#devilchildren

We all love a good morning routine right? We rise quietly, bleary-eyed but excited about the potential of a new day, stumble out in to the rising sun and greet the songbirds as they sing in the new dawn.

Ha ha fucking ha.

Today I am lucky I got to school before the first bell – as it was it was lucky I didn’t run over the girls as they lined up for assembly as I sped in to the grounds much MUCH later than I intended to be on this bloody Monday morning.

I get up in the morning in a good mood. Pretty much every day without fail. It’s one of my most annoying habits. But I have spawned offspring that do not. And the GD has his own ‘routine’ that may or may not involve the rest of us depending on whether he has decided that he is in a terrific hurry that morning or not.

On days that I don’t boot-camp or run – more frequent in my old age than I’d readily admit – I get up and feed the pets, put the coffee on and I go through and wake the rest of the house. The 6 yr old gets up immediately with me and I/we make him breakfast; I go through multiple times to the bedroom and remind the 9 yr old that he needs to get up, all the while finding their clothes and shoes for the day and ‘laying them out’ for them like they are fucking little princes or some shit. The 6 yr old clings like a limpet and will often follow me through the house with his cereal or toast in hand all the while leaving a trail of food for the dog to follow. The dog loves him for this – who doesn’t appreciate a second breakfast?

Once they are up and getting dressed I make their lunches and put a piece of toast in for me. (I haven’t had coffee yet – I like to have my coffee WITH my breakfast). Then, before I get to my toast I find something that the 9 yr old will deign to eat – he is very anti breakfast – and help the 6 yr old get dressed because apparently he ‘can’t’ by himself.

Then I find my toast – if I’m not there to witness it pop my toaster flings it high in the air and it can land anywhere – and sit down to have breakfast and my first cup of coffee with the 9 yr old (who is often in the other room sulking because I haven’t found him the right tee shirt/ shorts/ shoes and he won’t eat with the food I have made on pain of death).

Then just as I am finishing up and getting ready to shower the GD will come through and announce he is getting in the shower. This is the beginning of the end.

You see, the GD’s routine consists roughly of getting up, making coffee/pouring his cup and going outside with it to have a cigarette (which actually means staring at his phone for twenty minutes), then if no one is nagging him to do otherwise (read: me asking him to either feed the animals or children etc) he comes inside and goes and sits on the toilet for half an hour (he’s staring on his phone there too), then he comes in and showers, dresses and comes in to the kitchen to announce that he’s in a terrible hurry because the motorway is ‘crazy’ and he doesn’t want to be late. Then he just leaves. Just like that, He fucking leaves with no fighting and no one screaming about their shoes or anything – it’s a fucking miracle.

Naturally at all points in his routine I am doing my damnedest to disrupt his happy little meandering, and this all comes off as me badgering him because if I can get in the shower first it will dramatically change the morning for all.

If I can get in the shower first then the GD has nothing to do while he waits so he can in fact, make sure the little Dutchmen have their shoes on, their school bags packed and are not killing each-other as they wait for me to be ready to take them to school. On these mornings we leave much closer to 7.30, have a pleasant ride to school, and I get to school before eight am with my waking morning sunshine-y ass intact.

But mostly lately, even on days that I boot camp because usually the routine starts the same way once I get home (only we’re now 45 mins behind so that’s fun) we have the shitshow that was this morning. ONCE everyone else is ready to go, and the GD is out of the shower and walking out the door – because he’s going to be so late remember?, Then it is finally my turn to start getting ready.

Now, it should be relatively simple in fact for this to happen, I shower, I get dressed, we get in the car and leave. Simple.

But as it turns out, once the #devilchildren are ready to go to school they can’t actually be trusted alone together because that’s when they go in to full hellion mode. I can bargain with them, bribe them, threaten them – or even, in an attempt to be positive, remind them of ‘that one time they played nicely together while they waited and then we all drove to school together cheerfully and it was wonderful?’ but to no avail.

