Quote of the day

Me: “your hair looks really good today”
Son:”yeah sometimes I just wake up with really good bed hair!”

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A plethora of penguins for the bun nazi.

My son loves penguins, he always has. Right now he’s right into a series called “The Penguins of Madagascar”. It’s a spin-off series from the movies. There are four penguins in the troup of special agent type penguin characters, and my son was very happy tonight as he gathered up three if his toy penguins and arrived in the lounge room announcing that he now almost has the “Penguins of Madagascar”!
I turned to him and said, “I’m sure you have another penguin somewhere. I think you called it ‘party penguin’ and it’s probably in the spare room in that soft toy hanging net”.

Off he went to find ‘party penguin’….

Son: “did you mean this one?” Holds up a soft representation of a baby penguin.

Me: “hmm I forgot you had that one! No, I meant a little one with a sparkly hat that you used to call party penguin.”

Daddy: “how many penguins do you have anyway?!”

Son: with a slight cheeky smile, “five apparently”.

That cracked Daddy and I right up, which delighted him of course! Party penguin was then located and we now have five ‘apparent’ penguins. ;)

Now what’s all this about a bun nazi?
For some unknown reason, my son doesn’t like it when I loop my ponytail around into a bun. It’s not a proper bun just one of those loose kind of looped up ponytails that are trendy right now. Every time he catches me with my hair like that he says,
“Hey! Your hair doesn’t look good that way! I’m going to de-bun you!” And then he does….de-bun my hair. It’s a bit annoying actually.

Today, as we were on our way out the door to the park I hastily grabbed a cap and was just putting my hair up too.

“Hurry up mummy! We need to go!”
“Yes, I’m coming, just putting my hair up on the way!”
“Ok…..but not in a bun!”

Bun nazi.

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Finding time/losing time

I feel like I haven’t written a post for ages. I also know I haven’t contributed an article to Discordia for ages, and I feel pretty slack about that. The thing is that at the moment for some reason, I am just always tired. Not my body really, but my brain. I can’t seem to concentrate on more than two things at once and since one of those things is almost always my son, I don’t have much room left for anything else right now. 

I’m finding it all very annoying really. My son has been pretty good these last couple of weeks. Yes we’ve had the odd meltdown, but nowhere near as bad as he used to. He still argues with me each and every day about doing his school work and you’d think I’d be used to that now, but it’s draining me more and more to stay patient with him lately. Reducing his medication does mean that he needs a little extra patience, but all in all he’s responding much better than we had feared. He’s getting so much better at controlling himself even when he is on the point of losing it. Some old habits die hard, but they are just that… habit… rather than an actual inability to control what he’s doing. I know this because he used to be unable to control his aggressive responses to anxiety. Now, I can see he’s anxious, and he’ll begin the behaviours he’s used to using, but if I can say the right thing at the right moment, he can stop. He can calm down and try again. So we have made progress. Good progress.

Some of the problem will be that I’m feeling stressed trying to find time to practice singing for School of Rock. No one is putting pressure on me, it’s just me, but I still want to be able to do better than I’m currently doing on a couple of the songs. Some of them I’m rocking at rehearsal, others, not sucking, but also not rocking. I know I’ll get there. 

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking lately and I think that also makes me tired. I was recently asked by Discordia to write a review of a play called “Mothers”, and although I was scared to do it (fear of failing), I went and interviewed them and then wrote a little pre-review article. When I was introduced by the producer to the cast, she called me a ‘journalist’ and the funny thing was that my immediate thought was, “Oh crap! Don’t say that! They’ll see right through me in a second and realise that I’m just a lucky woman who was asked to come along and have this opportunity!” When I got home, I told this to my husband and he said,

“Hmmmm… I wonder why you thought that? You are a journalist. You know how to get the right information from people and write it in an interesting way. It’s only you who thinks you are ‘pretending’ or ‘faking’ not anyone else.”

