Sunday, 31 May 2009

Apologies for delayed posting...

but it's a bit difficult to type with a teeny tiny 7 week old Bengal kitten in my arms ;)

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Bank Holiday #2

Typically, yesterday was a bit of a Bank Holiday washout - at least it was if you had to spend five hours on the road trailing the (very wet) cold front which seemed to be directly above us virtually all the way down. We arrived home (K, J and I) feeling rather cheated since lots of sunshine had been enjoyed by all down South in our absence. Can't have it all I guess!

Off we set Friday night, thinking we would avoid Bank Holiday Mayhem, only to discover everyone else had the same plan. Once off the (totally wonderful M6 Toll Road) everything ground to a halt, and although J was able to enjoy waving at everyone as we sat there I had hoped for a slightly more exciting evening. The ipod was dead, and anymore "Jo Jingles" songs or "The Fairy Stories the Fairies tell themselves" and I would have got out and walked. Thankfully the persistent "rubber-necking" plague which affects this country lasted only 6 miles before we could reach a super-speedy 30 mph again. Aaaargh.....

The roads "Oop North" are a complete mystery to me. Those who think the M25 and it's satellites are slightly manic obviously haven't experienced the M6 around Stafford on a sunny Bank Holiday. Games such as "Catch me if you Can" take on a whole new meaning and the urge to force everyone out of the outside lane come what may can be quite threatening. However the choice between a propellor "wind up" plane from Stansted and driving through motoring hell is not an easy one. Both fill me with fear and dread!

I had a lovely break though, drank too much wine and had far too little sleep but thoroughly enjoyed catching up with Gabi ;) Bank Holidays really confuse me though.... I have spent all today convinced it is Monday, which has a knock on effect for the rest of the week! In fact it may well take me all week to catch up, unless A perfects the days of the week and puts me right. It's a current obsession of his to try and get them all in order much to H's annoyance, since he has absolutely NO concept of time himself. The fact that A is expressing a) an interest and b) some level of understanding is incredibly frustrating for H and he considers it easier to shout obscenities than consider the obvious and master them for himself. One day I hope he will gain a working knowledge of Western time-telling without sand timers and visual timetables, but that's some way off yet.

Before you go, check out the Flickr link bottom right, lots of new photos and since we have a new camera some are pretty good! (I can say that since R took them...)

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Time off = time in lieu

Yay! Another Thursday over... sorry for the delay in posting ;) Life got in the way, as it has a habit of doing. Still, Richard is home early and I have red wine and dark chocolate! Antioxidants now, hangover later.....

It's been an odd week. Tuesday I enjoyed a fabulous day girlie shopping with lunch in Cambridge, a rare treat! It involved a fair amount of forward thinking and preparation, not least ensuring someone was available at the end of the phone in case of a H emergency. An hour's travelling home just wouldn't cut it if he jumped the gate and left the school premises, or needed three members of staff to restrain himagain. K and A stayed at nursery for the day (there were FOUR lunch bags out on the worktop on Tuesday morning, how cute was that??) and I had a whole day to myself.

I should point out the chance of such a treat actually happening is rather low. Firstly with four children there is always a good chance one will be ill. Or forget something important en route and feel very ill making you ridiculously late because you have to succumb to their pleas to go home and get homework/sports kit/blazer..... or insert your own option. It also requires H to take his Ritalin early enough to actually calm down and agree to go to school, which is always easier since you can still go in the outfit you started in once he's been firmly deposited in his classroom.

Problem is, "Me Time" can rather go to your head. It's like alcohol, if you aren't used to it it hits hard and Tuesday was a really good, smooth merlot drunk rather too fast.... (I told you Tuesday was a good day, right?) I turned out of Harry's school (the last drop off point for all four) with Maroon 5 cranked up on the radio and my shades on. Coffee en route? I decided not since caffeine + freedom high would be just a bit more than I could take at 9.15am. The roads were clear, the faulty parking sensors turned off and the sun was shining. What more could you ask for?

It was a great day, I spent too much and LOVE my new bag but I have paid for the time off since. My tired toddlers, whom you would think might sleep well after their first full day at nursery decided sleep deprivation is a fair punishment for too much maternal free-time. They loved having lunch at school though and want to do it again but I'm slightly less keen after the extreme stroppiness of the past two days after far too little sleep. (and that could be read as them OR me lol) Harry has given me possibly the toughest 48 hours for a long time and the benefits of my day off are rapidly ebbing away....

