Friday, March 30, 2007

Winter Woolies!

Time for something a bit more warm and fuzzy, quite literally!

Here's Bryn wearing a jacket I bought for him at the Kids and Babies market last Sunday for $3. I know, it's very pink, but isn't it LOVELY. and doesn't his skin just GLOW in it??? He's also sporting some knitted cargo pants by Katy at Knitterbug - I LOVE these, and was so excited when it was cold enough this morning to put them on!

And one more pic, just because he is sooooo gorgeous!

And Amanda, these are for Laurent! I know you didn't ask for a hat, but I just wanted to (and if you don't like it, it's looks great on Bryn, hehehe!

Jen, these are the pants I started at your place yesterday morning, finished them this morning, and did the hat this afternoon and this evening (in between EVERYTHING else we mums have to do, hahaha)...

On the razor edge...

I'm blogging using these photos from last week's photography course, because they kind of illustrate how crazy my life is at the moment. These tricky images were created using "Bulb" and an off camera flash - I could go into more, but I won't unless someone asks because I have other stuff to blog now and I don't want to become sidetracked.

Ok, I'll start with the highlights from this week...

  • I had to try and get a referral from my GP to qualify for a rebate on my counselling with my psychologist who is helping me identify the source of my anger towards the kids, and basically just deal with life. The first GP (my new one) I went to tried to tell me he couldn't give me the referral because "they" were requiring specially qualified GPs to make the referral and he refused to undertake a course in psychology to be qualified to assess his patients to go and see some other psychologist. He refused on the day before my counselling session, for which I was hoping to get a rebate because otherwise I couldn't afford to go to that session. I was forced to cancel that session. I then found out the the policy which was the grounds for his refusal had been changed some time ago (so he just wasn't up to date with his information). I had to book an appt. with a different GP, because my GP was going on holidays two days after my appt. and couldn't fit me in again in the meantime. Grrrr. The second GP refused to back date my referral even though my counsellor was happy for him to do so. Therefore I lost $450 I was counting on, and am now in a deep hole of debt..
  • The complaints continued to come in from the boys' school, and on Tuesday Erik stole a banana from a preppies lunchbox, then told the teacher it was because he was hungry and even though he'd told us he needed more lunch for school, we just kept "forgetting" to put more lunch in his box. This is totally untrue! Most days he comes home with leftovers from lunch, and Tuesday was no different, there was a half eaten sandwich in his lunchbox when he came home.
We decided to keep him home on Wednesday to reflect on the fact that if he couldn't participate in the school community, and follow the happy and safe rules, then he would have to be homeschooled again. All good and well, we thought.
  • On the Wednesday Luey and few boys from his class got into trouble for going out of bounds (where they had found a slab of Coke and were drinking it). The teacher brought the Coke up to the class room, and left it outside the door. She then called the school Prinicpal, who came and spoke to the entire class about staying within the demarkated school bounds (there is an out of bounds area within the perimeter of the school). The Coke was left outside the class room and during the lunch period some kids from the older grades helped themselves to the Coke. They were then also sent to the Principals office. This story tells me Luey's teacher (and the Principal, who I'm assuming also saw the Coke outside the class room) at IDIOTS. I mean, they dangle a carrot in front of 5-11 year old noses and then chastise the children for going after the carrot!
Meanwhile, the teacher attempted to give me the impression (at pick up) that Luey was somehow alone, or a ring leader in the out of bounds incident. She hadn't reckoned with Dave having already told me the story. So, again she ran up to me to tell me Luey had gotten into trouble that day, in front of the other parents, in her shrill nasally voice (which I've decided was loud, but just carries in a crowd. This time I questioned whether Luey was on his own, and I also told her I'd heard the story from Dave and it sounded like the children had located the Coke even before Luey came to school. So, she had to admit other children were involved and Luey probably wasn't the ringleader.
  • Thursday morning, Erik was getting ready to go to school, when Dave discovered he had stolen a box of sultanas from the cupboard the day before, and also just that morning he'd stolen two choc chip biscuits from the cupboard that Dave had intended for the boy's lunchboxes as a special treat. Erik had stolen these items despite already being in trouble for stealing and despite obviously show remorse for having stolen, and promising not to do so any more...
    The only conclusion Dave and I can come to is that Erik really wants to do the right thing, but he just can't control his impulses, even if it could mean missing out on something far more important to him (like going to school). At this point, I started to find it hard to breathe, I started having a panic attack and started hyperventilating. I was completely freaking out. All I could think was, I can't send him to school if he can't control his impulses. I can't face any more of the teachers telling me my kids are difficult. I also could face the idea of having to care for them all 24/7 without some respite. Then I was thinking how Dave won't get a lisence and won't get his health sorted, and how we have only had a platonic, co-parenting relationship for the past 6 years (excepting a few months when we were ttcing Bryn). I was thinking I had to split from Dave because I was letting myself down, and then I was thinking how I would be this half blind, bald, single parent to a child who probably has ADD, I'd be isolated, alone and it would be scary... I was thinking how I just wanted to die, or run away, this was all too hard, and I couldn't even breathe!
Dave held my hand and got Erik to get me a warm flannel (well, first it was cold because I was about to pass out, but I couldn't put a cold flannel on my face so Erik warmed it). I told Dave what I was thinking. I told him both the boys had to go to school today because
I couldn't face the idea of having Erik at home. Dave decided to take them to school, but take the day off himself so we could talk.

