Thursday, May 26, 2016

It never ends...

Let's talk about the good stuff first.

We are all moved into our new home. The boxes are all unpacked. I can get my car back in the garage. We have taken tonnes of stuff to charity and the tip. I feel lighter, because we have less stuff.

I love my new house. It isn't big or grand. It's a 3 bedroom villa. We have one living room, one dining, a small-ish but very functional kitchen, a small but functional laundry. It has a big main bathroom and an ensuite. That's it. Oh and don't forget a lovely, neat garden with back deck with a view over the lake. With BBQ and spa. These are just some snaps of our view and our deck - I mean, how good is it????

And our "lake" - it's actually a large water quality detention pond - a big dam that filters out the bad crap from urban development before it goes into the Murrumbidgee River. But it's lovely - full of habitat, birdlife, and probably lots of other things. It is about 2.2km walk around it and we walk regularly (not quite every day, but a few times a week). There is also a lovely dog off-leash area literally 5 minutes walk from our house that we intend to put to good use.

We are loving it and you may have to drag me out in a large wooden box before I move again (famous last words, I know, but I am VERY reluctant to move again for about 30 years).

However...on the homefront, am I the only one that knows where the outside bins are? Am I the only one who's figured out how to plug in the ducted vacuum? The only one who can work the washing machine? Who can actually cook (rather than reheat) a meal? I know I'm the only one who can write a bloody essay - I know that much to be true!

I'd love to be writing that both kids are loving school, doing well (brilliantly even), trot off happily every day, are well-adjusted, do their homework and assignments with great self-management skills and life is just rosy. Alas. I do not have those imaginary children.

I have kids who are gifted. But both also have inattentive ADHD/executive functioning disorders. Both are suffering from anxiety and probably some level of depression. One has some OCD issues including trichotillomania. One is really struggling managing in class. Both are really struggling with time management and self-discipline. I think both have sensory issues, which I think are related to the giftedness and the anxiety.

We are seeing more specialists and counsellors. We have been to appointments with the schools (yes, plural). I am filling in more forms, because the forms we filled in last year are no longer valid. My calendar is a matrix of work appointments and events interspersed with school meetings, doctor and specialist appointments. My spare time is filled with nagging reminders to get on task, stay on task - both school and home related.

It. Never. Ends.

My support is still required - probably WAY MORE than when we weren't taxing executive functioning to the extreme by homeschooling and I was fully responsible for their education. In many ways that was shitloads easier. Now we have to get to school on time, do work in class, do assessments and exams. I'm glad we homeschooled - it managed our learning environments to focus on the learning, not all the other crap. We may yet still have to modify things. Some days just feel so difficult - I'm really having to look after myself so I can look after everyone else too. I'm walking a tightwalk rope of supporting known issues and helicopter parenting.

I write about this stuff because I want other people going through the same thing feel like they aren't the only people going through this (please tell me other people are going through this!). I want other people to know that things aren't easy, for me or for the kids. I want also to have a record of our journey - albeit a very public one, but it helps me process where we are at and how are managing (or not managing).

I often think "can someone make it stop, please?" and if you offered me a month on a tropical island resort by myself I think I would kiss you. But the issues are still there. The domestic duties are still there. Paid work is relentlessly pushy on my time too. So all I can do is set some boundaries. Say no to stuff that's really not important. Go easy on myself. Let the small stuff slide and ignore Mount Washmore occasionally. Because it never ends and I'm in this for the long haul.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Dear labels,

Dear Giftedness, ADHD, Motor Dyspraxia, Anxiety, Depression and whatever the hell else labels are happening around here,

I just wanted to send you a quick note to say - thanks for nothing. No. Really. We are 16 and 15 years into this "journey" (doesn't that word make you want to puke?), and quite frankly, it's not getting any easier and at this point in time, the light at the end of the tunnel is looking mighty dim, indeed.

I know my kids are bright. Unfortunately, they are at the end of the bright spectrum, unicorn rainbow, that makes life rather more complicated than it would be if they were just plain, old, garden-variety, smart. What I actually wouldn't give for that. Straight B's would be a delight.

Instead, I have over-thinkers, boredom, meaning-seeking teenagers. Which, when coupled with said teenage hormones is the recipe for a veritable vortex of existential angst.

If that was not enough (and I believe that would make life interesting enough, thank you) we have the other bits. You know, those chapters in the gifted books (and I have many) that I used to gloss over, skim through. The ones on ADHD, nerds, emotional disorders, underachievement, kids questioning everything about themselves (yes, those ones too, just for jollies). Fuck. Me.

Just a small selection of the library...

Sorry labels, I don't mean to swear...actually I fucking do because it is the one thing that allows me to vent my frustration without resorting to the excess use of alcohol. Oh wait...

