Sunday, March 30, 2014

Stay awake...

Stay awake, don't rest your head
Don't lie down upon your bed
While the moon drifts in the skies
Stay awake, don't close your eyes

It's been a while between posts, and while I'm sure you are eagerly expecting another enthralling post about all the wonderful homeschool things we've been doing, you are not going to get that. No, instead I am about to overshare yet again.

I love that Disney song "Stay Awake" from Mary Poppins. I used to sing it to my babes, back when they didn't sleep. Oh, the good old days, when overtired babies refused to shut those long lashes and just Go the *(&* to Sleep (don't click the link if you're easily offended and for my overseas readers - Noni Hazelhurst in the video is a legend in Australian children's programming, having hosted Play School and read hundreds of books to millions of preschoolers, which makes the video all the more hilarious).

Well, this last couple of weeks (and to a certain extent, the last 6 months) I have been that overtired baby. I will be dog tired, head off to bed, lie down and......nothing. No sleep is forthcoming. Instead I toss, turn, toss again, turn again, feel tingling from adrenaline literally pumping through my body and into my finger tips, get jumpy legs, and feel the tidal wave of heat so that I am soaked through my jammies. All the while, hubby snores soundly. 

I'll do this routine for at least a couple of hours, get mightily sick of it, get up, wee, have a glass of milk, listen to meditation tapes, sing "Stay Awake" to myself, go lie on the lounge under the fan or if I'm really desperate, turn on the aircon. And then, if I'm lucky, I'll finally fall asleep somewhere between 2 and 4am.

It. Is. Killing. Me. I'm exhausted and I'm sure now my subconscious is just joining in on the fun as I get ready for bed wondering if tonight, just for something different, I may just fall asleep without any fuss, but instead it fusses and carries on and panics and makes sleep just that more elusive.

Yes, I've tried magnesium supplements, chamomile tea, warm milk, relaxation techniques - all that shit and still BING! Wide awake except freaking exhausted.

For sure it is part of the joy of being a woman that is peri-menopause. And I know I'm only 44, but I think we can safely blame it on those super-effective genes that my nanna passed down from her to mum and my mum to me. The same ones that gave us all grey hair in our teens and a voice that you can scratch down a chalkboard. 

What the hell would you know, Steven C. Goldberg????

And look at all the other lovely symptoms I've been having:
  • mood swings (ya think?)
  • migraines
  • sweating/hot flashes in the daytime too
  • forgetfulness
  • lack of concentration (I'll let you know when I'm driving, OK?)
  • weight gain
  • irregular periods
  • heavy periods and clotting (I did warn you I was going to overshare)
And do you know how long this shite goes on for? Do you??? On average FOUR to SIX fucking years!!!! Seriously?!

So as my little girl faces up to a LIFETIME of periods, pap smears, and (maybe, but not too soon, OK?) pregnancies, I'll not forget to remind her of peri-menopause to join in with all the other fun P words. I swear I'm coming back in the next life as a dog - a boy dog!

Meanwhile, I would give just about anything for a decent night's sleep...

Though the world is fast asleep
Though your pillow's soft and deep
You're not sleepy as you seem
Stay awake, don't nod and dream
Stay awake, don't nod and dream

Anyone else suffering the joys of perimenopause?
Hit me with your best insomnia remedies (I reckon
 I've tried most of them, but bring them on anyway)!

Monday, March 17, 2014

The terrible truth about homeschooling teenagers...

(today's post is part of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Bloghop
Homeschooling (and parenting!) Gifted/2e Kids into their Teens and beyond)

Dah dah dah.....the dreaded teenage years!

Be afraid, very afraid, because your Facebook feed is full of doom and gloom:


Teens (and increasingly, tweens) have attitude, they grunt, they hate their parents, they are discovering "who they are" (good luck with that by the way). Parents of young kids are terrified of the teen years - not assisted by the news and media portrayal of them as a generally negative thing that must be endured by all.

Add in gifted. Add in some kind of weirdo twice-exceptionality. Add in homeschooling. Enough to scare the willies out of anyone!

And yes, they do have their moments of gruntiness, but I am here to tell you, life with teens, particularly gifted, homeschooled teens isn't all bad.

Here is my truth about homeschooling and parenting gifted teenagers:

  • They sleep. You know when you have babies and toddlers (gifted as it turns out) and they NEVER sleep and you feel like slitting your wrists because you can NEVER imagine it getting better? Well, it gets better. They sleep. All night. Well, starting at midnight, but they are not in their rooms crying until then - no, they are reading (I wish), watching YouTube or listening to music (I wish). And they sleep all night and half the morning too, given half the chance. Homeschooling lets us take advantage of those altered hormones, because we don't have to have them up and dressed and semi-functioning to start school at 8:30am (thank goodness). 

  • They have a great sense of humour. When things do get a little tense, you can lighten the atmosphere with a bit of joke, some sarcasm (who me?) or a quip and they get it. I love my kids' sense of humour - especially my son's. He cracks me up with his witty observations on life and his laugh is joyful (especially because he's actually laughing - happy days, people!).

  • Contrary to popular belief, you can TALK to them. Yanno, really talk. And they understand stuff. We can have discussions about history, politics and the whether Masterchef or My Kitchen Rules is better. OK, so they decide the best time to have a deep and meaningful is usually at 11pm when you're just about to drop off your perch, but hey, I figure it's better than grunting. 

  • The schoolwork is so much more interesting! I read some Facebook groups and if I see one more post about teaching phonics and adding single digits I think I will stab my eyeballs out with a knitting needle. Quadratic equations and European imperialism are where it's at, baby!!!

  • They can help out more around the house. They might not like it, but who does? Because they are tall now, they can reach the clothes on the line. They can push the vacuum. They can even start help cooking dinner (hey, a mum can dream, can't she?). And I don't like to think of it as slavery, rather than I am preparing them to go out into the big wide world as functioning young adults (still dreaming!).

  • I've saved the best until last: it gets EASIER. For those parents of gifted/2e kids out there who maybe can't share how freaking hard it is with the people around them, please know that I know. There are days when you wonder if boarding school might not be a better idea. What with the emotional ups and downs, the sensitivities, the over-excitabilities, the executive functioning disorderlies - a Bex and a good lie down never sounded so good. But I'm here to let you know, that it gets easier. Believe or not, the moods actually even out in the teen years. Maybe it's because we homeschool, but things have gotten calmer, more sane and (dare I say it?) more mature around here since the hormones kicked in! Not perfect, mind you (but whose household is?), but easier. And that's gotta be the best news ever, yes?

So, there's my thoughts on teens. It'll probably all turn pear-shaped now I've declared it to be OK. So go check out the other posts in the bloghop by clicking on the pic:

Do you have teens/tweens? Coping OK?
If your kids are little(er), are you dreading the teen years?
What's your hot tip for dealing with teenage angst?

52 Ancestors - Unusual Name

In this week's post, we have been asked to look behind an "unusual name" and I've chosen my great-aunt's husband, Fred...