So, why do I think that about myself? After I got home from the interview I was all scared, but yet really felt alive, like I had just done something that I was always meant to do. It made me realise that although I love homeschooling my son, and I am happy to do it, I’m also stagnating. I’m not getting a chance to still be me. When I go to School of Rock, which is basically the only time I get to see other people (once a week for two hours), I can tell instantly that they think I’m really young and naive, and actually I’m only about 2 years younger than many of the people there. I just don’t have that wealth of every day knowledge and confidence that I used to have when I was out in the world all day every day. 

Because of this, and because my son is really starting to crave extra contact, we are trying again with finding a homeschooling social group. I contacted some people today who are a little closer to home than the one we went to previously so I’m really hoping that this will be a little easier to get to each week and give him the chance to work on making some friends. As I explained to him the other day, he can’t expect to make the sort of friendships he’s craving by playing in a playground with a bunch of kids for an hour. He has to go somewhere every week and meet the same kids over and over and slowly get to know which ones he wants to be friends with and which ones want to be friends with him. I was telling him this to try and get him to understand that he really needs to try some more outside of the home activities in order to meet more kids. He keeps rejecting every idea I come with for things to try, but that’s just not going to cut it. You can’t just lock yourself away and complain that you have no friends and you are bored and lonely. You have to get out there and do something about it. 

And that’s the problem with me isn’t it. I need to practice what I preach. Problem is that’s really hard when you don’t have someone to look after your child so you can do those things. Or if your husband, who would happily look after your child is really busy at work and can’t get home until after 6:30 most nights, and then by that time I’m too tired to go and do anything anyway! Not to mention, that I’d actually like to spend that time with my husband!

Now, I’m not meaning to sound complainey, even though I do! I guess it’s just that this is why I am so tired lately! I keep thinking about all these things I want to do, but can’t because of lack of time, or lack of money, or both. So, now I guess I’m pinning my hopes on meeting some lovely people at the groups next term and really ramping up some of his opportunities to learn outside the home with social excursions and learning experiences. It might do me some good too. It won’t give me more head ‘energy’ to do more writing though… which sucks, but that’s life!

So, in trying to find more time for my son, I lost time with myself and I think that time might be the hardest to catch back up. 

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New Article on Discordia about a new production in Sydney for Mothers

Check out my pre-show article about this new production. I would really recommend that if you are in Sydney and you like issue based theatre, you should get some tickets and check this one out. Anyone who would like to go with me on one of the dates, let me know and we can try and buy some tickets in bulk so we can make a ‘date’ of it. :)

 http://www.discordia.com.au/mothers-the-motherhood-monologues/

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The trials and tribulations of a weirdo

Sigh. I hate it. My kid is awesome. He’s hard work, and he struggles with ‘stuff’ but he’s awesome. Unfortunately, many other people don’t see it that way. 

Friday he had OT again, and it went awesome this time. He’s really been working hard on controlling his over reactive responses so he doesn’t lose it so big. It’s working. He’s definitely gaining some more control, but it will be a slow process. So, OT play was good. 

Friday night, we had our family friends and their kids again, and they all played beautifully for a few hours, which was also great. 

Today, my son had his tap dancing class. Last week, he missed the class to attend his cousin’s birthday party on the Central Coast, and so today, he noticed that the girls had progressed with extra ticks on their names for new steps learnt. That meant he was behind. He freaked out, ran out of the room and hid under a desk in the reception area. He started lashing out under there, and I approached to start emotion coaching him. 

Son: “I HATE tap dancing! I knew I should have come to class instead of that stupid party! Now I’m behind when I was ahead of everyone before! I’ll never come again.”

Me: “Sweetie, you are feeling really worried and angry because you think that you missed out on knowing things that the others know. Everyone else understands that that is normal, and that everyone does things at different times which makes the progress slower or faster than others. You love tap dancing, and you really do want to come again.”

Son: “Grrrr. NO I DON’T! You are an idiot! They are all stupid and I hate that stupid teacher! (he proceeded to start knocking over chairs, kicking me with tap shoes on…which hurts let me tell you! and throwing my phone on the floor).