Today the water wasn’t even running before the screaming started. The youngest child has a shriek that is piercing no matter how far away you are and I feel it physically. I can’t ablute with the door shut – too dangerous to not be within earshot – so it was but a matter of seconds before I had both of them in the bathroom with me listing the others crimes and trying to drown the other out with sheer volume. Banished separately – one to their (shared) room with the other to the lounge didn’t work because one’s toys were in the others time out zone and he swiftly set about breaking as many as them as possible much to the horror of his offsider who started screaming profanities that would have made a pirate blush.

Cut to me standing naked in the lounge (in full view of any neighbour who wanted to be put off their breakfast) pointing dramatically down the hallway and shouting that ‘EVERYONE IS FUCKING WALKING TO SCHOOL AND I DON’T CARE HOW LONG IT TAKES FOR YOU TO GET THERE!’.

I finally showered with the 6 yr old sobbing piteously outside the glass, the 9 yr old in his bed refusing to come out (blankets over his head and blinds drawn – shades of his teen years I fear) all the while cursing my beloveds name.

We all sulked on the way to school. No mindless chatter about whatever is in the 6 yr olds head (I’ll give you a clue – it’s usually poo) or any deeper (more worrying) questions from the 9 yr old like ‘WHY did the Americans vote in Trump and does this mean all the black people are going to be shot now?’ for example.

I drove to school feeling guilty for getting so mad and hoping that they wouldn’t have a shite day at school as a result of our bloody awful morning.*

There are ways to mitigate this madness. If I break the ‘no screens before school’ rule they will stare like zombies at their chosen screen while I shower and dress and get myself in the car – but as soon as I turn the screens off so begins the 20 minute meltdown over putting a pair of shoes on because the flickering blue lights have taken away their ability to determine between a reasonable request i.e. put your shoes on and get in the car and that tantamount to pain and torture and endless suffering.

Some mornings I get home from boot camp and run to the shower while no one is looking and issue instructions from inside my watery haven. Those are good mornings.

And if I have to be fair, and godamnit the GD reads this so I have to be, some mornings he has fed one of the children by the time I get back and might have started a lunchbox or two before he sees me and skedaddles. To be fair he goes in the opposite direction of the kids school so dropping them off doesn’t make sense. But I’m not in the mood to be fair and it’s not that part that fucks with me.

It’s the way he just GOES. ‘Oops I’m going to be late!’ he sings out gaily and runs out the door. As if somehow me being late to work every single fucking day isn’t as bad as if he was ten minutes later. Don’t forget that I stop on the way with the kids too, and although I basically slow down, kiss them and drop them off, more often that not lately I have to get out and walk them in because they are so tired and sad about mornings (normal end of term stuff). This adds a good fifteen minutes to an already to-long routine.

I know this is end of term stuff and everyone is exhausted. And I know that some people will be reading this and thinking WHY don’t they make their lunches the night before, and foster more independence in their children to make their own breakfasts and all that happy helpful shit that I would mutter under my breath too. And I do mutter that shit under my breath at me. But tbh at the moment I am hanging out until JUST AFTER my kids have hit their pillows before I collapse in to mine. Our routines go to hell when we’re tired and that’s just the sucky, sticky reality of it.

Just the freedom of being able to leave when I’m ready like that. The miracle of it. I’m always reminded of this bit by Michael Mcintyre about Leaving the House.

Little do the #littledutchmen know that I have plans to ride my bike to my new job next year. I wonder if that means the GD will be dropping them off and I can just leave when I’m ready? Huh.

*They had a great day and all of the mornings dramas were forgotten in minutes as soon as they saw their friends of course, it was just Mummy who thought about it all day and felt like shite. Happy lads upon afternoon pick up. Because I knew you were wondering.

