Monthly Archives: September 2004

Wiblog entry for 30/09/2004

I’m not going to complain, no I’m not going to complain. I’m going to grin and bear my Christain duty patiently as I should.

Oh bother it, I’m going to complain. The housegroup needed a video player. Not my housegroup, I hasten to add, nor yet my father’s any more – just a random housegroup that he used to go to. But, hearing their plea, I unplug our spare video player (the one which became obsolete when we persuaded Dad to get a new TV with built in video and which is sitting in a corner of my bedroom attached to my tiny black and white tv for when it all becomes too much and I have to wallow in a bit of Pride and Prejudice). I have to take the thing round to the house of the group leader and fit it to her telly.

I tell her she can keep it, seeing as I rarely use it and it might be of more use to her. No, she doesn’t want to. When the course is over, I get countless phone calls asking me when I intend to go round and retrieve it. Life is a bit busy at the time and I am in no hurry for it, so I leave it sitting there a month. None of the people at the housegroup think to unplug the thing and bring it home, of course. Oh no, I have to go and fetch it because it’s cluttering up the lounge.

I go and get it. Well, to be precise, Dad goes and gets it because he’s fed up of them going on at him about me going round. SO he collects it on his scooter.

Now, of course, you’ve guessed it. They want to borrow it again. Not that they’re prepared to come and collect it, of course. Dad dropped the news on me this morning – they want it this evening, so would I run it up there and tune it in for them before teatime. Pah! I’m supposed to be packing for our weekend away, and popping into town to see whether I can buy myself a very cheap new top to wear for the .. well, whatever this event is that people aren’t talking about. But no, instead I have to go out and fix video players.

That’s the last time I try to be helpful! 😉

Life at school is getting a bit ridiculous in my madhouse class. We now have four children seriously vying for negative attention. C refused point-blank to do any work today because she’d seen J be taken into another room to work (because he was being an utter distraction and was trying to be sent out of the lesson – and I was determined to keep him in the caravan by hook or by crook) and she reckoned it wasn’t fair that he was getting attention and she wasn’t. I spent my whole lesson telling children to turn round, stop talking, stop fiddling, actually do some work…. and all this while fighting back the inclination to send J out once and for all. Bless their little cotton socks. And three children had a paddy because I had the audacity to expect them to bring their homework in after them having three homework detentions to do it in (seeing as they refused to do it at home). “But that’s not fair, miss. I told you, I can’t be expected to do it if I have lost the original sheet and the three subsequent copies you gave me. You can’t give me an after-school detention for that!”

Now, shall I go and plug that video in? And what on earth am I going to wear on Saturday night that doesn’t look a) like a tent or b) like a straitjacket? And why on earth am I not losing any weight, despite exercising and dieting and being really good?

I give in. Where are the chips?

Praise?

I love taking my sons with me to the hairdressers – it stops me running any risk of becoming vain.
“Why’s she done that to your hair, mummy? I liked it better long. And if you had to have it cut, you could at least have had it curly again. Can you come again and have it done properly?” Thank you, Smudgelet.

They both look the bees knees after their visit to the barber. Typical timing that, unbeknown to me, the school photographer came into their schools today…. before the barber sorted out their long flowing locks. They do look gorgeous now, though. Even Smudgelet sat really still, with the promise of a sticker on his sticker chart if he did. (Bribery by another name). When he was done, the barber turned to me and asked “What do you think, Mummy?” Smudgelet was quite indignant. “She’s not YOUR mummy, she’s MINE!”

You win some, you lose some.

We’re doing pretty well – they haven’t burned the house down yet. I mean, there was the tumble drier incident a couple of months ago and the box of matches in bed last week. This morning it was the sure sign the Smudgelet is getting taller and taller far faster than I’m prepared for. He really shouldn’t be able to reach the cord for the defunctish bar heater in the bathroom. Luckily the smell of dust burning was sufficient to get me running in a bathwardly direction and switch the thing off. Surely he’s not tall enough to have reached that cord that I tied in a knot to keep it out of harm’s way? If I’d known that he were, I’d have moved all the aerosols off the top of the bathroom cabinet where they’re resting just nicely against the edge of the heater.

