Mid winter resolutions

I have a new doctor. This is significant because I have limped along with a series of absolutely USELESS doctors for the last four years – different every time – in an effort to stay with my clinic which was highly recommended because it is holistic. In an effort to find balance and health care that wasn’t too toxic and blah blah blah my cringing hipster self put up with sub-par health care, lazy disinterested locums and EXTREMELY high fees. (think $145 for 20 minutes one time!).

What finally made my mind up to leave was my last email exchange, with a new receptionist where I tried to book a long overdue appt (my fault not theirs) and they needed to charge me double because it was all new Docs since I was last there and it would be like an ‘initial consultation’.  I should have left the last time I got bloods and they didn’t bother to send me my results until I finally asked for them weeks later. I should have left the millions of times I said to various doctors that I was having issues – visible issues – with my skin, unexplained constant weight gain, stomach pain etc all since going gluten free – and all they did was tell me not eat yet another thing. I should have left when they took my kids off the books because they hadn’t been in in a while (and been able to charge us money) I’m sorry my kids are generally healthy. AND – you guessed it – it would have cost another enrolling fee to get them back on. So I finally did.

And my new doctor is great! In half an hour she did more for me – asked more questions and gave me more explanations – than I’ve had in years at the old place and I finally feel like there might be light on the horizon! Wahay!

So, I’m all revved up and raring to go (sort of, I mean I bathed and napped on Tuesday and nothing else and I have no guilt whatsoever) I am heading out there and running again (3 times this week plus boot camp so there), I’ve quit sugar (again) and am quitting booze (again) AFTER my grrl visits to help me celebrate tattoo finishing session on Saturday. Again, again, again. But you know – with the twin pronged approach with the Doc helping me medically I might actually see results this time! Instead of denying myself ALL THE GOOD THINGS and still feeling crappy which was my downfall last year. And I will try to blog too. Not just about the boring self-centered woe is me coeliac stuff but also about my sub-par parenting and fashion fails. You love it.

Now all I have to do is get through the last few days of the hell of school holidays (my youngest has not raised his voice above a whine in DAYS and this Mamabear is ready to snap) and settle back in to school and maintain good habits. Wish me luck!

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290 Let the countdown begin.

I have two and a bit weeks to go until my big girls at school all go off for study leave. After that point my major jobs will be planning the year 13 stuff for the cohort, teaching my juniors for the remainder of the term, and planning and writing all of my courses for next year.

I can’t wait.

At the moment I feel like the only way to survive the next two and a bit weeks is to clone myself. As well as guiding the few keen Photography students I have safely to their due dates (this Friday and next Friday respectively) where they will hand in their Folio boards worth 12 and 14 credits, I also have a to-do list of things to tick off for the year 12’s so that things are in place for next year.

Add to that staying healthy – as in not dying of all the teacher diseases that get us at this time of the year – and eating healthy and it all feels a bit much sometimes. (Did I tell you I have a sty?!?! My first ever – someone at work told me eye health is linked with work so that makes sense – doesn’t make it suck less though).

One of the jobs I got ticked off today was collating the votes for Prefects next year. Counting votes, creating an excel doc and ranking them then in order of teacher/student highest votes etc. The list is a long as my arm and even the short list is way too many. The problem is that I want them all to be prefects of course, but only a lucky few can take the roles provided. So back to the staff for consultation and robust discussion (that’s where they get to tell me about the time that Wendy didn’t do her homework that one time in year 10 and how April always opens the door for them every time and that why she should be head girl). I’m joking – sort of – the reasoning behind the for and against any student are usually more valid and it is always good to hear the staff experience of teaching my girls because after all – most of my job is chasing up the naughties! The ‘good’ kids hardly ever step foot in my office.

I am aware that I refer to them as ‘my girls’ and I’m not even embarrassed. They do feel like mine after four years now of Deaning them. Even the Kahurangi girls who aren’t technically mine still feel like my girls because I have so often been their ‘back-up’ Dean. I guess I need a little distance – my bias is showing ha ha.

Lucky I didn’t have daughters eh? They’d have had too much competition!

