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Showing posts from January, 2013

First day at high school - Mark 2

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Yesterday my beautiful girl started high school.  She went to bed the night before having a little cry because she was feeling so nervous about it.

But she woke up, calmly ate breakfast and got herself ready.  It was a great answer to prayer - many people had prayed for her overnight.

This has not been a straightforward decision.  I have felt doubts that we're doing the right thing by her sending her to the local school.  Even though we feel happy and feel reassured by other parents and teachers who work there, that she will be happy, we didn't fight the good fight (outlined here). She didn't sit an exam to get in.  It's just our local.

But today I went along to a morning tea for the parents and almost the first mum I spoke to was a librarian!  Who it turns out knows another good friend of mine from the neighbourhood.

It's little things like this that are reassuring.  We want to stay local as much as possible.   This is what we wanted and already the connection…

Kids sharing bedrooms

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I've recently been considering the challenges of getting the kids to not disturb each other when going to sleep or upon waking in the morning.

I thought the challenges of sharing were a normal part of life, and not just because we have five kids.  I just assumed that most people had their children sharing.

But apparently not.  Over the years I've observed that the many people renovating and extending their homes are doing it so that they can give their children their own bedroom (especially their teenagers).

At the moment we are happily renting a three bedroom house.  We have a boy's room and a girl's room.

Now I'm wondering if maybe my kids are getting ripped off.   Is this some kind of a 'Training for living in slum conditions' boot camp I'm running?

But I hardly think so.  Many people in the world all sleep in the same room - and cook in that space - and do the washing - and do all the living.

Problem is ... my kids seem happy enough.  Actually…

School's going back ... and are you worrying?

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My children start school tomorrow and I mostly feel good about it.  But I am hoping in my heart that my kids avoid a couple of teachers who might make school boring for them or might yell at my terribly sensitive child.  Will they learn?  Will they be happy?  Can't I help them avoid the hard stuff?

So here's the little self talk process I've been taking myself through.  No, I won't talk to the school.  We have a policy of not saying anything about class placements and trusting the school to do the right thing by our kids.  I've also asked myself these questions.  Do they have particular learning difficulties?  No.  Will they be in danger?  No.

I think we can help them to learn loads from the less than ideal at school.  We can talk about ways to manage hard situations.  This is a life skill.  Part of them growing towards independence.  Learning resilience and perseverance when things aren't ideal or even downright difficult.  I trust that God will help them le…

Your thoughts needed ...

I had this comment on an earlier post on sibling rivalry and I thought it might be interesting to hear what people's answers to this question might be.

"ok so having more than 2 leads to too much fighting? I'm trying to decide on whether to have another one (my current two are 3 and 1)...would rather avoid the constant refereeing if at all possible"

I have to say in answer to this question that I think my younger two (two years apart) would fight the way they are at the moment regardless of whether or not there were other siblings.   Over the years different pairings of kids in my gang have really annoyed each other and it is mostly the ones who they are closest to in age.

Would be interested to hear what other's experiences are on this one.

Two tone - grey hair almost 10 months in

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This is what my hair looks like today.  Weird hey?  This going grey thing is quite fascinating - if you're OK with looking slightly strange for months on end.  I think the worst bit was actually the first few months when people are wondering if you're going to do anything about those terrible roots.  But now it's kind of clear that I'm not.

I'm aiming to keep growing it until it is long enough to tie back.  So probably a few months to go.

"They are always leaving me out!!"

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This has been a common refrain from my younger two over the school holidays.  Their biggest fear in life seems to be being left out or not being able to keep up.  I have two very determined little people fighting for their spot in our family.  Fighting with each other and fighting with their siblings to find their place.

A bit wearing ... and a few too many to count tears have been shed.

Are kids who are homeschooled nice to each other?  I guess they must get used to each other.  But for a few days this week at my house, school has felt like a wonderful place simply because they will not be with each other for 6 hours of the day.

I remember talking to a school dad who had two kids, five years apart.  He was shocked when I told him my kids fight all the time.  I don't what kind of shop he thought I was running, but it certainly isn't one of endless love and harmony.

