Since my tumble down the stairs resulting in two injured ankles, I have learned many things – how to use crutches, how to go up and down stairs on crutches, the best way of calling a cab and the best sort of socks to wear when you have to wear them under splints 24/7 for SIX weeks – only three to go!
how to make a cup of coffee (very important for his mother’s survival)
how to make a toasted sandwich (necessary for his survival)
how to change the shelves in the oven and turn it on
which things I need on my trolley when I go from place to place
He has also walked to the local chemist by himself when I was stranded at home and really needed prickly heat powder to put on under the aforementioned socks. As the days go on he is using his school diary to keep track of the pick-up arrangements for each afternoon which is very useful given that the arrangements are different every single day!
I wish I could say something similar for Daniel but he’s just not into trying new things without a lot of help. His main interest in my injuries is the fact that I have much more time than usual for reading stories to him and listening to him read to me. So he is learning in a more indirect way from what has happened. To be fair, he has filled a few water bottles for me and he quite enjoys getting me a Berocca each morning.
All of this has really made me think about the times at which we begin to teach life skills to our children. I think about it more, when I’m stranded somewhere at home needing something done and I wonder whether I can ask one of the boys to do it. Will they be able? Will they be willing? I’ve got a long mental list of things they do know how to do already but I’ve been thinking about how to move them on and some more things I could teach them.
Given that Eric is 10, I’d like to teach him to do simple ironing, start a load of washing choosing water level and temperature, do some vacuuming and where to access the electricity box and water in an emergency. For Daniel my ambitions include stacking dishwasher, hanging out small washing on clothes airer, folding things and taking simple phone messages. That’s just off the top of my head and I’m sure there are many more things.
I’d like my boys to get into very familiar routines for mornings, after school and evenings so that the jobs we wanted them to do and homework requirements etc were all just happening instead of coaxed out of them step by step each day. That means of course that I need to have better routines for myself and I do recognise that. I’d like them to develop their problem solving skills so they can see that there is often more than one solution to something that is bothering or perplexing them. I’d like to help them develop their emotional resilience while also leaving them secure in the knowledge that it is ok for a boy to cry.
Eric and I are going to a funeral on Thursday and it will be his first one. His teacher’s mum passed away last week. Other students from his class are likely to attend with their parents so he is feeling some safety in numbers. A friend and I had a conversation with Eric and her daughter this afternoon about the sorts of things that happen at a funeral and why they are important. We talked about what it means to the family left behind to see that their community supports them. Both children now have some concept of what they will see, hear and perhaps feel. Dh and I decided that it was important for him to attend a funeral now for someone he didn’t know well because there will come a time when he has to attend a funeral for someone he does know well. When that time comes it may be a bit less overwhelming because he knows the sorts of things that will happen.
Now is the time for us to be mindful of the learning opportunities that are out there in everyday life for our children and to make the most of them even if it does take longer to get things done and they may not be done as well as we would have done them.
You may have noticed that I didn’t put on Eric’s list that he knew how to make toast with honey. To explain I give you (as accurately as I can remember) our conversation on the Sunday morning before last.
“I’m going to make you a coffee Mum. Would you like something for breakfast?”
I take frantic mental inventory – what can he make and bring into bedroom without spilling it? I think that rules out cereal so I settle on toast with jam. He disappears.
“There’s no jam anywhere Mum. Can I put something else on?”
“Um, yes. How about some honey?”
At this point the kettle stopped boiling ages ago, he’s been to the fridge several times but no smoke alarms have gone off. Then he appears again.
“I’ve sort of made a mistake.”
“I sort of put the margarine and honey on but I forgot to put the bread in the toaster. Should I put it in now?”
“Um, no, that will be fine, you can just bring it in to me the way it is.”
As it turned out, he probably could have put the bread in the toaster quite easily because he eventually appeared with barely lukewarm coffee and two slices of stale bread with a tiny smear of margarine down the centre of each and about 1 teaspoon of honey altogether between two pieces.
“Thank-you gorgeous, it was so nice of you to make me some breakfast!”
“That’s ok Mum, nothing to it” and he struts away, chest out feeling very proud of himself.
