Posts Tagged ‘life’

It occurred to me today that I’m actually a bloody good actor.  Actress?  Person who metamorphoses into another being for a limited period of time.

I was in my Year 7 Science class – only the third time I’ve had them, so they’re not yet used to me.  Today was the inaugural Be Safe In The Lab lesson, and one that I tend to try very hard to make interesting – I figure if it’s fun, they’ll remember it, and hopefully not do anything stupid or dangerous until at least Year 8.

I tried something new this year, and it seemed to work.  I dressed in the usual lab safety gear of a lab coat, goggles, gloves and closed shoes, and added to this a hi-vis vest, ear protection, a dust mask and a hard hat.  I then went through with the kids and got them to work out which elements were unnecessary in a high school science lab, removing what wasn’t appropriate and leaving what was.  I was on a roll.  I was utterly on fire, in a good way.  I had them laughing, thinking, participating.

I had a moment, though, watching myself as though from outside, and realised that I wasn’t quite sure who this woman was.  She looked like me.  She sounded like me.  She even used similarly unusual turns of phrase, obscure references, Britishisms and hyperbole in the same manner as me.  She was me.  But she wasn’t me.

Then I realised – she was Me, The Teacher.

My hat.  My mask.  My classroom persona.  I even had myself fooled into believing that this person was me.  I walk into the classroom, and I become her for the time I’m there.  And then I’m myself again.  The quieter version.  The more reserved, introspective incarnation.  The one who worries that her happiness means that she’s actually horribly miserable but hasn’t realised yet.  The one who still doesn’t feel like me, but is the best I have.

I don’t have a script, but it’s method acting at it’s finest.  I live the role.  I become the role.

And that frightens me, because it makes me wonder who the real me really is.

And that frightens me, because when I have a kid tell me that her sister has pursued the sciences and is so much like me and still talks about me and what an influence I had on her, I smile and say that’s great and I’m so pleased that she’s continuing her studies in science, and then shake violently all the way home because is it really me that is making that difference to her life?  Or is it my role of a lifetime?  Do I have a right to that level of influence?

And that frightens me, because what if I screw up?


I’ve been thinking about this ever so much.  Somehow, a switch has flicked in my head this year.  I don’t know if it’s a result of last year and the crap I had to put up with and the feelings of uselessness, not being wanted or needed, rejection and deep melancholy, the loss of being able to care about what I was doing or the effect it was having on me and the people around me… I don’t know if it’s because of the events just prior to Christmas that shook my world and shattered my innocent trust, forcing me to reevaluate my perceptions of my life and my choices… I don’t know if it’s a combination of all of those things.  Something, though, has happened, and I feel like a butterfly slowly emerging from a chrysalis.  I am becoming… something.  Something more than before.  I feel powerful and strong in a way that I never have before, and at the same time, more fragile and vulnerable than ever before.  I see more clearly, the world has lost the drab grey film it wore for so long, and I find myself behaving in a new and interesting way.  Walking taller, sitting up straighter, asserting myself and making choices about what I do and don’t want to be a part of my personality.

I don’t know what has happened.  I am not myself, and yet I am.


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I’m back at work, and all week I’ve had one goal in mind – to pick up the shattered fragments of 2013, change my thinking, change my attitude, and duct tape everything back together.  It’ll never be the same, and will never have the same fragile innocence, but at least duct tape is robust, and will impart greater strength to all that it repairs.

It’s enough.

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I’m finding parenting incredibly draining at the moment.

Bamm-Bamm is teething, or going through some sort of developmental phase, or is in fact the devil incarnate, or possibly all three simultaneously.  The upshot of this is that his sleep habits have gone completely to hell.  Completely. To. Hell.  Before this started, he was finally down to only waking once or twice a night (and yes, I’m aware that once or twice a night is still a lot for a fifteen-month-old, but compared to what he had been like, waking anywhere between five and eight times a night for months and months on end, twice didn’t look so bad to us), but for the past week he’s been up again and again and again and again, refusing to settle 90% of the time unless I feed him, and screeching, “Mummy!  Mummy!  MUMMY!!!!!” at the top of his lungs until I appear.  Ralph just doesn’t cut it most of the time, unless I’m so destroyed that I can’t drag myself out of bed again, and then Bamm-Bamm just has to put up and shut up.  He’s not settling at bedtime anywhere near as well as he was doing, and it’s not entirely attributable to the ridiculous amount of noise that the neighbours’ children make in their backyard between seven and eight in the evening these days.

During the day, he’s grumpy, clingy, miserable, and he wants to nurse constantly.  I’m very pro-breastfeeding, and fed But Why until he self-weaned seven weeks before his third birthday, but I’m getting so freaking sick of the demands for Boobie that I’m seriously considering cutting him off early for my own sanity.  I am not an all-you-can-eat buffet, damnit, I’m a human being and sometimes I don’t want to be touched!