Charlie has been on form just lately, despite bearing the scars of a particularly nasty scrap with another neighbourhood tom. Today he went from one extreme to the other, bringing me home a wren 🙁 and a pigeon. Saturday morning was the classic, though. I’d told Dad he wouldn’t get his early morning cup of tea because there was no way I was getting up at 6.30 unless I had to… and I didn’t have to be up until half past eight. Charlie, though, was on Dad’s side and kindly brought me a live mouse to play with at 6.30 precisely. Thanks Charlie.

Massage is going brilliantly. I love this! Funny how difficult it is being able to do the academic side fairly easily, though, when in a room of people who find it harder. Please don’t read me wrong and think I’m an intellectual snob, but somehow there seems an aura of it not being cool to be able to do it and I find it hard to fit in. Just like being back at school, I suppose. I’m no genius, but I happen to find academic learning seems to fit my learning style quite well and remembering what I’ve learnt is not too much of an ordeal – especially as I know some of the tricks to helping it sink in. But when the tutor gave out a test tonight, I felt awful because people were panicking and wanting to work together, and I just wanted to do the test. It’s hard to know how to manage it without sounding big headed. But the practical side is great. We have now completely studied the leg and can massage from the top of the thigh to the tip of the toes with only a few “What on earth comes next”s and minimal “How on earth did she do that one?”s

Now, I must remember to try to find something to wear this weekend. I can’t afford to get something new, especially if I’m trying to lose weight. This effort is currently not very rewarding, by the way. Surely I can’t STILL be the same weight! Maybe it’s just all the fat being replaced by muscle. (In my dreams). I’ve booked to have my hair done, though just a trim as I’m trying to save pounds as far as the money goes, while I lose them in a different context (and, at the moment, it’s just as successful).

Year Seven have GOT decimals! I am a happy teacher. Year Eight have NOT GOT factors and multiples even now after hours of bashing it into them. Year Five are starting to show their true colours and they clash somewhat. Year Six are driving me insane. But Year Seven have got decimals and all’s right with the world.

You win some, you lose some.

We’re doing pretty well – they haven’t burned the house down yet. I mean, there was the tumble drier incident a couple of months ago and the box of matches in bed last week. This morning it was the sure sign the Smudgelet is getting taller and taller far faster than I’m prepared for. He really shouldn’t be able to reach the cord for the defunctish bar heater in the bathroom. Luckily the smell of dust burning was sufficient to get me running in a bathwardly direction and switch the thing off. Surely he’s not tall enough to have reached that cord that I tied in a knot to keep it out of harm’s way? If I’d known that he were, I’d have moved all the aerosols off the top of the bathroom cabinet where they’re resting just nicely against the edge of the heater.

Charlie has been on form just lately, despite bearing the scars of a particularly nasty scrap with another neighbourhood tom. Today he went from one extreme to the other, bringing me home a wren 🙁 and a pigeon. Saturday morning was the classic, though. I’d told Dad he wouldn’t get his early morning cup of tea because there was no way I was getting up at 6.30 unless I had to… and I didn’t have to be up until half past eight. Charlie, though, was on Dad’s side and kindly brought me a live mouse to play with at 6.30 precisely. Thanks Charlie.

Massage is going brilliantly. I love this! Funny how difficult it is being able to do the academic side fairly easily, though, when in a room of people who find it harder. Please don’t read me wrong and think I’m an intellectual snob, but somehow there seems an aura of it not being cool to be able to do it and I find it hard to fit in. Just like being back at school, I suppose. I’m no genius, but I happen to find academic learning seems to fit my learning style quite well and remembering what I’ve learnt is not too much of an ordeal – especially as I know some of the tricks to helping it sink in. But when the tutor gave out a test tonight, I felt awful because people were panicking and wanting to work together, and I just wanted to do the test. It’s hard to know how to manage it without sounding big headed. But the practical side is great. We have now completely studied the leg and can massage from the top of the thigh to the tip of the toes with only a few “What on earth comes next”s and minimal “How on earth did she do that one?”s

Now, I must remember to try to find something to wear this weekend. I can’t afford to get something new, especially if I’m trying to lose weight. This effort is currently not very rewarding, by the way. Surely I can’t STILL be the same weight! Maybe it’s just all the fat being replaced by muscle. (In my dreams). I’ve booked to have my hair done, though just a trim as I’m trying to save pounds as far as the money goes, while I lose them in a different context (and, at the moment, it’s just as successful).

