Abby’s Class Situation – Update

Last Friday we went to talk to Abby’s principal to discuss the possibility of changing her to the other prep-class at the school.

We made the deal with her, that we would observe Abby at home and she would make sure the teachers did the same at the school.

As the perfect mum I am, I had forgotten the meeting and arranged a surf trip instead. Yep, just hand me that mum of the year reward now, thanks!

Anyways, Josh was a champ and went to the meeting alone, while I took Lulu and Billie to the beach. Hey, I have been to numerous meetings and parent things without Josh, so I think it was completely fine that he did it. And I completely trusted him with the task.

I think we both kinda knew the outcome before hand, really.

On the very positive side, the school has actually taken our concerns very serious. The principal herself has talked to Abby, about her friends in the class, three times during the week. She has also talked to the other students to paint a pattern of their friendships. And she saw one – a pattern. This means that Abby has connected with a couple of other kids whom she consistently during the week mentioned as her friends – and who also mentioned her. All good.

That she still prefers playing with a couple of kids from the other class is okay as long as she starts to feel “at home” in her own class as well.

Our main concern was actually the conservative teaching methods used by Abby’s teacher. This we have chosen to let go a bit. Mainly to keep the good spirit. For Abby’s sake. We might take it up later on if it evolves in a direction we can’t accept.

Bottom line is – Abby stays in her class and it’s okay. At least we made the teachers aware of our concerns and I honestly think they have been more focused on the social integration this past week. I could be seeing what I want to see, but that’s my experience – and I am still happy that we didn’t just let it be.

❤️

Helicopter Parents In The Making

We felt like naughty, little school kids getting sent to the office, but we did it. We went to the principal’s office to have a chat to her about Abby’s class situation as we will like her to change classes. We have been talking about doing it for a while – basically since Abby started school. Yet, we doubted it a lot during the past weeks. Were we over-concerned? Or over-controlling? Should we just let it go?

Having children is such a constant learning process. As soon as you have adapted to their current development stage they change and their circumstances change as well.

We have never had a school child before and we know that she will have to learn to act withing the immediate school setting she gets put in – she can’t just change teachers or class mates whenever she (or we) feels like it.

However, this is only prep and getting a good start to her school life is so important, so we decided to follow our gut feelings and take action. And I am glad we did.

We Have Tried it Before

Last year, when we just moved to Brisbane, we put Abby and Billie into a preschool which they absolutely hated – not from the word go, but after a short while. It was horrible. Still, we could have said “it will probably get better soon”. We considered doing so. Thinking we were overreacting and that it’s normal that kids are sad when starting a new place.

But it just felt wrong and we had to trust our gut feelings. We moved them to another preschool and it was the best thing we have done for them. The new preschool – the one where Billie is in now – is amazing and the girls immediately blossomed there.

Abby hasn’t been miserable in her current class. She’s doing okay, but she’s not loving it either. Especially socially. She hasn’t really connected with the other children yet – and to be honest, I think there’s already a bit of a toxic environment going on there. A couple of, apparently popular, girls already teaming up ignoring the other girls when they feel like it. Girls! Seriously, they are five years old!

In the other class Abby has a couple of friends already and the girls seem pretty chilled – as well as the teacher.

The chemistry between us and her current teacher could be better. Her way of teaching is quite conservative and old fashioned and I hope the other teacher will suit us and Abby better. You see, to really florish Abby needs to be set free a bit. She is so true to authorities that it almost becomes a hindrance, if you ask me. She will do anything to please the teacher, so if the teacher is very strickt, Abby won’t try to think “out of the box” or follow her own creativity – she will just sit straight up and down (with her hands on her knees, because that’s “the rule”) and “always do as the teacher asks – also when the other kids are being little chatter boxes”.

That ability probably will be a general advantage in this rather conservative australian school system, but if we can push her a bit in the other direction we will. Afterall, I did write a post only this week about how being scared of making mistakes has always been a huge disadvange for me and still is to this very day.