Hoping for excellent skills of relating and conflict resolution (or perhaps avoidance after the trauma of our …

Standing up for your child

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When I had my first child I wanted to be very cool and relaxed about the whole parenting gig.  It's not my style to make a fuss and I just wanted to get on with it.  I didn't like all the business about researching the best pram, best cot, best maternity clothes, best nappies, best baby monitor, even before he was born.  I couldn't understand why having a baby needed to be so orientated around buying 'stuff' - expensive stuff (my view on this hasn't changed - I think a lot of the purchasing pressure surrounding a new baby is a total ruse).

However, by three months old my beautiful little boy was suffering with horrible eczema.  This was the beginning of a long road of learning how to stand up for my child, how to barrack for him, how to advocate for his needs - actually - how to make a FUSS.  Totally out of my comfort zone.

The eczema was followed by a violent reaction to milk at 9 months, a positive test to a lot of allergens (including peanuts, dairy, tree…

Keeping cool in crazy hot Sydney weather

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On a 46 degree day like today the $100 pool I bought three years feels like money well spent. Add in a few water pistols and everyone is happy.



Managing a teenager with an allergy

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My eldest child carries an Epipen (adrenaline shot) because he has a life threatening allergy to cashew and pistachio nuts. He's soon to be 15 and is much more independent now in many different aspects of his life.

This independence is great but his allergy is something he has to manage on his own. Yet so little of the way his allergy is 'managed' is related to him. Most of the energy I spend on this matter is related to the paperwork required for school. The endless signing of notes, visits to the GP for signed management plans, updating his epipens. There is more to help the teachers than there is to actually help him.

I feel worried as he becomes more adventurous. He does more on his own with friends. Tries new foods. And why shouldn't he? This is part of becoming an adult. But these are the times when he is most likely to get caught out. Not when I'm with him or a teacher is with him. When he's with his peer group.

And here's my latest tho…

Back to school shopping ...

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... has dominated this week - my one week at home before I go back to work next week.  I don't like shopping, even when it is fun.  But buying shoes and uniforms and bags ... blah.

And why can't I just buy a school BAG - why do I get all this extra stuff which I don't need and then have to find somewhere to put it?  The eight year old boy is of course VERY thrilled about the extras but he doesn't actually have a use for half of the stuff.

Thrilling times hey?!

A year of almost full time work: what I found hard

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I think that regular readers will have picked up on some of the aspects I've found hard.

I missed having time and energy for my kids - not just physically but having enough mental and emotional space to think clearly about where they're up to and how they're going. I just missed time with them too. I like my kids.

I missed having time for the people in my church and community. My dear friend is going through chemo at the moment. I feel sad that I haven't been as good a friend to her as I would have liked- working has limited what I can do to help her. I like being able to encourage friends in conversation. Obviously not being around much makes that hard.

I've hardly done any hospitality. This is not normal for us and it feels weird. This is partly a time thing, but it's also partly a relational energy thing. I'm hoping that this year my job won't be so new so I'll have more relational energy in the tank. Hospitality has been the bigge…

A year of almost full time working: what I enjoyed

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I like to use the summer break to reflect on the year and I've found myself mulling over the impact on my life of returning to almost full time work at the start of 2012.

I've enjoyed the challenge of a new job, getting my head around my role and developing new relationships with my colleagues. I've enjoyed teaching more than I ever anticipated. I retrained as a librarian because I was convinced that I never wanted to teach again. But being older (grayer!) and less concerned about my likability, I have enjoyed the teacher/student dynamic a lot. It's made me hanker after my original teaching subjects-we'll see how long the librarian gig continues to appeal for.

I've liked not having to worry about money as much for the first time in years. Being able to pay for things like glasses and the dentist without sleepless nights has been an enormous blessing. I certainly don't take this for granted. Doing things like visiting my friend in Italy was a huge priv…

Unraveling...my knitting

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I used to be so good at craft. I could do it all. Nothing very well, but I was ok. Scrap booking, cross stitch, quilting, sewing, knitting, beading, stamping, card making.

But last night I undid four weeks of knitting. I was trying to knit a baby blanket for a friend. But I looked at what I had done and realised that there were so many mistakes that I couldn't keep going. And I certainly couldn't give it away as a present.

It was heartbreaking. And I couldn't face starting again. I'm not going to get another block of time like the last month to work on a big project.

So the craft was part of a season. A season of children going to bed early. A season where I had time at night. A season where needed to do projects that started and finished.

I think part of my sadness comes from the realisation that 2012 represented the start of a new season for me. Not that this new season is sad. But the loss of the old one is a little sad.