Monday, 16 January 2017

Embracing 2017



Everyone that has been here for a while will know how I feel about new year’s resolutions and that given my history of depression I find it rather difficult to be an optimist at the best of times, in reality I am a pessimist all though I would like to argue that I am a realist but you get the picture.
This past while I have taken the time to really reflect on the past year of 2016 and I have really thought about this year and where I want us to be as a family as well as personally, I am trying to make a point of being positive and quite honestly guys I can feel the change and it is… well wonderful.

Personally I have started setting aside 40 minutes every night for zumba, I have found in the past that keeping active, fit and healthy has an incredibly positive impact on my mood and overall wellbeing and the alone time in the zone helps me just vent out any frustrations I have from the day in a positive way, in order to get back onto the healthy eating train I have signed up for a bloggers challenge that follows the so fit so well plan, I know in essence it is aimed at weight loss but this year I just want to focus on being fit and happy so for me it is more about pushing myself back into the mind-set of healthy eating, I fell off the bandwagon hard over the last few months and I could feel the impact it was having on my body and general mood… I didn’t like it and I knew that it had to change, when it comes to healthy eating and even weightless the only person that can change you is you, and so far I am feeling great.

I have also started focusing on taking better care of myself, my mom took me to have my hair and nails done for my birthday in December last year and it was honestly the first time I have done anything like that in years, every single person I encountered told me that I need to take more time for myself for my own mental health’s sake as well as for the sake of being a better parent as a happy person is a better parent if you get what I am saying, now I don’t have the money or the time to have my hair and nails done every month but I have taken note and more interest in how I present myself every day and I think that it has helped me so much.

Another thing I have tried my hardest to do every day is to slow down, to take every moment with my kids that I can and if need be to leave the cleaning etc to spend some more time with them, to take an interest in their day, beforehand I would rush home, rush to get food done and the kids bathed so they would be in bed by 7 30 I now take my time and they are in bed just after 8, that extra half an hour or so has done so much for us as a family.

Finally now that my hubby is no longer working weekends and extended hours at night I have found that as a family we are connecting more and I have also found that I can start focusing on a bit of a family social life, when I started having kids my friendship circle dropped dramatically and I just found that I no longer found the time to connect with other adults my age or to find playmates for the kids we were mainly stuck at home and had to work around the complicated visitation schedule we had… it was just chaos.

Financially it is a difficult time for us but the time spent out and about visiting, having braais and sitting down for tea etc has done so much for us as a family and I am finding that we can make it work if we just plan ahead of time, the boys are happier they get to interact with family and make friends of their cousins etc and we get some time out with other adults and can relax a bit, by the time we get home the boys are tired and happy and I end up walking into work on Monday with a smile on my face…

Speaking of which that’s actually another thing, I felt like last year I had developed a bit of depression surrounding my work life, I felt like I was going nowhere and that every day was repetitive… I think I also resented the time at work because Loghan especially needed my focus and attention and I felt that by being a working mom I couldn’t give it to him… I have realised that I can and that I love my job, I like being a working mom, as much as I love and miss my kiddos I have realised that I need it, it gives me another purpose and keeps me sane lol.

As far as the kids are concerned, Loghan started at his new school last week and the change already has been incredible!!!  This morning he asked me if he could swim before school, I immediately said no because it is a school day, he said ok mommy…. My jaw must have dropped, in the past this would have evoked a 30 minute minimum argument filled with tears and screaming and arguing followed by a school phone call to collect him… I hugged him and told him how proud I was of him!

I think the living situation change has also done a lot, our home is for the most part peaceful no, no more struggling every day from sun up to sun down and mentally it has had a wonderful effect on us all!
I also want Loghan to focus on meeting his peers and socialising this year, on his second day he told me the one child hid his bottle in the sand, he said that it wasn’t very nice of him but he didn’t fight or hurt him like he would have done in the past, I was incredibly proud that he stepped back and made the correct decision, I know it seems small and silly to people with a neurotypical child but for us he moved a mountain in that moment and my heart felt so full.

Financially as I said above we are not in a great space and I know this year is going to be tough… but I know that we can make it through, I just know that we can make this year great… all of us together, 2017 is going to be great and filled with many great milestones and moments and I for one am looking forward to embracing each and every one of them!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Back to school =)

So the first day of school has passed and I for one am very happy with how it all went yesterday.

First off Jesse started last week already, he has been a bit emotional since going back after a month home with us but otherwise he loves his new class teacher and has settled in nicely.

Gabriel is now in Grade two… give me strength, at least I didn’t cry ok, he was happy to report that he had an AWESOME day yesterday and that he absolutely LOVES his new teacher, who he chose by the way, he told his teacher last year who he wanted to go to, apparently when he was elbowed above the eye and had to have stitches done, his teacher was the one to help him and he has liked her ever since, so there you go.  I didn’t even get a picture yesterday things were just so busy and I had 3 different places to go to, this was also a big step[ for us as we officially took Gabriel off the medication his was on for impulse control, after good feedback from his teacher last year we decided it was time and it has been great so he is now on a natural supplement but other than that nothing which makes my heart sing with joy =)

Lastly there was Loghan, now I dropped Loghan off last yesterday due to the route as well as him starting later than Gabriel and I have to say guys what a difference, when we went to drop Gabriel off he had to go into his old school with us, we were not even there two minutes before he became visibly agitated and upset, he started stimming and rocking and kept pulling me to go.

