Sunday 30 June 2019

Another weekend just about over. Yesterday it rained all day, but today was okay – not that I actually left the house on either day.

I usually at least go to basketball on the weekends, but Jericho had a friend stay over on Friday night and I wasn’t super comfortable leaving them at home without an adult on Saturday. I mean, they’re both in Year 7 and would have been totally fine, but it’s just that unpredictability of other people’s kids – I’d rather be here to keep an eye on them than not, and since Troy is quite capable of taking Soren to basketball there seemed more reason to stay home. Soren’s team lost, but only by a couple of points and Troy said they all played well. Soren said he had a good game and thought he did well too.

I did some knitting over the weekend. Unfortunately, not on the sweater that is weighing down my conscience! Jean had asked for another pair of ugly grandma slippers before they go away at the end of next month (I’m not actually sure why this requires slippers, now that I think about it) so I sat down and did that while watching tv. It’s so satisfying to do a quick project and actually finish something! Although I used two strands of 12 ply yarn which turned out to be a bit ridiculously thick and difficult to work with, so next time I might not be quite so enthusiastic.

Emma told Troy and I today that for her sixteenth birthday she wants to pierce her face. A labret piercing, which is the one below your bottom lip (it’s usually in the middle, although I don’t know if you she wants it to the side). She was very unhappy with us when we indicated that the answer was going to be a no, and she’ll have to wait until she’s eighteen and can just go and do whatever she wants.

It’s funny though, I always feel bad when I say no to something the kids want that I could say yes to, even when I think that the no is a justified answer! I personally don’t like labret piercings, but it’s not that – even if she wanted a nose or an eyebrow or something I don’t mind as much I’d still say no at this point. They’re not allowed to wear facial piercings at school and even though it seems to be a basically unfashionable stance, I think that parents should back up the school on the basic rules. I think it doesn’t do the kids any harm to learn that they don’t always get to do exactly what they want, and sometimes they have to follow rules that benefit the group as a whole and not them as individuals, even if they don’t particularly like it.

(This has come up in regards to uniform before, and “not being able to express myself” etc etc etc…I really would like them to see “who I am” as being internal, not reliant on external factors. Your personality isn’t, or shouldn’t be, dependent on your clothes or hair or piercings. Obviously I’m not against these things either – it’s fascinating to watch them develop their own feelings and opinions and tastes about these things, and I want them to feel good about themselves and look at different ways to do that. But equally I want them to know that who they are (and who other people are) comes from the inside and is not always reflected on the outside, and you shouldn’t judge. It’s obviously complicated.)

Anyway, if Emma got the piercing on her birthday it should be basically healed by the time she went back to school after Christmas holidays, but there’s a good chance taking it in and out and leaving it open for eight hours a day wouldn’t work well at that point. And if she had any problems with it I can absolutely guarantee that my squeamish self would not even be able to look at a hole in her face, let alone help her do anything about it. Besides, they can also damage your teeth and be bad for gum health, and quite frankly I’ve spent enough money on her teeth already. If she wants it when she’s eighteen and can take full responsibility for the whole thing and any consequences she can go ahead and I won’t say a word. But for now, it’s a no.

(Although, watch her just go and do it without our permission anyway…)

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Friday 28 June 2019

It was the last day of term 2 today. I can’t believe we’re already halfway through the school year!

Jericho might do nothing but complain about his school work, but he came home with three awards (a maths one, an English one and a Japanese one) from the end of semester Year 7 assembly so he’s definitely doing well. His report was excellent. His transition to high school hasn’t been completely smooth sailing, but overall I’m pretty happy with how he’s doing.

Emma’s report was also excellent. Apart from the issue of her English exam anyway – the exam that went ‘not so well’ actually involved her having some kind of frozen panic attack, writing one paragraph instead of two essays, and scoring 17% on what was worth 40% of her final grade (and that 17% was the teacher being generous). I am really hoping that this was just a momentary aberration as all her other exams went well, but who knows. I no longer feel like I have any control or influence over anything in my children’s lives or personalities, so all I can really do is watch and take the blame in the end. Anyway, all of Emma’s other results were great and I know that she’s working hard and doing the best she can, so there’s nothing more we could ask of her.

I’m not as impressed with Nicholai’s report. The difficulty with this is it’s an objectively ‘good’ report, so my dissatisfaction with it/him is a matter of degree. His results are good, but I don’t really think that he’s putting in his best efforts at all. I mean, he’s still doing well because he’s smart enough to coast along, but he’s also smart enough to be doing a lot better than he is. We always say to the kids that as long as they can genuinely say they tried their best we will never be unhappy with whatever their actual score is – well what do you do when the score is okay, but the ‘trying their best’ part is just not happening? Like, he got mostly Bs and a couple of As, but if his results actually reflected the effort he puts in I have no doubt he’d be getting Cs at best.