I had plans to visit a friend, and decided to keep those plans because I needed to get away from it all... I'm really glad I did keep those plans, because it gave me a chance to talk it all out and sort some things in my head.

When I got home at lunch time, we talked. Again he said he didn't want us to split up, but I was saying, I just can't continue on like this. I don't want to split up either but every time something goes wrong I come back to this feeling I have that I don't rate with Dave. I'm somewhere way down his list of priorities because he isn't willing to sort out the stuff I need him to sort out to make our lives run a bit more smoothly. The very ideal of being a single parent, no car, and dealing with everything on my own scares the living daylights out of me.

So, atm, we're not splitting up. Again he has said he will get his lisence and get his health sorted. He is moving back into our room on the weekend when we get the new bed (but notice, not before we get the new bed - I don't know why waiting till the new bed is important though, he didn't even want the new bed... I don't know, I shouldn't be synical...

So, anyway, we've decided it's time to bight the bullet and get Erik assessed. Maybe he has no impulse control issues at all, and this is just plain "don't care how others feel" behaviour, but maybe there is actually something else going on here. Whichever it is, I need to feel like we're doing something.

I have a whole other blog about how EVERYTHING, every form of parenting, even those who claim not to be, are basically aimed at having control over our children's behaviour, and how that is just a fallacy. There is no control to be had, we can't control the outcome by doing A, B or C, or not doing X, Y, or Z. The most we can do is give out children the pertinent information, model for them the behaviours we like to see them adopt, and just hope they come to see the world the way we see it, but there are no guarantees, no way to control them...

Atm, life is about as nonsensical as these photos...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A couple of purchases + pics from Amanda's

Went to the Hawthorn Babies and Kids market on the weekend and found a couple of great bargains!

These Fred Bare red fine cord bootleg pants were $10!


These leather shoes were #20 (NEW), and the perfect shape for Bryn's broad little feet!


These Tip Toey Joey's were more expensive than I'd like to post here, hehehe, but I had been looking for them for a while (didn't buy these at the market, bought these yesterday in Camberwell), they're just so RED and in this pick Bryn is wearing overalls Erik used to wear with a very similar, but navy, pair of shoes - memmmmmmries!

Ok, The rest of these pics are from my visit to Amanda's yesterday. Bryn and Laurent are two months apart in age, and while they seem to have fairly different personalities and approaches to life, they seem to get along really well (so far, being that there is still another 1.5 years until the social age, hahaha)...

The light in Amanda's back room is AMAZING!!! Nearly every photo I took came out well! And she has some awesome props too, my fave being the gorgeous velvet lounge, yummo! Amanda, I hope you new house has lighting as good as this!


This is Bryn saying "Dog" (or "Gog" as the case would be), he is convinced the ram he's holding is a dog... Well, he hasn't actually ever seen a ram, so I guess it's not surprising...

Peek-a-boo!



Laurent is fasicnated with green straws, and his mum assures me that if he is unsettled while out and about, locating a green straw will soothe him!



You're supposed to eat the hot cross bun, and play with the donkey... Not the other way around, La...



I actually think this photo is more ALIVE in b/w...





Yum! Jam toast!

















Mum, and her children, furry, and those who just think they are...




It's nearly a smile!













This is La on his dad's playhorse, I REALLY like this shot!



Saturday, March 24, 2007

While the Buddhily Woodily is sleeping...

