Old Blog Post, Posted: So…5 years hey?

Here’s another post tucked away in drafts for all these years.  It was written on August 6th, 2011.  I never finished writing it, but I still don’t want to lose it.  Speaking of ‘losing’, I miss you Irene!

Being the ditz I am I forgot my blog’s 5 year anniversary….oops!

Given I have only one regular visitor (heya Irene) and a few stray lurkers (hey you lovely lurkers you!) I don’t think a mammoth retrospective post is in order, but it does kind of blow me away that 5 years have passed since I started this thing.

Originally this blog had a different name, was on Blogger and was a bit baby heavy (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  I don’t quite know what my plans were when I started out but from the get go I guess this was a diary more than anything else.

In my very first blog post, the boys were teeny tiny (and me too).  It blows me away how quickly these kiddos have gone from babies and toddlers to Primary Schoolers with opinions on anything and everything.

We’ve all changed over the past 5 years.  Hubby was managing a retail store back then and working an I.T job on the side.  5 years on he’s been working for an investment bank in London for over a year in I.T.   My accomplishments are less obvious and flashy and are mostly thanks to having this blog to verbalise (in writing) my thoughts and fears.  The move from Brisbane to London made a huge impact on my personal growth too.

I guess ultimately as a SAHM the only way to measure your success is to look at where you’ve guided your family to over the years.  I don’t think I’ve been the best mother or homemaker in the world (I like to think that if I put off cleaning those cob webs until October then I can just stick a bit of fake Halloween webs over the top and call it masterful decorating) but I think our kids are turning out okay.  I think all their horizons have been broadened with an international move and all the sights we’ve seen over the past 2 years.

Master 10 has finally been given the support in his schooling that he needed all along but Queensland schools just couldn’t provide him.  By moving here our kids education has come along in leaps and bounds and that had never been the case in the past.

The Kidlets

Old Blog Post, Posted: Dyspraxia

Dated 27th of November, 2010.  I’ve been going through all my drafts trying to get a nice clean slate.  Most of the drafts aren’t worth keeping honestly but this brought back a lot of memories of the struggles our eldest was having in the school system.  I wish I had published it back then to have a record of what we were going through with his Dyspraxia diagnosis (something our youngest was also diagnosed with, but his presented differently behaviourally.  For our youngest it was more his gross and fine motor skills effected).

For my own record keeping, here’s the post from 2010.

First comes the guilt. How could I have watched my child struggle for all these years and never realised there was something actually wrong?  How many of my issues over the years with him come down to this condition?  I thought he was just difficult and naughty.  Oh so many years of anger and discipline…when all along his angry outbursts and inability to follow instructions wasn’t him just being disobedient it was a medical condition.  I should have known.  I feel like I have failed my son in so many ways.

Then comes my gripe with the Queensland Education system. How on earth did we go through so many parent-teacher meetings where my concerns and there’s were discussed and just settle on, “He just needs to work on his fine motor skills“.  Why did no one put the pieces together?  Poor social interactions with his peer’s (he has been bullied and struggled to maintain friendships even as far back as 2 years of age), poor fine motor skills, poor gross motor skills, he couldn’t read without help until he was 8 years old, inability to follow a sequence of instructions (eg. write out the sentence on the blackboard, place your book on my desk and then sit on the carpet).  I’m convinced they just thought he wasn’t bright and moved on.

Next comes this overwhelming relief that finally there may be answers.

This is not my first mention of my struggles with my eldest son on this blog.  In fact I have been blogging during his entire school life.

Here is a post I wrote just over 4 years ago during his first year of schooling.  I was racked with guilt then too.  I thought it was my fault he wasn’t at the same level as his peers.  I was convinced that all these other kids had better qualified parents and that I was the cause for his downfall.

Earlier this year when Alex turned 9 I briefly mentioned that Alex has always been a challenge to raise and that I feel like we’ve had unreasonable expectations of him all his life.

This experience with him being bullied has been an ongoing theme throughout his schooling.  Since moving to England we’ve noticed they crack down on bullying a lot harder here.  In some ways I think its just easier for them to identify bullying going on with small enclosed playgrounds as opposed to Australia’s big oval’s and sprawled school grounds.  It must be near impossible for every student to be in line of sight of a teacher in Aus, here space is limited.  The social problems he had last year were just simply that kids stopped wanting to hang out with him after a little while.  He made several friends over the course of the year but none of the friendships stuck for long.  He tries so hard and we always try and help him along by buying him whatever the new “thing” is that people are playing with at school (last year we went through Match Attax Cards, Pokemon figures and Go-Go Crazy Bones).