So, Will She Move or Stay?

Anyway, the final decision whether to move her or not will be taken next Friday, when we go there for a follow-up meeting.

The principal took us very serious and her and the two prep teacher will observe Abby during next week and then make a decision based on their findings – together with our informations about Abby’s behaviour before and after school (she has complained about stomach pains a couple of mornings).

No matter what, just the fact that we acted on our concerns feels good. And even if she stays in her current class I hope that her teacher, now being aware of our concerns, will be encouraged to integrate the kids better socially.

School should be fun when you’re only five years old❤️

Google knows

If only kids were IKEA furniture or LEGO figures. That would be amazing, huh? Not because I wish they were delivered on pallets (even if that would be convenient) or made out of colorful plastic – but because I wish they came with a manual. A good, easy to follow manual. A no BS manual, taking you from one step to another until you have your finished, relatively perfect, product in the end. Yeah, that would be great.

Unfortunately that is not really the case. Or…

Google knows quite a lot about kids, actually. In fact, the number one parenting skill you will need and that I have learned to master within the past 5.5 years will definitely be the fine art of information retrieval from the world wide web via our old mate, Google.

We’ve all done it. Googled the baby’s poo, the food, the teeth, the fever, the rash, the milestones, the tantrums, the “how much sand can an eight month old actually contain?”, the “when can I expect my child to make me dinner and fold my washing?”…we’ve done it. And you know what, I will keep on doing it. No regrets!

Hey, I did it last night. I Googled: “Is our five year old daughter turning into a little maniac?”

And wooptidoodledoo I got, not one, but lots of hits on that exact theme – five year olds who are acting like maniacs.

Hmmmm. So, we’re obviously not alone and it seems like a rather normal issue. That is kinda relieving.

Okay, Google: “What to do, when your five year old is behaving like a little maniac?”

Google says: “Calm the f*ck down, take a chill-pill and keep on smiling!”

Touché.

A while ago we did a week of basically that. We decided to try to only focus on the positive things she did and said and to only approach her in a positive manner – and her sisters, for that matter. The results from that were actually surprisingly good and fast. We saw a change in attitude instantly. It felt amazing and we were all so much more relaxed and happy during that period.

So why didn’t we just keep it up, then? I am not sure. Somehow we just didn’t maintain it and it is so easy to slip back into bad habits, I guess.

We will try again. We will basically try to positively encourage Abby and her sisters to be good human beings. We will be focusing on all the things they do and say right, instead of constantly correcting them and telling them what they are doing wrong. And last, but definitely not least, we will try to be better role models ourselves. We have to get better at holding them no matter how crazy they act – tell ourselves that in those situation they need us the most and that they don’t do it to be mean or “bad” – they do it because they are kids with undeveloped brains and giant emotions going ballistic inside them. And sometimes we just gotta count to ten, or a million.

Frankly having a maniac child can be a bit of a downer on the party vibe, but even if Abby doesn’t change her behaviour immediately the mood in our house will – if we stick to our positive plan – and that in itself will be a victory.

Thanks google. Stay foolish, mate❤️


First day of school revisited

I thought I would just give you guys a little update on Abby’s first day of school yesterday, since the start of it didn’t go exactly as smoothly as I had imagined – you can read about it here if you haven’t already.

Our little Abby. She can be wild, she can be challenging, she can be tuff – but deep down, she is such an emotional little girl. When we picked her up her eyes got all teary and she gave us a huge hug, but she was happy. She had – as expected – had a good day.

I went to the library and I learned Japanese.

Boom! Straight into it. Not that she could remember a word of what she had learned. That will come – and to boost her Japanese learning curve I am already dreaming of a trip to Japan sometime soon-ish. For purely educational purposes, of course. It will benefit her education immensely if she knows how to ski on a Japanese slope, I’m sure.

