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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Errrrrkkkkk...

Yeah, as you can tell, I'm having a busy week. More Mary Gilmore layout than you can poke a stick at (and really PAINFUL; she's in a very didactically evangelical stage at the moment, c. 1928), plenty of child drama (Bumblebee's been getting in a few fights at school and his schoolwork's been slipping badly, but it's really hard to get the school to support our attempts to do anything about it), and a desperate need to blog about Patrick White on my part but I have no mental energy and time to do it. The only blogging action I've been getting is random commenting forays onto other blogs in between other tasks.

One good thing I have done since Tuesday is get another haircut. REALLY short, this time. I believe it is called a short crop, a-la Natalie Portman (but without the stunning bone structure).



It probably makes me look a bit scary, but I've given up caring, which I think is probably one of the privileges of maturing. And now I have no hair dye left, which was a major objective. Whatever I do with my hair from hereon in, will be lightly but proudly be flecked with grey.

I am sagging under the weight of all my work commitments (including being told that I may be working every. single. day. of the 06/07 Woodford Folk Festival, teaching bookarts to both adults and children) and can't see any kind of break until early January, not even a full weekend.

BUT! Tomorrow I am declaring a work-free day, complete with sleep-in and picnic in the park. For tomorrow is my birthday, dear readers, and I am damn well going to have a eenie-mini-break. It won't be computer-free, because tomorrow night I will be hosting a friend and her son for a sleepover, and while the kids romp and bicker we are going to brainstorm and tweak a new blog venture called Slow Making with lashings of red wine. If you are a slow maker, or like Ms Maker's concept, get in contact and join in. Or pass the word on about the blog.

I shouldn't complain so much -- BB cooked me a wonderful meal of slow-roasted pork hocks in plums tonight. It was amazing. So I'm tired but extremely well-fed, and I have been desperately trying both to get to the gym and to ride my bike lots so that I don't get sedentary and ill. It seems to be working.

Anyhoo, I'm off to bed; I just thought I'd sneal in a quick whinge while Best Beloved had a quick bath, but he's in bed now making little 'harrumph' noises. He has a point: the sooner I get to sleep, the more I can sleep in.

And saw Tibet: have a good weekend yourselves.

22 comments:

Patricia said...

I'll definitely check out the new blog, since I'm a graphic designer. I already checked it out and look forward to more!

Ron said...

Happy Birthday, AD.

Hope you have have a wonderful day.

Cheers, Ron ...

Boysenberry said...

Happy birthday for today, &duck. Enjoy your sleep in :)

Blue said...

Happy birthday - hope you have a great day!

TimT said...

Happy birthday!

Jennifer said...

have a fabulous day and wonderful year! the new blog looks completely intriguing...

Mindy said...

Happy Birthday Duckie. I bet your new haircut looks cool, I really liked the short look when we saw you last.

Hope things get sorted out with Bumblebee, doesn't sound like him at all. Keep hassling the school, make it something they have to deal with.

Anonymous said...

um i posted a birthday picture and shout in another corner of tha web, but misspelt your name and you sound far too busy to find it so heres a to a happy birthday girl...byrd

Kate said...

Happy Birthday Duckie!

Pavlov's Cat said...

Gah, didn't see this till today, so the birthday will have been and gone -- but I hope it was a happy, well-fed, well-rested one.

Cozalcoatl said...

Happy Bday.
Pixie haircuts are way cool plus you get more girls buying you drinks in pubs ;). I know you would look great.

Ampersand Duck said...

Thanks all!

It's been a bit of a lost weekend (but not in a hotel in Amsterdam).

Jolly japes for all, and hopefully I'll have time tomorrow to list some of them.

Fyodor said...

Dear Ducky,

Apologies for intruding - and please tell me to bugger off if I'm being inappropriate - but is B-Bee's problem that he is being picked on by bullies, or is he the one starting fights?

F.

P.S. happy birthday, Duckling.

Ampersand Duck said...

Dear Fyodor,
no, I don't think you're intruding -- I'm the one laying my life out for the world! I've been wanting to blog about it in depth because I'd enjoy a group brainstorm about it, but as usual the time/energy factor intervenes.

The short version is that BB has a short fuse, a silo full of pent-up anger and fear from his heart op experience, and a Dutch sense of humour (ie it has to be learned, slowly, but he's getting there) (from his dad's side of the family, of course).

