Thursday, 30 September 2010

And it's not even halfway through the school holidays ...

funny dog pictures-yes, yes, i'm listening
see more dog and puppy pictures

...usually Yu-Gi-Oh

or Pokemon

or The Simpsons

or Runescape

or bodily functions ...

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Today is the day ...

... we find out if all our hopes and dreams, well the ones about building the new house anyway, will come true. Nothing like a bit of pressure there Universe!

The people wanting to buy our house have until close-of-business today to let us know if their finance has been approved. I admit I have been and, truth be told still am, a little bit worried that it may all fall through.

It's the pessimist in me; the one I try not to let out into the bright light of day but that somehow still manages to escape the confines of my happy pills and rear it's very ugly head at the most inopportune times ... like now!

Today is also the last day I can use 'not going to the Royal Show' as a threat. It has come in handy these last few days and has even motivated Alex to listen to my request for him to mow the lawns. I've been asking him to do it for the last two weeks, so the fact that he is currently outside battling with the triffids masquerading as lawn, shows how seriously he takes the possibility of missing out on enough fairy floss to induce a diabetic coma. Ooh, that reminds me, I must find the tranquiliser darts and gun before tonight to make sure I pack them into my bag for tomorrow.

The other two slaves children are currently vacuuming and polishing anything and everything that stands still long enough ... including the poor dog! I don't think Mr Sheen furniture polish will do much for the shine on his coat but I suppose it's worth a try. (j/k ... he escaped long before that was even an option. You can put the phone down now .. no need to involve the RSPCA!)

I am wondering about what evil little impulse prompted the Universe to make me offer to take the children to the Show. Am I being punished for some past life transgression or was it the optimist in me taking over briefly with a reassurance that 'surely it won't be as bad as last time'? I mean yes, they are another year older and hopefully another year wiser (a girl has to have dreams!) but that also involves wanting more freedom to not look at the things I want to see. Luckily, at least two of the kids coming with me, and teenagers at that, want to see the cake decorating and baby animals so I will count myself amongst the fortunate!

Now I am off to:

.. do some more of the Mt Everest of washing that always seems to appear at school holiday time

.. go to the tile shop to work out exactly how many square metres of tiles we require to make the new house habitable before moving in. (Not doing the living on bare concrete floors thing again .. the hay fever was unbelievable last time!)

.. buy the necessary flavoured milks to enable 'free' entry into the show tomorrow (saving me a whole $36 so it's well worth it!)

.. pack a couple more boxes of stuff that we absolutely must keep but don't use.

.. bath the dog (or make an appointment at the doggy salon for him to have a bath and haircut .. option two sounds way more appealing!)

.. other stuff that I know I have to do but can't think of right now...

Enjoy your day and if you don't hear from me by the end of the week, my new address will be c/- Graylands Mental Hospital, Perth WA.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Thursday, 23 September 2010

What a difference a week makes!

This time last week, I was despairing of the eldest child's lack of concern about his English assignments.

I was ready to impose the worst restrictions ever ... no access to anything with a screen and was going to remove (and pack!) everything from his room except for his school uniforms and pj's.

I was wondering where I had gone so wrong that a child of mine would seem to despise the written word so completely.

I was envisioning a future with an increasingly belligerent teen being forced to repeat the same things that he hated this year, over and over again.

And then his medication kicked in, along with an attitude adjustment.

And we have completed all but one journal entry and both major assignments. (Yes, I did say 'we' because I sat with him as scribe during the brainstorming sessions to help him capture the thoughts before they ran away!)

And all is now right with the world English teacher.

Well done Alex. I'm proud of you!!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Deja vu .. all over again!

This week has been a repeat of 'being pecked to death by a chicken' and I'm really, really over it. I found out that Alex is going to fail English if he doesn't extract his head from his behind and do at least some of the work he's avoided up 'til now.

The deja vu part is that we went through the same thing last term, first term, last year and the year before. I know, I know, which part of autistic and ADD aren't I getting??

I'm just frustrated that the teacher, knowing his history with work avoidance and lying about it, didn't let me know that he hadn't handed anything in this term ... and when I say anything I mean not.a.single.thing!

I tried explaining the consequences of his actions (and lack thereof) in simple terms...

"If you don't pass English this term, you fail English completely. If you fail English this year, you can't go on to Year 11 ... at all!"

This was met with blank looks so I amped it up a bit.

"If you fail English, you will have to repeat Year 10."

More blank looks...

"At another school."

Slightly panicked looks...

"And you won't be able to the computing course you want to do at TAFE."

