Sigh

Today was not the day it was suppose to be.

Firstly I barely slept. Which meant I was in a foul mood when I had to get up to go to the doctors.

Secondly, as I do every morning, I checked my news feed. There has been a number of anti homeschool articles written lately, most of them ill informed and having no idea what they are talking about. But this morning I woke up to a news story on home birth. A beautiful mother lost during childbirth…but that wasn’t the news article. It was mainly anti home birth bullshit, followed by a million comments, also by people who have never researched the statistics on their own, saying it was her own fault. Even if you take out the fact that home birthing with a qualified midwife, during a “routine” and “normal” pregnancy is just as safe as a hospital birth and that it has been more than a decade since a maternal death with a home birth and that maternal deaths happen at hospitals at an occurrence of 8.4 in 100 000 births…..it is just tacky, tacky, tacky to be commenting about how she was asking for it….her husband is grieving, her children are grieving. It is a tragedy, but is it any more of a tragedy than the women who die after complications from unnecessary caesarian and other “routine” hospital practices so that doctors (and mothers) can better schedule their lives?

Side Note: I Have had all of my children in hospital. I was planning on having my 3rd baby at home, but finding out I was having twins meant I was without a choice as no midwife in my area would have risked it. I won’t get into the amount of shit I got from doctors and hospital staff because I choose not to have a caesarian unless it became medically necessary. I believe there is a place for both hospital and home births, the same way I believe that there is a place for school and homeschool.

Still fuming about the news and ranting all the way to the doctors we then sat in a waiting room for almost an hour before being seen. They kept slipping people in front of us as “otherwise they will have to wait til all 6 of you have been seen” – which is fine if it was one person….but it was 3…and all of them came over an hour later for their own appointments.

Finally we are seen and I start though my list. The twins major flare up with eczema is brushed off and even though I am almost certain it is dietary, he refuses to give me a referral so we can look into any possible food allergies.

My eldest daughter was then brushed off for every single item on her list of concerns, including one that has her seeing stars when she gets up. A family history of iron deficiency hitting just before/around puberty was ignored and he had no desire to investigate any further. An 11 year old should not be seeing stars or spots when she gets up.Her ears didn’t look infected so even though she has started yelling again and is complaining of sore ears (a sign she has an infection – she goes deaf) it was blown off.

But the real kicker was for our middle daughter. For those that may not know what a mental health plan is – it is a medicare initiative that allows a high rebate on up to 6 psychology appointments. Up until this point it has always been free. Today I was told it would be $230. He no longer bulk billed those. We need a mental health plan to get rebates back for her autism assessment. We couldn’t afford the mental health plan today, which means we can no longer afford the assessment we have waited 3 months for which was suppose to start on Tuesday. I sat there in absolute tears. Which then he took as I wasn’t coping well off my medication and wanted to put me back on anti depressants.

Even better than that, when I asked him if anyone else in the area bulk billed mental health plans he proceeded to tell me about one of his patients who went to someone else for a mental health plan and the new doc requested her file. He then ranted about how betrayed he was and how he would never see that patient again….so now I feel completely blackmailed in that if I try to go elsewhere, after 8 years as a patient, he will stop seeing me.

He agreed to lower my medication, he took some bloods and I was on my way. Feeling totally shocked and devastated at someone I have put my absolute trust in for the last 8 years. I feel absolutely sick. I have spent the last 8 years raving about my GP and in that very instant I knew I needed to find a new one.

On the way home I ranted about any time I get upset about anything everyone assumes it is because of my mental illness. Apparently when you have a mental illness every time you get upset, too happy, cry, scream ect. it is only because of that reason. You couldn’t possibly have anything real to be upset/angry/happy about.

Of course once I get home I start twitter ranting about the home birth thing, only to have someone call me uneducated and unarticulate (is that even a word???) because I support the option to home birth and reject the knee jerk reaction that is to ban home births or that they are incredibly unsafe. Being uneducated I decided to block her rather than get into a debate (who called those who choose to not immunise “feral hippies” – I do immunise, but again I understand why many don’t). Just as I was starting to calm down I wandered onto the extremely religious homeschool forum (that I occasionally visit for the amazing second hand classifieds when I buy my curriculum sometimes as 20% of the cost…not 20% off).