So, how about my worries about all of her friends being in the other class? Well, as soon as she went outside to the playground she went straight to her new best friend – who is in the other class. They are like two peas in a pod. AND he lives in our street. They are freakin’ cute – and his parents are really nice too. It’s all good. They can be in separate classes and still be friends, obviously.

However, we are actually contemplating moving her, if possible. Not only because of my little cry yesterday (again, see yesterday’s post here), but more due to some other circumstances surrounding the class structure. E.g. the other class is a mix of prep and year one students, and Abby actually should have started prep last year, hence be in year one this year. That means she is the oldest in her class at the moment, while in the other class she would be mixed with both younger kids, kids of her own age and older kids. That seems a good mix to me, but we will have a chat to her teachers and the principal and hear their view on the matter and take it from there.

After school we went straight to pick Billie up from preschool and from there to the pool for a swim and Abby’s swimming lesson. It was a bit of a test, really. I had my doubts that she would get anything at all out of her swimming lesson after a long (first) day of school – how wrong I was. She has never been so focused and hard working in a swimming lesson before. Maybe it helped a bit, that her new coach is called Lucas – the first male teacher she has ever had – she definitely wanted to impress him 🙂

Afterwards we treated the girls to pizza and ice cream in Bulimba. To be honest, it was mainly because I couldn’t be f**ked cooking dinner. The pizza was good, the ice cream was better – and the non-cleaning after dinner was the best.

It really was a great day! Until we found out Abby had a high fever and had fever night mares all evening. Poor little one. She was so sad she would miss out on her second day of school – but the little trooper has the strongest immune-system in town and was completely fever free this morning.

So off to school she went.

Happy as ever❤️

We’ve Got a School Child

Abby started school today. Real school. Big school, as she calls it. Wow!…I thought I was cool about it. I wasn’t. Not at all. I freakin’ cried when I left the classroom. What?! Obviously it was partly due to the fact that my first born all of a sudden has grown up and starts school – and that I lay awake half the night reminiscing all of our fun times together at home and out and about the past 5.5 years (somehow all the tantrums and conflicts had already faded).

However, it knocked me over that it wasn’t what I had expected. I had prepared for one thing in my mind and I wasn’t ready for this. I wasn’t ready for the chaos. It seemed extemely chaotic in the room and, more importantly, I wasn’t prepared for not knowing anybody.

Before Christmas Abby went to prep orientation on two different days. Days where she spent two hours in the prep-room with other future prep-kids while us parents (read.mums) were hanging out together in the yard. It was actually really nice. After those two days I had a great feeling in my stomach and in my heart – this was going to be good. Good for Abby and good for me. You see, Abby connected with some really nice kids, who she already started calling her friends – kids who had mums who I also connected with. Say what?!! Ever since Abby was a baby everyone has been saying “just wait ’til she starts school, that’s when you’re going to get a great network of friends amongst the other parents”. Yeah, I have always been a bit sceptical about this, since finding new friends amongst my kids’ friends’ parents have been a bit up hill so far. However, during those orientation days I actually felt like it was going to happen. It didn’t feel awkward, it just felt pretty nice and natural to hang out with these other mums. That, my friends, means a lot to someone who gets minor anxiety everytime I have to get near anything parent-related.

So, back to today. Abby started prep and in amongst all the chaos there were no familiar faces. No kids or adults we knew. All the kids who she connected with during orientation have gone into the other class. Auch!

She somehow felt the same as me, I’m sure. She started crying and didn’t want to let go of me. I hadn’t expected her to react like that at all, but I cannot blame her. She expected to walk into a room of familiar faces and there were none. Thankfully, a teachers aid who she had met during orientation came and helped her settle. And at least I didn’t cry until we had left the room. Geez. I used to be so tuff.

But hey, I know she’ll be fine. I know she’ll make friends in her class in no time. But I still think it sucks that she’s not in the class with the kids with the mums that I like – buhuuu! (I know, I know…there probably are some really nice parents amongst this new group as well, it was just so calming to know that I had already crossed the awkward “hi, so…yeah, I’m Abby’s mum – which kid is yours? Where abouts do you live”-part).

