Archives for category: Family life

Some days it’s an effort to even hold my shoulders up, let alone stand, walk around, talk and do all the things that an everyday-day requires…

Yesterday was one of those days. Oppressive heat, drowning levels of humidity, a to-do list 10 metres long. Strangely, I felt the lack of energy in the inside of my elbows – could barely hold my arms and shoulders up. Weird feeling but that’s the only way I can describe it. The weather reminded me of exactly why I left Australia – too hot to move, too hot to think, too hot to even lie listlessly on the sofa, every conversation dominated by the weather (and here I am still talking about it).

There was promise of a storm, but what came was a pathetic excuse for a thunderstorm, certainly not justifying the putting away of garden furniture and tying down of all lightweight items. However, it did rain rather heavily most of the night, so we woke up this morning to a blessed coolness. Hallelujah – I just can’t function in the heat.

I’m juggling work tasks and end-of-school-year obligations. Thank god it is holidays at the end of the week!

Yoga mat, originally uploaded by kitschenette.

I’ve taken up a yoga class on Wednesday mornings, and I love it (thank you, Asian genes, for making me flexible without having to work at it). When Bruno starts his new job in September I’m going to pick up an evening class as well. It feels so good to bend and stretch and flex.

I’m in bit of lull in between projects at the moment, and it’s a great feeling. There’s nothing niggling at the back of my mind, reminding me of all the things I should be doing. However, I am well aware its a calm-before-the-storm feeling, because I know I’m going to get busy again soon. So I’m trying to enjoy the feeling now while I can. I’m off to France this weekend, which promises to be fun and relaxing. I haven’t been to a concert since London, and I miss the sweaty atmospherics (hysterics?).

We received letters from the local school board a few days ago informing us of the kidlets’ new classes after summer – Max will be in the 4th class, and Lola entering the 1st (my baby! off to school already!). Max will be busy – he is at school every day from 8am-4.15pm, except Wednesday afternoons (and on Wednesday morning he starts at 7.25am. Awful. Luckily we live so close to the school). Schoolwork gets a lot more difficult too, we’ve heard. So there will be some changes for him ahead. To prepare for the upcoming hard times we’ve instituted a no TV/PSP/nintendo during the week policy – very unpopular, I tell you, but necessary, I think. Poor kids! Just left with books and bikes and scooters and hula hoops and drawing materials and skateboards and and and…it’s a tough life.

Lola will have Max’s old teacher, who I think is fine for little girls (the little boys proved tricky for her). Although she insists that she never wants to learn to read or do maths (instead being happy to draw and craft and crochet), I know that she is more than ready. She will have school every morning, as well as two afternoons a week (one more afternoon per week than what she has now at kindy). So that gives ME an extra afternoon per week of freedom! Whatever shall I do with that extra 2 hours…Of course, both kids come home for lunch everyday between 12-1.30pm so it does give them a big break in the middle of the day, but means I’m still not entirely free any day, really. But it’s definitely getting more manageable every year.

The rainy weekend forced us to turn our attention to home improvements of the more interesting kind. What started off as making a bit more space in Max’s room by consolidating his gigantic but poorly used bookcase turned into practically a whole house rearrangement…I’ve been moaning for quite a while now about how Bruno’s assortment of bike mags, how-to manuals, old cameras and lenses, obscure industrial gadgets and the like have been encroaching upon the tiny corner of our shared office space that I have managed to secure for myself. Now that I’ll be studying my little heart out again (ahem) I foresaw the need to be slightly more organised with more space for MY STUFF.

So I made the brilliant suggestion of keeping our upstairs office for ME and ONLY ME as I will be using it daily, and forcing Bruno to move his crap very valuable stuff downstairs into our concrete bunker spare room. I mean, it’s not that bad down there, it has its own fibre optic cable for super fast net access, a phone line, multiple power points, is very spacious (double bed and sofa!) and is rather fetchingly furnished with a mixture of high end designer furniture and IKEA/brocki finds. It even has a window (ok, it looks out onto some weeds growing under the front door, but, hey, fresh air!) and separate entrance. Even better, it’s right next to Bruno’s workroom and his other projects and there are thick concrete walls on all sides so as to drown out the godawful noise dulcet tones of his punk records.I think he likes it down there (although he insists on telling everyone I’ve kicked him out to live in the cellar), perhaps a little too much!

This morning I took a moment to relish the vast expanse of emptiness that stretched out across MY desk. I hung a picture up on the wall and put a few things away. I bought some scissors and envelopes (things that wander in our house) which shall remain property of my office, or else! It has been quite a while since I’ve had a room of my own, and I was surprised how much I liked the feeling. It might even be slightly more exciting to go to work in the morning – well, that might just be wishful thinking 🙂

Woodwork, originally uploaded by kitschenette.

I went and observed Max at his woodwork class on Monday. He was making a Star Wars TIE-fighter. Now that they’ve stopped knitting, crocheting and sewing and started sawing, drilling and sanding he really likes Handarbeit (handicrafts)!

Today I did more school observations, including Max’s English class and his extra Maths Fuchstunde. I despair of him ever learning anything at his English class – obviously it is pitched at beginner level for the other kids, so for Max it is extremely boring. Unlike previous years when he could come home to me for a lesson, he has to stay and participate. I have tried giving him extra work to do in the lesson that is more at his level, but although his teacher promised me she would give him time to do it when the others are doing things that are too basic for him, he never gets given that time and instead has to do all the same things the others are doing. She could use Max to help the other students, but she doesn’t…I think that as her own English isn’t great she feels embarrassed when he knows more than she does, so her strategy is more to manage him so that he doesn’t disturb the rest of the class, rather than actively encouraging him to learn something, anything. There are more and more native English-speaking kids at school who experience similar problems. I’ve spoken to other parents and we’ve agreed that we need to lobby the school board for extra or possibly separate classes for the native English speakers – we’ve even offered our teaching services for free, as several of us are teachers, but the school board has been curiously resistant to the idea. I can forsee this being an on-going project …

The Fuchstunde was another matter entirely. It’s an extra two hours per week for kids who need extra challenges in Maths, and Max loves it. His teacher takes mathematical concepts and makes them fun, through games, stories and puzzles. Today they were working on logic, using various labyrinth puzzles and games. I admit that Maths was never my best subject, but to me they looked really tricky.

Bruno’s mum and I also went to visit Lola at kindy. When we went in the whole class was sitting on the floor making a craft project. Lola had a younger kid on either side of her, patiently explaining what they had to do. She’s an crafting expert, always snipping, plaiting, folding and sticking, and she has proved to be surprisingly patient with the other kindy kids, who come to her when they don’t know how to do something. She’s more than ready for school, it’s clear to see. It still amazes me how grown-up she is, so helpful and sweet – and tall!

In other news, here I go again – back to study! Cripes. A Masters degree this time. I start in July. Hopefully I’ll be slightly more disciplined and organised than in previous years. Other big news – Bruno has a new job, closer to home and better conditions all round. We are all looking forward to him being home more often, especially me! Bonus is that Bruno can now be the Watcher of the Homework, a thankless duty which I will be glad to pass over.