But maybe they would have been quieter? I see photos of my friends lovely little ladies on insta and facetard and they are always doing things like reading and baking and hanging in cafes without having to be tied to the chair lest they lose control and wrestle their way across the length of the room. I am aware that there are girls in the world that are not readers or bakers or even quiet by any definition of the word. I am related to one and I Dean many. I am also aware that my friends don’t post images of their girls completely losing their shit because it’s bedtime or sitting on their sisters head because she called her a name or any of the other stuff that all children and siblings do.

Hell even I edit out the really bad stuff.

But that pink grass sure do look pinker and waaaaaaaaay more peaceful from over here in minecraft addicted/no inside voice/death metal singing/room destroying/crazy ape bonkers boys of my world. And I bet their houses are tidier.

This weekend the Grumpy Dutchman has read the signs all accurately and done his best to both prop me up and keep the lads away while I am trying to recover from the working week sufficiently to survive the next. He took the lads out and left me to binge on apples (bad for my gut but they were calling to me as all things that are bad for you do) and netflix on saturday afternoon, and today while I was counting votes for four hours they went to the park. He also whispers sweet nothings about how hot I am when I am feeling as wide as the side of the bus and suggests quickies at inappropriate times – like when I’m dishing up dinner or trying to drive the car or am similarly indisposed. It is helping.

I am also finding that running is helping – it’s something I can do on my own and all I have to do is put one foot in front of the other. It’s a really good time to clear shit out of my head too – have those imaginary conversations that need to be had (you know you have imaginary arguments in your head – don’t deny it) and sort out how I feel about stuff before it happens in real life.

And speaking of which – I think it’s time for a run. Arty and I had better hit the streets before I get roped in to helping with dinner… Shit he’s coming – I’m out!

254 – I actually WENT for a run!

Not on Thursday morning as planned. Oh no. I slept in that day. And. it. was. good. But last night I went to bed at 7.30pm. Yes that’s right. I am a big Nana-pants and I actually went to bed before my children last night. In fact the youngest spied me in bed and I had to barricade myself in and refuse entry otherwise I would have had yet another night of NO sleep.

Thursday night I was pushed out of bed by the three Dutchmen and went to the couch where I thought I might get some sleep. It was not to be so. Apparently my body is exactly the right place to stage an all out cat war if you need to. All night baby-cat was launching attacks on Mollycat and Mollycat was growling like a fucking doberman. It was also the night the heavens opened right over our house. Rain, children and cats – I’m sorry Mummy did you want to sleep? Really?

Anyway, an early bedtime last night proved to be exactly what I needed to leap out of bed this morning to run around the neighbourhood with my two lads – one furry the other on a bike. It was REALLY Good! It was so nice to be running along chattering with my little lad, talking about nothing and everything, him complaining about the cold (He needs ‘glubs’ tomorrow morning) and my knee lasting the distance ok.  – hopefully we will go again.

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The rest of the day has gone well too. I took the lads plus one to the zoo to meet with a friend and her two little people and we had a lovely stroll following the kids around – what an amazing day! Cold but sunny – Spring is coming!

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So apart from an emergency trip up to Orewa this evening to see Nana (I got the call that she was threatening to self -harm but she had just run out of chocolate and was panicking – I’ve got to take after someone!) It has been a really good day.

I feel like I am on track for my new short and long term goals. They are a whole new post on their own though, stay tuned…

220 – Sunday prep

Kia ora koutou and I hope you are all feeling fine on this here Monday eve,

Or have you got the Sunday horrors too? I get ’em every weekend now but I have many and varied ways in which I ‘deal’ with them. The best used to be to just day-drink. Ahhhh… just keep a nice slow beer buzz on all day. But, you know, parenting, and being old and shite means children to feed and hangovers that last for DAYS now. I’m nearly 40 you know. Fuck it.

Some of the things I do; I rush about madly trying to ‘get the most out of the weekend’ OR I lie around doing absolutely nothing until nagged sufficiently by children or the grumpy Dutchman. I try to organise ‘good for the gut’ food in advance for the week/I shave/dye/trim or wash any hair that catches my attention (no I don’t shave my legs in winter because cold and the GD complains but he puts up with it just fine – a hairy ankle isn’t going to put my man off his dinner). I read books (ha ha – I plan to read books but I have mentioned I have children haven’t I?). I clean things randomly – very randomly. I try to spend as much time with family where possible AND I try to catch up with friends. I try not to think about work until I really really have to. It’s quite a bit to fit in to two days.