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312 The end of an era

Well. It’s official. I have two school age children. This time 5 years ago I was settling into a cocoon on the couch with my newborn and my GD hovering nearby. It was so much easier with the second one (the breastfeeding and not thinking we were going to drop him or anything) and we came straight home from the hospital all ready to settle in to being a two child family. Someone had at some point told me that two was easier than one because they entertain each other or some shit. They were lying of course. I wish I could remember who it was…

Anyway, my youngest son is now officially 5. I won’t lie and say it was all very breezy easy in this little household this morning. Mamabear was a bit ‘happy sad’ and had a little crazy smiling cry whenever I thought about my baby being a big boy now. He doesn’t start school yet – has to wait for the intake – but the school visits have been rubbing it in. I am now the mother of two school age children.

Which kinda changes my ‘selfie’ in my head. Somehow it feels that much older. I mean obviously I knew that eventually I would get to that point – but in my daydreams I go from having ‘togglers’ (the 5 yr old can’t say toddlers yet) to teenagers in one step. Rather than experience the slow decline I transform magically from vaguely-stylish-young-mum to eccentric-but-doesn’t-care older mum of teens – you know the ones – the ones with the house that all the kids hang out at, they dispense advice and feed them all and always have one or two of their kids mates staying for indefinite lengths of time.

I hadn’t thought about the ‘in-between years’ and the transition period from young to eccentric. Where all my cool pre-children-clothes are covered in sticky hand prints, my heels replaced with chucks for running after evil eight year olds and the laundry couch mocks me from the once safe haven of the TV lounge.

The good news is that I look around me and I see other women around about my age going through the same thing and they seem to be doing it ok. I’ve even met a couple of really cool women in the last few weeks and that gives me hope. I don’t need new friends – god knows I neglect my wonderful,patient friends enough already – I don’t need more people to be absent from; but obviously it can be done.

#midlifecrisismuch?

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!

284 – First day of Term 4

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The first thing I did when I got to work today was to ring our local primary school to re-schedule my appointment to enrol our youngest son. We got the letter last term and I opened it and thought ‘Heaps of time, will think about that later’ and then suddenly it was later.  The school holidays were kinda like that. I had looked forward to them for so long – approximately 10 weeks of longing – and had made so many plans, and before I knew it they were over.

I always have a list of stuff I want to do in the holidays – sew, bake, op-shop, catch up with all my friends, sleep, read, visit the art gallery, spend quality time with my kids, ride my bike and generally have a life outside of school. It’s good to have goals. Even if you have no hope in hell of achieving them.

I DID manage to sleep a bit extra, get some marking done and sort some stuff for school. I managed to go for a couple of good runs, eat well mostly and me and the kids didn’t kill each-other. I am sad we didn’t manage to bike ride because the weather was beautiful but master 4 has requested that we ‘learn him’ to bike ride on the weekend so we are closer to getting back out there soon.

But inevitably I blinked and suddenly it was Monday and I was getting up at sparrows fart for work and hustling the kids out of bed and in to clothes.

Bam. Gone.

Kind of like my days as a parent of pre-schoolers. How did I get so old that both of my children are primary school aged? My eldest already talks like a teenager and I have to bribe him with internet access to get him to do anything. And now my little lad is starting school. He turns five in a month and he is SO ready. It is SO weird.

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255 – Mama bears unite

I’m watching a nature doco about polar bears with the smallest child. The mother polar bear is trying to secure a meal for her cubs by stalking a nearby sea lion. She tells the cubs to stay on the ice and sets off stealthily to get the seal. She lowers herself backwards in to the water so as not to make a splash – something unusual says the narrator – she is an intelligent and cunning predator. She emerges far enough away to sight the sea lion and plan her attack. She sinks below the surface and heads towards her sleeping target. It has no idea it is about to be the evening meal.

Meanwhile her cubs have gotten restless. They are wrestling in the background. One of them realises that Mum is out of sight and starts to follow – disobeying Mums orders to stay put. Soon both babies are following Mum. Mum sinks below the surface and they panic. Both stumble clumsily in to the water after her.

