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Archive for February 2013

I am super proud of these busy garden scenes the girls and I just spent an hour making:

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I love them because the girls did most of it on their own.

I love them because they look great!

I love them because, despite only having six hours sleep last night, I managed to be totally cool and let the girls take the original idea (a garden) and do what they wanted with it, instead of getting all uptight and perfectionist about it.

I love them because it was relaxing time spent with the girls when we weren’t rushing from place to place.

I love that Molly had a go at writing her name:

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This is the first craft thing we have done in yonks, and it was a good reminder of how enjoyable it can be when I just go with it. With Tiernan at school now, it has been tricky trying to work out what to do with the girls in the small amounts if down time we do have, because I’ve been worried about Tiernan feeling like he’s missing out. It’s a bit silly, I know: he has done plenty of things the girls haven’t, over the years, simply because he is older. But still, it seems wise not to make days at home with Mum sound too exciting, especially while he’s having trouble settling.

Craft seems like a happy medium for now, until Tiernan is secure enough for us to do a few more special things without him.

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Wow.

Just wow. I really didn’t anticipate how much busier we were all going to be once school started!

For some reason, I envisaged having all this extra time while Tiernan is at school, but the reality is that we actually seem to have less. As it turns out, six hours isn’t very long when you’re on the other end (as a teacher it seems much longer).

Just dropping Tiernan off and picking him up take up a reasonable chunk of our day (I’m proud to say we’ve managed to walk both ways almost every day, so far – work days for me are a different story though).

But in between those times, there is so much to squeeze in: dancing, speech therapy, grocery shopping, going to the park, play dates, speech practice at home, washing, folding (forget ironing, it doesn’t happen), nap time, preparing dinners, tidying, etc, etc, etc.

Then, once Tiernan is home we’ve somehow got to fit in eating, playing, home reading, ‘talk time’ practice, speech practice, hip-hop, bathing and stories, and then get them all into bed at a reasonable time each night.

After they’re all in bed, there’s more tidying, food preparation and lesson planning, not to mention the odd bit of ‘down time’ – which seems to be getting less and further between!

For two weeks now I have been staying up way too late trying to get everything done and I’m stuffed. I’ve ended up feeling quite run down and not sure how to do it all better. This week will be extra challenging as Tom is returning to uni two nights a week, and going away for the whole weekend to play golf (remember how I went to Taree for a regatta in January? Well now it’s pay back time, doh!)

I feel like I just need a catch up day. If time could just stand still for one day so that I could at least get on top of one thing (like school preparation for work, or maybe a year’s worth of cooking!) then maybe I would feel a bit better. But alas, it’s not to be.

I’m sure it’ll all come together eventually.

Another thing that has got me feeling a bit down is that, despite my complete faith that Tiernan was going to just go from strength to strength at school, he has actually had a less than inspiring start; a fact that we were only made aware of a few days ago.

I really thought he must be doing great: he was pretty keen to go every day (any slight hesitation I had put down to him not being used to the whole 5-days-a-week thing yet); he seemed happy when we pick him up; he said he had fun and was making new friends; and we’d had no feedback from the teacher, either positive or negative. So I assumed everything was just peachy and going exactly to plan.

However, then I visited the classroom to help out one day last week and I saw… well, I saw Tiernan being Tiernan. The Tiernan who doesn’t listen, doesn’t pay attention to what’s going on, who instead rolls around on the floor and has to be asked several times to stop. The Tiernan who has half as many stickers on his chart than most of the other kids. The Tiernan whose name is called out in class more than anyone else’s. Basically, the Tiernan who lives at home with me but whom I naively assumed would magically just ‘focus’ once at school. Because I thought he would get that school is important.

To top it off, the following night at Little Athletics, one of the boys in Tiernan’s class told Tom that Tiernan is the naughtiest kid in the class.

I was pretty shocked. This is not what I had in mind for my beautiful, smart boy. My boy cannot be ‘The Naughty Kid.’

I mean, he’s no angel. But I don’t actually think he’s often naughty on purpose. He just doesn’t listen. And when we spend all day nagging him and then getting frustrated and angry, he responds by also getting angry and that’s when he acts out. By that time it’s too late to change the pattern and it takes a lot of time and effort to calm him down again.

But I really thought it would be different at school. After all, he never had any problems at preschool or family day care. I put his challenging behaviour at home down to being bored and ready for something bigger.

After stressing about it over the weekend, I had a quick chat with Tiernan’s teacher about it on Monday morning. I asked her whether she has concerns about his behaviour. She said no, but she is concerned about his inattentiveness, forgetfulness and ‘daydreaming’. She also told me he is going to the toilet up to ten times a day, which she put down to anxiety, but when I asked Tiernan about it at home in the afternoon, he said he just wanted to get out of class. He said he is bored and doesn’t like being ‘teached’. He just wants to play Monsoonos every day and not go to school anymore. Sigh.