It really makes you wonder why we work for FIVE days and only rest for TWO days. Surely we’ve got that ass about face?

This weekend in between family stuff I have been to the movies with a friend who wanted to escape me from Nana and work stress bless her – I highly recommend ‘Amy’ the doco about Amy Winehouse – it is a tear-jerker for sure – not a dry eye in the house. It’s probably very wrong, considering her struggles with addiction, but I did leave really wanting a glass of wine and a ciggie…. Lucky Nana didn’t have any.

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This evening for dinner I made a yummy recipe that I like to make every now and then; Salmon Patties with (random) greens. It’s great because it makes a bunch of them and I can have them for lunch the next day. It’s not my recipe and I’ve added and taken out some stuff to suit my ouchy gut – a good one to play with.

You need

  • two 200gm cans of pink salmon
  • a couple of Kumara, peeled and cut in to cubes
  • 2 tblsp of Capers (drained)
  • a handful of coriander chopped
  • spring onion chopped up (I think you are meant to use red onion but I can’t tolerate it)
  • 1-2 eggs whisked
  • breadcrumbs (I use almond meal because gluten)
  • you could add peas/grated courgette – although courgette would make it wet so add more almond meal I reckon
  • salt and pepper
  • coconut oil

Steam and mash the kumara, wait to cool then add the salmon, capers, coriander, almond meal, egg, spring onion and any other veges you are adding.

Roll in to balls, then flatten in to patties, coat in almond meal/breadcrumbs and shallow fry in coconut oil until golden brown. They are GREAT with mayonnaise. You should get about 8. Serve with random steamed greens – we had beans and spinach and broccoli.

And two left to have with my lunch tomorrow – win!

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177

Me to Master 7 ‘I love you’.
Mstr 7 ‘I hate you.’
Me ‘That’s not nice but I love you anyway.’
Mstr 7 ‘Nah I love you.’ ‘I love you more than you love me,’
Me ‘I would love you no matter what.’
Mstr 7 ‘Even if I punched you in the Vagina?’
Me …..
Mstr 7 ….
Me ‘I would love you still but I don’t have to like you.’
Mstr 7 ‘Fair enough’

It’s the end of the Term. You’d be surprised how many ‘Punch you in the vagina’ kinda conversations I am having at the moment. Everyone who comes to my office has the tired haunted look of someone who either a. has a lot of work Due in a few days or b. has whole classes of assessments coming their way and a million reports to write. On Friday I spent three hours in the morning talking to girls who had been wagging some classes to get assessments done for other classes. ALL of them promised they’d be in ALL of their classes for the rest of the Term (5.6 days). About half of them left at lunchtime. They’re not even sorry. I’m not even mad.

The little Dutchmen are exhausted, they are touchy and random and manic. Ten minutes ago Master 4 was laughing hysterically for no reason on the TV lounge room – now he is crying like his heart is breaking on the couch because it is bedtime. I am blogging because I am a heartless bitch apparently. Actually according to BUZZfeed I am not even a tiny little bit of a Bitch. So there.

Today we took the lads for a big ramble round the neighbourhood, chatting variously about upcoming birthday plans (me and the eldest child are cancerians) and equal opportunity bike gang membership. The family mission is to try to get the littlest lad to ride his bike. He prefers to ride on the back of mine – and even then complains of tired legs! He’s not the one hauling an extra 20 kilos around!

The course that I did at the beginning of last week – Restorative Justice – was really positive and it filled my head up with ideas both for my teaching practice and Deaning. Exhausting and inspiring at the same time. It is so good to be a learner occasionally and not always the teacher.

It is time for me to try to convince the smallest lad to go to sleep. He is trying to convince me he isn’t tired but I won’t be fooled. In the meantime here is a cat who is really happy that America has now made same-sex marriage legal in every state. Go those guys. Love and let Love man.

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167

I have had one of those days where you go ‘oh yeah that’s what I do’.