Phew! Okay, now that it’s out of my system (thanks for listening), I’ll try to enjoy the first day in a loooong time with only one child around. And I cannot wait to pick up my Abby in 4 hours – I’m sure she’ll be all smiles – and so will I❤️

BUT IT WAS JUST A ROUTINE CHECK…

“There’s a chance Lulu might be deaf”

…those were the words Josh told me on the phone yesterday. I was at uni, about to go into a seminar, and Josh had taken Lulu to the hospital to get her hearing tested. A test that we thought would simply be a matter of routine. Something more to check off. Been there done that. No issue. I expected to hear nothing but good news from that conversation. I was not prepared for the opposite.

All sorts of worst-case-scenarios invaded my mind in a milisecond. Followed by a bit of disbelief. My perfect baby. Surely she can’t be deaf. Or…

Then I put it all aside and went into my seminar. For two hours I engaged in discussions about the evil of the media society and laughed a bit about this week’s golden comment; “I know some of you in here haven’t tried to vote yet”.

In that moment the contrast to my life outside the class room was ridiculous.

As the seminar ended and I got on my bike to ride home my mind and body gave in. Tears started filling up my eyes and thoughts like “what if she never gets to hear music?” popped up in my head. I just wanted to go home. I just needed to be with my baby.

Ohh, the emotions when I finally got to cuddle her. I cried a little. And cuddled her even more. She was happy as always and it comforted me a bit. Even if she can’t hear us she definitely still enjoys life.

Then I started googling. Because I needed to know more. Just in case. I learned that 1 in 1000 babies has hearing problems. I learned that deaf babies can get cochlear implants and potentially learn to hear and speak. I also learned that it’s relatively normal that the hearing tests fails due to liquid in the babies ears from the birth or from a cold. Lulu has already had several colds and is currently getting over one. So maybe that’s just it. Liquid in her ears causing the test to fail. But we don’t know.

We have another test scheduled in two weeks. Until then we’re living with the hope that it was simply a faulty test – but the doubt is there too. Of course.

Should the next test give us another negative result we will manage and as Josh said:

“Well, then we just have to learn sign-language”

And luckily there are really good treatment possibilities should we have to cross that bridge later on. But for now we stay in limbo, enjoy our perfect baby and make some random loud noises around her once in a while in hope she reacts.

❤️

It’s a GIRL…or is it a BOY?

The wait is over. We can finally reveal that we have a good looking baby on it’s way. Those were the exact words of the sonographer today, as I finally had the 20-week ultrasound done. At 21 weeks, because I have a goldfish’s memory when it comes to booking doctor’s appointments and stuff. Anyway, the baby has 10 fingers and 10 toes. A heart, that’s beating well. A couple of kidneys and everything else that a human being is supposed to have to function at a decent level. All good!

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Whether it has my short – but ohh so strong – legs or Josh’s lanky danky long legs is still a mystery. That, we will reveal around May 29th. but we do have something else we will like to reveal to you here and now………….

IT’S A…………GIRL!!!!

Yep, another girl will join our tribe, Josh will remain the man of the house and we are very excited. Because girls are awesome! And all that really matters to us is that the baby is healthy and comes out ready to take on the world with us.

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The ultrasound was a family affair. Josh, both of the girls and my cousin, Penelope was there. It was actually really nice and the girls thought it was very exciting to see their new little sister – until they didn’t find it that exciting anymore and Josh took them to the playground while the sonographer finished off the job. The sonographer, who was actually doing an excellent job. We’ll definitely use him again for our next baby…or…wait a minute…see you never, mate, but thanks!

Now, on to finding the perfect name for our third lil’ baby girl! Feel free to hit us up with all the great girls’ names you have in mind – because we’ve kinda used up a lot of the great ones we can think of already 🙂

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Luv M.