I honestly thought that it was such a mistake and his day would be ruined but as we pulled up to his new school his face literally lit up and he bounded out of the car eager to get inside.

Once inside we waited for the owner who welcomed him with a hug and then asked another child to show him around, I walked away from a VERY happy child for the first time in I cannot tell you how long.

When I fetched him his face lit up as he called out to me and told me his day was awesome, according to the owner he dig nag to swim but otherwise was fine so I had a conversation with him and he agreed and apologised saying he was excited, when he gets excited he fixates and so I’m sure today that will not be a problem but he was very excited to tell me about the new friends he made and how awesome his day was.
Last night I had 3 kiddos asleep by 8, no arguments or issue and it was wonderful.

I went to bed with a light heart and a relief that I cannot explain… I cannot wait to see what the year will bring us!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

My issues with Schooling and the schooling system in this country...

Over the last few weeks I have seen numerous postings by irate mothers angry about not being able to get their children into a school of their choosing or into any school for that matter due to the schools not having enough place to accommodate the growing numbers that are needed.

Loghan is 10 this year so I have had a number of years in the schooling system and they have made me realise that not only is our government shite at prioritising and giving our country what it needs in terms of infrastructure, schools, sanitation among many other things but our schooling system itself is just terrible and has dropped to an all time low when compared to past ways etc.

If you look at our schools currently and the amount of schools we have, there are just not enough to accommodate the numbers of children that need to go into them every year, no new schools are being built and the numbers are increasing at lightening speed.

So children are forced into classes of almost 40 kids with ONE teacher... have you tried to teach or even speak to 40 kids at once and keep everything orderly and calm? I played 'babysitter" to my sons class last year whilst they were doing a 3 nightly production, they asked for mom volunteers and we were given shifts between two moms per class and let me tell you it is near impossible to keep that amount of kids quiet and orderly, teachers are saints!!!

So like I was saying you are pushing 40 kids into a tiny classroom with 1 teacher, the work load has increased significantly and even though the pass rate for high school level has dropped to a disgusting level of 20 percent... just let that sink in for a minute will you 20 percent and with that the kids can go on to study things that really should demand at least a proper pass rate... can you imagine having a doctor who only passed with 20 percent... 

Anyway so the work load and pressure has increased leaving no time for one on one attention for the kids which is very much needed, the kids are being pushed through even when they fail because the department does not want the kids to stay back or fail, which is unacceptable if a child fails by a marginal amount the decision should be in the parents hands as it can be very detrimental for a child later on in life.

Kids are being forced onto meds they do not need to accommodate this classroom environment and I say this with having a special needs child on medication myself, not all the kids need meds and please explain to me why children as young as grade 3 are needing anti anxiety meds to cope with the ever mounting pressure, then of course they get to highschool and no worries you just fall alseep and do what you want because 20 percent is all you need to pass.

Completely and utterly flawed!!!!

I have spoken to and been through many many teachers in the last few years and I feel just as bad for them as I do the kids because there are so many amazing teachers who just cannot be who they need to be and provide the kids with the teaching and attention they need due to all the constant admin/ paperwork and amount of children and now the growing numbers of special needs kids as well which the schooling system is just not able to cope with.

The government refuses to pay for and allocate more teachers the school has to make up for the costs of extra teachers with escalating school fees and everything that is needed to help keep the schools in good condition is often reliant on fundraising and yet more money from the parents and teachers own pockets.

And yet schooling in this country is compulsory and gods forbid you go the homeschooling route because the department of education has a fit, I corresponded with a lady last year from the department who was probably the most unhelpful person I have ever dealt with and it was very clear from the correspondence that the department frowns very heavily on a parent taking their child's education into their own hands... and yet they offer no solutions or better options.

For us it was a remedial school, both of which in our surrounding area have 2 year waiting lists as well as growing class number so that will not work for Loghan and many other special needs kids as well, then there is private school and of course every parent can afford that right, and our last option was tutor or homeschooling, which is what we opted for, I am extremely happy with this decision and as time goes on I becoming ever more inclined to put my other two in a tutor school as well, the subject options are broader, you have a choice of curriculum's including international ones, your child will get the individual attention that they need in a much much smaller group, there are no uniforms and in a tutor or cottage school your child still gets socialisation with other children, and there are many homeschooling communities as well that put together extra activities and outings for the kids.

Its not getting any better and it won't until our government starts giving a two cent about the people in this country and our future generations, I for one whilst I understand the growing frustration and anger would rather find an alternative to having my child in a class of what may very well be 50 or so in the future, its scary because for some people there really is no option and so many children will just end up with no schooling because their parents dont have another choice and its wrong and unacceptable.