If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear this was a Wonder Week, but he’s too old for the last one and too young for the next one by several weeks.


And then there’s But Why, who is so, so very three.  Two was a walk in the bloody park compared to three.  I really don’t like three very much, and I’ve heard that four is worse.  When he’s good, he’s wonderful, brilliant company, hysterically funny and sharp as a tack, but when he’s not…

Tantrums over the tiniest little things.  Dozens every day.  Look at him the wrong way, and he’s wailing on the floor.  Cut his sandwich into triangles when he wanted squares, and the world is falling apart.  Pick out the wrong colour socks, and he’s in hysterics.  Tell his brother off for something, and he’s inconsolable.  His toys have to be just so, and if they’re not, all hell breaks loose.  Nobody is allowed to touch certain toys, which is pretty hard work to explain to his toddler brother, so they’re fighting like feral cats at the moment which absolutely breaks my heart.


Oh, well, there you go, as I’ve been typing this, Bamm-Bamm has woken for the second time since he was put to bed… less than a hour ago.  Looks like we’re in for yet another very long, very unpleasant night.


I’m so damned tired.  Mentally, physically, emotionally, I’m just drained.  They’re just relentless at the moment.  I don’t know how people with three or four or five kids manage to raise them without losing their minds.

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The Brown Crayon

My cat Boof is not the brightest crayon in the pack.  I would even go so far as to say that if he were indeed a crayon, he’d be the brown crayon.  Or maybe grey.  Some dull, not very bright colour, in any case.  He isn’t brown, mind you, he’s black and white, but he certainly does some stupid things.  Case in point: as I type this, he is making out with a wool jumper of mine which is hanging on the clothes horse behind me, drying.

Boof has recently cost us somewhere in the order of $2000 through sheer stupidity.  It started with a great deal of vomit.  Everywhere.  Three days in a row.  On the third day, Ralph and I confirmed that it was Boof doing the chucking, and so we took him straight to the vet.  Unfortunately for us, it was a Sunday and the regular vet was closed, which meant that we had to take him to the emergency vet.

Emergency vets cost a bomb.

He was poked and prodded, and they weren’t 100% sure on the issue.  Could have been a stomach bug, could have been an intestinal blockage, could have been pancreatitis etc.  The upshot of it was that finding out through them was going to cost nearly two grand just overnight, and so we opted for pain meds and a wait and see approach, figuring that if he needed a repeat visit in the morning, at least it would be Monday and we could take him to his regular vet down the street.

It was pretty clear to me the following day that he still wasn’t right, so I booked him in for an appointment.  They suspected a urinary blockage, but whilst he was waiting to be transferred to their major surgery (they have two; the one in our town is sort of an offshoot and all of the main stuff, x-rays, surgeries etc. happen at the main clinic some 30 minutes drive away) he piddled and pooped in his carrier, so they told us he could come home.

He seemed okayish, but then he didn’t eat.

For days.

On Thursday, I called the vet again and told them straight out that something just wasn’t right.  Call it furrmama instinct, but I just knew there was something seriously wrong.  They asked me to take him to the main clinic the following morning for tests, so I dropped him off on my way to work.

They did x-rays and a barium study.  I stopped back at the clinic on my way home that afternoon, and they showed me the x-rays.  The barium didn’t move from Boof’s stomach at all in an hour and a half.  They told me that they would take one last one, and if nothing had happened, they’d have to go in investigate.

I told them to do whatever was necessary to get my Boof well.

That evening, I got a text from the vet who was looking after him.  They’d gone in to see what was blocking him up, and removed a foreign object from the beginning of his small intestine which was preventing pretty much all food and most water from getting through.

My poor cat.  He must have been in so much pain.

I went to collect him the next morning, and got a bonus ‘foreign object’ in a specimen jar.  It’s about the size of a small marble, and rubbery when you shake it… we suspect that Boof’s long-standing penchant for chewing on balloons finally caught up with him.  They are now banned from our house; no mean feat when one has two small children.

For nearly a fortnight after surgery, Boof was recovering well… until he started vomiting again.

Back to the vet for more tests.

The good news the second time was that there was no repeat blockage.  The current theory for the second round of chucking is that after not eating for the better part of a week and a half (he lost a lot of weight – luckily he was a big cat to begin with, and had the weight to lose), he was simply gutsing his dinner (and Princess’) and then bringing it back up because his stomach was, and is, still irritated from the blockage and the surgery.

And what did we learn from all of this?  Aside from reinforcing our suspicions that Boof really is incredibly dumb sometimes, we learned that PET INSURANCE is important.  And now we have it!  The cats are seven years old and we can reasonably assume they’ll live at least another seven, so hopefully we won’t have any more unexpected enormous vet bills anymore.

Still… I love that idiot.

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