Friday 22 November 2019

Sometimes I get so tired of being me.

I’m glad it’s the weekend now, it has been a difficult couple of days at work. Partly me, and partly also just because there kept being all these issues that even Troy couldn’t fix so it all felt quite fruitless.

We did have homemade pizza and a movie tonight (Emma’s choice – Atlantis) so that was good, although much less good was the lengthy and strident complaints from Nicholai afterwards as he washed the dishes. He hates pizza night and resents having to wash dishes (three trays! A chopping board! The bread maker container! The strainer! The horror!) for a meal he doesn’t like. (Actually, it’s a meal he doesn’t eat – he eats soup every Friday.) He was extra vicious about the whole thing tonight because he is realising that since he works Sunday night the sibling who is his dishes partner always has to wash then, and Nicholai therefore winds up washing Monday/ Wednesday/ Friday and so he will always be washing on pizza night. Oh, it’s all so dramatic and god damn it but I am exhausted by him.

Jericho had an excursion today that we had down in the cozi calendar as ‘poop farm and drain excursion’ ha ha ha– they went to the waste treatment plant and looked at various wetlands and canals and stormwater drains around the city. He told me it was a longer and tougher walk than around Uluru. At least he had some nice weather for it though, after a much hotter day yesterday today was lovely.

Nicholai has been back at school all this week for Year 12 orientation. He is somewhat unimpressed with the concept I think, but has also said it’s been fine. Emma has gone to school for maths only (she’s in Year 11 next year but will do a Year 12 maths class) so she’s had a couple of days free and shorter days the rest of the time. She’s got work experience next week and will stay with Steve and Jean – Steve is coming up to Ballarat tomorrow to go to the cricket with Nicholai and will take her back with him, and then we will meet up with her in the city next weekend when we go to see the Myer windows and buy a Christmas ornament. It will be so weird for her to be gone for a whole week!

Tuesday 19 November 2019

I had my gastroscopy and colonoscopy yesterday, so I was aiming for a low key day today. I mostly achieved this – ignoring housework (apart from laundry) and spending several hours working on organising the new scrapbooking folders. Actually all went well until I realised that Soren was supposed to be going to basketball to have photos done and I’d let him trot off to a friend’s house and had no idea where he actually was. I knew the street but could not for the life of me remember the number of the kids’ house and so I pretty much had a complete emotional breakdown. So I drove around there like a mad person and literally knocked on door looking for him and got nowhere, and eventually had to call the basketball coach to say sorry but that I couldn’t bring Soren because I had lost him. Then I came home and cried for a while about my own uselessness – not just because I forgot (and really Rebecca, you had ONE job today and you fucked it up!) but also because what kind of a mother doesn’t know where her kid is?? Anyway, it’s done and it’s not like Soren really cared about the photos or was going to buy one but even so…I don’t know. Not a great afternoon. I completely overreacted and got so upset that I had to take some Ativan which hasn’t happened for ages.

I think I was probably just emotionally fragile after the past couple of days of starvation and misery. Sunday was the prep for the colonoscopy, so all that involved was drinking nasty drinks, not having any food, and spending a lot of time on the toilet. The worst part about it actually was the terrible headache that went along with it for me, and since I couldn’t eat I couldn’t really take pills to help it.

Monday I had to get up at 5.30 to drink the last bit of the prep and that was the last time I was allowed to drink anything. My check in time was 12.30 so Troy and I left for Maryborough just after 11. It’s only an hour’s drive and it was actually quite nice, if I hadn’t had such a wretched headache it would have lovely.

Once we checked in, it was mostly waiting. I was the last one in, so there waiting in some armchairs, then waiting in a waiting room, then waiting on a trolley in paper clothes, then saying goodbye to Troy and waiting in a bay off the surgery room, then having them do my iv and move me to a different bay for even more waiting, then finally getting trolleyed around the corner into the actual room.

The procedure went easily. The numbing spray for my throat was disgusting, but the sedation was quick and effective and the next thing I knew I was waking up and feeling fine. I didn’t even have a sore throat or any abdominal pain at all, so I was up and in my clothes pretty quickly, very happily drinking a bottle of water and eating some hospital sandwiches. I was even happier when we left the hospital and drove straight to KFC for some hot, salty chips. The only lasting legacy of it is that the backs of both my hands are pretty sore and bruised – the first IV they tried to put in was a failure and just bruised up my hand so they went to the other side; that second one worked but once they pulled it out I had a matching bruise.

