Dance, Dance, Dance

I haven’t done much dancing at all this year as any random movement is a bit scary with injured ankles but my boys have had the great joy of participating in the Dance Fever program throughout Term 3. To be quite honest they are not always the most graceful/coordinated children but the Dance Fever program available to primary schools all over the country takes those factors and more into account.
As well as learning a Hip Hop Show dance, Jive and Tango both boys have learned some of the social niceties associated with the world of ballroom dancing such as dancing with different partners, asking a partner to dance and thanking a partner for dancing with them. For the Year 2s and those around that age group the learning was appropriately scaffolded so that every child could achieve a measure of success. They had words and actions that went with each dance that helped them keep the right movements in their heads so they all were able to dance and have a really good time. The exuberance and happiness with which they greeted their Dance Fever instructors was great evidence of just how much benefit the program has.
The Year 4s and up got to take the program another step further by attending the Dance Fever Inter-School Challenge at Chandler Arena. Wow! Groovy music, lights, special effects, well dressed competitors and a wonderful excitement in the air. I have to admit that about 5 minutes into the event as I sat with a dear friend who just happened to be the mother of my boy’s dance partner, I had already become a “stage mother”. We were listening avidly for our couple’s number to be called for semi-finals and grand finals and in between time even held tentative discussions about matching outfits for next year!
By participating in this inter-school event my older boy learnt about preparing for an event with a partner which included organising some rehearsals outside of school hours. There may or may not have been a slight issue with him “dropping” his partner during the tango but I think it is probably prudent not to comment on that! We was delighted with their successes on the competition side of things but even more delighted with the poise and politeness shown on the dance floor. I was a very proud Mum to see my handsome boy holding himself so confidently, leading his partner out onto the floor and remaining very focussed on doing a fantastic job.
Much to our surprise and delight he and his partner made the grand final of the Year 5 Tango, the grand final of the Year 4 Jive (with a different partner) and the semi-final of the Year 5 Jive. I should also note here that at no time during the event was his dance partner dropped much to my relief!

Advertisements

The Intervention

Just when I thought “interventions” were only done on rather scary reality TV shows I found myself the “victim” of a very large intervention on Sunday.  There I was, innocently drinking coffee with a good friend of mine  and relating the events of my week when she announced that we were going to deal with my clothes.  My pleas to finish the coffee and continue chatting were ignored and we were off into the bedroom to begin.

Clothes flew and were flung in all directions in the hours that followed.  Luckily she is a really good friend because comments included “No!”, “Frumpy!”, “Get rid of it”, “What were you thinking?” and “Did your mother choose this?”  I should hasten to say that I owned only one item of clothing chosen by my mother and it has now gone to a  better place.  The final tally was five small gar bags of clothes to go to charity, three small gar bags of stuff that I will fit into soon and best of all, a wardrobe which contains only items that I can wear right now.  It is the first time in my adult life that I can remember having such a wardrobe.  The aforementioned gar bags went into the back of my friend’s car so there were no chances for me to change my mind and the three bags of ambition clothes are going to be boxed up in plastic crates so that nothing nasty befalls them.  The wire coathangers were all dispatched to the garbage bin and the plastic coated wire hangers were deemed to be only good for hanging up my husband’s shirts.  I have most hangers the same the now and all facing in the same direction – revolutionary!

I still have the shoe section to go and a few drawers but they seem easy compared to the task of tackling that overstuffed wardrobe.  I am eagerly anticipating being able to pull out something to wear very easily from those places as well.

The flow on effect from this will be the ease with which I can put together outfits the night before to wear the next day.  I’m intending on having Plan A outfits for days that I am working and Plan B outfits for days that I am not.  The drawback is that I don’t have as many clothes but when I think about it I don’t really have less clothes because the ones that are not there could not be worn anyway.  So it is full of win all round really.

The saying “Knowledge is Power” could certainly be applied to my fateful Sunday afternoon too.  I was lucky enough to attend a High Tea on the previous Saturday where we met Suzy the Stylist.  Prior to that day I never would have thought that I had anything to gain from listening to a stylist given that I am overweight, the majority of my clothes are bargain buys and I usually buy things without trying them on because of time pressures.  Boy was I wrong!

I now know that I have curvy figure (somewhere under there!) and what to do about dressing for that figure.  I know exactly what to look for now in shops and which items of clothing I would like to buy when I next have the opportunity.  Because I was also able to look at things through a “knitter’s lens” as well I now know why some of my projects look good and why some of them should never have seen the light of day.  I am actually having one piece frogged, the wool washed and rewound so that I can knit something else with it!  Best of all when someone mentions a  knitting pattern on Ravelry I know immediately whether it will work for me or not.

