Friday, June 03, 2016

Is there anything better than a NEW PUPPY?

We've been mulling this over for a while.

It's a big decision, you know, to go again.

The sleepless nights. The early mornings. The interrupted sleep.

The toilet training, the chewing, the energy - so much energy!

But, Wombat Girl had been nagging. The cute pics of puppies kept turning up in my Facebook feed (not that I was cyber-stalking Cloudcatcher Labradoodles...much).

And one day...Wombat needed his forever home!

I mean, really! His name was Wombat! Look at that face! The answer was never going to be no! So all of a sudden, we found ourselves puppy-proofing our home and getting ready for puppy-joy! 

Wombat had to give up his home by the beach to come to the cold of Canberra, but I thought that maybe he would be OK with that - he was certainly fluffy enough! He is a medium cream fleece coat labradoodle (Max is a standard black wool coat, as a comparison).

 Now, poor Maxi-doodles has been an only-puppy for nearly 8 years. He's not well socialised. Some would call him highly-strung. I knew from experience that after a bit he would settle down. But I admit to being a bit worried about how he would go with a new puppy. So I did what any good mum would do, I googled "introducing a new puppy to your older dog". Dr Google always knows what's best!

No idea what's about to hit him...
 On the day of Wombat's arrival it was HOT. Like nearly 40 degrees hot. I had to pick him up from the airport, but not the actual airport, like a hangar thing down the road from the airport...not near where I parked. Much walking in the heat was involved. Assumed he would have a collar and probably in a crate thing. Not so much. Naked! So here I was, carrying this ball of fluff around in my arms, along the road near Canberra airport. Trying to pay for parking with said ball of fluff in my arms. It was a tad a stressful.

Bit stressed. 
 But we got him home safe and sound. Could he BE any cuter????

Maximum cute.

He's so different from Max. Much less poodle, much more labrador. Chilled even. He lies on the floor with his back legs all splayed out behind him, which Max has never done.

Max was very unsure at first, but apart from a lead entanglement early on, they were very good with each other. We introduced them in neutral territory in the park next door. MUCH butt sniffing went on for the first few days. Max slowly began to accept there was another member of the pack and he was probably never going away.

I've been kept busy with gratuitous cute puppy shots...and the inevitable accidents. And the chewing. 

What? Me?

The two of them have gradually gotten closer, and mostly, where you find one, you find the other...


 So now we have two puppies! It feels like my pack is complete...but never say never...

How good are puppies?
Do you own dog(s)?
More gratuitous cute puppy shots?

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.


Friday, May 06, 2016

Mother's Day Wishes...

Hey - guess what! It's Mother's Day on Sunday! Woot....

Two years ago, I got a good Mother's Day present - I had been living by myself in Canberra for about 6 weeks, mostly in motels and finally all my family were together again. No presents (or even a card) were given) and I guess that didn't matter. Because we were moving and it gets hard to get organised...especially if the three people doing the organising are hopeless at being organised!

I think I got pjs last year...because I love pjs! I know this, because when we moved two weeks ago, I had an ordinate amount of pjs for one woman. So, I think, go easy on the pjs this year.

Did I tell you we've moved? Into our shiny, new, OURS, villa/townhouse thingy.

You can bet I will be posting more pics from here!

The owners left the bookcases (and the damn encyclopedias!)

A bit of a downsize, but that is good, because it causes one to assess just how many pairs of pjs ones needs in their lives...and other clothes. And unused gym equipment. And all the unused stuff. So. Much. Stuff. And I'm never, never, moving again. Cyber slap me if I say I am, please!

So given I'm on a bit of an "anti-stuff" crusade (no more pjs! no more encyclopedias!), what does one get for a mother, so that said mother is still happy and appreciated?

  • Lunch/dinner out - I would love not to cook. And I love to eat nice food. Guess what does that? That's right, restaurants! Go and book one, stat. And no, you cooking at home is not the same thing, because I end up being asked how to do shit. This is not what I want to be doing on mother's day. I do enough of that shit the rest of the year.
  • A holiday - ok, on the extravagant end of the scale, but bloody hell, I would love to just be on a cruise ship or a resort with a restaurant, pool, cocktails and someone else to clean. For about 10 weeks, I think...
  • A cleaner - we stumped up and paid for a cleaner to clean the old house that we moved out of. Hubby was surprised it took 4 people 5 hours...yes, dear. It DOES take that much work! A regular cleaner around here would be bliss.
  • Wine - OK, technically, it is "stuff" but it's consumable stuff.
So the move has been full-on. And we have a garage worth of "stuff" to get rid of. Kids have been giving me grey hairs with mental health issues and we are working through them and finding new ways of school, but this all takes time and appointments and effort and...I'm tired. So what I would really love this Mother's Day is for all that stuff to magically disappear. Given that's not going to happen, I would love a bit of an escape - any of the dot points above work for me!

Darling offspring!

Happy Mother's Day!
What was the worst present you've ever gotten?
Have you ever gotten NOTHING?
What's the best present you've ever gotten?
Ever feel the urge just to run away?

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.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Out and About in Canberra - Murrumbidgee River Corridor

I've been walking! I've (mostly) kept up my good intentions of my last post and have (nearly) done 10,000 steps every day. I think I've only missed a couple, which is pretty good and I'm feeling pretty proud of myself.

Mostly, I have just been getting up early(ish) in the morning (I know, right?) and walking on the paths that criss-cross the many parks of Canberra. But one of my other resolutions this year has been to get out and about more and explore this nation's fine capital and all it has to offer. So, with a quick google of walking tracks in Canberra, we packed up the car and headed...about 10 minutes away from home!

I am embarrassed to admit that after living in Canberra for just shy of two years, I had never been to the Murrumbidgee River Corridor! We are now officially inland, as the Mighty Murrumbidgee starts in the Alps to our south and winds sneakily past Canberra's outskirts, before heading west and eventually joining the Murray River. I had driven over it, but never really explored it.

So this sunny Sunday, we dragged the kids out of the house (but sadly, not the dog, as dogs are not allowed, but that didn't stop others, but we do the right thing) and explored a portion of the 27km long Murrumbidgee Discovery Trail. Well. Blow me down with a feather! This delightful little 4-5km section of relatively flat trail is a delight!

It was a warm-ish afternoon, but not ridiculously hot. Even so, the sound of gurgling river water was very pleasant. 

We were even semi-organised and brought along a bite to eat at the turn-around point of the journey (give me the mother-of-the-year award, right now).

On the way back, we detoured off the track to actually get close to the water. Very pleasant times, indeed!

What's this wet stuff? 

Canberra DOES have "beaches"!!!

And best of all, we got to spend some quality time together (and by quality, I mean not sitting in front of the TV arguing about which Netflix movie to watch). Video Boy exclaimed "we should really do this more often" (well, maybe we would if you got out of bed before 1pm!!!).

Needless to say, I got my 10,000 steps in that day! And I still cannot believe that all this is literally almost on our doorstep! I think next free weekend, we'll head in the other direction and see where that takes us (um, in the other direction, no doubt).

Been out and about where you live lately?
Do you live near a beach or a "beach"?
How good is it to get out of the house and into nature?

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...