The sea lion is alerted by the noise and dives in to the water getting away without much effort. Mum emerges baffled at exactly the right spot to find no sea lion. You can see her swearing in polar bear as she looks around and realises her kids have fucked it up for her. Again.

I have a lot of empathy for Mama bear today.

We started off ok. Mum+Son run around the neighbourhood in the grey dawn light. Chocolate smoothies for everyone on our return – yay! The GD went to work (sucks to be working on the weekend poor him) and I resolved to do some house work with the two lads in tow. Oh how naive I am. You’d think I would know by now – after all I have known these kids all their lives. We had a hell of a day.

I decided to deal with the mountains of washing that had piled up around the house like driftwood after a particularly violent storm. Mostly to avoid the dishes to be honest. I took the computer away from the lads and banned them from torturing the fur children and they settled in to LEGO land heaven. For about half an hour. The rest of the day was the reason that Mummy wants to drink.

One of my children makes noise ALL OF THE TIME. While I am writing this he is sitting on the couch supposedly watching the Polar bear documentary but actually he is just making noise. Humming and wriggling and throwing things and kicking and singing and just generally making FUCKING NOISE ALL DAY. He has followed me around making noise at me all day. Add to this his brothers unerring talent of winding him up and you get short sharp tearful fights as well.

More than once I have shouted. I have tried bribing them with a walk to get ice-cream – which of course they tried to claim when the job was not even vaguely attempted let alone finished. I have made grand sweeping threats ‘If you don’t do this I will lock you out the back until your father gets home’ ‘You will NEVER be allowed to have friends over again’ ‘DO YOU WANT TO GO LIVE AT THE NAUGHTY BOYS HOME?’. They know such a place doesn’t exist.

They don’t fear me. All day we battled.

And I folded washing, I hung washing up to dry, I sorted the ‘special’ pile in my room (you know – where you put your favourites that you have on high rotation?). I even sorted out two bags of clothes and bags and sunnies to go and live somewhere else. I folded and sorted and folded and sorted. And I shouted and bribed and cuddled and wiped tears off faces and inspected war wounds.

I had to stop writing because the youngest was leaping on and off the couch (after being asked multiple times not to of course) and he had banged his shin quite badly on the edge fo the couch. Cue many tears.

I actually can’t wait for work tomorrow.

That’s a lie but I am having fantasies of running away for the weekend. I would even take the grumpy Dutchman with me if he promised to put away his LEGO the first time he was asked and left me to go to the toilet in peace.

198 – I’m not dead

Yes, it’s been ten days since my last post – partly because I’ve been avoiding you and partly because it’s been school holidays and I just kinda let everything slide…

So, how to begin – to catch you up or just fill in the gaps? Well you don’t need the minutiae of my days and frankly they are only interesting to me and mine – you know what school holidays with bored kids are like – you swing from moments of hysterical joy (oh my god the zoo for the third time I’m SO EXCITED! We have zoo passes – they are seriously the best xmas gift ever) to moments of pure hell (OH MY GOD WHY ARE WE AT THE ZOO AGAIN?!). The kids are randomly best friends and mortal enemies and those of us that normally work but have the pleasure of being at home with our little cherubs begin to remember and appreciate why we work in the first place.

The middle of the year holidays are extra special in our house because of all the birthdays. Mine, my Stepdad’s, my Mums and my eldest son (Mum and T are on the same day). This means that the grumpy Dutchman is extra grumpy and stressed because of the gift buying, the family time is extra intense and at some point I have to plan and run a birthday event for the child. Also this time round the Aussie Dutchies are here so it’s been cool to meet my youngest niece and hang with them briefly. Suffice to say that though I don’t tend to feel ‘rested’ at the end of the winter break.

