a quick google for Ballarat orthodontists, and there’s a dental clinic located between our new house and the high school that I thought I would try first. If they will take her on then she can walk herself to the regular, braces tightening appointments and hardly miss any school at all.

I think Jericho’s anxiety is starting to become a bigger issue for him now. He’s been really settled and doing well for quite a while now, but I knew the move would be hard for him. He’s not really talking about anything to do with the move, but he seems a lot more anxious in general, and that is making him act out a little bit. He’s becoming more emotional again, and his temper is once again on a bit of a hair trigger. He’s reluctant to go to school, reluctant to go to hockey…he does go, of course, and he seems to enjoy himself reasonably well, but it’s not really usual for him. He’s just a lot more negative in general- it’s hard to deal with, and it’s hard knowing that he’s just going to have to struggle through it. We’re trying to make the move as easy as possible for the kids and avoid causing them any avoidable stress, but there’s only so much we can.

Tuesday 16 May 2017

I packed seven more boxes of books this morning. I stopped because I ran out of boxes, not because I ran out of books. I am still trying to get rid of things- as I pack I am literally holding every single book and staring at the cover asking myself do I really want this? Admittedly the answer is mostly yes I do! but there is also a slowly growing pile of books to donate so I’m hopeful that we will actually be able to fit all the books we have left in our new house.

I wrote a resignation letter yesterday, which made me cry. It really drove home to me that this thing we’re doing is going to be really, really hard. I’m giving up my job, and the chance of finding another one similar is infinitesimally small. We’re obviously gaining things, and we’ve made the decision that we think is best overall, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that we’re going to lose alongside of it, and some of them are important.

I have accepted the fact that I am going to really have to coordinate this move myself, and so I’m stomping through my usual i-don’t-want-to about calling people and asking for assistance or favours or whatever. I hate talking on the phone or arranging things, but no one else is doing to do it if I don’t, so I really have no other option.

So far I’ve contacted three removalist firms and got two quotes for the move, I’ve booked a goodbye party at the Hedgend Maze to play laser skirmish, and I called the new primary school and made an appointment for us to go for a tour and get all the enrolment information on Monday. I contacted the high school too, but we have to fill in enrolment forms and send them in, and then a vice-principal will get in touch with us to arrange a visit, and work out the children’s subjects and such things.

I’ve started knitting a scarf in anticipation of our move to colder climes. I should be making Troy gloves- I said I would and I have even bought a pattern and some suitable yarn, but honestly I am just finding the idea of gloves so fiddly and intimidating. A scarf seems so simple and straightforward.

I had so many things to say, but I’ve taken some Valium and now I can’t really think of them. It’s been a tough couple of days- I think this whole process is going to be harder than I thought.

But then, I clean through boxes of things out in the shed, and I find things like this. And it makes me think that life is beautiful and funny, that we have come a long way together and we will get through this too.


It’s Emma’s four year old kinder photo- my beautiful girl.