Year Seven have GOT decimals! I am a happy teacher. Year Eight have NOT GOT factors and multiples even now after hours of bashing it into them. Year Five are starting to show their true colours and they clash somewhat. Year Six are driving me insane. But Year Seven have got decimals and all’s right with the world.

Peace descendeth

Yet again we miss the harvest festival. Is God trying to tell me something?
Tiddles is proper poorly, with headaches and a high temperature. Still, it’s had one unexpected benefit. Would you believe he’s lying in bed READING HIS MAGAZINE! Wonders never cease. I was going to cancel both boys’ subscriptions as generally they seize the toy attached to the front and then leave the reading matter discarded on the floor.

Smudgelet tried out going swimming on his own today. It was more forced upon us than anything as, when I came to leave Tiddles in bed asleep with grandad on call next door, I found I couldn’t bring myself to leave this poor sweaty little individual for longer than it took to deliver Smudgelet to the swimming pool and send him into the changing room to get changed, having entrusted him to one of the club leaders. I return to pick him up later, impressed that he’s managed to shower and get dry and dressed in time….. but then discover he’s been kicked out of the changing rooms because of his appallingly bad language! And when he told me what he’d been saying, I was mortified! I resisted the temptation to wash his mouth out, purely because he had at least told me the truth about it, but have banished him to his room and told him I don’t want to hold a conversation with or be kissed by the same mouth that had those dirty words in it, so he can stay in his room until the effect of using them has worn off! 😉 (Aaah, peace!) Amazingly, prompted by Tiddles’ example, he’s reading his magazine too, and doing all the puzzles. They’re both happy as larry and quiet as mice.

Me, I’ve spent the unexpected morning doing the accounts. I am going to have to start being a lot more careful with my money. But the accounts don’t look as bad as I thought they might. Not quite! 🙂 I think I can afford a trip to the mainland next week…. and I must get my hair cut before then too.

Last night I did my very last prayers in Church of Fools for a while. A strange feeling. I don’t know how I feel about going into the church today as I hate these protracted farewells, especially as I’ve already arranged to keep in touch with some people I care deeply about. I wonder what the next stage will be. For me, the benefit to my faith has been immense, just at a time when I needed that focus for my growing relationship with God. And it’s definitely fuelled this niggling call at the back of my mind. Personally I am sure God has plans for the internet church. This hiatus probably will stop it from becoming all too cozy, and allow change to take place to build on what we’ve learned. The break will be good too – maybe I’ll get back to blogging and answering emails and simply sitting watching TV for a while. Who knows! But I am sure that there will be developments ahead to continue the work begun there because the work has definitely been of God.

Miscalculation – I have ordered the Tesco delivery to come between 2 and 4 this afternoon. What on earth are we going to have for lunch?

Slimfaster

Hmmm…. yes… I do still ache. I am putting it down to feeling fluey – can’t possibly be because of the exercise on Thursday can it?

I sent Tiddles to school yesterday but was called upon to fetch him home by the afternoon, poor boy. I think he and his brother regretted this illness later as, stripping his bed to make one up on the bedroom floor (so I could better check on him in the night) I discovered the hidden stash of things they’d “relocated” – biscuits, sweets, and more worryingly, matches. Little horrors! And to add insult to injury, I discovered why I had no slimfast bars left to see me through the weekend. They’d even nicked those! So they’re now joining me on my diet. I did a clean sweep of the food cupboard and donated all the cakes and biscuits to the church coffee morning. It’s the last time they take advantage of my Dad babysitting to sneak out and raid the pantry.