It started with a sick feeling in my gut because that was what I had to do today – define what I do as a Dean at the Board of Trustees meeting this evening. It felt like a big deal – and I didn’t quite know where to start which is why I was starting the day of the meeting having not done my homework. All of the Deans presented – we all had to explain our focus for the cohort and then what we do well and what our challenges are and how the could BOT help us. It’s one of those things where you have to really think – what the hell do I do all day?! And although I think we did a really good job of starting to outline the job – inevitably I left feeling like I hadn’t really covered it all.

For example, today I taught for most of the day and two of those classes I hadn’t met before so it was teacher-talk heavy. I prepped for them in my five minute breaks between classes. As I was driving to school I got three texts from students booking out my ‘free’ period for the day – each student with different concerns. When I arrived at my office to start these appointments I got a phone call to say that I had an irate parent at the front desk who had arrived without an appointment and wanted to meet with me now. I managed to put him off for half an hour so I could meet with the students but it meant working through lunch again and no prep for the next class. I spent my last period of the day helping a student write a victim impact statement for a court appearance she has coming up that she was feeling really nervous about.

After school I started writing the report for the BOT. Our part of the meeting went from 5:30 to 7pm and then I headed home. Master 4 had gone to sleep already and Master 7 wasn’t far off. The grumpy Dutchman had made delicious dinner and it was slowly going cold on the bench.

This is not a pity post. This is my job – and for the most part I really enjoy it. It does suck on the odd occasion when I get home and the lads are asleep but that doesn’t happen very often.

Mostly this post is to remind myself of my day so that I can fully appreciate that the sugar cravings – that are so bad I am contemplating going out to the dairy – are simply a result of exhaustion and a need for bed. I need to change into my jammies and go crawl in to bed between my snoring little laddies so I can get up tomorrow good to go again. Tomorrow will be quieter.

Tomorrow is hump day all over again – where are the weeks going?!

166 – default position

Are you the default too? Do you know what I mean?

Example; This weekend there was an event that the grumpy Dutchman and I had planned to go to together. We were quite excited about going out together for the first time in a long time. I had my outfit all planned out and everything (totes most important bit) and I had practised in my head saying ‘No I’m not pregnant, just not drinking’ and sneaking out for coffee as I got more tired (because I am a Nana and past 9pm is waaaaaay late for me). But our babysitters (The GD’s folks) couldn’t do it for us in the end and we couldn’t afford both a babysitter and the gig. (you feel my pain I know you do). Sad face.

Should have been the end of it right? Stink buzz we can’t go out. Damned kids ruining our social lives all the time.

But somehow…. The GD went to the gig anyway. Because the fact that WE couldn’t get a babysitter didn’t mean that WE didn’t have to stay home apparently. Somehow all it meant was that I couldn’t go out because I needed to be at home with the little Dutchmen. And that sucks balls. Now, the GD will justify his attending the event to you if you ask him about it by saying that he had volunteered to be the pizza boy for the bands so he needed to go. Which, you know, is bullshit because pizza places have their own delivery boys to do that for them…

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And to add insult to injury I had to cook dinner for the children too, and like, parent them and shit. Grumpy mockingbirdgrrl.

It reminds me of when the kids were babies and I was the ‘default holder of the babies’. I distinctly remember this one time needing to go to the toilet when holding baby – so I handed baby to the GD and went to the bathroom – the GD followed me to the bathroom and stood there while I weed and waited to hand baby back. I realise that I had the boobs – you couldn’t miss them I was like a dairy cow – but I also needed to not hold babies for a few hours a day and this wasn’t really a thing. I think too that this is the norm for most Mums.

Don’t get me wrong – It’s not like the GD doesn’t do ‘his fair share’. And ‘his fair share’ is such a bullshit term because he parents his children. He does it well and he does it more than me during the week because I work longer hours usually. It’s not an issue of equality at all in our house. But I still don’t like being the default.

I been mithering on it since Saturday night. I was SO looking forward to going out, and I was SO disappointed that I didn’t get to go but that he did. Right now the most social I get is boot camp. Between family on the weekends and work in the evenings and it getting darker earlier I feel quite hemmed in. I need a movie date or something. A reason to wear some of my fabulous shoes ha ha

Anyway. Now that I’ve had a whinge I can get over it.

Which will be good news to all the boys in the house!