Anyway – why have I been avoiding you? Did you notice that? Well. You know how I’m a stubborn biatch and I have been struggling with the sugar and shite? But really proud that I had managed to not drink? Sooooooo. This is awkward.

I’m just gonna come out and say it. I had a glass of wine (or two) on my birthday. Because it was MY FUCKING BIRTHDAY damnit and I was feeling old. I know. I know. But the plan that I had to go to a beach with the GD and the dog to watch the sunset didn’t pan out because I spent so long on the motorway driving home from dropping the lads off to be babysat. And there is less sugar in red wine that birthday cake. And all sorts of other bloody justifications. And because wine is so damned good.

I spent all day thinking about it. Swinging wildly between NO because I didn’t want to break my record and YES because it’s MY BIRTHDAY. I chose yes.

It was very nice to be out with the GD on an actual date (thanks Mum) just hanging out with each-other. We managed to not talk about the kids for ages. I was managing to keep the GD interested in me and not the bookshelf behind me (only just). So I had a grown up glass of wine and it was lovely.

And then I woke up in the morning and felt terrible. Not only did I have a headache from the wine that I’m not used to but I just felt so disappointed that I had broken the record. That I had let it go after 7 months of abstaining. And how was I going to blog about it!? The horror. I whinged to the GD and my bff and both told me to pull my head in; reminded me that I’m not an alcoholic and that the not-drinking was self imposed (that I’d broken every other self-imposed rule) and that I was a grown up who could celebrate her birthday like a bloody grown up. That was me told. So I stayed in bed watching Grace and Frankie until lunchtime (the kids were at Mums after all) and tried to get over myself.

I still feel a wee bit disappointed. I won’t be able to proudly boast ‘not for the whole YEAR’ now and sit back all smug when people look AMAZED at my fortitude but I am learning to live with it. Ha ha what a dick.

The holidays have been great though for family time and outdoorsy pursuits. I had a good go at being sugar-free for the first week and was dealing with the headaches and loading up on lots of veges like a good girl but tbh we knew that was going to go out the window for my birthday didn’t we? Am back on that wagon now though. As of tomorrow. I promise. Obvs no more wine too. I managed to go to school and get some much-needed marking done in between hanging with lads, and I have been getting my 10 – 12,000 steps in most days.

I still don’t feel that prepared for school though. I have that sick feeling in my stomach thinking about it. But that’s normal right? The plan is to food shop tomorrow for all the good stuff. To plan my lessons for the first three days of the week and to pack my lunches so I’m prepared for the sugar cravings.

Well laid plans. Here are some holiday pics,

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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.

151 – Long weekend-ness

My Laptop is fixed! Actually it is replaced, something had gone well and truly awry inside my old beastie and the IT guys couldn’t bring it back from the dead this time – it turns out they are not, in fact, miracle workers. But they could give me a looks-just-like-the-old-one-but-has-newer-programs-on-it one so that’s cool.

I’ve actually had it back for a few days but my brain has been so full of stuff, and I have had so much on that I took advantage of the hiatus until I could figure out what to write about – and I’m not even sure I have but I have more energy today being that it is Sunday and we still have one more day off! Long live the Queen!

On Thursday I went on a PD course called ‘Trauma Sensitive Practice in Schools’ and fuck it was excellent. It was one of those things where I walked in and wasn’t sure if I was meant to be there or not. I sat at a table by myself at the back (rebel without a cause) and was soon joined by four guidance counsellors. Shit! I thought – do I need to have a psychology degree to understand this day?! But it turned out that no, there were a bunch of other Deans there too and it was SUCH a good day.