I thought I'd take the opportunity to blog some recent shots I took of him on Thursday when we met up with Amanda at Amber's... I'm trying to be very Zen about my photography atm, and just enjoy it for it's own sake. I was getting myself a bit wound up about how fabulous other people's work was and how much I felt I was lagging behind, and also getting frustrated with finally discovering the limitations of my lack of vision (I'm pretty hopeless with manual focus because I really can't see through the viewfinder and so it's very hit and miss, though I'm actually finding I still prefer to try than leave it up to the autofocus, which can also be hit and miss)...


So, here he is at the bus stop with his new train. He's become very enchanted with trains, and so when I spotted this lovely brightly painted wooden train featuring number 1 through 10, I couldn't resist getting it for him...

Climing the steps up to the mini tube city at Amber's. I really like the angle of this one, and while he face isn't all that visible, I like how his eyes are wide open...

Throwing a ball into the ball pit. Bryn is just a little obsessive about putting all the balls back into the pit, and so spent a little of him time at Amber's trying to get all the errant balls back "home"...

These photos have odd lighting and are a bit blurry (my manual focus limitations showing through), but he was very intent on this book, and that grimace is his, "not totally impressed" look, the book was immediately flung aside as soon as I took the second photo...

Love this one! After a big day of running about I caught him in a moment of resigned tiredness, which in the next moment was dismissed and he processed to run about for the rest of the afternoon and evening until he collapsed into sleep on the floor, as blogged further down this page, LOL!

Here's a funny Bryn story for you... When the boys come home from school, I usually run a bath and then they each have 13 timed minutes in the bath. I set the timer on the microwave, and when it beeps, I call out the first child and send the second child in (they used to have 25 minutes together in the bath, but would hype each other up and splash so much that we've now devided the time into 13 minutes each)... So, anyway, on Thursday, Erik is in the bath, and the timer is on. After just 10 minutes, Erik has had enough and comes out, and Luey goes in. When Luey has been in for a minute or two, the microwave timer counts down to zero and starts beeping. Bryn's face lights up when he hears the beeps, and he come over to me and babbles at me excitedly, and when I continue to sit and knit (telling him Luey is already in the bath and Erik is already out), he marched up to the bathroom door and bangs on it call for the boy inside to come out because the timer has gone off!

I was very impressed by this, because we'd never actually included Bryn in the process of setting the timer, or getting one boy out and the other into the bath when the timer went off, but he has obviously observed the process and was well aware of what the beeping meant!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Another school update...

Had that chat to Erik's teacher, and it went fairly well, imo. Told her about the boys punching and poking Erik with the stick, and pointed out that one of the boys had had an interaction with Erik before (at which point she told me she'd actually moved the boys hooks away from one another, which was good to hear)... She DIDN'T know about the bullying behaviour, and she was contrite about not having let Erik finish telling her. She didn't say whether or not she's used the words "naming names" but this is not a phrase we've ever used and I can't think of anywhere else Erik would have picked it up. Her justification was that on asking him if he'd gone out of bounds he'd furiously started shaking his head and saying, "It wasn't like that, everyone was doing something", which she had interpreted as Erik attempting to shift the blame. I conceded that he does do that to try and get out of trouble but obviously in this instance he was trying to give her the full picture, and she suggested that future she will perhaps need to give him more of a chance to explain him, but that also we need to get him to understand that it is better to acknowledge when he has done something he shouldn't and then people will be more willing to listen to him explain why or what the circumstances were...

Here's a funny... The boy who punched Erik yesterday, well Erik claimed his name was Carol. I jokingly said to Dave last night that maybe the boy was in the habit of bullying other kids because his parents called him Carol - not unlike the gunslinger named Sue... When I was telling Erik's teacher about these kids I said, "Erik thinks one of the boys is named Carol, but I'm thinking it must be Carl or some such thing..?" The teacher laughed and said, "No, it's definitely Carol", to which I said, "Well, no wonder he's punching other kids..." and we both laughed...

Ok, yes, we were both a bit childish there, but honestly...

Anyway, as it turns out, after talking to Erik's teacher, who told me that despite me talking to Erik last night, he proceeded to throw pencils in class today, the boys had another go at Erik in the playground today, throwing mud at him amongst other things. This time he told the teacher on yard duty - that teacher obviously never told Erik's teacher though... So, the boys basically assumed they got away with attacking Erik yesterday, so they did it again today... Nice, hey...