So while it isn’t an extensive wardrobe, it is completely functional and even though I needed to sit down for quite a while and collect my thought post-intervention I am really glad that it happened.  And to my dear friend – Thank-you. I needed to be bossed around and I’m truly glad that you did so.

And now dear readers:

Have you ever been part of an intervention? Either intervening or being the “intervenee”?

How do you organise your clothes?

If you are losing weight, what are you planning to do with your clothes?


Step by Step back to “normal” life

Or as normal as it ever gets!  I’ve officially been cleared to work again, I’m no longer wearing splints and walking longer and longer distances until i start limping again and need to stop.  I did alarm the physio with a very swollen left ankle (the fractured tibia one) on Friday night so I am taped up for the duration of the long weekend but flesh coloured tape is much less conspicuous than big black lace up splints.

There are so many things you take for granted until you have your mobility taken away from you.  I’m really enjoying things like:

having a shower standing up

carrying things around from one place to another

walking around places

being able to get up off chairs

getting my own cup of coffee and indeed getting cuppas for other people

walking along hand in hand with my little boy

DRIVING – even though I have to use Anthony’s car for the time being.

I’m in the process of transitioning from convalescence to supply teaching again and I feel as if I am launching myself onto the world as a whole new person.  A wise person told me that all these thigns happen for a reason and I found that statement hard to take as I hobbled around on crutches. But now, as I find myself on the way out of it all I believe she may have known what she was talking about after all.


What do I really need right now?

Thanks to a very generous friend who has negotiated her way through peak hour traffic to pick me up last Thursday and the Thursday, I’ve been able to re-join Weight Watchers and start again.  I know that quite a few people who know me well will be saying to themselves, “Here she goes again. What will be different this time?”

Well, there are quite a few differences already.  I’ve got a Chronic Condition Health Care plan set in place by my wonderful GP which will give me access to an exercise physiologist (a cross between a personal trainer and a physiotherapist).  My GP will be keeping a closer eye on things and the nurse who is part of the practice will keep up with me too.

I am still seeing my wonderful physio as my ankles continue to heal and he and I have been discussing possible exercise options for now while my ankles are still quite wobbly and weak and later when I can do more weight bearing exercise.

I’ve been to the gym and was quietly pedalling the recumbent bike as I had been instructed by the physio when the trainer asked if I would like to join in a weights circuit with three other ladies.  After a bit of encouragement from him, I did join in and much to my amazement, I was able to complete a 45 minute circuit with very few modifications.  It was the most amazing feeling to do that successfully.

I’ve got a great circle of friends who are “in the loop” about my efforts and are encouraging me every step of the way. Eric is right behind me cheering me on and Daniel, who still lacks tact and diplomacy at almost 8, has asked whether my big belly (which he illustrates by holding his arms out wide) to going to shrink up to the size of his belly.  Probably a bit extreme but he is being positive in his own way.

One of my friends is going to join the same Weight Watchers meeting as me so I will be meeting up with her each week.  I can’t say how glad I am about this.  Not only will I get a free pampering session and she a 3 month movie pass due to a membership promotion but I will look forward to seeing someone each week who is truly on my side and has much the same dry sense of humour as myself.

However the number 1 things are weighing in each week (which involves fronting up the the very formidable Carol) and staying for the meeting.  I certainly won’t paraphrase the meeting content here because if you want that you should really go to Weight Watchers yourself. But when we recieve information, we all process it in different ways and take away our own responses and hopefully, action plans.

This week was all about monitoring hunger signals.  We discussed the difference between being so hungry that you would eat almost anything to having eaten so much that you feel like your clothes would burst.  Ideally we should aim for something in between.  That is going to happen for different people in different ways but for me hunger signals are controlled when I eat small amounts often during the day, keep moving and maintain my water intake.  Please excuse me for a moment while I uncap my trusty water bottle and take a big swig.

 

 

 

 

Ah, that’s better.

We have discussed many mantras and saying that we can use to keep our goals in mind and to stay on track.  It was recommended that we have a saying that describes ourselves at a healthy weight in the present tense and includes some tings we can do or have achieved.  Mine is:

I am slim, fit and focussed.

Then I thought more about what would help me to monitor my hunger signals and indeed, lots of other signals from my body and I came up with this:

What do I really need right now?

Some of the answers to that question in the last few days have been:

salad instead of chips

baked fish instead of crumbed fish

more water instead of more coffee

one small dessert that I really liked instead of just eating dessert whenever it was offered whether I really liked it or not

doing my physio stretches

walking a few more steps

keeping up with my pain relief so I could keep up with moving more and healing faster

not staying up for the end of the movie/tv show but going to bed when I needed to

taking a nap during the day when I needed it

doing something pleasurable during the day

talking to people who woud help me with making good choices

So far in one week I have lost one kilo.  But that isn’t really important in the big scheme of things because I have gained so many other really important things.


