There is a clear theme running through my blog posts.
I am exhausted.
I am busy, and generally happy, but exhausted. My man tells me I try to do too much. I probably do. But the extra bits – science club, singing, running, Poetry Teatimes, online writing courses, trekking across Sydney to homeschooling meetups, and seeing my friends (when I can) – are the things that keep me going. The mundane stuff – cooking everyone’s meals nearly every day, tidying up, hassling the children to get out of the house, nagging them to do their work, reminding them to brush their teeth or tidy their rooms or to go to the toilet or to go to bed, and tidying up and cleaning again – is not fulfilling. I would rather squeeze all that into a tiny proportion of my life so that I can spend more time doing the things I enjoy. The drudge work takes up more of my time than I would like, and on top of that I add the activities I really do enjoy pursuing, and I end up overwhelmed.
Never mind. What else has been going on with us?
We all took part in the Sydney Running Festival on 22 September. I completed my first half marathon in 2:10:25 and I am incredibly proud of myself. Before about 17k I thought I might even get under 2 hours, but the last few kilometres were extremely hard and I really slowed down. Nevertheless, I did it. All the rest of the family ran in the Family Fun Run (3.5 k, plus the distance from the car to the start line) and I ate too much junk food afterwards and felt sick!
I don’t have a current photo of me running, although you can see several pre- or post- run photos if you join Manly Beach Mums on Facebook!
The next weekend was the Jazz Festival, with several stages from the Wharf to the Ocean Beach, plus market stalls down South Steyne. Drama King managed to get chatting about gemstones to a stallholder and was given a free bracelet for his friendliness.
Drama King has started kickboxing classes in Manly, along with Reptile Boy. He and Pokemon Boy still go to Little Athletics, and even attended a sprint training session in the holidays between Term 3 and 4. The big event in Drama King’s life came when he auditioned with Opera Australia to be in one of their summer operas. He didn’t get a part, but they asked him to come back another time when his voice had matured. According to his vocal teacher, this is rare praise from Opera Australia. Usually they would just say ‘no thanks’ without any explanation.
I was very proud of Drama King for learning his audition piece so quickly, improving clearly over the week, and for his confidence during the actual audition (at least, from what I could hear drifting through the closed door). Drama King has settled down significantly in the past few months. Drama King’s behaviour was particularly difficult in the middle of last term, when my man went away for 10 days that extended to two weeks. I got to the point when I felt we needed to seek professional help for Drama King’s behaviour. Luckily everything has calmed down and this is no longer necessary. Most of the time, I really enjoy having Drama King at home with the rest of us.
Reptile Boy has left his pre-school. He is ensconced in homeschooling life, and thriving. He doesn’t do academic work every day, but his reading and spelling are improving really quickly, and he has been spotted doing the same maths that his older brothers are learning. Reptile Boy enjoyed the first kickboxing class so much, he wanted to do it every day. I know what his Christmas present will be! He plays really well with his little sister and it is heartwarming to see them together. He has also started a drama class with Drama King, run by our multi-talented nanny. (I didn’t know she not only attended drama school but also used to teach drama.)
Princess is growing bigger. She is obsessed with fairies, princesses, Peppa Pig (still) and the colour pink. She loves to help around the apartment and to play with her older siblings. She is very attached to our wonderful nanny and chooses to stay at home when I go out. I am really pleased that we had the time and opportunity to work towards this gradually. Having our nanny around was never clearly linked to me going out, so they were able to build up an unpressured friendship. She loves climbing, drawing, dancing and making a mess (but sometimes she will help me clear the mess up afterwards). She had a long period when she seemed slightly ill and wanted to breastfeed and sleep a great deal. She seems to be out of that and woke up this morning happy and bouncy (just like Tigger). It’s good to see her back to her usual self again.
Pokemon Boy is behaving like a teenager, only two years early. In addition to the obvious physical changes, he stays up late, wakes up late, wanders around in his dressing gown most of the time and resists my pleading about regular showers. He would love to spend most of his time in his room reading and playing computer games, if allowed to. I have to keep a close eye on his computer activity (creating a Facebook account being not allowed until he really is 13.) He occasionally ventures out of his cave to go to the library, buy baked goods, catch the ferry and train to visit homeschooled friends, and (reluctantly) to go to Little Athletics.
In truth, I am very proud of him and I think he’s turning into a responsible, reliable young man. He is moving some way towards his current goal of being a computer game designer and has now published his first Minecraft adventure map. If you play Minecraft, please try it out and comment. He is also working through some of his unfinished work from this year and is completing written pieces and posting them on his blog fairly regularly. It’s good to see projects being tied up rather than left hanging. I’ve changed the way I approach his science work and have linked it to yet more reading. It’s made a difference in just a few days. He joined in with our little science group and impressed us all with his knowledge of space science, notwithstanding several jokes about Uranus.
I just wish he would wash a little more frequently (especially after athletics)!
I’m not the only one who is exhausted. My dear man is tired too. I think he would like to change his job but he hasn’t done anything about it. Most days, he comes home and falls asleep before the children. This doesn’t help me if it is supposed to be his night to put them to bed. He is hoping to do a sailing course soon and I think it will be great for him to have something to do outside of work and family responsibilities.
We had our application for permanent residency granted and are now on permanent visas. It was expensive and time-consuming, but I hope it will be worth it.
The Liberal party has won the federal election and proceeded to dismantle the Climate Commission and agree mining in the Barrier Reef. I certainly have mixed feelings about aligning myself with this country.
I haven’t run much since I did the half marathon. I am aiming to do the Manly to Shelly Beach swim with Bold and Beautiful before the end of the year, but I have only just started training for that. I am booking a babysitter to come some Sunday mornings so that my dear man and I can go swimming together. We don’t do very much together at the moment.
I am tired. I think I said that before. I am also stressed about moving out of our apartment after nearly 3 years here. Our landlord wants to move back in towards the end of January and they have given us notice. I am concerned that he, or the agency, will blame us for all the wear and tear since he started renting it out approximately 8 years ago. I received an upsetting e-mail after a recent home inspection, implying we were not looking after the apartment. I think there is a strong chance we could lose most of our bond (a significant amount of money) when we move out. I am planning to visit an advocacy group to find out what I should do to prevent this. I am also worried that they won’t bother fixing various things that need doing around the place, although we are putting up with them for now. My man has actually sent an e-mail about the air conditioning (which has been broken for a month now) saying we should pay less rent if they decide not to fix it. It may even be worth taking it to a tribunal, although that will take a lot of energy to go down this route. Do I have enough energy?
It’s time to do some serious decluttering, and then look for a new apartment. It’s not time to be weary!