Once I started to calm down the girls dad informed me that our local medical centre will bulk bill the mental health plan. Which made me more mad that he wouldn’t do it and even madder because I had just rescheduled our assessment appointments for April.

So all in all – a fucking shitty day.

Jobs for tomorrow (today is a write off….anything beyond eating ice cream and watching gossip girl is in the too hard basket)

  1. Start making appointments for GP’s in the area so I can find a new one for me….this must be done BEFORE my script runs out.
  2. Book 10yo in for a mental health plan with a dr. that is willing to bulk bill
  3. stay away from News articles…but more importantly the comments on said news articles
  4. steer clear of the fundamentalist christian homeschooling sites
  5. Enjoy the first local park day of the year (our very own “Not Back To School Party”) with the kids and my wonderful fellow homeschool mums who are so similar to me it’s crazy.

project:girl

Medication Update

Things are still going well. I have been devouring books and planning and using my brain …. almost two years without it.

I am down another two kilos. Just under 97kg. I haven’t changed my eating all that much (naughty me) so I think we can safely say that the medication had a direct effect on my weight gain.

I also started exercising again last week. Boy was I not prepared for how incredibly unfit I was. Almost two years in bed I expected to loose some fitness….but I spent almost as much time recovering in class as exercising. A friend and I are attending a burlesque class each Friday. My super skinny, super fit friend. After class (as she is covered in sweat) she said that it absolutely killed her and all she could think was “If it is this hard for me, she must be dying”…and she was right. But it was also SO MUCH FUN! The teachers motto is “When in doubt, feel yourself up”.

Another friend (a mum who homeschools her kids a few blocks from us) and I are going to start swimming every Wednesday morning. I used to swim every morning before school when I lived with my dad (he refused to buy me a proper mattress and I had back problems…an hour in the pool would work out most of the kinks before school). I won plenty of ribbons at the school swimming carnival and even got all the way to state once (and then came last LOL). I can’t wait to get back in the pool – I just need to find a pair of swimmers that fit me.

I am taking it easy….I don’t want to go to overboard and end up in so much pain or so exhausted that I can’t do anything. But I have some lovely people to exercise with and a great Dr. who will be very surprised tomorrow to hear I am back at it.

Tomorrow I have another appointment, for a new script. I am hoping to get down to 150mg at least. We jumped 100mg last time, but I am a bit nervous to jump from 200mg to 100mg…but we shall see.

So far I have had no increase in manic episodes and no increase in mood swings. I did have a few depressed days recently. But I seemed to snap myself out of it pretty quickly. I wallowed for a few days then got jack of it LOL. That’s a first.

I feel more positive about everything.

project:girl

wanderer

As a kid we travelled a lot. We were always catching a train up to Murwillumbah or heading to Pebbly Beach for a weekend break. Camping and going to my parents friends holiday houses. Then after my parents split I travelled around a bit. Between the ages of 9 and 15 it went like this….

  1. Sydney to Melbourne
  2. Melbourne to Tasmania
  3. Tasmania to Sydney
  4. Sydney to Adelaide
  5. Adelaide to Sydney
  6. Sydney to Coffs Harbour
  7. Coffs Harbour to Adelaide (via Sydney)
  8. Adelaide to Coffs Harbour
  9. Coffs Harbour to Sydney
  10. Sydney to Queanbeyan
  11. Queanbeyan to Coffs Harbour
  12. Coffs Harbour to Sydney
  13. Sydney to Coffs Harbour

Oh an they weren’t holidays….they were just the times I moved. Then I met the girls father, had 4 kids and started to settle down. The move to Melbourne wasn’t on a whim. It was an opportunity that came up and after careful consideration we took it. We wanted the girls lives to be stable. We wanted them to attend just one primary school and one high school if we could manage. So we moved before anyone started school.

I got itchy feet. Staying in one place sent me over the edge. The same place every day. Everyone knew us. I couldn’t walk down the street without running into someone I knew. I wanted to travel the world. But I wanted my girls to have what I didn’t, so I stayed still.