..... so it's just as well I've got a WHOLE WEEKEND off starting tomorrow since J, K and I are off to Manchester to stay with a friend and R is home all next week to help with the fallout after. SO I'm high as a kite and excited as hell that I get such a cool break, although I have pebbles in my shoes to assuage the compulsory guilt I can assure you!

Don't you love holidays?

Thursday, 14 May 2009

The wheel of life

Another Thursday over, thank goodness.

There is something innately frustrating about Thursdays. Not quite the weekend but tantalisingly close and for some inexplicable reason always loaded with maximum stress for all concerned. It's as if someone decreed long ago that being "almost the weekend" it was a fair bet that Thursday would be a good candidate for making all the jobs, tasks, activities, responsibilities least likely to appeal more acceptable. A "best option" for clearing down "To Do" lists and cramming in children's after (and during) school classes since it isn't in prime position in the week.

After all, on Monday we're still recovering from the weekend, whether it is a post-socialising alcohol fuelled type of recovery of the young or the total exhaustion after quality time with the children sort. Tuesday is for the nice things in life because there is most of the week left to procrastinate over the less pleasant options. Wednesday, Richard insists, is "almost the weekend" but here we disagree. Wednesday is neither one thing or the other, it's really difficult to summon any motivation at all. Thursday on the other hand, well...... with the weekend looming large I need to empty the ironing basket (assuming the washing got done on a Wednesday lacking in motivational "oomph") plan the meals, clean out the hamsters, tidy up and hope I can get finished by the end of Friday.

Why I have this "Thursday feeling" is beyond me to be honest - it's just NOT a good "day candidate" in our house for a start. As mentioned everything else is on Thursday so there is less time for action on the home front. All swimming lessons happen to be on a Thursday - always have been, in fact when I was teaching swimming the lessons were on Thursday too. (Anyone know whether it is National swimming lesson day or is that an East Anglian phenomenon?!) I barely have half an hour in the house at any point during the day yet enforce this ridiculous timetable of tasks on myself in preparation for the weekend. In my defence both the younger two are now at Nursery on Thursday mornings, but this actually makes the situation worse because I have OPTIONS. Not good. I manage to cram every Thursday morning with all the more complicated out of house tasks too. Meetings (and oh boy do we have a LOT of those.) , prescription collection (actually we have a lot of those too...) and food shopping. Vet trips and garage appointments.

So on the whole, Thursday is NOT a good day for me. My husband insists it is traditionally a really good day for him because it was "Blue Peter" day, not to mention "Top of the Pops" and some other programme of the seventies which featured large in his life :) I'm not buying it. Unless I can persuade Wednesday to take on the tasks currently allocated to Thursday in exchange for a healthy dose of procrastination going the other way my mind's made up. Thursdays never were meant to be easy, the business world has understood this for years and every week they troop out of work early on Thursday and head to the pubs and clubs to recover.

Of course, there are always exceptions ;) . Today my car DID have an appointment at the garage but I managed a leisurely brunch at a nearby pub/restaurant with my Mum whilst it was there. Of course that left only half a Thursday with the full quota of stuff left to deal with but it was worth it. The chance to chat for more than two minutes and sit down in peace and quiet with a coffee probably belonged on a Tuesday but it was greatly appreciated. The croissants were pretty good too! Yum.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Little people with the "wind up their tails"!

Well I don't know about the weather where YOU are but here it has been really windy. Not noteworthy windy in terms of anyone else taking notice about our little corner of the planet but enough to be a complete pain in the neck and seriously turn up the hyperactivity dial on the younger three......

Harry has blotted his copybook and broken his clear "no incident" run at school, but he has done amazingly well since we are three weeks into term. Whether his latest box of Ritalin tablets is in fact a box of placebos in an attempt on the surgery's part to either a) play an incredibly unfunny joke on us or b) enrol him unwittingly into an effectiveness trial program I don't know, but one thing's for sure, I could do without cleaning the footprints off the ceiling. He has a little friend coming to play tomorrow evening, from school. This is HUGELY important since it is a major first for Harry. He has only ever had his Asperger's Pokemon mad friend over before and their shared concept of play is to sit back to back and play different games on the Nintendo DS. We are not planning to break any records however, (or break anything else for that matter!!!) an hour's play to include tea is all we are aiming for but there sure as hell better be a genuine Ritalin tablet coming out of the box at 4pm tomorrow or it might be his last play date for a good while!