161 – Hump day happiness

Last night I accidentally shared my blog post to my Deaning cohorts facebook page. What a dick! And I didn’t notice until ONE OF MY STUDENTS ‘LIKED’ IT. Oh My God. I panicked immediately and deleted the post, and then promptly emailed the student because she’s cool and I needed to explain my ‘ghost post’. She had read it and liked it (phew) and thought it was hilarious that I had posted on the wrong page – but like I said she’s cool and I am not too worried that she will start cyber-stalking me or anything. Ha ha – like I’m that interesting – whatever miss! I am so thankful it wasn’t one of my more ‘sweary’ ones. But it did give me a good reminder that my posts are public and anyone – current students included – can read them. I am not sure how I feel about my students ‘reading me’…

But anyway, I deleted it and was all good and even though T had said that she thought the post was really interesting and that her peers would like to read it – because it is about school after all – I wasn’t tempted to repost deliberately ha ha. It didn’t even occur to me that anyone else had read it because T was the only one who had ‘liked’ it. Until I got back from lunch today to find an envelope under my door;

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And inside was a lovely ‘not sucky uppy at all’ (her words) letter from another one of my girls who had read the post and wanted to tell me how much she appreciated what I did for them all as Dean and stuff. I got all feely. I may have even had tears because I’m a big pussy. It was handwritten and everything. Do you know how rare it is for your average teenager to hold a pen? Let alone to know what to do with it? Pretty special guys.

It was one of a number of events that meant that Wednesday was totally worth getting out of bed for. It was in the top two of the top events – the other fantastic thing? Master Fours’ parent teacher night. His teachers LOVE his stinky little not-washed-often-enough-but-hey-it’s-good-for-his-immune-system ass. He is totally choice. Top of the class. Writing his name and studying bugs and leading enquiry. Colour me the proudest mum in town.

Add to the above a green smoothie from Kokako, a cool ass class with my year 9’s, catching up on various Deaning jobs, checking in with some of my mentees, a vigorous bootcamp session that included BOXING yay! and rediscovering a fave lippie and you can consider today a win.

160 – Positive behaviour for learning

I may have mentioned in a previous post that at school I am part of a group who are involved in the writing and implementation of a Ministry initiative being introduced at our school called PB4L – or Positive Behaviour for Learning. It has been rolled out at a number of schools over the past few years and the schools are reaping the rewards of a more settled cohort, safer and motivating learning environments and fewer serious incidents across the board. We as a whole staff had to agree to sign up for it in order to make sure there was buy-in before we could be approved for the attached funding and support. And because no two schools are the same there is no ‘one size fits all’ program so the first year or two is dedicated to actually collecting data to work with and putting in place the systems and protocols that your individual school need in response to the data.

It is really good stuff. At present I am part of a team who are going to the training days and figuring out how to involve staff in data gathering exercises, isolating areas of concern, deciding on desirable behaviour and what we want the culture of the school to look like. In working out how and when to actively teach the desired behaviours and how to put in place systems that positively reinforce the behaviour we want to see. As opposed to the more ‘traditional’ model of punishing the undesirable behaviours and issuing top-down edicts of behaviour required but with no active modelling or teaching of this expectation. Does that make sense?

In a school as diverse as ours, with a cohort that comes from all walks of life and cultural context, from all socio-economic backgrounds but mostly lower, from homes with a lot of boundaries to homes with almost none and with students who are products of vastly different environments in terms of safe and healthy relationships with adults – we are a school that needs ONE way of doing things and ONE accepted way to be at our school that is understood by everyone – Teachers and students alike.

And it all hangs off this idea that the way to achieve this utopia – this functional, safe learning environment for both students and staff – is to positively reinforce the good stuff and to pre-empt the negative with consistent, school wide conversations and taught behaviour.

We need to ask the staff what an ‘ideal student’ looks like, what an ideal learning environment looks like and what the main barriers are to achieving these ideals in our school. Then we need to show staff what they said to see if we are all on the same page. AND we need to ask students what their ideal teacher looks like. What a safe and engaging learning environment looks like – and what the current barriers to success are for them. We need to collect data to see if it backs up what everyone is saying/feeling. We might be surprised.