It was really heavy going though, the australian woman who presented – Beth Guy – had been a nurse, then a teacher and is now a Psychologist who travels and work with schools. It sounds like she does a lot with indigenous communities in Australia who probably have the highest population of traumatised children in the country to be fair. And what she talked about was fascinating. It was the science behind the brain stuff – what happens in the brain in development – as early as pre-birth – when a child experiences Trauma. Trauma being defined as anything from neglect to physical, sexual or psychological abuse. This woman had worked with pre-verbal children (0 to 2 yrs) who were already showing signs of trying to protect themselves from this abuse – or survive the neglect. Fucking hell. Thankfully the course wasn’t centred on the horrors that humanity inflicts upon its children however; more understanding how to make your classroom/school a safe place for these kids to be when they are trying to navigate the everyday business of surviving school without being triggered. And wow there is so much that these kids can’t control – so much that is wired beyond their power – that could set them off in to a total Freeze/Fight/Flee situation. But there is also so much that we can do to help them relax enough to actually remember what is being said in class and action what we ask them to do. I left so inspired but so weighed down with it. I really wanted wine so I didn’t have to think about my girls and what they live with every day.

So I impulse-bought boots. Makes sense huh? You feel me.

Then I spent all night awake with this new information in my head. And the guilt from the boots – and niggling doubt that they were really ‘me’. In the morning I skipped boot-camp because of exhaustion and then later Friday afternoon I took the not-me-but-still-very-gorgeous-boots back. It was for the best.

I love a good long weekend though. Friend and family catch ups, time for slobbing about, time for school work (I have a whole day of report writing and assessment stuff tomorrow), and just catching up on vital alone time.

That’s if you ever get to be alone. I don’t know about other mothers but I appear to have created two little shadows and it doesn’t matter where I take myself to have alone time – they turn up moments later. At the moment one of my shadows is dressed like a tiger 24 seven so he’s pretty hard to miss (He was a hit at the zoo yesterday). I have tried leaving them happily watching TV and going to the other end of the house to read or colour in (don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it baby) and within moments I have a little audience of two joining in on whatever I am doing. Until recently we had no light in the loo so had to have ‘quiet time’ with the door open if one wanted to see what one was, ahem, doing. This meant a visitor EVERY time I was abluting to ask me to read to them, where their socks were, what they could eat etc. We got the light fixed so I thought I could have alone time with the door closed. Turns out the hint was not received.

And with the rain the entire house has cabin fever. The grumpy Dutchman is EXTRA grumpy – not helped by the fact that he had to go ona rescue mission in our ceiling last night because the Kitten was stuck in the wall! Crawling on his belly in a space no higher than half a metre, through MASSIVE spider webs, in his pyjama pants, when all he wants to do is sleep. I was standing in the lounge helpfully shouting instructions at him through the ceiling. I think I heard grumpy muttering. Then to top it all off – the kitten so wasn’t that grateful. He sauntered over to me at the ceiling cavity, scratched my face all up being dragged out and slinked off slinkily. Cats. We are merely their house servants.

Tomorrow we are taking the lads – all three of them, fur-child as well – to the wild west for a runaround in the coastal air. They need to be run long and hard to get their energy out. Then the GD is taking the two human lads to the Museum so I can figure out how to write ‘Your daughter is a delight but she doesn’t nothing in class but take selfies and text her boyfriend you don’t know about’ 120 times.

I can’t report anything good about my food intake so I won’t go in to it. Lying by omission while I slurp tea with real milk and eat leftover ‘entertaining’ cake from my dad’s visit today. Living on the edge.

Day 99 – school holiday hell

It speaks to the state of your parenting when you go to a Psych ward – with actual unwell people in it – and the most out of control people there are your children. And no matter how delicately a threat I posed or delicious the bribe I offered they blithely ignored me and my distress at their wild animal antics. Luckily the birthday grrl – Nana – was completely oblivious and the only person who noticed their antics was the wide-eyed, quiet, perfectly behaved 10 year old – my cousins daughter – who clearly had not seen anything quite like them. That’s right – I was so grumpy that I allowed myself to be shamed (in my head) by a perfectly lovely child. Who was behaving perfectly. And not at all like an animal.