Then my business and a tiny idea for a charity grew to a national organisation. Before I knew it the girls father was able to quit work and stay at home with them while I worked. Then I started travelling for work. I had to visit various states for the charity. I had clients flying me out for various shoots and even other photographers paying for my flights so I could work with them.

Then I stopped work. I stopped everything and sat still for what seemed like an eternity. No real desire beyond making it through the next minute.

I was suppose to go to Paris for my 30th birthday. The girls father had just gotten a job and life was settling down. I was going to be able to afford it all. Then he lost the job. Then we had to move. Then we were over. Once again life took over and I forgot about going anywhere or doing anything.

I just booked flights to take my eldest daughter (and her chosen companion – her 10yo sister) to Sydney for 2 days/1 night. It was her birthday wish. No party, no presents. Just being able to see the Harry Potter exhibition in Sydney at the powerhouse museum.

In that instant the desire to travel has reared its head and once again I find myself trawling the internet for locations, air far prices, dream destinations, things to do there and where to eat (the single most important thing for anywhere I go).

I don’t know if I will ever make it beyond my own back yard, but at least I am starting to find bits and pieces of myself again.

project:girl

I’ve Been Tagged….

So I have been tagged by Ashleigh at Miss Directionsfor a blog game of tag. Now before I even start I am going to say I am not going to tag 11 people….I am not going to tag any as to be honest, I never know who has already been tagged or whether or not they even want to. If you are reading this and want to do it consider yourself tagged. Leave a comment below and I will add your blog link to this post under the tagged session. Hope I don’t upset anyone by doing it this way…

First Things First, The Rules:

  1. You must post the rules.
  2. Post eleven fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
  3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
  4. Tag eleven people and link them on your post
  5. Let them know you’ve tagged them!

Eleven Fun Facts About Me:

  1. I was fired from a movie set when I was 5
  2. My Grandmother (mums mum) was not only an actress and a singer and a comedian, she was also in the circus as an acrobat, a contortionist and worked on the high wire.
  3. My Grandfather was also famous….as a motorcyclist. He won so many trophies, races, sashes and awards. He died during a race when my dad was a baby.
  4. I have never smoked a cigarette (hearing my chain smoking parents hack up a lung each morning was enough to stay clear)
  5. I have never tried any form of recreational drug. Yup I am boring.
  6. When I was 9 and on holidays at a resort I saw a beautiful little chapel and said I would get married there one day. 10 years later I did!
  7. I thought I was a lesbian until I met the girls dad. Not because I was attracted to women, but because I hated men.
  8. I had a natural vaginal birth with no drugs with my twins.
  9. I have never had a doctor present at any of my births, just midwives. Dr’s were suppose to be present at the first and last but never showed up.
  10. I own over 100 bottles of nail polish
  11. I was a notorious screamer up until I was about 11 years old. If I didn’t get my way I would scream the block down. Police were called on a number of occasions….my parents were less than impressed about that.

Questions From Ashleigh:

1.  What is your worst shoe-wearing experience? I honestly can’t remember! I have always tended to wear flats.
2.  Have you ever recieved a love letter (not email, the true old fashioned kind)? Yes. It was hilarious. It was from my one and only boyfriend before my husband. He didn’t use a single bit of punctuation until he got to a poem he claimed to have written (I ended up finding it in the latest issue of dolly written by a girl…).
3.  Have you ever embarassed yourself running for a bus/train/tram? I don’t drive…so I have 30 years of embaressing myself running for buses, trains and trams.
4.  Do you prefer Barbie or Lego? Lego!
5.  If someone offered to pay you to enjoy a hobby for the rest of your life, what would it be? Photography….but I already did that and it made me plenty of money. I still miss it.
6.  If you had to go on a sudden holiday to an unknown destination and had 5 minutes to pack, what would you be sure to grab? Clean underwear, toothbrush, clothes and my ipad.
7.  What subject did you secretly love (if any) at school? It wasn’t a secret – I was a huge geek! I loved Maths, Phsyics and History.
8.  How long can you hold your breath for? (Timer)
9.  Is there a recurring theme to your dreams/nightmares? Yes … my husband cheating on me in every way possible including the one where I was so angry I actually threw him out of the house when I woke up. I dreamt he cheated on me with a 15yo male prostitute with AIDS and didn’t use a condom and had sex with me afterwards.
10.  What did you want to be when you grew up? A Vet
11.  Do you pick the red pill or the blue pill? Red I guess?