The revelation came yesterday evening when we had a meeting with Alex’s teacher to discuss his progress so far.  For the very first time I feel like we met a real proper educator.  Someone who gets kids.  Someone who doesn’t just follow the syllabus for the school term but who actually understands how to EDUCATE children.  She was frank with us.  She laid down her observations of Alex honestly and talked us through what it all meant.  With our go ahead she is now organising an Educational Psychologist to come in and assess him.

Our experience with all the other teachers over the years has been:

  • They strongly stress that he’s a lovely, polite boy and a pleasure to have around.
  • When we query how he’s coping socially they throw out some names of students he’s friends with (regardless of if these friendships lasted all of 2 weeks) and say he fits in just fine.
  • When we query his messy hand writing we are told that its not uncommon for a boy his age.
  • In fact at his previous school in England I think we fed his teacher an easy excuse for all of his difficulties, she just simply blamed him having missed 6 months of Year 2 back in Aus when we moved…and that was that.

The teacher we spoke to last night:

  • Certainly highlighted that he’s a lovely boy with wonderful manners…but unlike other teachers this was only the beginning of her observations.
  • She showed us his hand writing.  Explained how it differs from what she would expect from a 9 to 10 year old.
  • She told us how long it had taken him to write those two paragraphs with assistance (40 minutes).
  • Explained that he is on a table with a staff member assisting him for all of his school work (she had identified his need for this a few weeks into the school year).
  • Described how he not only struggles to interpret an idea and write it down but that he also struggles to process the train of thought and then verbalise them.
  • The biggest revelation?  She described his social interactions with his peers (after all how can a parent have a clue about this when all she gets is her childs recounting of what went on today?).  She described her observations of him on the playground.  She told us that the one child he can consistently play with has some similar issues and that the two of them play alongside each other but not really together but individually.
  • She told us that his intense difficulties with controlling his pencil along with the other concerns looks to be very much like Dyspraxia.

On arriving home I googled Dyspraxia (not something I had ever heard of) and as I read the list of Symptoms I just wanted to cry.

It makes so much sense.  Not just the learning difficulties…but the headaches?  The emotional outbursts?  His rage issues (stemming from his frustration with everything being so hard to grasp).  The way he doesn’t follow instructions…


An Introduction to Me

Welcome to Chaotically Rambling.  I’m Jenny a 34 year old Mum of 3 (almost) teenage boys!  Aussie expat who lived in the UK for almost a decade and currently living in Frankfurt, Germany.

This blog has existed in some shape or form since 2006.  As you can imagine it’s focus has changed a lot from year-to-year.  It began when I was a 22 year old Mum to 3 small children.  We then relocated our family of 5 from a sleepy Australian city to the United Kingdom and I loved to blog about our adventures exporing London.  As I grew up and changed I began sharing my views on the world around me and to discuss my issues with body image/weight loss.  At some point I split my blog in two and you can find my Food Blog over at chaoticallyme.com.  In 2012 and 2013 Chaotically Rambling became a journal to document my memories of childhood abuse.

I underestimated how long this journey of healing would be (lifelong) and the toll it would take on me.  I stopped blogging and spent 2013 and 2014 ‘doing real world stuff’ rather than spending 90% of my time in my own head (very useful for blogging).  I think it was an important part of my personal development, though I’m not proud of just how much money and time I spent ‘exploring’ and ‘playing’ in those years.  We joined various book clubs, spent a ridiculous amount of money exploring my theatre addiction.  I lost a lot of weight, bought all the clothes I’d always wanted to wear but had never had the money or the figure for.

I realised how empty achieving ‘the skinny’ I’d thought would fix all my problems really was.

Then the party ended when we bought an old Victorian home in East London.  We had been living it up in a nice, spacious flat in London beside a tube station and walking distance (for us) to Borough Market and other parts of Central London that we loved to explore.  Our house in East London was in a concrete jungle by comparison with no fun walking areas that didn’t involve busy smog filled roads en route.  The neighbourhood was very different and our lifestyle changed to being mostly about ‘the house’ and putting up with an area we hated for the sake of our future.  The house was over 3 stories but the rooms were all small and run down and we spent most of 2014 scooting around boxes of crap and trying to make the house somewhat liveable.

We learned a lot about home maintenance and the mysteries of what’s really behind those walls and that toilets and bathroom sinks aren’t magic!