Nana didn’t notice of course. Mostly she just wanted to tell us how much her birthday had sucked so far and how she couldn’t eat the birthday cake that Mum had thoughtfully provided. (A big thanks to Mum for not getting a GF one – she normally would bust her ass trying to find something I could eat but this time she was too busy and it was perfect because if it was GF I would have EATEN IT ALL).

Conversation went round in circles with Nana in the middle ‘Has everyone had a piece of cake?’ Yes Nana. ‘I’ll have my piece tomorrow because I’m unwell’ we know Nana. ‘Have the boys had a piece of cake?’ Yes Nana (Boys look hopeful at their great Nana). ‘It’s my birthday and I’ve had a sore tummy all day, it’s not fair’ We know Nana that truly sucks. ‘Has everyone had a piece of cake?’. Yes Nana. ‘Your mother got me this beautiful necklace…. am I wearing it Kathleen?’. Yes Nana it’s lovely. ‘Do the boys want a piece of cake?’ ‘Has anyone seen my necklace?’ And so on. It was good to see her. She has been allowed out of the 24 hour watch bit and is now allowed to mingle with the others. She usually waits until one of the other women or men walk past and says in a stage whisper ‘It’s so sad Kathleen, They are all so bad in here – really doolally’. I’m not sure she is making many friends to be honest. But she might be out soon on good behaviour.

The school holidays used to be such a wonderful time for me when I was a young, childless teacher. I could lie in bed, be kissed on the forehead by an envious grumpy Dutchman as he left for work and then spend my days slothing about, taking photos, watching shit TV, op-shopping and catching up with my grrlfriends. Ah the good old days.

Not so now I am a mother. I have one child in school so guess what? He’s on holiday with me. And the other one is old enough now to notice when his brother gets to stay with Mummy so I have to let him stay home more during the hols.

I like my kids. Really I do. They are both bright and inquisitive and opinionated and totally rock and roll. They are the best little team a mother could ask for. In small doses. And not so much together as separately – special ‘Mummy and me’ time is good. We have a great time when they are not competing for anything. Yesterday the seven year old and I had a lovely time doing errands and talking about nothing. I learned an awful lot about computer games I will never play. And if I think about it – I had both of them on Tuesday and we went to the zoo and it was lovely. So it is possible I will admit but in small doses.

Today I just gave up. When we got home from the hospital I just let them do what they wanted. They built a fort for the kitten. They forced the kitten to ‘enjoy’ it. I rescued the kitten so they went to the TV lounge and wrestled. I shouted ‘Get OFF your brothers head!’ more than once. They threw themselves around the music lounge in an attempt to get the dog to wrestle with them. They played the drums. Briefly. They helped themselves to food and milk. They followed me out on to the road to speak to a friend and dragged the kitten up and down the street to meet the neighbours. They nearly fell asleep in the car when I played my Terry Pratchett audio book with the express purpose of getting them to sleep. Damnit.

I mostly craved sugar and tried really hard to ignore it. I was grumpy and impatient. I threatened to give the kitten to someone nice. I tried to bribe them with delicious treats which they declined. I gave up and pulled out the classic ‘When your father gets home he will hear about this!’. They didn’t care. You’ve got to admire that kind of confidence really. I gave up parenting and retreated to my bed. I painted my nails. I read a trashy magazine. I read the first chapter of my Willpower book (it says to only read a chapter a week and try to do the ‘experiments’). This week I am meant to try to ‘be in the moment and notice my breath’ for five minutes a day. HA! I’d like to be in any moment and have the energy to notice my breath at all. I’ve always been a shit breather.

Tomorrow the smallest child will go to daycare, and the eldest will come with me to work. I will put him in front of a computer and he will happily get screen stoned while I mark assessments and panic about un-written assessments for next term. But at least I will be distracted my body aches, headaches and sugar cravings.

Knowing I did (all) of this to myself doesn’t make it any more fun.