The results were fine, everything’s normal. This is basically what we expected – we wanted to definitively rule out things like celiac and crohns and colitis (which I probably would have had other symptoms of if it’d had them, so we weren’t really worried). This leaves me now with irritable bowel syndrome as the diagnosis that seems the most applicable. It’s a very non specific condition though – symptoms vary, causes vary, and treatments are a lot of the ‘maybe this will help?’ variety. On the upside it’s not dangerous or causing damage to my insides, but the downside is that there’s no guarantee that I’m going to be able to do anything that’s particularly effective. There is a diet that I can try that has worked and so the gastroenterologist has booked me in with his dietician to discuss that (although couldn’t get an appointment until February) so I will do that. Only other suggestion is to try and lower stress…um, sure. Let me get right on that. We all know relaxation is my forte.

Saturday 16 November 2019

Soren had another win at basketball today. They won 58-10, so it was something of a rout, and Soren scored four points which he was so happy with. It’s kind of crazy actually, I really thought they didn’t need to be moved up a grade and yet in the two games they’ve played in the new grade they’ve absolutely crushed the opposition. Admittedly they have been helped by the new kid the club added to their team when they got moved up – he plays like Michael Jordan or something and scored over thirty of their points today, ha ha ha. But even so, they’re doing really well and working surprisingly well as a team, it’s great.

The weather finally cooperated today, so Troy and I dragged all the boys out in to the yard for an hour of gardening in the afternoon. (Emma had a friend over so she was excused temporarily, she will complete her hour of work at some other point). I’m sure you can imagine the joy this entailed! Nicholai could complain for his country, that’s for sure. Somehow his indignation over such things manages to be both eye-roll worthy and also amusing though. Jericho complains a lot too, although at least he tries to be entertaining with his lamentations. And all credit to him, because he was the best worker out of the three of them today and did an astonishingly good job. Soren tried hard at the start but did flag after a little while – not too surprising after a game of basketball and a morning spent on the trampoline. Anyway, between the five of us we made a huge dent on the weed situation out in the yard so I’m happy with that. Still lots to be done, but I feel like progress has been made.

Friday 15 November 2019

Homemade pizza and family movie night again tonight – it’s my favourite part of the week. It was Jericho’s turn to choose today and he picked Clueless, which was a somewhat surprising choice but such a good movie! All the kids totally enjoyed it, particularly Nicholai which I find kind of amusing for some reason. Possibly because he usually endures family movie night under sufferance, so it’s nice to have him actually having fun with it!

Nicholai and Emma both had their last exams yesterday, so they’re done with Year 10 and Year 11 respectively. Nicholai now has year 12 orientation for the next two weeks and is then finished school for good for the year. Emma has to go to year 12 orientation for her maths class (she’s doing year 12 maths) for the next week, and then will spend a week doing work experience, and after that will have to go to school for two days for year 11 orientation, and then she’ll be finished. I think anyway – the whole thing is actually pretty confusing. Jericho finishes December 19 and Soren finishes December 20. I don’t know when I will finish work or how long the office will be shut for over Christmas – that’s going to be nice.

Soren has basketball tomorrow, Emma has a friend coming over, Nicholai has work on Sunday and Jericho has a birthday party, so they’ve all got something lined up. I’m hoping to get them out in the garden too, that would be good to get some of that mess taken care of.


Wednesday 13 November 2019

I bought another few of the 12×12 inch D-ring folders that I’m replacing my old scrapbook albums with and spent a while transferring pages over today. It’s kind of an expensive proposition (hence why I’m doing it a little bit at a time) but I really had to do something. When I made them I used post bound albums (which was mostly all that was available then), but I added refills and totally overloaded them to the point that most of them are now damaged, with the covers only half attached and the plastic pages tearing out, and so no one could even really look at them without bits and pieces falling off everywhere. I may have the same issue with the folders eventually (scrapbooking uses a lot of paper and that’s surprisingly heavy once it’s all done) but I’m trying not to jam too much in there and hopefully they’ll be a bit sturdier. So far I’ve filled seven of the folders and probably need another seven or eight, so it’s going to be a bit of a process.