Something else, oh yeah, I told the teacher today that in our household while having a good education is a right, going to school is a privelege, by this I mean, we have explained to the boys that if they want to be in the school community, which they do, they need to follow the rules in that community, and be considerate to other students, by not disrupting the class, and not breaking school rules that are set up to keep everyone safe and happy... LOL, so her jaw drops and she goes, "Oh, so you'd pull the boys out of school???". Well, yes, of course I would, if they're disrupting the class for others, and being bullied and generally causing or suffering stress all round, I would homeschool them again in a heartbeat. I said, the only reason they are at school is because it's where they want to be right now, and basically I'm hoping that will motivate them enough to follow the rules and be considerate to others, but if not, then they can learn just fine at home...

Yes, I could see her mind spinning at that one. I'm sure that snippet of informatin will make the rounds in the teachers room - which was my intention. I always got the impressin that Erik's teacher and Luey's teacher had been comparing notes. I can't remember exactly what Erik's teacher said, but something she said brought my attention the fact that she knew Luey's teacher was also have issues with Luey.

I also related to Erik's teacher that at his age, it was nothing for me to get up in class, leave the room, leave the school and make my way home, a suburb away. This shocked her. I then told I was later tested and deemed to have Attention Deficit Disorder (as an adult). I said I don't believe my boys have ADD, but I do see that they have some impulse control issues, which I believe are mostly age appropriate... Why did I tell her this, I don't know why, maybe to say I've considered this possiblity but don't feel it applies to my boys, that I believe this is something that is well within the normal range of behaviours for boys this age...

I felt a bit better after talking to Erik's teacher than I did this morning after talking to Luey's teacher.

Right, this sucks!

I'm hating the whole school thing right now, it's becoming as much a drain on me as homeschooling was, but in a different way... Grrrr...

Went to pick the boys up from school yesterday and ended up have both their teacher needing to "just have a quick word" with me about each of them...

From Luey's teacher:

"I've been having to tell him off for several days in a row now because he brings toys to school and doesn't keep them in his bag but brings them to the mat and plays with them when we're supposed to be doing other stuff. He is also poking and distracting the other kids and not keeping his hands and feet to himself, and he is not participating in class activities, just saying, "No, I don't want to" and being defiant. I know he isn't used to sitting still and concentrating because he didn't go to kinder..."

Anyway...

From Erik's teacher:

"I had to send Erik to his buddy class for 10 minutes today, just for a bit of intimidation because he lied to me about being seen going out of bounds. Several children saw him, but he refused to admit he was out of bounds, so I sent him to his buddy class for 10 minutes to think about why lying isn't good and how I don't like being lied to. Erik is also distracting other kids in class, he threw a pencil at one child..."

With Luey's teacher I didn't say much last night except that I had noticed a change in his demeanour at home too was trying to figure out what it was. I honestly think school is very taxxing for him emotionally... Talked to her this morning after having a think. Told her I felt she is making an assumption about his previous experience, and that in fact he has had plenty of experience sitting still and concentrating, in a group and on his own. He DOES understand the rules, but what she is encountering is his personality. She said she didn't want to change or break down his personality but he needs to co-operate better in class because she has 25 students to keep organised. I queried that Luey's behaviour is so abherrent that it could only be put down to homeschooling and she admitted that there are several kids in his class with similar behaviour, but apparently the other boys have "known issues" which she makes concessions for (so basically we're copping the brunt of her frustration).

I told her that at home we need to put very firm boundaries on Luey because he is a child who is very strong willed and who does not back down when he feels pressured. I said we work around his opposition, rather than trying to meet it with greater opposition of our own. In a battle of wills Luey is a very determined warrior!!! She commented that while being the smallest child in the class he doesn't let other kids intimidate him. This tells me that possibly they try and certainly the teacher tries to intimidate him, and so he may be going to school prepared for war, if you know what I mean? In his relationship with his nanna, she was "playfully" threatened him, and he has not given her the time of day since - after nearly a year of barely acknowledging her, we only recently convinced him to hug her based on the fact that she shows she loves in many ways, and while what she said a year ago was NOT OK, she thought she was playing a game, and didn't mean to really upset him... What I'm saying is, if Luey decides this teacher isn't being fair or respectful of him, she can forget about him EVER co-operating with her.

I think, she understood and I made it clear I would be following up on this and keeping a close eye on it all...