Mind you, I wish my diet and exercise routine would start showing some positive benefits. I haven’t lost a single ounce. No, not an ounce. And I still need the bigger jacket for my massage class. To add insult to injury, I threw caution to the wind and made up the sofa bed alongside my boy to keep him company as he slept (he really was quite poorly last night) and, when getting up off it, went straight through the wooden slats that held up the mattress!

Today I am paying the price for my motherly sacrifice. Headache, earache and blocked up nose – what a delight! I had to cancel the course I was going on. I was really looking forward to it, too…. apart from seriously resenting the fact it was on a Saturday AND we had to take a packed lunch! Tiddles had to cancel his swimming in the Scout’s swimming gala, which means it will be another year before he can get his swimming badge. And we won’t be going to the Harvest Festival again tomorrow. Smudgelet made it to the Music Centre though… and thoroughly enjoyed his first ever experience of Junior Choir and Keyboards. I suffered a bit of “car park rage” though. There was nowhere to park when I went to pick him up so, as he was extremely nervous about being there on his own without Tiddles and as there were hundreds of children teeming out at the end of the music centre session, I pulled up out of the way where I was only blocking a couple of cars while I raced in and out to pick him up. The man I blocked in WAS NOT AMUSED. Didn’t I realise it was the end of Music Centre and he was planning on picking up his child and going? I pointed out that I was doing the same and would be gone in less than two minutes, but patient was not his middle name. Bless him.

So, what am I going to eat now ?

Do you want to be a lettuce all your life?

Trying to teach my Year Eights yesterday was as effective as opening the fridge door and teaching a tub of margarine and a bag of mixed salad. I told them as much. Do you want to be a lettuce all your life? Amazingly, it worked. This morning we achieved more in five minutes than we had in fifty yesterday!

But, I have to celebrate a success story here! IN Year Seven I have a lad whom all the other teachers are trying valiently to get moved to special school because he’s extremely immature and “cannot learn”. OK, can you explain to my how my little lad who cannot sit still and concentrate managed to get 14/18 on a test on adding decimals? No, he wasn’t copying – I was specifically watching him – and he only got one digit wrong on each of the ones he did make a mistake on. He can add decimals, my little lad who they said would never learn to count. 🙂 Now all I have to do is work the same magic on my latest acquisition, a lad with the emotional age of three (he’s actually nine) and an attention span, even when really trying his best, of fifteen seconds. I know, I timed him. There are an awful lot of fifteen seconds in an hour’s maths lesson. No wonder we’re both exhausted by the end of it. He’s far far too excitable to be a lettuce – maybe the caterpillar crawling on it instead.

No-win

I’m in disgrace. After all, I should never have expected Dad to remember the arrangement he’d made – i.e. that I would pick Smudgelet up from school on my way home from the leisure centre. Come four o’clock, Dad was worried sick because he didn’t know whether to fetch the child or not – even though it was he who had asked me if I’d do the pick up. How could I be so thoughtless?

Smudgelet’s going through a bad patch at the moment. He’s extremely attention seeking at home and suddenly seems to have lost the ability to amuse himself. And I followed up a rumour I’d heard this evening and discovered he’s behaving quite badly at school. “Mummy, half of my body’s telling me to be a good boy, and the other half is saying to be naughty, and it’s ever so difficult to decide what to do”. The reason for all this? Well, the difficult one to handle is the fact that he still misses his birth sister a great deal – excessively, in fact. Add to this the fact that he has now lost the half hour of very focussed one-to-one attention he used to get from Dad in a morning once Tiddles and I had gone to school. He’s now dropped off at the child minder’s instead. Also he doesn’t get to go to the park on the way home from school any more because Grandad can’t walk him there any more. And he resents me sitting with Tiddles while he does his homework. (He has actually had half an hour to and hour and a half of my individual attention before Tiddles gets home from school, but that’s irrelevant of course). He loiters around looking miserable until I end up getting irritated and sending him to play in his room, which he takes as a major rejection. Also the fact that Tiddles is finally able to stay up a bit longer and I have started putting Smudgelet to bed first (i.e. at his usual time, with Tiddles staying up an extra half hour until 7.30 and watching the videos which I think Smudgelet isn’t quite old enough for yet).

