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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...

Comments

katef said…
ah thinking of you.... hate those feelings when you seem to be at the bottom of a HUGE mountain and have no idea how to even start climbing it!
Hugs!
Stitch Sista said…
Hmmm I'm not going to say this as well as I'd like, but good things come out of rough periods such as this. I mean nothing is gained without some pain, so rest assured you can get through these harder times and will find a better space and look back with the sense that it was something you had to go through. And your DH dragging his feet is putting himself at the bottom of the list, not you. Just because it feels personal doesn't mean it is. We're all struggling yeah? Us and our partners...
Juniper said…
Love those pix! You are so clever! I have discussed the rest with you in person, but want to again add...

HUGE HUGS!
Nic and Beren said…
((hugs))
Amanda O. said…
Huge hugs Sif, sounds like such a tremendous lot of things to deal with at once, no wonder you're overwhelmed! One thing I've found helps me is to write down all the individual things I feel as problems, my ideal solutions and then decide short-term steps I can make toward each, medium and long terms; decide what I can tackle now and what I have to release to the universe to let tend itself for awhile... so it's not so all-at-once, which tends to make me panic and freeze-up. And of course, it goes without saying you're welcome over here anytime for a cuppa if you need to get out for awhile. :hugs again:
HipbubbyMama said…
*hugs* I agree with what Rach said-just because it seems like you're at the bottom of Dave's priorities doesn't mean you are. However men can be fairly self obsessed at times, and probably don't don't realise the way their actions (or lack thereof) impact upon others, particularly their loved ones.
Leah said…
just sending you lots of love, and know that if there's anyone I'd trust to be in charge of a ship in rocky waters it's the half blind, bald, wonderful woman named Sif, you'll do the job as well as anyone else and a lot better than most *hugs*
Hi Sif,

I have been reading what you have said about the boys teachers and I had a couple of things occur to me while reading it.

When you mentioned a while back that you see it is obvious that the teachers have been discussing the boys, well i can tell you that will be a given. I will often talk to other teachers who have siblings if I feel that something isn't right or I am having issues with a child. It is not something that is done necessarily behind the parents back but more an exercise to try and solve a little puzzle, or identify a behaviour. For example, I am was on the brink of suggesting a student go through testing as she is having learning difficulties. I spoke to the teacher of her sister in Prep though and once I was told about the sister's health issues, and snippets of the children's history from that teacher it became clear to me what the issue was with my student. So the testing has been delayed and I have a new approach to try with this student now :)

I don't think to be honest that there is very much at all wrong with the way your boys are reacting at school. It is the end of the first school term, and it is also their first term in a school environment. There are a lot of adjustments that need to be made for them and it is a hard thing to do.

When teaching preps it would be middle to the end of the first term when many realise that school is forever :p (in a sense) and they can start to panic (not want to attend, not want to leave Mum, etc). At the opposite end of the spectrum many are becoming more confident in themselves and their environment and start pushing the boundaries of what they can get away with from their teacher and the school community as a whole.

I sense that your teachers may feel threatened as you are a very competent parent that is more than willing to teach your children, extremely intelligent and they probably know nothing about home schooling (and probably haven't bothered to research it either). I felt this from your example of the teacher running up to you, around other parents to tell you about Luey's being in trouble. I'm trying to think of what might be the best way to deal with that but am at a blank for the moment.

With the discussions that you have had with them in the past, have they been very open? with enough time for you to discuss the misdemeaners and not simply just a quick..this is what so and so has done...etc?

I would probably even be more inclined in your position to ask the teachers if they have a moment to chat. I would then ask them how the boys are progressing academically, how they are doing socially and what the teacher feels is their best areas at school. I am not sure how you would feel about doing that though? I think that it would be a good way to break down the negative barrier, it would force the teacher to mention all the great things the boys are doing, any areas that they believe they may need to improve in that you could help with, etc. That sort of situation could also make it more open for you to share the great things about the boys and might make the 'in trouble' times less ackward (it might also make the teachers approach the situations in a different way) .

I hope that this comment is not out of line. I am thinking purely as a teacher here and the 'teacher' vibe that I got from reading your posts. My heart breaks for you with the issues with stealing, i have nothing that I could add. I had alot of issues with Kaeden socialising between 1.5-3yrs to the point that I ended up not wanting to see other people. It was a huge struggle for me to come to terms with that and how I could help him to be more social (stop hitting people, yelling at people, etc) . In the end it was something he evolved from and just stopped. But when it comes to school I am terrified of how he will interact in that environment and how I would deal with any issues if they arise.

{{{hugs}}} on your talks with Dave. I hope the lines of communication and the progress goes along well :)
Woah, sorry for taking up so much comment space *blush*
Sif said…
Oh, you women are all so wise, I'm so happy I can put this stuff out there and get such balanced feedback!

Rach, you're right, Dave is putting himself at the bottom of his list of priorities, and I think somehow that makes him feel better about himself, but he's not realising how bad I feel about myself when he does this... That said, he has made an appt. to see his doctor about getting his arthritic knee seen to - it's on Wednesday, it's a start...

Jen, No, not stepping over the line at all, in fact, I'm very greatful for your insight. I've taught before, but not in primary school, and when you teach adults or near adults you deal directly with them, not their parents.

Funny you mention it, but yes, I had a discussion with Erik's teacher about half way into the term about his academic performance and what we could work on at home, and how he was going socially, and I've found Erik's teacher to be far more even handed in her dealings with us about Erik's (mis)behaviours. She actually seems to like Erik, but just finds it hard to cope with his impulsiveness.

I haven't had this conversation with Luey's teacher, and I find her to be more critical and I actually can't remember her saying anything positive about Luey socially, and so far (Dave was actually commenting on this the other day) she hasn't mentioned how he's gone academbically at all...

Today was their last day this term, so something to prepare for next term, I think.

If anything else occurs to you, PLEASE let me know!
casso said…
Sif - when life is like this, well, it's hard to stay upright. :o( I think you've written about your issues here with great clarity and I hope that helps when you come to work things out with Dave and the teachers and Erik. Good luck with the assessment process too, that's a pretty rough road to go down.

I'm really thinking of youhom and hope that everything starts to calm down. Or at least ONE area of your life starts to calm down. :o) And FWIW, I think you look like a big spunk with the bald head (in fact I'd even go so far as to say I think you look evern *better* with no hair).

Oh and Jimbo says he is thinking of you too - I made him read your entry because I needed to talk about how I was worried about you, hope that's ok.

Love and Hugs, Cass
xxx
I'm glad that I didn't offend you Sif :) sometimes it is hard to remove the teacher hat ;) .

From your post, I might make an assumption here..but do you feel that Luey's teacher doesn't 'like' him very much or that she is less forthcoming with telling you the good things?

I sense that she feels threatened and is on the defensive. I don't believe this would be due to anything that you have done but rather her own feelings of inadequacies with dealing with parents perhaps?

Please let us/me ;) know if you do speak to her and what the results will be of that discussion.

I really do feel for you and wish you the best with the school situation. At least now the holidays are here you get a little break from it all :) .

Oh and i meant to say before, i cannot fathom the idea of having an area within school grounds, that is out of bounds to the kids..talk about dangling a carrot!

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