11 Questions for those who want to be tagged…

  1. What was your earliest memory?
  2. Eldest, youngest or only child?
  3. Original hair colour?
  4. Flats or Heels?
  5. How many children would you like?
  6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life what would it be?
  7. Morning person or night owl?
  8. Tea or Coffee?
  9. Skirt or Pants?
  10. Favourite place in the whole world?
  11. Favourite season?

Looking forward to seeing if anyone takes up the challenge.

project:girl

 

 

 

Becoming the best parent I can be.

Our first might have only just been born when flicking through some parenting magazine or another something caught my eye. I can’t remember if it was an article, and editorial or just a quote. But it said something about being concious to make their face light up when their child came into the room.

I was never one to follow parenting advice, though I may possibly have read nearly every book I could get my hands on with my first child, but for some reason that tiny portion of some unknown parenting magazine became almost my parenting …. code? Catch cry? Moral? I can’t find the right word for it. But that’s what it was.

My eldest is almost 12 … so I guess I have been parenting for almost 12 years. There have been plenty of cranky mama moments. Lots of frustration. Wondering how I can possibly cope with that day. But when I am at my worst that thought comes floating into my head and I tend to sort myself out.

At first it was a concious thing. I would make myself do it. Of course it wasn’t hard, as my girls have all bought me more joy than I could have ever imagined. The it was a natural reflex. Sometimes I am aware that I am doing it, but more often than not it is just what happens when I see one of my lovely girls.

Now I will never claim to be a perfect parent. I am far from it. But I know that it will be the little things my girls remember. After all that’s what I remember. I remember usually getting the feeling that my presence was some great annoyance or inconvenience to my parents. Even now sometimes when I call my mum she sighs and there is a not so well concealed tone in her voice that by just calling her I have interrupted her. It’s probably one of the most distressing things as a child and even now.

I always tell my girls how beautiful they are. How lovely they are. How funny, charming and bright they are. I sometimes wonder if it is the right thing to do. I don’t want them to think that those words limit who they are. But after talking to a lovely, beautiful, intelligent woman recently (you know who you are) and she told me her parents had never said she was beautiful. My heart just broke. How could a parent not let their child know just how just how special and beautiful she was? In that moment all doubt left my mind. If I think something wonderful about my children, why shouldn’t I tell them. I don’t want them to ever wonder.

I also have learnt that you can always apologise. Sometimes I am irritable and cranky. My girls have so much tolerance for my flawed ways, but it never hurts to apologise for it anyway. It lets them know that while I am human, nothing I did was because of them.

One of the things I try to do is to be aware of my flaws and try to do something about it. It is all to easy to be proud and not want to admit that you do anything wrong. Usually you don’t want to know because it hurts to admit that you may have hurt someone unintentionally. It is even harder to admit that you may have done something to hurt your children.

A few years ago I was working so hard, that even when I was home…I wasn’t. My head was always in work and even a trip to the park with my girls I would answer my work phone and check emails. I never really listened and found myself absent-mindedly saying yes to something only to realise what I had agreed to too late. I hated that but I was so busy it rarely even registered that I had done it.

Again I am going to fall back to my mum here. When I talk to my mum, I know that she isn’t really listening. She never did. Which is why she constantly tells this story about how her name rhymed with my youngest brothers name and the name I was going to pick for my first son was going to rhyme. She never heard me tell her that our first (and only) son was lost at 16 weeks and we did name him that. She hasn’t heard me the five or six times I have told her. And every time she tells that story not only am I reminded of my beautiful baby boy…but of the fact that she never even hears the most important things I say.

I started to become more concious of the fact that I was not paying enough attention when my girls were speaking. SO I have started to make a concious effort to put down whatever I am doing (reading, washing dishes, knitting) or to take my fingers off the keyboard if I am using the computer (I can type while talking and not watching…I like to pretend I can also listend while doing this….but I can’t). I won’t lie – I find this really, really hard. I am easily distracted and I don’t always find the things the girls are talking about even remotely interesting (like the pet shop game on their ipods). But who am I to say what is important or not. So I am trying, really hard, to pay attention to everything they say to me. It is not important if I don’t want to listen to them talk about the stupid game any more, the important thing is they know they can come to me and talk to me about anything and that I will sit and listen to them.