Fast forward to 2017 and we had completed renovating our 117 year old home, had sent half our possessions back home to Australia to be stored in my Mother-in-law’s garage and the other half we loaded up into a 17 seater van and drove along with the whole family (3 kids, 2 cats and 1 hamster) to Frankfurt, Germany.  We listed our house for sale hopeful that by November 2017 we’d be packed up and moving back home to Australia.

Unfortunately for the first time in our adult lives no amount of strong will, long sleepless nights working and determination could control how 2017 would play out for our family.  Brexit fears had hit the UK and we had a series of misfortunes with buyers (chains falling through and a charming gentleman who tried to Gazunder us!).  Fate stepped in and the house didn’t end up selling until February 2018.

2017 for me was one of the hardest years yet.  It was the hardest on our marriage to date and to be honest I wasn’t sure if we’d make it through.

Germany did not end up being a fairytale stopover between my two home countries.  Some of that is on ‘Germany’ and some of that is on ‘Me’.

I’m looking forward to brushing off the cobwebs and starting to write again.  I’ve no idea if I’m still capable but I’ll give it a go!

I’ll be moving over the posts I made in 2015 when I attempted to start blogging again (and failed).  I’m trying to consolidate my blogging world so I can start over with all my thoughts in one place.

London · Out and About · To Move

It’s Getting Old I Know…

…but here in all their glory are all of the Olympic Mascots in one post just to finish off the whole experience (I need closure people!).

For anyone who has landed here and has no idea what I’m on about, to celebrate the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics artists were commissioned to paint very large statue’s of the Olympic Mascots.  Here’s the official page.  These mascots were dotted around London and trails were created so you could try and catch ’em all (Pokemon style) whilst seeing some of London’s famous sights and experiencing just how diverse the different areas of London are.  It was a lot of fun!

London · Out and About · To Move

We Did It!

I’m not going to lie, I was gutted when we got home last night and I discovered I had missed number 11 on the Yellow Trail (Contemplative Wenlock).  The PhotoRoute instructions were not great in my opinion without a smart phone or a kick-ass colour printer and limitless funds to print every damn instructions attached picture in vivid colour.  The written instructions missed a lot of little things and didn’t point out when you were meant to be passing a mascot (or which side).  For example, Lambeth Palace Mandeville isn’t mentioned at all and it was only my kids keen eye sight that spotted him over the road and away from the trail described.  Anyway!  They did provide a great service and despite the directions not always being spot on it did make the search that little bit more tricky with a great sense of accomplishment at the end of it when we conquered them all.

Today we went back to capture Contemplative Wenlock and Sir Wenlock.  I missed Sir Wenlock on the Blue Trail when access to Guildhall Courtyard was tricky.  It was a bit of a scorcher in London today and the Paralympic Marathon restricted access to the Yellow, Blue and Red Trails this morning so we waited until late afternoon to head out.

It was awesome to see a few other people out and about trying to finish off their trails.  It was the last day before the Mascot’s are taken down so we were all trying to squeeze just a few more in.  The Discovery Trails were so much fun even though they were hugely draining and had me tearing my hair out in search of some of them. I feel great having found them all.  It wasn’t always easy and my feet are cursing me for not wearing more supportive shoes but it’s hugely rewarding to have completed all 6 trails.

How did everyone else do?  Did you manage to complete any of the trails?  Anyone nuts like me and dragged their complaining kiddo’s out to catch the ones they’d missed on the final day?

I think the Discovery Trails have made me much more familiar with the in’s and out’s of London.  I use public transport quite a bit anyway but this really pushed me to explore areas I haven’t seen much of before and then navigate my way home from.  The Purple Trail was almost completely new territory for me.  I was blown away by how posh and ostentatious the area was (a Jaguar dealer, Porsche dealer and Aston Martin dealer all within reach) and we were there just as people were knocking off work so it was a fascinating bit of people watching.

The Yellow Trail was fascinating on a Saturday in the late afternoon right through to the evening (I think we finished up at 8:30).  Most of the trail was deserted with office buildings standing empty as we continued on we suddenly hit Shoreditch and the streets came to life with people trying to usher us into their restaurant for a curry and pub’s spilling out onto the streets with eager pub-goers.  Sari Wenlock had even had a sneaky boob job by the time we stumbled across her.  Fascinating.

Here’s my final trail’s photos (the Yellow Trail) and me and the dashing Sir Wenlock from the Blue Trail. Continue reading “We Did It!”