Me: “OK, you are mad, I get that. You can’t throw stuff around or hurt people though. You really need to breathe now and relax for a minute then decide if you would like to go back to class because I think you’ll be disappointed with yourself if you don’t.”

Son: ” I am a winner not a quitter!”

Me: ” Good. Because what you are doing is quitting by hiding under the desk, but a winner would go and get back into the class and try again. This is not a competition, this is meant to be fun and it doesn’t matter how many ticks you have or they have. What matters is that everyone tries their best.”

He did come out, but he was still mad and kicking out at me. Then his teacher came out and brightly told him that she was going to print out a picture of his current favourite cartoon character to stick up on the mirror, and that she would love for him to come back in and work with her for a few minutes on getting two extra ticks because she thought he was very close to being able to do those steps last time.

He went back in. He followed her instruction. He got his ticks and all was well with the world again. On the way home in the car, I could tell something was on his mind. I had told him how proud I was that he had sorted himself out and gone back in to complete the class successfully. He turned to me and said,

“But, I’m really not sure why you aren’t mad at me for all those naughty things I did in there today.”

Me: “Well, I was a bit mad at you, but I choose to focus on the good things you did. Yes, you did some naughty things, but then you worked really hard and got yourself under control and did the right things in the end. That’s all I’m really interested in. I want you get more practice at doing the right things so that less and less naughty things happen.”

He nodded. He was happy about that.

Then this afternoon, the little girl from across the road and her friend came over for a visit. I’m still not entirely sure why after last time when they came and then left so fast, and he had behaved a bit crazy with his head scratching business. I wasn’t going to question it though, and I let them all play without my interference. Later, he followed them back across the road, and I could see them all on the grass outside their house. I could tell by my son’s body language that something was going on verbally, but I didn’t know what. The girls hadn’t stayed very long, but they didn’t seem quite as uncomfortable as last time.

I beckoned for him to come back home as dinner was almost ready. He came in and sat at the bench. I asked him what had happened and if everything was alright.

Son: “They said I was a weirdo.”

Me: “Hmmm.. that wasn’t very nice of them.”

Son: ” I knew they thought I was weird. Everyone thinks I’m weird. They said I was weird like a kid in their class who picks his nose and eats it! I would never do that! I told them that, and I told them that I have ADHD. I even explained what it is, and they didn’t want to listen.”

We comforted him and let him know that we understood how hard that must have been. We congratulated him for just coming home without creating a big fuss about it. I do suspect he might have said something confrontational to them though because his body language kind of seemed like he was ‘smack talking’ before he came back home. 

As the night progressed, he kept coming back and telling us more things they had said, like that they asked him why was looking so scruffy and ugly. Apparently they said his Dad’s wood building was terrible when they looked at his cubby house. They said his Mum was a terrible singer ( I was singing while washing the dishes when they came over), that both his parents were old and ugly. Hmmmm These things started to sound more like things he would say than two young girls. I must admit that the first time the girls came over, the one who actually lives across the road did exclaim without any apparent fear of offending me that, 

“Wow! Your house is REALLY messy!” 

Yes, I was a little taken aback that she said it, but fair enough. They had arrived on a day when we had all our son’s bedroom stuff in the dining room as we were redecorating his room. There tools everywhere, and our friends were over so toys were scattered and we were cooking so mess was happening in the kitchen!

Despite that though, it seemed a little strange to me that the girls would say all those things to him. He definitely doesn’t look scruffy at the moment because he’s just had his hair cut, and of all the things my son can be called, ugly is not one of them!

Anyway, Daddy worked out that he was just enjoying the extra attention I was giving him by comforting him with each new revelation that came to light, and so we promptly stopped that, read him some P&P and put him to bed!