As an example….this particular post has taken me 2.5 hours to write. I have stopped to look at ipod screens, to answer questions (about the internet black out that is currently happening), to help them start etsy accounts and to see their latest lego mini-figure.

I am very lucky to have such wonderful daughters. But more importantly, I want them to one day be able to say that they were lucky to have me as a mum.

project:girl

note: I am not a religious person or even a particularly spiritual one. But somewhere, sometime, I read about an interesting notion that we pick our parents. Mainly for them to learn from us. I always found it a bit laughable in my case as I can’t imagine me ever choosing two people who couldn’t be less suited to having children. For some reason today when one of my twins was snuggled next to me I asked her if she remembered picking me as her mum and she said yes. She couldn’t give me much more information and I let it drop and she went out to have breakfast. Not long after her twin sister was curled up next to me and I asked her the same question. She told me that her and her sister both picked me from all the other mums and thats how they became twins. While I think I lead them with the question and I know to take it with a grain of salt, I couldn’t help my eyes fill with happy lovely tears. To think out of all the possible people in the world they picked me…not just one, but two at the same time. It is just such a lovely, lovely thought. I didn’t know where else to put this….but I want to remember it.

 

Random

I haven’t written much about how things are going mentally and with the girls father. Trying to be positive is hard work so this is my random thoughts post.

I can tell how I am doing by my inbox. If there is under 5 things in there I am doing great, have lots of energy and just generally feeling good. 10 things and I am starting to reach a point where I can’t respond to everyone. This is a big warning sign for me as when I get really badly depressed, the time I most need to be around people, I withdraw. I currently have 35 emails in my inbox. Each requires some sort of action that at the moment I can’t seem to bring myself to do. While I am struggling to respond, I have still maintained my connections. I am still going out and seeing people and even talking on the phone.

If I have to hear the girls father whine about one more thing I am going to get stabby. I always knew he whined and ranted…but I didn’t realise how much effort I put in to listen to him and try to make him feel heard and appreciated. I don’t have the slightest inclination to do it any more. I find it irritating. He never saw me as a particularly attentive wife…but I clearly was doing something that I no longer have the capacity for. Just one more sign that it is really over this time.

I have started to be more honest and upfront. Considering I thought I was a brutally honest person this was an interesting turn. I hate confrontations of any kind so I tend to just ignore things when they are bad. I had a friend who I had gotten quite close to. She worked with the girls dad and became such a huge support while I was in hospital and I adored her. At a time when everyone I knew was turning their back on me she would email me to see how I was going. Then I broke up with the girls dad and any time I mentioned a problem I was having with him she became …. weird. Seeing as how I had yet to have a female friend that didn’t end up sleeping with, or at least attaching themselves to, him I assumed she was one of the many that worship him and I stopped responding to emails and twitter. A few days before xmas she emailed me to tell me she missed talking to me and she didn’t know what happened. Instead of ignoring it I told her how I felt. It turns out she just felt awkward because she doesn’t like to say bad things about anyone. We have now caught up a bit and I am feel like an idiot for not saying something earlier.

My brother and his girlfriend moved out. My house is so quiet now. I miss him. I don’t miss his girlfriend or the drama that went on between them. I thought that this would mean less ranting from the girls father (who ranted at him or about him all day long) instead he spent the last two weeks ranting about all the things my brother used to do instead of enjoying the quiet. Not sure I get it.

I am slowly starting to notice what a selfish pig I married. Take out the googly eyes and the loving adoration I had for 12 years and he is really quite a jerk. All the things I was willing to put up with for love, I just can’t any more. He is getting more and more upset as I no longer hold back when he is being an asshole.

Starting back at school/formal work has been great. It has bought us all together again. Even in a tiny house we are always spread out doing our own thing. Now we have a reason to come together for at least 3-4 hours a day.