Part of the problem, of course, is that for Smudgelet the cup is always half empty. I offered that if he gets a good report from his teacher on a Friday night, I’d take him swimming after school (which is something he really likes doing). We’d have half an hour in the pool together, and then Tiddles could get off the bus at the swimming pool and come and join us for half an hour. “Does Tiddles have to come?” Yes, we’ll have half an hour you-and-me time and then half an hour family time. “Yes, but my share isn’t enough then.” Oh, it’s lovely to be so in demand.

Tiddles is really not too well either. He’s got a stinking cough and cold, bless him, and a perpetual headache. He’s been in and out of bed since he came home from school. I know it’s not nice to hope, but I sort of hope he’s not well in the morning so I can justify keeping him home from school. I don’t want to take the time off work, (amazing as it may sound) but I think he could do with a day in bed. Ah, but then I’d be showing favouritism to Tiddles – perhaps I should keep Smudgelet at home instead!

The missing-sister thing is a problem, though. After three years he should be getting used to it. I am afraid I was quite blunt tonight – “that’s how things are, I’m afraid, and they’ll never be any different, so you’re going to have to learn to deal with it” because I really don’t want it to become a basis for manipulation. I can give loads and loads of comfort and it doesn’t seem to help, and he was definitely starting to “use” it as a way to get me to sleep in his room with him, or not tell him off when he’s been naughty”. But I’ll be getting back in touch with the counsellor tomorrow to see what on earth is the best way to tackle it. Any ideas?

As for me, I was very brave today and went back to the gym. Goodness me, do I know it! I am shattered! I went expecting the gradual induction I had when I first joined and she gave me 2 minutes on each machine. This chap set me off on a six minute warm-up on the bike, followed by fifteen, yes fifteen minutes on the treadmill! Good grief – the audacity! I was expecting to be there about 20-30 minutes and was actually there for an hour. No wonder I’m absolutely shattered now!!! But don’t tell anyone how much I liked it, will you?

Lilac

At last it’s lilac… and very nice it is too. The “spare room” in the caravan, that is. First it was bright purple and hideously bright at that, then it was insipid white with a vague hint of purple. But now – one pot of white paint, one “happy violet” matchpot and three dollups of bright purple acrylic stolen from the Art Department later – it’s exactly the shade of lilac we were hoping for. It now contains my file storage (four old lockers with broken doors, in true school tradition), a bookcase awaiting a coat of paint and lots of things dumped on it, and four smart tables for my trustworthy workers, to give them a sanctuary from the crazy-gang in the main classroom and to make enough room in the main classroom for everyone to sit down. You know, nobody seems to believe I teach in a caravan until I actually take them there and show them!

B, one of my helpers, is rather lilac too. Well, she should have known better than to press with her full body-weight on the plastic lid of the paintpot in order to close it. As it gave way beneath her and she tumbled into the paint pot, she desperately sought a foothold to get her balance and put her foot straight through the paint tray.

Poor Tiddles is a poorly boy today with a horrible cough and cold and headache. Although he’s sixteen days of being twelve, I decided to take a risk and pretend he was twelve already and give him a lemsip. I hope he feels better tomorrow – really I could have done with him being ill today as I’d have had less lessons to be covered.

I seem to be skint. It’s the first time in my life I’ve felt quite so skint, and somehow I have to pay for the ferry to my sister’s for the big event I know nothing about which is obviously not really a celebration of my ****ieth birthday. Not only that, but I really will have to have my hair cut before the big day. The problem with the financial situation is that Dad doesn’t quite realise how much money I spend on him, and asking him for money is more trouble than it’s worth. But then, on the other hand, my blog from this morning is so true. Where your treasure is, there your heart is also. I’d rather be without money than without my Dad or my two boys (one of which has managed to lose one coat, one sweatshirt, one pair of trainers, one tie, his keyring, his torch, his swimming trunks and goggles all since the beginning of term). But it’d have been nice to be able to go to the Shakespeare at the local theatre next month! Tiddles at least understands – or appears to – that he has to wait until after Christmas for his birthday treat. With his birthday the day after mine, there was no way I could cope with TWO parties in one week. …….. Not that I’m having a party, of course 😉