Speaking of cleaning off the footprints from the ceiling, anyone know of a good cleaner? Ours is reliable (which is why she's still with us) and nice but soooo not up to it. We have had an excellent cleaner in the past - but she had to change jobs since she became allergic to dust!!!!

In fact it really is truly absurd how the "Cleaner Phenomenon" operates in modern Western Society. Those of us with smart Middle Class homes (please see the slightly tongue in cheek expression on my face before bombarding my inbox with comments btw) who actually , for the most part, have high standards pay those whom (it certainly seems in our experience) have considerably lower standards to clean our homes for us! We pay them up to twice the hourly rate for the best childcare available to remove the surface dirt and leave our homes smelling of smoke. (Anyone know a cleaner who doesn't smoke? Send them my way please!) For me having a cleaner is an essential. Harry needs 24/7 observation when the little ones are at home, I don't sit down from dawn til dusk without cleaning the house. (and yes, I am standing up writing this in the kitchen ;) ) So the search is on to find a reliable, smoke free, efficient cleaner who works to my exacting standards. Can't see it happening any time soon!

Saturday, 9 May 2009

It's a good day :)

Today is one of those rare planetary alignments astrologers rave about. Everyone is well. Everyone is happy. All the jobs have been done and we still have a WHOLE DAY left of the weekend ;)

We finally have Harry's proposed Statement through and I have also spent all day rewriting Part 2 which explains his additional needs stemming from his dual diagnosis and his needs in the educational setting. Next comes Part 3 which needs to clearly outline the provision to meet these needs. The excuse for a revised Statement which we received doesn't even come close, and is woollier than the average winter sweater. Phrases such as "access to" are totally meaningless, I would love to have "access to" a LOT of things but it doesn't mean it's going to happen!

Fortunately assimilating a lot of information (assessment reports and information) into a single document is my forte - I have a History degree. But what of all the other (many) parents out there being fobbed off with similarly hopeless attempts to provide Statutory support to meet their children's needs? Autism is an invisible disorder and our children are let down left right and centre. If H were in a wheel chair and needed "access to" classrooms etc I would like to bet it would happen pretty quickly!

Our county is particularly bad - a friend spent 6 years fighting for her son to be Statemented and having moved County it took 3 months. Do the maths. However H does get a lot of support from school, if just needs documenting in the Statement. And a lot more besides.

Anyway... the planets have moved... the two youngest are squealing. My enjoyment of the freshly baked cheese scones will have to wait...

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Cynicism inspired by lack of confidence or acceptance of reality?

There is a reason for the title. (of course ;) )
The school + Harry saga continues... which is of course all it is to school and the LEA. To us and to Harry it is so much more. So I should, by rights, refer to the "ongoing struggle to get Harry's educational needs met" instead. Partially met would be a start to be honest!

Although we have avoided any fixed term exclusions this term to date, I am pretty sure this is at least partly because it is pretty damn hard to send a child home for difficulties you have just told the Authority are now (all of a sudden) well managed. If I'm honest, I think the Ritalin/Strattera combination helps but as an unpleasant side effect has increased Harry's anxiety levels along with the small increase in self-awareness. It's slightly easier now to pull him back from the "point of no return"-brink of all hell breaking loose-aggressive outburst stage which is a relief but this just makes it easier to continue ignoring his needs in school. Still, there are HUGE problems raised by the Annual Review and NOT addressed by the new Statement so I am meeting the Head on Friday. I really, really hope I'm wrong but am beginning to feel rather cynical about the whole thing - it's a "done deal" since the LEA aren't going to budge and the Head has been told as much. I hope I AM wrong.

So onto the crisis of confidence...