We need to look at our schools values and the current systems in place – we don’t want to re-invent the wheel but we might need to streamline it. And it’s a MASSIVE job but our coaches have people guiding them through, and the Ministry has an investment in the success of the program so there are checks and balances to make sure we stay on track and can measure our successes.

Man it feels positive.

So when I was thinking about what I could write tonight – because I didn’t write last night and I am trying to not miss too many nights as the cold winter nights settle in and all I want to do is hibernate…. Can I apply the same theories to my mission to heal my gut? By collecting data and making changes that pre-empt damaging behaviour? By not punishing myself when I make the wrong decisions in a moment of weakness/tiredness/contrariness. By putting systems in place that support the right decisions around food even when I am tired/pre-menstrual or just feeling bloody minded? Probably. Hmmmm.

My brain is full right now though.

158 – Nearly halfway through the year.

At the end of this month it will have been six months through my year of restrictions and I would say that I have, honestly, managed to keep it together for maybe four months but am not in any way able to claim to have been sticking to my self-imposed rules for the six months. I think part of the problem is that I am an all-or-nothing type of gal.

I have stated this before but it tends to be something that I can’t avoid. I am not a fan of in-betweens, compromises, half-assed solutions, or the same shit every day. So I get going all great-guns, get excited and jump on my challenge and go ‘THAT IS IT I AM NEVER GOING TO LET SUGAR/DAIRY/COFFEE/ANYTHING GOOD PASS MY LIPS AGAIN DAMNIT. HEAR ME WORLD. THIS IS NOT A DRILL’.

And I convince myself that it is the best thing I can be doing (I’m very persuasive and also easily convinced by a smooth talker – the perfect combination to be lead astray by my-self) and tell anyone who will listen about why I’m doing, why it’s the best thing I can be doing ‘It’s not fucking rocket science man – it IS the right thing to do you know?’ and three months later and SO FUCKING BORED with the sound of my own proselytizing that I will catch and kill an Easter bunny just for his stash. And then the wheels are off baby – because if I’m going off the rails it better be worth it right?

So I am eating dairy, the occasional salad (ooooh yeah raw greens mmm), crunchy scratchy, apples – you name it – I’m a bad bitch rebel with no limits. yeah. And what it comes down to is that I did start the year off doing this for the right reasons, and I felt better – you remember I had more energy? and felt good pretty much every day and all of that stuff.

The seriously de-motivating bit is the complete lack of change in my skin, still red-faced and flakey, raw and prone to breakouts (and no weight loss whatsoever but I am trying not to think about that and I’m on the downhill to 40 so apparently that happens). Doesn’t seem fair really. It’s enough to drive a grrl back to drink.

Interestingly, aside from Gluten which I will never eat knowingly again, Alcohol is the only other one that I haven’t touched. That is becoming a personal point of pride. And actually – once you get past the first 7 days it ain’t no big thang. I am looking forward to my new year Cider date with Yas, and a good catch up over a glass of red (I might be salivating a teeny tiny bit) with my grrls one night, but I don’t miss hangovers, I don’t miss the anxiety from wondering if calling my sisters bosses wife a racist at dinner went too far (it did but she was and I’m not sorry) and I know that if I had kept the wine up I wouldn’t even have managed the 3.5 months of sugar-free-ness because hangovers.

I haven’t written for four days because I got my period. TMI. Whatevers you can handle it. But the reason I bring it up is because for the first part of the year I haven’t noticed them as big deals, I might be a bitch for a couple of days but I don’t remember particularly (you’d have to ask the GD and the little Dutchmen if that’s accurate of course). However this time though I had a low week.

A whole week of second-guessing myself, feeling like a whale, hatin’ on my legs, I was grumpier than the grumpy Dutchman (and that’s a feat) and I have had terrible bloating and pain since friday. Over-sharing too. That must be a side effect. And do you eat everything in sight when you are PMS-ing? I do. It’s like I’m loading up in order to, um, shed the excess. I am sure it was better without the sugar and coffee. I am sure I was nicer to my boys. And I know that I haven’t felt so unsure of myself in months. Maybe since last year.

So what to do about it? I don’t fucking know. I’m still ruminating on it. I’ll get back you when I have a plan.