He's also having problems with his school work and getting frustrated about it. There has been a phase lately of a few kids pushing all his buttons (teasing about his name, calling him dumb etc) and him reacting quite aggressively in response. But he didn't tell us about it, and the school didn't contact us about these fights, until they were at the point of discussing the idea of day suspension!

Imagine our horror when we went in (of our own volition) to discuss the schoolwork problem (we've noticed a few problems at our end) only to be thanked for coming to see them about 'The Violence'! Sheesh. I've been spitting chips ever since. Apparently he's been falling through the cracks in lots of ways throughout the year. we see the aggression as a cry for help, and in fact now that he's on the level he's been a lot happier.

Anyway, we are doing lots of encouraging things with him to try and help from our end. The school has promised lots of things about next term, but if they don't pull their finger out we'll probably move him to another (public) school that gives a shit. It's a crying shame, because 2 years ago his school was the best in the region, but it's had a change of Head and that has, unfortunately, made a huge difference for the worse. It's taught me a *lot* about good leadership.

!!! Wow, that felt good. Thanks for asking. :)

PS He's at circus school this week for the holidays. I'm hoping that will help with his confidence. He certainly bounced out of the house this morning like a newborn lamb.

Fyodor said...

Dear Ducky,

That doesn't sound so bad to me. If it's a problem within his control (i.e. his emotions) I suspect it's easier to deal with than the alternative.

And from the sounds of it you do seem to be on top of his frustrations. It's an awkward age for a boy, and learning to control one's anger can be difficult in a society which encourages boys to be physical [leaving aside all the biological testosterone-stuff]. Learning to handle conflict and criticism in non-violent ways is a very important part of learning to be a responsible man. Those boys who don't learn that lesson tend to be the ones who get themselves in real trouble.

Not that you should be taking advice from immature irresponsible clowns comme moi, but one idea you might want to think about is sport. Sport can be a highly constructive outlet for anger and stress, and really helps to build confidence and inter-personal skills. If it's the right sport - i.e. one that suits B-Bee - it could make a huge difference to him personally.

tigtog said...

I have nothing to add to Fyodor's excellent advice, but I wanted to add to the belated birthday wishes collection, and I'm glad to find another My Word fan out there.

Ampersand Duck said...

Oh, my word, yes! More so when I was young and impressionable, but these days I get to hear it if either of us wake too early on a Thursday. I have a book of it somewhere, too.

Fyodor: I hope we're on the right track, and we're putting a lot of time and thought into it. Sport is a great suggestion, although hard to maintain when you're shuttling a kid interstate between parents on alternate weekends. He adores the sport he plays at school, so maybe I'll try harder on that front. Thanks!

worldpeace and a speedboat said...

oooh Ducky, slack me, didn't get to this until today. Many Happy Returns of the Day! if it's any help, a bunch of ForBattlers were stuffing their faces with a barbie lunch, almost as if celebrating your birthday.

and sounds like you're on the right track with the Bumblebee. as you say, he must be feeling better to have it all out in the open. it's half the battle for him to know that you understand the problem and you're on his side... so important for little tackers.

Zoe said...

And he's a really, really nice kid, Ducky, even if it feels like there are moments where you're the only one who knows it. You're not.

xxx

Teej Mahal said...

Bumblebee's a sweetheart. A good heart will win through.

And happy belated birthday too hon.

Mummy/Crit said...

Wow, I only jsut got to this (it's been a busy week), so apologies for missing the birthday, it sounds like it was pretty damn good.

The stuff about BB is well timed for me - I've been having similar 'issews' with D, but without the added angst of having a crap school to deal with. And I know that bit where all your friends say - "he's so lovely" and all you can think is "do you know this child?". Turns out we're right, he is lovely, and as mums we know this, but get frustrated at the lack of support and 'out there' behaviour, so sometimes we forget. I like that circus school has made a difference. Kids like ours need a spot to excel, and really show off (and I don't mean in the annoying attention seeking way) what they are good at.
Blah blah blah. sorry to rant in your comments, but I'm with you in this!

Ampersand Duck said...

Thanks, Crit. It never gets any easier, does it? I think we're going to try and change teachers for the last term, and see if that improves things. The potential class has a lot of his 'good' friends in it too, so that may help.