We did try and talk to him, but didn’t get too far. He just doesn’t see what the problem is – he admits he could be working harder, but basically isn’t bothered by any real desire to excel. He’s content to coast along the way he’s going.

I don’t know. I don’t want to be some kind of crazy tiger mother demanding perfection, but he’s in Year 11 now and I’d be lying if I said his lack of effort doesn’t concern me. He’s got a lot of potential, and I don’t want to see him lose opportunities just because of laziness or lack of discipline.

Anyway, he came in while I was writing this and we actually had a fairly civilised discussion about it, so maybe he understand where I’m coming from. I don’t know if this will change anything, but at least I’ve said my piece.

 

Wednesday 26 June 2019

I had kind of a bad day today, but not because anything happened – just because I was in a shit of a mood and everything made me angry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me recently, I’ve just felt all kind of out of sorts and periodically grumpy and full of rage.

Although I do think some of my irritation today was reasonable. I’m so fed up with people just leaving things around the house, or leaving a half done job, when I am always the one who has to deal with it! Even such simple things as someone will look at all the catalogues delivered to our mailbox and leave them in a tidy little pile…but on the coffee table, not in the recycling. They have hotdogs for lunch on Sunday and wash the hot dog maker, and put it all back together…but leave it on the bench instead of putting it away in the cupboard in the garage. We use a plastic crate to cart everything Jericho needs to Ancient Civilisations night and when we come home it gets unpacked…but then it’s left carefully right next to the garage door instead of whoever walking four feet further and putting it actually away. But…we don’t have a house elf who appears and magically finishes your chores! When you leave shit around for someone else to take care of it, the only person who is going to take care of it is ME and I’m sick of it! I’m just really tired of being the default person who has to deal with everything.

This wasn’t really helped by my days off being taken up with chores and appointments either, although once again none of this stuff is HARD – it’s just the never-ending nature of it that’s getting me down right now.

Emma had the orthodontist today. She went to bed one night last week with her retainer fitting and woke up the next morning with it not fitting, so we made an appointment to check that out. We don’t know if she bit it when it slipped out of her mouth or leant on it and bent it when it fell onto her pillow, but either way they were able to trim down the part that was uncomfortable for her and it should be okay now. I’m relieved that this was possible, because I was kind of bracing myself for a $200 bill for a replacement retainer.

Yesterday I had Soren’s parent/teacher/student interview. He finished school early, came home and had lunch and then we went to talk to his teacher. While we were waiting he showed me all the natural disaster dioramas the kids made and how everything was arranged in the library, and then we talked to his teacher for a bit. It wasn’t really what I was expecting there – Soren is doing extremely well, there are no issues or concerns with his work or behaviour and she loves having him in her class again (that’s the part I was expecting) but then she told me Soren has been being bullied! He immediately burst into tears, so I gave him a hug and the teacher said that she’d only discovered this herself last week. Apparently a kid has been giving him a hard time and Soren’s been trying to just deal with it himself, but it’s been going on long enough that last week Soren hit breaking point and kicked the kid. The teacher said he’s absolutely not in trouble, that although he knows it’s not the right thing to do she understand how he got to that point, and she’s dealing with it now.

I just felt so terrible for him! And really concerned that he hadn’t told anyone – with all the attention paid to bullying and all that, why did he let this go on for so long without talking to someone? He wasn’t even the one who told her what was going on in the end, after the whole kicking/ kid knocking him over at lunch time stoush someone else her and then she investigated. I also find it difficult to imagine Soren deliberately trying to hit/ kick someone – he was never a hitter, not even to his siblings, so him doing it at school is just wildly out of character. Anyway, the teacher seemed pretty wild about it on his behalf and said she is dealing with it and has talked about it with Soren, so I’m hoping that it won’t be an ongoing problem anymore.

Soren is hilarious though. I got his Semester 1 Student Comment sheet that he’d filled out today, so here (with minor spelling corrections) is what Soren has to say about school and himself as a student.

 

This semester was an all right time. I tried to enter with a positive attitude but the weather got to me so I ended up trudging to school half-heartedly. I think part of the reason is I didn’t get much freedom in tasks so I couldn’t learn well. Despite that I still did very well in school.

Last two terms I got along well with my classmates. I never got a sour taste in my mouth after I talked to anyone so that was good. No one changed my learning except myself. The reason nobody changed my learning is I managed to ignore most of them. The only problem I had is it’s hard to just let people get it wrong in the name of fair-gos.

One of the main subjects is theme. The reason I mention theme is that we did so much of it. Every subject had an aspect of theme.

Writing = theme!

Maths = theme!

Reading = theme!

Everything turns to theme. It used to be fun but now it’s torture. The only relief was Sovereign Hill.