It took a while, but it was quite fun looking at all the old photos that are in there – little Nicholai and Emma were so cute! I didn’t have a digital camera when they were babies so most of these pictures are only in physical prints in the scrapbooks, and I haven’t looked at them for ages. Emma came and looked at them too, and I was glad about that – I mean some of the journaling is really cheesy and I know she’d be embarrassed if I said half of that shit to her now, but so much of my scrapbooking was basically little love letters to my babies. And so she can read it now and be told all over again how much I love her, how amazing she is, and how happy I have always been that she’s mine.

I don’t know that I’ll ever scrapbook again though. It’s easier and cheaper (and the finished product takes up less space) to make photo books online and print them out than it is to print out individual photos and put them in an album, even without all the extra paper and embellishments and journaling. I’d rather do that and spend craft time knitting or crocheting I suppose. Although that does mean I have hundreds and hundreds of photos that I will probably never print out, because I make a photo book for each of the children for each year of their lives and that’s mostly it. I’ve made a couple of other albums (I did one with my Project 365 pictures, and Indonesia, and I’ve spent the last week putting together one for our Central Australia holiday) but there’s a lot of pictures that are just sitting around on my hard drive. Still, I suppose they can sit there until I get around to making albums some other time – probably I’m the one most interested in looking at them anyway.

Sunday 10 November 2019

After all my concerns and Soren’s despair over this basketball team being regraded, they won their game yesterday by 71 points. I have no idea. They did get an extra player assigned to their team and he scored more than half of those points (he’s a new player, and just has some kind of phenomenal natural talent it appears) so that helped, but they really did play well as a team.

Although I felt really bad for the team they were playing against – I think they were also moved up and clearly they had a bad day. I didn’t want Soren to be discouraged by having another season of brutal losses, but I don’t actually want that for any other kid either. They’re all under 12 players, it really should be about learning and being encouraged to participate and have fun.

It was another very cold and rainy weekend, which is kind of weird in a way when the rest of the country seems to be on fire. Nicholai worked, but apart from that and the basketball we mostly stayed home. Jericho had some friends over, so that was a loud afternoon of them playing video games and shouting.

I’ve been going through all my holiday photos and trying to put together a selection to make a holiday photo book. I took a LOT of photos in those two weeks, so this is a very lengthy process! Even though I don’t do a lot of editing, I’ve had to go through and copy them across to a new folder, then do any cropping and editing and renaming, then go through the photos that Troy and the kids took and add any and do that for them. I’ve ended up with 285 photos, so that took a pretty long time. Although after spending all that time, they are now failing to upload to the photobook website, which is incredibly frustrating and not something I can do anything about.

Troy and I built our Ikea bookshelf too, and I re-shelved the Babysitters Club books. We have one more bookcase to build (we have heaps of books double shelved and stacked, and need more space for them) but we can’t do that until we have somewhere to put it, which means we have to sort through some other things in the office and reshuffle other furniture. It really is just a never ending list of things to do.


Soren in his uniform with his Most Improved medal. 

Friday 8 November 2019

It’s Ballarat Show Day today, so it’s a holiday. It’s kind of weird to have this day as the public holiday when the rest of the state has Tuesday for Melbourne Cup day, but here we are. It was freezing cold and it poured rain off and on all day, which probably isn’t very good if you’re our neighbours who are away in their caravan, but it’s pretty good for me who just wants to wrap up in blankets and watch movies and feel cosy.

Nicholai worked, so he probably didn’t appreciate the weather. He DID appreciate the holiday penalty rates that mean he made something like $120 for a few hours of pushing trolleys around though.

It’s been a pretty quiet week. Troy had a new accountant start on Wednesday (fingers crossed this guy works out, that would be great) so he spent an extra day in Yarra Glen to sort out things for him. This meant I had to work on my own here on Thursday, which was a bit lonely and depressing.