Making friends is hard work, and it’s really hard work for him. He is different. They very likely did call him a weirdo. He probably did do something weird to justify it, but man it makes life hard when other kids just don’t understand him. Maybe those girls really are ‘mean girls.’ Who knows. All I know is that I really hope he has a few good experiences with new found friends soon. Yes, he has met some lovely kids at tap and OT and our family friends, so he’s not completely friendless, but he’s not having much luck with making new friends around and about, which sucks for him. 

The Scout people never got back to me, so we haven’t gone there yet. I might have jog them or try another one. It’s a lot of hard work for Mumma let me tell you!

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Murder and mayhem at the park

I always knew that reducing his medication was going to be tricky. I was and am prepared for what may happen. His psychologist warned me today that we shouldn’t make any judgement about how far he’s come with controlling things himself until he’s come fully off it and settled down to a plateau. She believes he’s made huge progress and has made many new neuro transmitters from having so many new successful learning experiences while being on the medication, but supports our slow weaning off from the drug.

Today, our sons psychologist said that for the first time he said to her that he is quite lonely and he showed emotion (sadness) when he said it. Yes, it does break my heart. He his lonely, but there is no point in me throwing him out there and letting him have lots of negative social experiences either.

When he had finished his work I took him to the park on his bike, with the dog. It was close to school ending so I knew there would likely be some other kids there. There was a group of about eight boys all in school uniform and all about my sons age. He stood aside for a minute and watched what they were doing then approached and tried to climb on the playground equipment they were playing on. He didn’t do or say anything weird, he just tried to climb on with them. Two of the boys told him to get off. He did. He then went away and came back over again later. This time he said
“There is enough room on there for one more!” He gave them a winning smile and waited for a moment. Most of the boys seemed happy to have him join in so he approached again.

One of the louder boys said, “hey kid! You can’t come on, but you can push us!”
My son obliged them. I have told him before that it sometimes helps if he joins the game by playing their rules at the start until he knows them a little better…
The loud boy kept saying “hey kid push us faster!”
My son smiled and pushed them faster. He then said,
“My name is Corey, not kid.”
Naturally, because the kid was a little asshole, he called my son ‘kid’ even more times. My son handled all this very well.
My son got tired of pushing and went and lay on his back in the middle of the playground. Some mums looked concerned, and started looking around for his parent. I was watching from close by but had the dog and didn’t want to interfere just yet.

He returned to the apparatus because the loud boy and his buddies had moved on now. He was playing nicely for a moment with some of the other boys, until loud boy spotted him and came back over.
“Hey! Coral, you can’t play here! How old are you?”
“I’m 8.”
“Oh. I’m 8 too. When’s your birthday?”
I think my son was getting flustered at this point because he didn’t answer but walked away. Some of the other boys called out that Coral was a girls name, and my son came over to me, grabbed his bike and took off.
I followed with a hope that he would just keep riding.
He turned the bike around and headed the bike back to the playground where he rode his bike right up to them as if he were going to hit them with it. That of course frightened them, but also gave them a chance to notice that he has a basket on the front of his bike which he uses to carry his soft toys around in…..cringe.
“Why do have baby toys?” One of them asked. Bad move.

I shouted for him to come over to me as I could tell he was about to go crazy. I thought I had succeeded when he rode away ahead of me and headed off around the path. Then he threw each toy and his water bottle out one at a time and kept riding. I had a bad feeling. I ran and picked up all the toys, now looking somewhat crazy myself with a penguin in each pocket and a fox under one arm and a water bottle and dog hanging off me!

By the time I backtracked to find him, he had all the kids corralled and was circling them on his bike like a predator. I called out for him to come to me in a somewhat desperate voice. He did.
He rode his bike full pelt at me and the dog. The dog caught the brunt of the wheel in its side. Thank god he’s a massive strong dog. I managed to grab the basket and reduce a lot of the impact of it slamming into my legs.

It is seriously hard to stay calm and patient in this situation, but I tried really hard to put myself in his shoes. Unable to control his rage after having done all the right things to make friends and then having it go horribly wrong.