Sovereign Hill was a grand old time. Dressing up and going to school was fun. The only time I disliked it was breakfast since there was a smell vomit. The golf clinic was also fun. I sucked at putting but I was good at driving. I got one ball over the yellow bucket every time.

Sunday 23 June 2019

It was the Shortest Lunch this weekend. Actually also the shortest day. We did it a little bit differently this year, as we had to accommodate Soren playing basketball on Saturday and Nicholai and Steve going to the football on Sunday, so we ended up doing it over two days.

Soren’s basketball on Saturday was a really close game – they ended up winning by two points, and they really earned the win. They didn’t have any subs so it was just all running for the boys, and they did a great job.

After basketball we came home and threw all our stuff in the car and then drove down to Steve and Jean’s house. We left the dog at their house and then all drove together to Kellybrook. It was 4.30 by the time we got there so they didn’t have any of their hot food option available, but they had cheese and charcuterie platters and of course wine. So we ate those and Emma and I went outside and played with my camera for a bit, although it was pretty dark and wet outside by then.

Kind of a bizarre moment though when Nicholai pointed out that next year he’ll be old enough at the Shortest Lunch to drink! Considering the first year we went he was four months old and breastfeeding this just seems madness!

We stayed at Steve and Jean’s last night which was good. The kids played pool and a game called Pit and I agonised about being able/ not being able to import and organise my photos now that Picasa has been dumped. I have to say that I also just enjoyed the fact that they had a toasty warm wood heater. I would never want to go back to buying/ splitting/ stacking/ carting wood and cleaning up ash myself, but I really do love the heat of those things!

We went to Yering Farm first this morning, for the apple pies. Always my favourite! General favourite really, and I guess it’s all so familiar now that it does set the mood. They had a giant game of Jenga that they played, and then we ate our pies and drank some cider.

Second winery was Tokar Estate, who were offering chips and chicken fingers for the children, plus muffins, fancy tarts and wine. We sat outside by their fire pit, since they had a band playing who were enjoyable but just way too loud if we stayed inside the tent. It was freezing cold generally, but no rain so that was good.

After those two wineries Steve and Nicholai had to go to the football so we elected to leave it at that – considering we’d done Kellybrook the day before everything thought three was fine. We left Steve and Nicholai at Brett’s place (he and Elroy were going to the football too) and picked up Sophie and Otis. We went back to Jean and Steve’s and had some hot chips for lunch, then just hung out for a while.

I did some of the jigsaw puzzle Jean had out (she always has one out). It’s weird, I spend time doing one at her house and think that it’s kind of fun and maybe we should do them occasionally at home, but then I find myself NOT having fun but also being unable to tear myself away because it’s all just ‘find-one-more-piece!!!’ I don’t think my somewhat obsessive nature works well with puzzles like that.

The drive home was very quiet – everyone seems really tired. Nicholai took the train back after the football so we had to go and pick him up from the station later on. Apart from our house being so damn cold, it’s good to be home again.

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Thursday 20 June 2019

I was back on the treadmill this morning. It has to be done, but oh my god it was hard to force myself out of bed! I have not really been treadmilling at all since my gallbladder operation and so my fitness has gone back to being non-existent. However, having done the whole C25K thing last year, I now know that it IS actually possible for me to run, and so I feel like I’m going into rebuilding fitness with a slightly different mindset to the way I started doing this last year.

I’m also starting off at the speed that I want to be able to run at (7km/h), which might make it a little harder in the beginning but should end up with me being able to run a 5k in 45 minutes which seems vaguely realistic. Maybe? I never actually ran five kilometres last year, the most I did was four kilometres, but the whole gallbladder situation derailed my progress in the end and so hopefully this time I can just keep making incremental improvements until I can do it.

Jericho’s Ancient Civilisations night went well last night. He cooked his little pancake things and served them out while Troy and Soren and I wandered around through all the classrooms looking at all the displays of the kids’ work. Soren was very glad he chose to come in the end, as every single classroom has various kinds of food and he just walked around eating snacks. Jericho wore his toga and beard and participated in the costume parade as a ‘Green philosopher’ – he actually looked like he was having fun, so that was great to see. He really did look good too. (And now we have a toga for when Soren is in Year 7 and doing ancient civilisations and also expects me to whip up a costume in half an hour).

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Tuesday 18 June 2019

Tonight, I am just so over kids’ take-home projects from school!