With Erik, I've discovered that while he did break the school rules by going out of bounds. I also found out though that a few boys him his class decided to exact their own punishment on him by chasing him down, punching him and poking him with sticks, BEFORE going and telling a teacher he broke the school rules. He then lied to the teacher about going out of bounds because he didn't want to get into more trouble, and was then sent to the other class, which he said he didn't mind at all (LOL, that doesn't surprise me, he would have felt like a big kid), in punishment for lying. I asked him why he didn't tell the teacher about being punched and poked and he said he tried but she told him that "naming names" and dobbing wasn't something they did in his class. So, essentially it's not ok for him to cross the red line in the school yard, but it is ok for other kids to punch him and poke him with sticks...

I will be talking to his teacher this afternoon...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bryn's big day out...


Bryn had a very big day out today starting with a play at playgroup, then more playing, this time in sand, at the BaBs meeting in our suburb... Then home, but no nap for Bryn because his brothers came home from school and kept him busy until they went to sleep... He did drop off for all of 20 minutes early in the evening, but for some reason woke up again... After much feeding from mum, and chatting with dad, and scrutinising "House", he finally collapsed on the floor in front of mum's feet just as "Medium" was starting... So, of course, instead of picking up her precious boy and transferring him to his bed, mum grabbed the camera and snapped of a few piccies for a little story board...

In other news, Erik and Luey came home this week with "homework" for mum and dad... Ergh! It seems that by Friday we have to write on a sheet that states at the top "You're Special to Me..." We're supposed to write why each boy is special to us and why they are such great learners... Ok, ok, I could fill both sheets NO PROBLEM, but I have to say I'm a bit uncomfortable with the idea of this very private (to me) letter to my sons being displayed in the classroom for every other student and they parents and the teachers to read... Is that strange that I'm not comfortable with that? I'm always telling the boys why they're special and why they're great learners but something about being made to do so in public just rubs me up the wrong way... I wonder why that is...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Overanalysis...

I analyse EVERYTHING... Every little thing that trickle past my consciousness is subject to reflection and analysis and so today I found myself analysing my habit of analysing...

I was feeding Bryn off to sleep for his nap, and he was "bruising the fruit" as Dave would put it, and so I was thinking, do I just lose my cool here and tell him with the sincerity of my irretation to put his hand away or there would be no more "meh" or do I just ride it out for the, likely, five minutes or so it was going to take him to drift off from this point (this is something he does just before drifting off)... If I voiced my frustration, it would first off all stimulate him, waking him more, and then it would start a battle of wills as he forcefully gripped my boob over and over to start his self soothing again... I might well win this battle, I have in the past, but I might just as easily lose the battle and end up taking him out to Dave to resettle, as I have in the past too...

And if I did win the battle would that mean I was teaching him to be assertive and voice his boundaries, or would it mean I was teaching him to be aggressive when frustrated and be forceful in getting what he wanted. And as an adult would he need to be aggressive anyway, considering that adults tend, more often than not, to realise that if they piss others off they may well end up alone, and so Bryn wasn't really likely to want to squeeze his girlfriends breasts in order to soothe himself to sleep because she likely would just leave him.

I, of course, can't leave him because he's my baby, and so we need to find some way to get along. That could mean a compromise on one of our parts or if we're lucky, coming to some sort of mutual agreement - which does happen, even at this age (1.5 and 35 years old)...

If I just let it go, would I be teaching him to sacrefice himself so as not to upset others, or perhaps I'd simply teach him that if others don't speak up it's ok to just walk all over them while meeting your own needs? But then again, as a baby he has needs, valid needs that he can't reason out in language like an adult can, and if he were an adult he might say to his girlfriend, "I really need to comfort of your breasts to go to sleep, but telling me if I'm hurting you and I'll be more gentle" - at 1.5 he doesn't have the cognitive development to understand that rhythmically squeezing my breast is irretating to me, let alone to understand that being more gentle may mean less irretation for me.

So, why do I put so much energy into analysing all this stuff if the analysis itself can't actually lead to any sort of conclusive answer?

Short answer, I don't know...

Once I got to this point, I looked down, realising that Bryn had stopped squeezing my boob, in fact, he was in a deep sleep...

That is when I realised why I analyse everything, hehehe, it's a handy distraction from in the moment living...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"Jus do id!" - The World's Greatest Shave!





Ok, tonight I've done it, I've shaved... So far I've raised $120, which I think is fabulous!!!

So, if you're reading this and you haven't yet donated, and you're feeling guilty (and why wouldn't you be feeling guilty, afterall, I'M the BALD one here, the least you can do is donate $5, right?)...

Then go to this page and you can pay by cc...

Anyway, here are some pictures...

Teenagers and the failing parent...