Me: “sweetie I’m so sorry that just happened to you. I know you are hurt and angry right now. You absolutely can not go back and hurt those kids. Or me. You need to just go and ride home right now.”

His face was so red with rage that I wasn’t sure I was getting through. Plus he was telling me how he was going to break their legs and get a knife and stab them. Fortunately he chose to ride off for home. Phew!

By the time I, the dog, and all the soft toys caught up with him, he had calmed down a lot. Enough in fact to be waiting for me at the busy road that he isn’t allowed to cross alone.

He still wanted to go back and kill them, and he described to me in some detail what he would do if he saw them again. I tried not to answer except to let him know I heard how angry they had made him.
He apologised to the dog, (who seemed perplexed as to why his boy was cuddling him and saying sorry!”, and then said that next time maybe he would just leave.

Later, after he had had a good play with our family friends, I talked to him more about it. I told him that I wanted to make sure he didn’t start saying things to himself about liking soft toys. That everyone is different and there is nothing babyish or wrong with the things he likes. He was already thinking he would never make friends unless he threw out all his ‘furries’ as he calls them.

It’s hard. It makes me sad for him and also angry, but at the same time I know that he could just as easily say mean things to kids he meets if he is feeling threatened somehow. I’m keeping him in his “feathered nest” a bit longer and only exposing him to that kind of stuff in small doses thanks.
Next week, hopefully he will try going to Scouts. Maybe that will work for him. Maybe it won’t, but we will keep trying. I just might have to do some strength exercises to make sure I can physically contain him if needed!

What a day!

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Feelin’ the pressure

I’ve just done my third week of ‘School of Rock’ and so far it’s going OK. I’ve been given some great songs to sing lead on and one that I hate, but that’s life. I’m also on some really great ones for back up vocals and am looking forward to get those down as there are so many parts and harmonies in disco tracks. 

This week I need to learn the lead on La Belle – Lady Marmalade and The Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive. Both very cool songs, both tricky for singing! I’m especially struggling with the Lady Marmalade one because I’m so used to singing the version by Christina Aguilera and Pink etc from Moulin Rouge! I keep wanting to sing it that way, but have to contain myself and learn it the original way. Now the difficulty is that when you join the School of Rock programme, you can take the full option where you get a two hour weekly coached rehearsal and also a half hour private tutor session, or you can take the cheap option where you don’t get the private tutoring. Since I really can’t afford either, I’ve naturally taken the cheaper option and we are just finding the money (on our already over loaded credit card!!, but hey, otherwise I’ll NEVER get out of the house and any time to myself! I NEEEEED those two hours once a week!). 

Without the private coaching however, it’s really hard for me to fix any problems I’m having vocally with a song, or work out the harmonies that I’m meant to sing by myself. I also have the problem where I believe that I am not going to be able to do something to a reasonable standard until I’ve been taught it or studied it. That’s just me. My very close friend and I are very good and saying we can’t possibly write and publish a book because we just need to do ‘one more course’ or ‘just a bit more experience first’. Yes… we can see the irony…that’s just how we are OK?!

So… what to do? Grrrrr I don’t know. So far, I’m struggling to even find enough time actually get enough practice in to do it justice! This time around, I have the ‘bigger, better coaches’ for rehearsal, and all the other singers are really strong and very experienced. That’s very intimidating and also very pressurising. Eeek! Perhaps I am just freaking myself out for no reason. Arggghhhh!!!!!

I really must talk some confidence into myself and stop freaking out. I’m sure my coaches will cut me a little slack if I don’t hit it perfectly the first couple of weeks. Maybe… hopefully… Right. Stopping now. ;)

If only I could find a way to earn some money… oh yeah, that’s right! My parenting talks that no one wants to come to! Or… writing that I’m supposed to be trying to get paid to do! Oh dear, I seem to have fallen into ‘poor me, I’m failing’ mode. 

And now I’m babbling too. Well that’s what my blog is for right? I’ll be back to normal next week I’m sure!

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