Jericho has been studying Ancient Civilisations in various ways at school during this term, leading up to ‘Ancient Civilisations Night’ which is to be held tomorrow and where the kids will all present various individual projects. There was no way this was ever going to be fun and relaxing with Jericho (his regular homework is cause enough for general misery, special projects is its own kind of hell) but we’ve been trying. Anyway, he decided a while ago that he wanted to cook something and he found a recipe, so today’s shopping trip was not unexpected or last minute or anything. But it’s still just…ugh. I don’t know. He had a list, but of course some things had to be compromised on (I’m not spending $20 on dates for him to ‘decorate’ his food stand!) and as always nothing I do is ever right in Jericho’s eyes. However we have all the ingredients he needs to make these pancake-type things he wants to do and the actual cooking of it shouldn’t be too difficult, so fingers crossed it will run smoothly from here on out.

But while the grocery shopping trip was planned, having him come home from school and show me that the sole of his school shoe was now in two pieces and unwearable after he’d limped all the way home in it and oh by the way I’m supposed to have a costume for tomorrow night and do we still have the toga I wore to Book Week three years ago??? was really NOT expected and raised the stress levels. So grocery shopping also incorporated a trip to Kmart for new shoes. And while I didn’t have the toga from three years ago (which was a length of calico that would not fit around the child now) I actually DID have a couple of metres of hemp that we managed to work into a toga costume that met with Jericho’s reluctant approval. Plus he is going to wear the beard I made him for Book Week a few years ago (actually probably the same year we made the toga – he was Zeus) so while I am on the brink of a nervous breakdown from dealing with all this he is going to rock Ancient Civilisations night.

This was also done on top of having to help Soren make a ‘natural disasters’ diorama – he picked bushfires, so you know…my favourite subject. He had a lot of ideas and has been working on it, but he needed a bit of help and hot glue and we had to jam this into the time we had after school today that wasn’t spent dealing with Jericho and his shopping and toga and cooking plans and doing the other normal afternoon/ evening stuff.

Also, my stick vacuum isn’t working properly (it’s not holding charge, I can only vacuum one room (or half a big room) before it conks out) and Emma woke up and told me she’s done something to her orthodontic retainer so that it doesn’t fit properly, so really today was full of aggravation.

I did have an unexpected mostly free day yesterday though, so I should have been all zen and serene and ready to deal with anything! Troy had to go to the city for a two day tax seminar so he wasn’t here, and my efforts to work unassisted pretty much failed in the morning. Obviously everyone enjoys having an afternoon to do what they want, but I feel like the most useless employee that ever was when I can’t work without Troy! The problem is that at this point in the financial year there isn’t a lot of work for me because the superfunds that are left are either so far behind I can’t work on them (the computer interface changed for the 17/18 year so I don’t know how to do the previous years), so complicated that I can’t understand them, or have owners who haven’t sent in the paperwork and so no one can do anything with them. In a couple of weeks the new financial year will start and I should start being more useful.

Sunday 16 June 2019

Another weekend at an end. It was a pretty laid back sort of da, after an annoying beginning where I was woken up before I was ready by the stupid dog barking like a lunatic at something outside the front door. There are windows in our front door that allow her to see out and I am SO tempted to paint over them so that she can’t see anything that’s going to send her into hysterical barking!

Once I got up and got ready we went to Spotlight. Emma wanted fabric paints,(which were surprisingly difficult to find), Soren needed some cellophane (he’s making a diorama about bushfires), and I figured I might as well buy the zip I need for my cardigan while we were there. We got what we needed, but going to Spotlight always leaves me feeling vaguely cross – it used to be one of my favourite shops to look through, but it’s got so much worse. It doesn’t help that this Ballarat store is smaller than the store I used to go when we lived in Yarra Glen, but it’s like every time I go there they’ve cut down their craft and yarn and sewing supplies and added another aisle of scatter cushions.

After months of me hating Nicholai’s growing out hair, he asked for a headband today to get the mess out of his face while he was at work – it looked SO good! Omg, being able to see his face instead of just this unkempt disaster wig was such a nice change! Anyway, he wasn’t sure about the headband so when we dropped him off Troy and I went in and bought him a different kind that might work better for him – here’s hoping.

I never thought would care so much about the children’s hair. I always said that as long it was clean and brushed they could do what they wanted in terms of cut. Which is true…except we have this shitty situation where no one brushes it and there’s just all this grungy hair hanging in everyone’s faces and they all look completely homeless and uncared for and it drives me bananas! I just want them to wash it and brush and look like they make some kind of bare minimum effort (and also be able to make eye contact, which currently none of the boys ever do because they are hiding behind curtains of hair!).

Nicholai was late for his shift, because we had just reached the carpark when he realised he’d forgotten his hi-vis vest and we had to turn around and go back home for it. In general he’s doing well with his job though – I’ve been impressed with his effort and attitude. Although today he ran over his foot with a trolley, so that wasn’t good! I was also highly amused to discover the other day that his colour-blindness hampers his ability to do the job – from a distance he can’t tell the difference between the red and the green Coles and Woolworths trolleys!