The girls have FINALLY started swimming lessons. Never living close enough to a pool or driving have meant the girls have never really had formal lessons. There is so much of the world I want to show them and I realised them not being able to swim is a huge roadblock. But I don’t want them having evening lessons as it gets too cold to come home on public transport. Finally I found a swim school who is willing to teach them through the day. This week they have gone to lessons everyday and next week it will be one day a week. They are already making rapid progress.

I love my girls so much that it physically hurts me when they aren’t happy or unwell. I get so incredibly distressed. Our beautiful middle child has been struggling lately. She is unable to talk about feelings, emotions and even her health. I accept that totally and never pry. But recently she was sick and she just couldn’t tell us. It was awful and lots of tears all round. I offered to buy her a book that she can keep in her room and write in when she needs to tell us something. Will see how that works.

After being a computer addict and spending more than 16 hours a day online for 12 years (I am not always sitting here….but my laptop is always open) I am finding I can’t sit at the computer much any more. I have been reading a lot and actually leaving the bedroom to watch stuff on tv and not taking my laptop with me. I like it.

Me + heat = wilted me. I can’t cope when it gets above 25/26 degrees. When its in the 30’s I get physically ill. I throw up, get dizzy, sweat pours off me and I can’t eat. Takes me days to recover. Not looking forward to the rest of the week at all.

project:girl

Reading Out Loud

I don’t have many fond memories of my mum, it’s unfortunate but that’s just the way it is. But one memory I do have, in fact all my siblings have, is the time she took to read to us out loud. Our favourites were the Far Away Tree book and the Wishing Chair books by Enid Blyton. She was never embarrassed or restrained and did all the crazy voices and we would crack up laughing at some of them. When we lived with her briefly (my last ditch attempt at trying to help her sort out her life), even though I was in my late twenties and had four kids of my own, I would curl up with the kids and listen to her reading. I loved it.

I read out loud to the girls from the time I was about 6 months pregnant with our eldest. I don’t know if she heard me, and I wasn’t reading anything specific (sometimes pregnancy books, a novel I was reading or even a newspaper or magazine) or any outstanding literature. I felt a little silly at first, but then it just became natural. I remember reading to my bleary eyed 5 week old daughter and her looking at the page and calming as I read. I read to them a lot. So did their father. They would look at books all the time, before they could read, and were always so careful with them. We have rarely had to replace a book…even after 4 babies had read it. Books were always on a shelf low enough that they could reach.

As they got older I shared with them my love of Dr. Suess. They learnt that no one could read “Fox in Socks” the way mum could. I had a knack for tongue twisters and reading it super fast would make them almost wet themselves with laughter (I can still recite almost the entire book from memory).

But as they became independent (and voracious) readers I stopped reading to them.

There were (and still are) times when all of us have a book and are all reading in the same space. Our girls love books and I think reading to them early and often and seeing us always with a book in our hands helped foster that love. But it’s not quite the same as being read to.

So when we got our second hand copy of “Seven Little Australians” the twins asked me to read it to them. An odd request that I hadn’t heard in years. So I said yes.

When I started reading the first chapter, my beautiful twins laid down on my bed to listen. It was the middle of the day and up until this point I had not seen them ever sit still while they were concious. Then all of a sudden my middle child was on the bed. She never lets anyone select her reading for her, so seeing her come in and make herself comfortable to listen was odd. Half a chapter in our eldest appeared (and demanded we start all over as she missed out). Our eldest two can finish a 500 page novel in about 5 hours. What were they doing sitting here listening to a story they would normally consider too baby-ish?

I stumbled over the words at first, not used to reading out loud. I was self concious. As I got further into the book I started to slow down, it wasn’t a race. I didn’t just want to get it over with so they would bugger off. I wanted them to enjoy it. I started adding in voices. They laughed at jokes made in language that I was sure was beyond them. It was a real bonding experience.

I spoke to my mum on the phone later that day. I had been arguing with the girls father about what to send my youngest brother (who is 12) for Christmas. I wanted to send a book and he was adamant that my little punk electronic head brother would never read it. Mum informed me that he read all the time. But even though he watches more television than anything else she still reads to him. He starts highschool in a few weeks, but mum still tucks him into bed each night and reads to him. She told me they were reading The Faraway Tree and for just a few moments I was jealous.

project:girl