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October 21st, 2016

05:03 pm - daily life
My children had an argument yesterday, sparked by the *Lord of the Rings* soundtrack – about whether Boromir’s death was the sort of thing that grown ups like or not.

Obviously they have not seen it, but have heard my retelling while listening to the soundtrack.

Pearl has a visceral fear of death. It is hard to know how to address this. Yes, death does suck and mostly we adults just ignore its inevitability.

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October 13th, 2016

05:10 pm - Politics
Congratulations to the Upper House of NSW which has unanimously called Donald Trump a ‘revolting slug’ unfit for public office.

‘It is clear that all reasonable and decent people find Donald Trump’s behaviour obnoxious and that the world is hoping American voters reject his politics of hate.’

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October 10th, 2016

06:23 pm - 3 Things
1, On the weekend we went to the zoo and took the opportunity to feed a giraffe. It was so cool, because he twisted his tongue around the leaves and pulled them into his mouth. As Pearl said, it was like his tongue was a hand. A slightly slimy feeling, blue hand.

2, Ruby did some woodwork and created what she calls a musical instrument. With help she nailed random nails to a block of wood and then strung elastic bands over it to strum. Her Pop is incredibly impressed.

3, Inspired by a fanvid, I have been rewatching *Leverage*. Perhaps I will finish it this time.

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October 9th, 2016

06:31 pm - Amused me

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October 8th, 2016

12:03 pm - Yuletide
Hello and thank you, Yuletide writer! Thank you so much!

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October 7th, 2016

06:37 pm - 3.13 Noriko Matsubara, Bocchi + Pocchi and the Bird
3.13 Noriko Matsubara, Bocchi + Pocchi and the Bird, 2014

It's a kid's story about two socks going for a walk. What my children liked the most was the photos of the author knitting models of the socks at the end. She wrote it! She illustrated it! She made the socks!

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October 6th, 2016

05:56 pm - 3 Things
1, The art is up at work. I’ll take some photos. It seems like my sole achievement since July.

2, I have had some free time to read about ADHD, sensory processing issues, etc. Did you know that some studies link NF1 and ADHD? How very interesting. And how much I hope Ruby is not also diagnosed with ADHD. (Though I do not think it is likely).

3, I watched some of the extras on *Gosford Park* and part of the reason it is so astonishingly accurate is that they found a handful of British folks in their 80s who had been in service above and below stairs in the 1930s. They were literally able to instruct on how eggs were hand beaten to make custard rather than mayonnaise; how wine was filtered; the way measures were used to ensure the table was set evenly; the shade of a footman’s ties; how an under-house maid would address a housekeeper.

Also, of course, the way it was filmed and recorded ensured that all the actors were aware they could be being filmed at any time, so they are continuing their plots in character at all time. No wonder it is such a champion of a movie.

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October 5th, 2016

06:17 pm - September Books
Agatha Christie Mrs McGinty'sDead 1951
David Evan Stalin's Russia 2005
Enid Blyton Five Go Adventuring Again 1943
Richard J Evans The Coming of the Third Reich 2003
Agatha Christie They Do It With Mirrors 1952
Joachim Fest Plotting Hitler's Death: The German Resistance to Hitler, 1933-1945 1996
Connie Willis All Clear 2010
Rupert Matthews Stalingrad: The Battle that Shattered Hitler's Dream of World Domination 2012
Niki Savva The Road to Ruin: How Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin Destroyed Their Own Government 2016
Michael Jones Total War: From Stalingrad to Berlin 2011
Enid Blyton Five Have A Wonderful Time 1952
Sue Allen Can I Tell You about Sensory Processing Difficulties? A Guide for Friends, Family and Professionals 2016
Benison O'Reilly and Seana Smith Australian Autism Handbook 2008
Agatha Christie By the Pricking of My Thumbs 1968

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October 4th, 2016

08:30 pm
I took the first week of the school holidays off and it was great. I feel like I am actually (though momentarily) on top of things. I have new shoes; the girls have summer sandals; my hair is cut; the girls had hair cuts; they got new bathers; Pearl got some new t shirts; Ruby got new PJs; Ruby has one of the two new car seats she needs; we went to the library; Ruby did some OT; Pearl saw a counsellor.

The counsellor was the culmination of a massive amount of effort. Pearl’s teacher thought she might be dyslexic or maybe have ADHD. Which is to say she has no idea but finds her hard to teach. The school psychologist observed her and I filled out surveys so comprehensive that it took literally four hours to get through them. This is what I do in my spare time. The psychologist thought Pearl was a quirky and odd child who might have… something. Maybe she is on the autism spectrum? she suggested. I took this non-information to her paediatrician who sensibly thought that seeing a psychiatrist on a regular basis might help with a diagnosis in the long term and in the short term could give her some strategies on dealing with her anxiety and difficulties with focus.

Pearl was resistant to going and flitted about like a butterfly on speed during the first meeting, but *I* certainly found it incredibly helpful to have someone carefully observe Pearl. He pointed out that she is in the 99th percentile for hyperactivity which partly explains why I find life so exhausting. And I felt he was actually looking at her because he noted how she stilled when doing drawing, so she is capable of moving away from the stimulation seeking.

I have fallen slightly in love with the psychiatrist because he was certainly a good counsellor for me, in that he offered me heaps of praise for the way she responded to my Mum Voice and said again and again how hard it is to be a single parent to two kids with special needs. Honestly, I lie in bed at night wishing there was someone in the house who would say that to me while patting me on the back. Indeed, my last attempt at getting counselling for myself ended with a stand up argument with the counsellor about whether or not being a parent is hard.

Me: I’m just saying that, you know, when I came home from hospital with Pearl and the house was hit by lightning and I had no phone or heating and there was a hole in the window in the middle of winter. That was harder than it would have been if there had been heat, electricity and the ability to call for help. Objectively, that must be the case.

Her (young and presumably childless): Perhaps that is why you think of parenting as hard.

Me: Because it is hard.

Her: But why do you struggle with it?


Her: And yet….


Compare that with Pearl’s psychiatrist. He hasn’t offered concrete or useable advice yet, but just talking to him made me feel more competent and happier.

In short, I had an excellent break and things seem (fingers crossed) to be setting up OK for the return to work and school. The girls are ready for their swimming lessons to start, and while Dad is having dialysis on Wednesdays I am able to help out by taking him in. I am SO PLEASED that Dad is finally on dialysis as it means that the pattern for the upcoming months is becoming defined, making it much easier to make work and school plans.

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06:17 pm - 3 Things
1, Ruby is always attracted to books about trips to hospital, no doubt her way to process her life. At the moment a picture book about a bear having an ear operation is on high rotation. She likes to point out the degree of greyness in their fur which illustrates that the doctor bears are older than the patient bears, nurse bears and orderly bears.

2, I found Pearl reading an Enid Blyton short story collection under the covers after lights out. She was only given away by her giggling. I am somehow reminded of myself….

3, Although I was stuck inside at work, the girls did nature play by the river today.

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