Nicholai and Emma had a couple of exams, which seemed to go well, thank goodness. I was very anxious for Emma, who had a panic attack during her English exam last semester, wrote almost nothing, and failed it decisively. I was pretty concerned that she was working herself up for a repeat performance this time, but she got through it and came home happy with the way she did. I’m really relieved, because there has been a lot of discussion about special consideration and special accommodations for the exams and I really didn’t know if I was handling it in the right way. Basically my thought was that although she had one horrible experience, she’s done exams and tests as long as she’s been in school and always done well. I didn’t want to elevate the bad exam to making it representative of her abilities, if that makes sense. I wanted her to see it as a bad day, a single experience that she can use to learn something about herself and the way she reacts to exam pressure, and then see how we can best manage things going forward. I didn’t want her to take this one bad exam and use it to define herself as ‘I can’t do exams’, not when she’s in year 10 and has years of exams ahead of her that are going to be more important! So we talked about it, like if she thought she might do better to go into the exam hall first/ last, or sit in a particular spot (at the front so she didn’t have to see anyone else, or at the back so that no one was doing anything behind her etc) but I was pretty firm that I wanted her to do the exams in the hall with everyone else if at all possible, and I would rather she tried (with some accommodations if necessary) and failed another exam rather than go the extreme option of doing them privately. As I said to her, it’s only year 10- she’s not going to fail the year even if she failed the exam. These exam results don’t matter, so what really matters about them is practicing her exam taking techniques and learning what she can do in that environment to achieve her best. If she’d been in year 11 or 12, where the actual results go on her transcript and DO matter, it might have been different, but that’s where I was coming from. And as I told her repeatedly, she’s done a lot of tests and exams in her life and always done fine, so there was no reason to expect another bad experience was inevitable. She’s very, very capable of doing hard things, and she needs to know that.

I don’t know, it’s a really difficult line to walk. I do not want to minimise any mental health issues the children have. I know how debilitating things like anxiety and depression can be! But at the same time…they’re so young. Their brains are so malleable and their sense of self is developing so quickly, that I genuinely believe avoidance is not the answer in this case. They are primed to learn coping skills and different thought patterns and to develop good mental health habits, and I really want them to focus on that. I don’t want them to limit themselves.

Anyway, after all that – Emma had her maths and English exam on the same day and said they went fine. I’m truly, deeply proud of her, no matter what her actual mark is in the end. She did something that scared her, and she got through it.

It’s a different thing, parenting teenagers. All that with the exams, the gender and sexuality issues, their working lives, and just preparing them to be functional, independent adults. And not all of it is big, and sometimes you overlook the small things! Like Emma wanted to spend her birthday giftcards and, given that she had no school and I had work, I told her she could catch the bus and then realised that she just didn’t really know how! So we roped Nicholai in for his assistance (we’ve been through this with him, he’s quite good with public transport now) and worked out where she could catch the bus, what number she needed, what she was supposed to do with the Myki card when she got on on the bus, and away she went. She did fine, and came home both happy with her shopping and happy with having been a little more independent for a day. It’s like when they were little and you had to let them dress themselves so they could learn how, even though it took twice as long as when you just whipped their clothes on. I guess back then it was doing their own shoelaces and wiping their own asses, and now it’s doing exams and navigating the world without you right there, but it’s all important.

Soren got his basketball medal too – he won most improved for last season, so yay for him! I really am happy for him. Unhappy to learn that his team has been put up a grade again this season though! This is what happened last season, they won the first few games and then were put up a grade and were massacred every single week. It’s frustrating to think it’s going to happen again this time. It might not, but I’m not all that hopeful – I mean they’ve played four games and won three (by a margin of 10 points, 5 points and 32 points) and lost one (by 4 points). Excluding the 32 point win (and that team has apparently lost all their games by similarly large margins) I think it shows that the team is in the right grade. Maybe they’re going to be one of the stronger teams, but they’re winning by reasonable margins that indicate the game was competitive between the two teams. However it looks like the league just makes whichever teams are top 3 or 4 after the four games and moves them up/ moves down the equivalent number without actually looking at the score lines. I know they want to make for a fair competition and I think that’s a good thing to work towards, but given my own very limited experience I’m questioning their method. However perhaps our experience last season was unusual (in being so wildly outplayed once they were moved up) and his team will do better this time. I hope so. Not because I care about winning, but because losing by SO much, where nothing you do or how hard you try even matters because the other team are so much better, is really demoralising. It’s been lovely to see Soren’s confidence grow over the past four weeks, and I just hate the idea that he’s going to lose that.