We might still be learning but I’ve got very good material to work with!
I have to admit that as the start of the school year draws closer I’m feeling very “homesick” for school because it is where I have always been at this time of year. I am uncertain about what 2010 has in store for me and to some extent I have to literally wait and see what happens.
However there are some things I can do and have been doing to make me feel good and to take care of myself.
- I’m working hard on the sleep routine. I’ve had a couple of late nights with athletics which have shaken things up but in general the sleep is better.
- I’ve asked to be referred to another doctor for a second opinion on my ongoing anxiety/depression. I’ve been with the same doctor for seven years and I’m struggling with the medication I am on. I had to be bit assertive with the GP to get a referral but it is important so I persisted.
- I’m dipping my toe into bible reading and praying about my situation often.
- I’m talking to people. This is a big one. I’ve had in depth discussion with a couple of people about how things are going to pan out this year and what I can do to make things better.
- I’ve gone back to Weight Watchers (again) and I’m giving it a really good go (again).
- I’m trying to stay busy with purposeful stuff. I’ve been updating Little Athletics record cards, covering books for Eric, knitting and trying to do things around the house.
- I recognized that the first day of school would be a hard one for me because simply put, I won’t be there. My plan is to drop off the boys and then I’m using the voucher for a day spa treatment that my colleagues gave me when I resigned.
- I’m considering things that I can do to get myself out of the house on a regular basis during the day bearing in mind that there may not be much supply work initially. One of those things was to offer my services for 1/2 day a week in Year 1 at school (Daniel’s year level). I’ve e-mailed the teachers, offered my services and they will get back to me with a day and time that suits them with the understanding that if I get called into work I’m going into work.
- Yesterday the boys had a big athletics carnival at Ipswich. I knew it would do my head in sitting on the hill for six hours + so I volunteered as a recorder for one of the long jump pits. I still got to see both boys compete in long jump and all their track events, I was kept occupied and the recording was one less thing the long jump chief had to organise for each event.
- Today I did the grocery shopping by myself, ate a nutritious lunch and had a pedicure and manicure (there was a special offer on).
- If all else fails I have lists I can consult for what to do next although more often than not the answer is “laundry”.
So all in all, despite the fact that it is a somewhat sad time for me as school starts without me there, I’m doing my best to rise above the sadness and to keep doing things that improve my situation.
I’m joining in this project here because I want to achieve good things this year. I’ve had a break from just about everything and now is the time to step up and start getting things done again. The categories for each month are follow with my wants for each category.
January – Fabulous Beginnings – getting into good routines and being really well prepared for relief teaching
February – Fabulous Organization – getting routines fine tuned and getting the family more involved
March – Fabulous Fitness – build up my stamina and lose weight
April – Fabulous Food – cooking more meals, baking more things for school lunches, making more interesting things for my own lunches
May – Fabulous Style – hair and make-up
June – Fabulous Fun – planning birthday parties for the boys
July – Fabulous Hobbies – knitting up a storm
August – Fabulous Finances – making a budget
September – Fabulous Food – more of what was done in April
October – Fabulous Health – stress management and sleep
November – Fabulous Home – making the bedroom a sanctuary
December – Fabulous Blogging – building up my readership
The big three of these?
I’ve borrowed this idea from the wonderful Ms Fifikins even though I haven’t forgiven her for forgetting certain house guests in her review of 2009!
I think the word for this year is different. And I’m hoping that 2010 will be different in a bigger and better way.
1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Did a family farm stay in June, resigned from my job in July and visited Cairns for a week in November
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
It was probably something to do with losing weight in which case it hasn’t happened
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My sister Trish had Luke Robert on January 28
Lorraine gave birth to beautiful Mabel who has the best reasoning behind her name!
4. Did anyone close to you die?
I wasn’t really close but Mum’s brother Leo died in July and my cousin’s husband Fintan tragically was struck down by Swine Flu while working in Vietnam and died in September.