See labels, you are STILL making life difficult. Yes, for the kids, because they are the ones living it. But also me! Will no one think of the mother?????

The mother who keeps the household functioning (see executive functioning issues - it may be a bit prevalent around some of the other adults in this house too - the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree).

The mother who is, in fact, the primary breadwinner due to her predilection for collecting pieces of paper and being good at her job.

The mother who nags, cajoles, hell BRIBES to get some help around the house.

The mother who keeps in contact with two schools, two sets of assessment tasks, two lots of parent-teacher nights etc.

The mother who attends, or requests, yet another appointment with the school to ask for special provisions, or part-time homeschooling, or adjusted programs or whatever is needed.

The mother who makes the appointments to see GPs, psychologists and any other specialists we need.

The mother who sits up late at night, after a full day at work, helping keep fucking school assignments on track so they are not overdue (again). Still.

The mother who is the one that the said teenagers download all their woes and fears and thoughts to (which I'm glad they feel they can, but DEAR LORD, again?).

The mother who may just be dealing with her own hay-wire hormones and the shit that accompanies that.

The mother who every now and then, sits down at the keyboard and has a good, old-fashioned rant about fucking hard it is.

Having just typed that sentence, I do know that I'm lucky. I have my kids. They are (mostly) healthy. We are not dealing with chronic disease. I still have them here and talking to me and I can hug them. I am grateful for that.

But labels, I think you can just fuck the hell out of here, because I, for one, have ENOUGH. I just want normal. Hell, at this point in time I'd settle for mediocre. Don't get me wrong - it's not the labels per se, that I object to. I think good, evidence-based labels on the whole help you understand what you are dealing with. It's just that the labels, and all the hard, hard, work - physical, emotional and some other -als - that goes with them become so, so, tiring after a bit. Like 16 and 15 years of a bit. And I'm tired.

So, give a mother a break and go away now? There's a good label.

Kind regards,

The picture of a mother who's had enough, if ever I saw one...
PS: oh the irony of looking over to the right and seeing "Labels" to tag as part of the post. Well, you can get fucked labels.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

I'm back!

Well hello there!

Yes. I do realise it's been a while...

As you may have surmised from my lack of posts/writing/anything that I have been in a bit of blogging slump. I have had much to write (I even have a couple of drafts hiding away in Blogger draftland), but it's been such a big year, I couldn't bring myself to press "publish". That stuff is too personal to share with the interwebs - I'd share it with you, of course, but this stuff is "out there" in the public domain too and it just felt too...I just couldn't.

But, new year and all that and inspired a bit by A Peaceful Day's post, I think I might dip my toe back in blogging land!

Because I miss blogging. I miss chatting to you guys (whoever the hell you are). I miss musing. And at least two of you miss me because you told me! There is just something about writing and photos and putting it out there semi-regularly that appeals. I think about my blog often, even if I haven't written or posted. For me, blogging is sorting out my own voice. It's not necessarily about the writing; although I hope my writing/spelling/grammar is up to scratch and gets better. It's about the thoughts and organising them into some sort of coherence. And if the words fail, chuck in a couple of photos! It's also about my photos actually, because I love taking pics and it's nice to have a place to share them too. In fact, let's put one in here:

OK, so maybe not that one! I've been pretty sick with the flu and then some other cold thing on top of that these last couple of weeks and I just wanted to keep things real!

I've been thinking a fair bit about what I want this blog to be. It's not really going to be about homeschooling anymore, but I might rant a bit about giftedness and education and fill you in a bit about how the kids are travelling, but I don't think it can be the core mission anymore. So what is it? I do think there are heaps of bloggers and readers out there like me - not comfortable with blogging about their kids now, but still wanting to write. So maybe this blog will be more about me. The real me. The ups and downs of me. How do I do that with keeping my family's privacy? Mmm...good question, Ingi! I'll sort that out as I go.

What would you want to read? What's in it for you? My thoughts on education, science, keeping healthy, my travels (such that they are), how I manage (or not manage) life? I hope that I can keep you entertained, that you enjoy my writing, that you connect with me somehow. I think the connection thing is a good thing - a bit scary because putting yourself out there for everyone to comment on is scary - but I like the thought that my words and maybe some of my pictures resonate with someone.

What will I bring you? Humour, navel-gazing, insight, living vicariously through my travels (be they Canberra or overseas), and maybe a bit of bumbling my way through this thing called life. I'd like to inspire you, and if I can't do that, I'd like you to sympathise with me! We're all in this together, are we not?

And just to even things up, here's a much cheerier pic of me, before I was beset with the great flu of 15/16:

Hi - how have you been?
Happy to see me back?
What would YOU like to read/see more of?

Embroidery Project - Blue Butterfly

I downloaded this pattern as a PDF from Hoop Embroidery Co on Esty as my first attempt at the technique known as "thread painting"...