I was rather fancifully browsing a local council website for teaching jobs... part-time, job-share etc. There was an ideal one at the school next door to my parents', my old primary school in fact! It was a 2 day a week job share and although it was Key Stage 1 (5-7) not 2 (7-11) I thought it was worth a try. (At least I had emergency childcare virtually on-site!!!) I printed the form off and everything, started writing......
...and suddenly what used to be a pretty damn good CV now seems really lame :(
All the hard-won qualifications are still there of course, but not a lot of experience and many, many years at home. Not for a minute do I regret a minute of that but how on earth do you start to relaunch yourself into the world of work after such a long gap? It sounds almost clich├ęd, not something I thought would apply to me (for some reason) but I really do lack the necessary "returning to work confidence" to go for it.

Luckily for me, I don't have to. This was an "optional extra" and one I have decided to cast aside. For now!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Illness + sunny Bank Holiday weekend = total waste of time. Well, almost

WHY am I *still* feeling so completely rubbish when it is a) Bank Holiday weekend b) sunny and c) Richard is at home and not actually working for once?? My parents even have Harry for the weekend and I am feeling ill. Eurgh! Total waste of time!!!

Actually I have been ill all week trying to pretend otherwise since like "holidays", " illness" is completely incompatible with small children - which is why I usually refuse point blank to get ill, so I'm not sure what went wrong this time. Anyway, today I woke up feeling rubbish but began to recover by midday so we managed to have lunch out and view a couple of (extremely gorgeous) litters of Bengal kittens!

We have been pondering getting a dog for a while, but to be honest everyone is completely correct telling me I don't have the time and am too house proud for a puppy. Most rescue dogs are, sadly, abandoned for a reason and I decided to defer to public opinion and accept that our family life now + dog = totally incompatible. Sooooooooo not being one to give up we started thinking about getting a kitten. We have a gorgeous 13 year old neutered male cat (Timmy, called after Dicken's "Tiny Tim" because at 6 months he was really tiny..... but that didn't last and he's now a whopping 8kg...) and have tried getting other cats in the past. He did accept a tabby female and got on pretty well with her, but not her brother so we decided it had to be a female. However the tabby had to go after 3 successful years of co-existence as we were told our second son was allergic/asthmatic and she refused to sleep anywhere but his bed.

So for the past few weeks we have been looking at available kittens on the web. Can you believe how much moggy/Heinz57 cats go for? Around £80!!! Crazy! If you are going to pay that kind of money it's better to get a pretty cat at least! Whilst searching we discovered the Bengal cat, how beautiful they are and how they are more dog-like than cat-like, are trainable, like water and often go for walks with you. Explains a LOT about Timmy, not least his leopard-print tummy, must be some Bengal in him somewhere down the line!

So began the Bengal kitten search. You can learn quite a lot via the web when feeling too ill to do anything else in the evenings..... and having decided what we were after we couldn't believe our luck - a breeder in Colchester had a litter with one exactly as we wanted! She is called Jasmine and will be joining us on 30th June, when 13 weeks old - vet checked, vax'd and insured. She is THE most beautiful little thing - pedigree name "Jasmine Topaz Tigerlily" if that's permitted. Has a certain "Je ne sais quoi?" to it I think?

Anyway, should stave off the mid-life crisis a while longer and give me something else to think about for a while. I always did need another baby when the youngest reached 3 years!!!

Friday, 1 May 2009

Bank Holiday ponderings...

So it's Bank Holiday Weekend and in time honoured tradition in our family this weekend is time to:-

1) Tell our parents we are going to Aldeburgh on Bank Holiday Monday. Cue very amusing reaction along the lines of "Not on a Bank Holiday, surely? It'll be so busy, you don't want to do that etc etc before they realise we say this every BH weekend to wind them up ;).........

2) Plan to get the garden ready for summer, (I say "plan" because you know it will rain.

3) Start dreaming up DIY projects which are a) largely unachievable in the time available or without rehoming all children in the house first and b) totally impractical but hey it was fun thinking about it.

4) Realise that yet again we will be missing out on a holiday abroad. Actually, a holiday at all would be nice. Problem is I don't actually think the word "holiday" is compatible with the word "parent" despite assurances to the contrary from the holiday industry...

5) Stare in disbelief at the calendar as the Summer Holidays loom large - surely they've only just gone back to school?

6) If it *is* sunny enjoy it because this will probably be it for summer 09!!!

Have fun!
Kate x
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...