5. What countries/states did you visit?
Cairns, Gold Coast
6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
a well balanced lifestyle
7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
July – resigning
November – going to Cairns
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Learning to knit well
9. What was your biggest failure?
Weight loss and general organization
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Some ongoing anxiety and depression, high blood pressure
11. What was the best thing you bought?
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
My workmates at school who were so supportive of my decision to resign even though it was heart breaking
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
The people in the news for hurting others
14. Where did most of your money go?
Bills and debt
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Knitting. I don’t sound very exciting do I?
16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Can’t think of anything right now
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:?
a) happier or sadder?
b)thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
work – both paid and in the home
eating healthy food
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
20. How did you spend Christmas?
With the family at SIL’s place
21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
stayed in love with my boys
22. How many one-night stands?
None! I’ve told you I’m not that exciting LOL!
23. What was your favourite TV program?
All Saints and I’m sad it is finished. Watched lots of episodes of Cold Case and Without A Trace
24. Did you make a friend with anyone that you didn’t know this time last year?
I have knitting friends!
25. What was the best book you read?
26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The fact that Eric can play the piano
27. What did you want and get?
Time to knit and cross stitch
28. What did you want and not get?
A new job
29. What was your favourite film of this year?
Julie and Julia
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
39. Can’t remember. Already worrying about the next one!
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Getting stuff done
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
33. What kept you sane?
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
35. What political issue stirred you the most?
36. Who did you miss?
Friends who live too far away…
37. Who was the best new person you met?
MIML – except that he isn’t the “man in my life” but Fiona’s however MIML is his Internet persona
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
Everything happens for a reason
Those words resonated for me from a post I read at the In-Courage website earlier this week. Today I’ve had to face a very great disappointment. I’m still reeling from it. That’s all I can say about it except that it is going to change the course of my life for the next year or more. But the woman discussed in the post above had a far greater disappointment (she lost the use of her legs) and she really did use it to make herself better rather than bitter. I’m not kidding myself. I’m going to have some bitter moments but I have to see this as part of God’s plan for me and try to use it to change my life for the better. I’ve still got my husband and family and reasonably good health. We still have our house. In a week’s time we’re going on a two week holiday to the beach that was already paid for thank goodness.
To make myself better I’m going to:
- really work hard on improving my health and fitness
- get a real handle on the housework so everything runs really smoothly
- make a better contribution to the life of my family
- cast my net wider for different opportunities in life.
But for right now the tears will flow for a little while. I’ve got some time to feel sorry for myself because the boys have gone to a friend’s house before Little Athletics. But I’m not going to wallow – because I’m going to be better than that.
I’m feeling like an absolute idiot at the moment! A week or so ago I set myself the goal of getting up by 7:00am. I haven’t been very successful. In fact, I’m still sleeping in most days. I’ve also had very little work relief teaching – only two days in fact. Anthony gets up with the boys and gets them off to school by 7:00am and if I don’t have to take them I don’t get up. Our phone only rings four times. Our phone is in the living area. Our bedroom is an extension on the back of the house. Are you joining the dots yet?
I didn’t. Until this afternoon. I was waiting for the boys at the pool this afternoon as one of Daniel’s friend’s Mums had offered to bring them to the pool from school with her kids for a swim. When I got there Eric asked me why I wasn’t working. Why would I be working I asked? Because they heard the phone ringing as they were leaving this morning and presumed a school was ringing me to get me to work. It could well have been however I was unconscious. Oh dear!
I’m feeling mildly nauseous to think that I may have missed DAYS of work because I’m not getting out of bed. So I must get up. Even if I watch Sunrise with a coffee in my hand I need to be up and within lunging distance of the phone. I also need to work on getting a second phone for the bedroom. Pronto.
All tips on getting up early and staying up are welcomed!
Rachel Anne at Home Sanctuary issued a challenge on her blog today – to set a goal for November.
That is it. being out of bed by 7:00am every day. If I can do that it will make a huge difference to my life.
(On Thursday I’ll be up way before this time because 7:00am is when our plane takes off for Cairns.)
To achieve this goal I’ll need to get to bed at a more reasonable hour than I do now but I think I can do it. And to F who might be worrying about me stampeding around her house pre-7:00am if she is not up by then I promise I won’t!