Anyway, Mrs D and I agreed to give him a few more weeks to settle in, and then we’ll see. If he needs more help, we’ll give it to him. I let Mrs D know I’m most anxious that he not be ‘The Naughty Kid’. I feel she’s on our side. She doesn’t want him getting into trouble any more than I do.

So I feel a bit better now, but still sad and even a little sick to my stomach. This is not the start I had in mind for my Tiernan. We need to turn all of this negativity around, quickly.

On a lighter note, Tiernan had his first school friend come over to play today, a girl we know from his baby group. The four kids had a nice afternoon together and played really well. It was lovely.

He’s also been invited to two birthday parties already. So that’s exciting, for him!

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This handsome, beautiful boy has finally started school! I have been looking forward to this day ever since he was born, I think, and now my boy has donned his big, green hat and taken the first confident strides towards his education. I couldn’t be more proud of him.

I have watched many of my parent friends struggle with the thought of sending their babies off to big school. In fact, a year ago, I also struggled to imagine a time when he and I would both be ready for this. However, in the last year he has blossomed and matured in so many ways, gaining confidence in himself, learning to make friends, developing an interest in numbers, and realising some of his other strengths and talents.

Watching him grow and learn at Preschool and Family Day Care this year has taught me to accepted that there is only so much I can do as a parent. Even though I am a Mum and a teacher, in his world, I am his Mum. I can’t be both to him. As his Mum, I am more loving than a teacher, but less patient.I am more giving than a teacher, but less kind. I am firmer than a teacher, but less strict.

In fact, that is what is so special about teaching. As a teacher, I get to be that special someone who guides a student in their learning, working with them each day, building a rapport, gaining their respect and trust. Obviously, I have also built relationships with each of my own children, but the goal is different. In parenting, I am growing a complete human being, giving him all the emotional and physical stability he needs to take his place in society and contribute to it. Teaching is similar, but the focus is on preparing him with some of the tools he will need to get there in the end; teaching him to learn.

When I first realised that this wasn’t going to be my job with my own children, I was sad. I didn’t want to share my son with someone else, and let them have such important status in his life. But I am learning that the more special people he has in his life, the better off he will be. He will be that much more confident, resilient and happy, because he is being surrounded by, not only his parents, but grandparents, aunts, uncles and teachers, too. As his Mum, I can’t be all of those special people for him, but I can provide them for him.

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So, on my boy’s first day of school, there were no tears shed by anyone. Tiernan, who is super ready and super excited, saw no reason to be sad. And I, being super ready to let him start this next stage of his life, had only a big lump of pure pride and joy in my throat.

Which I soon swallowed.

Last night I did this:

– bathed the kids

– cooked a meal (actually, I cooked two meals: one to be re-heated tonight as I knew today would be extra busy)

– emptied and re-stacked the dishwasher

– washed dishes

– read stories

– tucked children into bed at least 15 times

– packed three lunch boxes

– packed three school / preschool bags

– packed my own lunch and bag

– made myself and Tom a cup of tea

– sat down to do school work

Tom lent a hand with some aspects, but mostly sat on the couch doing stuff for work.

Tonight, I have:

– bathed the kids

– read stories

– brushed teeth

– tucked children into bed

– emptied lunch boxes and bags

– asked Tom to deal with the dishes and pack Tiernan’s lunch box for tomorrow

– sat down on the couch to do school work

– hesitated to ask Tom to make me a cup of tea. Because it seems like so much to ask, especially since I’ve already left other things for him to do.

– realised I generally do seem to have trouble asking for things, even though I feel I’m quite a giving person and wouldn’t hesitate to do the same thing for anyone else.

– went ahead and asked for the cup of tea, despite feeling like a burden for doing it.

– enjoyed my cup if tea and the piece of cake that unexpectedly arrived with it!

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1. You are growing up and have changed a lot over the past few months – you are taller and your face looks a little bit more pointy, less chubby. You’re still our little pixie, though, with your round face and petite frame. You have such a quiet little manner about you, too (except when you’re shouting). You walk into a room, talking softly, repeating a phrase over and over until someone acknowledges what you’re saying. Sometimes it takes us a while to figure out you’re actually talking to us, because you don’t raise your voice for attention, you just say it all again!

2. You officially started preschool two weeks ago and you’ve handled it better than I expected. You don’t relish the thought of going, but once there you seem to have a good time. This week, you even ran away to play as soon as we walked in – no tears!

3. Your favourite thing to do at the moment is put on a pretty dress and play Princesses (or Fairies, or Mermaids) with Molly. You guys can play quite happily together for over an hour these days, which is just awesome for me. Your second favourite thing is to play Barbies (or Fairies, or Sylvanian Families) in the doll house.

4. In just over a week you will be starting dancing with Molly, and I can’t wait. I think you will be shy at first (not like Molly, who just strode into the room as though she owned the place), but I know you’ll have fun once you have settled in.

5. You have become all camera shy all of a sudden, so it’s been hard to get good photos of you lately. All the photos I tried to take of your first day at preschool ended up being of the back of your head! You used to be my ‘cheese’ girl, Neave. I want my ‘cheese’ girl back!

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