Awareness starts to dawn that this may be serious...

"So what are you you going to do about it?"

Back to the blank look...

It was at this point that something stopped me from committing actions I would no doubt regret once I was put in prison for them and poured a bucket of ultra-calm over my head. (It must have been his guardian angel! Thanks whoever you are!!) I was then able to calmly sit and discuss the various options available to him (all of which included him doing the work, much to his disgust!) and reach a suitable compromise (none of which included doing him bodily harm, luckily for him).

In all seriousness though, I am worried that we, as parents, and the system are both failing him. If he, someone with a 'label' and a rather vocal mother, is falling through the cracks, what chance do the quiet, struggling students with disinterested parents have?

I realise that some of his behaviours are typical of teenagers but I am concerned that I can't tell which ones are teenage rebellion and which ones need active specific intervention and help. It's very much a deal with them on a case-by-case basis and hope I'm not totally screwing him up in the process.

I also realise that the teachers have many students with differing needs and abilities and are probably overwhelmed with everything they have to do. Yet I am incredibly frustrated that some of the teachers he has had repeatedly for the last almost three years, still don't understand how difficult it is for him to do some of the things they are asking.

I'm not asking you to give him a free pass or straight A's (especially seeing as he hasn't done the work!) but when I ask for more information to help him with a task, please don't act as though I've asked you to donate a lung to a chimp with a 40-a-day smoking habit. All I need is clarification on a couple of points or a more specific set of questions for him to work with and I'll get out of your hair!

Another thing I discovered in amongst everything else, is that he hasn't been taking his ADD medication. We had discussed this earlier this year and he wanted to be responsible for administering it himself. I allowed him to do it under supervision for a couple of weeks then left him to it. Apparently he decided some months ago to only take it every now and then which, of course, doesn't do much to help him at all. One day back on his tablets and he's been able to write almost two pages for one of the assignments with no arguments, backchat or dramas. What a difference a day (and some severely restricted pharmaceuticals) makes!

Now we just have 5 journal entries (at least a page of handwriting each) and a major assignment to finish before next Friday. Wish me luck!!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Friday, 10 September 2010

Almost there ...

  • ... with selling the house. We've accepted an offer on the house and are now just waiting to hear back about their finance. Please keep your fingers crossed just a little bit longer!
  • ... with handing back the books for the canteen at the school that my kids don't go to. I've been thinking about 'chucking it in' for a while and have finally bitten the bullet and resigned as canteen treasurer. I don't have any vested interest in making it work and to be perfectly honest, I'm totally over all the 'office politics' involved.
  • ... with starting to build the new house. We have the final draft of the floorplans and the costing. (Anyone have a spare kidney I can have? I've sold both of mine to pay for the house!!)

I can't believe how quickly this school term has gone by. It seems like only yesterday that I was wondering if I was still required at the canteen, seeing as it was a new term and I was technically only employed up to the end of last term. I have really enjoyed working there and will miss it next term when the new contractors finally take over. Mind you, that was supposed to happen at the end of term 2 and we're still there at the end of term 3!

Alex is now officially 15 years old! My first little baby now towers over me and he hasn't stopped growing yet. Despite the occasional hiccup, which we all have with our teenagers, overall he's growing up to be a lovely young man. He bought himself an iPod Touch with all his birthday money and unfortunately has dropped it already! It's not badly damaged but now can't be locked (what a shame .. nothing to keep Mum's prying eyes out!) so he rang the nearest Apple store to find out how to get it fixed. Upon being told that it wasn't covered under warranty, he politely asked if they knew of anywhere else that could fix it, took down the details and hung up. He then came into see me and question what was the point of a warranty if it didn't cover damage? He now understands the difference between warranties and insurance which is more than I can say for a lot of people out there (having worked in retail, I would estimate 90% of them didn't understand the difference!!)

Bradley is currently the walking wounded due to taking a spill off his bike yesterday afternoon after being out in the sun for most of the day at his school's junior sports carnival. He has a beautiful burn 'tan' line across his forehead where his fringe was sitting and the rest of his face looks like he just walked out of a sauna. Add that to the nasty grazes on his left hand and right elbow as well as the multi-coloured but mostly black bruises on his thigh where the handlebars hit him, he really looks like he's been in the wars. The saddest part of it all was that my second response after "Are you OK?" was "Don't bleed in the grout. It's too hard to get out!"

Anyway, had best be off to school to pick up 6 boys (Alex is having some friends over for a sleepover/birthday party). Anyone have some Valium I can borrow to get through the night?