Another Knitting Metaphor

A very dear friend of mine has recently taken up knitting.  I am absolutely thrilled about this as it almost feels like I have a knitting protegee.  I only wish we lived closer to each other so we could sit down together with some good coffee and yarn – and knit. LOL!

Her first project was, quite wisely, a cotton discloth which she knitted over teh course of about a day.  I told my boys about her starting knitting and how she’d finisheda project that took a day and Daniel was heard to remark, “Well she must be a much better knitter than you!”  At age almost 8 he lacks a lot of diplomacy and can put people in tehir place very abruptly.

When my friend’s first project was finished, she sent me a text saying that it had a bit of a factory second look about it.  That immediately reminded me of my dream balnket that I began knitting during a time when things weren’t going very well.  The first panel had many, many mistakes but as I progressed there were hardly any.  I’m not attempting to fix the mistakes because they are not enough to make the blanket unravel and just like certain events they will be around in the future where they will remind me of where I was a at that time.  It is something like how most people will remember exactly where they were when the recent royal wedding was taking place.

My dear friend, the new knitter, has also faced some challenges lately.  I’m hoping she will be able to look back at her dishcloth sometime in the future with its slight imperfections and to remember how she went on to re-shape her life after some hurdles.  I hope she also recalls how the simple repetitive movements gave her some momentary serenity and calm in teh middle of some turbulence.  There is no doubt in my mind that she will get through this “rough patch” and be even stronger and wiser for doing so.  And in the meantime, she can just keep knitting!


Life Skills

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!

Eric has learned a few useful things too.  He now knows:

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?”

“Sure!”

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.”

“Oh yes?”

“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!

 

 


The Getting of Wisdom – the painful way

Long time no blog!

I have a lot of material for a lot of blog entries but I’ll begin by telling the story of how I can to be here, ankle splints on both ankles, crutches leaning against the desk and two ankles deciding whether they need to be dosed with painkillers anytime soon.

It was an ordinary day at school last Friday until on my way to playground duty I fell down three steps and found myself in a lots of pain.  Somehow I managed to hobble through the prep playground and then to the school office.  Both ankles were hurting but the left one was very bad.  The beautiful office staff ran around getting me set up in sick bay with a pillow and ice while I waited for dh the come and get me.  Later that evening after an x-ray and ultrasound they concluded that the left ankle was badly sprained.  I was issued with painkillers and crutches and sent home.  That’s when the real trouble began.

I found that I couldn’t put enough weight on the right foot – even with crutches – to get my left ankle in plaster and the rest of me up the stairs.  I tried the “backwards on the backside” method but that didn’t work.  In fact I actually slid down a few more steps in the throes of trying that maneuver and the boys heard me utter some words I have told them never to say.  I ended up slowly and painfully climbing the stairs on my knees.  At the top I was stuck on our verandah.  I couldn’t flex my feet enough to stand and dh couldn’t get me up.  The pain was so bad that I was seeing stars so I had a drink and a rest, then hauled myself onto a stool and then finally into the house.  I took myself to bed for a very uncomfortable night trying to get comfortable despite the plaster.  I was up early the next morning because of the pain and once I had painfully got myself from the bedroom to the lounge my left ankle was screaming and my right ankle has swollen right up.  I persisted for a few hours but eventually realised that this simply wouldn’t work.  I rang my wonderful GP who said she was ordering an ambulance and contacting the hospital so I could go back.  It was considered far too dangerous for dh to attempt getting me down the stairs again.

This is the part in which we staged an emergency services floor show for the street and my humiliation continued.  2 Ambos arrived and asked me how much I weighed.  With that information they decided that they would not be able to get me out and that they would have to call ANOTHER ambulance that had a marvelous device called a “stair chair”. Well, Eric thought it was marvellous – I was just scared!  It took an hour for the second ambulance to come so the first team of Ambos and I watched Video Hits (as you do).  Then, for the amusement of the neighbours I was toted down the stairs on the famous “stair chair”.  I’ll have to google the thing to see what it looks like because I didn’t actually see it.

Then I had 6 nights in hospital where it was eventually determined that the ankle we thought was uninjured but sore was actually sprained and that the one we thought was sprained was actually fractured.  I graduated from plaster and elastic bandage to splints on each ankle and from forearm walking frame to crutches.  When I was able to do the hospital practice steps four times (to allow for the 12 steps at home) I was allowed to go home.

So now I’m at home, migrating from bed to desk to recliner and working out how to live life on crutches.  I’m getting used to planning everything in great detail before I move anywhere and best of all, I have HEAPS of knitting time.